Thursday, November 29, 2007

The great chain of being

I don't often rave on about things I like for a couple of reason: firstly I'm like to piss and moan and secondly there's not that much out there that really impresses me. But today, and maybe tomorrow will be an exception before I return to my normal surly self.

I had to buy a chain a couple of weeks ago, because my satanic front derailleur fed my chain into the gap between the right crank and the chainrings, bending it at the same time.

I wandered into one of Hobart's friendly bike shops to buy a replacement so I could get home. For $85, the Wipperman 10 speed chain is a bit pricey, but it has a cracking little connecting link which means you can take the chain off without any tools. Which is pretty handy when you think about it. I was able to clean my chain today with ease, slipped it off, soaked it in kero, relubed and put back on in about five minutes. Happy is me. I love Wipperman chains.

Coming up next: the best bicycle computer ever made.

5,460km so far this year.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I have no troubles with the one at the back

We all know the rear dérailleur was invented by Tullio Campagnolo* and what a fine piece of work Tullio hath rendered. It's a little known face that the front dérailleur was invented by Adolf Hitler, working on the express orders of Satan. The project was commissioned by Telstra. That's how evil front dérailleurs are.

Now front dérailleurs are a great thing - when they're working properly you can forget them. But I've never had much luck with the buggers. Mine's been out of adjustment lately, throwing the chain off the top chainring almost every time I shift up. It's scarred my lovely new Stronglight cranks and keeps jamming the chain between the crank arm and the chain rings. If I adjust the limit screw to prevent this, the gear won't shift up at all. I decided to try to fix it for once and for all today. I removed the cable, loosened the fastening bolts, realigned the beast, reconnected, adjusted and tested. No joy. Process repeated. No joy. References consulted. Process repeated. And it seemed to work. It was 45 minutes well spent.

After voting this morning, I set on a ride and the front dérailleur suddenly was behaving. Upshifts were suddenly a joy, and praise be to the front dérailleur. All was going swimmingly until 10km from the end of a 50km ride off came the chain. Easy enough to fix, but somehow impossible to repeat over the remainder of the ride. Who knows what's going on here. Maybe it's possessed.

And a big hi to the truck driver who passed too close yesterday in Sandy Bay yesterday before turning left in front of me. Two goes and you still missed, you mullet-headed loser.

* this may not be true.

5,337km so far this year

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Letter to the editor

Loved this in the Sydney Morning Herald today:

Build a bridge, bike-baiters.

As a working city bicycle courier, I am occasionally criticised for such misdemeanours as flowing through traffic and taking a full lane in unsafe sections. Those who choose to preach from their big-wheeled, chrome-plated, plastic chariots should note one thing: if you don't wind down the window of your air-conditioned, carbon-farting bubble, the chances are I won't be able to hear you. If I do happen to hear you, the chances are greater that I have heard it all before. Go and see Morris Iemma's men on Macquarie Street - they know people who will build you a bridge to get over it.

Steve Partridge

5,180km so far this year.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Open Letter to the organisers of the Great Ocean Road Ride

(This issue has topical on the Audax-Oz e-mail list. Several people have written letters of complaint about the image on the left, which was used to promote a recreational cycling event. I don't think they go far enough. Here's mine.)
Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to complain in the strongest possible terms about the image shown on your website being used to promote the recent Great Ocean Road tour.

Some of the riders in the photograph are riding on the wrong side of the road. Do you have any idea what a bad name this gives cyclists? What example it sets? Never mind that the photo is clearly taken during a race. I am insane with rage, shaking and drooling on my keyboard like a angry shaky drooly person.

I note the cyclists are not riding two abreast - in clear breach of the law. Do you have any idea what a bad name this gives cyclists? What sort of message is this sending to young children?

These riders are conducting a race on a public road. They are following each other too closely. They are blocking the road for traffic. None of the bicycles have bells. Or reflectors. There is no indication that their helmets comply with the relevant Australian standard. None of the riders are smiling. Do you have any idea what a bad name this gives cyclists? WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN? AND ALSO THE ELDERLY? ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL US ALL?

I demand you remove this image, delete any like it from your computers, soundly thrash the photographer, fine the cyclists involved and ban them from riding ever again. If you must depict cyclists then for heaven's sake show them obeying the law as they do in real life. Make sure they are wearing bright reflective clothing and that all races, religions and genders are represented equally. Be sure to include some differently-abled and animal athletes, vegetarians, paroled prisoners and recumbent riders.

This is the greatest outrage I have ever witnessed anywhere ever including the genocide in Cambodia, the invasion of Iraq and the theft of my sense of perspective. Do you have any idea what a bad name this gives cyclists? I call jihad on you. The blood of all cyclists everywhere is on your hands - even those that haven't died yet. A pox on you all. I hope you all get cancer.

With fond regards,

Surly Dave.

5,158km so far this year.