Bridges of Brisbane bike ride

Set up for a long day in the saddle (photo taken when I got home)

Now that I’m training for ultra running, I need to work on my endurance. I know my body well and know that I will become injured if I try to do all my endurance training by running so I hope to get my body used to hours of activity by incorporating long bicycle rides into my training.

I learned a lot from my 100km ride last week so was better prepared when I set off on my 115km bike ride this morning. I took the tribars off my bike to give me more options for sitting upright. I used duct tape to carry sports bars and gels on my bike frame so that I had enough nutrition with me. I attached seat post bottle cages so that I could carry both sports drink and water. My 16 year old bike (with 15 year old tyres) felt so good set up that it’s no surprise my ride went well.

View from top of Gateway Bridge

I decided to focus my ride on the bridges that criss cross the Brisbane River. To start I rode along pretty Mount Cotton Road to Capalaba. From there I followed busy Old Cleveland Road to Chandler where I turned right through Gumdale. It’s the first time I’ve been through this small pocket of acreage and I enjoyed the quiet. Then it was back onto busy main roads until I reached the Gateway Bridge (while they are now called the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges, like most locals, I still call it the Gateway Bridge). The bridge is about 80m high and 1.6km long. The views from the top are fantastic. I could see a long way east over the flat lands and out to Moreton Bay.

A massive cruise liner at Portside

After cruising down the northern side of the Gateway Bridge I rode along the river to Portside where I was hoping to collect a geocache. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to the geocache because the Pacific Dawn cruise ship was docked there today. However, while I couldn’t get the geocache, I was able to admire the massive floating city; I can’t believe such a huge vessel can float.

View of Brisbane CBD from the Story Bridge

From Portside I rode further along the river through New Farm and then across the Story Bridge. I love the Story Bridge; it’s a beautiful steel structure and it offers amazing views of my home city. I love the way our murky brown river dominates and restricts the high rises but also accentuates their colours.

The Kangaroo Point cliffs

The southern bank of the Brisbane River is dominated by the Kangaroo Point cliffs. Once a quarry, the cliffs now form a massive playground for cyclists, joggers, roller bladers, abseilers and rock climbers. The city council has set up top roping anchors at the top of the cliffs and bolted routes have been established; right in the heart of the city. I used to climb here twice a week when I was studying law at university because our university had a rock climbing club that only cost $50 a year, including loan of climbing gear.

View of the Brisbane CBD and Southbank from the Kurilpa Bridge

I dodged the Saturday morning pedestrians at South Bank and made my way to the Kurilpa Bridge. This is one of three bridges dedicated to pedestrian and bicycle traffic; motorised traffic is banned from this bridge. The bridge is a strange and ugly design with poles and wires that look like spider’s webs sticking out of it. You can see some of their reflection in the photo above. However, it’s so wonderful to have bridges dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists that I certainly forgive the strange design.

View of St Lucia and Yeronga

After crossing back to the north side of the river on the Kurilpa Bridge, I rode along the northern side to St Lucia. Here I rode through the University of Queensland grounds to the Green Bridge. Like Kurilpa Bridge, this bridge is dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists, but buses are also allowed across it to improve cross-river commuting for people working and studying at the university. From here the views down the river take in old suburbs and parklands.

From the Green Bridge I followed the bends in the southern side of the river back to West End where I met my partner for lunch. She had to work today so it was a real treat to enjoy her lunch break together. It was also great to have a good meal after completing the first 71km of my ride. A healthy fresh burger with salad and lean beef was just the ticket.

After lunch I followed the uninspired but hugely functional V1 back down the freeway towards home. I was expecting to start suffering badly in this second stage of my ride but it seems my plan to eat every hour and keep hydrated was a good one. As I rode I focused on staying relaxed and not letting my ego get the better of me by trying to ride too quickly. I didn’t actually suffer at all on the ride. I even had the energy to cut firewood and have a 2km walk with my partner when she got home from work. It’s a great confidence boost for the coming ultra running season because clearly my body can handle long hours of activity; so long as I stay relaxed and eat.

Total: 115.50km @ 21.4kph. Average temperature: 17.4’C. Elevation gain: 1,104m. Burned 4,155 calories.Found 3 geocaches.

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6 responses to “Bridges of Brisbane bike ride

  1. I like that you included geocache hunting. Sometimes adding little things like that keep training interesting and fun.

    • It does, doesn’t it Dallan. I am really trying to make training a part of my life, rather than as ‘training’ that I HAVE to do. I want it to be something enjoyable and relaxing … The geocaching certainly helps with that too.

  2. I enjoy seeing a bike so pimped out 🙂 Fun picks, and I like your comment: i want this to be a lifestyle, not just training. I need to make that leap. I used to do that, in my 20s and into my early 30s.

    • It’s a really good leap to make if you are not being competitive. I think that if you are going to be competitive you probably need to see training as training so that you do hill work and speed work and all that stuff. I am far too lazy to do those types of sessions 😉

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