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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Farewell Sheldon

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It’s time for toy voyager Sheldon to leave us and continue he journey overseas.

So the kids and I took him for a ride down to the North Pine rover this morning to say “good bye”.

It’s been great being able to take Sheldon on some of our adventures over the last 9 months, and we hope his new hosts get as much joy from him as we did.

See ya, Sheldon!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Exploring with Dad

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“Dad, when I get older will you get me a real bike?”

“Sure, Lilly. What sort do you want?”

“One of those cool bikes like what Harrison has with gears?”

“Yeah, why not!”

Lilly did really well today on her pint-sized bike as we went up and down the hills near our house and checked out some olf the local parks near the river, including the “secret” park.

“Hey Lilly, I think it’s good this park is secret, don’t you?”

“Yeah, so that means the bogans won’t find it”.

I think “bogans” are on the lowest rung of the social ladder in our kids minds.

Thanks for a great lunchtime bike-ride, Lilly!

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

On stage at the Concert Hall

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We got to sit on the stage at the Concert Hall

Yesterday’s concert of Chopin pieces by Natasha Vlassenko was an intimate arrangement where all the seats were on the stage close to the piano.

We were fortunate enough to have front row seats too.

The pianist was amazing, and Chopin, as always, was a delight to listen to.

Riding up a Storm

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Harrison takes a drink while mountain biking through yesterday’s dust storm.

The sky was light brown, and after a few minutes riding, my mouth tasted like dirt (yes, I’m very familiar with the taste of dirt).

But but that didn’t stop us zipping down dirt trails on the bikes!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poel, Germany

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A Postcrossing Post Card from Eva in Germany.

The Island of Poel in this picture is one place she spent her summer holidays camping.

Thanks for the postcard, Eva!

Rachel Around Australia

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NorsemanGreat Australian BightYunta

Our friend, Rachel is currently driving around Australia.

She has promised to send us postcards of her journey, and I’ve promised to scan them and put them on a map for her so she has a record of where she has been.

Here’s the first few postcards which arrived recently, as well as a map showing where they’re from.

Safe journey, Rach!

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Exploring on Sunday

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Steve G and Harrison out exploring with me this morning. We found some really quiet trails and ended up doing a leisurely 25km.

Thanks for being patient and going slower than normal for this old warhorse, Steve!

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bunyaville 3 – Neil Nil

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I went over the handlebars three times today.

After Crash #1

After Crash #1

After Crash #2

Harrison and Neil

after Crash #2

After Crash #3

After Crash #3


Thankfully I was with Simon & Sam, Steve G, Steve B and Harrison, so there were plenty of people to look out for me (and laugh).

We paid a visit to Bunyaville State Forest at Albany Creek to try our skills on the mountain bike trails there.  They’re amazing.  Miles and miles of dirt tracks with wierd names like “Nut Cracker”, “Psycho”, “Jurassic”, “Carnage”. 

I thought to myself “Why do they have such strange names?” 

Now I know.


Simon and Sam


Steve G (right) fixes Harrison’s saddle

The first time over the handlebars, I used the front brakes too much.

The second time over the handlebars, I think I didn’t learn my lesson well enough from the first time, and used the front brakes too much.

The third time I couldn’t get up.  Some sadist had put a hidden pothole in the track, and my front wheel found it as accurately as a guided missile.  My helmet hit the ground with a horrible thud, and I saw stars.  I’m really glad Steve G was able to haul me up on my feet.

Now every inch of my body hurts.

I have a black eye, skinned knees, grazed chin, cut nose, bleeding forearms, horrible looking shoulder, and numerous bruises.

But it was a hoot!  I had a great time.

Everyone (except me) rode really well and safely. I was really proud of Harrison too. For a nine year old he did really well on a tough ride. And Sam did amazingly well too considering he was on a BMX not a mountain bike.

And, unless I die first, I’ll be out again tomorrow morning trying my skills against another (easier) trail.

Thanks to Simon and Steve B for the photos, and thanks to Steve G for the map data.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Lake Samsonvale

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I’ve been living here over ten years, and I’ve only just started appreciating the fact that there are two lakes, one river, numerous parks, and miles of tracks within a ten minute bike ride from my front door. Here’s some pics I took during my ride near Lake Samsonvale this morning.

Lake Samsonvale via MTBLake Samsonvale via MTBLake Samsonvale via MTB

Here’s a link to the data from the ride at sports tracker and below is a map of where I went.  The first couple of km got chopped off because I forgot to turn the GPS on :)

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sunset on the North Pine River

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The view from the mountain bike on the North Pine River at sunset today

Cycling by the Lake

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Lake KurwongbaTracks at Lake Kurwongba

I took a few photos of Lake Kurwongba while I was out cycling this morning.

I’m aiming to find a one hour circuit that is mostly dirt trails, parks and bike paths. I think this is about the closest I’ve come to it. It’s about 95% off-road, which is great! I thought the things to watch out for on the roads were cars, but this morning an agressive magpie smacked me in the side of the helmet. Luckily he bounced off :)

I’ve included a map of the trail below.  And here’s a profile of the trail showing my speed and altitude.  This one has a lot of hills, which is why the average speed is a lot lower than some of the other routes I’ve taken.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Queen Mary 2 in Hamburg

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A postcrossing post card from Claus in Hamburg.

Claus says that when QM2 is in town, people go crazy, and over a million people may watch her.

She looks beautiful, Claus.

Thanks for the postcard!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

On yer bike!

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I took Steve and Harrison on a bike ride this morning, along the North Pine River, up to Lake Samsonvale, and then back along the North Pine Rover.

It was a hoot! A little bit slower than normal, because Harrison is only 9 and his bike is a bit worse for wear. But it was fun all the same.

And I got to try out a new program for my Nokia N95 mobile phone. Nokia Sports Tracker Uses the inbuilt GPS on the phone to record speed and height info. While you’re cycling, your N95 acts like a speedo, and odometer, showing you all the vital stats. But when you get home, you click the button, and upload the data to sports tracker.

The really cool thing is that if you take any photos with the phone on your journey, it will upload and geotag them.

So the map on the left here is where we went. You can drag and zoom it if you want more detail.

But the fun part is that the data is also uploaded to the Sportstracker community. Here’s a link to the data for our ride today. If you tick the “altitude” box, you can see every hill, and how fast we were going.

The thing I like most about this technology is that it adds to the fun of getting out and exercising. At times I’ve found it hard to overcome my inertia to regularly exercise. In regards to exercise, if it makes me think “Oh yeah! I want to do that again!” then I think it’s a great thing.

Oh – and you can use Sports Tracker for running, walking, skiing, rowing – whatever floats your boat.

P.S. I’ve ordered a mounting bracket to attach my phone to my handlebars. Till that arrives, I’m using some of Lilly’s hair ties :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

WW2 – 70 years ago today

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I feel like a midget standing beside giants when I think of the people who lived through the six years of World War Two.

It started 70 years ago today.

I’ve never fought in a war. No one has ever dropped a bomb on my house. None of my immediate family has ever been killed or injured in an armed conflict. I’ve never had to contend with the idea that a foreign power wanted to invade my country. I’ve never lived through rationing. I’ve never had to go into a bomb shelter.

To all you wonderful people who endured all of this and more, thank you.

Thanks for not giving up, for hoping, for enduring.

We live in a better world today because of you.