Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dec 21st, Ride Wrap-up

It’s been close to 5 weeks since returning from this epic ride. The country, the roads, the people have all combined to provide me with unforgettable memories.

Returning from a ride like this always requires an adjustment. During the ride, you are so well taken care of that your major decision is where to stop for coffee and what pasty you’re going to choose. The tour provides route with turn by turn directions, breakfast, lunch,dinner and where you’re going to sleep. The next day, more of the same. You really don’t have any responsibilities and sleep comes pretty easy.

When returning home, you return to all the responsibilities that you had forgotten you had. In my case, work (two different projects), the local biking club (Foothill Cycling Club), the investment club and the home owners association where I’m currently the president. There is always another phone call that needs to be made, another email that needs to be answered or a webpage that needs to be updated. All the while you’re thinking about the rest of the bike riders that are currently finishing up the tour in New Zealand. Like I said, it takes a while to get settled back in.

The blog has talked about the daily riding and the number of feet climbed and number of miles traveled, but I never really discussed view of the US election from abroad. It was so strange, almost an out of body experience to watch the detailed news coverage of the election. It’s only after a while that you learn the impact that US has on the rest of the world and how decisions that the US makes rebound across the world and it’s for that reason that the world wants to follow our elections. I remember hearing a radio interview with the travel author Rick Steves where he was saying that you shouldn’t be able to vote until you travel abroad. Certainly not practical, but there more than a grain of wisdom in that statement.

For the next couple of years I’ll need to build up my vacation time, but I have a strong tug of New Zealand calling me for a bike ride.

We’ll I hope that you all found a bit of enjoyment reading this blog found it as least a bit interesting. If so, leave a comment below for me.

Until next ride,

Brian Cox

Monday, November 7, 2016

Nov 8th, Into Sydney

Yesterday as we pulled into camp the wind was out of the north, a headwind and just a bit chilly. But during dinner, we all felt the wind shift from the north to the west and in a matter of seconds the temperature rose by several degrees. For the first time in the entire trip it was just pleasant to sit out in our chairs, on the lawn, and just talk. We were up way too late since we still had a tough day to ride into Sydney.

On the way to the first climb we road along the Sea Cliff Bridge. A section of the road that seems to jut out into the water as you wind your way along the cliffs.

As you can see in the elevation profile below, we had two big climbs through the Royal National Park. The first big one was steep and lots of traffic on it, sometimes almost feeling as if it was brushing against us we road on the very narrow shoulder of the road.

The second climb was large as well though not as steep and by then the traffic had dissipated. The goal at this point was to make the water taxi to take us across Port Hacking into Sydney.  We got there to Bundeena early enough to even have a coffee.

The route through the 30 km was a mixture of residential and urban. The marking the TDA had done on at each turn made finding our way to the hotel fairly easy. Bryan, one of the more recent riders, lead us onward to the Sydney Opera House before we ended the ride at the hotel.

Tonight we head out to dinner with the group. It may be the last time that I will see many of the riders. It was a fun ride and it will be quite and adjustment to leave the ride and return home.

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Happy Biking,

Brian Cox

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Nov 7th, Choo Choo

This morning was almost surprising as I woke up, it wasn’t cold. Chilly, but not cold. I needed a fleece jacket for breakfast and took it off right before we left camp, but wasn’t wearing my biking jacket. It took me a couple of kilometers to warm up. The real warm up occurred about 5 km out. A fast drop followed by a huge steep climb, sometimes reaching 14 percent (14 percent means for every 100 feet you move forward you climb in elevation 14 feet) which is pretty steep.

Take a look at the elevation profile below. We had some steep climbs, but lots and lots of downhill!! The route today include a train ride at the 71 km point. If we kept up the pace and didn’t take our morning coffee stop we could make the 11:21 morning train. Miss that one and the next would be 1:31 PM. I was kidding everyone that I was looking forward to riding the choo choo, talking about a little steam engine that would take us on a journey to the coast. In actually the train was a modern commuter train with a limited number of bike spots, but we all managed to get on the train. The tour company TDA arranged for a packed lunch for us to snack on during the ride. In all a very cosy affair.

We got to the destination at about noontime and still had 50 km (31 miles) to go. The wind was in our faces and a couple of short but steep climbs, but we also had some beautiful ocean views and warm sunshine on our backs. It was another day that I would have liked to go on forever.

We got to the campsite at about 4 PM. Put up our tents and took a walk on the beach which our campsite is about a football field distance from. The water here is as cold as the Pacific off Los Angeles. It's early spring here so it may warm up during the summer. This has been the only day of the trip that the weather has been inviting enough to walk the beach and get your feet wet. Charlie (from Canada) Yvonne (from Netherlands) were not as hesitant to cold water and played in the water for a good 15 minutes.

Tomorrow will be my last day of the ride ending in Sydney. I understand that ride will include a “monster hill” so I just have to see how it goes.

Photo Link:

Happy Riding,


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Nov 6th, A Biker Bar Called Nerriga

Chilly is the way that I would describe the morning. About 44 F as I woke up this morning. We had the breakfast in the hotel before setting out. For the first tens of kilometers we were on bike trails passing folks rowing in the lake surrounding Canberra.
Take a look a the elevation profile below. We had some significant climbs as the ride went on. Some of them reached 14 percent, a pretty steep angle on a bike ride. The day was a series of up and down, followed by more up and downs and so by the end of the day the total accumulated number of meters was 1406 (over 4,600 feet).

The traffic for most of the day was pretty heavy with a large number of motorcycles. Most of them going in our direction very quickly. All in all a pretty noisy day.

The destination for the evening was a bike bar in a town call Nerriga. On this stretch of road the facilities can be few and far between. Today there is not even a campground. TDA has a arranged for this bar to allow us to camp on their lawn and have dinner in the bar's restaurant.  There was no Wi-FI so this blog is being entered a couple of days late. The dinner was delicious and it treat to eat inside.

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Happy Biking,

Brian Cox

Nov 4th, off to see the Capital City

We didn't realize it last night when we arrived, but Cooma seems to be a gateway to a couple of Australian ski resorts. As we left town in another chilly morning we passed several locations with ski equipment "for hire". The sun and a climb quickly warned things up and we quickly found ourselves taking off our outer layers of biking gear.

 At about 36 k (22 miles) we hit the only town for the day, Bredbo. We were lucky. A small cafe with good coffee and tasty treats awaited us. It seems that many of us were traveling at a similar pace today since when we arrived there were several people already chowing down and by the time we left most of the rest of the group had arrived as well. These morning stops are eagerly awaited each morning and not always available in some of the more remote locations.

As you can see in the elevation profile below, if we weren't climbing a hill we were riding a hill down. A day like this can be very tiring. The downhills seem too short and the uphill are too long.

Canberra, Australia's Capital, is in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) sort of like the Washington DC in the states, only much more land.

Lunch was tasty as usual and for the first time on the trip for since Adelaide all the riders were at the lunch stop at the same time.

On more signification climb then lots of downhill into Canberra. The route into Canberra followed a "bike lane" on the B23 into the city. By the time you're 18 km the B23 that had been fairly quite becomes a very busy 3 lane freeway and we were on the shoulder that had bike lane markings on the road. Sometimes it seemed that the drivers didn't even know that we were allowed on the road. We finally all arrived safely at the hotel.

It was about 4 PM and I sprinted off to a bike shop called Pushys to have an issue that I've been having with my front derailed shiftier looked at. I explained that I was on a bike tour passing through town and described the issue. I was set up with a mechanic immediately and was allowed to look over his shoulder as diagnosed the issued and made some adjustments and cleaned up the mechanisms a bit. I'll need further work when I get back home, but it should keep me on the road until then.

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Happy Biking,


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Nov 3, Rolling Hills and Kangaroos in the Mist

This morning I woke up to and it was very chilly (38 F) and foggy. After breakfast, we headed out and we very chilly for the first 25 km or so until the fog started to burn off and the sun started to shine. In the morning mists I saw a good sighting of a couple of kangaroos hopping besides the road, the mist made it difficult to clearly make them out and it happened so quickly that I didn't have a chance to get my camera out, but it was an interesting experience to see the locomotion of these unique animals.

At 35 km we come upon the town of Bombala and stopped for coffee at which time we were ready to shed the cold riding gear for earlier in the morning.

As you can see below, the enter ride was a set of rolling hills with each hill getting higher as the ride progressed. At the 80 km mark we were at the top a ridge that had many wind turbines along the top. To be so close to the turbines you get to appreciate the size of the machines. The lunch stop followed at the 87 km point where I refueled. I had almost boinked getting up the ridge to the turbines.

From lunch to the end, it was one more drop followed by the biggest climb of the day then a fabulous 25 km downhill to to the town of Cooma. I when zip zip zip into the campground.

Tomorrow we head off to Canberra and will enjoy a rest day before the final 3 days to Sydney.

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Happy Biking,


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Nov 2, Up, Up We Go

Take a look at he ride profile below. We started from Orbost and the almost the entire day was climbing, climbing, climbing. Most of the ride was on fairly quite roads with occasionally cars and trucks zipping by. most of the road up to 108 km was tree covered and on one steep portion was about 10 k of  gravel.

The ride was so remote that we didn't even have any gas stations or cafes for coffee or cokes. The lunch stop was at about 70 km which 60 km to the end.

It was amazing when we broke out of the forest at 109 km and one second we we in a dark covered road and in the next second we we were looking over sunny fields and Simpson clouds. We still had 20 km to the end but when pretty fast. We arrived in the town of Delegate. It a very small town with two general stores and a bar. We had a couple of beers and made our way to the campground.

As soon as the sun went down it got very cool and by 8:30 everyone had retired to their warm sleeping bags.

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Happy Trails,

Brian Cox

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Nov 1st, Trails, Trails and More Trails

Maybe spring is just round the corner. This morning was chilly and bright as we headed out. Yesterday it looked as if it was going to be day of rain, but the forecast has pushed the rain off by several hours, maybe even into the evening. If it was going to to be raining we were going to stay on the paved roads, but since the rain was pushed off, most of the riders, including myself, decided to take the trail almost the entire 100 km (66 miles) to Orbost. 

The trails started off paved but withing a couple of kilometer turned to a hard pack dirt trail through the forest. The pace was very relaxed with no need to hurry the day. The distance was pretty short and many animals were being spotted on the trail.

At times the trail became no more than a walking path but it was much more preferable to riding on a noisy road with cars.

We had the ride briefing at 6 PM followed by BBQ ribs. It's almost 8PM and I'm at the supermarket, "FoodWorks" using their Wi-Fi to finish up this blog and all around me they are busily pulling in all the outdoor displays since they are closing at 8. All the other stores in town are already closed as well as the bar. All these little towns really do roll up the streets at night.

We'll that's all for now.  

Photo Link:

Happy Riding,


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Rest day and the Rest of the Trip

This is our rest day in Bairnsdale, the end of the first yellow segment on our way to Sydney and the end of the Australian segment of the ride. The rest of the group will head on to New Zealand while I head home. The interactive map of the route is in the second graphic below.

Happy Biking,


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