Monday, 25 February 2013


The day we picked to ride from South Bank to Darra was a scorcher. The humidy was high and unpleasant and the summer sun reflecting off the cement paths didn't help matters but you can't have it good all of the time and there were sufficient distractions along the way to make it well worthwhile.

Artist - Michael Perekowhai of New Zealand

Notice how small the rodent in the foreground is compared with the elephant.

As our home base is Cleveland we caught the train to South Bank, where we joined the riverside path and followed it to the Gallery of Modern Art viewing the very new and rather large elephant sculpture perched on the lawn alongside the Brisbane River. The government of the day paid $A1,000,000  for this new aquisition making it very controversial considering the repair bill after having endured a massive flood. To my way of thinking , it was good value when the price is divided by the population of Brisbane (1,079,392 as at the 30 June 2011) and it's presence bringing a huge amount of discussion and pleasure from both locals and tourists alike.

We continued riding for a short distance before crossing the Brisbane River via the Go Between Bridge and headed west following the pathway running parallel with Coronation Drive. It's generally very pleasant  riding a path alongside a river but more so when the path is painted green. The glare associated with harsh Australian summers can be particularly hard on the eyes and riding on a green path provides some relief. Unfortunately, we had to break from this path and head for the lower portion of Mt. Cootha where we joined  another path adjacent to the Western Freeway.

Climbing a hill with the temperature hovering around 33deg. C and the humidity 80% can be a bit taxing.

Everything that goes up must come down and not only is it a more pleasant experience gliding down a hill rather than climbing but the breeze it creates is a welcome reprieve from the sun. Reaching the Brisbane River again, we crossed the Centenary Bridge, turned left onto a long slender path following the river through Amazon Place all the way to Seventeen Mile Rocks.

Time for a coffee break and with the Jindalee Shopping Centre not far from here, we diverted from our route and made haste to the nearest caffeine hit.

Having sated our caffeine 'dependency', we returned to the river pathway and followed the path until we reached the Rocks Riverside Park which was built on the old cement works. This site is a great place for a family gathering. The kids would just love it, with plenty of open space to roam and the old machinery to explore. Just a lot of fun in the great outdoors.

We left this park and continued on 17 Mile Rocks Road, for approximately 300m before turning right into Oldfield Road and once again, entered another delightful park. This park ends at the intersection of Ashbridge Road and Station Avenue. A right turn onto Station Avenue  and a short ride to the station concludes this ride.

A short diversion was made at the invitation of one of our riders to view a ground radar system capable of determining the degree of deterioration of the sub strata of roads, freeways and airport runways, which he helped develop with his son.

The above map is for the express purpose of giving you an idea as to the general direction the ride takes. For a more detailed map, may I suggest Google Maps or a Brisbane Street Directory.

Distance: Approx. 25km
Bike required: Suitable to most bikes
Family friendly: As this route crosses a number of roads carrying heavy traffic, it would be up to the discretion of parents. Having said this the parks along the route are certainly family friendly.
Difficulty: Easy.

Cheers and safe riding,

Jimmy Bee

Friday, 15 February 2013


Scotty appreciates efficient riding but doesn't get it much.

As a cyclist, do you ever give much thought to the science involved in recreational cycling? Just riding purely for pleasure or commuting to work involves a number of scientific disciplines. Every time we hop on a bike a number of these come into play. Most of the time we are blissfully unaware of what's happening to our bodies or indeed our bikes, however, with a little thought we can make the science involved in cycling work in our favour by riding more efficiently, which will decrease the stresses applied to our body and cause less aches and pains.
As I am not a scientist, I am not going to delve into the scientific facts but instead refer you to an interesting article produced by Exploratorium, entitled Science of Cycling, which covers six subjects, Drives and Gears; Braking and Steering and Human Power, which should be of immense interest to the average recreational cyclist, wanting to increase their pleasure from cycling because it delves into and gives the answers to the following questions:
*     What is the Science of Cycling?
*     Why do road bikes have thin tyres, while mountain bikes have fat tyres?
*     What is a gear ratio and how do gears help make the bicycle so efficient?
*     What are the best materials for frames?
*     What are the best designs?
*     How do you stop and steer a bicycle?
*     What forces keep the bicycle from falling over?
*     How does drafting help a cyclist?
*     What is skin friction?
*     Why is the bicycle the most efficient way to travel?
*     How do your muscles work?
Click on the following link to gain the answers which will help to increase the pleasure you derive from cycling exponentially.
Cheers and safe riding,

Jimmy Bee

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


For this post, I have decided to give you something totally different, a poem by one of Australia's foremost colonial poets, A.B. (Banjo) Paterson, on the joys of cycling.

Banjo Paterson was born on 17 February 1864, at Narrambla, New South Wales and died in Sydney on 5 February 1941, having been a prolific writer of poetry and ballads about the early Australian way of life and in particular, the characters who lived in rural Australia.

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A young AB (Banjo) Patterson


'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;

He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;

He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;

He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;

And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,

The grinning shop assistant said, "Excuse me, can you ride?"

"See here, young man," said Mulga Bill, "from Walgett to the sea,

From Conroy's Gap to Castlereagh, there's none can ride like me.

I'm good all round at everything as everybody knows,

Although I'm not the one to talk - I hate a man that blows.

But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;

Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight.

There's nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,

There's nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,

But what I'll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:

I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight."

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,

That perched above Dead Man's Creek, beside the mountain road.

He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,

But 'ere he'd gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.

It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver steak,

It whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man's Creek.

It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:

The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,

The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,

As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.

It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,

It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;

And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek

It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dean Man's Creek.

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:

He said, "I've had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;

I've rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet,

But this was the most awful ride that I've encountered yet.

I'll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; it's shaken all my nerve

To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.

It's safe at rest in Dead Man's Creek, we'll leave it lying still;

A horse's back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill."
by A.B. "Banjo" Paterson

Perhaps Mulga Bill's bicycle looked something like this.

 I think most cyclists can tell a tale or two of how they have been bucked by a contrary two wheeler and how many of us have thought strongly at the time about throwing this contraption into a creek.
Images courtesy of Wikipedia

Cheers and safe riding,

Jimmy Bee        

Sunday, 3 February 2013

OVER THE DITCH to New Zealand

An air of excitement has been building ever since we paid our deposit on a self guided cycling tour in New Zealand (what we refer to affectionately as Over the Ditch).

Every year our group, U3A's Peddling For Pleasure spend five days touring far from home. This year we came up with flying to the North Island of New Zealand where we will take part in an organised but self guided tour in the Hawkes Bay area.

In the past three years the group has ridden the following trails:

2010...The Otago Central Rail Trail, running 150km from Clyde to Middlemarch on the South Island of New Zealand. *

A Kiwi
2011...The Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail. This trail follows the old rail line for 100km from Wangaratta to Bright in Victoria and is a photographer's dream, with a side trip from Myrtleford to Beechworth which is all uphill and is guaranteed to elevate the heart rate. **

This photograph was taken from Mt. Buffalo and depicts beautifully the ruggedness of some of the country.

These shots were taken on the Murray to Mountains tour

2012...East Gippsland Rail Trail, stretching nearly 100km from Bairnsdale to Orbost in Victoria. ***

Even the scourge of punctures cannot subtract from the beauty of nature. Taken on the East Gippsland Rail Trail.

A wooden trestle bridge on the East Gippsland Rail Trail

Why pick New Zealand as a touring destination? Well! in my humble opinion New Zealand has it all, majestic mountains, beautiful seascapes, incredibly enchanting forests and pristine lakes all packed into such a small area. Not only that, it has an unique Maori culture. It also offers a variety of adventures, few adventurers could resist. These two tiny islands called New Zealand, "Land of the Long White Cloud", really does have it all .

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Map sourced from Wikipedia

We fly to Auckland where we catch a commuter plane to Napier and the destination of the start of our adventure. We have little idea of what's in store for us apart from what's on the itinerary. We do know however that we are staying the first and last night in Napier. This is my second visit to this quaint little town and I am looking forward to sampling some more of it's many delights.

Napier is not only appealing but quite unusual or at least the architecture is. It is very much Art Deco from the 1930s and the locals are very proud of this and of course it doesn't hurt tourism in the area either.Situated on the coast it boasts a long and very attractive promenade for locals and visitors to either stroll or indeed cycle. There is an array of restaurants, bars, tours, wineries and a variety of entertainment to suit most tastes.

On the 3rd February 1931, 256 people lost their lives when Napier was levelled by a major earthquake  measuring 7+ on the Richter Scale. One interesting fact associated with the earthquake was that the area actually grew by some 4000 hectares. This land was previously under the sea but as a result of the earthquake, was raised above sea level (Sourced from Wikepedia) . When rebuilt, the style of architecture chosen was Art Deco and many of these buildings remain to-day. In 2007, Napier was nominated as a World heritage Site with UNESCO.

Map provided by Takaro Trails

Our tour was arranged by Takaro Trails and some of the highlights of the tour include:
  • Port village of Ahuriri
  • Art Deco style Napier CBD
  • Market gardening country
  • Bustling Havelock North
  • Tuki Tuki Valley
  • Historic Waipawa
  • Hastings
  • Ngatarawa Gimblett Gravels vineyards
  • Taradale
  • Puketapu farmland

I intend to write and publish a post on this ride on returning from New Zealand.

In the meantime, further information can be gained by opening the following links:

*       Otago Central Rail Trail

**     Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail

***   East Gippsland Rail Trail

        Takaro Trails

Cheers and safe riding

Jimmy Bee