Sing Me A Rainbow, Steal Me A Dream

Sunshine Coast by train and bike

Unlike the last bike-plus-train write-up with a reference to rainbows in the title, the bike leg of today’s effort is a lot less epic though just as enjoyable. The point of the trip is a day’s visit to see someone on the Sunshine Coast which I would probably otherwise do by car so it’s also an experiment in non-car transportation alternatives. Spoiler alert – the result of the experiment is that, disappointingly, if you’re looking to get to the Sunshine Coast quickly, the car is your only real alternative. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an enjoyable day out with pretty well zero stress and great scenery along the way instead of staring up someone’s exhaust pipe while hurtling down the Bruce Highway, then traveling this way is definitely for you. Continue reading “Sing Me A Rainbow, Steal Me A Dream”

Winds Of Change

A proposed change to Australian Mandatory Helmet Laws

It’s been a long wait but, after fourteen months, Bicycle Network have finally released their verdict on whether or not they will support a relaxation of the Australian Mandatory Helmet Laws (MHL) and the crux of the decision is this:

Bicycle Network is recommending that these laws be relaxed with a five-year trial permitting people older than 17 to choose whether they wear a helmet when riding on footpaths or off-road cycle paths.

Continue reading “Winds Of Change”

Bike About Town – A Day In The Life Of A Brompton

Brompton bike on Ann St Brisbane

Assuming that your job hasn’t been usurped by artificial intelligence and that you’re not retired, there’s a fair chance that you went to work today or at least some time this week. There’s also a fair chance that like most Australian commuters, you drove to your workplace as the single occupant of a car even if you only had your laptop and your lunch to carry. That’s problematic for many reasons (.pdf) and, besides notable exceptions like tradespeople and couriers who legitimately need their vehicles daily for carrying loads (the topic of ferrying children to school requires a separate post) and for whom the vehicle is a depreciating rather than devaluing asset, there is a better way.

One option is to gear up and commute on a dedicated commuter bike, road bike or mountain bike and that’s a pretty good way to go but not everyone wants to commit to doing that every day so, in this post, I’m going to show you my favorite alternative. Those of you who have read a few of the posts on this website already know that I’m a big proponent of the Brompton folding bike because it allows me to toggle at will between riding and using public transport without raising an eyebrow or a sweat while allowing me to carry all the stuff that an office sausage like me might need for a day’s work. So, today I’m going to attempt to show you what a day with the Brompton actually looks like from morning to evening. Continue reading “Bike About Town – A Day In The Life Of A Brompton”

Bucolic Lanes To Suburban Trains

Ashgrove bikeway near golf course

I’ve been eyeing off Brookfield and it’s surrounds for a while now and although I’ve ridden mountain bikes in the Brisbane Forest Park and Gap Creek Road for around a couple of decades now, I’ve only touched Brookfield very briefly in the past. Sunday’s ride was a bit of an impromptu affair so the photography is scant and this post will only be brief but I’m already planning a longer ride to Brookfield in the near future and will have my staff of photographers, editors and other minions at the ready to provide more extensive coverage. Continue reading “Bucolic Lanes To Suburban Trains”

Dirtbags Ahoy!

Mountain biking at Bunyaville - skidding

Summer is really starting to show through here in Brisbane with more and more days in the high twenties which will soon break decidedly into the thirties. The magpies are breeding and attacking as always and the greenery has an unmistakably summery eucalyptus smell to it. To me, that is prevalent nowhere more so than in the Bunyaville State Forest. As a child I would come here on school excursions to the wildlife centre and from early adulthood in the nineties to the present, Bunyaville has been a mainstay in my mountain biking diet.

With the fresh new season upon us, I thought it fitting to renew my mountain biking options as well. I’ve talked about my Avanti Torrent before – a bike which I bought it back in 2010 when my attitude to mountain biking was very much about taking the roughest possible sections at the highest possible speed and, in a sense, “overcoming” the environment rather than moving through it. Over the years, however, that attitude has peaked and toned down to a decidedly slower pace. It’s also why I tend to blather quite a lot on this blog about low performance, casual dress for riding (all styles of riding – not just mountain biking) and generally not giving a shit about much besides enjoying the journey and the surroundings. OK, it’s not quite as pure and unadulterated as that – as a cyclist, I’ll always love bikes and gear but the focus has definitely shifted. Continue reading “Dirtbags Ahoy!”

One For The Road

Corner of Bunya Road Eatons Hill overlooking Samford Valley

Just a short update today on Sunday’s ride for anyone looking for some hills or just a pleasant roll through the countryside. I decided that it was time once again to get the Emonda out and hit the tarmac for some road riding except, unlike the last time this bike came out to play, this time I would be donning the stretchy clothes and clown shoes so as to do a “proper” road ride.

After ogling some maps of my local area using a popular mapping application, I spotted Bunya Road running off Eaton’s Crossing Road and remembered some of my riding buddies telling about the hill training they did there. Although this would definitely not be a substantial road ride and I thought twice about whether or not I should risk agitating my back problems by riding hills, in the end curiosity and stubbornness got the better of me and Bunya Road is where I would be heading. Continue reading “One For The Road”

Poison Fish, Poison Fish, Tasty Fish

McGavin View at Lake Samsonvale Queensland

Well, spring has finally broken through the depths of winter. The sun is out, the birds are singing and yet another Prime Minister has dropped out of the anus of the Australian polity. Still, I suppose we should be thankful that we didn’t end up with Hannibal Lecter in the highest office. Yep, the next federal election can’t come soon enough. Continue reading “Poison Fish, Poison Fish, Tasty Fish”

Not A Thing To Wear

What should you wear when you ride a bicycle?

What should you wear when you ride a bike? Knicks and a jersey when you road ride? Mountain bike jersey and some kind of padded shorts when you ride a mountain bike? Maybe some expensive bike specific jeans for riding around town? The question is, are all those specialised cycling clothes really necessary on every ride? The marketers wanting to sell you that stuff will naturally say yes. I’m here to say maybe, sometimes and even not all that often depending on the riding you do because choosing to ride a bike shouldn’t always require expense and faffing. So, in this post, the point I will be trying to make is that there are plenty of mainstream and often cheap clothes available which can be used for cycling though there are certain attributes to look for which make some clothes more suitable than others. Hopefully, that will open the possibilities for cycling clothes, make it cheaper to ride and make it less of a hassle to jump on a bike when you just want a low performance recreational ride or to go to the shop to get milk, bread or a few beers. Continue reading “Not A Thing To Wear”

Congeniality By Bicycle

Patricia Piccinini Curious Affection

The working week is over, it’s a bright, serene Saturday afternoon with a hint of spring in the air here in Brisbane and my desire to find the (perhaps) tenuous links between art, cycling and this great city is bubbling to the surface. What better way to realise my whimsy than to grab a bike and skedaddle over to Gallery Of Modern Art to see Patricia Piccinini’s Curious Affection exhibition? Especially seeing as though this would be it’s last weekend on display. Continue reading “Congeniality By Bicycle”

A Little Of This And A Little Of That

Mixed lollies

After a long spell of cold weather, this weekend Brisbane was offered some respite with the temps jumping up into the high twenties of the Celsius kind. This made for pleasant bicycle riding so on Saturday I jumped aboard the Cannondale shopping bike to refill my echo filled larder with much needed supplies. Continue reading “A Little Of This And A Little Of That”

Chillin’ In The Cool

Good times in winter

Of course, that header image is quite a bit of hyperbole – this is Queensland and we barely know what cold is but however this temperature range is categorised, I’m loving it at the moment and it made for an immensely enjoyable ride this afternoon.

For the first time this year, I took my Trek Emonda out and headed down the Kedron Brook bikeway and along the Shultz Canal toward Nudgee. Dressed in a pair of shorts and a sleeveless hoody over my nicks and jersey, I was gleefully breaking every dress code of road cycling (written and implied) not least of all because lycra is thin and the turtle was scared enough as it was. But also because this bike is great to ride no matter what you’re wearing and wearing whatever the hell you want while riding is almost as important as the riding itself. Continue reading “Chillin’ In The Cool”

Swamp – The Rambling Continues

Cabbage Tree Creek Boondall wetlands

In my last post, I wrote about riding my Crossrip over mixed terrain slowly. In this post I will be writing largely about the same thing over different terrain (though this post also features delicious fried rice). If that’s too much of the same thing for you, stop reading now and ask for a refund of the money you paid me for accessing this website*.

Anyway, here we go…

The destination of today’s little escape is the swampy bits of the Boondall Wetlands with the gravel roads running through them so I started by heading out through the bikeway next to the Carseldine golf driving range towards Deagon. Continue reading “Swamp – The Rambling Continues”

Ironbark Gully And Samford Ramble

Samford pony trails Brisbane Queensland

Well, life has managed to suck me into conforming to various not-always-pleasant-but-nonetheless-necessary responsibilities of late which is the reason for the large gap since my last post here but that’s OK because, despite my tardiness, I’m still within the bounds of the terms of this site that I set out for myself.

Anyway, aside from the fact that I’m back to commuting bimodally on my Brompton after my extended stint of Brisbane City Council bus commuting, I also managed to squeeze in a weekend bicycle ride about a week ago. And after flip-flopping about deciding what sort of ride I would do in the limited time I had, I decided to grab the trusty Trek Crossrip (which for reasons unknown to me Trek have stopped bringing into Australia) and head through Bunyaville, over to Ironbark Gully and on toward Samford. Continue reading “Ironbark Gully And Samford Ramble”

A Good Night Always Has The Right Amount Of Zs

Radio 4ZZZ Brisbane building music heritage bike ride

The Brisbane Bicycle Explorers Club recently put on a great evening recounting Brisbane’s rich music history including a tour of iconic Brisbane radio station 4ZZZ.

As I mentioned the last time we met here, I had on the cards the Streets Of Your Town Brisbane Music Heritage Ride (part of Bike Week Queensland) pending the state of my wellness. Well, I’m happy to report that I did indeed attend the event, it exceeded my highest expectations and I recommend that anyone with a bicycle and a hankering for a great night out tag along to next year’s installment. Continue reading “A Good Night Always Has The Right Amount Of Zs”

Just Making It Up As I Go

Like wandering hobos this bike ride has no particular plan

Sometimes life keeps you guessing about exactly what you should do next and you just have to be a little inventive, dive in and maybe sometimes even take a little risk. With that in mind, today I decided that my recent back problems had taken up enough of my time and that I would start easing myself back into riding. So, I dusted off the squishiest, most forgiving mountain bike I own to cushion my flip side lumbar regions, packed a few essentials into a small canvas satchel and took off for one of the slowest, most non-mountain bike urban mountain bike trips ever embarked upon. And despite photos that may give the impression of the contrary, suburbia was never more than a literal stone’s throw away. Continue reading “Just Making It Up As I Go”

Civilized Food Gathering

Brisbane’s weather and constantly improving bike infrastructure lends itself well to shopping trips by bike but Brisbane shopping centres also need to do their bit to attract more cyclists and save themselves money while they’re at it.

Food is great. It titillates your palate, keeps chefs employed and gives you an excuse to stop work in the middle of the day. Best of all though, is that it prevents you from dying. Humans have used various methods throughout evolution to acquire food from hunting and gathering through to the advent of agriculture and eventually to urbanisation and the rise of the supermarket.

But with supermarkets coming about in the context of car-centric urbanisation, a raft of problems came with them. For one, the amount of space required to park all the cars being used for grocery getting at a supermarket often equals or exceeds the space required for the supermarket itself. For all the touting of convenience they use to market themselves, supermarkets (and large retail complexes more generally) are made all the more inconvenient by the need to park a considerable distance from the entrance and then lug all the groceries back the same way prior to exiting while inhaling other shoppers’ exhaust fumes and putting yourself in danger by mingling on foot with cars which are reversing, scrambling for free parks and drivers often losing their shit due to the stress of the whole experience. Continue reading “Civilized Food Gathering”

Finding The Ghost In The Machine

As I mentioned previously, my aging back has the been giving me grief over the last little while which means the amount of riding I’ve been doing is precisely zero. That situation is driving be batty beyond words but on the upside it has given me the chance to do some maintenance on my extensive (some would say excessive) fleet of velocipedes.

Today, I’m going to talk about a couple of specific issues relating to the Brompton – finding and stopping creaking noises and the Brompton sinking seat post syndrome. Although the Brompton is extremely well engineered, like anything, it isn’t completely impervious to a few niggles every so often and those two can be particularly frustrating. Water, dirt and aging will eventually catch up with any machine that has moving parts – which means all machines – and because the Brompton has a few more moving parts (at least in the frame) than your average, garden variety bike, there’s a few more issues that may pop up from time to time. It should be noted that I am not a professional bike mechanic and readily seek the assistance of a bike shop when it all gets too hard. I do, however, at least try and have a go at fixing stuff myself where I can and, in doing so, have accumulated a little experience I can share. Continue reading “Finding The Ghost In The Machine”

Down But On The Way Up

Brisbane Bike Film Festival review

It’s been a while between posts because my age seems to be catching up with me. My back has been giving me grief for the last little while so instead of riding, I’ve been attending physio and catching the bus to get places.

While I really hoped that by Friday I’d be healed up enough to get my Brompton back out and ride to the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival, unfortunately it was not to be and I ended up walking there instead. Despite my ironic method of arrival, I had a great time and the event was a roaring success. Continue reading “Down But On The Way Up”

Movie Stars, Fancy Garb And Bicycles

Looking for something fun to do on a Friday night? Specifically, Friday 16th March? Come along to the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival organised by the good folks at Space for Cycling including the screening of the fabulous documentary Why We Cycle. It’ll be the first one of these for me so I’m excited to see what it’s like but if it’s anything like the other events that Space for Cycling organises, it should be a blast. Not only that, but by attending, you will be helping Space for Cycling to fund all the fantastic campaigning work they do around Brisbane. Check it out: Continue reading “Movie Stars, Fancy Garb And Bicycles”

Into The Fog – Climbing Mt Mee

Dawn. The air is cool and a light fog hovers in the distance as I pilot my road bike through the first few kilometres of my ride trying to keep up a reasonable speed to counter my lateness while simultaneously trying not to push my cold muscles too hard. The roads are quiet with patches of last night’s rain mostly soaked into the tarmac and, aside from the birds, the only sound to be heard is my tyres whooshing along the road surface.

(Budos flavoured theme music for your aural pleasure)

My first stop will be a rendezvous point in Brisbane’s far northern suburbs where my accomplices and I will set off for the little town of Dayboro and onward to climb Mt Mee. The climb is about 7km long with a gradient of about 5% which can be done at quite a relaxed pace to help you enjoy the stunning scenery of the rolling hills to the west. Continue reading “Into The Fog – Climbing Mt Mee”

Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Taste Test

Brisbane Valley Rail Trail start at Fernvale Queensland

There’s something about country towns that puts a spell on you. They wind you down a few notches and put you in a different frame of mind. They run at a different speed to the city – a better speed in my opinion. It’s a speed that’s closer to that which human beings run at. Fernvale in South East Queensland is no exception. But Fernvale also has something extra special to offer bicycle obsessives like me. It’s located upon one of the jewels of country South East Queensland – the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. Continue reading “Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Taste Test”

Life Is The Art Of Cycling

Yayoi Kusama Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane Queensland

I’m sure as eggs not an art aficionado much less an artist. The fact that I spend most of my time using the opposite side of my brain required to create art is testament to that. Try as I did to draw and paint when I was a younger human, life and other interests took over and my artistic aspirations along with my meager skills shriveled and died like an abandoned pot plant.

Still, none of that should stop me or anyone else immersing themselves in art. Even if you haven’t been trained what to look for, making your own sense of the art in front of you is one of the most profound, calming, inspiring, escapist, perspective adding and enriching things you can do almost any day. And maybe not knowing what you’re really looking at is the best way to appreciate art anyway. Continue reading “Life Is The Art Of Cycling”

Culture And Politics

Car centric urban planning is bad for our cities including Brisbane

This post is called Culture And Politics because I want to allude to one simple fact: the low mode share and abysmal attitude to cycling and cyclists in some parts of the Australian community has nothing to do with using a bike to get around being impractical, inherently dangerous, unfeasible or because cyclists are somehow better or worse that other people. It has everything to do with the current state of our culture and poorly informed attitudes which are fuelled by the reprehensible policies and decisions of some of our politicians as well as the vested interests of corporations in and around the domain of selling oil and cars. Continue reading “Culture And Politics”