Monday, April 25, 2011

New shoes, old feet.

Quite depressing really, my feet failed again on the Border 600 this weekend. Could only manage 160km before it became too painful to continue. I think that's the end of my Paris Brest Paris aspiration.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Gadget

The plan is to use it to power the Garmin and potentially other gadgets on long rides. It has turned up just in time for the Coal Valley 400 this weekend.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A non cycling interlude

I love music, play a few instruments in a slapdash kind of way and am currently learning the Violin. You can always tell when a ride is going well for me as I will be singing various songs as they come to me down the road.

After singing in choirs at school and as a busker and vocalist in a band during my misspent youth, my vocals in recent times only really come out on the road or in the shower. I was never a good singer, but I loved how it made me feel.

Late last year while driving to work listening to ABC Classic FM I heard a story and music about an American composer Eric Whitacre, who had created a virtual choir on youtube. At that time he was putting together another choir and wanted people to join in.

I thought the idea was pretty interesting so noted the link quoted and checked it out when I got to work. The whole concept seemed really exciting so then I thought, Hmm, why not take part?

I downloaded the various scores of the different parts and decided that I could best manage the Bass Pt 1 so set about learning it. For the next few weeks I worked on the tune and with the 31st January deadline looming I started recording my part so I could upload it.

Gawd it was awful! I tried about 100 takes and finally arrived at an imperfect version but reckoned it was as good as I was going to get.

Today the combined video was launched. There were 2052 participants from 58 Countries. I'm third from the left ;-)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Riding for transport

A week or so ago at the Audax NSW awards night at Harts Pub, it was great to catch up with Adrian, once a blogging peer from Yellow Brick Road, now more wise.

He arrived, very stylishly on a natty Brompton and following a folding/unfolding demonstration we yacked a bit about its utility and how Adrian was using the bike regularly during his day to get to meetings outside of his building (he works at a large University) and across campus.

I thought this approach pretty intelligent and as I frequently find myself in a similar position as my office is offsite to the main building (about 1.2k down the road) and I regularly drive to meetings and return often 3 time each day I had a great idea. A Brompton could be really useful in replacing those car journeys and making an (albeit small) difference to my carbon footprint. And bromptons are really cool. Just ask Will Self .

I descended on the Brompton website and after deciding that I would need the 6 speed, titanium model with the Brooks saddle and custom paint, was forced to consider the fiscal practicalities of this.

On reflection I realised that a folding bike wasn't really necessary as I am blessed with a large garage and loading dock at work, and in my home bike shed I just happened to have a "spare" stealth bike built up from decent retro parts found but tragically unused this last year or so (nitto stem and bars, Selle Italia saddle, Dia compe brakes, sugino cranks and 105 ders - the wheels - Velocity Dyads - were new couple of years ago).

So I dusted off the Stealth on the weekend, placed some nice MKS platform pedals on so I could ride in work shoes, adjusted the mudguards, stuck on the old Zefal frame pump and attached lights front and rear. Took it for a quick spin and realised that 20 some years of working downtube friction shifters never goes away and felt right at home.

I took the bike to work on Monday set it up in its parking spot against the wall and waited for my first meeting. Before long I found myself donning my helmet, and velcro gaiters before setting off on my maiden voyage, slightly anxious for some strange reason. I needn't have worried, it felt great and was every bit like riding a bike!

So far I have done 8.7km just going to meetings and back to the office. The bike runs great, it's an easy flat ride and I can make better time on the trip than I ever did in the car, simply because I can ride right up to the back door and the traffic lights mean everything moves at 25kph anyway.

I also feel "cycle chic" on the rides as I'm in work duds, which is usually a suit and always a tie. It's actually really nice to ride like it isn't a big deal, no gloves, no lycra, no water bottle - just hop on and go. I noticed quite a few WTF looks from drivers and pedestrians today as I rode to meetings and back, jacket flapping lazily, drive train humming, carbon being saved.

At the end of the exercise though, I just really enjoy riding.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Had one of those rides

Cycling has been a bit off since the Opperman as I recover from the rib injury. It seems that I have not broken or cracked anything, but lordy they've been sore. Most incoveniently my range of movement has been greatly affected so stretching hasn't been happening.

By way of encouragement to remount I got myself a new cycle computer. The old one was damaged in the fall (and never worked properly in the rain anyway). Not being one to do things by halves I got a Garmin Edge 800 complete with heart rate monitor.

It's a pretty cool bit of kit and with the added benefit of GPS I will be able to get everyone lost with even more authority. The data analysis is fascinating and reveals just what a lousy cyclist I am, and the heart rate sensor is a continual worry. I'm hooping that I may be able to use this information to improve and train more effectively. But probably not.

So on the recovery trail I've been out for a few tentative rides but as of the last few days have been feeling pain free enough to stretch things out a bit.

Set off early this morning thinking maybe 50km would be nice, but it was such a grand morning and I was feeling really comfortable on the bike that I just kept on going until I saw rain clouds coming over the escarpment and turned away from them. It was one of those rides that reminds me why I enjoy cycling so much. Felt good, saw interesting things and was happy.

One of my aims was to checkout the new bridge over Little Lake at Barrack Point. The bridge saves a longish and unpleasant diversion onto Windang Rd, so the bridge really is a great bit of infrastructure and completes a missing link (well one of them anyway) on the coastal cycleway

It hasn't been officially opened yet but that's not stopping anyone using it, so well done Shellharbour Council.

Mileage in Kms = 2724