The coolest thing about two wheels is the exploring that you can do around new places, and going somewhere you haven’t ventured before. Sure most of the roads that you ride through can be driven by car, but when you are going at a third of the speed gripping bars you tend to take a lot more in than behind a steering wheel. I had the opportunity to explore Wollongong on Sunday morning. It was a dreary morning, but the air was crisp and the temperature was right to build up a sweat. The new forks had been fitted onto the MTB Steed and I can’t believe how much more responsive and supple the ride was on the front end. What is great about these RockShox XX SiD forks is the double air cylinders which take a combination of small hiccups along with big suspension hits. Them being 700gm lighter doesn’t hurt too much either. One thing I didn’t realise was how bumpy Wollongong is, 280m of vertical in 26km – and that was me looking for some flat coastal routes as well. But I love the feeling of exploring routes that I have never ridden before, not knowing whether a turn leads me to a bridge, a climb, little bush track, or dead-end. Just me and the bike going for a spin.

The Sydney to Gong ride was going down the same day, but this year I chose to sit it out. Last year I got taken out by another inexperienced rider who blew wide on a corner, panicked while dropping his speed by 10km/hr, to then move across his line without realising that there were 20 other riders behind him – including me with 10 other riders drafting behind me. I went right over the handlebars forward flipping and landing on my right hip, somehow ending up facing backwards. So that has left me with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth for that ride – too many novices just trying to beat the rush of 10,000 other riders. But it was good to see the finish line and then spin south towards the big steel refineries. I have got to figure out how I can bring with me a better camera with me other than the one my phone – the SLR is definitely not the solution. It was an overcast morning, but still a striking start to the day.

North Wollongong shoreline with a cloudy welcome

The low hanging clouds were rolling in off the coast, but thankfully there was no heavy downpour.

The MTB Steed greeting paddle skis returning from their journeys

The fishing marina at Flagstaff Hill Park was the launching point for plenty of paddlers.

The guidance lighthouse into the fishing marina

The entrance for the inner harbour of the marina has a lighthouse to guide the boats through some rocky shores and ocean breaks.

The lighthouse at Flagstaff Hill Park

The main lighthouse keeps watch over Flagstaff Hill.

Lighthouse at Flagstaff Hill

A striking sentinel on the watch.

The challenge for me was that after I did that spin, my wife, aunt, and the little Pok wanted to go for a spin too. Now this is a totally different experience – with what equates to over 27kg on the rear axle which feels like a large rubber band tugging at you whenever you want to accelerate. Up hills? Try climbing with a couple of sacks of potatoes. And the Pok loves it! He does one of two things – he either chatters away with glee or falls asleep. Either way, happy boy who is always keen to go out for a ride. I took a couple of pics from the day before where we rode to the Pyrmont Food Growers Market for some breakfast.

Pok in carriage at the Pyrmont Markets

The equation though is not stacking up. The more he grows, the more he eats, the heavier he gets, the more power I have to put down to tow him. You gotta love being a parent.

Pok being fed second breakfast by his Mummy

Anyways, time to giddy up. Tomorrow I will post some photos of my sunrise shoot with Grumpy at Middle Harbour, not sure how good a morning it will be.

Finally, the next clue to the header photo – the building is a striking example of modern art.