Rockhampton Cup on Wheels

Over the weekend, I went to the Rockhampton Cup on Wheels track cycling meet.  I hadn’t been to a meet before.  It was run by the Rockhampton Cycling Club and attracted both local, interstate and international competitors to the event including special guest Anna Meares.

If you haven’t seen much track cycling before, it is kind of like the last stage of the Tour de France where they are doing the laps of the Champs-Élysées before hitting the sprint finish but inside a sloping closed circuit track.  So pretty much just the most exciting bits.  I had watched track cycling on TV before but seeing it in “real life” is much better.  They go really fast!

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Discovery weekend–Orange

The details for the Bike NSW Discovery weekend are up!  23-25 March 2012 in Orange.   They have multiple ride options including a mountain bike skills workshop, and road rides ranging from 50-120kms including stops at local wineries, berry farms and even a wind farm!

I did have to look up where Orange was, and apparently it’s about 260 kms west of Sydney.

It’s a bit different from Cycle QLD/Big Ride as you have to arrange your own accommodation – there is camping available.  Early bird cost is about $119 (no idea what this covers), and $30 for camping.  After the 22nd of December, cost goes up to $149.

Looks like it’ll be a fun weekend!

What’s the difference between all those different kinds of bikes?

Have you looked at all those different kinds of bikes out there, and wondered what the difference between them all was?  I mean, road bike, downhill bikes, hybrids… what are they all?

Drop bar Road bikes

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These are bikes for riding road (fancy that).  They generally run skinny tyres with minimal tread and have big wheels so they go pretty quick. They are happiest going straight on smooth roads.  The rims are generally not designed to roll over dirt or pot holes.

As they are deisgned to be pretty quick, they are generally all about aerodynamics – drop handlebars to get you down lower, and low handlebars make you more streamlined, but have the consequence that the riding position is quite hands heavy.

Most road bikes also don’t have braze ons for attachment of a rack

Flat bar road bikes

These bikes are like road bikes (skinny tyres, 700 wheels) but have flat handlebars for a more comfortable riding position.  They are very popular commuter bikes.

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Hard tail

A hard tail is a mountain bike with front suspension only (hence the ‘hard tail’).  They are quite versatile and are used for things such as racing (lots of the fast people use them for racing as they are super quick over dirt compared with a duallie, but you need to be a comparatively better rider to ride one than a duallie as it has no rear suspension to soak up the bumps). People also use them for commuting (you can also replace the tyres with slick tyres so they roll faster).

They have 26 inch wheels and flat handlebars.


These bikes are for mountain biking.  They have both front and rear suspension (ie dual suspension mountain bike).  They are better for rough riding than a hard tail, as the front and rear suspension soak up bumps better, but are comparatively slower.

They generally have 26 inch wheels (but 29 inch wheels are starting to become quite popular)


These are made for one thing, and one thing only.  Going downhill and doing it fast.  They have a lot of suspension both front and rear.  They are best suited to going uphill via a truck or chair lift.


These are a combination of a mountain bike and a road bike.  They generally have mtn bike sized wheels (26 inch), and may also have some light front suspension, but generally run skinnier, smoother tyres than a mountain bike.  They are popular for commuting

Other types


Two people… one bike… need I say more?


These bikes let you sit and pedal in a super comfortable position.  They can be great for people that have back problems or hand/wrist problems that don’t allow them to ride a traditional bike.  You can get them in 2 wheeled or 3 wheeled versions, with different kinds of wheel sizes.

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Cargo bikes

Need to move house?  This is the bike for you.  These bikes let you carry stuff – lots of stuff.

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How often do I need to pump up my tyres?

Do you have a bike, but aren’t sure how often, how how much you should pump up your tyres?  The answer to this really depends on what kind of bike/tyre you have.  A good rule of thumb (that I just made up), is that the skinnier the tyre, the more often you need to pump it up.  How did I make this up?  Well, tyres generally lose pressure as air naturally seeps out of them.  So, the higher the pressure and lower the volume, (eg a super skinny road bike tyre), the more noticeable it will be that air has leaked from the tyres.

So, super skinny road bike tyres?  I’d pump up at least once a week, if I was riding a decent distance every day, I’d probably check and pump them every couple of days.

Road tyres - at least once a week

Fatter tyres?  Eg these from a commuter bike?  As you don’t pump these to as high a pressure, you can leave these longer – every 1-2 weeks should be okay.

Commuter tyres - at least every 1-2 weeks

Fat tyres?  Eg mountain bike tyres?  Generally you don’t inflate these all that much, so every few weeks should be ok.

Fat tyres - every few weeks

So why should I bother?  Having your tyres inflated properly is very important.  The biggest reason people get flat tyres (apart from someone slashing your tyre) is tyres that aren’t pumped up enough.  If you don’t have enough air in your inner tube, and you roll over a bump, the inner tube gets pinched between the tyre and the rim of the wheel of your bike and causes a hole in the inner tube.  All the air leaks out, and voila – a flat tyre (called a pinch flat).

On top of that, properly inflated tyres protect the rim of your wheels from damage and also make your pedalling more efficient (you go further, for less effort – a good thing in my books).

So, although it’s a bit of a pain in the neck to pump up your tyres, remember to do it!

A great day out – Cowan to Calga by bike

It was a stunning day today.  Overcast and cool, but not a raindrop in sight.  I joined four other ladies at Cowan Station, for a cruise to Calga.

The riding is stunning.  Two significant sets of hills in 54 kms.  The first climb, up Mt White, is quite steep, but short (3.8 kms or so), with most of the elevation gain in the first km or so.  The second climb, back up off the Brooklyn bridge, is much more steady, and a bit longer.

The scenery is fabulous.  For the most part, you’re riding through the bush, on quiet roads.  The F3 also goes up that way, so most people in a hurry take the freeway.

Quiet roads in the bush at Mt White

After a stop into Pie in the Sky a local favourite for a latte and apple pie, we rolled back down into Cowan.

Pie in the Sky

All in all, a very nice ride with a great bunch of ladies!

Introducing the family

So let me introduce you to the significant others currently in my life.  Firstly, we have Susanna.  She’s my Orbea Dama road bike and she’s 2 1/2. Now Susanna is definitely a princess.  She doesn’t like getting dirty, riding rough, and woe betide anyone who treats her roughly.  She’s happiest riding hotmix, or being leaned up against the fence at our favourite coffee shops.  She’s currently awaiting a bit of a makeover (I have beautiful light blue bar tape to put on her, which I think will make her very pretty).

Susanna - the diva of the family

Next, we have Cameron.  She’s the tomboy of the family.  She’s a Giant Trance 1, probably now 4 years old.  4 inches of travel, she’s happiest in the dirt.  Not a big fan of mud (as I found out at Capital Punishment a couple of years ago, when I ended the race with one gear, and no brakes – you should have seen the mud – everywhere from my bottom bracket to my shifters and cables… YUK!)  I keep thinking of upgrading her to something a bit racier, but every time I ride something technical, I’m thankful for her relaxed geometry.

Cameron - the tomboy

The next in the family is Olivia.  Now Olivia, she’s been with me the longest.  She began life as a Shogun drop barred roadie – my first road bike which I bought after my commuter was stolen from outside a police station (I’ll tell you that one another time).  After my first Cycle Qld, where I had a spontaneous rear derailleur explosion, I decided to get Susanna (well, I have to confess, it probably wasn’t the mechanical that made me decide to get a new bike, it was riding around all week envying all the other pretty bikes).    So after Susanna’s entrance into my life, Olivia got a makeover.  She’s now my touring bike.  She’s really my project – first of all, she got new bars, shifters and brakes to make her a flat bar roadie, plus racks.  After a few cycle tours carrying panniers, and whimpering up the hills, I decided that roadie gearing just wasn’t suited to touring.  Consequently, she’s had new cranks and rear cassette, and new derailleurs front and rear to match.  Now, all I want to do is replace the frame (to something a little bit more relaxed, with brazons for my rack – I currently thread my rack onto my rear skewer… dodgy I know).  She’s kinda like the family axe – been in the family 5 generations, and had 3 new heads and 2 new handles – I don’t really know what is left of the original Olivia, but hey, it’s all good fun.

Olivia - old faithful

The final bike in the family is Elriva.  Now Elvira is probably the bike I use the least.  She used to be Nat’s, but I inherited her.  She’s the only bike I have with flat pedals, and non-quick release… anything.  Wheels, seatpost, everything are all  bolted in.  I use her for hacking up to the station, the shops, and anywhere I have to go that requires chaining up a bike and leaving it for long periods of time in dodgy places.  The non-quick release helps to stop people walking away with my wheels and seatpost and leaving my frame chained to a lamppost.

And that’s it (for now).  The family.  You know what they say about the ideal number of bikes though.  The ideal number of bikes to own is n+1 where n= the number of bikes you currently own.  But hey, currently the garage, and my budget limit my family to a nice round 4.