Wednesday, November 28, 2007


She lives!!

I built her in the dark depths of the basement tonight. Bubblegum Pink Velocity Deep Vs, 38x13 fixed and at this stage no brakes. I know God warned me about a lack of brakes, but just for a little while I'll let her run free, not restrained by anything but the chain that in turn gives her life.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Reply to an open letter.

Last night, in a dream, God replied to my letter. We were both riding cyclocross bikes on some heavenly single track somewhere in the mountains of British Columbia. He was riding this.

(Being God has it's advantages. He skipped the four year waiting period for a custom Vanilla frame)

He gave me a Vanilla Speedvagen to ride.

As he flew down a section of windy trail followed by a long sweeping climb he explained to me that he did actually mock me for a reason. He feels that my new obsession with fixed gear bikes is healthy, but fixies with no brakes what so ever is just stupid. He admitted that fixed gear bikes are a fantastic way to get around, fun, simple and different; but relying on skid-stopping is a receipe for disaster, trouble from which he can't even protect me. Car doors opened onto bike lanes, utes and Commodores driven by bogans, and soccer mums in 4WDs are all creations of the devil himself, things over which a mere Cycling God has no control.

He had a point. So my new bubblegum pink Velocity track wheels will be built with a disc front hub. Just to keep Him happy. And he didn't let me keep the Speedvagen.....

Website reviews

I like bikes and I like photography. Luckily there are some great websites out there for people like me. If I were only allowed two sites, these would be them.

Bike Snob New York City.
This site has a 100% success rate with me. The cinicism shown by this guy towards everthing bike related, is truthful, accurate and downright hilarious. We share a wavelength or two; although he does give quite a bit of stick to 'hipsters', of which, by his definition, I am (but in a town like the 'ville, if you do anything different you are labelled a 'hipster/yuppie'). If this guy ran a country I would move there, enough said.

JPG Magazine.
The magazine of brave new photography. This site doesn't do what a normal photography site does. There is no banter about which is better; Nikon or Canon. There are no 50 something old men ranting about the virtues of film and how it's no longer about the photographer and computers do all the work. This is the official site for JPG magazine, a high quality print magazine made up of articles and photographs submitted to the site. This is where it gets interesting. Anyone can enter an article about anything (from a lady who is obsessed with taking photos of herself in lavoratories, to cheap and easy ways to bodge up a macro lens from a 50mm prime). Photographs and articles are voted on by us the readers and then printed and published to the world.

My favourite section of this site is the Stories section, which is really just all of the genres of articles listed so that you can browse and read whatever you may find interesting. Before each print issue is raised three topics are chosen and readers can submit photos in that theme for voting and possible inclusion. The photography is of varrying standard, from professional DSLR to polaroid, Brownie or Lens Baby; anything goes and that is what makes it so fantastic. It's 2% camera, 98% photographer.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Night.

How was yours?

Mine was spectacular!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Open letter to the God of Cycling.


Firstly, thanks again for all of the bicycles, especially the hand-built ones, 29ers, singlespeeds and fixies. Now, before I lull you into a false sense of security I need to be honest, I'm a bit peeved at how you mocked me today.

The day started off well, I awoke to the sound of rain on the tin roof, thinking I'd have to ride to work in the rain. But, low and behold the rain stopped. I installed my brand new fenders and had a great ride to work via the beach, not a drop on me, all good! The ride home was also sensational, tail wind the whole way, my singlespeed legs spinning like crazy but barely working. Thanks. It's what happened from there in that really gets me.

I jumped on the Karate Monkey. We both know my feelings on this one of your creations. What possessed you to make the bottom bracket so damn low? I mean, it's ridiculous. However, the state of the trails this afternoon had me forgive all of your misdemeanours. The soil was so sticky it was unbelievable. Last nights rain wet it, then today's sun baked it nice and hard. Awesome. I was having the ride from heaven, the sun started going down, I switched my lights on, all was good. Then you mocked me.

A wasp stinging me on my left buttock is one thing, but the sudden searing pain was made no better as I swiped the bug away, because instead of flying away, the thing landed on the back of my head and stung again. The pain was indescribable. Was I supposed to pull my knicks off and tend to the arse sting or remove my helmet and tend to the sting which was closer to my brain. I was a grown man brought to tears.

Five or ten minutes passed, the pain subsided and I began to ride again. I was riding just long enough to get back into the groove, when a puncture struck my front tire. I never get punctures. What gives?!?!

My arse is now burning hot and red. I have random sharp pain emanating from behind my ear and I'm down a tube, one of my good 29er ones that I save for races.

You've been good to me in the past, have I done something wrong? I swear I haven't looked sideways at a Giant or a Trek, I mean, what would be the point? I know they are bikes of the devil, built for the masses. Surely whatever it is we can come to a deal.

In anticipation, your friend in skin tight licra and wool blend. Ty.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

News Flash!!

Cars are no longer at fault, cyclist are always in the wrong.

A recent study has found that no matter what a car does whilst on the road, if a cyclist is endangered it is actually the cyclist that is at fault.

Scientist from the Institute have been studying the phenomenon in the 'ville throughout 2007 and have come to this conclusion after watching various cyclists 'just riding along' and nearly being killed on roads in and around the 'ville. In addition, in depth questioning was conducted of drivers adourned in flourescent work shirts and those who drive white utes and commodores.

"A good example is one from this Saturday morning," explains Dr Smythe from the Instutute. "We witnessed a cyclist called Erol (not his real name) who was on his way to the Saturday morning Harveys Range ride at 4:45am. He was nearly killed by a driver in a flourescent orange shirt who decided it was too early in the morning to adhere to red ligthts. Erol (not his real name) yelled in anger at the driver in order to make him aware of his presence, thinking that it was the car at fault. Little did he know that it was actually his fault for riding, and rightly so he was abused back and the driver revved his engine in a show of might."

The study has found that the responsibility over one's actions whilst driving a car shows an inverse relationship to an increase in car size, number of passengers, load capacity, amount of body kit, number of teeth missing, hat size and visibility of the driver's work attire. Whilst a cyclist responsibility over a wayward car's actions shows a direct relationship to their fitness level, suitability of their cycling attire, helmet wearing ability and lack of leg hair. In addition, cyclists riding by themselves are far more responsible for driver's actions and seemingly more easy to abuse.

Mr Smythe explained further that most drivers genuinely believed that it is "the cyclists own fault if they are hit a killed by a wayward car." The study confirmed this belief.

As the study comes to a close Dr Smythe explained that they would now move on to a study focusing on the ralationship between the perception drivers have of their cars and the mental aptitude of their female partners.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

AYUP Lights

The mail man delivered another set of goodies on Friday. A new set of Ayup lights for the Kona 24hr in December. I'm not using my HID for two reasons, firstly the ballast stopped working and I initially had a hell of a time getting spare parts, and secondly the amount of money it was going to cost to purchase enough battery power to keep the thing running for 10-12 hours would have been astronomical. I met the Ayup guys at the Scott 24hr and came away from the meeting with a different idea of the lights. I previously thought they were not in the serious lighting league and were a budget light in the not so impressive and up and coming range of LED light sources. I soon found out that pro-riders and adventure racers were using them (and winning - Andrew Bell) and they were a serious source of light.

So, as usual, I decided the best way to test them would be to buy them (I know there are flaws in my logic).

As I openned the package I came to realise just how small they were as I'd forgotten since I'd seen them at the Scott 24hr. The package was tiny but had two pairs of lights, 24 hours worth of batteries, two AC chargers, two car chargers, bar and helmet mounts, extra length cables, and individual protective cases for every battery and light; all packaged in a special roll-up case.

Here's the helmet with three hours worth of light.

And the bars with six hours worth of light. (And nicely colour coded, there are heaps of colours to choose from)

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Lets say you're going for a late after work ride and want some emergency lights. Here is three hours worth of light, packaged and ready for the top pocket of your Camelbak.

And the last thing you need to get true value out of so many hours of light.

So what was the verdict?
There's no way these lights will compete with the light from a HID globe, they aren't supposed to. However, for their intended use I found them perfect. I had an intermediate width beam on the bars (close range and good spread) and the narrow beam on my helmet (narrow and long range) which seemed to be a good combo. In comparison to the old halogen lights of five years ago these were brighter; but the biggest advantage was the pure white/blue light they created, as apposed to the brown/yellow of the halogen. Being built in pairs also allowed you to adjust each lens independently to spread the light, this was a real bonus.
I can see these lights being perfect for 24hr racing, I wouldn't want to be flying down a rutted and windy single track at full speed with these, that's where I would want HID. Long hours in the saddle is where these would excel. No battery worries, redundancy (in case one pair die), and a good level of light so as not to blind you after many hours in the saddle and comfortably lead you through the night at cruising speed; after all, as a solo rider I stop racing at night and focus on surviving, not lap times.
Can't wait to get more hours under the belt with these, where's that espresso machine......

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mt Elliot

Clwedd and I finally got our selves organised to hike up Mt Elliot. Lets just say, it's a bit more than an overnight trip, so maybe we didn't make it the whole way. Anyway, here's some of the pics.
Alligator Falls. Somehow we needed to get to the top of this. With no marked trails it was quite a climb through the jungle and rocks.

Decisions, which way to go?

After lunch, a well deserved dip.

Cane toad anyone?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Betty Blue

I'm sure there are clinics for people like me. Those people who go down to the basement to get some chain lube, and two hours later come out with a full working bicycle, entirely made up of parts hoarded over the years.

Meet Betty Blue, my new fixie. She rides like a dream. The combination of a steel frame, laid back forks, Brooks leather saddle and super low fixed gearing make her the cruising machine from heaven.

All brought to you by Healing (1971 vintage), Miche, Cinelli, Brooks, Truvativ, Shimano LX, Shimano Dura-Ace, KMC, Crank Brother, Maxxis and Surly.

Townsville Cup - Track carnival