Sunday, February 22, 2009

My set of wheels

Here are some pictures of my bicycle. It was a re-cycled 26" Mountain Bike I got from Western Sydney Cycling Network. These people save old or redundant bicycles and re-cycle them into useful machines again. The bicycle you see is being used to commute to TAFE, 3 days a week and is ridden to visit friends, go to church, going shopping and also being ridden for the sheer heck of it.

Martin's Bicycle (front view) 22/02/2009

In this front view you can see the Blackburn MTH-1 Front rack with a Tioga Rack bag on top. Alloy riser handlebars give me a more upright riding position - about 75 to 80 degrees, so not quite a true 90-degree comfort bicycle. The gel seat is from Tioga. It's quite good for short rides, but your backside can get sweaty on longer (+2 hours) rides. More breathable shorts will probably help, but the ultimate would be to get a Brooks Leather saddle. Just visible is my front light - the original plastic mounting was rubbish and took a couple of weeks to disintegrate. Now it is just cable-tied to the handlebar and stem. The two-prong stand was an investment. When I got the bicycle, it didn't have a kick-stand. The weight of the panniers and other equipment would make it impossible for this machine to use an ordinary lean-to kick-stant. I am told that this is the same type as what Australia Post uses on their bicycles, which are required to carry up to 45 kg's of mail. I can vouch that they do what they are supposed to.


Tioga one-piece rear panniers. Definately NOT an up-market item, but I have successfully taken all my TAFE books and clothes in these the 6km each-way commute in them. The rack is an alloy touring model from Tioga. The light on the rear rack is a Blackburn Mars 2.0 - in my opinion the best rear light. It has two bright yellow LED's which flash side-ways. Whilst these are mostly hidden by the panniers, the extra lighting is useful for being seen at night. I also wear a hydration pack whilst riding, which carries two red flashing lights available from Dick Smith Electronics for $5 each. The seat-post mounting is rubbush, but they can be worn on your belt, pants or (as I do) on your hydration pack, which they do beautifully. From the rear I am lit up light a Christmas tree, which will hopefully mean I won't get run over whilst on the road!

Since these pictures were taken, I have bought a rear frame bag from ALDI. This was a great little bargain, and now it holds my tool-kit, and I plan to use it to carry a spare inner-tube too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It never hurts to ask...

Well, I have been to TAFE for two days so far, and the bicycle commute is working out well. The ride is only about 5.5km, and it is easily undertaken in 35 minutes. Time for a quick shower at the campus, breakfast and into classes at 9am. Asking around, I was shown a shower in the men's toilets in the second building away from my main classroom and the building I have my classes I found a locker-room attached to another set of men's toilets and even was given permission to use the lockers! Just goes to show that it never hurts to ask.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Going the whole 337km

Well, my bicycle tour has now taken on a life of it's own. The whole trip is approximately 337km from Campbelltown to Canberra with overnight stops in: Bargo, Moss Vale, The Pauline Monks Monastery, Marulan, Goulburn, Tarago and Bungendore.

The whole journey is 8 days (7 nights), follows mostly secondary country roads and if Google maps provides any useful satellite photos, it appears to pass many farms and rural properties, which hold promise for some beautiful country scenery.

I am already excited about it, I need to remind myself that this will be my first bicycle tour, and perhaps a more modest ambition to go to Bargo, camp and enjoy the area for a 4-day trip (ride there Friday, ride home Monday) will probably be an ideal proving ground for my capabilities.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Once you get started on a good thing...

I have just shocked and amazed myself. I went through and Google maps to plot out a trip, which just kept heading south. Before I knew it I had plotted it all the way to Marulan and then Goulburn! Yes, a 205km bicycle road trip! Of course, better details about places to see and facilities in the area need to be researched one stage at a time. It can probably be done in 4 days if you overnighted in Bargo, Moss Vale and Marulan. However, details will get blogged as they are discovered!

Mad Marty's Blog of Bicycle Adventures!


I'm Marty, also known as ~Mad Marty~ for often having rather insane ideas, and being even more insane by planning out and attempting some of them! I am involved in many seemingly-unrelated things, some of which you may find interesting.

Today I am writing about Bicycle Touring.

Now, bear with me for a little while as this is my first blog, and I'm still getting used to all the features and functions.

At the moment I have started planning two possible tours to take via bicycle. viz:

1.) The Bargo Tour

Naturally because I want these tours to be as safe as possible, whilst I start out, Bargo is the more attractive tour. Firstly stays close to a major railway line, and you are never more than 20km from help. Keep a clear idea of what the name of the road is, and how far you are away from each town. If worse comes to worst, call 000 or 112 for emergency services in the area. Legs 1 and 2 on their own could be considered the Picton Tour I suppose. I intend to use this tour as the first part of a longer Southern Highlands Tour - possibly even to go from Sydney-Canberra. I'll let you know when I have conjured such a thing up.

1st Leg: (13km)
The Bargo Tour starts at Campbelltown Railway Station. The tour follows Menangle Road. At about 13km into the trip you come across Menangle. I don't actually know what's there. Since thre is a Railway Station, I presume that there must be some sort of shopping area. Hopefully at least somewhere to pick up some food and most importantly, water.

2nd Leg: (17km)
Back on Menangle Road, head shouth towards Maldon, where you make a right turn into Picton Road into the town of Picton. Now I know for certain that there is plenty in Picton. Perhaps this is a good place to stop, lunch, do touristy stuff and make a spectacle of yourself when you explain to any local or passer-by that you have just come by bike from Sydney (well, you fib - actually from Campbelltown only 30km away),

3rd Leg: (15km)
From Picton, follow the Remembrance Driveway, which takes you straight to Bargo. This section is about 15km I have been told anecdotes that there is a good verge on the Remembrance Driveway, and possibly even some cycle lanes, although don't take my word for it until I have actually completed the tour and have some photographs to show you. I have found that there is a caravan park where you can pitch a tent for the night (or two or three), and if you pay a little extra you can get a powered camp site.

The Heatcote Tour

Now this one is a gem. This is one between two railway stations again, however the distance is a little greater at 22km. You start at Holsworthy Railway Station, go through the car park, turn right and then head south-east on Heatcote Road. When you get to the Princess Highway, turn right and you willsoon find yourself in Heathcote. PLEASE NOTE: Everything to the Western side of the road is military reserve, and it is an offence to be there without permission. LIVE FIRING is carried out there, and you don't want to be in the path of any stray fire. Everything on your left, I believe is crown land, and might even be national park. If you need to pull over this is the side you should do it on. Beware of traffic, as this road is a 100km zone in many parts. Ride predictably, and stay out of the way of any Trucks you meet. I have driven down this road many times (in a car) and the traffic is always light. You'll be surprised to see more than 3 or 4 cars in a row there. This is definately NOT one to be doing at night. I plan to use this as the first leg of a longer South Coast Tour one day.

Phew! That's a hefty blog post which has given me much to think about and research before I post again. As I have said, I havn't done any of these tours yet, so please don't ask me piles of questions expecting expert knowledge.