Monday, February 26, 2007

Points in the Karma bank

Rode the single speed in today as an experiment: is it possible to do a dead flat 20km commute on a single speed bike? It turns out it is, how very surprising. I might flip the hub over tonight and ride home fixed. Fun, fun.

The other reason was to pick up a couple of geocaches which turn out to be not far from my route. My caching total now stands at 12. Early days yet - there's heaps more I can reach by bike on my way to or fro.

About halfway in I came across a bloke on a road bike with a flat tyre and stopped to help him. Patched his flat tube and had him on his way. He kept offering me money, but it wouldn't be a good deed if I took cash would it?

1,291km so far this year.

Photo by n8agrain on Flickr

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The 'so funny it's true' department

The good lord knows we could all do with a laugh, this 'typical anti-cyclist' letter is from aus.bicycle:

Dear Sir
When so-called asylum seekers get free haircuts for their swans isn't it time someone did something about cyclists?
Yesterday I saw a completely invisible cyclist riding backwards with no lights or helmet, drunk, on fire, juggling bubonic plague vials as laser death rays shot out of his lights and blinded passers-by. Dozens lay slain. And they don't pay road tax.
Yours etc
Colin Apron.

1,084km so far this year.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Motoring on the motorway.

Check this out: is this the longest downhill run you've ever seen or what? I try to ride to work from wherever I'm living, although at 70km from town via the freeway I've not attempted it from here before. Last weekend the chance came up.

This is the ride profile off Bikley. It was every bit as good as it looks. I think I might have worn out my top chainring!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Judge backpedals on stupid decision

The case of British cyclist Daniel Cadden caused a ripple of outrage among cyclists online last year when he was convicted for "inconsiderate cycling" for riding on the road instead of a cycleway nearby.

According to Britain's CTC, the magistrate's decision has been overturned on appeal. Hooray!

Trivia time

Five trivial things about me.

1. I chose my screen name, Surly Dave, because two of my bikes are Surlys. I own a Cross Check and a Long Haul Trucker. They're no-nonsense bikes - inexpensive and reliable. All off my bikes are steel-framed. I also have a track bike (brand unknown), a 20-year-old road bike (brand obscure) and a mountain bike circa 1992. Yes, I ride them all.

2. I bought my first road bike for $123 earned on my paper round. It was a 1981 model Hanimex ten speed racer. My second bike was a Campag-equipped Vitus aluminium frame. It cost $1,2000 in about 1983. The frame was destroyed when I ran up the back of a car sprinting through an orange light on the day I got my HSC results about two years later. I still have many of the parts though, fitted to my 'racing' bike.

3. I worked as a bike mechanic for 12 months after leaving school. I was going to become a framebuilder, but ended up taking a different course. Knowing how to maintain my own bikes has saved me a fair bit of money over the years.

4. I have raced on the road, the track and off-road and competed in triathlons. I've done several tours and a couple of dozen audax events. Last year I competed in a bicycle orienteering event. On the list of things yet to try: cyclocross and bicycle polo.

5. In 1986, when I was at uni, I took a pair of wheels in to Stanmore Cycles in Sydney to be trued. They were lovely wheels: Campagnolo hubs with Mavic GP40 rims. Being broke, I was a bit slow picking them up and a month or two had passed by the time I returned to the shop. The woman behind the counter told me I had left them too long and they'd been sold. I was so stunned I never even thought to ask for the money. I grieved for those wheels for years, until I picked up an identical set on ebay 12 months ago. Respoked, they're just as sweet as I remember.

1,048km so far this year.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Where are the snows of yesteryear?

The weather is warm at the moment, for the first time I can remember the forecast is "fine" as far ahead as the bureau can forecast. It makes for great cycling, although I prefer the depths of winter.

But warm weather brings out legions of nutters. The off-leash dog walkers wearing ipods, deaf to all around them. The New Year's resolution cyclists, weaving and darting and sitting on my wheel. The pre-season Aussie Rules training squads, stubbornly jogging down the middle of cyclepaths, giddy on male bonding and testosterone.

I'll make the most of summer while it lasts, but I long for the dark nights of winters when the bitter wind blows, there's not a soul around, and my world is narrowed to the beam of my headlamp. There must be something in my soul which enjoys a certain level of suffering. Remind me I said this when August comes.

I've been tagged by Crowlie. Formulating trivia ... now!

1,012km so far this year.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Descent from Towonga Gap!

I mentioned I'd been playing with a cheap helmet cam - well here are the results. This is part of the high-speed descent from Towonga Gap during the Alpine Classic, set to music to cover the howling wind noise. Pardon the occasional jerky head movement as I look for cars and check my bike computer. Seasickness tablets are optional. I've edited it down a bit to remove the worst of the camera movements and cut out some of the dull bits! Highlights include oncoming cars and a lone passing maneuver.

I shot a fair bit of footage during the ride, but because I hadn't mastered setting the camera up, this is the best of it. I pointed the camera a bit too far to the left and all I ended up with was a nice shot of the white line on the left side of the road.

The second video is of the last kilometre or so of the ride, with commentary. Oh god, I crack myself up.

Next up will be my commute, once I work out how to compress the whole thing down into a few minutes worth of video.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Junk debunked.

I picked up a new term from spending too much time to the lycra brigade* - "junk miles". I hadn't heard the term before. It refers to miles on the bike that aren't quality training, that aren't making you faster and fitter or the like. I suspect that by that definition, most of the miles I do are junk miles. It's a funny way of looking at things.

The idea has been bouncing around in my head for days, niggling me. Perhaps I should have a more structured training program, perhaps I should have a coach. A coach!

Riding home yesterday, on a seemingly endless gentle incline with the wind at my back and the sun shining, the obvious occurred to me: if you're enjoying yourself simply riding your bike, there's no such thing as junk miles. And if you're not enjoying yourself, why ride?

* road racers.

811km so far this year.