Sunday, May 20, 2012

GIRRAWEEN GOODNESS


At this time of year there isn't many places in south east Queensland comparable to Girraween. Cool nights and not-too-warm days with the kind of stunning, impossibly clear bluebird days we've been having are typical. 



Girraween isn't a big park so any dome you fancy spending the night on is within the scope of a weekend walk. This weekend we chose Twin Peaks, which we hiked to via Mt Norman and returned via the Aztec Temple and Underground Creek. There is a great leaf covered dirt campsite on the eastern peak that is just big enough for a two person tarp.






Monday, May 14, 2012

COOLOOLA FAT STYLE


The focus of this weekend's Cooloola micro-adventure was meant to be figuring out which gearing, ways to carry stuff, tyre pressures and pedals would be most suited to upcoming longer adventures.  But as is usually the case, 'gear testing' was just an excuse to be there.



Still, some valuable lessons were learnt (early days yet though). Gearing: This is tricky, at low tide on hard packed sand even fatbikes can pick up some decent speed. But, these things are freakin heavy! Even the slightest rise with a loaded bike needs little gears. At the moment we are running a 1x10 setup with a 22t front ring and a 11-36 cassette. This seems to be a reasonable compromise between cruising speed on hard sand - if your not in a hurry - and a super low gear for climbing and soft sand. It also saves weight and means less parts to clog with sand and salt.
Brakes: Just one on the front seems to be adequate. Again, one less part to be destroyed by sand and salt. 



Pedals/Shoes: For bike trips that involve hiking and/or hike-a-bike sections, pedal and shoe choice becomes something of a dilemma. After this weekend I think I'll look for a bike shoe that is ok to walk in. Nearly 20 years of riding clipless seems to have made being attached almost essential..or maybe I just need more practice with flats. 




Packing: I figure approaching bikepacking with a backpacking mindset makes a lot of sense. Simply choose the lightest available items that actually work and don't take anything that isn't absolutely necessary. The real question is how and more so where to pack the load. On the weekend I used a 13l dry sack for a seat bag, a large Revelate Tangle bag in the frame and a small Revelate Pocket with 13l dry sack on the bars along with an Osprey Talon 33 pack. On the second day I ditched the seat bag and carried almost everything in the pack, probably the best option if there is lots of pushing and carrying. For longer trips I'll probably end up with a full size frame bag and a Revelate Viscacha seat bag as well as Salsa Anything cages. 






Sunday, May 6, 2012

'TIS THE SEASON

For my first trip of the year to Mt Barney I was lucky enough to get one of those perfect south east Queensland autumn days. Dry, crystal clear air and cool enough to move quickly without losing bucket loads of sweat. The classic Logans/SE ridge loop is a relatively short,  direct and continually interesting route that I never tire of. An ideal start to the season!






Saturday, May 5, 2012

THE FUTURE IS FAT


First ride today on the latest addition to my ever expanding toolbox. A ridiculous looking bike with huge fat tyres designed to go where conventional mountain bikes struggle.  Although this was just a short unloaded cruise around the bottom of Bribie Island, initial impressions suggest this is going to be the ideal tool for some multi-day coastal trips I have planned for this winter. 


Although far from common, fatbikes have been in use in Oz for quite a few years now. Most notably by Brisbane adventurer, Russell Worthington, during his jaw dropping 7500km ride through all of Australia's ten deserts. Interestingly the first fatbikes were developed in the 1980s by Texan Ray Molino for riding on sand...Australia has more than 50 000kms of coastline and around 3 million square kms of desert. 


For an appreciation of the type of potential fatbikes (and packrafts) present in terms of wilderness exploration the must view (in full screen!) video is Mike Curiak's stunning documentation of a ten day trip on Alaska's Lost Coast.


A short clip from this morning's ride at Bribie.