Monthly Archives: April 2011

Stem exchange

Today was fairly long but good around 90kms. The road went up and down a bit.

Not much happened until we got to Mackey. Where we visited Rock and Road Cycles so that I could get a new stem. The one I had was a bit to long and it felt that I was to outstretched on the bike.

The shop were very kind and did a straight swap. They also let us drink there nice cold filtered water. They also kindly let us use there plates and a knife.

We spent about an hour in the shop chatting having lunch etc. It was a good bike shop.

After this we cycled on to Sarina were we are spending the night. We did a fairly big shop in Woolworths, (not the same as the one you are think went busted in England) a supermarket chain. We shopped for the next few days food as we are only going to be passing through some very small towns/villages which will probable only have service stations at best.

I haven’t talked much about the landscape I have been cycling through mainly because I find it hard to describe landscapes in words. There is a lot of sugar cane growing in fields in some places, which looks like very tall fat grass.

There are some fields with cattle in. We cross over a far amount of streams and rivers. Often the remains of old bridges can be seen and they have been replaced with much taller new ones.

The roads are relatively flat there are some quite straight bits that can get a little boring. I hope the above words painted a lovely picture but fear they may have just told you we cycled through some fields of sugar cane, and that there is some water.

On to Golden Casket

The park we stayed in last night was very comfortable with plugs and showers, cold and without a shower head but a shower none the less.

As normal we got up fairly early and cook breakfast and were on our way to Calen. The ride was good and not too long.

We stopped in a layby for some Milk Coffee biscuits which are just like rich tea only a bit harder. We got offered and accepted a coffee of a couple in a caravan we had a chat with them they were very friendly.

We hit the vegimite for the first time at lunch it was quite intense and I could only manage a few slices before a lovely desert of peanut butter on bread and melted chocolate fingers.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful, about 5 lorries with army amphibious vehicles overtook us.

We are now in a little park in Calen opposite a newsagents/general store called the Golden Casket that looks like it hasn’t changed for years. It is run by an elderly lady who prefers bore water to town water, “I’m a bore water girl”. I personally prefer town water. Its hard to describe the shop but it seems to sell everything and is arranged in a very strange way. There are a lot of magazines, some kept inside a fridge, I think it is not switched on.

I had a long chat with an elderly gentleman who was sitting outside the store. He chatted a lot but spoke fairly softly so it was quite hard to understand what he was saying but he got quite animated. He told me about a music festival that is happening in the mountains.

Whilst we were sitting down two trains past one carrying containers. What a great invention, they have changed a lot, of things. The other train was a cattle train carrying cows.

Whilst we have been cycling we pasted over quite a few level crossings. Called cane railways I think these are used to transport sugar cane around the farms. Most of them look like they haven’t been used for a very long time but all the signals look to be in fairly good condition. I did a bit of research and the railways are used to transport the cane from the fields to the mills.

It is dinner time now, so that’s todays blog. Enjoy the wedding!

Wind oh the wind

I haven’t updated the blog for the last few days mainly because I have been cycling lots and been tired in the evenings. I will try and summarises what we have been up to the last few days. We have also met some interesting people.

We stayed in Townsville with a guy from warm showers. He was very friendly and let us into his house on his lunch break. We did a tiny bit of route planning and some washing.

When he got back from work he kindly cooked us dinner and we watched some tv. We watched a bit of a netball game which was the first time I have ever watched it. It seemed very fast, and a bit confusing. After this we watch Bear Grylls, which seemed quite ridiculous but made for good TV.

I also learnt that all the frogs we saw were in fact toads not frogs. They were Cane Toads brought into Australia in the 1930s to try and control the Cane Beetle population, they liked other things more and have turned into a bit of a pest.

After Townsville we had quite a long day to Home Hill. On the way we met out first touring cyclist, a french guy, we stopped and chatted for a bit but he seemed to want to press on. The wind seems to be get worse and worse each day. Everyone we meet seems to know about the wind direction. Shame nobody told us before we left! Maybe we should have done some research first but never mind!

The Home Hill rest area was very nice with hot and cold showers and BBQs for free. There were quite a few people drawn to this high quality facility. A girl from Belgium who was driving around in a van, she kindly cooked us second dinner. A Canadian who had just retired and was taking a year to travel around also in a van, and a guy who was living in his car studying medicine. It was interesting to met all these different people doing different things. There were an Austrlian couple who were travelling around as well from a town we will get to in a few days they offered us a tour but we will be arriving before they get back.

Following the night a Home Hill we got up fairly early and had bacon and eggs for breakfast not a great pre cycling breakfast but tasty, we did this because of the free BBQs.

We had another long day from Home Hill to Bowen. I am not sure if it was this day or the day before that we saw what I think was a pump or engine that was made in Lincoln England it was nice to see this in a strange sort of way.

Bowen was a little of highway one. It felt a little strange cycling on another road and cycling a small distance that didn’t get us to the final destination.

The town seemed fairly strange and quite hard to describe we didn’t see much of it. We headed back to the highway 1 and carried on to a rest area. There were a lot of signs saying no camping so when Cliff was looking around he found a man who was living in this caravan nearby we camped near him sort of on a beach. It was dark when we cooked which made it a little difficult but okay it also rained a little bit. Soon after dinner we went to bed.

We had a bit of a lie in till 6:30 as we were both fairly tired. We went back to the rest area to cook breakfast. After a late start we got off toward Poserpine. It was a bit rainy and windy as normal. On our way we met another touring cyclist this time from Australia we had a good long chat with him in the rain. He had a lot less equipment than us but seemed to be doing well. It goes to show you don’t need all that much.

He helped inspire the afternoon ride which went well and we did a few fairly quick sections, when the wind died down.

We are now at a very nice park in Poserpine where we plan to camp there are no no camping signs.

So far so good.


Today we decided to upgrade and trade in our bikes for a 4×4 and horsebox caravan.

With such a big distance to cover we felt that it was the only way we could do it, with the time span available.

Some might say this is opting out too soon but well cars are easier to drive than bikes are to ride.

All of the above is fiction! Don’t worry we are still on our bikes, although if anyone wants to give us a camper van we won’t say no.

Today we cycled it is becoming a little more routine. But the operation is far from slick mainly due to me! There is so much stuff so many bags well it is hard to remember where you have put that thing you have now forgot you were looking for!

The headwind was horrible today it meant it much harder, but we came further than originally planned.

We stop off at two bad shops the first Frostie Mangos which a few people had mentioned it was basically a fancy service station with prices through the roof.

We felt we should buy something so shared a 1.25 litre of coke. And hoped there would be a water tape. I got told me the girl behind the till no but there was a servo (service station). As we were enjoying a coke and other food we had not brought at the shop. We got told that these tables were for customers only. I explained that we had brought a coke, and silent thought that at $5.50 we should have a right to sit at the table.

After this happened we then got told that no bikes were allowed so we left.

At the next services station we asked if they had a tap they said no. She was just fairly unhelpful, and very slow at serving people. In the end I brought some water it was very cold and tasted good.

We headed on to Rockville were we got some water from a helpful general store lady. It looked like an interesting place lots of bridges.

So far we have had a 100% success rate in getting train drivers to blow their whistles at us and a 50% success rate with lorries. Lorries are less exciting and more frequent so we don’t signal to them as often. In total the scores are 3whistles to 4waves.

Frogs et al

Today, well yesterday was a toughie, long it terms of the ride length 110kms and the heat. There was a small climb which left us gasping and decent which was over all too quickly.

After 3 days the bike is holding up well so far. Two of the most useful bits of kit so far are a head torch and a silk sleeping bag liner.

The blackberry phone and t mobiles bb worldwide booster are also great for keeping in touch and writing things like this.

Well back to the day after the hill there was a little road side stall selling fruit and veg. The cheapest thing was a pineapple a $1 we had one straight off and the man cut it there and then it was good. We had a second and our mouths started to burn telling us that a whole pineapple each consumed within a few seconds was not the best idea.

We had a nice chat with the store holder. He told us that, that lady just there, (she was getting in a car) husband was a morning tv presenter. I didn’t enquire further. But thought where does he do that as the towns round here all seem fairly small. Maybe it was local radio.

We cycled on for a while and found the driver reviver. On the map it said it had water it did but it said that it was not suitable for drinking. Which was annoying as it meant that we had to boil and use water purification tables. We also had to boil the water in the pan we cook everything in. After the boil the water had a fat film on top we decided to leave it till the morning let it cool down and enjoy tomorrow.

As it got darker the frogs came out and it was the most frogs I have ever seen. They just came out and sat near the lights and eat the flies up.

Please note in the photo I didn’t damage the sign it had already fallen down, I didn’t want anyone to think I was a vandal. It just made a good photo!

Sweat suncream sweat bike

Today was the first day cycling. We left Cairns with our host and went to a few stores. Cliff got a spork to replace the one left in singapore. I looked for some tent pegs but they only seemed to have ones suitable for massive tents.

Our host cycled with us for the first 10kms or so and got us on to highway 1 the road that we will be following for some time all the way down to Sydney. Well all the time we are in this country, unless we get lost or choice a different route, which is unlikely as there is only one road.

All the towns we went through on the way were fairly small and sort of how I imagine american towns to be, very focused around the main street.

We picked up a bit of food at a spar in Babinda and camped near a rest stop nearby. There was a cold shower water and toilets.

The first day went pretty well, even though there were times we it was so hot and sweaty it was crazy. It seems like there is never any shade and sometimes there is a bit of a head wind.

The second days cycling started at about 8:30 we got up at six this wasn’t to bad. Although an earlier start would have been better, to avoid some of the heat.

The heat seemed worse today although I am not sure if it was or not. We covered a fair distance it was pretty tough, in some place.

I feel that from now on most days are going to be pretty similar this is not a bad thing, it just means that blogs might become a bit dull! Well hopefully not I shall try and find the interesting bits.

Well its bedtime.

The last day before the bike ride

For the last day before we started cycling we did something very touristy, but we felt that we should do it before we left. We got up fairly early then cycled into town, and went to the tourist information place, and book ourselves on a boat trip, snorkel and semisub trip.

The boat to green island took about 50mins once there we were free to snorkel, the water was fairly shallow which made swimming hard. We saw a fair few fish and coral which was good, but I found it a bit hard to see as I couldn’t wear my glasses. We had our lunch which we borough at the supper market, Woolworth’s we were still shocked at how expensive food was.

We sat on the beach and enjoyed the sun. Awaiting out semi-sub tour. The semi-sub took us out the reefs. There were a lot of fish to see, and a few turtles which I didn’t see.

After the tour we walked around the island, and then got our return boat back.

We popped to the supermarket and chemists for a few bits before heading back to our hosts.

We had a quick shower and put some washing on before being collected by Cliff friends from Sydney who were staying in Port Douglas which is a bit further up the coast from Cairns we went out for a meal at a burger place then headed home and doing a bit of packing. We got to bed fairly early.

Australia so far

There has been a little gap in posting because I haven’t bother to write anything for a while.

So this is what I have been up to for the last few days it will probably form some sort of out of order summary, which I hope covers the main parts of what I have been up to.

We arrived in Cairns on 18th monday in the early morning after a pleasant flight without enough sleep.

Bikes arrived fine in Australia and we cleared customs but they wanted to have a quick look at my bike tyres, to make sure they were not to dirty they were fine.

We had pre arranged using a resource for touring cyclists to get a warm shower, to meet up with somebody at the airport and get a lift to their house. This was very kind and meant that we could build the bikes in the garage, he also had a Joe Blow (a track pump) which meant that we could inflate the tyres very easily, which was great.

We were both feeling very tired after very little sleep so we had fish and chips for tea which were good and seemed cleaner than english fish and chips, the shop also sold a lot of fresh fish. We had an early night heading to bed at around 8pm.

Tuesday, we got up at a fairly, leisurely time cannot remember exactly when and then headed for a tour of a coffee plantation. Before now I didn’t know they grow coffee here but I guess it makes sense. Our host kindly drove us to the coffee tour. On the way we stop at Barron Falls just out side a small town/village I have forgotten the name of.

We relaxed at the coffee places cafe before we started the tour. I had a chicken pie it was good. The coffee farm was called Skybury coffee.

The tour started with looking at the coffee plants, these can get quite tall but they cut them short to allow the harvester to go over them. There were different types of coffee bean plants. I tried a raw bean from the plant it tasted sugary at first then like wood.

We were then shown some of the other plants they grow on the farm like the bananas. After this we headed to the workshop this was impressive with lots of tools and the Harvester which was massive and had a Perkins Engine which I guessed was made in Peterborough. Around the workshop area there was some of the equipment used for processing the coffee. Things to wash the beans dry them etc. As they have to have a certain moisture content to wet rot to dry not good coffee.

Then we headed back to the cafe area and saw the roasting machine from Turkey it was fairly big and red.

We learnt a bit more about the coffee process and some interesting coffee facts before heading back to Cairns.

We then had our first BBQ of the trip which was tasted good and were joined by a guy who has done a lot of mountain biking tours. It was good to chat and was a good evening.

Before the BBQ we headed to the supermarket and were surprised at just how much food costs here.

So I have written a fair amount so think I will post this then create another post what happen today.

Singapore Day 3

So this is the last day in Singapore, and to be honest we haven’t made the best of it. But I have enjoyed relaxing and being in the house.

We have mainly stayed in the house ordering McDonald delivery for breakfast.

We have watched a lot of pawn stars on the History Channel its alright but it repeats itself a lot. They just brought a hot hair balloon.

We went out for a little walk and a cool drink at the swisslink bakery, on the way we all met a fellow student of Orlando’s.

After the walk we headed home and I washed a T-shirt and had a shower.

There was then a bit more time for blogging and watching pawn stars before we had to leave for the airport.

We took a few photo graphs of the house the dogs (three in total) and Timtim the maid.

We then left for the airport. We put the bikes in the back of the truck, mind was yet to be unpacked, and it still had the cling film wrapper on it that I had done at heathrow. It didn’t take us long to get to the airport. We checked in without any problems. They didn’t ever weigh my bike. I was also slightly worried about the vast amount of hand luggage we had well mainly me but it all worked out okay.

Then we tried to find Orlando and Sam for dinner. This took a bit of doing but we met up with them.

We decided to go for a truly authentic end to a time in Singapore with a meal at a lovely restaurant called Pizza Hut. (To be fair it was good and one of the nicer huts).

After this it was time to say good bye to our generous hosts and we did this with a hug.

We checked out of Singapore using out passports and visa bit of paper.

We walked around a bit before heading to our gate going through security and then waiting a bit. We are now flying to Dawin. I am going to try and get a bit of sleep now.

I cannot sleep as the seat is very upright and there are some people talking loudly behind us.

All in all the first leg of the trip has gone well. We will have to see how the biking goes!

I forgot to mention on yesterdays post that we stopped on the way home from the Polo Club to collect some Durian. Durian is a fruit, that smells bad and doesn’t taste that good.

singapore day 2

I slept fairly well although it got fairy hot in the bedroom.

We headed to the beach, in the Orlando’s and Sam’s truck which is resisted as a business vehicle for several reasons.

It is used for their business Woods Equestrian , it is cheaper, uses diesel.
The rules about using cars here are a bit complicated but in summary you have to buy a certificate of entitlement which the government regulates. Only so many are realised each month and are sold to the highest bidders. It is possible to get a certificate just for off peak times this is cheaper, if you have this the number plate will be red. Classic car number plates are red and orange, your only allowed to use this so many times a month. There is also congestion charging here. There is a charge card in the car and gantries which charges the card. If you go into some carparks it also can charges the cards.

We had a look at the beach there were a lot of ships fairly close. We watched some people water skiing there was no boat but they sort of got pulled around by a system of cables.

After looking at the beach we went into sailing shop Orlando got some sailing gloves.

We the headed to vegan burger. The name says it all the burgers were good. There was also a motorbike there which was the same as Orlando’s a Royle Enfield Bullet.

After lunch Cliff and I got dropped off in the centre of town. We went to Sim Lim square which sold a lot electronic goods. Cliff brought a blackberry battery from an aggressive sales lady.

We then went to the Trek bike shop then got the bus back to the flat. We stopped off at a store and got a not very nice drink.

After this we relaxed at the house before heading to the Singapore Polo club for dinner. This was very pleasant I had a good meal. Cliff kindly paid for this as a thank you for all the help I have given him developing his rather excellent website. (I have given him no help).