Sunday, December 28, 2008

Red means stop.

I sometimes complain about the bad behaviour of motorists towards cyclists because the outcome is so often very one-sided, but the bad behaviour of cyclists has been getting on my nerves a lately too. I've seen a lot of scofflaw cyclists running red lights and disregarding traffic rules a lot in the last few weeks. There isn't any pattern to it -it seems to be just as likely to be the racing set as the new or casual rider.

I always stop at red lights. Why wouldn't you? When I was a lot younger I didn't always, until a serious collision with a bus knocked some sense into me. Sure it's a pain to lose all that hard-won momentum, but two or three strokes of the pedals and you're quickly back up to speed.

Running red lights is a very common and very bad advertisement for cyclists. Thoughtless acts by a few of us give us all a bad name. There are plenty of excuses offered for running red lights, but I'm yet to come across a good one. It endangers your safety and the safety of other road users and pisses people off when we need all the friends we can get. If you run red lights on your bike, you're a dickhead. If you do it in front of me, you'll get an earful - like a couple of people in Hobart have in the last few weeks.

There have been a couple of pushes lately to make cyclists more conscious of the road rules. I like the Stop at Red campaign. Give it some thought.

Bonus link: the top 10 books about cycling.

5,936km so far this year.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Halfway around.

I'm rather chuffed: this afternoon I passed the 20,000km mark since I started cycling seriously again in January 2005. My goal then was to ride an average of 100km a week, which I have, covering a distance equal to halfway around the earth. In total I've ridden for 951 hours - the equivalent of 40 days non-stop - at an average speed of around 21 kilometres an hour. I've ridden 479 times, covering an average distance of 41km. My top speed has been 82km/h and my longest single ride remains 387km. And although I don't seem to have lost any weight, I've made some freinds, look thinner, feel beter and have had a lot of fun. Hopefully the next 20,000km will be as much fun.

5,436km so far this year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

People who have tried to kill me #2243

The photo on the left shows the Metro bus which came within 20cm of knocking me off my bike on the way home tonight when he tried to slip between me and a right-turning car on a narrow bend. Bus versus bike, gee I wonder who would have won that one?

It's a little ironic he's got a sign on the back saying "Please give way, it's the law." I think there's a law about unsafe overtaking too. Maybe I should get a sign saying: "Please don't carelessly run me over, you fucker - it's the law".

5,111km so far this year.

Postscript: After complaining via e-mail I had a very nice phone call from a Metro representitive who said the driver remembered the incident and had asked to pass on his apologies.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Channel Challenge 110km

This blog seems to get hits from all round the world, so the chances are some readers might be a bit far away to take part in next weekend's Channel Challenge 110km Audax. My condolences. A rainy weekend at home means I'm busy putting the word out and finalising the details for what promises to be a superb ride.

If you're in Huonville and have nothing else planned next Sunday, here's the details:

The ride traverses some of southern Tasmania's most scenic waterfront roads with four major climbs as it passes from Huonville through Cygnet over to Kettering and back around the Channel. A moderate/hard ride with 1500m of ascending. There is also a 50km option for riders seeking a shorter day in the saddle.

The ride starts from the Huon Jet Boat Base at 8am - turn left just before the Huon River bridge if you're coming from the north. Plenty of parking, toilets and a 24-hour service station nearby. Be there by 7.30am to register. Entry is $10, $5 for Audax Australia members. The ride is unsupported and has a time limit of seven hours. Riders will need to to be self sufficient and of reasonable fitness.


Maps here and here, entries here, enquiries here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Numbers ate my brain

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows it consists of a lot of thinking out loud. I've been keeping track of the amount of money I spend on fuel lately, more out of interest than anything. All it has done is scare me. I drive a small car and average 8.1 litres per 100km on the hilly drive in the direction of work. Depending on the amount of time I have most days I ride the last 10km. Even though fuel prices seem to be going down for the moment, having a clearer idea of how much my car is costing has me wondering how much getting rid of it would save.

Having a look at the 2008 RACT running cost figures which best match my car, I'm spending about 12.5c per kilometre on fuel, about 0.7c per kilometre on tyres and about 5c per kilometer on servicing and repairs. So that's 18.2 cents per kilometre. On average, I ride around 100km a week I would have otherwise driven, saving me $18.20. I suspect I spend a bit more than that on bike bits!

At the moment, my car is costing me the above costs, plus the fixed costs: about another $24 a week in rego, insurance, licence and RACT membership. I drive an average of 25,000km a year, so all-up the car I own outright is costing me $5,792, a year, around $110 a week or 23 cents per kilometre.

Now, I'm going to need a new car in a couple of years - an expense I now don't want to even think about. If the RACT figures are right, even a cheap car will depreciate by at least $60 a week over five years, will cost $1,250 a year to keep road legal and insured, around $5,000 to fuel and another $5,000 in loan repayments: $14,272 dollars a year. And people say my bike habit is keeping me poor! The rough cost of a new car is going to be about 60 cents per kilometre.

It's got me thinking: maybe I won't t buy a new car and ride instead. Or delay the purchase by a year. At 20km/h I'd be saving about 12 dollars an hour.

5,023km so far this year.

Monday, November 10, 2008

First they came for the people without spare light brackets...

The Audax-Oz e-mail list is an enjoyable exchange of views from like-minded people and unusually for the internet has a very high signal to noise ratio. The posts are generally either informative or witty or both. I have a fairly busy life like many people and it's the only e-mail list I subscribe to but every so often the it throws up a debate which generates a level of passion I just can't understand or feel for any topic really.

It's never the life and death things but almost always something any sane person would consider trivial. For some reason the rules surrounding night riding drive some people lose all sense of perspective. Keep in mind that a large proportion or Audax riders seldom, if ever, ride at night.

Some time ago, the list was aflame with a debate about whether the club should adopt a rule requiring reflective anklets on night rides. Within a few exchanges came this:

"I'd suggest you pull your bottom lip over your head and swallow."

Right on brother! The most recent heated discussion on a new rule which means riders must carry a spare light bracket for each of the two spare lights which are already required. Someone asked for an explaination. What followed was an exchange of more than 78 e-mails by my rough count.

"This comment is just rude and offensive and has no place in a forum such
as this."

Ah yes, once again the reaction has been shrill, the emotions insane. For some people this new rule is nothing more than the cold hand of creeping fascism.

"It's not a democracy if we all leave the club and only the power mongers remain."

It's not like the change was sprung on members. It was decided by the club's elected committee, publicised in the magazine sent to all members months ago and passed when it attracted not a single comment. Those sneaks!

"I am also upset at the lack of consultation & explanation on the change."

Let's be clear what exactly is at stake: the old rule required riders to have a front light and a rear light fitted to the bike and a spare of each.

"These useless nitpicking objections to independent light mounts are, at least embarrassing, and at worst, destructive."

The new rule means you need to have a front light and a rear light fitted to the bike, a spare or each and a spare mount for each. Too onerous?

If you don't like the rules or can't be bothered being part of the club's democratic policy making join a different club or a group for minimalists."

An extra 30 grams or so has caused a storm of protest from the rule weary. And so it comes to this:

"If you want to have your will imposed on the membership without contest, then maybe it is you who should leave the club and join one more suitable to your ambitions, say the Nazi party..."

We have a winner. One minute we're talking about light brackets, the next we're calling each other Nazis. You have to love the internet. I'm one of those people who think there's too many rules in life, but I really hope I pick my fights better than this. Mind you, that club for minimalists sounds like fun.

"Moreton Bay is full of White Pointers."

Now I'm just being selective.

5,007km so far this year.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I'm not made of sugar.

We have had a couple of rainy days this week and even though we've enjoyed only light spring showers, I've saw hardly anyone else riding on my commute to or from work on Thursday and Friday. Admittedly Friday afternoon was mildly wet, but the morning was lovely and sunny and on Thursday it didn't rain at all, though rain was forecast and there were darkish clouds overhead. Instead of the usual 20 or 30 cheery souls out and about I saw maybe two. Perhaps the resolve of the summer hordes who appear after daylight savings begins has flagged a little.

It's funny how a little rain scares so many cyclists off, because a one or two hour ride in the rain is generally a very pleasant experience as long as you keep moving and stay warm. Once you're wet you're not getting any wetter. The traffic slows down a little and high-pressure tyres make a lovely noise on wet pavement. Yes, you have to relube your chain and wipe the bike down afterwards but that small additional effort is well worth it in my opinion.

I reckon I get rained on about three or for times a year when I'm out on the bike. On days when the forecast is truly horrible I tend to pass, but in Tasmania if you wait for the weather to be prefect you'll wait a long time to get a ride in. Getting wet on the way to work is more of an inconvenience that getting wet on the way home, because you have to put wet clothes on again to ride at the end of the day.

Speaking of weather, it's the BikeTas Big Ride tomorrow - 100km around the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. It's blowing a gale out there at the moment, and while the forecast is for fine conditions, I'm going regardless.

4,876km so far this year.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Doing what he loved.

A sad story, but still somewhat amazing an 83-year-old man was still throwing a leg over the bike on a ride that's 56km at its shortest. I hope I've got another 43 years of riding half-centuries left in me.

83-year-old man dies in bike crash

An 83-year-old man has died after crashing his bicycle during the Sydney to Wollongong charity bike ride. Police said the man fell off his bike after his pedal clipped a traffic barrier on Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul about 12pm yesterday. The Terrigal man suffered major head injuries, including multiple skull and facial fractures. An off-duty paramedic and ambulance officers treated him at the scene. He was taken to Wollongong Hospital, but died shortly before midnight with his family at his bedside.

4,772km so far this year.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The bike that ebay bought.

October wasn't a good month for me on the bike (or on the blog). I barely made the 400km mark for the month and my (revised) goal of 6000km for the year isn't looking flash. Without regular Audax riding like I had in Victoria, I have commute every day to keep my miles up. Fortunately I quite enjoy this.

I've been thinking about a new road bike for a while. I've put nearly 20,000km on the Surly and it's a fine bike, but it does have some annoying features - like the cantilever brakes which I grew sick of and a very long wheelbase. I was looking for something a tad lighter too, although it's a fool who thinks a new bike will make him a better rider.

I kicked around a huge range of options, from buying a new bike like one of the flash new Malvern Star carbon racers, to refurbishing an old steel frame, to buying something like a Richey Breakaway online. The collapse of the Aussie dollar made the latter too expensive, and while I was keen on the old steel frame idea, it was going to involve a fair bit of hassle for an uncertain result. And carbon? Well I just don't think I'm gentle enough for a carbon frame and I worry how well it would travel in a bike box in the guts of a plane. Another case in point: a week ago Mrs Surly Dave drove my car under a bottle shop awning with the steel bike on top. Luckily it survived with a couple of scratches, I'm scared to think what would have happened to a carbon bike.

Getting a new bike meant cleaning out the shed. After selling a while heap of vintage Campagnolo racing gear on ebay, I was ready to go shopping. I settled on a Bianchi Via Nirone frame in mid-life crisis red from a local bike shop. It's nothing flash, but it's designed to be comfortable for long rides as well as sporty for commutes and even racing if I feel like it. After a few rides ironing out the fit, I'm glad to say it rides like a dream and is a worthy successor to the much-loved Surly Cross Check.

4,867km so far this year.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not enough time.

There's nothing in the world quite as enjoyable as cycle touring. It's just one of the most relaxing ways of seeing the world. For some reason my touring bike has been hanging in the shed for months, unnoticed and unridden. A bit of tinkering and it's ready to ride once more. I couldn't resist putting the panniers and rack bags and handlebar bag back on and taking it for a little spin.

The Surly Long Haul Trucker is a wonderful touring bike. Mine is the 26" wheel version and it's just lovely to ride. It becomes more stable the more youy load it up. We're planning a weekend tour in the next few weeks, so I'm ready now - although possibly with slightly more carrying capacity than I'll need on an overnight trip to Bruny Island.

This is the bike I rode the Mallee Routes on a couple of years ago. The ride is on again this weekend as it traditionally is on the AFL Grand Final weekend. Wish I was there!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The hard way to the Airwalk

Eating breakfast on Saturday I could see the hills that mark the edge of the World Heritage Area north-west of here still had a good covering of snow on top. Despite the windy season being well and truly upon us it's still a good time to be outdoors. And there are miles and miles of dirt roads and tracks in the bush near home, so this weekend was high time to get out and explore some of it.

Keith, from up the road, is a keen and accomplished cyclist who knows the hills and trails of the Huon as well as anyone. He suggested a relatively straightforward mountain bike ride from Judbury down to the Tahune Airwalk and back - a round tip of about 80 or so kilometres mainly along forestry roads along either side of the Huon River. It's pretty rugged country, lots of hills and not too many people. We set off about 8.30 on Saturday morning.

The weather was cool and overcast as we rolled past the few scattered houses and inched up the hill behind Russell River. Keith showed his local knowledge by picking tracks to cut the distance or to provide a more interesting ride. He pointed out the site of Denny King's old Sunset Ranch. We copped a bit of rain, but it wasn't enough to bother putting a jacket on. We made the visitors centre at the Airwalk about 11am. There weren't too many people about on what was becoming a cool and windy day. We took a table and tucked into a very fine lunch.

The weather turned a little on the way back, though sheltered from the worst of the wind by the rugged hills, the temperature dropped and intermittent rain meant rain jackets and long pants were needed. On one long uphill section we were pelted by hail, which meant the puncture gods knew exactly what moment to put a sharp pointy rock in the path of my front wheel. A quick stop and we were on our way once more.

From the top of this climb we had a long and very enjoyable descent down towards the bridge near the Ta Ann veneer mill. By my reckoning, the temperature had dropped to well under the five degree minimum that had been forecast but if you keep pedalling you stay warm enough. The final climb over the hill after the Denison River was a killer, and I had to walk the steeper sections. Keith was waiting on the other side for the exhilarating 70km/h descent down back across the Russell River and the final spin into Judbury.

I really enjoy riding on the road, but this was a ride to equal any I've been on and had some other benefits besides. We saw some magnificent countryside and in what turned out to be a 90km ride we saw just three cars. And the even better thing is there's lots more trails to explore. Yet another joy of living in such a magnificent part of the world.

4,220km so far this year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gently Around the Channel

I'm getting ready to run a few 100km Audax rides over the summer.
Having ridden a few dozen rides organized by others I think it's fair
to say I've never really appreciated the amount of work involved. The
last few weeks have given me a good hint.

One of the good things about the process has been thinking about what
makes a good ride. Another benefit has been riding the courses, which
I'm slowly working my way through so I can check the distances and put
together the cue sheets.

Bicycle Tim and Keith joined me on Saturday for the run through of the
"Channel Challenge". Although what I thought was 108km turned out to
be closer to 120km it turned out to be a delightful traverse of some
of Southern Tasmania's best coastal scenery and had some brilliant
climbs as well.

The route went from Ranelagh to Cygnet, across to Kettering and back
via the coast road. I was confident it would be a winner because I've
never had a bad ride around the Channel.

Though my climbing clearly leaves a lot to be desired, Tim and Keith
kindly waited for me at the top of each major ascent and we enjoyed a
great lunch at Fleurty's cafe and cake at Cygnet's Red Velvet Lounge.
Although the wind was very blowy and I wasn't feeling that strong, I
hope the people who eventually take part in this event have as good a
time as I did Saturday. Wonderful scenery, great food and terrific
company, stuff of the most memorable rides.

The endless cycle resumes.

Yes, I've been slack, but I've had a lot on. This snippet from the tail end of the obituary of Ian Hibell, long distance cyclist. The Economist said it best.

— A cyclist can travel 1,037km (644 miles) on the energy equivalent of one litre of petrol.
— Regular cycling can make you as fit as someone who is ten years younger.
— A cyclist consumes 1/50th of the oxygen of a car making the same journey.
— A twice daily half-hour commute will, over a year, consume the energy equivalent of 24lb of fat.
— In 1949, 34 per cent of all mechanised journeys were made by bicycle. Fifty years later that figure had fallen to 2 per cent.
— The rate of serious heart disease for civil servants who cycle 20 miles or more a week is 50 per cent lower than for their sedentary colleagues.

4,130km so far this year.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bolder on a folder.

I bought myself another bike. The Flying Pigeon was great but I went shopping and saw this six-speed for the equivalent of $A250 and thought it was a buy too good to resist. I sold the Mighty Pigeon to a mate for about what I paid for it.

It's a Dahon folding bike. I've not had a folder before and I'm very impressed. It's a Chinese-market only model and some of the running gear is a bit average, but it goes like a rocket, goes round corners like a greased rat and is very comfortable to ride. Hopefully it will go in the bag without too much of a struggle.

The picture to the left is taken inside the Olympic precinct yesterday. A couple of us managed to find a checkpoint which somehow allowed us into the heart of the Games. There was nobody else about and for about 20 minutes we had the place to ourselves as we zoomed down empty road past deserted venues. In 11 days time these will be packed with athletes, officials and spectators. We didn't see anyone much apart from security staff until passing out through the gate near the Main Press Centre, where I work.

I put a bike computer on the bike today. Now all I need is a bell and I'm set. Off to the Summer Palace in the morning. I reckon it's about 30km each way, which should be fun in the 35 degree heat.

3,298km so far this year.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yet another bike.

If you're ever lost in Beijing, I highly recommend you follow this bloke. He looked like he knew you select the bike and the store mechanic where he was going, which happily was the rough direction of my hotel.

I bought a cheap bike at the supermarket today . Getting to the supermarket involved a somewhat lengthy cab ride across Beijing - which cost a total of $3 Australian. Inside, as a good proportion of the city's 15 million shoppers play dogem trolleys tightens a few bolts while you go and find the cashier and go through the no language in common paying pantomime. You then collect the bike and wheel it through the supermarket crowds in search of an exit. Lots of fun.

As you can see from the photo below it's a pretty stunning machine. For $80 I'm pretty happy with it. One gear, 26 inch tyres, reasonably comfortable saddle. Hopefully it will last the duration of my stay.

Beijing has wide cycleways at the side of every road. Cyclists seem to be able to ride in either direction on either side of the road, which sounds chaotic but works ok as nobody goes too fast. Cars and buses sound their horn to give you warning they're approaching and give you time to get out of the way. Intersections are a little chaotic but I either walk or wait for someone who looks like a local - which is pretty much everyone at present.

Chinese bike aficionados will note my mighty steed is from the venerable Flying Pigeon stable. Foolishly I declined a basket, something I regretted almost as soon as I got out of the store. I'll tyr to pick one up in the next few days. It will be a handy place to put a camera.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bicycles of Beijing

I'm in Beijing for the next five weeks for work. After arriving late last night, a few of the people in my group were able to do a nice stroll through part of town today for a look around. While there are a lot of cars, there are also bikes of every type everywhere. Cargo bikes are particularly popular and there was lots of electric assisted bikes which glide along silently and at a fair clip along the generous cycleways.

Beijing is very flat, so I'm looking forward to buying myself a bike in the next day or so to get around and see the sights in the next few days before it gets too busy.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Yet more sensible advice.

I'm pretty much learning everything I need to lean about cycling these days from the New York Times. It's going to put a lot of bloggers out of business if this keeps up. I did mention a while two specific stories a couple of posts ago, but the regular blog The Climb rates as one of the most hilarious things I've read for a long time. It's full of good advice, like this from the comments section:

Be sure to reattach your brakes after any repair or maintenance. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s found him(her)self hurtling down a hill looking for an escape route after this mistake.
— Posted by Robert Bott


Natural selection at work folks.

2,987km so far this year.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Radio Man

In the 1971 film Duel, a motorist is stalked by a truck driver on a remote and lonely road. The modern version plays out on Hobart roads some mornings. I call him Radio Man. I've never seen his face. I've never seen his bike. Yet one or two mornings a week we ride to work together.



This morning, he materialised behind me again, his presence betrayed by his squeaky unoiled chain making squeaky unoiled chain noises, and the staticky radio attached to his handlebars just audible enough to jolt me out of whatever musings are happily diverting me from the everyday. I could see from his shadow he was right on my wheel. Without ever having seen him, except one or twice out the corner of my eye, I'm guessing he's on a mountain bike or a hybrid. He must be reasonably strong because he sticks with me just fine up the hills.

I was battling both a killer headwind and a killer hangover this morning. Radio Man stuck on my wheel like a piece of chewy. He catches up but never passes, and he never says a word or rolls through for his turn in the wind. Speeding up might shake him for a minute, but he always catches back up when I slow down again. Eventually I lost him by sprinting through an orange light in Sandy Bay. It occurs to me Radio Man doesn't know how annoying he is.

Maybe I should tell him. Tomorrow for sure.

Happy photo from Flickr.

2,883km so far this year.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Don't believe everything you read. Except here.

Some great cycling-related articles in the New York Times lately, this one about long distance cycling is very interesting, this one about racing is instructive if you're into going faster. Still, as the correction below shows, if you're learning to ride a bike based on what you read in the paper, (rather than say, this blog) you're going to crash a lot more.

Correction: June 20, 2008

An article on Thursday about training advice from an Olympic cyclist misstated a technique for negotiating downhill curves. The rider’s inside pedal should be up, not down.

Yeah, I can see how that's going to make a bit of a difference.

2,822km so far this year.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Riding the ice bike.

Cold morning this morning in Hobart. I probably shouldn't have left the bike outside. There was a heavy frost in the clear conditions overnight, the whole hilltop where we live was cloaked in white and the bike was covered too. Pretty, but not much good.

Some people might take it as a sign, but the ice thawed and I had was a nice ride in. It was a bit crisp, but the sun was shining and I soon warmed up. The numbers of commuters have dropped right off as mid-winter approaches, it's just the diehards now. It's easy to overestimate how cold it gets on a Hobart winter's day. With the right clothes, it's a nice ride in even when it's two or three degrees like this morning.

I did a BikeTas ride on the weekend, a lovely 60km circuit from Cygnet around the Channel. A good turnout too, around a dozen riders. We tackled the monstrous hill up to Woodbridge Saddle and revelled in the water views and touching 70km/h on the way down the other side. After a coffee break near Woodbridge where some of the stragglers caught up, four of us formed a little peleton of chatty tourists for a gentle 40km back to Cygnet. What a great ride and lovely to meet a few more people who so obviously love their riding. Thanks to Tim for the organising.

2,756km so far this year.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Inside running.

This looks interesting: Hobart is getting an "indoor cycling performance centre". I've never heard of such a thing before. From the website, it sounds like something that is to cycling what treadmills are to running. I have a sneaking feeling that it's going to attract a fair cross section of the lycra brigade, people who I usually try to avoid. Road racers generally haven't cottoned onto the fact most other cyclists are laughing at how much they fancy themselves.

The whole concept of an indoor cycling performance centre has a certain novelty value, and virtual reality racing sounds a little interesting, I wonder how long it will last. Despite their reputation, Hobart winters are pretty mild and nothing beats a proper ride on a proper road. Even for soft buggers with no hair on their legs.

2,623km so far this year.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Top man backs bikes.

Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett has encouraged all Tasmanians to ride a bike. It's not a bad idea. Mr Bartlett - a keen mountain biker - has just bought himself a shiny new road bike, and was snapped sneaking out for a ride on his first day as premier last week. His carbon-fibre Trek is so new the reflectors are still on it. Mr Bartlett spruiked the benefits of cycling at his first press conference:

QUESTION: What sort of things should we be doing in Tasmania then to get people a bit healthier?

BARTLETT: Ah well, I was out riding my bike at lunch yesterday, and I encourage everybody else to do the same.
Hard to imagine our old Premier Paul Lennon advocating any exercise more strenuous than an afternoon at the races.
Anyway, Bicycle Victoria has Mr Bartlett in their sights. This e-mail went round to their Tasmanian members:

``As you know you have a new Premier and he is a bike rider! This is a great opportunity for bike riding in Tasmania. Unlike other States, the Tasmanian Government does not consistently invest in bicycle infrastructure such as bike lanes and bike paths so far. We think Bartlett's Premiership could change this policy.

``Please send him a short positive note of congratulations and let him know about the sort of bike riding you do and what would help you. Encourage him to commit State funds. Please keep it positive. You can see our letter on the web page where we have posted the link to his email.

"Please also send a couple of lines to the Council supporting the Plan. The link for that is on the page.''

It will be interesting to see whether having a keen cyclist in the top job makes any difference to the level of investment in cycling facilities.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pathletes and the great race

I love these blokes. Egos on wheels. Lance Armstrong on a commuter bike. They always want to race. Most days I couldn't be bothered, but I'm working on my speed this week. I wasn't really concentrating on the rider ahead of me, who I was slowly catching up to. I was about 100m back when he caught sight of me and turned on the speed.

Now I'm a pretty friendly bloke so otherwise I would most likely have caught him up and had a chat and made a friend. But he sped up. I could have passed him but he would have picked it up again. Instead, and this is much more fun, I sat about ten metres off his back wheel, just close enough that he could see the beam of my light on the road ahead. He'd clearly misjudged me: I'm fatter than most fast blokes, but faster than most fat blokes.

The beauty of this commuter racing technique is it commits the pathlete to holding their inflated pace indefinitely. And this bloke was good. Through Sandy Bay we rocketed. He slackened a bit up the hill to Taroona, so I got a nice breather. He picked it up again as the gradient backed off and again on the flat and I stuck with him like shit on a blanket. We passed another rider who jumped into our little bunch.

Then, about a block before the side street I park my car in, then he blew up. Spectacularly. He started coasting, dropped down a bunch of gears and it was over. How sweet, how very sweet, to roll on by, say goodnight and turn left - showing him just how close he'd been.

As an added bonus, today was a PB for my short commute, 48min33sec for a ride I've never done under 52 minutes before and an average speed of 25.6km.h - fast for me.

2,446km so far this year.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thinking out loud.

An interesting thread on the randon Google group have given me cause to ponder bike weight. It's a topic which obsesses some people, who spend thousands shaving a as many grams as possible off their bikes. The group threw up some interesting answers - which were mainly for laden bikes including mudguards, racks, spares and in one case full water bottles - falling in a range between 11.4kg (25lbs) and 21kg (48lbs) with a cluster around the 16kg (36lb). It gave me cause to weigh the Surly. Ready for commuting/ century rides it comes in at just on 12.3kg (27lb). My long-distance audax load would bit a kilogram or two heavier.

Now I've been thinking about how to increase my speed on the bike. I manage to move along at a reasonable pace - somewhere around 22km/h (13.6mph) averaged over the course of a year - but of course I'd like to go a bit quicker. Is cutting the weight of my bike going to make any difference?

Happily, there is an excellent online tool for calculating just this. At my current (shameful) 103kg (227lb) travelling at 25.4km/h on the flat on a 12.3kg bike I appear to be putting out about 160 watts. It would take me about 3hours56seconds to ride a theoretical dead flat 100km with no wind. (Interestingly, my fastest ever metric century is 3hours47minutes.)

Now, if I bought myself a much lighter bike - say 7kg - I could expect to add a whopping 400m an hour to my speed and save about four minutes over 100km. Even the world's lightest bike, weighing in at 4.1kg top left, isn't going to help me go that much faster. Pretty though it is.

If I dropped my own weight to 90kg and bought a lighter bike I might I'd add 1.3km/h to my average speed and cut about 12 minutes off my time. If I just dropped the weight and stayed with my current bike the speed increase would be 0.7km/h or about six and a half minutes. Ish. Maths isn't my strong suit after a couple of beers.

Hills, of course are a different matter. On one of my commuting routes, there's a 10km climb with a grade of about six per cent. On my current bike I shuffle up at about 10km/h. At the same power output, a 7kg bike is going to lift my speed to 10.4km/h, while dropping my weight to 90kg will see me hit a giddy 11.2km/h. Doing both will get me to 11.7kmh, cutting my 'climb time' from one hour to 51 minutes.

Obviously losing weight is going to help me go faster, and it's a good thing in itself. But spending big dollars on a light bike? That isn't going to help that much at all, so I won't be rushing out to buy something made of carbon fibre any time soon.

Grant, at the engaging Rider Redux is probably on to something. I need to harden up. The secret, perhaps, is obvious to all who've ever ridden a bike. If I you want to go faster, be prepared to pedal a bigger gear, faster. I might just give it a try!

2,378km so far this year.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The ten best things about my bike.

Every bike is a reflection of its rider's tastes and priorities. Every stock standard bike that's wheeled off the floor of a bike shop will gradually evolve over time to reflect who rides it and how. These are ten of my favourite things, the things that make my bike my own:

1. Brooks leather saddle.
Hadn't tried one until a couple of years ago, now I can't live without it. The B17 is a bit heavy and looks a bit old fashioned but there's nothing more comfortable. And when you're riding lots, comfort is a must.

2. Campagnolo levers.
I tried Shimano levers, but I find the cable runs ugly and I'm nothing if not an aesthete. My Campag Veloce levers are about one-third the price of the equivalent Ultegras, feel better, work better and look better. I use a Jtek shiftmate adapter so I didn't have to change my wheels, deraillieurs, cluster etc. It all works a charm.

3. Connex chain.
Pricey but smooth, with the added bonus of a tool-free joining link so it's easy to get on and off for cleaning. Just replaced my first one after 4,000km.

4. Cateye Strada wireless computer.

I've tried a bunch of cycle computers over the years. My long-time favourite was a cheapie I bought in New York in 1996 which finally gave up the ghost a couple of years back. The Cateye is small and smart and would be perfect if there was some way of ensuring all my ride data wasn't erased on the odd occasion I slump over the handebars on a break.

5. Schmidt hub and E3 light
Nothing beats a generator hub. I've raved about this before. With barely noticable drag, this hub and this light are the perfect combination: ready to provide light any time they're needed. No batteries to recharge. Nothing to forget. Ride any time you like.

6. Handbuilt wheels.
Most road bikes these days have machine-built reduced spoke count wheels, which are fine for racing but in my opinion no good for commuting or audax riding where strength and reliability is more important than weight and aerodynamics. With many wheels these days, if you break a spoke, you're walking home. I made these wheels for myself from some vintage 36 hole Wolber Super Gentleman rims . They're true and strong and fast. Just like their owner.

6. Mudguards
Winter in Hobart can be cold and sometimes rainy. A spray of water up the date doesn't make a rainy commute any more fun. And my Soma Eurotrip 'fenders' are dead stylish too.

7. Musette.
These were big in the 80s, but you don't see them much any more. One of these in a jersey pocket means you can turn a trip to the shops into a decent ride. Each weekend when we ride we manage to pick up dinner, the paper and a bottle of wine in town before heading back to our mountain lair. I picked up two for $20 at Clarence Street Cycles on my last trip to Sydney. they must have been the cheapest items in the shop!

8. Zefal HPX pump
These are good, reliable pump. I just replaced my first one after 20 years of use because I accidentally stepped on it and bent the body. These pumps are really good at getting tyres up to high pressures. And they have a reasonably hefty business end, which is good for whacking dogs, and I imagine would do quite some damage to a car's side window if ever wielded in anger. Try that with your minipump.

OK, these next two aren't part of the bike, but they are part of the overall experience:

9. BikeJournal.com
I'm a bit obsessive about tracking my mileage, but it's a means unto an end - keeping my motivation up and my weight down! The good thing about bikejournal is that if you're not consistent you drop down the rankings like a brick. I was nudging my was towards a top 1,000 spot a couple of weeks ago. Now I'm 1300+. Time to get back on the bike.

10. Bike blogs.
Good for rainy day contemplation and time wasting at work. There are some cracking bike blogs out there and more popping up all the time. A decent feed handler like Google Reader will keep them all in line. In no particular order, my favourites:

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off for a ride.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The newpsaper letters page makes me angry.

Australian governments collected $2 billion in vehicle registrations in 2006, and spent $6.4 billion on roads. Motorists can start sounding off about cyclists not paying their way when when car registration triples, you mouthy bitches. Your cars and their highly subsidised infrastructure have turned our cities into polluted and hostile wastelands. And still you want more.

2,181km so far this year.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Deadshits and cowards emboldended

Menacing, harrassing or bullying a cyclist from the safety of a car is a gutless act. And this week's road rage incident in Sydney, where a driver braked suddenly in front of a pack of 50 cyclists has brought the nutters and their kin out of the woodwork.

The deadshit of the week award goes to the driver himself, ''Huss'' - who by now might be starting to realise he's driven his shitty old Falcon into a world of pain. Good. But the cowards and bullies of the world have found a new king. All hail King Huss of Campbelltown. My tip would be he wasn't rushing because he was due in the operating room to perform life-saving open-heart surgery on a seriously ill orphan. He was just driving that way.

Deadshit of the month goes to Elisa Brown of Helsinki, who for some unknown reason wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald letters page.

''The question that occurred to me was why such an enormous group of cyclists had chosen to congregate on a busy road. ''

One wonders why such large packs of cars congregate on busy roads too, Elisa, you ignorant git. Could they be law-abiding taxpayers, going about their legitimate business, breathing the free and righteous air of a democracy?

And deadshit of the year goes to that dim-bulb NSW roads minister Eric Roozendal,
who cleverly points out that because one underhung Neanderthal has a temper problem, we'd better all stay indoors, because like other victims, cyclists who get hit by motorists in peak hour were clearly gagging for it.

"I would have thought it was probably better if they weren't interrupting peak-hour traffic.''


Road ragers? Big trucks? Cars? No, you guessed it. Fuck you Eric.

2,144km so far this year.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Lighting up the night

I've used a dynohub for about four years, a Shimano at first before graduating to the lovely and super-efficient Son a couple of months ago. Teamed with the Schmidt E6 headlight they're a great choice for commuting after dark or for audax night riding.

I ride a fair bit at night, on some pretty dark roads during winter commutes and I love dynohubs. There's no need to remember batteries so you're very unlikely to be left stranded without lights and the beam from the headlight lights up a whole lot of road. The only disadvantage is the need to change bulbs every hundred hours or so.

For some reason among people who ride at night, lighting is a topic which obsesses. Everyone is keen to find that solution of perfect reliability, light weight and sun-like illumination with no blind spots, with which to light their noctournal pedallings. The advent of cheap LED lights has meant that in recent years the lighting arms race has tipped in favour of lights like the Ayup battery-powered models or similar. Those who have come to love their dynohubs have been waiting patiently.

The news is good. There are two superb new lights on the market. The Supernova E3 is so bright it's illegal in Germany. So too is the very sexy little taillight. Imagine that. Illegal in Germany. It must melt oncoming cars. People who have used it say it lights up the night. I must have one. But then, the Edelux light is also about to be released. For about the same price it's a toss up, especially when the carefully worded marketing blurbs don't allow easy direct comparison. I suspect they're both fairly similar 3-watt LED setups, but as the E6 has demonstrated, the optics in these lights can make a stunning difference for the same amount of light. As they say over at the Research Trailer Park, it's a good problem to have.

At the moment, the choice is academic. At several hundred bucks each, I'll be using the E6 for a while to come yet, reading the breathless reviews from lucky owners as they light up the byways of the night.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Oppy 2008

For some reason it always rains during the Oppy. Even in the middle of a drought. It rained last year and it rained this year too, though for longer and with a lot more conviction.

A little additional discomfort fades into the background on a ride this hard though. Despite the logistical nightmare of getting bike and associated kit from Hobart to central Victoria and back, this was a better ride for me than last year. Although I got less sleep (about ten minutes, compared with 25 minutes last year) we covered more ground (386km compared with 365km last year) and for the most part I felt a lot stronger.

The bike went fine and my the company and support of the fine bunch of blokes I rode with was - as usual beyond compare. Not sure whether I'll have another go, although the 400km mark looms tantalizingly close. At this rate we'll crack it next year. I'll have to give it some serious thought.

Now, after a week's rest, it's time to get back on the bike.

2002km so far this year.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Quickly around the Channel

Sunday turned on perfect conditions for the Round the Channel Audax ride, a delightful trip down the Huon Valley and back up the d'Entrecasteaux Channel. It's a tad undulating, in 105km there's over 1,000m of climbing. After waiting for possible latercomers thrown by the daylight savings change, two of us pushed off from Longley 8.30am.

Fortunately Paul and I were pretty evenly matched so we chatted away as we zoomed through Huonville before stopping at Cygnet for a coffee, and in his case a smoke. Back on the bikes we made good time up the Channel before another smoko at Gordon. We parted ways at Margate, and with a hilly century starting to tell on my legs, I crawled back up the hill to Longely where my car was parked.

Pleasingly over the last six months my fitness has improved somewhat. I knocked a good 40 minutes off my previous best time for the trip to stop the clock a shade under five hours. A most enjoyable ride and a good confidence booster coming just two weeks before the Oppy. Mind you 360km in 24 hours is a slightly bigger ask. At least rural Victoria's a bit flat.

1,425km so far this year.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

OK, now I've seen everything

The current bike worldwide boom is a good thing, nay - a great thing- but like most things in life it's not an unalloyed joy.

Twenty-odd years ago we had to deal with the sudden appearance of triathletes - strapping meat puppets immune to pain but barely smart enough to to steer around corners. Then came the mountain bikers and they were mostly ok. Now come the fixed gear riders and I'm coping pretty well with that. Each group bought some cultural baggage with them to add to the rich mix that makes up the pasttime. But eventually matters must reach a point where even the most sanguine of us much cry: Enough! Ride the things, don't worship them as gods.

Without wanting to sound too much like Bike Snob NYC, have a bloody look at this: you can get paintings of bicycles from BicyclePaintings.com in New York. They even have gallery. WTF? WTFF?

For a mere $US600, you can buy a painting, oil on board, of Roberto's rain bike. Never mind that Roberto's rain bike is clearly a piece of shit you could buy for less than $US600 and still have enough money for some hooks to hang it on a wall at your place. (Also Roberto, get your brakes serviced, one of the calipers is badly bent.) For $US1500 you can buy Alana's Bike on paper. Look at it there, looking coquettishly over its shoulder at us. (Alana, baby, you need some brakes and some handlebar tape.) But hey, if that's too rich for your blood you can always buy a painting of a Tour de France water bottle for $300. Or you could buy 100 of the fuckers for real and have your own performance art party at home.

1,181km so far this year.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The shed as a goldmine.

I've been a bit short of cash of late, so I've been whacking some old bike bits on ebay. Cleaning out the shed has never been so profitable.

I have a fair few old bike parts I've had for 20 years or more which I'm unlikely to ever use again. It's mostly old Campagnolo stuff from when I was racing - I had expensive tastes even then. Some of it has some sentimental value, but it's hard to hang onto stuff when it's fetching good money online. The demand is amazing even for items I describe in great detail as worn or a bit rusty. There's nothing that hasn't sold. So far I've sold the old, worn 1983 Campagnolo Record pedals to the left for $60 and old pair of Suntour track pedals for $40 and a fairly ratty pair of Campagnolo non-aero brake levers for $40 as well.

This week I've unearthed a pair of Suntour Superbe road pedals. They're lovely smooth pedals, in good condition and they've already reached $50 ,which may well be more than I paid for them back in about 1985. I had no idea they would be such a good investment.

The best thing about it all is that this kit is going to people who will use and appreciate it. The downside is that the ebay fees take a decent bite and using their Paypal payment service means you lose even more - my total fees are running at slightly over 10%. But it's hard to complain too much when its turning stuff that was cluttering up the shed into dollars.

1,103km so far this year.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What's wrong with the Tour de France.

My cold and windy commute across the shoulder of Mt Wellington last night got me thinking about what the Tour de France really needs: a night stage. Forget that sissy day riding, any one can do that. Let's see how these tough guys go at night. Let's say a 350km mountain stage in the dark. Wouldn't that be a great prompt to see some breakthoughs in in the development of useful cycling gear, say for example bike lights?

1,005km so far this year.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hobart Century Ride

I had a fine old time at the Hobart Century ride on Sunday. It's always a jolly outing. There seemed a few more riders than last year too, although I didn't end up seeing too many of them after the start. There was a fair bit of lycra and carbon and shaved legs in evidence.

Riding at a moderate pace, I finished a shade over five hours, one minute slower than my time for last year. (If that rate of deterioration holds I'll be riding sub-six hour centuries well into my eighties which suits me fine.) It was a fairly hot day and I stopped a couple of times, once for an ice cream and once for a cool drink, so maybe I shouldn't have been too surprised there wasn't anyone much still around when I eventually finished!

I had some gear problems which meant I had to stop and manually move the chain down to use the small chainring, which was a minor inconvenience and a reminder of how it was done in the distant years before deraillieurs were invented. Gotta get that fixed before the Oppy. Well done to the crazy bugger who finished the course in 3:41 on a fixed gear. Well done that man indeed.

Suffering in the hills.

Riding hills are a bit of a test of truth for cyclists. Anyone can ride fast on the flat, that's why Beach Road in Melbourne is so popular, but there's no hiding any weaknesses when the road turns upwards. The steeper the hill the starker the effect. Being a larger person, the laws of physics conspire against me too. There are no top Tour de France climbers who weigh over 100kg.

And hills hurt. Always. The fitter you get the faster you go, but they still hurt the legs and the lungs. It's one of the reasons I've been avoiding some of the bigger climbs around home - of which there are plenty. But riding hills is a great way to toughen up.

I've hardly ridden at all in the last month. Driving to work makes a man fat, comfortable, weak and lazy. The short commutes I've been doing aren't enough to build much strength or endurance , so I've come up with a more challenging 40km round trip form Sandfly to Hobart via Ferntree. As a commute, it's almost perfect -scenic and low traffic. It has two climbs too, one one the way in of 7km and one of 12km on the way home. Over 20km there's more than 500m of climbing.

I rode it for the first time this morning and it's a test alright. Heaps less traffic than the

It's time to tackle my biggest weakness head on and harden up for the Oppy.

960km so far this year.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

There was a Mass of us.

Critical Mass came to Hobart last Friday. It was a lovely outing, though sadly I forgot my camera. There was around 250 riders, which is a good turnout for a first time event in my opinion and everyone was very well behaved.

Check out this editorial from the Mercury. (I actually missed it first time around, thanks to Tim for pointing it out.) It's nicely at odds with the sort of thing that appears in the Herald-Sun for example, but the ride was also different the mainland Critical Mass rides I've been in. Some extracts...

If Hobartians were expecting chaos at 5.51pm they would have been pleasantly surprised. It was no more objectionable than the Christmas Pageant, or the fun run or a forest protest march.
...
Apart from a couple of grumpy couriers for whom time is money and apparently more important that the life and limb of a cyclist or two, it was an uneventful exercise in civic protest.
...
Until drivers get the message that bikes have equal rights on the road, and that a few seconds of tolerance is all it takes the share the space, we will not have a bike friendly city.

Why does it feel ever so slightly odd? And a little proud.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A slow month.

February was a bit of a disaster for me. The Surly is off the road because I broke the shift lever on the way to the Alpine Classic, so I haven't been riding much. So not much blogging either. 105km for the month - my worst month since 2005. But two days into March I've passed that total already.

Still the break was nice and the last few days getting back onto the old red racer has been terrific. For some reason I decided to put some slightly wider handlebars on the bike and it's really transformed it from a far too twitchy racer to a much better behaved bike. Funny how the little things can make a difference. So many modern bikes have handlebars that are too wide, making them handle like barges.
My problem with this bike was the opposite, the bars were ideal for criteriums or for cutting through traffic but I don't do much of either of those these days.

Just over six weeks until the Oppy. It will take a bit more riding to get my fitness up to a level where I can do 360km in 24 hours I suspect. But even so I'm looking forward to it immensely.

763km so far this year.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Goodbye Sheldon

The world is a poorer place for the passing of Sheldon Brown this week, from a heart attack at age 63. Widely considered the cycling world's foremost mechanical guru, he maintained a sprawling and encyclopedic website on all things bike that is far and away the best such resource on the internet. If you don't know the site, do yourself a favour and check it out. It's the sort of place that makes for hours of pleasurable diversion.

Despite his enyclopedic knowledge Sheldon Brown was not a know-it-all, in contrast to so many who infect the byways of the internet. His writings were infused with his love of cycling, a self-deprecating sense of humour and more than a touch of happy eccentricity. But if you wanted to know whether a 27 inch tyre would fit a 700c wheel, or the gear ratios of an old Sturmey Archer hub or any of the other arcania of cycling, the answer was likely to be on Sheldon's website. And if it wasn't - a post on any of a number of bicycle forums often brought an insightful reply from the man himself.

He said Igor, the eagle on his helment, symbolised how he viewed himself and how he wanted the world to view him: independent minded, original, a person with a sense of humor and somebody who doesn't take himself too seriously.

Sheldon Brown was all that and more. He will be missed.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A tale of two rides.

Two great rides - two totally different results.

I'd been looking forward to the Audax Alpine Classic for ages but it clearly wasn't to be from the outset. I packed my bike in a bit of a hurry before heading to the airport and unfortunately the rear gear shifter broke in transit. Thanks to the wonderful efforts of Peter Moore from Abbotsford Cycles - easily Melbourne's best bike shop - I was mechanically right to go, but a late night drinking session with an old journo mate in Melbourne on Friday night meant I wasn't in much of a state Saturday and still decidedly sub-optimal Sunday.

In truth, probably a few things came together to stuff me. Hangover, unfit, overweight. But so it goes. I made it up the grueling climbs of Towonga Gap and Falls Creek but at the top after just 70km my heart rate was stuck at 110 beats per minute 40 minutes after I stopped so I reluctantly decided to take the sag wagon back to Bright. Disappointing, but so it goes.

Still, the Alpine Classic remains one of the best organised and run rides I've ever taken part in and the atmosphere in Bright over the entire weekend was fabulous with a celebration of French food, music and culture. I'll be back next year - thin and tough and ready. If I can lose 20kg I'll buy myself a flash new bike. Maybe something plastic like Glo's stunning new Shogun.

Well done to Steve, who managed to finish the 200km despite his bad case of jangled nerves and despite narrowly cheating death by waking us all up at 4.45am and also to Ken who also went the full distance in his usual fine style.

Today was my first attempt at the Tahune MTB Marathon. There's two choices - a 100km and a 50km and I sensibly opted for the 50. The course was a stunning mix of ride trails, scary technical sections and single track and I rode my heart out to finish in 4 hours. Despite a small stack on a relatively easy bit (grabbing a handful of front brake didn't help) which left me with a bloody knee, I had a fantastic time and can't wait for the next event. No trouble from the heart - so I guess the experiment has proven heavy drinking and riding doesn't mix. Who'd have thunk it?

593km so far this year.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Putting my foot in it.

So here's me celebrating no punctures for a year, knowing full well I was tempting fate. Fate has a way of getting the last laugh. With a little bit of help from my own clumsiness. Let the following be a valuable lesson to you all.
Now I've had some dumb prangs in my time, I've hit things in the dark while riding without lights and clipped parked cars riding home from the pub and crashed while trying to hit a can off the road with a broom. Every perfect ride is somewhat the same, each act of stupidity has its own unique flavour. And this one's no different.
On Saturday morning, Mrs S and I set out for a brisk 50km ride. About 10km in, I threw my chain off the top chainring (again) and the rear deraillieur arched backwards under the pull of the chain. Naturally, I tried to fix this by unclipping my foot and tapping it back into place with my toe as I rolled downhill. What could possibly go wrong?

As it turns out, quite a bit.

Being a bit tired and a little hungover probably didn't help. My foot missed the derailleur and became slightly - um, entangled in the back wheel. Fortunately after about half a rotation it jammed against the seat stay and the wheel stopped turning. So there I was, skidding merrily down the road with my foot caught in the back wheel thinking - ``Isn't this just peachy?". Then the tyre blew. As I skidded to a stop on the rim and pulled my foot from the wheel I watched Mrs S disappear over a hill in the distance, oblivious. Curiosity got the better of her in the end and she returned about ten minutes later.
The tyre was on its way out anyway, so that's not too bad, but I've also pulled a spoke through the rim, which is bad. Oddly my foot wasn't hurt at all.
One of the good things about being married is that your spouse also performs the role of Critical Incident Debriefer and Imparter of Valuable Lessons. For free. For those of you who haven't had the benefit of a Mrs Surly Dave debrief, apparently putting your foot in the back wheel of a moving bicycle is a really stupid thing to do. Should I forget this, fortunately I have her to to remind me that once or twice each time we ride together for the next few years. The rest of you will have to make do with this warning alone.
225km so far this year.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The family that rides together...

As far as pleasant surprises go, it's not a bad one. Mrs Surly Dave wants to do longer road rides. She says the 30km rides we've been doing aren't long enough. I can cope with that - we'll try a hilly 60km tomorrow. At this rate I'll have her doing 200's in no time!

102km so far this year.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A whole lot of numbers.

I'm happy with 2007. I rode 6,002km in 128 rides over 287 hours - which is just shy of 12 days in the saddle. My average ride was 46km and my average speed was 21.62km/h. My last flat tyre was on January 17. It was a bit down on 2006 which saw 6,441km in 136 rides over 300 hours in the saddle with an average of 22.14km/h.

It's a quiet day at work so I'm making some plans. This years goals are less ambitious than last year's. They're all within reach:
  1. At least 7,200km on the bike. A 20% rise.
  2. Finish the year in the top 1,000 riders on bikejournal.com
  3. At least 366 hours in the saddle - one hour a day for the leap year. A 27% rise.
  4. At least 183 rides - on the bike every second day. A 42% increase.
  5. Lifting my average speed to at least 22.5km/h. A 4% increase!
  6. Seeing how many days in a row I can ride at least 10km, starting on January 1.
  7. Riding at least 400km in the Oppy (360km last year) and completing the 200km Alpine Classic within the time limit (130km last year).
  8. Blog more!

I enjoy cycling and I enjoy setting challenges for myself, I wonder how many of these - if any I can knock off.

0km so far this year.