Cycling

Sunrises, sunsets and sandy beaches.

Sunrises, sunsets and sandy beaches.

Location: Bangalee – Bowen, Queensland, Australia
Distance: 643km
The road out from Yeppoon was same as on the way in. Hot and with too much traffic but I was able to turn north soon enough onto quieter roads and the noise was soon behind me. I hadn’t actually left Yeppoon until nearly 4pm, avoiding the worst heat of the day by the beach. I figured better there with a cool breeze than somewhere inland with it. My destination was Yaamba and by the time I arrived it was near dark but I was greeted by Joe and Paul – a couple of removalists on their way to Port Douglas – and a dinner of pasta, kransky (not chorizo as they apparently had wanted) and a pile of veges. Set up in the dark on the flattest bit of ground but probably should have thought about it some more because a couple of hours later I found my tent floor feeling like a water bed. The rain that had been predicted all day had finally arrived. Donned the gore tex and found somewhere a few meters away, hardly flat, but out of the pooling water. Amazingly everything in the tent stayed dry.
Spent the morning drying out before pedaling off for a rather sparsely populated stretch of road. 80km north I camped at a truck stop at Marlborough. It rained again but managed not to drown the tent this time. Another 80km of empty road before I found St. Lawrence which had a great big rest area with showers, BBQs and nice soft grass to set up on; all to myself. Only downside were the wetlands starting just meters away which bought an army of mosquitoes like I’ve never seen or heard. Was eager to get going in the morning. The highway headed back to the coast and there a few tiny towns marked on the map. I rode through the wetland for a little while firstly though and found a few baby turtles to say hi too. Not long up the road. I pulled into Clairview and sat and watched the coconut palms and water behind them for a while. Scored an icy cold bottle of water and then a cuppa and a sandwich from a nice lady. Turned east of the highway and back into cane fields and a headwind to get down the beach to camp. Early night as I had my biggest day yet to come.
After an early night I was up before dawn and caught a nice sunrise reflecting off the wet mudflats. Put in 30km before breakfast at Ilbilbie (where there was a fatal truck crash a couple days later) and pressed on to Sarina for lunchtime. Stinking hot but with 50km I had to head on for what would be the worst stretch of road so far. The traffic seemed to double in numbers north or Sarina. If there a shoulder to ride on it was rough as guts and covered in debris and otherwise it was roadworks with a nice half meter drop to the edge of the bitumen. The bridge across breakfast nearly threw me off my bike is was so rough. Strangely just a few minutes on the road became a cycling haven. Super smooth, wide shoulders, even bike lanes. Wound my way through Mackay and some more cane fields out to Blacks Beach to a warm welcome from Cath and Jen. Showered and refueled on a good feed of noodles and a few Bundys. Had a mini reunion with my London flat mates Chris and Clair via Skype.
While I had only planned on staying a couple of nights that stretched to 5 while I waited for a waylaid parcel. Spent my time doing very little to nothing. Enjoyed a good seafood lunch at the Eimeo pub looking out to the Whitsundays, finally found a tripod stool (best $10 spent so far) and gave the bike a good check-up and clean.
Took off finally after a breakfast of bacon and egg rolls, heading west, then north past more sugar cane along quiet dirt road to Seaforth when I thought I might camp but nowhere suitable appeared so I headed back to the highway and found a tiny park in Calen to camp in. The traffic seemed to have thinned a little, certainly less trucks which was welcome. Sugar cane continued to dominate the flat country with hardly a break to Proserpine where I found lovely spot on the river behind a coffee plantation and more cane the following day to Bowen. The temperature climbed to its highest I have seen, 42C as the highway veered slightly inland but dropped back by the water. Scouted out a place to camp, cooked up a feed watching an amazing sunset over Grays Bay. Unfortunately I probably should have done some more scouting as my camp site turned out to be full of thorns but if was too late to find somewhere else. I slept as still as possible hoping my mattress wouldn’t be punctured.

Broke camp at first light, itching to get out of my spiny camp and settled down at Horseshoe Bay just around the corner for a lazy day of swimming, eating and people watching. Could have done with goggles to have a look at the reef in the bay but I’m sure I’ll more opportunity for that further north. Finally uprooted myself mid afternoon to find a quick look at some of the other beach and to find lunch but was surprised to find Bowen completely shut except for McDonald’s which I resorted too with no other options. At least it was air conditioned.

Posted by admin in Australia, Cycling, Travel, 3 comments
Gear

Gear

Simply because I found these lists useful when posted by others here my list of stuff.

 

The bike
Frameset: Surly Long Haul Trucker 26″ – 58cm Black
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Deore Bottom Bracket Set BB51
Front Derailleur: Shimano XT Front Mech Conventional 9sp M771 – 44T
Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT Rear Mech 9sp M771 – SGS – Long Cage
Crankset: Shimano Deore Chainset M590 – 175mm
Chainset: Shimano XT Cassette 9 Speed M770 – 11-34
Pedals: Shimano A530 Pedals – Silver
Chain: SRAM PC971 Chain 9sp

Rims: Sun Ringle Rhyno Lite XL – Welded Rim – 36h Black 26inch
Spokes: DT Swiss Champion Stainless PG Spokes
Front Hub: Shimano SLX Front Hub M665 – 36h Black
Rear Hub: Shimano SLX Rear Hub M665 – 36h Black
Rim Tape: Velox Rim Tape
Tubes: Continental MTB 26 – 26 x 1.75-2.5 Presta 42mm
Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon XR Tyre – 26 x 2.0

Headset: Grand Cru 1-1/8″ Threadless Headset
Stem: VO Threadless Stem 26.0 +/- 6 Rise – 100mm
Handlebars: Grand Cru Course Handlebar- Classic Round Bend – 44 cm
Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace Bar End Shifters 9 Speed 7700
Brakes: Avid Single Digit 7
Brake Levers: Tektro RL520 Drop Bar Brake Levers
Headset Spacers: Grand Cru Knurled Headset Spacers
Bar Tape: Fizik MicroTex Bar Tape Brown
Bar Gel: Fizik Bar Gel Set
Seatpost: VO Grand Cru Seat Post, Long Setback
Saddle: Brooks England B17 STD Steel Saddle – Brown

Front Rack: Surly Front Pannier Rack – Silver
Rear Rack: Tubus Cosmo Rear Rack Stainless Steel
Rear Light: Cateye TL-LD610 LED White Lens Rear Light
Mudguards: SKS Bluemels Mudguards – Black – MTB 26″ – 60mm
Front Panniers: Ortlieb Front Roller Classic Panniers – Black
Rear Panniers: Ortlieb Back Roller Classic Panniers – Black
Handlebar Bag: Ortlieb Ultimate 5 Classic (Large) – Black
Lock: Kyrptonite Cable Lock
Water: 3 water bottle cages
Light:  Cateye LED White Lens Rear Light
Computer: Cateye Adventure Wireless Cycling Computer

[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”413″ icon=”zoom” lightbox=”true” group=”1″ size=”medium” autoHeight=”true”]

Tools/Spares
1x Topeak Alien II 26 Function Multi Tool
1x Leatherman Squirt Multitool
1x Spoke Key
1x Rema Touring Puncture Kit
1x Park Tool Tyre Levers
3x Spokes
Zip Ties
Nuts/Bolts
2x Spare tubes
Duct Tape
Inner Brake\Gear Wire
1x Topeak Road Morph Pump
1x Brooks Saddles Maintenance Kit
1x Padlock
Rope

 

Camping
1x Marmot Twilight 2P Tent
1x Big Agnes Air Core Mattress
1x Kelty Cosmic -7C Down Bag
1x Sea to Summit Adaptor Coolmax Bag Liner
1x Petzl Tikka XP 2 Head Torch

 

Cooking
1x Primus OmniFuel Stove
1x Primus Fuel Bottle 1L
1x GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Soloist Cook System (1.1L pot, unsulated mug, spork)
1x Tuppaware Container (salt/pepper, seasong/spices, tea/coffee, sugar, knife)
1x Flint
Matches
1x Scourer
1x Ortlieb Folding 10 Litre Bowl
1x Ortlieb Water Bag (4 Litre)
1x Scourer/sponge

 

Clothing
1x Mountain Designs Cumulus Gore Tex Jacket
2x dhb Pro Padded Undershorts
2x Inov-8 Wrag (fake Buff)
1x Wind/Water proof pants
1x The North Face Jumper
1x Supadry shorts
1x Craghoppers Bear Trek Long Sleeved Shirt
1x Board shorts
1x Underwear
1x Sea To Summit Travel Towel
1x Thick wollen socks
1x Otis Bubba Sunnies

 

Personal/Toiletries
1x Toothbrush
1x Toothpaste
1x Soap
1x Sunscreen
1x Toilet paper
1x First aid kit (various bandaids, compression bandage, ibuprofen, burn/pain gel, gastro pills, lozenges)

 

Photography/Eletronics (weight weenies look away now)
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Mini (phone/internet/music player)
1x Canon 1ds Mark III
1x Canon 5D Mark II
1x Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
1x Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
1x Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
1x Samyang 14mm f/2.8 UMC
1x Dell XPS 15 L502X
1x Dell Auto-Air 12V DC Adapter
1x Padded laptop case
2x 1TB Portable USB3.0 Hard Drive
1x Benro C1691T Travel Tripod
1x Crumpler Sporty Guy Bag
1x Powerfilm F15-600 10W Solar Panel
1x LP-E6 Battery Charger 240/110/12V
1x Canon LP-E4 Charger
1x Body/Lens Caps
1x Screwdriver
1x TC-80N3 Cable Remote
1x 5x CF cards (32GB, 16GB, 8Gb, 4GB, 2GB)
1x B+W Circular Polariser 77mm
1x Lexar Pro UDMA Card Reader
1x Sensor Sweep
1x Rocket blower
1x Various spare batteries
1x 16GB USB Drive

 

Miscellaneous
Passport
Money
2x Credit cards
Journal/diary
Pens/pencils
Maps
Books

Posted by admin in Cycling, Travel, 4 comments
Construction. Ongoing. Finished. Mostly.

Construction. Ongoing. Finished. Mostly.

After writing the previous post a while ago – almost 2 months now – I had hoped to have done some decent test rides and maybe even a micro weekend tour to test all the gear but alas, “the build” has turned into a Days-Of-Our-Lives-wannabe and is still ongoing.

I was going to go the DIY headset install route but the local bike shop is closer than Bunnings so it won out. $20 later I had a frame and fork ready to go.

So it’s a nice sunny Saturday morning and assembly is well underway, brakes are on, front and rear dérailleur attached and wheels have some nice Marathon XR rubber on them.

Que a friendly visit from the JW salesmen. I trumped their religious rhetoric with my globe trotting plans and they stared on in awe and soon let me be. Sidetracked, I forgot to aline the inner sleeve correctly before installing the left half of the bottom bracket and managed to chew it up pretty badly installing the crankset. Not a fatal error, but frustrating. You can’t buy the sleeve separately so a whole new bottom bracket is now on the way. I’m sure the spare bearings will come in handy at some point.

Turning my attention to the handlebars it was here I came to discover what would still keep me waiting to this day. Jumping back for a moment I had ordered a 58cm Surly Long Haul Trucker frameset. When it arrived the store had somehow forgotten to send the fork. The box had been opened to add the front rack I also ordered so I guess it was a simple enough mistake. No matter, a quick email and a day later the fork was on the way. A few days later it arrived and I opened the box for a quick look. It was black, with Surly stickers, “sorted” I thought.

Back to the build. I had estimated 4-5 spacers would be needed to get the handlebars to a good height. I was somewhat confused when I found I could barely squeeze 1 spacer in with steerer tube to spare. Quick Google later and Surly’s own site had the answer. Wrong fork! So for the past month and a half I’ve been in a shitfight with the store I bought it from – yay for international e-commerce – but so far with no resolution.

In the meantime I completed the rest of the bike, mostly. Brake levers, shifters and cables. Will wrap the bars once I the bar gel arrives. Installed the chain and even went for a careful spin down the street with my super low bars. Add some slick tyres I’d blend right into a road race peloton.

With no progress on the replacement fork I’ve been looking elsewhere but not much luck as of yet. They’re a rare piece of kit. None available here in Australia, can’t find any overseas with a store willing to ship internationally.

Frustrated, I decided to contact Surly to see if they could point me to some stock. After explaining my situation I was somewhat stunned when I read the reply asking for my address so they could send me one free of charge. I graciously accepted but was stunned again when 5 minutes later I received another email stating my warranty replacement fork was on the way. Not wanting to put Surly out of pocket needlessly I turned down their offer, kudos to them.

A week later and here we are. I spent this afternoon finishing off the build. Installed mudguards, front and rear racks and made some adjustments to the cables. Cutting gear cable housing is a bitch! Ended up borrowing an angle grinder which made short work of that; surprisingly clean cuts too. Just need to cut down the steerer tube and add handlebar tape but by this evening she was complete enough to take for a spin. Will be good to get her loaded up to see how she handles but feels good so far.

Looking back I’ve rambled for far too long but its too late, its written now. In other news, my flat mates finally got engaged. Feels kind of rushed after 7’ish years :). I guess I should hang around for the engagement party so I’ll be leaving – fingers crossed – on the 10th January now.

 

Posted by admin in Cycling, 0 comments
Ready for assembly

Ready for assembly

The lucky last package – well, at least, last critical package, I’m sure there will be more other non-critical procurements made yet – finally arrived courtesy of Velo-Orange. Handlebars, stem, headset (that’ll be fun installing!) and a few other banal but shiny odds and ends.

Borrowed a bike stand from friend which should come in very handy and stocked the fridge up with Löwenbräu.

So now I just have to do is to get this….

To look something like this…

Posted by admin in Cycling, 1 comment