Monday, March 26, 2007

I may be a Wind God, but at least I'm a God.

In the book So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, lorry driver Rob McKenna is a Rain God - a man who causes rain by his very presence. I'm beginning to suspect I'm a Wind God.

I rode in the Malmsbury Autumnal Meander 100km yesterday, which is a lovely ride and very well run. It also has the benefit of being not to far from home. The ride passes through some lovely countryside in the Siddonia Valley which is worth the price of admission alone.

The middle 40km of the ride was straight into a screaming headwind. Just like last week in Hobart. Wind, wind and more bloody wind. Grinding along at 12km/h in bottom gear on the flat is no fun at all. Granted, there were short sections with a tailwind, but not nearly enough to compensate. I finished eight minutes faster than last year. Eight minutes! Is that fair I ask you?

I'm thinking of seeking payment for avoiding rides just so the wind doesn't ruin them. Melbourne Autumn Day Tour (110km) this weekend. Let's see if my powers hold true.

1,960km so far this year.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Double easy, single hard.

I've been riding like a bastard these last few weeks. I did the Rifle Downs 200 down in Heywood Sunday week ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite the hills and the rain and the wind I felt strong all day and managed to finish strongly comfortably under 10 hours.

I was in Hobart on the weekend and took part in a century ride as part of the Bike Week celebrations. I managed to borrow a rather nice bike, a jersey, helmet and shoes (thanks Tim and Kev) and set off with the throngs from the Cenotaph. Any confidence I'd built from the 200 was quickly dispelled.

They have hills in Tassie. Not just your girlie hills like in Melbourne, but constant rolling hills interspersed with mountains which blot out the sun. And wind! Talk about your wind! On the flat bits you're going into a headwind - no matter which way you're pointing. The wind blows in different directions on either side of the hills! Even taking into account that I was riding an unfamiliar bike, I really struggled, limping home on the five hour mark.

Even so it was a pleasant ride, very well run. And I needed the exercise. Those too-long dormant hill climbing muscles got a lovely workout.

1,859km so far this year.

Monday, March 05, 2007

They should put warning labels on them

Apparently cycling is the new golf. There seems to be a recent plague of garishly dressed wankers abusing grossly overpriced equipment, so it might just be true.

I'm generally loathe to make light of the misfortune of others, but check this bloke out. Racing on a busy public road, he went straight up the back of a parked car. Well, they can be hard to spot. And check out the damage to the bike: those pretty carbon forks just snapped like twigs.

Specialized S-Works plastic wonder bike: $8,000.
Latest ultra-lightweight helmet: $350.
Lycra boy racer outfit: $400.

Riding into a parked car because you're not looking where you're going: Priceless.

Random pic of heavy steel bike from last year's Mallee Routes 200km.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The simpler the better.

The single-speed rocks! I rode the green beast every day this week, racking up perhaps 150km on my daily commute. And it's fun. I can even feel the slight gain in efficiency through not having the derailleur gears. My commute is pretty flat so it doesn't present that much of a challenge and I can carry what I need in my shoulder bag which keeps things nice and simple for the odd day I don't ride. Hmmm, might be time to move the panniers back out to the shed.

The bike reminds me of the single-speed bikes of my youth in the days before BMX. They were heavy backpedal brake monsters, bombproof and heaps of fun.

I'm going to stick with this bike for a while because I'm enjoying it so much. No doubt there's a bit of a novelty factor there, but my times to and from work are about the same despite losing a little bit of top-end speed. The fatter tyres make the bike paths far more manageable too. The beauty of this machine lies in it's simplicity. It's testament to the fact that bikes are getting too fiddly and complex.

Sadly the experiment will end in a couple of months with my move to Hobart. I'm thinking of an eight-speed internal hub for the hiller southern city.

I just noticed that I've passed the 10,000km mark for this burst of cycling. Yay me!

1,441km so far this year.