Sunday, 27 October 2013


Day 1......Maroochydore to Sunshine Beach

 As soon as I stepped outside, I knew it was going to be a scorcher and  that the return ride was about 72 km. Although our group of seven were all seasoned recreational riders who wouldn't normally be daunted by riding this distance, when  faced with a really hot day you don't really know how each rider will fare. We were all aware it was of the utmost importance to keep hydrated but there was also an age factor in the equation and the two elements mixed together can sometimes bring on unwanteed circumstances. It was also the last day of a long weekend and we were riding in one of the most desirable pleasure spots in Queensland...the Sunshine Coast and you can understand why when you see some of my photographs in the next two posts. There was one more factor to add in and that was the weather forecast suggested a light to moderate north easterly breeze, changing south easterly and intensifying in the afternoon, meaning we would be heading into a headwind on the return run.
We had booked a couple of cabins at the Big 4 Maroochy Palms Holiday Village directly opposite the Maroochy River which turned out to be an ideal location. Most importantly, it was close to a hotel just in case we needed to sate our thirst on return. If you were thinking of taking a break in the near future as a family or a group of cyclists, I would certainly recommend this location-
 We started off following the shared paths along the river until we came to the bridge and then it was a matter of keeping to the bicycle lanes, shared paths and trails that were clearly marked on the Queensland Government Travelsmart maps we were carrying. The ride through to Coolum was pleasant enough although not spectacular and the last section riding into Coolum on a marked cycle lane was a little hairy due to us missing the entrance to the off road trail and the heavier than normal holiday traffic. It's one thing to mix it with normal road traffic but when the roads are full of holiday makers I tend to get nervous. I think everybody was pleased when we found a cafe that wasn't crowded and I really enjoyed my first iced coffee of the trip.
The rest of the ride to Sunshine Beach was very good and because a lot of it was on paths and boardwalks through coastel scrub and forest it was much, much cooler. On the downside, views like in  the above photograph were few.
Sunshine Beach
The Three Stooges or Three Ancient Warriors?

Sunshine Beach is a small beachside town just south of Noosa Heads and was the ideal spot to have some lunch before retracing our steps back to Maroochydore.
 The ride back, surprisingly, was remarkedly easy, the temperature had dropped a couple of points and the wind direction hadn't changed and so we had a nice breeze to our back which made it even more pleasant. We seemed to glide along the off road paths, crossing boardwalks and passing a series of fresh water ponds.

It appeared as though I was getting more opportunities to photograph some good beach scenes, which I didn't have before. We did do a lot more off road trails and paths on the return journey and I put this down to why I failed to capture these opportunities on the way up.
I managed to  consume a lot of liquid and replace lost electrolytes during the ride and I can say that I had a bit more gas left in the tank at the end of the ride. However, this didn't prevent me from consuming a couple of beers when we arrived back. I know, taking alcohol is not the best way to hydrate, but what the heck, it sure tasted good.
University of the Third Age - Peddling for Pleasure.
 That night , we walked the 100 metres or so to the local tavern where the menu was good, the taste right and the price reasonable.
SUNSHINE COAST - Maroochydore to Sunshine Beach
It is not difficult to navigate this ride but I would suggest obtaining a good map first from travelsmart (link)
Total distance : 72 km.
Difficulty: Moderate
Surface: Bitumen road, cement paths and boardwalk
This is a fun recreational ride. Relax and enjoy your surroundings.
Jimmy Bee

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


A nice rural view of the town of Clifton, taken looking east over the town . 

My brother in law, Merv. and I were up bright and early in anticipation of our country ride. We'd eaten breakfast, consulted the Met. Bureau and checked our bikes. The forecast was fine with a slight nor. easterly, which suited our planned ride. I had driven the route previously so had some idea of the quality of the road surface.

The road traffic was light so we rode abreast and chatted for the first few kilometres as we passed a lot of small crop farms closer to the town. Further on into the ride the vegetation became a mixture of open grazing and scrub.

The yellow plant is a prickly pear which is normally green in colour and would appear to be under weed control.

The pattern formed by bark is a favourite subject of mine to photograph.

Is this an old tree root or is it a fossilised monster from the past?
 It doesn't matter where you are or how uninteresting it appears, there is always a subject to photograph. The biggest problem is actually stopping to take the photograph when you are really enjoying the exhilarating moment of riding with a good tail wind but sometimes the urge to capture the subject is actually greater, particularly if you know you have a blog to write.
We had done some research prior to this ride and learnt that there was a clandestine World War 2 airstrip in this area, housing B17 Liberator bomber aircraft and we knew the general location of this old strip, so we set out to find it. Of all of the areas likely to have been an old B17 Base, this one looked to be the most likely. Looking at the above photo, it is not hard to imagine a strip running North to South, with a number of Nissen huts assembled to the side.
A little disappointed that we didn't find any evidence supporting our discovery, we headed for Leyburn.

As we arrived in town, we came across Liberator Park, a monument to the efforts of those who sacrificed much. The bomber crews from  21, 23 and 99 Squadrons who departed Leyburn never to return. The commando unit, Z Force members who, in their small specialised groups harassed the enemy in an unconventional manner gathering intelligence and harassing the enemy in the jungles of Timor and New Guinea. A lot of these men also paid the ultimate sacrifice. For more information, cross to the following link


Leyburn is a place of significant history. It was pioneered in the 1840s by William Gray Snr. who arrived in a bullock dray from Pitt Town on the Hawkesbury River. This is a reasonable distance to cover by car that alone a dray pulled by bullocks. Imagine the thoughts that ran through his head day to day and the hardships he would have endured. There would have been a lifetime of images imprinted onto his brain that unfortunately, died with him as unlike myself, he didn't have the technology to record, store and retrieve the scene at the time. Of course, he or one of his team may have been able to sketch or indeed paint, but I have not found any evidence of this.
The oldest continually licenced hotel in Queensland, the Royal Hotel, is located  in Leyburn. The licence was granted in 1854 for the original hotel called The Travellers' Home Inn. The hotel is now owned by Shane Webke, one of Queensland's favourite sons as he represented Queensland and Australia in Rugby League  and also as a media star in his own right.
On a lighter note, the abandoned airfield became the site of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix. The race was held over 35 laps of a 7 km circuit over a distance of 242 kilometres. The winner was John Crouch driving a Delahay. He completed the race in 1hr 49m 29.2s. Each year, Leyburn hosts the Historic Motor Sprints. People come from all over Australia to take part in their historic race cars. The event is akin to a country picnic race day and takes on a carnival atmosphere. I have been to one such event and had a great time, not only watching the time trials but looking at the immaculately kept old time race cars. For more information open the following link
The historic St. Augustine's Anglican Church, Leyburn

Built in 1871, this beautiful old church is said to be a replica of the church in Leyburn, Yorkshire, England. The shingled roof has been replaced twice in it's lifetime
Having caught up with our local history, we ventured to the only cafe/general store, where we purchased a good old fashioned pie and headed across the road to the creek where there is a lovely, well kept park equipped with picnic tables.

With the assistance of a GPS and map, we then set off for Pratten. Merv had arranged for his wife Kellie to pick us up in Pratten at the conclusion of our ride. We were within 9 km of our destination, when our pick up, in the form of a  blue Subaru came up behind us. We decided to call it a day, loaded the bikes on the back and joined Kellie and Renae, Merv's daughter for the quick drive back to Clifton.

The distance from Clifton to Leyburn is 33 km but we spent an extra 9 km looking for the old airfield. The distance to Pratten is a further 27 km., quite an easy ride for the moderate rider. The area between distance markers 35 and 40 is where we searched for the old airfield. As the runway on the old strip was 7,000ft.long, the paddock where I took the photograph would have been the most likely location.

Cheers and safe riding,
Jimmy Bee

Sunday, 13 October 2013


Some of our group of Hybrid Recreational Cyclists touring on their Scott hybrids in New Zealand

I've been pushing the point that I am a recreational cyclist for some time, when in fact, all but bicycle commuters and couriers are recreational cyclists and most of these groups ride on their RDO (rostered day off).

A sample of surfaces that Hybrid Recreational Cyclists travel on
My true description is Hybrid Recreational Cyclist. Why hybrid? well! the people I ride with, in the main, ride hybrid bikes and we ride on a combination of surfaces from bitumen to single trail. On any given ride, we can change a number of times from riding on a bitumen road, usually within a dedicated bike lane but not always, to off road cement shared paths to dirt tracks through the forest.
Discussing anything except bikes....perhaps because few of us know anything about them
We are different from the groomed lycra 'roadies', in that when we stop for a coffee break, they look immaculate and ultra fit as if they don't really sweat when they are riding. Even if you are blind, the roadies can be heard crossing a hard surface when their exposed cleats make contact with the floor. Their conversations usually centre around their expensive bikes, bike parts and pb's (personal best times). On the other hand, the 'hybrids' usually look like something the cat has dragged in, of all shapes and sizes, dressed in an assortment of hand me downs, seldom in lycra and overall, looking like the poor country cousin. The majority of our group don't use cleats, they don't even wear proper cycling shoes and therefore can glide across the floor of a coffee shop like a Ninja, without an audible sound. The conversation differs as well, we usually spend our half hour solving the problems of the world.....a casual listener would wonder in awe, on listening into our conversation. 'Why should we bother voting for politicians at all', as it would seem, listening to this group, that all politicians are useless and our little group had all of the answers and would cost a whole lot less.
Like religion, there are differences, but, in general the creed is the same. We all love cycling and how it makes us feel. We all cycle to keep fit and the vast majority see the bicycle as being far superior to the automobile. As far as doing our fair share in keeping the coffee culture alive, I believe we well and truely subscribe to that culture.
Wikipedia Commons image
What about the rock hoppers, commonly called mountain bikers? I can't really tell you much about them as they are a secretive lot, somewhat like the Masons and like them, their heritage stems from rocks. I do know however, that there are few if any coffee outlets in the areas where they perform so they can't possibly be pulling their weight in keeping the coffee culture alive.

I'll finish this post with the following quote attributed to Daniel Behman :

        I suppose that was what attracted me to the bicycle right from the start. It is not so much a way of getting somewhere as it is a setting of randomness; it makes every journey an unorganised tour....Daniel Behman (The man who loved bicycles).
 Cheers and safe riding,
Jimmy Bee

Thursday, 10 October 2013


Spring in Brisbane is a magical time. Beautiful sunshine and superb colour can change a person's whole outlook on the world and there is no better way of experiencing this wonderful feeling of freedom than to cycle along the paths and trails of Brisbane. If Monet was still alive today, he would have had a ball bringing these scenes to life. 

Jacaranda trees fronting the Brisbane River

A lovely splash of colour

An arbour cover in Bougainvillea in full bloom

Once the gloomiest place in Brisbane, a place where no one wanted to enter the gates of.......Boggo Road Gaol, today, looks cool and inviting.

Changing the facade of an ugly old  building can bring startling results as witnessed in changing the entrance to this old gaol with some intelligent artwork. For more information on Boggo Road Gaol, open the following link


One of the first buildings to be seen on disembarking from the train at Park Road is the old gaol but instead of being gloomy, it is now part of a modern landscape of which the mural on the facade is a pleasant interlude. If you would like to know more about the Ecosciences precinct, please open the following link

This is a Map my Ride map

Of course, you don't have to use the railway to partake in this particular ride, it is convenient for our group to travel by rail with our bikes from Cleveland. We find that in most cases when starting a ride away from our district it is more convenient to travel as a group by rail and inexpensive as well.

Follow the bike path down to the river passing under the Schonell Bridge and turning left into The Corso. Rather than trying to give you turn by turn directions, you either contact Translink and ask them to forward you a map, use your GPS system or simply download a map from Map my Ride or a similar organisation. Either way, it is quite simple to find your way on this ride.

Jack Pesch Cycle Bridge

St. Lucia Golf Links

The Bicentennial Bike way

The ride takes you across the Brisbane River via the Jack Pesch cycle bridge, through Indooroopilly, past the St. Lucia Golf Links where our group stopped for coffee etc.We then proceeded through the University of Queensland campus, under the Schonell Bridge on the northern side, eventually linking up with Coronation Drive, where we followed the bike way until we reached the Goodwill Bridge where we crossed the Brisbane River again, through Kangaroo Point, continuing along the river until we reached Norman Avenue, which lead us to Norman Park Station and the end of the ride.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 30 km
Surface: Off road paths and bitumen suburban streets.
Highlight: Pleasant suburban ride

Cheers and safe riding,

Jimmy Bee

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


I set out this morning seeking to do some serious hill work. Serious! well, riding up a few inclines anyway. I'm not really a serious cyclist. What I mean is, I take my cycling seriously but not to the extent that some of the cycling programmes would like me to take it. I'm not into lycra , nor am I into PB's. I really like the recreational and social aspect of cycling and the fact that it is a vehicle I can confidently use both on and off road and in so doing, enables me to take photographs and write blogs.

The Platypus Corridor in Alexandra Hills, Queensland

It is my intention when writing my blog to take you the reader along for the ride and for you to witness in part what I see on these rides and with a little luck you may get the inclination to go out and do it all yourself where ever you may live. It is not necessary to own an expensive bike but it is handy to have a reliable one. If you have read a recent post of mine on photographing patterns and would like to try your hand at that, you don't need to have an expensive camera to do that either. In fact, having an expensive bike or camera is not going to make that much difference in the beginning but as you progress, particularly in the case of photography having the better equipment will certainly enhance your result.

Dundas Street, Ormiston. This hill is steeper than you would think. A 13 - 20% gradient
Now back to the ride. I did manage to climb some reasonable gradients which should help me on my planned country ride in a few days time but the highlight of the ride was that I found a trail which I had not ridden before and although it was quite short I was pleased to have come across it.
Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

As I was riding alongside the creek line, I kept an eye out for the elusive platypus but unfortunately to no avail. These beautiful, furry, duck billed creatures are very shy and love their watery seclusion. You can learn more about the duck billed platypus by dabbing on the following link

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

This area is the home of the Squirrel Glider as well, and although I stopped on numerous occasions and searched the tree tops, it was all to no avail, which left me a little dejected in the 'Big White Hunter' category......  No Platypus and no Squirrel Glider. Perhaps if I had a naturalist riding with me who was knowlegeable in these matters I may have had more success. Open this link for more information on the Squirrel Glider
 It's amazing how suburbia can co-exist with nature and no more so than on this trail, the end of which is a very busy road leading to and from Brisbane. As I was searching the creek bank and taking photographs I couldn't help but notice the similarity of the sound of a waterfall with the constant filtered sound of the traffic, no more than a couple of hundred metres from where I was.

We need all the conservation reserves we get in suburbia to stop us from succumbing to NDD (Nature Deficient Disorder).

NB. This post was originally published under the title The Platypus Corridor which was slightly incorrect. Although part of the same creek system, the Platypus Corridor was on another branch of the creek.

Cheers and safe riding and if you are on bush trails, keep a wary eye out for's the season.

Jimmy Bee