CWRB takes over the BVRT, and two ladies face a challenge to build hope in Uganda

Emma Sunley and Sue Boyd ... facing the challenge!

Emma Sunley and Sue Boyd … facing the challenge!

Here is Episode 16 of the Briztreadley podcast. It’s all about the enjoyment we get from riding a bike!

On this episode:

  • The Briztreadley crew are like Scooby Doo and his crew, solving mysteries that have baffled the authorities for hundreds of years!
  • Chicks Who Ride Bikes on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Include Some Honorary Chicks (like Chris Welsh for instance)
  • Emma Sunley and Sue Boyd … they are taking on a massive challenge, for a wonderful cause. It’s the Droplets in A Stream Grand Tour of Hope.

Briztreadley is hosted by Andrew Demack, Chris Welsh and Jordana Blackman. Audio production by Andrew Demack.

Our theme music is ‘Double Flat White’, by Blue Train, used with permission.
Voiceovers are by Eleanor Jackson, who is sunshine on a cloudy day.


Chicks in the Sticks vs Skinny Men in the Mountains

Cathy Peel is brand new as a bike rider, but will try anything! This is at Bowl-o-cross recently, but next up she's riding a three-hour enduro mountain bike event.

Cathy Peel is brand new as a bike rider, but will try anything! This is at Bowl-o-cross recently, but next up she’s riding a three-hour enduro mountain bike event. Crazy, but awesome too.

Episode 15 of the Briztreadley pod. Chris Welsh and Andrew Demack are your hosts.

  • We lament the absence of Jordana ‘Birthday Girl’ Blackman, but fortunately we are joined in the studio by Cathy Peel, to tell us about ‘Chicks in the Sticks’, an innovative event being held on Sunday 23 August.
  • Also, we dial in Radio Adelaide’s finest Giro D’Italia pundits, Chris Komorek and Taylor Ryan, to find out how karma is affecting Alberto Contador.

Chick in the Sticks Vector logo 180 x 82 16-04-2015

Bike Week 2015, featuring the Q&A event, Is Cycling Important?

This episode of the Briztreadley podcast includes your hosts Andrew Demack, Chris Welsh and Jordana Blackman doing a quick review of Bicycle Queensland’s festival of cycling, Bike Week 2015.

And the event during Bike Week that this podcast focuses on is the Q&A session “Is Cycling Important”. The new Main Roads Minister, the Hon Mark Bailey MP, and Brisbane City Council’s chair of Active Transport, Cr Peter Matic, are the two key speakers. Greg Vann, board member of Bicycle Queensland, is the facilitator. And the audience throws in some pretty good questions!

Briztreadley Episode 9: Nothing but cheese

IMG_0261.JPG-1Andrew and Chris hanging out in the Briztreadley studio, and comparing tasting notes about Towri Sheep Cheese.

See some photos from our Towri ride on Facebook.

And also some other stuff, including the first of our Local Legends, in Gino Cornacchia, and also the Oceania MTB championships from Toowoomba.

Don’t forget, if you are enjoying the show, please tell a friend about the Briztreadley podcast. We really need your word of mouth to spread this far and wide.

Rolling along from Beaudesert to Towri on a sunny Saturday.

Rolling along from Beaudesert to Towri on a sunny Saturday.

No more CarLand, let’s move to Velotopia!

Episode 6 of the Briztreadley podcast has interviews and our musing on just the one topic: Where or what is “Velotopia”?

Groningen in the Netherlands ... as close to Velotopia as we can find at the moment!

Groningen in the Netherlands … as close to Velotopia as we can find at the moment! Pic from Streetfilms.

Dr Steven Fleming has written about his idea of Velotopia on his blog, Behooving Moving. Dr Fleming and his collaborator Prof Angelina Russo held a workshop at the Queensland Museum in early February. Briztreadley’s Andrew Demack was there in his capacity as the Development Officer for Bicycle Queensland.

As more information becomes available from this workshop, I will post it here on the Briztreadley blog.

Let's workshop this idea.

Let’s workshop this idea.

Plus there’s a little bit of follow-up news from the Oceania road-racing championships as well.


Sumer is icumen in*

In the forest, with some friends. At night!

In the forest, with some friends. At night!

And for the bike-riding population of SEQ, it poses a few problems …

When should I ride my bike? If I start at 4.30 am, when it is surely light enough, I have to go to bed at 8.30pm to get sufficient sleep. If I go to bed before 10pm so I can start at 6 am, I’m a stinking sweaty mess by 7.30.

The afternoons aren’t much better … if the storm doesn’t come then its still 30 degrees at 5pm.

Well, of course the answer is that you should ride your bike at night.

That was the reasoning behind last Friday night’s CX social ride from Stones Corner up to Toohey Forest and back. And we had nearly the perfect combination of post-storm drizzle and nicely damped-down forest trails. It was great fun, and nobody did any lasting damage to themselves or their bikes. The rain was a blessing in disguise, because the Facebook event had 31 people who said they were going. In the end we had less than half that number. Which was plenty to keep track of in the forest at night!

Night riding is such a fun thing to do in summer. And you can make it into a micro-adventure by including a camp-out at the end. Or you can finish as we did on Friday night at a bar or a cafe.

Or, you can just ride through the night somewhere away from the traffic and the city. I couldn’t fit the Midnight Century into my schedule this year, so I’m going to have to come up with my own version. Stay tuned for crazy ideas.


Road-riders, my advice is to pick up one of these at your local bike shop. It’s the best accessory for a rainy summer, other than having two pairs of shoes, so you can have one pair drying out in between rainy rides.

*“Summer is a-coming in”, the oldest known song in the English language, apparently.

Planners just have to outsmart the market. And voters.

Pic from Flickr by Simon West (

Pic from Flickr by Andrew West.

After 10 years (approx) in bicycle advocacy, I am convinced of just a few things …

1. People who say “it can’t happen here because [insert short-sighted reason]” are often well-meaning, but wrong. Brisbane can become a great place to ride a bike, if we (by which I mean citizens influencing the State Government and City Council) make decisions over the next few years which prioritise walking and cycling over other modes of transport.

2. That reliance on “the market” and private developers and infrastructure built by PPPs (public-private partnerships) leads to a business-as-usual outcome, which repeats the car-biased transport and land-use planning mistakes of the past 50 years.

3. That “density done right” is a massive factor towards building a better city to ride and walk around. Land use planning and transport planning are so intertwined that we must never again do one without the other.

My friend Greg Vann makes the point (which I absolutely agree with) that everyone is seeking amenity, and that the concept of what urban amenity is, is changing. And that’s a good thing.

Greg says that good planning leads to a better city to live in, and I think nobody disputes that. But it requires long-term thinking by political leaders, and making decisions which lead to changes in our urban landscape. And change can be tricky.

The best thing a city can do is elect a planner as Mayor. Which happened in Adelaide (Stephen Yarwood), and they were starting to get some great changes that will lead to Adelaide being a better place to walk and ride, and therefore a better place to live. Awesome!

So the voters, who don’t like change, have voted Mr Yarwood out. How depressing.

The solution? Well as far as I can see, it is to have as many people as possible who are interested in building walkable and rideable cities keep on being engaged in public debate and discussion. And maybe planners encouraging other planners to stand for office.

It can totally happen here. Let’s make it happen here.

You went ‘full hobo’! Never go ‘full hobo’ …

Smiley McWhiskers ... would you talk to this man?

Smiley McWhiskers … would you talk to this man?

Bike touring is an immersion into a different worldview. One in which you have everything you need with you at all times.

This is a world in which you are essentially homeless. My friend Flyboy Dave was the one who noticed the similarity between the bikepacker and the hobo, and I think it’s really apt.

Actual hobos don’t have mountain bikes valued in the thousands of dollars. Nor do they spend hundreds of dollars on the lightest, most efficient camping kit they can find, after months of research and debate. Also they might not wear merino mtb riding gear and SPD shoes.

But for most normal folks out and about, whether in a big city like Brisbane or Perth, or in small towns like Toogoolawah, Dwellingup, Blackbutt and Donnybrook … well to them you look like a hobo, you probably smell a bit like a hobo after a few days on the trail, and if you’ve started talking to yourself after three or four days on your own, well it’s an easy assumption to make from there.

One of the ways I can tell that the Munda Biddi Trail in WA is not yet a roaring success is by the looks I got in the small towns on the trail. I stopped and spent money on food and drink and supplies in Jarrahdale, Dwellingup, Lake Brockman, Collie, Boyanup and Donnybrook.

And everywhere I went, I parked my heavily-laden bike within view. Some folks chatted to me (where did you ride from today? Wow! where are you going? OK, wow again!), but lots of people just had a good stare at the bike, with a mixture of trepidation, distaste and mostly total lack of understanding. Who IS this person and what the hell are they doing?

I’ve refined my bikepacking setup over successive trips. I think for this occasion, being on the road for eight days, I went as far as I could towards ‘full hobo’ (bearing in mind the cautionary words of Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder).

As a measure of how much I looked like a hobo, I counted all the things directly attached to my handlebar, and I think I came up with ten! Let’s see if I can remember:

1. Sleeping kit in big drybag (sleeping bag, thermal liner, hiker fly and pegs)

2. Which is held to the bars by a Revelate Designs Sling.

3. Jetboil stove and accessories (in a clip-on bag originally designed as a dump pouch for ammunition, according to its description on eBay)

4. Front headlight.

5. Clip for hydration hose (coming up from the frame bag, where the water bladder was stored)

6. Camera bag (with Panasonic DMC-LF1 inside)

7. Water bottle & snack pouch (in the same style as the stove pouch, just a little smaller, also bought from a military supplies store on eBay)

8. First Aid kit.

9. Garmin eTrex20 GPS.

Well, maybe it was nine, or maybe I was including the Spot Messenger GPS Tracker, which was in a top-tube bag attached to the stem, not the handlebar. The overall effect, though, is of someone who is carrying everything he owns.


When you go full hobo, you meet some lovely people who think you’re doing something slightly mad.

“I could never do that!” they say after a few minutes of conversation, with a hint of regret or envy in their voice.

“I could never do what you’re doing …”

But I think it’s a trick that we bikepacker hobos are playing on the rest of society. Cos going ‘full hobo’ for a week or so isn’t all that hard, and it is a hell of a lot of fun, and a really great way to see parts of our scenic and beautiful world.

I’m hoping to get out in my hobo kit again real soon, just in SEQ. Before the end of the year for sure. And I will make every effort to add one more thing that tips me over the edge to ‘full hobo’.

If you see me out there, I’m really not that scary.

NB. Homelessness is a real problem still in our society, and I’m not downplaying that problem, or making fun of people who find themselves facing hard times.

Number of times I thought my Munda Biddi Trail adventure was over before it even began

I’ve just recently finished a week-long expedition on the Munda Biddi trail in Western Australia. I will be writing a piece for Australian Mountain Bike on my experiences on the trail, and how good it is (and that is, plenty good).

But before I even got there, I almost didn’t.

1. During Cycle Queensland (Bicycle Queensland’s annual 9-day ‘holiday on wheels’, during which BQ staff work their little backsides off), on the rest day, which is the only “time off” in about two weeks, I like to squeeze in a bike ride, traditionally with my friends from Epic Cycles, Emma and John. We’ve ridden around the white dirt roads of Stanthorpe, the wonderful mtb trails of Atherton, and other places I’m sure which are less memorable. But we always have a good time, and we get away from the campsite for a couple of hours.

This time, mucking around on my cyclocross bike while riding a bike path from Bargara north to Burnett Heads, I spectacularly stacked it by losing my front wheel on re-entering a concrete path, and slid across the path on my left knee. The damage to my knee immediately seemed to me, as an internal panic-merchant, as something which might stop me from riding the Munda Biddi trail. It turned out two weeks later, to be no issue at all, other than bits of scab falling off my knee all week.

2. The day before I left on the airplane to Perth, I had a call from Annette. Carol had some sort of mystery accident or fall at work or maybe getting on or off the bus from work. Nobody knew what had happened, but Carol wasn’t walking. I took her off to the doctor, and then to the X-ray clinic, all the while thinking: the WA trip is over! It wasn’t. Carol was in a wheelchair for a couple of days, and we thought the worst, but she has been able to get where she needs to go, mostly walking with Annette’s or my help, if even a little slower than usual.

3. Rebuilding my bike (Black Betty), at a friendly person’s house in Kensington, suburban South Perth. I took it very slow (as I also do when packing up the bike to go in the bag for air travel), because I want to think about everything very clearly before I do it. So as I fussed with my rear derailleur, preparing to screw it back into place ever so carefully, because cross-threading the rear derailleur would be fatal, I noticed that the cable end had come out of the ferrule and was fraying with random bits of cable sticking out. Oh no. This is way beyond my toolset! And at the very edge of my skillset even if I had the right tools.

A quick trip to Garland Cycleworks at South Perth (which my host Ginny had already identified as their local bike shop), and a lovely young bloke called Zac oohed and aahed over my bike (Garland Cycleworks is a Specialized shop, so he liked that it was a Spesh, but then with a Cannondale Lefty?? Dude, what the??) and quickly, easily, competently trimmed the cable, reset it in the ferrule, and put the right tension back on the cable so the rear derailleur operated faultlessly for the next week. No charge my friend, and of course you can use our track pump to top off the pressure in your tyres. Local bike shops rock! No problem!

4. Building my bike (no 2). This one is so funny, because it’s happened to me before with mtbs that are set up with tubeless tyres. I decided to add a few PSI front and rear as I built the bike up. About 35 or so would have to be enough with my tiny little mini-pump. But as I finished pumping up the rear tyre, and unscrewed the Lezyne pump hose from the Presta valve, the removable inner core was what unscrewed, rather than the pump hose. Air gushed out. This has happened to me with this very pump before, notably once at the Gap Creek trailhead a couple of years ago with Gina’s Giant Anthem (and with Emma and Gina both right beside me, chuckling at me/the situation). I tried a second time. Same result. This time I had to get it right myself. I found some pliers in Ginny’s garage and screwed the valve core in as tight as I could, pumped the tyre up again, and oh so nervously unscrewed the pump connector. SUCCESS. Off to the bike shop for the other repairs!

5. There is no number five. Thank goodness for that. Four was heaps.

Fortunately I am actually also a total optimist as well as a minor panic merchant.

I don’t know how that really works, but with only three or four tiny moments of further panic I was able to get riding on the Munda Biddi Trail, and spent the next eight days following its ubiquitous yellow markers, going the Full Hobo Bikepacker.

I loved it. It was hard at times, pedalling uphill on a bike that weighed twice as much as it’s designed to. But most of the time it was an unforgettable experience, mixing physical exertion and flow on the trails, anxiety and delight, joy and loneliness. I would do it again in a heart beat.

More MBT posts coming soon!