What it takes

JC, Border Crossing

JC, Border Crossing

A little while back my friend JC was on the verge of returning home to Adelaide for Xmas from Melbourne.

A keen cyclist, keener on going up rather than anything else and in the shortest and steepest fashion possible, especially off-road, he has a certain knack for the pedals.

Back in the Day
Over the course of months riding together the mountain bike rides extended from 3 to 4 to 5, even 6 hours duration covering all the landscapes around Kinglake, the Dandenongs and further afield.

The dial really got turned up when JC began to ride to the start of the rides. A 2-hour commute to the beginning of a 5-hour ride became normal. The same ride home just a warm-down. Continue reading

Cycling elegance, sans helmet?

Cyclists, Vondelpark, Amsterdam, NL

Cyclists, Vondelpark, Amsterdam, NL

“…many European researchers say the test of a mature bike-sharing program is when women outnumber men.”

NY Times, Sept 2012.

From the Article: To Encourage Biking Cities Forget About Helmets

The other day I was aghast to read that Melbourne’s Bicycle Scheme is losing money.

Continue reading

Collioure. A place to hide, ride and escape

Sunrise over Fort St Elme, Collioure, France

Over the weekend I ran into an old friend and by chance we meandered through the conversation to discover we’d narrowly missed paths 7 months earlier in the little publicised French seaside town of Collioure.

He’d cycled about 1000kms and gained 23,000 metres in altitude with a bunch of friends riding over the Pyrenees from Biarritz in the West. As they hooted down the last of the mountainous terrain they welcomed the site of the Mediterranean at the claws of the Pyrenees, at Collioure. Continue reading

Local knowledge and lingo

Fancy a Frenchman telling you that there’s a great adventure to be had in Spain, and he knows just where it is. Stranger things have happened, but thank goodness for local knowledge.

Rodolfo, a very accomplished cyclist who resides in one of the most delightful of places in France for outdoor activities, was to be my local source.

Local knowledge, so often transmitted to us via a guidebook or internet portal these days, is probably the most valuable of intellectual capital on the planet.

But what if the print and digitised media hadn’t caught up with a particular little morsel of cake sitting proudly on the counter of a tiny boulangerie in a little town between here and there?

I think we all need a Rodolfo to share a coffee with.

I’m going to call it The Dali Loop.

The border of France and Spain on the Mediterranean has a rich history across many channels, Continue reading

Cycling’s Big Question: What for?

What for? Or Why wouldn't you?

What for? Or Why wouldn’t you?

Just riding along, (or JRA) and that big question lobs up once again “What am I doing this for?”.

Most profoundly it appears during the middle of a long hard race or as a car door almost takes you out. Some way up a mountain when the view is already teasing you with it’s mystery, it starts to call out in time with the pain in your legs.

There are many logical answers to the “what for” question, but they fail to answer the deeper query that continues to resonate for years to come. Continue reading