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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
Afternoon and evening rides have a unique charm. Whereas morning rides tend to invigorate, rides late in the day have a more mellow, downtempo feel to them. I also find that packing a good set of lights for any ride that I start after about two or three in the afternoon (depending on the time of year) alleviates the anxiety of getting home before dark and instead allows me to enjoy the transition from day to night. In the late afternoon and evening, the sun dapples the landscape with flickering rays which are woven between long shadows, refractions and highlights not seen earlier in the day. The sounds of the various creatures around me change and air gets gradually and ever more pleasantly cooler. Such was my recent afternoon trundle through the Samford Pony Trails and up Mt Nebo along the Goat Track. Continue reading “Pyretic Daze”
With my recently commenced phase of enthusiasm for road biking now in full swing, I decided it was long enough since my last encounter with Mt Mee in Brisbane’s north-west. So, adorned with stretchy clothes and clown shoes once again, I awoke at an hour that I had forgotten even existed, shovelled a large bowl of carbohydratey foodstuff down my gullet and flung myself out the door. Continue reading “It’s Mee Again”
Under a doonah of grey sky
Gold piercing rays of sun shine
I know this place but it’s real now
The circus has left me
It’s raw, it’s clear Continue reading “Ambience”
I do quite a bit of bleating on this blog about normalising cycling, slowing down and forgetting about trying to be a racer. And whilst I firmly believe that, I have also said that there decidedly is a time and place to throw on a pair of knicks and a cycling jersey, wake up at a ridiculously early hour and go for a sprightly road ride. To me, one of the things that makes cycling great is the variety of experiences that can be had via the many cycling disciplines available and there has probably never been more on offer than right now in terms of infrastructure, first class advocacy for cyclists, bicycle variety, quality and value for money which allows even an average schlub like me to taste all the flavours of cycling with multiple bikes without completely breaking the bank. Road biking is just one of those flavours and it’s the one I’m craving today as I head through the Brisbane CBD, explore some awesome cycling routes and do Brisbane’s quintessential road bike climb, Mt Cootha. Continue reading “Rolling With The In Crowd”
As a paradox to some of the utterly insane laws and attitudes to cycling in Australia, we have an almost dizzying array of choices when it comes to places you can see and things you can do on a bicycle. Take the greater Brisbane area for example. Just in this small pocket of the country, you can explore mountain ranges, lakes, beaches and islands with almost no requirement for a car. And if you combine your rides with the available trains and ferries, the world really is your oyster.
With that, today I’m going to show you how you can go from city to island paradise using only a bicycle and a GoCard (and a bit of food, drink and sunscreen…and pants – definitely wear pants at all times) because I’m going to be traveling to Russell Island in Brisbane’s southern bayside region. It’s been a while since my last ferry crossing with a bike and this seemed like a great excuse to do it again. Continue reading “Island Hop”
I’ve been eyeing off Lake Manchester on various maps and write-ups for a while now so I decided that now was as good a time as any to finally make the journey. As the day’s experience showed me, this isn’t exactly a casual ride (certainly not as casual as I thought) so if you’re thinking about tackling this one, make sure you’re in in reasonable condition, bring plenty of food and water and carry enough spares to get yourself out of a wide range of possible mechanical failures. You will be a long way from help most of the time and unlikely to even see another person in the depths of the Brisbane Forest Park. Continue reading “There Once Was A Man Called Chester”
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”
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”
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 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”
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”
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!”
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”
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”
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”