31 December, 2010

And I Enjoyed Every One of Them....

The calendar has been taken down and a new one from Guide Dogs Queensland put up in its stead. The weather this morning was less than cooperative- so the early ride just didn't happen. We had pondered packing the bikes into the car and driving to a more rural location for a bit of a hit out but a check of the RACQ's (That would be the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland) website showed that the roads were cut and not open to any traffic.

So we headed into the city and walked Castle Hill. With the temp around 29-30C and humidity at almost 80%, it made for a sauna-ish climb. We took the road as we have had a considerable amount of rain and we were uncertain as to the condition of the track. We even managed to score a bit of a cooling shower after reaching the top. It was nice to watch it rolling in from the coast and putting a soft grey diaphanous curtain between us and the city vista.

And so the end of the "Noughties" is upon us. A few glasses of bubbly, fresh homemade oatmeal brown bread, prawns sauteed in butter and simmered in a bit of cream with a green salad- why would I want to be out amongst the throngs in the rain watching fireworks?

Besides- we are intending to ride in the morning- gotta start the new decade off right.

The numbers for 2010:

Total Number of Rides: 233
Total Kilometres: 9475.9 (Yes, I enjoyed every one of them)

Happy New Year to all

Cheers- Ride Safe

25 December, 2010

A Christmas Ride

"Merry Christmas to all and to all, on your bikes!!"

Didn't manage to have our early morning ride today. When I got up at 4:30, there was an eerie stillness. The rain had bucketed down a couple of times overnight and the wind whipped up, but now, all was calm.

I fired up the Weatherzone website for a look at the local radar and it was apparent that this was "the calm before the storm." Cyclone Tasha formed about 250km north of us at 1:00am this morning and was making a spirited charge for he coast. Given our location on the southern side of this system, the result was some serious downpours. To steal and amend a phrase from Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi", "No ride for you!"

The bucketing continued in waves until just after 1:30 this afternoon. After a prolonged respite from the monsoonal downpour- about 3:00, Dee said, "It has stopped raining. Let's go for a ride to the dam."

Not having ridden yesterday, we were both a bit antsy and headed out. The ride out was pretty good- a bit more traffic than we anticipated- but you get that sometimes eh?

After making the turn and heading through the acreage blocks along the back way, I could see a shower approaching. See the bright yellow and orange "V" shaped band of rain? It smacked us dead on.

It certainly made for an interesting experience. I have ridden in rain, and I have ridden in windy conditions- but cycling through driving rain with wind gusts to 55+ km/hr was totally new. Wouldn't have missed it for the world.
There are still bands of rain coming in from the north which will result in some heavy showers overnight, but with a bit of luck we may just be able to get a ride in tomorrow morning.

Cheers- ride safe


22 December, 2010

Splashing Through the Flow....

We're on a bit of a weather watch as we head toward the Christmas holidays. As if it hasn't been wet enough for the past couple of months, the prediction ** now is for a low pressure system to approach the coast on the weekend with the possibility of up to 500mm (yes that's almost 20 inches) between Cardwell and Mackay. Guess where Townsville is?- If you said between Cardwell and Mackay, give yourself three "'Atta boy!"s and a pat on the back.
I have to say at this point I am thankful that this does not look like becoming a full blown cyclone as the Bureau of Meteorology says there should not be strong winds associated with the system- just rain.

**Prediction courtesy of  ABC News and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Usually our little social/cycling/coffee-swilling entourage rides on Christmas morning- it is absolutely the best day to be on the road. There is minimal traffic- motorised or otherwise and it is a wonderful feeling.

So- what do we do on Saturday? I am hoping the usual circuit will be on- although our regular cafe won't be open until Boxing Day. We may have to find somewhere else for our caffeine fix... Unless there is an absolute torrential downpour happening- I will ride. It might not be on my road bike- but I will ride.

So have a great Christmas- enjoy the festive season and the company of family and friends.

Cheers- ride safe

19 December, 2010

No, I don't think I'll ride this morning,,,,

And just as well- we had about 75mm of rain in a couple of hours and the roads were fairly awash- cut in many places and probably not the best place to be- on a bike- after all of the Saturday night Christmas parties....

We had our own little get together last night. I would say we had about 25 in total counting all the kids as well. A few pre-ride nibblies and ride-preparation hydration treatments "chez nous" as we awaited the arrival of dusk and then it was on the bikes and off into the night.

We started doing a bit of a tour of the Christmas lights in our and a couple of surrounding neighbourhoods last year and it was so much fun that we just had to do it again. And with the availability of battery powered LED Christmas lights, the challenge was on to see who could be the most visible for the ride.

Off we went, with lights blinking and flashing and dazzling- we even had our own Christmas carols (a CD of Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney (although it said BC, FS and Nat King Cole) playing on an mp3 player with portable speakers. I think we covered just on 9 km and saw a pretty good assortment of displays- nothing like any of these though. Sit back and enjoy....

Drivers were beyond polite to us as we made our way through the streets and the homeowners were very pleased and, I think, even more so, surprised to have 25 cyclists rack up in front of their homes on a Saturday night to look at their lights. They expect a stream of vehicles in our car-centric society, but a bunch of cyclists is something completely different. And believe me, we were "something different".

Liz (above) did the ride in that Santa-esque bikini top as a dare- albeit with Dee's "Yellow Vest of Righteousness"  as a modicum of coverage.

After the ride, it was off to Macca's house where we had a post-ride feed of salads, various breads, a curry, a crockpot chicken dish and my red beans and rice- washed down with several varieties of bubbly, sauvignon-blancs, assorted beers and topped off with a cheesecake and chocolate cake. And there wasn't much left over either  =8^(

The planning has started for next year.......

Cheers- ride safe

09 December, 2010

Mobile Posting

Okay- first go round posting remotely via the BlackBerry. Had a pretty good ride this morning and the weather was a little more comfortable as well. The temp was about 25C when I headed out and the humidity had eased back to around 70%. Just over 53km on the day with a max speed of just over 52km\hour and an average of just under 30- we hit almost every red light possible I think.
I can't seem to find how to insert my pictures via the B'Berry so I think I might have to edit this from the laptop at home.

Okay I had to succumb and upload the photos to the laptop- I'll figure it out yet.....

Cheers- ride safe

The former Queen's Hotel on The Strand. Not sure what it's used for now- it was a television station up until a few years ago.

The Anzac Memorial Fountain and Park

Looking back over Wickham Terrace toward Flinders Street

Old Customs House on The Strand

07 December, 2010

Try again tomorrow.....

I have been set a task......not a Herculean task, but a task nonetheless. One which I have never undertaken before. I am to take a photo on a morning ride and blog about said photo from the cafe- on my mobile telecommunication device- a.k.a. Blackberry. So I decided I better find out just what the optics are like- no sense taking a picture of a bee sipping nectar if you can't even tell that there's a flower in the picture.

As proof, I submit Exhibit A. Close inspection will show that sitting on the leaf of a gardenia grandiflora is a lovely dragonfly with a reddish-gold spot on each of the upper wings. Yeah, I guess you're right- needs a bit more work. Stay tuned....

Cheers- ride safe