Author Topic: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++  (Read 8872 times)

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2019, 12:46:46 AM »
You're too kind, Andre, but thank-you anyway.  Now you'll have to live with more --

A new route – along the Tallebudgera Creek Road towards the hills

Last Tuesday morning had a high bright overcast, a good day for riding before a couple of days of expected heavy rain.  At 7:30, I set out for the Tallebudgera Creek Road in the southwest section of the Gold Coast.  An hour’s ride beside the ocean on bike paths and dedicated bike lanes got me through the holiday flats, condos and beach sections between Southport and Burleigh Heads, where I crossed the bridge over the Tallebudgera estuary. 

From there, the route angles gently SW away from the coast, more or less parallel to the Tally Creek (as ‘tis known) as it winds through several kms of flat sandy terrain.
There are a couple of pretty watersheds and valleys in this part of the Coast, where the Currumbin and Tallebudgera Creeks run eastward from the hills, down to the ocean.  On my previous rides in the area, I’ve always taken the road along the Currumbin Creek, the more southerly of the two, partly because that offers access to the northern side of the ancient caldera which forms part of the boundary between Queensland and New South Wales. From a closer look at the map, though, I realized that the Tally Creek Road also offers an intriguing route towards the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range. Not having been along that road, nor having cycled more than a couple of hours since last October (see post above), I decided to have a look at the Tally Creek Road.

For a Canajan emerging from a long cold winter (actually a standard-issue one from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, but a not-so-normal one in these New Climatic Times), this ride was full of visual and noisy delights.  The noisy ones came first, and were a pleasant surprise.

In the suburbs just SW of Burleigh, the settlement pattern becomes more dispersed, with detached houses on large lots and much more green space. As I passed by a sprawling acreage of football and rugby pitches, I cycled beside a 200-metre row of shade trees. (What were they? Dunno, but they were mature, with full foliage.) All-of-a-sudden there erupted a colossal racket of birds’ voices, with dozens, maybe hundreds of them in several trees overhead—magpies, perhaps, as I saw a couple of those on the ground beneath the trees. It was a racket, to be sure—you couldn’t call it “song”—maybe the birds were warning one another about the Weird Thing beneath them, and angrily telling me to clear out.  But to my ears, the sheer volume of it was nothing short of magical, a reminder of how rarely I hear a mass of birds, and almost never in an Ottawa winter.

As I continued westwards on the sub-cum-peri-urban road over gently hilly terrain beside the creek, the second Unexpected Splendid Bit of Noise appeared. This time, it was announced by a couple of notional headlights in line astern in the oncoming lane: “Looks like a couple of Britbikes,” sez I to myself. “Wonder what they are?” A wave of valve gear and chains told me that they were indeed old English motorcycles, and the unmistakeable thump of a big single confirmed it. That one was a rarity—an old Velocette with its distinctive fishtail muffler, followed by two Triumph twins, the last one a very clean mid-‘70’s 750.  (The Velo, BTW, was a cooking single, not the fierce 500 Thruxton, but the pilot was easing along slowly enough that a passing cyclist could admire the green pinstriping on the black tanks.)

The Tally Creek Road is reached via a couple of kms on the shoulder of the convenient Tallebudgera-Currumbin Connector Road.  From there, a rider has a view of the low mountains some 20 kms further west, and the rich pastureland near the creek itself. (Photo #7 below.) The Connector Road crosses the creek, which at 8:45 AM was a brown, undernourished and generally underwhelming stream, hence left unphotographed.  The Tally Creek Road proper heads west from its junction with the Connector Road, and immediately climbs upwards onto the northern side of the valley. I saw a “café” sign, but no café, until I crested a hill and plunged down t’other side—and there it was, housed in what I guessed was a modest old farmhouse, set back a few yards from the road. I made a note to visit it on my homeward leg.

The creek may have been undernourished, but the vegetation and foliage on the northern side of its valley was luxuriant, a rich spectrum of greens, and soooo welcome for a traveller accustomed to shades of blue and white (at best) for the past few months. Recent rains have lessened to fire danger dramatically--see # 7A below. The green was interrupted by occasional dramatic splashes of red, purple and yellow—see #'s 8, 9, and 10 below. I don’t know any of these, except for the yellow, which is wattle. (Gotta get myself a guide to the trees of the Coast.)  I thought that the rich purple might have been bougainvillea, but both bloom and leaf are different, with more blue in the bloom than pink.  As I stopped to take a photo of each, dogs raced along fences, yapping and barking. They were not nearly so enchanting as the clutch of raucous birds earlier on, but they were just doing what they were s’posed to be doing.

The Tally Road goes on for some 16 kms, dead-ending at the foot of a nature reserve enclosing Tallebudgera Mountain (682m), but I left that for another day. Today, I made my turnaround at a southward road which offers an extended and hilly loop back home—again for another day. This time, something else entirely grabbed my attention—an enormous sprawling wooden manor house, as I called it—see photos #11 and 12 below. This was unannounced—nothing in the Osmand POI’s nor in any local guides to Architectural Sights which I had noticed. It’s a magnificent piece of work which fills a lens, even from a distance of nearly 100 yards: a two-storey rightangle, with the outer edge of the angle housing a big gabled entrance facing the road. This is flanked by two wings, each by my guesstimation about 90 ft long. (You’ll see that there are seven arches in each wing; each one, I reckon, is about 12 wide.) (Note too the nice modern touch of a bank of solar panels, suitably unobtrusive.) 

Who owned/owns this splendid creation? No name on any gate or mailbox that I could see.  When was it built? I would guess just before or perhaps just after the WW 1 – would there have been enough individual wealth amassed in this agricultural valley to finance something like this in the 19th century?  The only clue to all this chosen obscurity and anonymity I could see, was the name of the road joining the Tally Creek Road: “Syndicate Rd.” (Sub-text: keep out, and forget you ever came here.)

After a tangerine and an energy bar, I wheeled around and headed back to the café I had passed a few kms back. This was the second part of my Tally Road Architectural Side Trip: see photo #13.  The Heritage Hideaway Café (as it was described on its various signs) is indeed an old farm house, now repurposed as a café offering a good range of cakes’n’coffees and light meals, with a sideline in meditation, scented candles, wild honey, homemade marmalade, artisanal jewelry and sculpture, polished stones, local landscape paintings and the like.  The customers on my visit were construction workers and a couple of young surfer dudes.  I had a good coffee and almond/blueberry gateau with some A-grade local ice-cream. I made a mental note to bring our grand-daughters along sometime: aside from the obvious attraction of ice cream and umpteen cakes, they love bling, even modest New-Agey bling.

I was interested to know more about the blueberries—where did they come from, I asked, New Zealand perhaps?  The cheerful young woman behind the counter said they came from the store, and she didn’t know where they got them.  Mmmmm, sez I—they look to be farmed, and I offered the reference point of wild blueberries being the item to choose, if at all possible.  Still, no complaints, which would have been Bad Form and pointless anyway, and I inhaled the gateau.  I didn’t learn much more about the farmhouse, either:  Asking how old it was, I was told, “The seventies.”  “That would be the 1870’s?” I said.  “The 1970’s?” said the cheerful youngster, relaying a message from her colleague.  “Ummm, I sorta doubt it. The 1970’s were not so very long ago, y’know,” sez the Old Fart. “I was in my 20’s then.  I’d reckon the eighteen-seventies, and it’s been nicely preserved and maintained, so good on yer.”

The ride home was uneventful, though the mild headwind from my outward leg reversed course, as it does, so often, morphing from southwesterly into a northerly headwind. The uphill straight out of the café was a 12% or so, maybe a couple of hundred yards, and I was glad of my 22T granny gear—to my slight & pleasant surprise, I didn’t need my low-low, so I can save that for some of the 14’s in the neighbourhood. I did take a photo of Tally Creek as I recrossed it--see #14 below.  We're about 6 or 7 kms from the estuary here, and the tide is coming in, so the creek is a little more full, but still brown and not-so-inviting (leaving aside whatever critters the colour may conceal).  The piling on the left of the photo suggests that there's still a metre or so of tidewater to arrive.  No public explanation of the purpose of the pipeline; perhaps it feeds the golf course beside the river here? (I didn't check the salinity of the water--see above re uninviting brown and possible critters lurking in the weeds.)

Next ride: revisiting Currumbin Creek Rd, the next valley southward.

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2019, 12:49:27 AM »
Four more photos from the Tally Creek ride:

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2019, 12:51:01 AM »
And the last photo, undistinguished in the extreme (a reminder that it's not All Grand, All The Time):

Andre Jute

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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2019, 12:56:15 AM »
I don't know offhand what a bougainvillea looks like, but those flowers look suspiciously related to a jacaranda (but are not jacaranda; the jacaranda is a tree, not a shrub) which can stain your bike's paintwork indelibly.

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2019, 01:29:34 AM »
Quote
those flowers look suspiciously related to a jacaranda (but are not jacaranda; the jacaranda is a tree, not a shrub) which can stain your bike's paintwork indelibly

It does, doesn't it?  That's a bushy smallish tree, and I think the blooms are smaller than those of a jac. (We had a big 'un in our place in Harare, know to all visitors as "the dirty tree" for its spread of duff below.  Pretty duff in October, mind.)

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2019, 01:47:20 AM »
Returning to the Currumbin Valley Road

April Fool’s Day brought Saskatchewan summer weather to the Gold Coast – sunny, warm, and dry, with a brisk southerly wind and big apple-dumpling clouds scudding across the sky. In late morning, I set out for the Currumbin Valley road, in the SW quadrant of the Coast. This is a route I know well, and today, I wanted to go towards the Rock Pools in Currumbin Creek, upstream past the high road which leads up to the NSW border.

I left without my camera, so readers will have to imagine the landscapes of earlier photos free of the haze—a clear view all the way south along the Coast, 40 kms to Coolangatta, and a clear view 205 kms inland, with the mountains a sharp dark grey-blue against a a robin’s-egg sky.

The ride south was easier without the usual early-morning traffic, but I was slowed by a brisk-to-stiff southerly wind, and by several detours. The Coast is hosting the annual national Surf Life-Saving Clubs’ competition, and clubs from all over Australia are taking part.  The beachfront is full of buff young-ish competitors, and the sands are studded with their gear, mostly in the form of 20-ft ocean kayaks. This is an arduous and sometimes dangerous competition, and today the wind had obliged, with heavy surf from an onshore wind from the SE. The SLSC’s are estimable institutions, and there are several along the 50 kms or so of the Gold Coast oceanfront. Our grand-daughters are learning to swim—in the GC Aquatic Centre built for the 200 Olympics and refreshed for last year’s Commonwealth Games, thank you very much—and before long they’ll enroll in an SLSC program as well. Learning to handle the surf is an essential skill in these parts.

I reached the Tallebudgera-Currumbin Connector Road in an hour and a half, slightly befuddled by a headwind as I turned SW—“Wot?” sez I. “How can there be an onshore wind one minute, and an offshore wind five minutes later??” “It’s ‘Straya, mate,” came the reply, the usual accompaniment to otherwise bizarre and inexplicable goings-on.  From the roundabout at Tallebudgera, there’s half a kilometre of gentle riding, then a little less than 2 kms of steep twisty uphill, with grades between 8 and 12%. The shoulder is narrow, but for the first section, where there are houses along the roadside, the council has thoughtfully provided a footpath, so I took that to get away from the moderate traffic.  I’ve never seen a pedestrian on this path, so I dipped into my 2nd-lowest gear (22T x 30T, just over 20 gear-inches) and twiddled up the hill. Back on the road again, the uphill continues at about 8 or 9%, and from the summit plunges abruptly down 800 metres to the Currumbin Creek road, signed as 10% on the road, but which my Skymounti says includes a short 15%-plus section.

No matter. The Currumbin Valley Road is beautiful, crossing and re-crossing the creek in a steep-sided valley, well shaded even at midday, with a good surface and moderate traffic. I passed a couple of cyclists returning from the Rock Pools or the high road up to the NSW border—both are popular runs for local roadies. I passed the junction to the high road—a climb for another day—and carried on towards the Pools. 

Running a bit short of time, I turned around at a small settlement, once a farmstead, now an art gallery, and headed back to the local café for lunch. Happily, this is now open on Mondays, so I scarfed down a bacon butty, Aus-style: thick sourdough rye, egg, grilled back bacon, tomato, arugula, and avocado.  I relived it several times on my back-road route home, which included a couple of steep hills, one which took me all the way down to my 22T x 34T low (18 gear-inches).

Later this week, the the expected rain holds off, I'll try the high road to the NSW border--notes & photos to come.

Andre Jute

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2019, 06:59:57 AM »
I especially missed the photo of the "bacon butty". Sometime when you haven't just eaten breakfast, remind me to tell you about the Melbourne specialty called "a floater".

I also liked the rest of your ride, except for the section requiring a 20-gear-inch combo...


John Saxby

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« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2019, 11:01:09 PM »
Quote
I especially missed the photo of the "bacon butty"

Will go back for seconds with camera in hand, I promise.

martinf

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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2019, 08:30:04 PM »
Just back from a 2-day trip to try out my camping stuff, which hasn't been used for a long time. I loaded up the Raven Tour with front and rear panniers, a couple of water bottles, and a very big but light foam mattress rolled around my tent poles and placed in a dustbin liner on the rear rack.

First day was about 90 kms, nearly all of it on the canal towpath that goes north from my home. Level, no motor traffic, but sometimes a bit of gravel or unmetalled track. Very peaceful, as the temperature was well down on last week, and there were a fair number of showers. I left the cooking equipment at home, to be tested another time, so I stopped in a worker's restaurant for a hot midday meal, this was also a chance to warm up and dry out a bit.

When I got to the camp site, there was only one camper van, and the site attendant was surprised to see a cycle camper. I was lucky, and managed to pitch my tent before the rain and wind restarted in earnest. I made the tent myself in the early 1980's, and wanted to see if it was still OK. The only issue was a flysheet peg pulling out in the night, I should have used double pegging. According to the site attendant, there had been about 20 mm of rain during the night, combined with quite strong winds. Ideal test weather. My cycle computer also does temperatures, the lowest I saw inside the tent was 8°C. I was quite cosy in my 40 year old 3-season down bag.

The rain continued the next morning, so I had to strike camp in the wet. I continued northwards in the persistent rain on secondary roads towards my destination on the north Brittany coast. About midday I found another worker's restaurant for a very welcome hot meal, before going out into the rain to complete my journey, about 70 kms.

The foam mattress was quite comfortable, but very bulky. So I reckon on getting a Thermarest self-inflating mattress if I get the chance to do a longer camping trip.


Andre Jute

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« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2019, 12:54:07 AM »
Aah! The satisfaction of using something you made yourself... Your tent must have been very well made to have survived 30+ years.

John Saxby

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« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2019, 03:52:27 AM »
Nice report, Martin, and good work on your tent!  I still have a couple pf Thermarests from the early 1980s, but I didn't make them myself ;)

Looking forward to my first overnight, probably in about 6 weeks' time, after we return to Canada at the end of April (but before the blackfly season in early June.)

A note on Thermarest self-inflating pads:  I've used several over the years, and they're v good value--durable and comfortable.  I still use a Pro-Lite Plus (small), which I've had for about 12 years.  Three years ago, however, I renewed my gear (getting lighter, more compact, and of course more expensive tent, sleeping bag, and mattress.)  I bought a Thermarest Neo-Air Extralight (or is it an Ultralite? can't recall).  This is full-length, rather than the Pro-Lite 3/4, and it's very comfortable. Inflating takes a little longer--it's not self-inflating, but the "self-inflating" ones aren't, either--and you have to be more deliberate and thorough in deflating and rolling it up, but the extra comfort is worth it, as is the extra-light-and-compact weight & size.

I have the regular men's model. A friend (also male) uses the regular women's model, which is slightly shorter (good for someone about 5' 7" or so) and at 340 gms weighs even less than mine (360 gms).

I have read of people who have had some reliability problems with the Neo Air, but in the three years I've had mine, I've had no problems at all.

Cheers,  John

geocycle

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2019, 09:48:58 AM »
Had a great few days credit card touring in the Lake District. Here’s the RST overlooking Crummock Water. Really appreciated the rohloff on the hills  after a few rides on my derailleur bike.
 

lewis noble

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« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2019, 12:29:49 PM »
Looks good, Geo!  The weather seems very settled at present, good for riding.

What sort of saddlebag / mount is that you are using?  Looks different to the 'standard' Carradice kit . . . . and supported on a Ti rack??  Good combination.

Best wishes

Lewis - Sheffield
 

geocycle

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #28 on: April 11, 2019, 05:05:39 PM »
Looks good, Geo!  The weather seems very settled at present, good for riding.

What sort of saddlebag / mount is that you are using?  Looks different to the 'standard' Carradice kit . . . . and supported on a Ti rack??  Good combination.

Best wishes

Lewis - Sheffield

Hi Lewis, it’s a Carradice cadet which is basically a Nelson without pockets. It’s suspended from the standard bagman quick release and sits nicely on my rack. This is just a lucky coincidence of the height from rack to saddle. I used a small strap at the base to secure it to the rack but it didn’t feel like it would move. The rack is a tubus fly stainless steel affair that I use all the time with panniers. I really like it and would be confident with it for everything short of a full camping load. I much prefer stainless steel to the painted racks. The bag is just big enough for a couple of nights in B and B. It also makes an acceptable satchel for meetings which is why I chose it rather than the Nelson.

Yes good weather at the moment as long as the easterly wind isn’t too strong.
 

Andre Jute

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« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2019, 01:30:50 AM »
Notable how much at home your bike looks in the stunning scenery, Geo, as if it's rooted there.