Author Topic: RIDES 2018 — add yours here  (Read 2179 times)

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2018, 02:32:02 AM »
Now that's a rugged countryside. Very pretty behind glass though. No wonder people have romantic notions about the Borders.

Donerol

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2018, 12:40:47 PM »
Lovely - you had better weather than we had in Glasgow!

jags

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2018, 05:18:12 PM »
Galway is under 3feet water :'( :'(

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2018, 07:05:52 PM »
Quote
New Year's day ride in the Scottish Borders

Photos bordering on unrivalled excellence, Rual.   You haven't lost your touch over the holiday season  ;)

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2018, 10:56:30 AM »
Hi all,

Some notes and photos from my first rides of 2018, during this past week, in the Gold Coast of southeast Queensland:
 
Getting here… We reached Queensland in mid-January for our regular visit to our son and his family. We had left Ottawa on a Sunday evening, on cold clear night, -25° with little wind. Two days later, the temps in the Gold Coast were approaching 30°, but the humidity was at least manageable. Acclimatization included visits to the neighbourhood beach, splashing in the shallows of the surf with our five-year old grand-daughter. The days had been approved for visitors’ viewing by the ‘Strayan Tourist Authority – see photo #1 below.

…and getting the bike here     I brought my Raven with me on this trip, planning to use it for day rides around the Coast and into the hills of the hinterland. Last year, I used my Eclipse derailleur bike, but I ran into three problems over the course of my six weeks or so of day rides. The pervasive sand—airborne, thrown up from the tarmac by vehicles and carried by rain showers—wrecked my chain, despite my regular wipe-downs after each ride, and several washings. The Gold Coast roads, secondly, have a lot of broken glass on the shoulders and in the bike lanes. I have 700x35 Marathon Racers on my Eclipse, and the front one, with about 1500 kms on it, was cut in several places. (I replaced it with a Bontrager 700 x 32 foldable, and that has worked well for about 500 kms since.) Lastly, the most scenic rides, up into the hills of the New South Wales Border Ranges, SW of the Gold Coast, have long steep hills, with grades sometimes greater than 15%. I found these were right at the limit of my comfort and enjoyment, so I opted for the Raven’s lower gearing. My lowest gear on my Eclipse is just over 20 gear-inches; the Raven has three gears below that, with a low of just over 15.

We travelled by EVA Airway’s Taiwan’s national carrier, and their price and service were very good. Their luggage requirements for a bike are more restrictive than those of Air Canada, however: The bike has to be boxed, and the linear dimension of the box cannot exceed 80 inches (L + H + W) without incurring a substantial oversize fee. Maximum allowable weight of the boxed bike, without extra fees, is 23 kg. The bike counts as one of two allowed checked pieces of baggage on an intercontinental flight such as ours. My regular shipping box has a total linear dimension of 85”, so to meet EVA’s requirements, I got a freebie fatbike box from MEC, with a height of 32” and a width of 10”. I then cut its original 60” length to 38”, ensuring I met the 80” limit. This setup required more than usual disassembly of the Raven: beyond removing wheels, fenders, pedals, seatpost, and bars, I took off the forks as well. Happily, everything worked out all right, and neither dis-assembly nor reassembly posed any problems. And, even more happily, nothing was damaged in transit.

A note about day rides in the Gold Coast  The Gold Coast is a narrow linear suburb about 50-odd kms in length, running North-South along the coast of Queensland in the extreme southeast corner of the state. The modern city is an aggregation smaller centres. Its southern terminus is Coolangatta on the New South Wales line, and its northern border is, ah, ill-defined, about 55 kms north, near the small ‘burb of Coomera. The coastal floodplain is flat, but a few kms to the west, the land begins to rise onto the lower slopes of the Great Dividing Range. About 30 kms inland, there is a string of pearls of small national parks along the ridges of the Range. The hills are relatively low here, around 800 metres, but they are steep, forested and fairly well-watered.

The City Council has established a good cycling network in the past 10-plus years. Its core is a 50-km strip running close to coast, north from Coolangatta. There is a mix of dedicated and shared bike paths, typically through oceanside parklands, as well as bike lanes on arterial and secondary roads. The Coast is cut by rivers and creeks running eastwards from the hills of the hinterland; their estuaries and flood plains make for an “urban” landscape marked by bridges and inland waterways as well as the immense Coral Sea to the East. There are fewer East-West cycling routes, but there are some.

With this infrastructure, it’s easy to make a 3-4-hour ride of, say, 60-80 kms N and S along the coast, and there’s an excellent sprinkling of cafés, bakeries and ice cream places. Longer and more challenging rides are available, too. My favourite is a 115 km there-and-back into northern NSW from our son’s place in Southport, in the northern sector of the GC. The route here follows a creek inland to the west from the southern sector of the GC, and then turns south, snaking up the side of the caldera of a huge ancient volcano. Inside the caldera lies a small town with the lovely name of Murwillumbah, which has an A-grade café as a turnaround point. The return leg, up the inside of the caldera, includes a 6 km climb of 15-17%.

Three rides this week  My Raven seems well-suited to day rides here, on the evidence of the past week.  I did three rides, averaging about 65-70 kms each, on days that were sunny and warm, mixed sun and cloud, and drizzle-turning-to-bright sunshine. The bike has its alloy fenders (which would be mudguards, ‘cept here—as a rule—there is no mud), but I’ve removed its racks and my Arkel handlebar bag, so that it weighs about 28 lbs with my headlight, bell, and bottle cages. As storage, I have a small 5-ltr Axiom handlebar bag, my medium Revelate Tangle frame bag, and my medium Topeak seat bag for my tools.

So far, I’ve made no really tough climbs, but a couple of short-and-steep ones tell me that the Raven’s lower gearing will be quite OK for the hard hills on the Murwillumbah road.
The ample glass on the roads has so far caused me no problems, and my ‘glider kept my chain free of sand and water in a couple of hours’ riding in the rain this past week.
Between foot surgery this past October, and savage cold in Ottawa between early December and mid-January, I’ve done no serious exercise for about three months. I took out my skipping rope shortly after we reached Oz in late January—after doing no skipping for about 6 months or more—and I was a complete klutz, tripping on the rope and sweating and gasping in the heat. I was a bit apprehensive about my rides, but these were less embarrassing—mostly, of course, because I stuck to well-known and largely flat routes. I was really reacquainting myself with cycling on the left, reminding myself about heat, loadsa water and sunscreen, and the delights of cycling beside an ocean with the southern sun dancing off the waves.

BUT.  There was the wind, the prevailing stiff southerly.  The wind reminded me, with brutal honesty, that I have to attend to my turnaround points and my food supply and intake, even on reasonably level terrain. On an 80-km midweek ride past the northern limits of the GC “proper”, I sailed along in the upper gears (12-13-14), reaching my turnaround point in little more than 90 minutes. I had an orange and a snack, and turned around for my southward return leg...and found that my brisk tailwind had turned into a strong and relentless headwind as the day heated up, the south-south-easterly coming straight into my torso, unchecked by trees or buildings. Happily, I had enough water; not so happily, not enough food, and precious little residual fitness. Where I had been riding in the upper gears, now I was on the drops all the time, struggling to stay in 8th. A few kms from home, passing through a waterfront park studded with pockets of dense shade, I surrendered, and had a splendid 20-minute nap in the restorative shade of a rubber tree, on a soft grassy patch devoid of ants, biting, crawling, slithering or squirming creatures.
The coastal land- and sky-scapes are as splendid as ever, and the pathside sculptures continue to delight. Have attached a few examples below.

More to come in the days/weeks ahead, including some from the hillier bits.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 04:24:19 PM by John Saxby »

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2018, 10:59:47 AM »
And a few more photos, in the same vein:

geocycle

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2018, 11:13:00 AM »
Thanks John, that's brightened my day.  Wet and windy here with a whole 3 degrees!  There seems to be a lot of public art in Australian cities.  I like the joggers.
 

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2018, 11:24:15 AM »
Thanks for your kind words, geo. Here's another pathside sculpture from the Gold Coast, below, and one from Manly, a small centre on Sydney's northern beaches. These dancers are set beside a saltwater swimming pool, filled and emptied with the tide.

From my limited experience, the 'Strayans do waterfront parks very well.

jags

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2018, 12:44:36 PM »
great photos John sounds like u had a blast.

anto.

Danneaux

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2018, 03:59:41 PM »
So enjoyed the report and photos to date on your local conditions, John. Take care, enjoy, and best to yourself and Family.

Dan.

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2018, 11:24:35 PM »
What I like to hear, someone having a good time Down Under. It's the Great Country, no doubt about it. Pity about the glass on the roads, though. I've downloaded the photographs "Standard Beach" -- a lotta places should be so lucky! -- and the elongated centrefold "Anything but standard" -- a gentleman wouldn't want to admit in public to enough experience to pass judgement! -- for sketchbook reference.

Thanks for the vicarious nostalgic return, John. You're a star.

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2018, 06:21:54 AM »
I'm flattered that you can use my photos in your art work, Andre--I don't do much more than look at the scene and say, "Ooooh, that would make a good photo." Sometimes, it actually does :)

Danneaux

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2018, 08:19:26 PM »
Some fresh ride photos from Anto's journey to the beach and back t'day...out and about on his Thorn Audax.
 :)
Posted on his behalf,

Dan.

jags

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2018, 08:22:38 PM »
good man Dan ,yip my neck of the woods i just done 25 miles  came home by the coast lovely crisp day nice cycling weather.mind you i was knackered  by the time i got to my front door ould back playing up again still nice to get out.

thanks Dan

anto.

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2018, 11:23:48 PM »
At a quick glance at the small placeholders of Anto's pics, I mistook the triangular beach warning sign for a half-erected umbrella over his bike, and wondered if Anto wasn't taking bike-care a little too far!

Kudos to Dan for posting Anto's pics.

You've given me an idea, Anto. Years ago, we stopped riding down to and along the beach when the Soccer Mum/huge SUV traffic on those narrow roads became too unbearable. (Hell, up to about the turn of the century we used to ride on those roads in the dark, after dinner, with homemade lamps that threw a good beam but batteries that were never quite up to the length of the ride.) But recently we've been exploring back roads on that side of the map, and some of them extend to the beach. So we'll ride down to the beach this summer. In anticipation I've already serviced my bike and pumped up the tyres just so...