Adaptation And Change

As a big fan of QAGOMA, a few weeks ago I hopped on my Yuba and headed into town to give my QAGOMA membership a workout and enjoy the now closed exhibition, The Motorcycle, which showcased the development of the modern motorcycle and the future of these machines. No, I’m not about to ditch my bicycles and buy a motorcycle but, as a cyclist, one thing that really interested me about the exhibition is the lineage that motorcycles share with the bicycle. After all, motorcycles started life as bicycles. Continue reading “Adaptation And Change”

A Collection Of Wholesome Stuff And Things

Bikeways. Long ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones. Together they make up the backbone of any burgeoning bicycle culture and play a star role in providing a realistic, future proof transport modal mix for any modern city which is why I say the more the better though I definitely prefer the ones that keep me physically separated from cars and trucks in places where things are a little squeezy. Brisbane is one such city and the new CityLink bikeways running through our fine CBD are an example of such bikeways. They’re a very long awaited step in the right direction in keeping with many other aspiring World Cities and BCC did a fine job of getting them installed. Continue reading “A Collection Of Wholesome Stuff And Things”

Still Sleeping

Yep, I’m still in that mood. Still sleeping, still in the same dream state since my last post. The dreaded virus has had us in another lockdown since then – a small one so we can still think ourselves lucky. Time went by relatively quickly inside but left me feeling quite sedentary – tired from too much rest. There was, of course, only one thing to do when release day came.

Another day, another cow track. I’ve got a great little collection of them. Just pick and go. Maybe mix a few up. Well used and familiar but somehow new again. Today it would be a multi-terrain ramble with some proper rough stuff. Wayne’s World at Bunyaville, to the back of Ironbark, down the Kombi Express, under Samford Rd and along Lanita Rd to the Ferny Grove Rail Trail then into Samford to get lunch. Stopping to notice the small things, the tiny little things would be the flavour of the journey. Stopping to chat, to say g’day. You get what I mean. Continue reading “Still Sleeping”

Dream Sequence

It’s true that I quite often plod my bicycles down many of the same cow tracks. Remaining local and thus inevitably repeating the same courses and routines is inescapable to at least some degree in 2021. Though for me it’s also a great excuse to hide the fact that at heart I’m a little circumspect – something of a homebody who only occasionally likes to let out a burst of adventure but quickly recoils back to the familiar.

Even so, Brisbane is a large place, the cow tracks are many and we Brisbaneites have so far been very lucky to escape the full force of the pandemic with what are relatively just a few scratches. In fact, Brisbane is large enough that in a single ride, I can experience a showcase of landscapes from seaside to city to lonely dirt road and still be home in time for dinner. Continue reading “Dream Sequence”

Getting From A To B

Tardis

As I mentioned in my last post, over the last little while Brisbane really seems have been taking shape as a city that’s getting serious about moving towards supporting a well balanced transport mode mix which includes better infrastructure for cycling, scooting and walking with the closure of the Victoria bridge to motor traffic, some very spiffy new bike lanes right through the centre of the CBD, new bicycle and pedestrian green bridges about to be built and a host of other projects. I, of course, have been taking full advantage now that the pandemic craziness is beginning to subside and I’m making my way into my work office a couple of times a week. It’s a nice break from the same desk and four walls that I’ve come to love since I started working from home and, as you may have guessed, I’m always keen for a ride so it’s a bit of a win-win. Continue reading “Getting From A To B”

The Age Of The Rail Trail

Trail where trains once were

Despite all the madness everywhere at the moment (or perhaps because of it), it’s a pretty exciting time for cycling in Brisbane right now. There’s the closure of the Victoria Bridge in the CBD to all but public transport vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, the CityLink Cycleway trial which is adding separated bikeways to Brisbane CBD streets like Elizabeth and Edward Streets and the near completion of stage 4 of the North Brisbane Bikeway. While closer toward the Sunshine Coast, TMR is garnering feedback for a project to build a recreation trail from Beerburrum to Landsborough as part of a railway line upgrade. It’s all very encouraging and almost makes me think that little old Brisbane is starting to come of age as a city that is seriously aiming to create a more balanced, responsible and realistic transport mode mix.

With so much going on in the Brisbane cyclosphere, one thing that passed totally under my radar is the completion and opening of the new Caboolture to Wamuran Rail Trail which provides a much needed link along the D’Aguilar Hwy from the west for commuters as well as allowing safe access to Wamuran and the various parks and forests beyond for those seeking recreation. I felt that I needed to rectify my oversight by doing a ride on the new trail and so I planned a day to get all the way from Caboolture to Woodford that would also incorporate a fantastic section through the Glasshouse Mountains Conservation Park at Bracalba. Continue reading “The Age Of The Rail Trail”

Bikepacking For Office Sausages

Bikepacking cutlery for Brisbane adventure

Happy New Year! Because life has taken over once again, I’ve been sitting on this write-up for a while and the trip was actually done in September 2020.

I’ve been winding up to try bikepacking for a while now. It seems like the next logical step in my cycling career especially in the context of my embracing the use and enjoyment of bicycles holistically and in trying to push the boundaries of their utility. My several recent bike fishing jaunts kind of started the itch. A couple of casual morning tea jaunts through the bush pushed the idea further and the next natural step was, “Why not add some camping gear and sleep in the bush for the night?”. Continue reading “Bikepacking For Office Sausages”

Small Packages

One of the recurring themes of this blog centres around the idea of local rides that require (preferably) no car usage, start and end right at your front door and aim at the discovery of hidden gemstones of adventure that may be sitting right under your nose. Indeed, adventure may be found in suburbia or even in the heart of your CBD by way of simply jumping on a bicycle and thus adopting a new perspective on familiar ground or discovering new routes by which to traverse your environment. If you’re really lucky though (as large numbers of us are in this sense here in Brisbane and, I dare say, in Australia more generally), you will also have some kind of relatively untouched natural area nearby in which to pursue an even deeper sense of adventure and escape. It’s the kind of thing that fits especially well into the situation we find ourselves in this year so that’s exactly what I did recently on a daylong adventure (nanoadventure?) over Camp Mountain and through the Brisbane Forest Park. Continue reading “Small Packages”

Today I’ll Play A Slow Song

Firstly and most regrettably, a tragedy close to home where Brisbane’s latest cyclist road fatality has shone the light on the disgraceful failure of our infrastructure to provide safe passage and prioritise people over cars in our city. And although it looks like perhaps it’s caused some action to take place, the fact that it takes tragedies like this for action to happen is, frankly, unforgivable. I didn’t know her personally but Carolyn’s passing will leave a big void in Brisbane’s cycling community and she will be sadly missed. Space for Cycling Brisbane have organised a memorial ride this Saturday 11 July. Continue reading “Today I’ll Play A Slow Song”

Catch And Release

Well, here in Brisbane Saturday 2nd May was “release day”. Those in authority deemed that the spread of Covid-19 was sufficiently under control to partially ease restrictions and allow people to get out and about pending a few caveats. Great news though I must admit to questioning in my mind if maybe it was too early while simultaneously chomping at the bit to go out and see something other than my desk. So, I came to a compromise with myself and decided to go and ride somewhere a bit further afield than I have been recently but to make it a destination unlikely to be patronised by many others. And while doing so, I would also rekindle my interest in a pastime that I was quite heavily immersed in when I was much younger. Continue reading “Catch And Release”

Peering From The Inside Out

There’s been a bit less of the usual kind of riding going on of late for obvious reasons. This has meant less blog fodder for me hence the larger than desirable gap since the last post. So in this post I’ll be meandering off the main theme of this blog (gasp!) for a while to fill the voids. Well, that and because I’m a curmudgeonly old contrarian who delights in throwing rocks into the mirror pond of the status quo. Don’t worry though, I promise there’ll be bike stuff too. Continue reading “Peering From The Inside Out”

Vacuity, Newsflash Or Something Like That…

I’m back yet again so soon because there’s a few events either already in progress or almost ready to burst into existence like some kind of big bang ushering in a brand new universe which I thought were pretty cool and worth a special mention. Hence, I’ve instructed my vast team of editors, content writers, graphic artists and sundry staff1 to interrupt regular scheduling2 and bring you this super-fast update of what’s going down in Brisbane town. Here we go…

Firstly there’s the Style Over Speed Ride on Saturday, 14 March 2020 which departs from King George Square at 3:30pm and heads (slowly) across town to the UQ St Lucia campus where the Brisbane Cargo Bike Expo will take place in the Holt Room from 5pm-6pm. I’m really looking forward to both the ride and seeing where Brisbane’s cargo bike culture is at. Continue reading “Vacuity, Newsflash Or Something Like That…”

Drought And Flood And Creek And Mud

Hello. Yes, it’s me again back with another domestic Brisbane bicycle adventure. As you probably know, there’s an old saying about being stuck up a particular creek without a paddle and as you may or may not know Brisbane has several large, noteworthy creeks running through it and its surrounds. Best of all though is that, unlike the creek in the old saying, Brisbane’s creeks are actually rather good and one glowing example is Bulimba Creek which runs through Brisbane’s south side and eventually empties into the Brisbane River. Better still, is that virtually the entire length of Bulimba Creek is shouldered by the Bulimba Creek Bikeway which is also one of Brisbane’s longest and most interesting bikeways and that’s where my latest domestic adventure took place after some linking up via more bikeways and a rather nice ferry ride. Continue reading “Drought And Flood And Creek And Mud”

Home Again

Home again after riding the Sunshine Coast to watch TV

Since my last post where I indulged in a mini bikepacking trip of sorts to the Sunshine Coast and its hinterland (while there is still any forest and bushland to see), my rides have continued but with a distinctly more domestic flavour. I dusted off my Trek Emonda and did the first road ride of the new year, explored a creek at the base of Mt Nebo on the Scott Scale hardtail and hopped on the Brompton for a bimodal trip to the CBD to replace a pair of mountain bike shoes that recently ended their serviceable life despite my best efforts to save them. Continue reading “Home Again”

Under A Microscope

Small world planet

To me, there are a million reasons to keep riding bicycles and I plan to do so until my body is no longer able. Riding bicycles is irreverent (though it really shouldn’t be) and it is, in many ways, an expression of creativity. It’s a way of largely decoupling oneself from the iron grip that modern consumerism and corporations have on all of us. It is transport. It is freedom. It is fitness of the mind and body. It is the gateway to humans treating the environment more justly and creating more livable cities. It is a massive middle finger to all the shit, greed and lies which are currently dragging the world down.

But of all those things, there’s one which particularly fascinates me. It’s the way that bicycles shrink the world and put it under a microscope revealing incredible details otherwise hidden by the speed and size of everyday modern life. They zoom your experience from galaxy level to planet level and shine a spotlight on the mechanics of life – stuff you would never notice from a speeding car or plane. Riding bikes reawakens your connections to your environment and the people around you.

Having said that, much of my younger life was spent in a speeding car glossing over the treasures held in the hinterland and coast of my local area – Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. I now spend my spare time discovering and indulging in this neglected facet of my area and I uncovered yet another piece of it a few days ago on a bimodal bike-plus-train journey from Brisbane to the seaside town of Marcoola on the Sunshine Coast where I would rendezvous with the rest of my cohort for a multi-day stay. Continue reading “Under A Microscope”

So Seriously Hot That It’s Not Even Funny

Hot weather sunset

It seems that summer has taken hold with gusto this year making jumpers and jackets a distant memory and raging fires the new reality. But according to the fearless and visionary leaders of our nation, there’s no need for concern. The situation is well in hand as evidenced by their attendance of sporting events and proclamations that “it’s going to be a great summer of cricket“…except that houses, farms and forests are burning everywhere and things are very far from OK.

Stuff me into a giant slingshot and shoot me into the ocean. Continue reading “So Seriously Hot That It’s Not Even Funny”

Immersion In History

Spring Hill Baths facade

With the warmer weather here to stay for a while, I thought I’d try something a bit different and incorporate a swim into my ride. The idea of a swim plus ride seems dead obvious for a place like Brisbane and I’m not really sure why I haven’t done more of these in the past.

I grabbed a pair of goggles, one of those chamois towels that rolls up into a small cylinder, some spare shorts and stuck them all into a handlebar bag that I had sitting in my cupboard of accumulated spare bike crap. I hadn’t used that bag for a while and almost forgot about it so it was a great little rediscovery made even better when I saw how well it fitted on my Trek Crossrip which is what I would be riding for today’s little jaunt. Continue reading “Immersion In History”

Sunset Skies

Bikeway Woody Point Queensland

It was one of those afternoons that felt like you were burning hundred dollar notes if you were wasting time sitting around at home. Shadows were long in the late spring sun and I had a hankering for wide, flat views and horizon lines. Speed was the last thing on my mind. Instead, I wanted to wash away the previous week’s frustrations and start afresh.

I packed a small towel and a few odds and ends into the pannier bags of my Cannondale mountain bike conversion (a bike that has now been supplanted as my cargo bike by the recent purchase of my Yuba Boda Boda) and headed off to the shores of Moreton Bay at Redcliffe. Flat pedals, shorts, tee shirt, me and the bike. Continue reading “Sunset Skies”

Call To Action

Fork in the road

This is a blog about riding bicycles in the great Australian city of Brisbane and that’s the theme I normally like to try and stick to. I normally also try not to politicise it too much even if riding bicycles does have an inherent empathy to certain political values over others. But these are not normal times and there are matters of greater importance than maintaining the appearance of political neutrality. Continue reading “Call To Action”

Cargo Cult

Cargo container dolls

The last line of the last posting I did on this website read “Ride safe and see you real soon”. Unfortunately, I’ve failed on the “real soon” part as I’ve left another large gap between postings but I’ve been busy talking to people and test riding various models of cargo bikes to see how I might do what I need to do a little more efficiently and comfortably.

For quite a while now I’ve been harping on about the importance of looking at cycling holistically and not just as a sport or weekend adrenaline rush. Of course, doing that stuff is awesome but bicycles have so much more to offer and although I already use bikes regularly in a utilitarian fashion for actually getting stuff done, I felt that the setup I have (a converted mountain bike with a trailer) had reached the limits of it’s capabilities and that it was time to move into something more capable and built for the purpose of carrying loads. Continue reading “Cargo Cult”

Intermission

Intermission cinema curtains

Well, life’s little ups and down have once again pulled me into a timewarp and only now have I come around and realised how long it’s been since I frequented this blog. With regard to my physical condition, there’s been more downs than ups mainly due to my ageing carcass so tales of epic times and bicycle related adventure stand counted at a fairly round number. That’s not to say that I haven’t been doing any of the utility type bike cycling – indeed I have. In fact, the Brompton and I have been the very bestest of buddies frequenting my place of employment, various after hours engagements and the odd cafe. Continue reading “Intermission”

Urban Oases

Oasis turtle

Sometimes what you’re craving is right under your nose. On a sunny, inviting day it may be tempting to make grandiose plans, spend up big and make things as epic as possible. But spare a thought for your local stomping ground. Look closely for the shards of habitat spared and now interwoven amongst the bullying sprawl of suburbia. Look for the wetlands, the reserves, the bushlands. Cobble them together, add a bicycle and a rambling disposition and you might just have yourself a day to remember. Continue reading “Urban Oases”

Free In The World That You’re Given

Ewen Maddock Dam Sunshine Coast Queensland

I’ve said before that bikes and trains go together like gin and tonic. They compliment each other beautifully as modes of transport and as vessels of recreation. The way they move you has a certain quality that, unlike driving, goes at least some way to being in touch with the natural order of things.

The relationship between bikes and trains also extends to the way land is used and shared between the two modes and there’s no better example of that in recent times than the rise (resurgence?) of the rail trail. There are many rail trails in Australia including the one running through the Dularcha National Park on the Sunshine Coast which is where I’ll be riding today and also taking in the Ewen Maddock Dam circuit. Dularcha also pays special homage to the bike plus train relationship because it features a disused railway tunnel which adds a piece of extra special interest to the ride. Continue reading “Free In The World That You’re Given”

Subterranean Wonderland

Subterranean Wonderland - Tour de Brisbane Legacy Way tunnel

When last I frequented this blog, I reported on my tale of good fortune in winning a free entry to the all new and very prestigious cycling event, Tour de Brisbane, which features oversight by none other than the UCI themselves and, to my delight, road closures the likes of which Brisbane has never seen before to make room for the race.

I haven’t been doing too many of these kinds of events lately but I can say that this one was pretty darn good so, if you missed this year’s installment, be sure to mark it on your calendar for next year. I even managed to get to the top Mt Cootha in a reasonable time despite my calf muscle cramping when I was almost at the top and having to pull over and stretch it out. I blame the guys with the cowbell and loudspeaker (traffic cone) at the side of the road yelling “get out of the saddle!”. I obliged and paid for it. Continue reading “Subterranean Wonderland”

Business As Usual

Business as usual Lego man

With all the recreational road rides and mountain bike rides that I do and write about, you probably all think that a vast media empire like this blog affords me a life of luxury and frivolity at the level that Murdoch or Packer might enjoy. Sadly, that’s just not true. There’s work to be done, groceries to be gotten and errands to run if I want to be able to pay for my web hosting, my bicycles and keep food on my table. Continue reading “Business As Usual”