Saturday, December 29, 2007

Covering some ground

They say that the best training for cycling is to ride your bike, so I have been.

Lake Illawarra from Henry Graham Dr

Escarpment from Marshall Mount Road

Apollogy on the road

Got a new helmet yesterday, a new MET to replace my old Bell. The Bell was a huge leap forward when I got it back in 1994 (yes that's right 1994!) and has travelled well. Times have changed though and the Bell didn't have the ventilation that the new helmets have. The Bell for example had 12 holes, the new MET has 23. Strangely the MET is 50g heavier than the old Bell - go figure. The new helmet is blue and is cool - literally.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Lovely day yesterday spent with the family and eating too much. I hope you had a good one too.

Santa came good on his promise of a dynohub and lighting, though he's being a bit slow with the dynohub but it should be available in a couple of weeks. The good folk at Cheeky Cycles are building the hub into a Velocity Dyad rim. I did receive my DLumotec Oval Senso Plus. however.

DLumotec Oval Senso plus

It should be a pretty cool setup when its all together, the DLumotec has a Xenon like light and pretty powerful illumination of about 16 lux. I plan to just run a battery taillight at this stage but am thinking about a proper LED taillight from Busch & Muller like the Seculite plus when I get mudguards on the Apollogy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Xmas ride to Picton

Fronted up for the Wollongong Audax christmas ride to Picton yesterday and suffered terribly.

Recent time away from the bike had impacted on my fitness so I felt kinda weak, which is not such a good thing when your on a route that takes in 1110m of climbing. But I'm glad to say I made it, but not without some misadventure.

Firstly, I found that I was overheating a lot, particularly on the climbs even early in the ride when it wasn't all that hot. This could be a result of my now quite old helmet which is heavy and probably not as well ventilated as it could be. The second thing was hydration particularly on the return ride when I rapidly drank through my 2 bidons and was really suffering in 30 degree heat. I'm thinking that a hydration pack might be good insurance and also give me a little bit more gear room. Henry and Richard use camelbacks and keep their bidons for supplements on longer rides. I'm thinking abut the Spinal Tap from Ground Effect which seems about the right size and is way less expensive than the camelbacks. Irrespective of these issues which I can solve, the Picton Road a pretty miserable place to ride even when your going downhill. Its got the lot - poor surface, zero shoulder, fast traffic, lots of trucks and almost nothing to look at.

The other thing was getting hit by a drink can thrown at me from a moving car.

Man, it hurt and I was really lucky that it wasn't my head or I probably wouldn't be typing this now. It also gave me a burst of adrenaline that got me up the rest of the long climb. The car was a white Hyundai Excel, and the can was a "V". I couldn't get their license plate but I'm pretty sure the karmic hammer will even things out sooner or later.

It's not the first time I've had stuff thrown at me, but its certainly the first time I've been hit. I hope it's the last.

Anyway the descent down Mt Keira was great and the remainder of the ride uneventful. My next challenge will be the 200km ride to Tallong in January and I hope to get in at least 1000km between now and then.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Weekend adventures

Made good on my word and got on the bike for a 40km ride on saturday and another ride up most of Mt Keira today.

Yesterday was overcast with a strong southeast breeze, which gave me some conditioning riding back from Bulli. On the ride the Apollogy was creaking a bit on the powerstroke and I diagnosed a loose crank bolt. Tightened him up and all seems OK.

Today was sunnier, but quite humid and I set off fairly early for a ride up Mt Keira. I haven't conquered that mountain on the Apollogy as yet and I'm keen to ride with the Wollongong Audax christmas ride to Picton next saturday which takes in the climb.

Apart from the first steep bit, where I walked for a hundred metres, the rest of the climb seemed pretty good, until that is I encountered a few wasps. First thing I knew my left ring finger and armpit and side started stinging like bastards and I knew something was wrong.

I stopped and swatted and rubbed and swore. The last time I got stung by a wasp (on my ear!) the pain was excruciating and the swelling was enormous. Fearing the same reaction, I turned and fled back down the mountain.

The pain passed, very little swelling and by the time I got back home I was regretting my decision to run. Then, more agony, this time on my shoulder. Seems I still had a passenger from the mountain!.

Jersey flies off and wasp gets squashed, not before raising a ten cent sized welt on my left shoulder. I washed the bike as a victory gesture.

Anyway, end of the weekend saw a brief but necessary and useful 57 kms of riding, a nice clean bike and the added confidence that wasp stings won't kill me. Not quite what I was hoping for, but a result all the same.

In other news, I have asked santa for a new front wheel with a SON nabendynamo and a Dlumotec LED senso light for christmas. I'm reliably informed that he has ordered one through the good folk at Cheeky Transport in Newtown. Lucky me!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Fixie consciousness

Its been a wet November and coupled with a rather nasty virus I haven't had any real time on the bike since the Gong Ride. I'm losing condition rapidly but am aiming for a good couple of rides this weekend.

In other news, while off the bike I have been developing fixed gear awareness. I remember talking to a guy on a flipflop fixed on the Big Ride earlier this year and thinking it was cool and more recently on the gong ride I saw quite a few fixed bikes. Further exploration found a number of sites and blogs including a couple of ride reports from the 2007 PBP from Emily O'Brien and her partner Matt and Sheldon Brown's advice on going fixed. Inspired I had decided to look out for a suitable frame to convert.

So this morning, on my way to work, driving through a village that is having its annual council collection and spy a bike frame out of the corner of my eye. Not just any frame though, but a red Apollo. I quickly looped around the block and pulled up to check it out.

No wheels, a bit rusty looking, but about the right size. Put it in the boot of the Peugeot and continued on to work. I figured that at the worst it could be brazing practise, but I was pretty happy with my find.

A little while later and on closer examination, the frame appears to be a low end roadster style bike equipped with a single front chainring, and an old Altus derailleur, dia compe side pulls, and a rusty port rack.


Rear dropouts however, are fixie friendly - horizontalish and quite long. Looks like a perfect candidate!


Later still, I have commenced stripping the parts off and cleaning up the frame. Suprisingly, while there is a rust on the various nuts and bolts it doesn't seem to be too bad. Mostly mild powdery surface rusting that makes me think this bike hasn't seen a lot of action. The drivetrain doesn;t show and serious wear and the chain is quite flexible and free of corrosion and dirt. Everything seemed to be pretty well looked after though. The seat post and stem, while showing rust, pulled out easily and were well greased and looked in servicable condition. There's some mild damage to the off side chain stay whilc may indicate some form of misadvnture but it eyeballs true and the dropouts line up.


The serial number identifies it as a 1983 build, but quite low end - the frame is pretty coarse and seems a world apart in quality and details from the Apollogy but it will make a fun fixie project and I have named her the Apollogytoo.

The hunt is on now for suitable bits, which will include wheels, bottom bracket, cranks, pedals, stem, seatpost, handlbars, saddle. I think I'll reuse the existing brakes but look for some new levers.