Monday, December 29, 2008


I have made a concerted effort to ride over the last few days and have managed to get some kilometers into the legs, even while feasting on turkey, ham and beer over the christmas weekend. After a slow start to the month, which saw some niggling physical issues (shoulder), a lot of rain, and that whole christmas party social whirl I've managed just over 370km so far. Almost half of that has been in the last few days.

That brings my annual total perilously close to 4000k but unless I bunk off work in the next few days I'm not going to get much closer.

Given that I'm not in a position to commute I am however pretty happy with the first year of logging my distance and will keep it up in the future. I like the incentive, and the encouragement!

Curiously, while I've always found it difficult to find time to ride, my annual total, translates into 170 hours, or just over a week actually on the bike over the last twelve months. That doesn't seem like a lot of time really. The longest single ride was 362km.

Mileage in kilometers = 3909km

Friday, December 5, 2008

Maybe now is the time to ride?

I managed to arrange the day off today so got a quick 60km in this morning and a ride up Mt Keira so things are looking up after a nearly cycle empty November.

I needed a new back tyre on the Roubaix as the Vittorio Rubino Pro Slicks that came with it was proving to be very puncture prone and stopping every 15 or so Kms was frustrating my riding to a certain extent. The brains trust hereabouts recommended the Schwalbe Stelvio so one of those went on last night and seems to work pretty well.

Mt Keira x 7
Bald Hill x 1
Macquarie Pass x 1

Mileage in Kilometres = 3537

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Yes, that's all in the last couple of weeks, a lousy 40 km. I was hoping that I would make 4000km for the year, but even that modest total is looking remote. Hopefully, I'll get out again today.

Good news though, is that the Magpies have stopped swooping. Yay

Mt Keira x 6
Bald Hill x 1
Macquarie Pass x 1

Mileage in Kilometres = 3436

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend update

A busy weekend, with just a short time for some riding. Did what is fast becoming my training ride, a loop up to Bulli and back and a climb up Mt Keira to finish.

That's progress of sorts. I remember when I was training to ride up Mt Keira, now its part of my training. I also think the worst of the magpie season is over. Hooray!

So far in preparation for the Alpine I have

Mt Keira x 6
Bald Hill x 1
Macquarie Pass x 1

Mileage in Kilometres = 3396

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend outing

Back at work now so the cycling has been curtailed somewhat. Had a good ride on Saturday out to Pheasants Nest and back with the Audax boys. Richard and Henry headed further out in preparation for next weeks 400km brevet, but John and I returned via Picton Road.

I used to dislike Picton road but now I can live with it. I felt strong on Saturday, which helps I guess. So the concentrated training is paying off.

So far in preparation for the Alpine I have

Mt Keira x 5
Bald Hill x 1
Macquarie Pass x 1

Mileage in Kilometres = 3344

Friday, October 3, 2008

Another day, another 90 clicks

Hot today, but got out early with Richard for a ride up Keira to Pheasant's nest and return. I felt strong,d espite the heat, but was suffering from saddle rash, so I'm planning for a few days off the bike. I have been reptty pleased with my progress so far.

So far in preparation for the Alpine I have

Mt Keira x 4
Bald Hill x 1
Macquarie Pass x 1
Mileage in Kilometres = 3238

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bald Hill

Nice ride this morning up to Bald Hill and back. Felt pretty strong and my new zip tie anti Magpie programme left my ears intact. Its great not having to be at work and taking the time to ride and I've travelled 240km already this week. Sure does make a difference.

So far in preparation for the Alpine I have

Mt Keira x 3
Bald Hill x 1
Macquarie Pass x 1

Mileage in Kilometres = 3146

Monday, September 29, 2008

Spring means Magpies

I'm on leave from work for a couple of weeks and this means riding a lot, I've set a target of 500kms for the next couple of weeks, which doesn't sound like much but I also want to spend some time with the kids.

So this morning I was up earlyish and hit the road about 7.30am for a quick fifty or so. Took my normal northerly route for a while and then turned south into an increasingly strong south westerly that changed the day from beautiful to woeful. The wind was great training but the coming rain was just wet so I turned for home to come up with 43 km and no real hills for the ride. What hills there were though were taken at speed! Tomorrow I'll climb Keira if its not raining as forecast. So far I've clocked up 170 ish kilometres.

Anyway, while it was a beautiful spring morning, its pretty clear that the magpies are nesting and enjoying their territoriality. 3 times I was clobbered this morning, and while their pecks landed on the helmet and not my ear, the sharp crack of attack still takes a bit of getting used too.

Now in preparation for the Alpine,
I have Mt Keira x 2
Macquarie Pass x 1
Mileage in Kilometres = 3044

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fitzroy Falls Cafe ride

Took part in the Fitzroy Falls Cafe ride yesterday, which marked my first anniversary of Audax as well as a number of other milestones.

It was a very nice day, quite warm and a challenging ride. I hadn't been riding very much of late, recovering from the flu , and the hills yesterday were challenging, however its a very scenic ride and the food at the fitzroy falls visitpr centre is terrific. Just Richard and me on the ride, Greg started with us but he was training for the GSR and took off in search of kilometres after the 50km controle.

The ride up was hard and gave me a migraine (literally) but the return was excellent (mostly down hill). Disaster struck when flying down Macquarie pass the back wheel deflated - I was able to control it and stop safely - though my first puncture on the Roubaix - at 800km!

The remainder of the ride was uneventful except for the unwelcome return of the Magpie opposite the Illawarra Grammar School hill.

Now in preparation for the Alpine,

I have Mt Keira x 2
Macquarie Pass x 1

Mileage in Kilometres = 3000

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Tahmoor 200

Rode the Tahmoor 200km brevet on Saturday (30/8) with the Mongrel’s. It was a great ride, with a good group of people, terrific scenery, great weather (obliging winds) and puncture free for everyone!

We massed at Dapto station for the start at 7am. Quite cold but clear so I was optimistic about the day. Quite a few people had lined up for the start, there were the usual suspects, Henry, Richard, John, Greg, John, a few people down from Sydney and Yugo and Tom up from Canberra.

The route was a large loop pretty much like this one on bikely , taking in the challenging Mt Keira climb, country roads through the western villages of Bargo and Tahmoor, Broughton Pass, and undulations to Bald Hill and the sea cliff bridge and then a scenic run for home down the coast and around the bottom of Lake Illawarra.

We left after a slight delay at 7.10am and right from the start things were looking pretty good for a good day. It was still and cool and the early climb up Mt Keira was rewarded with scant traffic and the sight of a Lyrebird running along the side of the road. We formed into two groups and made a fast ride down Picton road. Travelling in the second group with Henry and Greg, we caught the front group who had stopped at the freeway turnoff as John cranks had come very loose and they didn't have an 8mm hex. John had just had a new chainring fixed earlier in the week and he was less than impressed with the result. Luckily Greg's multi-tool had the right size and we were off together as a group (Note to self - get a multitool). The first controle (53km) at Pheasant’s Nest was reached in 2.5 hours which given the long climb was a pretty quick fifty.

From the controle it was a fast pace line from the freeway to Picton through Tahmoor and Bargo, before the hills coming out of Picton saw us split up a bit. Nearing the 80km mark and the cramping zone I backed off and settled in to spin the next 20 kilometers to the control. Turning off the Picton road at Wilton, I found myself in fresh terrain and enjoying the countryside down towards Broughton Pass.

(Broughton Pass)

At a couple of points on the way I could smell a sweet perfume and looked around to see a carpet of Freesias lining the road. I stopped at the foot of the pass to take a couple of photos and then began the steep climb up and out and then the seemingly endless undulations to the second controle at Appin Bakery. I was the last to arrive but was happy that I had made it through the “danger zone” without cramps.

After a quick lunch of sausage roll, salt tablets and powerade we headed off again up the long and grim Appin/Bulli road before turning onto the old Princes Highway across the environmentally “special” Bulli tops towards Hellensburgh and Stanwell Tops. A Northeasterly headwind began to pickup as I grappled with the undulations (surely I’m at the top now!?), before turning south at Bald Hill and the familiar territory of the coast road down to Bulli. I arrived at the Controle a “Marsbar” bite behind the others with only 50km to go and five hours before the cutoff.

(Henry on the Appin Road)
The northeasterly breeze was now quite a strong wind, but with it in our backs we made great time down the coast route under darkening skies. Lights came on as we turned around the bottom of Lake Illawarra and rode across back streets before rejoining the Princes Hwy at Albion Park and the last 5km back to Dapto station into the wind. As luck would have it I pulled into Dapto at 5.10pm, turning over 202 km on the odometer, just as it started to rain gently.

The Tahmoor ride was a great day out and it was terrific to see and meet some new riders from further a field. The route is terrific, challenging and scenic and takes in some of the best parts of the Illawarra.

Now in preparation for the Alpine, I have

Mt Keira x 2

Mileage in Kilometres = 2833

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Best intentions and the road to hell

The weather was rubbish this week and work conspired to take up too much of my time. What with a 200km ride next weekend I really needed some bike time, so today I got up early and did my standard 30km beach ride with a climb up Keira for good measure. The strong southerlies look like they are here to stay for a while so the ride back from Bulli into the wind was a good workout. The climb up Keira was my first serious climb for a while and the first time up for the Roubaix. Made it easily, if leisurely. Scared myself on the descent though, topped out at 86kph. Also clocked up 400km on the Rube.

Now in preparation for the Alpine, I have

Mt Keira x 1

Mileage in Kilometers = 2606

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fitz's Classic

Read with interest that Fitz's classic is scheduled for 26 October. There's more information on the ACT pedal power website . Me and the roubaix are going to go to warm up for the Alpine.

Learning 2.0 - the bits I missed

IN order to finish Learning 2.0 I need to comment on a few things.

First off Lesson 9 and Podcasts. As a commuter, I don't know what I would do without podcasts, they fill in the time on the long journeys and give me flexible learning opportunities. We can link to subject based podcasts from our "I Desk" page or even produce some of our own from our and have virtual storytimes --now there's a thought.

Lesson 10: Mashups - OK I have added a warholised picture of me to the blog frame.

We could use google maps to accurately identify the branch library locations or to create history paths through the city. One of the great mashups is Bikely ( that allows users to map bike routes and journeys.

Lesson 12: Social Networking: I'm a bit curmudgeonly about social networking sites. The audience specifity of the different sites (facebook/myspace/bebo etc etc) means that you're audience is soo scattered so you need to duplicate a lot of effort they require a lot of effort to keep on top of.

So that's basically that for learning 2.0. It's been fun.

Normal cycling adventures will now resume.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cafe Ride

Great ride today taking the standard coastal route. Quite a strong west south westerly wind that tested the legs. But made for superman speeds when at our backs. At one point I was casually pedalling up the Illawarra Hwy at a relaxed 46km. Normally I only get that fast downhill.

Mileage in Kilometers = 2561

Alpine Classic

The Alpine Classic registrations have opened for Audax club members so I have booked in for the 6.40am start and have now 5 scant months to get the climbing technique honed. Looks like I'll be spending some time dragging myself up the escarpment.

As a training goal, I'm aiming for a minimum of 5 climbs up Mac pass and 2 up the Jambaroo pass before christmas.

There's a cafe ride scheduled this morning. A lazy 125km.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cafe Ride

Joined the boys for a quick 100km populaire yesterday and showed off the new bike. Clocked up 123km for the day and had a thoroughly good time. Had some gearing issues coming up out of Jambaroo and stopped in at Spearmans to have it checked on the way home. Just a bit of cable stretch.

Its so much faster than the stealth or the Apollogy and for the first time on ride I felt like I was keeping up.

Suffered from cramps after about 100km but I kept pushing and the pain quickly went. I will try this technique again.

Mileage in Kilometers = 2437 and change.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back on the bike again

As I'd mentioned some months ago I had ordered a new bicycle and on the weekend I finally got it. It's by far the lightest and fastest bike I've ever owned, and its worth as a motivational tool is considerable. I managed to clock up 103.4 km's on it over the weekend and enjoyed every moment.


The bike is a Specialized Roubaix equipped with a full Ultegra component set and rolling on Mavic Aksium wheels. The bike was built up for me by Dave at Spearman Cycles.

There are a number of firsts for this bike, its the first carbon frame, first low spoke wheels and its the first bike I've owned with brifters -- so am trying to get the hang of them. Took me about 60km to stop reaching down to the down tube to change gears.

Mileage in Kilometres = 2314.09

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Back on the bike

I have been suffering in the last month or so. Shortly after my last post I injured my shoulder in a gardening related incident and have done something complicated to something called the supraspinatus which is affecting my rotator cuff and has been causing a great deal of pain.

I've also had the flu.

I have put on 5kg.

Nevertheless a snap decision this morning and I mounted the bike and completed a quick 40km ride which included some WYD official irritating ( NB As I only irritated him, I couldn't be arrested). I'm siting here now with a heat pack on the shoulder which is hurting again, but I'm glad that I got out.

Mileage in Kilometers = 2210.69

Friday, June 20, 2008

Feeling Guilty

As we're almost at the nadir of the solar cycle, I'm getting optimistic about getting some more riding in before work within the next month or so. I wish I was more like Kent Peterson who's blog I enjoy and who'se family have had a carfree lifestyle for the last couple of decades.

Years ago I was a committed commuter and rode regardless of the weather, or the darkness. These days life and work is more complex and my 56km commute to work up and over the escarpment and subsequent driving around while at work, really gets in the way of cycling. I am a pretty conservative motorist, and while I have a reasonably fuel efficient car, I'm still driving a long way, and the drive eats into the available cycling time (not to mention the pool of non-renewable resources, ozone layer etc).

I'm seeing the day coming, and quite soon the way fuel prices are going, when I will be looking for a job closer to where I live so the costs of motorised transport, both financial, environmental and physical will be reversed.

The other thing is that I haven't been on the bike since the last cafe ride on the 7th. Maybe this weekend!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cirque du Cyclisme

While Nancy is compiling a shortlist of desirable rides over at blogscrement , the annual Cirque du Cyclisme classic bicycle event was held over the weekend, in the part of North America that wasn't flooding, but was very hot.

There's a whole heap of pictures turning up on flickr - try this link for some eye candy. I think JP Weigle's rando bikes are looking awsome, but there is some great stuff if you have the time to wade through it all.

The Daily Randonneur has more specific links plus some interesting ride reports from the Shenandoah 1200km which was ridden last week. A jolly time was had by all.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cafe Ride

A veritable crowd assembled for today's 100km cafe ride. The usual crowd were augmented by Greg and a bunch from Goulburn (Rodney, Lauren and Marie?) and a visitor from overseas(Rob), so with Henry, Richard and Me we were a regular peloton.

The group rode the coastal route - from Dapto north along the princes highway to Ruby's cafe at Bulli then south to Shellharbour (village) and then looping back through Jambaroo to Dapto station.

After the rain of the week, today dawned clear and still a southerly wind blew through the day and took us to Bulli in great time. Heading south was less enjoyable though the ride was going well for me until we stopped at the second checkpoint at Shellharbour. Getting up from the Cafe table I was again overcome by cramps (I wasn't even doing anything) and then set myself up for suffering for the remaing 30 odd kilometers. Rod was a real friend,even though I had just met him - he selflessly gave me a salt tablet from a nifty pill dispenser in his handle bar end, and some kind of salt based tablet (will research the brand) and lots of encouragement.

Later on Jambaroo road, when I had fallen off the back of the group, Rod came back to help me and gave me a draft. A great guy and a strong rider.

The climb up past Jambaroo wasn't too bad, still cramping I eventually made the summit and with the last 10k down hill I was happy to be heading home with a tailwind and the odd twinge in the thighs.

Despite the suffering, I really enjoyed the ride today and the company. Richard and I rode back into town after the ride and I was really beginning to feel quite drained after the day. By the time I got home I crave sugar terribly and actually ate sugar out of the sugar pot before scarfing down a packet of figs.

The shopping list now include some salt tablets and I've got to find out what the tablets were. They were great.

Mileage in kilometers = 2170.19

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I guess that technological improvement is predictable in the current age but a couple of weeks after I decide to upgrade and get a bike with a ten speed cassette, Campagnolo up the ante. See here . Reminds many of Nigel Tufnel in Spinal Tap

Meanwhile, interest in the long distance cycling blogger ride (LDCBR) is high so I guess I just need to organise it. Any suggestions to where and how long? I'm initially thinking border country and about 200km?

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The loneliness of the long distance cycling blogger

Curiously, its not that lonely, we're all just in different parts of the country and the internet brings us together. I would like to suggest a cycling blogger fleche or group ride. Between Adrian at CYBC, Dave at about the bike, Nancy at blogscrement, Lynne at CTA, Treadly at Treadly and anyone else who's up for it, lets do a ride!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Weighty things to consider

Had a mental health day today and went for good ride in the southern parts of Wollongong around Albion Park and back home via the coastal cycleway. I made a conscious effort to push harder gears instead of spinning and found my legs coped pretty well. The effort also paid off in being a lot faster. The 70km ride saw an average of 27kph which is a lot better than my usual, and I don't feel any more fatigued than I do normally.

I think I might be guilty of taking things too easy in the saddle and I should HTFU. IN future I will define rides as training, so I'm actually trying to exert myself and improve my stength and fitness, as opposed to just enjoying the ride. Bit of a revelation.

In the last few days the randon email list has been discussing bike weights during brevets. I've always thought that I was a pretty heavy traveller, but this morning I weighed the bike with my standard 200km kit, including lights, camelback and assorted food and came in at 16kg. Bike and rider weight is 94kg. The new bike will shave about 4-5kg off that standing weight and I could probably drop another 5 kilos, so everything is relative.

Mileage in kilometers is 2043.39

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mileage in kilometers

Taking a leaf from Surly Daves blog , I'm going to put myself under some mileage pressure and quote my year to date mileage at every post. My mileage in kilometers as of today is 1972.7km.

That's a lot better than I though it was going to be.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I rolled up for the Coastal 200km brevet on Saturday feeling underdone but nonetheless looking forward to the ride.

It was a beautiful day and the first 60kms up to Bald Hill revealed a few surprises. A deer by the side of the road near Horsley and a whale sounding off the shore at Stanwell Park.

Furstratingly for me though I once again had painfull cramps in my thighs from the 80km mark which forced another withdrawal. For the last few weeks I have been taking a magnesium supplement, drinking lots of additional water and doing some gentle stretching. What I haven't had though was time on the bike.

One of the frequently cited reasons for cramping is not training to the ride intensity, which is challenging as to traing for a ten our ride, I need ten hours to train!

Somehow I'm going to have to build more cycling into my week, though with the compressed daylight hours at this time of the year its not easy to do and it will be difficult to get the requisite miles up.

In the meantime I'll carry on with the water and magnesium and vary the stretching regime a bit to focus on the things.

In other news, I've decided to by a newer fast(er) bike. I've settled on a carbon frame - a specialised Roubaix and will be built up with an Ultegra groupset and Mavic aksium race wheels. The geometry of this frame seems a pretty good compromise between stiff and comfortable and it is a good fit for me. Should weigh in sub 8kg. Not exactly featherlight but much lighter than what I am used to.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bald Hill and back

One of the rides I did this last weekend to trial the blackbird was the top half of next weekends coastal 200km brevet - the ride to Bald hill and back.

While this is a fairly short ride from my house in Wollongong, there are some nasty sharp climbs and the final longish and steep climb up the Lawrence Hargreave drive to Stanwell Tops and the Bald Hill lookout.

Once there it is worth the ride and the view back along the coast is really something.

And the descent is breathtaking.
I was happy with the performance of the blackbird but less satisfied with my own, I felt tire and weak for which I blamed the strong headwind on the northern leg and fatigue on the return. Not surprisingly, I have the sniffles now as I type which I hope will clear before the weekend.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Apollogy retires

Sad but true. My venerable Apollo 3 was becoming more of a flexi context than anything else and after 3000 km since I rebuilt her last year it has been kinder to hang the frame up and use her parts for a better, more inelastic frame.

Enter the blackbird. A bike modeled on the stealth aircraft of my youth, but a lot slower.

I came across this frame during one of my frame scrounges at the reccycle centre. The plan was to us the tubing for brazing practise but this frame seemed better than that.

Over the last two weekends I have managed to ride just over 120km and the "blackbird" is a big improvement over the Apollogy. It tracks straight no hands, bends like a reed into corners and planes. As well as the new frame the blackbird also sports some aero dia compe brake levers and side pulls. I plan to ride her in the Coastal 200km brevet next weekend.

Monday, March 17, 2008

How do I hurt thee, let me count the ways - 24 hr Fleche Opperman 15-16 March 2008.

It was good to get an email from Henry a couple/three weeks ago inviting me to join the Mongrel's Oppy team with he and Richard. A 9am start seemed pretty civilised and I was soon to learn all about longer distances and fatigue.

The Oppy fleche is run annually by Audax Australia, and follows the ethos of the Fleche Veloccio, where teams of riders cover at least 360km and converge on a central point all within 24 hours.

To date my longest ride has been 200km and some change so the oppy was going to be a challenge, especially after my recent abandonee of the Gunning ride. I was confident though in my teams mates - both Richard and Henry and very experienced randonneurs - so I figured I'd be learning a lot. Minimum team size for a fleche is 3 riders finishing so it was important that I didn't let the others down.

Our route was circuitous and changed during the day to accommodate the weather and some changes in traffic conditions. It was certainly a hot day and the first couple of legs from Dapto, up Mount Keira and to Picton and then from Picton back to the Hume Hwy and on the Sutton Forest were ridden in increasing heat. I am not a fan of the either the Picton road or fast roads in general, lots of debris and too fast traffic inches from your knees. The heat just contributed to my suffering, Its also mostly uphill but that's bearable when you're not cooking.

Richard and Henry travelled at there own pace (well ahead of me) but would stop on the crests and wait for me to arrive. We decided to vary the route and head into Mittagong to get water and to have something to eat. I'm not sure what the temperature was but it must have been mid 30's on the road. There was no shade to speak of, handlebar tape and lycra was absorbing heat generally not pleasant conditions at all. This was the lowest point for me in the ride, but I encouraged myself on with thoughts of the team. I really didn't want to fail again and promised myself that I would persist.

From Mittagong the going got easier and I felt more optimistic about the ride. There was a large bushfire around Avon Dam and the air was growing thicker with smoke. I had fantasised for a while that the band of smoke was actually a cool change heading my way. Didn’t happen.

Getting to the service centre at Sutton Forest was a land mark for me and after 2 potato scallops with extra salt I felt much better about getting on with the rest of the ride, which would now turn north and head towards the Cross Roads at Liverpool via Pheasants Nest.

As it was getting later in the day, the temperature was cooling and we were on the shady side of the road. Generally, our route was trending downwards and there were some great fast descents especially through the "concrete hill" past Hilltop.

We sped into Pheasants Nest in a good 2 hours and enjoyed the hospitality of the best service centre on that part of the highway. Cool, fast service and interesting things happening on the forecourt and importantly half way home.
It was dusk as we left Pheasants Nest with lights and vests on. The Lumotec worked a treat and a big surprise was the value of the cheap three LED light mounted low on the front fork. About 20 minutes out I got a puncture on the rear wheel. Henry described it as the typical "Hume Puncture" a piece of tyre reinforcing wire. There was lots of it about.

Puncture fixed it was back on the way towards Liverpool. Riding along the hume through Campbelltown was reasonably uneventful as the road is pretty well maintained along here. Lots more traffic and the odd "parked" car looming out of the dark.

There are major roadworks on the freeway which saw us unexpectedly divert off the hwy and onto backstreets (one really steep bit) before settling onto Campebelltown road for the rest of the run to the Cross Roads.

We arrived around 10pm and were making reasonable time. We decided to head back up the Hume to Picton Road and then down Mt Keira to a sleep stop. The riding now was cooler and I guess easier not counting for growing fatigue and the increasing discomfort in my bum. I just kept making the pedals go around and kilometres slowly (or quickly as they sometimes did) went by.

Pausing on the Picton road to refresh myself we marvelled at the brilliant starry sky, the milky way clearly visible as a light band. Eventually I topped out at the Keira Rd turnoff, stopped to don my leg warmers and got ready for one of my slower descents of the mountain. Visibility was a bit tricky, whether because of mist or my fatigue I'm not sure. I did manage to see the two deer standing in the middle of the road and watched them flash away into the bush to the sounds of breaking branches. Unable to stop, I tucked and hoped that they wouldn’t come back out onto the road. They didn't and I made it back home for a quick sleep and well deserved sleep.

Earlier in the week I had dreamt of doing the ride, now the alarm was ringing and I really had no choice but to finish. Apart from the fatigue, my bum was very sore and my left hand was losing feeling, otherwise going pretty well. Away at last I met up with Richard on Crown street and we rode out to meet Henry in Dapto.

From there we cycled around Lake Illawarra via Albion Park Rail, Shellharbour. The Lake circuit is a very popular club route and there were a number of bunches out and about. We stopped for Coffee at Macca's in Warrawong and then began the final stretch to the finish point at Kannahooka.

Disaster struck though, when Henry realised that we were going to be 5 kilometres short of the 360kms required for the ride, so a diversion was necessary via Darkes Road and along some quiet rural lanes (bumpy - ouch) before clocking up the required distance to turning for the finish.

Up a couple more hills and then down to the Yacht Club, breakfast and general bonhomie. There were (I think) four other teams who completed the ride, most from Sydney and apart from one minor accident all completed the ride. It was good to meet some other riders and to share our stories of pain.

Richard and I rode back into town after breakfast bringing my total for the weekend to 385 km. 361 for the ride and 24 commuting kilometres.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Learning Answer Boards

Answer boards are where you'd go if you had a non routine type of question. I'm impressed by the board slamming librarian's who happily identify themselves as such.

It's really an example of what Librarians do all the time, help peole with their information requests, and it gives it a bit of web 2.0 cache on top.

We like to encourage customer feedback, right from our web catalogue, library website, blogs and paperbased forms on the checkout desks. Library 2.0 can certainly help include people more actively.

Learning tagging and folksonomies

Hmm, a bit depressing but Rider Redux comes ranked at 8,911,336 on Technorati.

As asked here are my links, an eclectic mix, I'm sure you will agree.

Searching bookmobile seems pretty consistent between the fast search and advanced - though there are more refining options on the advanced search which would be handy.

Learning Wikis and Youtube

Wikis are interesting and flexible information tools, apart from the obvious one of my favourite wikis is the one built for Thomas Pynchon's latest novel "Against the Day" .

As one of my interests is bicycle building I thought I would embed this itneresting video of the legendary Taylor Brothers...

Learning RSS

I was supposed to set up a bloglines account for RSS feeds but I used the google reader instead as it can sit in my Igoogle home page. Rss feeds are handy in that they update directly to you, which can save time and means that you're always up to date.

Searching for blogs is interesting though. The google blog search runs pretty quickly, I even searched for rider redux and found it all there. Yah!
There are lots and lots of library related blogs nearly 5 million. That'd be more blogs than libraries then.

While searching I also fond that there is a blog called Knight Rider redux! Not sure how I feel about that.

Learning flickr

Lesson 2.0 in learning too is getting familiar with Flickr . I like flickr. I really enjoy the way you can catch glimpses of other peoples lives - and that they're willing to share. Some members are truly great photographers too.

One of my favourite flickr groups is "what's in the bag" . Below is my contribution from 2006. Its still pretty much the same.

What's in the bag

Learning 2.0

I'm doing a local version of the learning 2.0 programme developed for librarians by the Charlotte and Mecklenberg County public library and recently adapted for NSW librarians by the State Library of NSW. They have a nifty blog here - . I'm starting late though so will have to hurry.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Didn't quite gallop to gunning

I had a crack at the Gunning Gallop yesterday, a 400km Audax event run locally. Just Richard and me turned up and I'm sorry to say that I bailed with leg cramps 140km into the ride.

Plenty of excuses to justify pulling out, lousy preparation for starters but I am very disappointed now and wish I could have continued. I've never really had cramps before and even now my thighs are tight and uncomfortable. I probably need to get back into yoga or look at some sodium replacement strategies. Its all part of the process. I also got very cold riding on the Hume Hwy passed Mittagong which I think contributed to the cramping. Just couldn't get warm. By the time I got home I felt exhausted so wonder if I would have got all that much further if I had pressed on. I will never know. I do know I will have to do a lot more riding before doing anything much over 200km, partly to give me the confidence that I can make the distance, but also to get the body working better.

I did get to give the new lights a workout and found them to be very satisfactory. The Apollogy did great, everything worked (except me). ONe interesting point for fans of civil engineer - they number drains! Can't think why.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Cafe Ride washout

It has rained a lot in the last couple of weeks and a lot of folks are talking about fenders. Back in my all weather commuting days I loved my mudguards, they kept my feet and back dry and held most of the crud at bay.

I haven't arranged fenders for the Apollogy as yet, largely because (and CTA notes) they're not easy to come by and I was reminded this morning as I rode out to Dapto for the start of the cancelled Cafe Ride what a great thing they are. I only ever regret not getting on the bike and I love riding in the rain, even though its cold and slippery.

With the ride canned, I took the long way home under drizzly skies but enjoyed the relative solitude of a saturday morning with only the hardy cyclists out and about.

Cycleway on a rainy day

Kind of makes me think about how lucky I am to be able to ride in such a great place that has good facilities for bikes (relatively).

In other news, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show is on this weekend in Portland "Bike City USA". There are some photos already appearing on flickr . Some beautiful things to see.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Registration fees

Ok, so its one thing to have a politician prattle on that bikes should be registered to pay for cycling infrastructure , we've all heard it before, but when the CEO of the peak cycling body in NSW agree's with him, that's getting pretty disappointing.

Says Alex:

"Bicycle NSW said it supported initiatives that seek to legitimise cycling. "A form of bike registration or levy may help achieve this," said its chief executive, Alex Unwin."

That is such a lame response.

As the CPF points out, nowhere in the world is bicycle registration a serious option and the splendour of bike routes in Amsterdam is funded by a committed community who can see the immediate benefits of improved cycling infrastructure.

In the subsequent poll on 79% of people thought registration was a dumb idea, so that at least gives some hope. But jeez, Bicycle NSW membership just started to look pretty embarrassing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Vale Sheldon Brown

I am sad this morning to hear on the lists that Sheldon Brown has died overnight. He was 64. There is some more information at .

Sheldon Brown's encyclopedic website on bicycles and maintenance was my primary reference tool for the Apollogy project and my burgeoning fixie consciousness amongst many other things. It was also often very funny.

My thoughts go to his friends and family at this sad time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

SON hub

My new front wheel and christmas present arrived today care of the Nick and the good folk at Cheeky transport .

The monkey cometh

SON Hub and Velocity Dyad

Earlier this evening I quickly mounted it on the Apollogy and went for a short ride. I am impressed by the smoothness of the hub and the clarity of the light. Even in the urban environment with frequent street lamps the Lumotec Oval plus lights up the road enough to see the nasty things waiting to trip you up. It has a nice Xenon glow about it too, which I rather like.

Installing Lumotec and new SON wheel on the Apollogy

As you can see from the photo its a pretty basic installation at this point and as is my way, it will slowly refine itself over the next little while as i settles in. I might try a lower mount and experiment with the light angle.

Damn happy with it though and it means I can start thinking about some of the longer Audax rides scheduled in coming months. First up is a 400km jaunt to Gunning in early Feb. I haven't ridden much in the last couple of weeks, so that one is probably going to hurt.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I have been gardening in the last couple of weeks. By gardening I actually mean removing weed infestations. Its a long tyerm project and the weeds in my yard are usually bigger than your average weed. I have used a chainsaw in the past (privet) just to provide some context here's a before and after shot sequence:





Anyway, I cleared out the side path and garden and removed a couple of trailer loads of weeds including fish bone fern, camphor laurel, wilde ginger, privet, ochna, asparagus fern, and many more. Now that the weeds are gone I've laid out some geotech cloth as a weed mat and am starting to plant a hedge of Photinia which will act as a border but be pleasant and green to look at. Much better than a colourbond fence in my opinion.

Anyway, I dragged the weeds to the recycling yard at the Wollongong Tip and this gave me a chance to check out the recycle centre for bike frames for brazing practise and potential parts stripping. I still dream that I'm going to find some exotic bike like a Gitane or Peugeot at the recycle centre but so far no luck.

That is until last my lst trip when I found two frames with some interesting steel and fittings. The first one is a large (60cm?) Repco branded bike with some form of Tange double butted tubing that had some nice Nitto handlebars and stem, Dia Compe brakes and levers, sugino cranks and shimano 105 level ders. No wheels.

The next find I will refer too as the stealth bike - crappy black paint, oxidising to buggery, but I noticed under the crud that the rear brake said "Shimano 600". Closer inspection revealed that the derailleurs were the same. SR stem, Selle Anatomic Saddle and alloy seat post, Tange threaded headset spun nicely. Only one wheel (rear) - six speed cassette, araya 700c. Picked it up and admittedly without a front wheel, bottom bracket and cranks it was very light.

I purchased them both for $5 and took them home for closer inspection and parts removal. Some corrosion here and there but eventually everything comes apart as nature intends. After stripping the Repco bike will be brazing practise however the stealth frame is another matter. I'm thinking that I'm going to building this one up as another rando bike and see how it runs. The advantage of this frame over the Apollogy is that its a 700c frame while the Apollogy is 27.5 inch. Better braking is a priority.

The frame geometry is very similar though the stealth frame is slightly larger. This shouldn't be a problem as the Apollogy is slightly smaller than I like. If the stealth bike works out OK, I will fix the Apollogy or just keep them both.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tallong 200km (long version)

(The route)

The group left Dapto at 7 am under slightly overcast skies and headed south down the Princes Hwy towards Albion Park and the looming bulk of Macquarie Pass. Hardly any breeze at this point and the early hour meant that traffic was still quiet. A rush of blood to the head saw me break away from the group a couple of k's from the base of the pass but I stopped to help another cyclist who needed a lend of an allen key as he’d popped a spoke and wasn’t carrying any tools. The group rode past making polite enquiries.

“that’s a big group where are you guys off to?”, asked the toolless roadie.
“we’re, doing a 200km ride to Tallong and back”. Unfortunately for the roadie, my selection of keys didn’t fit his bolt so he was going to have to wait for a lift.

I remounted and followed the path of the group and commenced my own ascent of the pass. I was, at the beginning, nervous, the pass had thwarted me before, it had intimidated me. But this time I was determined to make it. I dropped into my lowest gear and just focused on the road in front of my wheel, and before I knew it I was moving inexorably upward. I’m not sure when I stopped worrying and started enjoying the climb – perhaps near the top – but the view was grand and the sense of achievement was very satisfying. Only 170kms more to go.

A quick break for coffee at the Robertson Pie Shop where we had a short chat with a couple of other riders who were out training for the Alpine. They had just come up via the Jamberoo pass and we’re heading back to Shellharbour via Berry. A huge ride.

From Robertson the route undulates down towards Tallong passing through Moss Vale and Sutton Forest before the first control at the Old Bicycle Shop Café in Bundanoon. The overcast conditions of earlier where clearing however a gentle noreaster gave us a fair ride along the Illawarra Highway. Taking the left at Sutton Forest took us down through Exeter and over some challenging undulations to Bundanoon.

This part of the Southern Highlands is pretty posh and the road is lined with immaculate hedges hiding park like grounds and tudor style mansions. The anglophilia is a bit incongruous with the temperature nudging up towards 30 degrees and the song of cicadas ringing loudly across the lawns. Maybe winter captures the effect more appropriately, still the locals must like it and there were plenty of nice cafes for refreshments.

The control at Bundanoon was conveniently located at the Old Bicycle Shop which gave us a chance to fuel up on coffee, cake and an egg and bacon roll for the road. The café does a roaring trade and has bikes for hire and promotes a weekly social ride.

After a feed, we’re off to Tallong. I was feeling strong at this point and happily sucked Richard and David’s wheel for the 25km to the turnaround beneath the railway bridge. Barry had warned me at the control that this stage would be pretty dull but I enjoyed the view and the changing landscape as the route took us away from the rolling pasture and towards the gorge country with its rockier soils.

The turnaround point was a couple of kilometers past Tallong beneath the rail overpass, and those two kilometers seemed to be the longest kilometers of the morning. The road dips below the railine and taking Dave’s advice to not stop at the bottom of a dip, a coasted up the other side and paused to eat my bacon and egg roll which was still nicely warm from Bundanoon. It was beginning to get rather hot.

We all rejoined back at the Tallong store and refreshed ourselves with cool drinks. A group of heavily laden mountain bikers got off the bus as we watched and exchanged pleasantries. They were off on an overnight ride, we were off home.

On the road again we saw a large echidna climbing up the embankment which was unexpected. Most of the other wildlife we’d seen so far was dead. In some places the stench of made you gag, so it was encouraging to see that not everything was getting squashed.

As the temperature began to climb, I began to wilt and quickly fell off the back of the group on the road back to Bundanoon. Being alone was probably for the best as I began to talk aloud to myself and point out the interesting things around me and the various environmental conditions. I noted that the slight tailwind that had pushed us to Tallong was now pushing me back to Tallong which was really unnecessary and I wished it would stop. Conversely the headwind was having a cooling effect which was welcomed, so I just dropped down a gear and got on with the ride.

I also noted for the first time some orange Gladioli growing by the side of the road. At first I only noticed a few of them but there were hundreds, thousands even! I wonder how they got there. I was also wondering how I missed them on the way out.

These distractions were good at taking my mind of the growing aches and pains that began to make themselves apparent; sore knee, sore left foot (SPD cleat heat was a discussion at the first control), lower back pain and an arse of fire. To distract myself from the pain and the cries of the little voice inside my head begging to stop, I set myself little goals and furnished their achievement with little rewards. I find this type of thing helps my motivation. For example if I got to Bundanoon by the half hour, I could stop for five minutes and take some Vitamin I. Sure enough I made it to Bundanoon and had a break, topped up the spinal tap and took the Ibuprufen.

Refreshed and comfortably numb I headed onwards to the second controle at Moss Vale. Rejoining the Illawarra Highway while a sign of progress, saw heavier and faster traffic and generally less invigorating riding conditions. However, the skies began to cloud over and the temperature dropped a few degrees, which was alright with me. There was even a bit of thunder about as I pulled into Moss Vale and coasted towards the second control. I found the group sprawled comfortably on the lawn watching the local teens at play and scoffing down various dietary supplements from the fish and chip shop across the road. I had four pikelets and a gel to celebrate the longest continuous ride on a bicycle by me ever (144km).

The group slowly left, first with Maria who was promising to plod along then the rest of us. With only a mere 56km to go it was nearly over and 10 kms of that was going to be down Macquarie pass! Bouyed by that thought I set off with Barry and Martin while Barry reminded me that there were a few nastyish, uphillish bits before the downhill bit. He was right.

Eventually though, after what seemed like an hour, I had ridden through Robertson and was perched on the cusp of the descent of the pass. I pulled over to admire the view and take a couple of photos and check the brakes and load before heading down through the pass. I love downhills, it’s a just reward for the effort to climb them, after 15 mins of it though I was getting bored so I was pleased to blast out from the trees of the pass and onto the open undulating road for the final stint back to Dapto.

The descent was invigorating, so mentally I felt great but physically, my posterior was a real liability, and I was beginning to welcome the hills, just so I could get out of the saddle. I caught up with Maria as she was just entering Albion Park and rode with her for a while but had to stop at Yallah to rest my bum. So close but yet so far. I trudged on, plodding now up the Princes Hwy towards Dapto when Martin and Barry caught me and together we made it back at 5.55 pm, just short of 11 hours elapsed since we began.

It was a great day, Martin and My first 200km, Maria’s return to Audax after having a baby (3 months). I realized when I got home that the ride also completed my Nouveau and my first “real” brevet. No longer pretending, I can call myself audacious!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tallong 200km Ride

Completed my first 200km brevet yesterday and qualified for the Nouveau Randonneur Award from Audax Australia. The nouveau award includes rides of 50km, 100km and 150km and you can substitute rides of greater length. I've got 2 100s and a 200km under my belt so far so I'm there. The Tallong ride was a great and pretty much doubles my time and distance on the bike in a single day. I am drafting a more comprehensive report and hope to post it soon.


I was especially satisfied with the ride because I finally conquered Macquarie Pass on my second attempt. The view from the top is grand.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Brains trust

I was disappointed today to read comments from the NRMA that money spent on cycleways was money wasted. More of the article is here . When you contrast the positive efforts in many European countries (and even Melbourne) to develop cycling infrastructure, with this attitude, the NRMA really begins to look more backward than most motoring organisations.

As a motorist as well as a cyclist, I am very happy that Local and State Government are investing in cycling infrastructure, especially in conjunction with massive capital projects. I can only applaud this commitment to encrouraging cycling and urge further funding to these important projects in the future.