Friday, December 28, 2007

Sydney to Seal Rocks (or bike + one train and three ferries)

Every year I go camping with friends for the Christmas to New Years period. This year was no different, but this time I didn't have a car and so my challenge was to get to our campsite at Seal Rocks by whatever means possible. To get there, I used the Cycling Australia book put out by Lonely Planet. Its a great read for the cycle touring novice and it has excellent advice in choosing the safest and most scenic routes. For my mini tour of the east coast, I covered a distance of 180km that is usually done over three days but it was nice just to get a taste for touring.I started the morning at 6:30am and rode straight to Berowa train station. I would have caught the train from Straithfield, however there was trackwork on the Newcastle line and a bike unfriendly bus service running between Straithfield and Berowa.

I arrived at Newcastle at around 11:30am and in no time I was on the ferry to Stockton. It only cost $1 to catch the ferry...
... and they great bike racks. From Stockton, I rode 50km along Nelson Bay Road to Nelson Bay. I was a bit anxious as to what the road would be like but it had an excellent shoulder. There was a lot of holiday traffic but no dramas.
I arrived at Nelson Bay at around 1:30pm. I had an hour break with enough time to grab some fish and chips before catching the 2:30pm ferry to Tea Gardens. On the ferry, my bike was just tied onto the roof of the old boat. It was a bit more expensive costing $15, but was much more scenic. It took just on an hour to get across Post Stephens. There area is renown for Dolphin watching but I was unlucky to see any on the day.

From Tea Gardens its a short ride to Myall Lakes National Park. On the map, there was a more direct walking track heading straight along the coast to Seal Rocks, but as I was on my road bike I took the more scenic route around the lakes.
Another 30km along, I arrived at Bombah Point where I had to catch my third ferry of the day.
From there, it was another 15km along a dirt road to the small highway town of Bulahdelah.
At Bulahdelah, I was back on the Pacific Highway for a couple of kilometers then I took the Lakes Way Rd turn off to Seal Rocks. I misjudged how long this part of the ride would take me. It was another 40km to Seal Rocks with a few steep hills to keep me awake.
I eventually got to Seal Rocks at 7pm. The town is amazingly quiet with only one cafe and a post office . I found the campsite around 7:30pm and was pleased to arrive as dinner was being made.
I think I've got the touring bug.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hello Apollo

The Apollo IV has finally launched off the ground. Here are some photos from my maiden voyage around Sydney Olympic Park this morning. The fixie is a lot of fun to ride but you have to think a lot more about what your doing. I've found it particularly fun on the uphills where despite a lack of gears, I seem to be able to generate a lot more speed as the momentum is kept spinning through the fixed wheel.
I started this project with one thing in mind. To build a fixie for as little money as possible. I didn't quite get under my budget of $200, but I came very close. I've been grateful to have many people help out by giving me all the bits and pieces I needed and in Lindsay's amazing generosity in building it up for me. Here is the breakdown of the costs.

Frame: given (Chris)
Crankset: given (Chris)
Fork: given (Mike via Huw)
Headset: given (Lindsay)
Stem: given (Lindsay)
Drop bars: given (Lindsay)
Sprocket: given (Lindsay)
Front wheel: given (Lindsay)
Break hoods and callipers: given (Lindsay)
Seat post: given (Lindsay)
Saddle: owned
Pedals: owned
Track hub: $15 (an amazing bargain from Al Summers)
Velocity rear track rim: $90 (from Al Summers)
Tires: $80
Bottom bracket: $40
Chain: $25
Bar tape: $15
Lindsay’s work putting it all together: priceless
Total cost: $265

Update see :

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cycle Park

One of my favorite films from the recent Bicycle Film Festival was put out by a group called Rebar. The group went around San Francisco taking over carparking spaces with temporary urban parks (all while paying the parking meters). You can see the full film here.

Bicycle Samba

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Nov 30-Dec 2 - A Cycling Odyssey

This weekend has been amazing. There were cycling events happening everywhere showing the amazing diversity of cycling culture. Here are a few happy snaps from the weekend.

Friday night - Critical Mass Bridge Ride

(Photo by Moz)
It was a pretty good turn out but not quiet as big as last year. I got to have fun towing the sound system trailer which had been lent to me for the evening. As we rolled into the middle of the bridge for a bike lift I was pleased to hear Jill Scott Heron's The revolution will not be televised pumped out of the sound system. After, that we headed out for dinner then onto the Bicycle Film Festival for more cycling madness. It was fun cruzin home at midnight with stero still pumping out tunes much to the amusement of many onlookers.

Saturday Avro: Bike Film Festival
I went back to the BFF on Saturday avro. I caught a few more films and had some fun helping out at the bicycle valet parking. There certainly were some interesting bikes on show. The rows of amazing bikes had become something of an event in itself and there were people crowding round the barriers just to look at them.

Sunday Morning
I somehow managed to get out of bed on Sunday for my regular ride out to Waterfall with DHBC. I hadn't done it for a while, but it was great to get a solid 80kms in before breakfast.

Sunday Avro - World Track Championships
After the Waterfall ride, I rode straight out to Dunc Gray Velodrome to watch the World Track Championships with Huw and Simon. It was the most impressive cycling I'd ever seen. I watched the finals of the women's Keiran, Mens sprints, the womens team pursuits and the amazing Madison final. Just amazing.