tour de insolit, prince alfred park

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if you know there is a little cadel evans in you – there is a great training ground at sydney festival this summer to prep you for the tour de france.

the tour de insolit (parlez francais ‘unusual’) course is located in prince alfred park, parramatta.

sydfest

there is a spirited commentator and a full crowd of locals so you know how it feels to perform under pressure. this is no private spin class.

the course is a race so choose your opponent and your bike – your classic australian colours, green or gold. the green bike is the outer track so i feel gold has the advantage.

be prepare to take it from 0 to 100 in an avg. of 60 seconds thigh burn (the longest 60s of your life) to win the course.

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the little model bikes have magnets on the bottom and travel on the metal lines that make the course. the faster you pedal, the currents from your bike push them faster.  here’s a little demo.

red bike vs. black bike.

conclusion: red bike won, she also won over the people.

x red bike

 

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winery > winery, mudgee

 

it’s summertime and if you’re wanting a weekend getaway out of sydney and into wine country, fuel up for a 4h road trip to mudgee.

now we’re approaching end of year, a therapeutic country cycle from winery to winery was on our agenda. with 40+ cellar doors, you can clean up just on wine tastings alone (remembering drink cycle responsibly – always have a plan b: walking)

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we picked up fat wheeled no gear cruisers at peiter van gent winery ($10/h, great port).

you’re on the main road mostly, upside is that it’s very flat. the wineries are all grouped together so hydrate yourself with white/red at lowe, peiter, short sheep, di lusso and robert oatley. di lusso estate is known for their ovens so get a bite there.

cows

the country skyline sure looks different from sydney. blue rolling mountains, never ending rows of vineyards, green and yellow fields spotted with grazing cattle.

flat track is true until you get to the outskirts, our final visit to lowe is on a hill. the track changes to gravel with grooves is like making very rough love.

worth it to get to lowe, they have their own little cycle course in the vineyard with lookouts to all of mudgee.

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don’t get drunk, cycle into a vineyard and eat all their grapes like black bike. very enjoyable summer cycle trip.

if you’re looking for a place to nest in mudgee, can recommend perry st hotel ($250/night) excellent location, fully fledged kitchen and bath salts included.

company: tipsy black bike

return distance: 11.6kms                

estimated time: 20 mins                         real time: 3h 30mins (lunch inc.)

x red bike

gearing up, girl 2015

red, the colour of chinese new year (happy new year!) and the theme of 2015 gear up girl to support the heart foundation. the costal track is set marking 3 years for this girl gang ride.

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the ride is on 8 march and you can peddle 20-40-60k. if keen to join the redbike team, please drop us a note! best way to celebrate summer, check out all the good times from last years ride. we welcome all sorts of wheels.

register now. x redbike

bamboo bike

talking about the bike fashionz, bamboo bikes are now an organic alternative to your steel fixie. recently holidaying in hoian, vietnam, i came across this couple in the old town.

IMG_9326if your luggage and domestic customs allows, you can take it home for US $345  (7,245,000 dong). this price is probably negotiable as well if you’re a skilled haggler.

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the joints are welded and look quite rock solid. IMG_9333if unable to fit into your suitcase, alibaba can ship* you a bamboo bike frame (US $ 120 – 170) from danang for you to diy. *no idea how alibaba shipping works.

we rode in and out of hoian old town, the beach and the local burbs on bikes we hired from the hotel. tourists would love to fly around on bamboo – someone to pick up as a local business.

x red bike

spring cycle 2014

st leonards park > sydney harbour bridge > iron cove > sydney olympic parkScreen shot 2014-10-25 at 8.14.14 PM

spring chickens at spring cycle this year. the red bike gang took on the classic polygon ride from one tourist attraction, the sydney harbour bridge to the next tourist attraction, the olympic park.

7am start. the journey to nth sydney was tetris. in one side of the carriage we stacked 16 bikes, no one could get off or get on. carriage demographics: lycra population 15, no gear cruiser population 1.

highlight. we rode over the sydney harbour bridge with 360 views!

on the bridge

after the bridge we did a spin around the botanical gardens  at mrs. macquaries point and headed back into suburbia through glebe and haberfield, missing anzac bridge all together.

this means inside of the spiral climb up to anzac bridge you got the corkscrew which is the first real gradual climb (saw a man on a unicycle, i don’t know how he did this – respect). somewhat hilly in the city and inner west until you get to iron cove.

iron cove

at iron cove we had a breakstop and ate the energy bars given in our packs (food rating, 8/10). by this point, my preferred breakstop meal would have been a lasagne.

from iron cove you detour around bicentennial park, cross concord rd bridge and back on silverwater bridge. the park underneath was holding this fancy old automobile showcase with dapper gents everywhere.

the track around meadow bank to the finish line is easy going.

look at these winners below (medals medals medals): medals

we finished up at the cathy freeman park, how fitting because we are olympic gods in olympic park. you know it must be true because we’re wearing 24 carat gold medals to match our precious metal thighs.

blendr

there was a little stall called bike n’ blend where you had to use leg-ectricity to make your own smoothie. once you’ve pedalled for 3 minutes, ring the bell and you get to drink your creation. excellent innovative homeware to have in your new kitchen.

a big congrats to the bike gang, another 55k bites the dust. from the north to the west, for some, completely new terrain.

x red bike

company: crouching tiger, mike-the-bike (cell fixie), bikebikebaby and figure8.

challenge ride course distance: 55km.

kyoto station > fushimi inari-taisha > imperial palace park >nijo castle

during summer, it’s easy to hire bikes in kyoto, some places stay open until 8 for you to grab wheels. locals move around the most in august because of holidays and people are coming home.

note, there are little rivalries between bike shop owners.

kyoto is mainly flat until you visits the temples and shrines in the east. also caution on bike parking stops, you’re not allowed to park anyway in the city center (though people do anyway). bikes are scattered across kyoto like pebbles. people are lax about bike security.

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we borrowed a couple of cruisers for 24 hours, cheap as chips at 700 yen. we set out early to get to inari, it’s only a 20 minute cycle from kyoto station. you can go at night because inari shrine doesn’t close, however, locals advise against it as it’s apparently very haunted.

it’s hard to get lost in kyoto, let the river be your compass. inari is south of the river, the imperial palace/city center/golden pavilion is north. also, excellent cycleway by the foreshore.

IMG_6957if you get peckish while you ride, drop by a lawson or familymart to pick up a healthy snack. so many choices.

inari pilgrimage is a hard hike but gives you the highest peak in kyoto looking over the city. if going right to the top, water and neck towels are a must.

i would recommend cycling in the north, south and west. the east is very hilly. though locals do it all the time. i saw spry 75+ year old ladies and gents peddling away 45 degree angles.

oh the streets of japan.

kyoto side trip: nara is very bike friendly too and the enormous park is a joy to ride through. oh deer, feed them. largest wooden structure in the world still standing after being burnt 100 times.

image (6) that’s right, go to japan now.

x red bike

summer guide to the shimanami kaidō (しまなみ海道)

if you’re in japan, have two days and love the coastline, put this 60k cycleway stretching over 6 islands on your itinerary now.

august is peak temperature so if you’re going to jump on the shimanami kaidō, you’re going to sweat bucket loads. all the evidence that remains now is my stubborn watch tan. better to go in spring or autumn.

day 1 

take the train to onomichi, around (2 hours from kyoto). if you’ve got luggage, on the righthand side of the station is 50 lockers, you can pop it in there for 700 yen. it can be left there for 3 days but you’ll need to top up to open up.

you find the giant park car (5 min walk from station) with the bike rentals near the ferry port. standard road bikes available and you can grab them for around 2,000 yen (inc. deposit). take the ferry across to mukaishima. it’s generally agreed you shouldn’t ride the first bridge because it’s not bike friendly even if you’re lycra.

there is one very simple rule: follow the blue line on the road.

resting

innoshima and ikuchijima are the first two islands. if you’re travelling the japanese city’s, this will be a refreshing rural change. saying that, beware local islander gangsters.

the bridges are modern and you ride right over the ocean. the villages and towns you pass have farms and large gardens. mountains of lush green. bonsai trees and exotic red flowers. farm animals and beetles the size of soccer balls.

the way the inclines work is every time you hit a bridge, you’ll need to do a 500m-ish gradual climb. in the summer, we found it hot and hard. then you get the prize coming down from the bridge, flying down windy steep roads – very fun.

sun set beach

we stayed at sedota private hostel for $44 a night inc. a yummy homemade dinner. the room is run down, you’ve got traditional tatami mats, aircon, and a smelly toilet with lots of buttons. the thing that makes this place is the new timber and stone onsen bath the owner has built overlooking the ocean. note, you have to share and go in nude (worth it).

sedota is a popular overnight stop if doing it over 2 days (recommended) . your accommodation by sun set beach is limited, there’s more civilisation near the port. twilight sun set beach is utterly abandoned, like a once-popular-tourist destination, now the beautiful start of a horror film where everyone is indoors by 5pm. anyway, check it out.

day 2

early morning sun is more forgiving than midday sun, we left at 7am. beware wild hogs and also the local gangsters again. when riding down, you’ll come up close to a local helicopter and a lovely view of the village coastline.

flyyying down

my favourite bridge was riding over to omishima. it’s bright red and it’s got the best 360 views of islands, mountains and fishing boats that are half shy behind the fog. we rode along the coastline and there were some dolphins following us for a while.

my bridge to hakata

hakatajima’s got famous hakata salted vanilla ice cream. nom nom. take a break here, you can see the bridge to oshima which is the longest one. the last island is forest-y and not by the coastline. this is the last leg to shikoku in imabari city. leave your bike at the terminal and they’ll ask for your sign up form so don’t lose it.

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buses back were confusing. before you leave onomichi, make sure you grab the bus timetables as they are approx. once an hour and you have to take a highway bus, followed by one regional bus ( schedule 2hs back to station, 2500 yen).

another option is ferry but it takes longer, same with trains because the prefecture changes between the different islands. bus wins.

this is a super useful english brochure of the entire ride with attractions you can check out on route, and more importantly, where you can find the hakata ice cream. you can get this brochure at the info desk at onomichi station too.

arigato shimanami kaidō!

x red bike