Archives for posts with tag: Friends

With the Amy Gillett Gran Fondo (120km – 1650m of climbing) less than three weeks away, I don’t have time to do things like recovery by halves. After last week’s chest infection floored me, I decided to break it’s back by going for a recovery ride with my neighbour. The target for Sunday was 80km (50 miles) with the added challenge of doing it on my dual suspension mountain bike (albeit with 35mm urban slicks shod on the wheels). I wanted to test how I would run by also finding whatever detour I could possible to climb a hill, so the route was not going to be direct by any stretch.

My neighbour MGO had been recently putting in some big kilometers of late with his last work trip to Canberra knocking down 450km (280 miles) in 8 days. So he was not going to be keen to hang around for a wheezing cyclist. We chose our MTB steeds because he only has a hardtail bike (also with slicks) and the weight difference and natural speed of my road steed against his bike is never a fair fight – bad lungs or not.

We set off, and  warmed up in Sydney City before we headed out to Parramatta. Anybody visiting Sydney will tell you it is bumpy, and before we were heading out to properly to Parramatta we had knocked on the head some 250m of climbing. Our route took us along the Parramatta River with many detours away from the shoreline. MGO had never ridden this route before and was quite impressed by its scenery – Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River is quite scenic. We got to the shoreline properly just East of Olympic Park and the route then took us on the Northern side of the river. A lot of people complain that there are not enough safe cycling paths in Sydney, and this is a valid point, but if people took their bikes out to the Homebush / Parramatta region they would find a whole set of off-street bike paths that take you through some pretty cool settings – my favourite is the Mangrove swamps around Ermington and Melrose Park. Next time I will stop and post some photos, but the map below tells the story – all the green lines (solid and dotted) are bike paths.

Cycling Paths Homebush - Parramatta

By the time we hit Parramatta Park we had racked up 40km – it was time for an intermediate coffee stop. But MGO was itching to set some PRs around Parramatta Park so off we sped. He brought out the hammer on one of the laps of Parramatta Park and my lungs were screaming to me to let them recover a bit more. But I couldn’t let MGO burn it up a lap at 36kph (22mph) so I had to chase him down. Good times!

We returned back to the city retracing our route out on the return. The only frustration being zoned out pedestrians with headphones walking on the bike path and a guy who decided he wanted to park a tripod on the descending ramp at ANZAC bridge.

Finishing up, a sweet 80km and a smile on MGO’s face that told me that he enjoyed the spin. Chest infection busted for the most part, recovery ride tonight – I am back in the saddle!

A couple of nights ago I had the pleasure of catching up with a fellow cyclists, and blogger, Frank Burns. He had just finished riding over 4,000 km starting at the top of the North Island of New Zealand all the way to the bottom of the South Island. Then flew over to Sydney and rode all the way down the coastal route to Melbourne. Pretty impressive, particularly given that this was the first time that he has visited this side of the planet.

But even more impressive was the fact that Frank has raised over £5,000 and counting to support the charities that are attempting to care for the children of Syria. I was watching the international news the other day when a disturbing statistic was discussed about how three out of every four children in Syria know someone who has been killed in the conflict. The tear in the psychological fabric of this generation of children will have ramifications for the future of not only Syria, but the world. And the world leaders are standing on the sidelines not wanting to put an end to the madness – and I am not underestimating the messiness of this action. But how many more Rwandas, Bosnias, and Syrias does it take to step away from the sidelines.

Anyways, we had a great night, and my brother (and riding buddy) joined us to talk everything two wheels, some tall stories, and knock down a few bevvies. By now Frank has probably landed back in England with his “trusty fallen soldier” in tow to be the centre piece of his wife’s plans for their garden.

Dinner with Frank Burns

You can read about Frank’s cycle touring adventures on his blog, amongst other topics at

Serendipities of Life – Taking the road less travelled

And if you feel like you can spare a dollar to support the cause to care for the innocent victims of the Syrian conflict, then please get behind Frank in the good work that he is doing. 

I have been fortunate to make many new connections since starting this blog last year, and I hope to have the pleasure of meeting up others (either online or in person) in the future.

Tonight I got a pass out from being a parent (thanks missus Becky) and caught up with my mate Kiwi. I have been pretty slack over the last few months catching up with mates in between work, parenting, and training for a couple of big rides. So I hadn’t seen Kiwi for a couple of months. What prompted us to meet up was him telling me that a plan he had been scheming is finally being hatched. Kiwi is a bit older than me, but strangely at the same maturity level (I don’t know whether that is an insult to him or me). And he is a good mate, the kind that would always help you out in a bind. So when he told me a couple of months ago that he was thinking of packing up in Sydney to relocate to South America, I thought he was being aspirational.

But he is now on the way!

He has sold his apartment, handed in his intention not to continue his work contract, and looking at ways to get a visa. By Christmas he will have left Aussie shores for pastures in another part of the Southern hemisphere. And good on him! I must admit that a part of me is envious, of the adventure that he is about to embark on.

I suppose all the signs were there. Less than two years ago he took off to do a 6 month backpacking tour of South America, and he loved every minute of it. Myself and a few of the fellas were actively following his adventures through his blog. He is not too shabby a photographer either. He even started to properly learn Spanish while on his trip with a tutor and all. He kept it up when he came back to Sydney and is not bad for a native English speaker.

So the clock is ticking to make sure I catch up with him a few more times before he leaves Aussie shores. I think a bodyboard or two down at the Bra would be the minimum, and a few nights on the bevvies. I’ll be honest when I say that I will be sad to see him go. But there is always positives. He will be firing up his blog again, hopefully shooting some pics, and I will have an excuse to visit him and take another adventure. I told him that we have to go mountain biking at his new home.

Anyways, I am picking up my newish mountain bike from the shop tomorrow, but I will post the details and pics tomorrow. Funny stories surrounding this steed. For now, it is time to get zzzzz’s so I can giddy up on my Friday morning ride with MG down to LaPa and back.

Next clue on the cover photo, the building is quite different from all of its neighbouring buildings and some people think that it is kinda ugly.

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