Category Archives: Trips

Bridging rides

Wowee, the TdF is on! It’s July already! A couple of trips away that I’m still to blog about (I blame those months of lawn bowls) but some rides in June were pleasant – as well as the winter weather – & so here’s some pics…

Some construction activity along the northern bank of Parramatta River at Rydalmere has been finished & there’s now some extra riverfront cyclepath that bypasses the industrial factories. Our ride in early June took us from Olympic Park to Parramatta on cyclepath all the way. Here we are, bridging Subiaco Creek…

Also in June was a bit of time spent staying on the Central Coast to check-out the whale migration to Queensland. No whales along the Tuggerah Lake foreshore but the replacement of the ramshackle big wooden footbridges was most appreciated, as were these park benches…

Another day when we set out for a ride from our campsite, the weather overcast but fine…

By the afternoon it definitely wasn’t going to stay dry. Just as the rain came down, we were passing the pub at The Entrance. Time to have lunch?

Whale-watching duties were performed every day, although it was so much easier when we had blue skies…

Chrissie picnics

Two Brompton bike shop-arranged Christmas Rides & picnics, two cities & one week apart? How good would this be? Getting to the Cheeky Transport ride in Sydney was our usual multi-modal affair, with trains & riding. The following week our Tardis transported us to Newcastle for Metro Cycles’ ride to Stockton.

Group rides & taking pics for the blog never seem to come together for me (just like Brompton events never having enough chat time?). So, in grabbing some of the pics from other sources, I should acknowledge them – but I’m struggling to identify all the snappers (so thanks to all?)

Cheeky’s ride started from the Newtown shop & headed to Brighton via back roads, lanes, cycle paths & whatever (hard to describe, difficult to remember the twists & turns, happy to chat & follow?). Adam guided us well, showed us sights we didn’t expect & delighted 11 riders (9 Bromptons & 2 big-wheelers) all the way to a Brighton Fish & Chips snack & then back to yummy nosh at the Concordia Club at Tempe. A great time for all; another successful Cheeky adventure.

Burning up the road for our group pic?
Market gardens near Sydney airport? Who knew?
A week later & our Northern cousins, the Newcastle Brompton Club, held their inaugural ride & we just had to go. On Friday the Tardis took us to Stockton Beach caravan park, just as the rain arrived (so Ralph-e & Peregrine kept under cover).
On Saturday we went multi-modal (ride & ferry) back into the city – with a brief stop to avoid a rain storm.
Sunshine from Metro Cycles onwards was well received & 14 Bromptons headed out, riding for the ferry to Stockton & then a tour of the peninsula. Our turnaround was under the Stockton Bridge & time for a good chat.
Taking over one of the picnic shelters (just opposite Nobbys Head), it was time for the group photo attempt & then it was time to unload all the picnic goodies & celebrate. Many thanks for Metro’s Bernie (& Lynn & Gus) & the ever-present Nick “Mr Brompton”. I suspect it won’t be our last Newcastle club ride?

Brompton alternatives

Just to prove that it’s not all about getting around on a Brompton, I present these recent alternate activities where the Bromptons either stayed at home or folded.

Rather different to our 2 week Cruise earlier this year, yesterday we had a 2 hour “Twilight Tall Ship Cruise”. The 94-year-old Our Svanen (now Southern Swan) came to Australia in 1988 as part of the 200 year re-enactment of the First Fleet arrival in Sydney from Portsmouth.

Our legs got a solid workout this month when we walked the “Sculpture by the Sea” path from Bondi to Tamarama (& then on to Coogee). Probably 16km for our day out – & a zillion steps?


Our VW Campervan took us away again in October, traveling to the Old Bar Beach Festival (read VW Kombi Festival). All sorts of events overall but Saturday’s main show was the Kombi motorcade through town. About 150 VWs formed up on the local airstrip & then drove through town & out to the highway before returning. Taking about 45 minutes to pass by, the spectator numbers were amazing. About 10 modern VWs like ours seemed out of place but it was worth it to see how the older models were received. Sunday was a static display & about 250 VWs turned up, providing hours of ogling every type of VW Type 2 imaginable; Transporters, Kombis, Buses, Dual-cabs & with customisations galore.(Yes, Peregrine & Ralph-e were onboard the Tardis – & had quite a few folding demos.)




Finally, some of our other Brompton-free outings were steam train excursions north & south of Sydney. I say Brompton-free because we were very uncertain of our accommodation. Heritage carriages usually have limited luggage facilities & for these trips we would be in a private lounge car or a private first class car (with catering). Best to sit back & relax, even though exploring the turn-around destinations on Bromptons would have been ideal. Instead, we just took lunch breaks while the trains were off being serviced elsewhere (funny how many towns don’t seem to have water towers & turntables any more?)

BWC Final 2016

After 6 weeks touring the UK & Northern Ireland, we’d arrived for “the big event”: the 2016 Brompton World Championship Final in London. Unlike our 2013 experience riding the BWC at Goodwood Motor Racing circuit, this year it was part of the RideLondon cycling events – & Mrs Aussie had won a place in the race ballot!

No problems coping with race registration & much “meeting & greeting”, with lots of time to admire/gawk at some fantastic race outfits. Heading for the circuit Mrs Aussie was all smiles.


On the grid & before the Le Mans start, there was some “Keep calm & Brompt On” time – & probably that rehearsal, “Handlebars up, raise the seat…”?


500+ Bromptons whizzing around the race track make for some serious racing but the “Brompton grin” was often evident – for brief periods?


The post-race activities were a blur & all too short (what with re-fueling, Gin & tonics, celebrations, awards, etc) before Brompton closed the hospitality area & we pedaled away – until next time?

Family cruise

Early this year we took our first cruise; 14 days from Sydney, taking in Melbourne, Hobart, Milford Sound, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Picton, Napier, Tauranga & finishing in Auckland. After another 7 days in & around Auckland we then flew back to Sydney. The whole trip went well; lovely weather (& sea conditions?) until the last few days near Auckland. Clarence & Peregrine came along for the experience & it was an interesting time; a good test for another time?

Our usual airline luggage setup is a bike bag, containing a Brompton, clothing, etc (1 checked bag) & a backpack/cabin bag. I’m rather cautious in preparing the Brompton to suit luggage handling methods.


We settled in to our verandah stateroom on Holland America Line’s Noordam (spot the 2 Bromptons?). Whenever out on the verandah, the thought existed of being locked out & having to say those words, “HAL, open the cabin door please”?


The big question for us was taking the Bromptons ashore? How easy? What issues? We could probably have managed it on all stops but in fact we only did it 3 times mid-cruise. The onboard portion was easy; unfold in the cabin & wheel it to whichever deck was being used for the gangway. Aside from ports where we had particular non-biking activities planned, 2 issues presented themselves. One was the use of a tender at Akaroa; rather crowded on the early departures but I’m sure it would have been possible? The unexpected issue was a number of ports that used an industrial berthing location (passenger facility wharves being too small?) & going ashore involved being bussed off the wharf. Another factor to consider was the distance the Brompton had to be wheeled before a ride could commence; port officials weren’t happy with riding within “their space”. In Melbourne we mostly cruised around the bay, with great weather that lasted all the way to Auckland.


After a calm Bass Strait (wow!?) & a smooth Tasman Sea crossing, we had a pre-dawn arrival into a calm Milford Sound (with the old hands not believing their good fortune?)


After the Sounds we “turned the corner” & headed up the East coast. The first of our industrial wharf berthings, Port Chalmers was our gateway to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South? Free WiFi in a marque on the wharf was very popular, although lethargic, but once in the centre of Dunedin the council-provided “GigCity” was probably the fastest WiFi in the whole of NZ? (Well, I didn’t encounter anything faster!) Our return to the ship was farewelled by a Scottish band, nestled amongst a common port sight; containers & logs galore!


A few favourite regular evening happenings onboard were our pre-dinner “preparations”, post-dinner relaxing with this Polish duo’s classical music & checking out what the bed-turndown display would be (every evening featured a different creature).


Only one visit required tenders for landing. Maybe a dozen tenders shuttled us ashore at Akaroa, the replacement for the earthquake-devastated port near Chistchurch. Nice calm seas with an anchorage inside an ancient volcano caldera?


Another berthing was to 1930s earthquake-devastated Napier, with its Art Deco buildings still sparkling long after the city rebuilding.


Spotted this junior bike track during our Brompton cruise around Napier; a mock road environment for teaching road skills (& reminding me of my own learning experiences in my Auckland Primary school grounds when Police officers would bring along portable traffic lights, other street furniture, pedal cars, trikes & scooters).


NZ being renowned for its earthquake activity, this Tsunami warning sign wasn’t too alarming? (funny though, having grown up in NZ & then visited many times, my only earthquake experience to-date has actually been in Sydney!)


Once off the Noordam in Auckland we played “tourist in a rental car” but still had a few Bromptings; this one on the North Shore (pic looking back to the Harbour Bridge).


Finally, all the sunny weather disappeared over the last few days of the trip. Rain & big winds on the coast had its own attractions – but not too appealing for the new owner of this catamaran damaged & blown ashore?

Distracted somewhat

Yes we did return from that cruise & the Bromptons have been in action but blogging hasn’t been top priority for the last four months. You see, I’ve been somewhat distracted with the lawn bowling Pennants season & this weekend was to be the culmination, with playoffs to decide the Zone winner for progression to the State Finals in late July. The season has gone really well; trial matches & then an unbeaten run to be top point-scorer for an automatic place in the final. As you may make out in the pic, our Pennant Hills team won our section & the semifinal would be between Burwood Diggers & Wenty Leagues. Woohoo, perhaps repeating our Pennants flag win of last year?
However, particularly nasty weather this whole weekend (see the blue spot for our location in the pic) has seen all attempts to play the games defeated & the next scheduled date in the calendar is a few weeks away.

“Who left the wheelbarrow out?”

Unfortunately, I shall be away when the rescheduled playoffs take place! Fortunately, Mrs Aussie has been doing lots of planning & very soon now we’ll depart on our BWC sojourn! Lots of packing/preparing to do… (& catching up on the blogs?)

Trip time

Following some rather wet weather in Sydney, we escaped on a little trip to Macmasters Beach. The surf was wild & the foam was deep  

One task was brushcutting some neglected lawns which seemed to bring out a Brush Turkey chick to inspect our handiwork. The chick then decided that the open screen door was done for its behalf & explored some rooms 

 An exploratory ride was included, checking out the cycleway around the Kincumber Broadwater. Some good discoveries were a monument trail for the historical shipbuilders, the Little Teapot Cafe & a business handling VW Kombi restorations (with plenty of work-in-hand?)  

   
 Another trip actually extends into February but for now, here’s the opening scene: Peregrine & Clarence taking their first cruise (& ours) out of Sydney Harbour 

 
Finally, the hint/hope of a trip in July to the BWC Final 2016 in London (as long as we get some good news from the ballot?)

We ride

Finally, a blog post. I’m sure there are some who are saying that & it certainly applies to me too. My last post was back in April when there were some frustrations that included the weather & WordPress blogging issues. Winter arrived & it was too easy to avoid riding much but we did do another “Northern migration” for warmer climes in July. In fact, July was to be my last riding until this week; 4 months off the bike! That period was “interesting”, with lawn bowling dominating & my club Pennant side progressing to the state finals. Riding was low priority but also lack-lustre; medically things weren’t right & so lots of discussions & tests were undertaken. Eventually the issues were tracked to a faulty cable in my electrics. Yes, sounds weird I know but long-term blog readers may recall that I have an implanted defibrillator (it’s not just the Bromptons that require diagnostics, servicing & tune-ups?).

So, a short break to the Hawks Nest & Tea Gardens area to the north of Sydney saw the Tardis carrying our Bromptons Peregrine & Clarence.

  
Off we went for a gentle ride (all I could cope with after such a break?), pootling around the ocean & river foreshores. The river front included yachts, launches, houseboats & “office boats” – although the workers seem to have gone fishing when we passed by?

  
Nearly back to the Tardis at our campsite, Clarence had gone well but with a temperature up to 38° it was me that needed the rest stop.

  

Coastal break

A mid-week stay at MacMasters Beach wasn’t blessed with brilliant weather but still good for getting out & about. Rather too hilly for my riding & so walking to the cafe at the local surf club was popular – & nice for gazing out at big seas?
  
Lovely beach walk towards Copacabana
  
Driving to The Entrance & then riding around the lake front is more suitable for me, although with the King tides some areas of cycle path were a case of “Will I or won’t I?” (I didn’t)
  

Fun times

Wowee!? Mid-March already!? Doesn’t time fly? This year’s “fun & games” have been rather engrossing but finally it’s time to attempt to catch up on blog postings.

First off, Mrs Aussie is recovering well from her broken elbow (very well, according to the Surgeon) although full rotation & extension will take time. My pre-Christmas elbow infection was slow to disappear & took almost all of January before medications & dressings could cease.

Our ailments didn’t deter our Tardis trip to Adelaide in January. We took along Clarence & Peregrine & took 4 days to drive about 1400km (& the same on return). Our Adelaide accommodation was apartment-based & the Tardis became our lounge-base when driving out to spectate at the Tour Down Under cycling stages (but much more on our escapades in a separate blog post – soon? – refer pic).



Local Brompton activity has been rather limited for various reasons. Lawn bowls is my “excuse” (see below) & for Mrs Aussie, she’s now “back to school” in continuing her Graphics Design degree course. I’m sure there’s a blog post coming on our recent rides? Another posting may say more about the recent Australian Brompton distribution changes (I’m sure there must be a story in there somewhere?) but for those unaware, Kobie Cycling is no longer handling Brompton distribution & there is now a separate Brompton Australia team – with their website being “http://www.bromptonaustralia.com.au/” (check out all the lovely bikes & parts).

Immediately on return from Adelaide my lawn bowling activities resumed (even before the lawns were attacked?) & club trials for the NSW Pennant season got underway. After 4 weeks of trial games against other clubs, we’re now 3 weeks into the 10-week season. Along with this, my club Singles championships have commenced; first with the Minor Singles (eligible to those who haven’t won a Minor championship previously) & after Easter with the Major Singles. I seem to have been practicing & playing rather a lot lately & still it continues – because I play in the Minor Singles Final next Sunday! Five fun weeks although with increasingly higher stakes? The physical & mental demands in bowling are quite demanding & can be quite some workout. Along with a Triples team tournament last Friday (for which we took home a few hundred dollars for 3rd place!), my last 3 days have involved almost 120 ends of play (5km of walking?) & delivering over 320 bowls (total weight about 500kgs?). All good BWC training?

Serious considerations here, to visiting the UK this year & including the BWC. Unfortunately/frustratingly the news out of Brompton HQ on this year’s (10th anniversary?) race has been zilch (beyond saying they’ll email when plans are announced?). Intriguingly the news from unofficial sources are hinting at an early August date & at an “iconic location” (in London?). Anyone familiar with London cycling events in early August could be raising their eyebrows & starting to speculate? However, we need to “Stay calm & Brompt On” (as Mrs Aussie would say) & so we await the official word…