Sunday, June 19, 2011

Winter riding

I hit the road early today and despite being one of the coldest weekends this year I was not cold at all having learned a few tricks to ensure I keep warm.

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Starting at the base layer I wear a thermal shirt rather than a regular t-shirt. I use merino ones which are pricey here but not too bad if you buy from New Zealand and much better than the regular polyester ones. Besides holding the body heat in they breath and wick moisture away unlike cotton which holds moisture.

Next thing is to keep the wind out. If you have jacket that zips to your pants and has genuine windproof zipper then a mid layer may not be needed. All my jackets have zippers which leak air in, even the so called 100% waterproof Alpinestars which also has too small a storm flap inside to stop cold air that comes straight through the zipper so I use a mid layer of a vest from a hiking shop which is is both windproof material and windproof zipper. (edit – I also like the look of mid layer wind proof shirts for bicycle riding)

I tuck both shirt and vest into my winter riding pants. These are a water and wind proof goretex type pant from Alpinestars which actually works well and also has a inner removable thermal liner. (edit – if you must wear jeans then get a pair of long thermal pants to wear underneath, your local BCF has them for next to nothing) I was using my winter pants with the above mentioned matching Alpinestars jacket however despite it leaking in cold air it does not breath very well as the day warms up so basically I have given up on it and have switched to using a lined leather jacket instead.

This leaks in a tiny bit of air in at the zipper but with the inner windproof vest it is not enough to be a problem. It is not as warm as the nylon Alpinestars winter jacket however once the day warms up this jacket is becomes far superior as it breaths and lets you regulate the temperature inside.

Three cheap things that make more difference than anything else I have tried over the years.

No.1 is get a Buff. These neck tube things help seal off the drafts that would sneak down your back, keep your neck warm and can be pulled up over your nose on a very cold morning to keep your lower face/lips warm, stop you getting sniffles from ice cold air and stop visor fog if you have not already treated your visor.  (edit – a scarf can help if you do not have a Buff and there are many different types of Buff things out there so by no means do you need that brand)

No.2 is get glove liners. A set of silk liners are cheap as online and will add some warmth to a regular set of gloves or go further and get proper thermal glove liners. So easy to use then roll up and pop in your pocket once the day warms.

No. 3 is get a pair of good quality winter long socks, and if your feet perspire a lot then get cool max or other thermal wicking type to ensure your feet stay dry or they will be cold. If you ride in short boots then once your pants ride up the wind is going to make your lower legs very cold so look for wind stopper socks, if your local outdoor shop can’t help then bicycle gear is good, try Ground Effect in New Zealand online. (edit – they have good merino shirts and mid layers too)

Oh and lastly make sure your helmet vents are closed. Pretty common mistake this and if I am losing heat via my dome then I never get entirely warm.

And so todays ride. I met my ride buddy from NSW at the Eleanor McDonalds where he who rarely feels the cold conceded it was not a bad idea to warm up a bit first over a hot beverage. I also wanted to shift from the Petrol station meeting place which given we meet not very often is hardly an ideal place to catch up. Coffee aroma beats petrol fumes in my book.

Missed the road I saw on Google maps that loops onto Currumbin valley road and ended up on the Tallebudgera connection road instead. No prbs I like the small hill section of that road a lot. Easy ride over the range and then zigged across Numinbah Rd to North Arm and skirked Murwillumbah town and on to Uki then over to Stokers Siding. Had a blast on Burrinbah and liked it so much turned around and did it again then stopped at Mooball for a rest and the musical toilet.

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The Moo. S-l-o-w-l-y being renovated

Did the secret roads zig zag run north to Duranbah then into Tumbulgum for an early lunch at the café – name of which escapes me but the one two doors left of the pub which has fantastic food - and I don’t often say that. Try their Pizza!

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I’ll be back to get their pizza!

Only a small ride again today, the days are so short that even by 3.00pm when I got home the sun was getting low and besides some days you just want to relax and talk things over. I honestly feel Currumbin southbound and Numinbah northbound are the best way these roads flow for riding which meant repeating the first bit of the Numinbah road out of Murwillumbah, but that’s not a bad thing, those curves before boat harbour creek are great.

Sorry only phone camera photos today. 

Route

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Go your own way

Yesterday was a beautiful winters day with no clouds and a mild temperature. And so I rose early today hopeful of the same however the day was gray and gloomy. Never mind I am awake now so off for a small ride.

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Riding south I turned off and went to Mt Tamborine via Logan village. Very cold riding next to the Logan river just after 7.00am, I should have gone in my full winter gear however wanted to road test a replacement for my leather jacket, namely the Scout jacket from First Gear and with it’s liner in it was doing a reasonable job considering it is a 3 season type design.

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They are finally resurfacing much of Mt Tamborine’s northern ascent  and by the looks it will be pretty good once finished, definitely worth revisiting here in month or so. Early before breakfast day trippers arrive is the only time of day worth riding Mt Tamborine in my opinion as it clogs up like car park later.

Dropped down the goat track which was fun and rode on to Beechmont in the opposite direction to other bikes on the road which were most likely all headed to the Outpost café at Canungra. The worst of the western side ascent of Beechmont has been resurfaced and along with the all the other resurfaced sections this is a hell of a good ride now compared to what it once was. 

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Had an excellent coffee and cake at the Binna Burra café. These photos have been tweaked to an inch of themselves in Lightroom to try make something worth looking at as the world was a steel shade of gray. After coffee I decided the cloud was not going to lift and so actually it was not the finest day for the first outing with my new camera.

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Check the order number above Smile

Had a great ride down the eastern side of Beechmont. Flowing gently through each corner, enjoying every radius for as long as possible.  At the bottom a throng of sports bike riders in their one piece race suits had gathered post challenging themselves on the Hinze. I turned left for home, happy to go my own way now.

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