Author Topic: +++ Rides 2022 +++ Add yours here +++  (Read 1318 times)

in4

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Re: +++ Rides 2022 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2022, 01:01:06 PM »
Wishing you a fabulous journey and ensuing ride. You’ll be fine and have a great time. 😊

Andre Jute

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Re: +++ Rides 2022 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2022, 04:33:27 PM »
+1.

…and when we read your report and see your photos, we’ll all be saying, “Ooh, I wish I invited myself along on his tour! Gee, he even makes a good fist of the Spanglish.”

Matt2matt2002

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Re: +++ Rides 2022 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2022, 06:49:40 PM »
Best of luck for the tour.
And remember;
You don't stop doing things because you're getting old , you get old because you stop doing things .
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

John Saxby

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Re: +++ Rides 2022 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2022, 05:17:22 AM »
Nicely said, Matt.

And tyreon, we'll look forward to your stories and photos.  Safe journeys!

John Saxby

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Re: +++ Rides 2022 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2022, 05:26:07 AM »
Sundry scribblings from the Gold Coast, Down Unda

In late March we arrived in the Gold Coast—in the southeast corner of Queensland, tucked up against the NSW border—for a long overdue four-week visit with our son and his family.  (Our last visit had been abruptly foreshortened by the pandemic in March 2020.)

We’ve been making these annual visits for a decade now, and as per usual, I brought my ti-framed derailleur Eclipse, a light tourer which I’ve owned for 20 years.  It’s well-suited to day rides along the coast and into the hills further inland, but this has been its valedictory circuit, as I’m selling it in May, after we return to Ottawa.

On this visit, our priority has been grandparenting—getting to know our granddaughters again after a long absence, and easing some of the daily burden on their busy parents.  Still, I’ve made time for rides up and down the coast, reacquainting myself with the GC’s extensive network of bike paths and designated routes, as well as the less-well-known but still demanding hills that pop up all over the coastal plain.  Oh, and the winds too.

Following are my notes & photos from about 300 kms of longer and shorter rides, over the past two weeks-plus.

The colours

It’s an obvious thing to say, but never misplaced: ‘Straya’s colours are a visual feast after a Canadian winter. The “autumn” sun is strong but manageable; the sky is a bright cobalt (not so much when it’s raining); the sea has its own dramatic spectrum of blues, from midnight blue to a robin’s egg pastel; and a riot of greens borders much of the coastal bikepath network, some 50 kms N to S.  In all that, a rider sees dramatic splashes of yellow, and less startling but still beautiful reds and purples. 

(See photos 1, 2, & 3 below, and later, 12, 13, & 14 for the seacoast.) 

Life on two wheels on the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a long and narrow amalgam of former holiday and fishing villages, about 50 kms N-S and up to 10 kms E-W.  It now shows off a seriously posh side, with beachfront condos galore and more under constructions, and marinas sporting oligarchic yachts at anchor, looking for all the world like gleaming three-dimensional layer cakes. (I can’t offer any visual evidence, ‘cos my otherwise trusty Panasonic ZS40 balked at photographing examples: “Don’t even think about it, mate,” said the ever-so-polite-but-still-mechanical recorded voice.)

    -- continued on the next post, with apologies for the "tensions" --









John Saxby

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« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2022, 05:30:18 AM »
     -- whew! (exhales) --

On the other hand, the frequent pathside sculptures offer a passing cyclist more compact and attractive creations. (See photos 4 # 5.)

And happily, the camera readily bore witness to older and less ostentatious boats set beside a nicely realized modern bridge – see photo #6

Then, place names like “Sanctuary Cove” and “Runaway Bay” suggest a seafaring and scruffier side to the Coast.  Some time back, I noticed road signs saying “Refuge Island”.  “What 19th-century history lies behind that?” I wondered.  As it turned out, none at all:  Refuge Islands are to be found all over the place, and useful things they are, too, a late-20th-century device to help pedestrians navigate urban traffic: see photo #7.

   -- cont'd in next post.  (Note to self:  work out a better balance of text & photos next time.) --

John Saxby

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« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2022, 05:35:31 AM »
  Life on two wheels on the Gold Coast, cont'd:

Other road signs offer some enjoyable departures from standard-issue Canajan practice, such as photo #8. My own experience suggests that this one should also warn innocent ‘roos and koalas of the dangers posed by a rampant SUV or ute.

(A current ‘Strayan Dad Joke asks why the latter creatures are not true bears:  It’s ‘cos they lack the necessary koalafications.)

Photo # 9 below shows a road sign only very distantly related to its Canajan counterpart—you won’t see this in the Gatineau Park.  On the day I took this photo, an overnight rain had left puddles everywhere, and ten days earlier, 400 mm of rain in 36 hours (no typos there, please note) had given the forest a thorough soaking and left the creeks a-spilling.  In the years I’ve been riding on this particular road, this is the first time I’ve seen the needle in the “Low-to-moderate” zone.  And any slice termed “Negligible” need not apply for inclusion.

Wot?? Hills on a coastal plain?

To the west of the GC lies the Great Dividing Range, and to the south, the NSW Border Ranges.  In the Coast itself, there are a lot of short-but-steep hills, where myriad streams from the hills have cut deep into the sandy coastal plain.  And, the ridges between some of those streams and small rivers can be a challenge to a cyclist emerging from winter.  A few years ago, the cold and snowbound winter months in Ottawa (from, say, late November to the end of March) posed no particular problem for exercise – cross-country skiing, skating and hockey took the place of cycling and hiking for keeping my legs and cardio-vascular system in shape.  In recent years, osteoarthritis in both hips has stopped me from skating, and ruled out all but very gentle cross-country skiing.  This past winter, I started using a stationary trainer bike, but it left me a long way short of where I wanted to be.

Two of my favourite rides are along and between two creeks in the south-central region of the Coast, the Tallebudgera and the Currumbin (love the names!)  The height of land between the two is no more than a couple of hundred metres at most, but the connector road is narrow and steep-ish, with paved shoulders tiny or nonexistent.  So, for most of the climb I used a paved walkway that’s safer but steeper than the roadway – 12%-plus, by my estimation. For most of it, I was down to my low x low gears on the Eclipse, 22 at the front x 34 at the rear.  I was knackered at the top, but rewarded by the rapid descent.  The only “but” was an SUV driver who simply couldn’t stand the embarrassment of being behind a bike doing 35-40 km/h, so just had to overtake me on the downhill, round a blind corner on a double white line.  I reckon he beat me to the T-junction with the Currumbin Valley Road by a good two seconds, so the appalling risk to himself and others was clearly worth it.

The Currumbin Valley Road is especially attractive, its dense shade and decent surface making for a delightful ride. (Photo #10)  It rises gradually alongside Currumbin Creek, and about ten kilometres from the coast, a left-hand turn takes a rider onto and up Tomewin Mountain Road, a challenging climb to the NSW border.  Tomewin road angles up the outer eastern slope of the caldera of an ancient volcano.  Riders pass through eucalyptus forests and bamboo groves, and the view south and west from the top is magnificent.  On this ride, though, I chose to forego the climb – my right hip was already aching and grumbling, halfway through an 80-km there-and-back.

I found a quiet spot for my lunch break in a park beside a lagoon in Currumbin Creek (photo #11) – quiet, that is, until a commotion of swans decided that it was just the spot for a raucous policy discussion on whatever it was—cygnet-rearing practices, seasonings on the wee river creatures they were inhaling, entry fees, etc., etc. Remarkably, they maintained their serene physical postures throughout the colossal racket they made.

  -- concluded on the next post --




John Saxby

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Re: +++ Rides 2022 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2022, 05:40:19 AM »
   -- final bits of the story from Down Unda --

And the winds 

Ah yes, the winds. Among the four aitches which can bedevil a cyclist (heat, humidity, hills and headwinds), ‘Straya’s autumnal equinox made the first two manageable, and I dodged the most difficult of the third. 

The fourth, the wind, is a fixture of cycling on the Coast.  Of course, I “knew” this from earlier visits, and of course my memory had, er, devalued that recollection.  A couple of brief shakedown rides quickly refreshed my ageing memory.  Shortly after reassembling my bike, I cycled north along the coast on two routes around the estuary of the Nerang River.  On both, the homeward leg reminded me that the prevailing winds are southeasterlies, and that they come in brisk, stiff, or fierce modes, sometimes all in the space of a few hours.  (There is a local story that there was once a gentle southeasterly, somewhere around 1946…)  And, then—ah-ha!, sez I, your outbound leg is southwards, you dimwit; and if you leave early-ish, you’ll get no more than a brisk headwind, and then a stiff-to-fierce tailwind home.  You’ve done it before, and it’s no different now.  Ummm, yes, sir, thank you sir.

The standard-issue winds are evident in these panoramas of the surf, beaches and heads between Surfers Paradise (just south of where our family lives) and Burleigh, just north of the Tallebudgera and Currumbin Creeks:  photos #12, 13, & 14.

We’re thankful to our Aussie family for many things, especially for just being who they are.  But also, for giving us a reason to visit the GC.  Next time, I hope to bring my new Mercury Mk 3; and if my wonky hips are up to it, the lower gearing of the Rohloff will make the Tomewin Mountain Road a doddle ;)

Andre Jute

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« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2022, 10:05:29 AM »
You’ve outdone yourself with this fabulous report, Master Saxby. It has everything I miss in your modern and-then-the-famous-Blue-Train-dumped-us-at-XYZ-but-I’m-not-telling-you-why-I-wanted-to-go-there class of travel description: unselfconscious, decent English that becomes literary by not trying to impress at the cost of comprehension; expert, crisp photos nicely cropped in the camera; everything given a proper proportional value.

I haven’t surfed on the Gold Coast since c1972 and it is unlikely that I will see it again —  and certainly I’ll never surf there again! But I can see why my brother-in-law, who worshipped the sun, retired there. But I think you did exactly the right thing by contrasting the super beaches with the bloody skyscrapers behind.

I can’t help viewing the acacia (golden wattle, photo 3) with deep, deep suspicion. Those flowers look exactly like the thorny gorse that borders the lanes in Ireland, lying in wait for the careless or ignorant — once — cyclist. And it is a shame that you didn’t grab a couple of swan-parliamentarians for me, to replace the pair broken up on the river below my house by some foolish person’s wretched pet killing the female.

By the way, the motor-and-serious-sail yacht under the beautiful bridge in photo 6 is likely to cost as much as the smaller of the gin palaces your camera was too dignified to photograph, but the money went into seaworthiness and unsupported range rather than flash.

Welcome back, John — and the Gold Coast!

John Saxby

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« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2022, 10:22:06 AM »
Thanks, Andre, you're too kind, as always  ;)

I was reflecting on Things Not Mentioned: the road surfaces are brilliant, utterly unlike the shambolic streets--tarmac patchwork--in the place I call home. OTOH, I don't think I've ever seen a place with more shards of glass strewn all over the shoulders.  My Marathon Supremes gasped, but saw me through.

There were more than a few bizarre "Driver Incidents":  doors being opened when I was abreast of the car, which happily I'd anticipated and swung wide; being whooshed on narrow bridges by monster pickups, etc., etc.  Abnd this anthropological oddity:  seems that a great many drivers in both the GC and Ottawa have a structural impediment, a frozen right ankle which prevents them from lifting their foot off the loud pedal.  Seems to be largely a Guy Thing, but I can't figure if it's a requirement of getting a driver's licence, or something acquired through practice.

On the subject of Other Two-Wheelers, I saw a couple of nice Nortons, complete with chattery valve gear:  one a mid/early '70s Commando, but nicely decked out in non-standard dark grey; and the other an early/mid '60s featherbed-framed vertical twin, black and grey, maybe the 650 or possibly a very spiffy Atlas.

On gorse: yes, I recall that from the Dorset heath as a kid.  Dodgy stuff.  I think this was wattle.  There are lots of acacias, but none with any blossoms right now.  Some nice clusters of bougainvillea.  And--no fotos, sorry--the white ibis, a.k.a "bin chickens" here, and cousins to the hadedas, nazguls of the South African skies, tho' these ones aren't so noisy and generally terrifying.

Best,  J.

PH

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Re: +++ Rides 2022 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2022, 12:56:05 PM »
Enjoyed reading that John, thanks.
But selling the bike you've had for twenty years  :o

John Saxby

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Re: +++ Rides 2022 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2022, 09:23:20 PM »
Thanks, PH.

Selling the Eclipse:  and the irony is, after years & years of frustration with the gearing and rear derailleurs, I finally got it all sorted during the pandemic.

All in a good cause, however:  I'm selling the Eclipse and my Raven to part-finance a lovely new  gunmetal Mercury Mk 3.  This is nearly assembled, & shd be ready to go in the first week of May. Hope to do my first rides in the Gatineau hills across the river shortly, notes & photos to follow.

navrig

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« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2022, 01:48:17 PM »
Not sure summer can be deemed to have arrived in Scotland on 2 April of any year however we have had a few sunny short rides.

This is my new steed collected in March as a retirement treat.  The lump in the background is the Bass Rock off the East Lothian coast.  It was a fresh but sunny day.




Matt2matt2002

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« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2022, 02:03:55 PM »
Navrig: what a lovely looking bike.
Perhaps a trick of the light or my poor eyesight but are the discs blue?

I'm just back from 3 days on Orkney and felt Spring had almost arrived
Happy cycling days ahead for us Scotland based Thorn owners

Best

Matt
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

navrig

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« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2022, 02:10:26 PM »
Navrig: what a lovely looking bike.
Perhaps a trick of the light or my poor eyesight but are the discs blue?

I'm just back from 3 days on Orkney and felt Spring had almost arrived
Happy cycling days ahead for us Scotland based Thorn owners

Best

Matt

Matt - it's a Shand Stoater in Prussian blue however Google photos has fiddled with the lighting giving the impression of blue discs.

I have been to Shetland a few times but other than sitting on the runway I haven't seen Orkney.  Shetland on a sunny day is stunning.  Thankfully I spent a day there in June on a blue sky day otherwise my 2x 6 week stays in Jan/Feb were pretty drab!!

Scotland is great for cycling.  Mallaig to East Lothian in July for me.  My very first tour.  Wish me luck.