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Fri, 09 Dec 2011

More Mont awesomeness - 10:23

New and Old Zing Vests (fullsize)
By far one of my favourite pieces of clothing is my Mont Zing Vest, I bought my first back in March 2006, then it was shredded in a crash in April 2008, I had however bought a second vest at that point, in yellow. Most cycling vests have mesh backs, I dislike these as I wear my vest to paddle and a waterproof back is great paddling. Also for warmth year round in all manner of activities (running, rogaines, etc) the lack of mesh is a bonus I think.

Due to the fact I use the vest so often through the colder months it is often damp or wet when I want to use it (soaking from paddling to ride home in winter, or from wearing for a run to get home), thus I was keen to get a few more. Mont are a great company and Dave has been very nice to me in the past. They had run out of Zing vests in my size and I had been asking Dave when I would be able to buy two more for a while. He had some ready for the yearly sale that is on next week and told me to come visit. However he had only had yellow vests made, which I was keen to buy another one of, I was however hoping for some colour variety. Dave then offered to make a few out of whatever colour Hydronaute ultra they had in the factory. Sure it is not pink but I am definitely partial to purple too so I was excited to be able to get two brand new vests in purple.

Did the Ainslie run up at lunch today, was letting my HR creep above 180 and then remembered I should not be going too hard so backed it off to 176 or so for the rest of the run up. Still did 15:16 which I thought was alright.

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Thu, 03 Nov 2011

The most awesome armwarmers ever - 10:21

Cycling Armwarmers do not get any better!
I happened to mention back in June how awesome the kids I coach mtb to are, as well as their really enjoying riding and getting into the sport and improving their handling skills. As a thanks for teaching them they had tracked down a Dr Seuss jersey and gave it to me.

This time they have trumped that effort, they all notice how much I love riding my pink race mtb and my pink gear, so check this out, they hand printed a design with all manner of coloured bikes on a set of arm warmers, and the pink one is the coolest bike there. Thanks to Callum, Zoe, Declan, Tristan and Jack, these are awesome I am showing them off on the mtb ride tomorrow morning for sure.

I have long lamented the fact that cycling arm warmers tend to be boring, they are usually black, sometimes a solid other colour. Not many come with interesting designs (except commercial team trade colours, which are colourful, but not something I find interesting to wear) so to have such a great design and something interesting and so cool is really touching.

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Mon, 27 Jun 2011

The Cat In The Hat - 15:07

Front of the jersey (fullsize)

Back of the jersey (fullsize)
I obviously am teaching the most awesome group of junior mountain bikers around. Three of my students had noticed my love of interesting and fun jerseys in the months I was teaching them and for my instruction efforts they gave me this wonderful gift. A Dr Seusss cycling jersey, what a truly awesome gift. Thanks Declan, Zoe and Callum. Hopefully your mountain bike skills continue to improve and you continue to love riding your bikes, it is all about having fun on bikes.

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Tue, 08 Mar 2011

Buy known good quality, or avoid RavX at least - 18:00

Crappy RavX Gloves (fullsize)
So a few weeks ago I decided to buy some new gloves, though not worn out some of mine were getting a bit old and rank. Also they tend to have no padding profile and work fine for mtb but I tend to think some padding helps on the road bike. I order some Serfas gloves from one shop, but they have still not appeared after a month at this point.

So while waiting for the Serfas and in need of some gloves the other week I purchased the pictured RavX gloves. They were cheap, and I think I found out why, I can not say much apart from do not buy these ever. The padding worked fine, however when I took this photo I had done 3 rides wearing them. One on the shopping/touring mtb to the fyshwick markets and back, around 20km. The next two were road rides, a cotter/uriarra loop and a climb from Jindabyne to Dead Horse Gap and back, so around 145km on the road bike. It is hard to see here, but looking at the enlarged photo I have circled the 4 places on the right glove and 1 place on the left glove that have already worn through or show serious wear signs (about to wear through). That both of the gloves have worn through the palm in less than 200 km of pretty tame riding is pathetic.

I have quite a few pair of cycling gloves, some of which have done over 2000km of fairly tough mtb riding and a lot of other riding in between, I have never seen a glove fail this fast.

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Wed, 16 Feb 2011

Olive Clips - 20:02
I was trying to find the correct name of the pink clips on the end of the Q-Spear rack bungee cords the other day. I got as far as "shock cord clips" but still was not getting too many results. I have a few purple clips I use on bike tow systems I bought at the Marine shop in Woden years ago, however the shop has since closed.

Fortunately one of my friends discovered they are called "Olive Clips" in Australia and are somewhat readily available at boating supply stores around the place.

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Thu, 18 Nov 2010

Shopping/Touring/etc N+1 - 10:19

Diamond back Topanga ready to ride
As mentioned a few weeks ago, my sister has a new bike, as a side benefit of this I was able to take ownership of her old bike. This is a 1994 model Diamond Back Topanga frame, at this point everything except the headset and forks is newer though.

I have owned a Diamond Back Ascent previously (my first SS) and it is the model up from the Topanga, also I had another Ascent frame I had never built up so eventually sold it. Though this is the lower model it is a bike with history in the family and looks nice. I also hope it looks less appealing to bike thieves than some other bikes may.

After my cyclocross bike was stolen I no longer had a bike with a pannier rack mounted for shopping or similar (maybe the odd cycle tour). I have the black hardtail but it does not have rack mounts and I have never liked riding the aluminium hardtail that much. I have been thinking about selling the black hardtail for a while, however this bike should be a good keeper in my stable, I may still add mud guards to the bike, but it rides nicely, even with the silly long stem on it. I flattened the saddle after riding it this morning as it was initially did not feel quite right, everything else feels pretty good, though the narrow bars may also have to go eventually.

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Sun, 14 Nov 2010

Ride like a girl - 15:28

Ride Like a Girl (fullsize)
When I first saw this jersey being worn by my friend Kath I thought it was rather awesome. However due to it being a commercial jersey and a company unrelated to me directly (AMBC) I was a little wary of buying one of the jerseys. In the end though I decided it was too cool not to own one.

The sentiment is there (Heather and Lib hand out cans of whup arse on a regular basis to myself and many others for example) and it works well with my theory that pink goes faster anyway. So now I wonder if I will last with a concerted effort to not purchase any more jerseys for a while.

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Fri, 12 Nov 2010

Jeffson Jersey - 12:10

Jeffson Custom Bikes (fullsize)
With some of these jerseys you may think there is a theme appearing, which is lots of black. Obviously the perfect choice for coming into the Australian summer. To the issue of having lots of black jerseys, I guess i just have to obey Rule 5 in summer. As for the theme, do not worry the jersey I will put on the diary tomorrow will break the theme and return to normal race gear (for me).

This one, another purchase while in Rotorua, comes from Jeff Anderson at kiwibikes. A frame builder who had some rather cool bikes on display that he had built. I have been missing my CX bike a bit since it was stolen so decided I would get Jeff to build me a new CX frame. I sat down and talked with him about all the things I want to do with it and how I want to fit it out. He checked out my sizing and riding style and listened to what I did and did not like about my previous CX bike and about other bikes.

So in a few months I should have a new Jeffson CX bike, I got started on my accessory collection early with this jersey.

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Thu, 11 Nov 2010

Single Speed Worlds Jersey - 10:29

Front of the jersey (fullsize)

Back of the jersey (fullsize)
Many people know I tend to have a cycling jersey addiction. I used to count all cycle tops (winter warm tops, and summer weight also) however I did an inventory of just the summer weight tops recently, I am now up to 30. Of those 30 I have purchased 4 in the last 6 weeks.

I thought I would upload the images of these new jerseys, just to keep my collection of jerseys online. There were two jerseys sold by the SS Worlds crew, the first one was a woolen jersey I thought looked somewhat boring. This one on the other hand looked cool, colours on the sides, kiwi influenced design, RSSS branding. So for a good price they were offering I got one.

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Wed, 10 Nov 2010

Rule 5 - 16:55

Front of the jersey (fullsize)

Back of the jersey (fullsize)
So when we first learned of The Rules a few of us were quite a fan of some of them. In particular Rule Number 5. I openly admit I am not much of a roadie and do not obey rule number 1 (adhere to all the rules) however I like to think I do at least from time to time obey rule number 5.

As we are such fans of in jokes we decided to get the jersey pictured on the left made up and the website registered to display that particular rule. Of course I could not help putting a Jens quote on the collar as the man defines the rule. "Shut Up Legs"

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Tue, 12 Oct 2010

An N+1 in the family - 13:15

Jane's new Kona Dr Fine (fullsize)
So not a bike for me (though it is damn sweet, I almost wish it were), my sister Jane last got herself a new bike in 1994 when we returned from England. That is a Diamond Back Topanga. She has still been using that bike to this day which means it has had a long useful life (and will continue to do so, more on that later). However she started asking me a while ago about a new bike, most of her riding is a commute in Sydney to her work at Macquarie uni, grocery shopping and sometimes a cruisy weekend ride.

My recommendation for her was a flat bar road bike, set up to be a kick arse commuter. The bike I found for her (thanks to an excellent price from Maladjusted) was a 2010 Kona Dr Fine. Pictured to the left, I got full length fenders put on to make the commute experience more pleasant in Sydney wet weather and also the pannier rack as she carries her gear in panniers for the commute and grocery shopping.

The very cool thing about this bike (apart from it being fast, light, new, etc) is the internally geared rear hub, so it only has a single speed drive train exposed to the elements, also with hydraulic disc brakes it really should be bomb proof for lots of km without much maintenance work. Now I just need to add the bidon cage, U-Lock mount (for the new lock, so do not even think about stealing it from her, bastard bike thieves) and a pump mount or similar.

I am somewhat jealous, this is a very nice bike, though I guess one benefit is I will get the Diamond Back so I can turn it into my shopping/rough treatment town geared bike, so it does at least stay in the family.

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Wed, 04 Aug 2010

Oh no am I becoming a trend following roadie - 17:20

My roadie team kit (fullsize)
A few weeks ago (just before D and G flew off to Europe) I noticed Cadel Evans' wife mention the BMC racing team shop on Twitter. So I headed off to have a look and see what they had for sale. Lo and behold they had full team kit (bib knicks and jersey) in a kit bag for CHF 60 (which is approximately AUD $60) a set. Wow brilliant price for that cycle gear, G wanted a set too, so I bought two sets, with postage it became around AUD $80 each. Still a great price.

As can be seen to the left it arrived the other day, it is not Hincapie Sportswear clothing (I have one Hincapie jersey which I like well enough) however is a full euro pro roadie team kit. This may come as a shock (it does to me) as, although I have many cycle jerseys, they tend to be more unusual or interesting designs, I have never really understood why people wear euro pro team jerseys with sponsors product littered all over them, and pay a premium price for them. My exception to this is the T-Mobile womens jersey as Hot Pink Flames are cool.

However I like Cadel and I like the look of the BMC kit, it is also pretty simple with only BMC mentioned on the kit, so no other sponsor names all over the clothing. The price was too good to pass up, now to find out if I like wearing bib knicks (my first pair ever).

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009

Pretty average bar tape, a 7 month report. - 14:06
My new road bike, a 2008 model Kona Kapu in Orange I purchased in April, came with white bar tape wrapped up to just past the brake hoods. The bar is one of the new flat topped ergo style bars. Though as it is aluminium rather than carbon it will feel quite cold on chilly mornings. Due to my firm belief that white bar tape is almost as wrong as white knicks and the fact I did not want to get chilly hands on the bare aluminium I decided to get new bar tape for the bike.

I searched around trying to find orange coloured tape for a while and found the Lizard Skins tape in a good shade of orange at a shop here. The Lizard Skins tape had some good reviews for the tacky grip feel and seemed alright, though it was around twice the price of most traditional cork or synthetic cork tape. Now 7 months after purchasing the grip tape and putting it on the bike I have discovered the two major problems with it are that it gets dirty and the packaging recommended against using any cleaning agent other than plain water on it as it may deteriorate the grip. I can deal with this as it is sort of in the nature of grip tape to become dirty over time.

My bigger gripe is that I noticed the last few days that after only 7 months the grip tape is wearing out on some of the points I have my hands in contact with the bars the most often. Previously I have had grip tape last for 3 or 4 years before wearing out enough to require replacing so I am definitely disappointed in this and in the next few days will pull off the tape and put on some much cheaper cork tape in orange from a different brand.

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Fri, 04 Dec 2009

Chameleon Pedals - 17:14

New pedals indoors (fullsize)

New pedals in the sunshine (fullsize)
On my way through civic today I had a flat tyre on the CX bike, so I stopped in at Onya to get it fixed, Gareth showed me these pedals I had to buy a pair of. After all my good flat pedals have gone walk about so I really needed new flat pedals. They look like plain pedals D may even like until you take them outside in the sunshine and they have an almost instant colour change. Rock on, will look just right on the pink hardtail during events I need to use flat pedals with.

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Sat, 24 Oct 2009

Cranks are not suposed to do this I think. - 20:36

One solution to increase right leg strength (fullsize)
Leading a ride today, pulled a gap jump and was a little bit slow, so landed a bit hard with my back tyre just clearing the lip. Suddenly found my left foot a lot closer to the ground than it should be. Oh a broken crank, only one year old. The bigger problem was as ride guide for a familiarisation ride I was not sure anyone else of the 23 people I was showing this course to knew the rest of the route for the ride.

Fortunately someone knew the way through to Mt Taylor on this leg and I was able to swing a lift with someone to get home rather than ride one legged from Stromlo home. Mr Milton I am not.

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Fri, 25 Sep 2009

Astro cycling help - 22:15

Astro Road Assistance (fullsize)
To go along with my habit of bender dolls, robot dogs, cute animal horns, etc somewhere on all my bikes I was starting to notice the lack of something extra mounted somewhere on my new road bike. Fortunately while in landspeed records tonight I saw something that helped me fix this situation. With the dual advantage of offering some extra rocket assistance on the road bike and nicely accessorising one of my cycling outfits how could I pass this one up?

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Sat, 01 Aug 2009

N=N+2 more steel in the stable - 17:28

New Single Speed mtb(fullsize)

New Road Bike(fullsize)

In April, not too long after my house mate had gotten herself a lovely new light road bike I got to thinking about my road bike. For the previous year and a half since my Lemond developed another crack in the frame I had been riding the Cyclocross bike as my road bike. However Cyclocross bikes with road tyres on are sort of neutered not being used for their true purpose (being able to go anywhere, off road or on fast) in my opinion. So thinking how I wanted to run CX tyres on it more and use it off road more I decided to buy a new road bike.

I admit I was tempted by the ultra light weight carbon wonder bikes such as the full Ultegra Jamis Xenith that had recently appeared in the garage or maybe a Scott CR1. However I have a well known tendency to break bikes, and I am a self confessed fan of steel bikes. Mal happened to offer me a good deal on a 2008 (the orange coloured one, not the uglier 2009 yellow one) Kona Kapu steel road bike with full Ultegra. This is a lovely frame, with polished steel lugs and brazing rather than TIG welding to construct it. As they say (in the clever marketing) on the website "A beautiful, old school lugged frame that harks (yep... used the word "hark") back to when frames were meticulously crafted in only small batches by guys named Giuseppe."

And at 9.1 KG it really is not much heavier than a similarly specced carbon wonder bike (maybe 1 KG heavier, all of which is in the frame and steel fork). I am very happy with this new bike and it even continues a trend of orange gear and clothing I was going through about 4 or 5 years ago. I may soon put open pro wheels on this bike and put these open sport wheels on the CX bike, I changed the bar tape to orange as seen to the left and put my preferred saddle and more puncture resistant tyres on it. Lovely bike to ride I must say and no carbon in site.

The other new bike, purchased about 3 weeks ago is my self proclaimed fad bike. When I first built up my old single speed it was just from parts I had sitting around in the shed really. I thought at the time I probably would not like single speeding and would not long after turn it into a geared bike. I was wrong and discovered I really like riding single speeds. One of the things I really missed on my single speed is the disc brakes I was used to riding on other mountain bikes. Then recently when I began to notice the chain tension did not stay as tight as I liked due to the wheel slipping forward in the quick release tightened back wheel I was getting a little annoyed with my SS.

I could have simply put a bolt on axle on and kept riding it without that problem, instead I went and bought a new bike. This is my fad bike as I can claim it has five fads in one bike. First I thought I would try out 29 inch wheels, just for something different, then it is a single speed, fully rigid with Mary bars and disc brakes (the JohnJohn fad). What with this and the cyclocross bike you could argue many of my bike purchases in the last two years have been about making mountain biking harder for myself. However this is a fun bike to ride, the 29 inch wheels are not better or anything, simply different, and different can be exciting anyway. Long term I may become soft and buy suspension for it, also I am undecided on the benefit of the Mary bars, I may put normal bars with bar ends on it eventually also. Chain tension is kept on this with an eccentric BB which allows the discs to be mounted normally with no complexity.

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Sat, 16 May 2009

One handjob ready to roll - 18:22

Ready to roll on the handjob (fullsize)
I am doing a cyclegaine tomorrow, however I rode the pink bike on Friday morning and had some problems with the setup, so I finally spent a few hours today and moved all the bits across to the new frame. Here it is ready to roll.

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More evidence of the hard life of a mountain bike - 12:40
So I stripped down my geared mtb today in order to change over to the new frame and looking at the old pink frame it really does show evidence of a lot of hard use. Similar to my comments in October 2006 with even more KM put into the bike.

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Sun, 22 Mar 2009

Hanging bikes or using shed space effectively. - 18:48

Bikes on the left (fullsize)

Bikes in the middle (fullsize)

Bikes on the right (fullsize)

Bike hooks (fullsize)

So when Danielle moved in to the house here recently the number of bikes increased, then another new housemate moved in who also has some bikes. I finally needed to get around to making the storage of bikes and access to them in the shed more effective. I have been thinking of doing this for years and with lots more bikes in the shed being used I finally got around to it this weekend.

I have 4 bikes I use daily (hardtail mtb, cyclo cross/road bike, single speed mtb, fixie road bike) and another hardtail mtb in working order. I also have an old unisex pub bike sort of thing in the shed and my old road bike sans front wheel, so 7 bikes to get out of the way somewhere. Danielle has 3 bikes in daily usage (dual suspension good mtb, hardtail mtb and new road bike). She also has 2 older bikes she will soon sell. Matt has 2 bikes in daily sort of usage (mtb with slicks and a road bike).

Allan and other friends have erected hooks in their bike rooms or sheds to hang bikes up by a wheel and they then take up less space but are all still easily accessed. I had a look at distances needed between bikes and worked out I can probably hang 12 bikes along one end of the shed. I should dispose of the old pub bike thing and also do something about my old road bike (frame needs repair so not using it). Also I will probably soon loan my spare hardtail mtb to a friend for an extended period. However I have them all up there for now as proof of concept for 12 at once.

The hardware I bought was 2 3 metre lengths of wood to screw into the shed roof beams (cost $15 or $7.50 each), 12 hooks at $6.32 each a packet of 9cm screws (only needed 8) for mounting the wood to the beams ($22.97) and a packet of shorter timber screws for screwing the hooks into the timber ($9.23) and 3 metres of clear vinyl tubing to fit around the hooks to protect the rims. A total cost of AUD $135.01 for the lot.

I bought this at the hardware store yesterday (a mountain biker hang out it seems as I saw Morgs and Joo there and later also so Madge there) and after getting home from a road ride today put it all together. Works a treat as you can see from the photos. Thanks to Danielle for the help putting it up there.

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Thu, 12 Mar 2009

How could I say no - 13:17

Sassy Pink Handjob (fullsize)
My primary geared bike, the bender bicycles steel mtb has now undergone two fixes, the paint job looks kind of ratty and I notice Richard recently retired his KHS steel HT. I have put a lot of hard riding onto this bike and though still nice to ride I had been from time to time looking for another frame just out of interest.

Then I saw this Cove Handjob, in my size selling for AUD $480 in sassy pink colour. How could I say no, it arrived this morning. I probably should not swap the frames before the Jindabyne multisport race on Sunday, after all riding a new frame I am not used to with different geometry and feel may not be the best idea. Tempting to do it now, but I will probably wait until next weekend.

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Tue, 11 Nov 2008

My map board - 13:39
Just as an assist so I can google my memory easier, I often need to remember what brand my map board is, rather than have to search through email or similar from when I purchased it a few years ago I should just have a link here telling me I have a Windchill Map Board. I really like these boards (I have two in the garage at home) as they sit a bit higher than Miry and also the screws to attach them are not so fiddly and short (so I am not afraid of them coming out and being lost to such an extent). They are a little heavy, however they are well constructed and have good support. I had to get one of them fixed in 2007 and the replacement part was cheap and sent up to Canberra quickly. Thanks Windchill for a good, functional, well priced product.

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Thu, 11 Sep 2008

Fairly unobservant - 15:26
When I broke my collar bone in April, the road bike (well cyclocross bike) I was riding that day suffered some damage also. The front wheel was scalloped and broken in many places. The Saddle was broken and there was a nasty case of road rash on the STI shifters, everything else appeared fine however.

When I first started riding the road bike again, around 5 weeks after the accident, I thought at the time the right pedal was somehow rotating strangely or off in some way. However I put it down to getting back on the road bike with my collar bone in a state and ignored it. I also obviously got used to the sensation while ignoring it.

A few weeks ago I was doing some commutes on the cross bike with chunky tyres and was using 2 bottles in the cages often. Watching my legs rotate I noticed the right leg was hitting the frame and bottle a bit and yet the left leg was a huge distance out from the frame and anything else. Intrigued I then analysed my riding on some of my other bikes, I happily found the other bikes did not show off this trait also thus I was fairly sure my entire body had not somehow become unbalanced toward one side on the bike.

This did however mean something was obviously wrong with the cyclocross bike. Today I finally bothered taking it in to the bike shop and they measured some stuff, at first they were also flummoxed, until someone thought to measure the distance of the cranks from the frame. It turns out I bent my right crank inwards by 11mm in the crash, it was not hitting the frame and is not obvious unless you know to look at it for it being bent in compared with the other crank.

So I sort of suspected all along something was wrong, however made myself ignore it and get used to it. I am probably fairly lucky I have not been doing much riding this year so I have not changed my pedalling or muscle action or anything to accommodate the problem with the bike. Now I really do have to seriously consider buying a new groupset for this bike with a triple on it in order to enable it to climb in mountainous country more easily.

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Fri, 15 Aug 2008

Oooohhh Shiny! - 16:06

The Ayups wrapped up (fullsize)

All the kit from above (fullsize)

So I am sort of making bad jokes in the title of this post, however I do like my new light setup for riding/running/etc. As previously mentioned I was able to borrow some AYUP lights from my friend Danielle. Her adventure racing team has AYUP sponsorship this year and has been able to loan sets of ayups out to people around Canberra for them to try out. I was lucky enough to use a set for a few weeks.

Running with them is fantastic as you have a lot of light coming out, and due to the multiple angles can have one light pointed near your feet and one light pointed ahead if you need on rough terrain. On the bikes the system is really light and provides far more useable nice light than 20 or 30 W of halogen lights ever seemed to. Also definitely more than my luxeon based Silva L1, though one would kind of expect that with 2 Cree LEDs per light in the AYUP kit.

Anyway I felt the need to get a set, so $650 later I am now the owner of the 2008 Enduro kit, this gives me extra batteries, mounts, and a running head band. I also ordered another mount so I can have three of my bikes ready for them. I think anyone who knows what colour most of my race gear is can guess what colour I chose for the lights without looking at the photos on the left, good to see the shade will match my mountain bike and double kayak so well.

With the 4 3 hour batteries and 2 6 hour batteries I can keep both lights lit for 12 hours non stop, or if on foot and only wanting one light a full 24 hours without recharging. All my use of the loaned set has given me a huge appreciation of having these light weight and bright lights. I look forward to lots of fun out there using this set I now have bought.

Oh and I hear that from time to time when AYUP are out of stock of parts the wait can be horrendous. I was very lucky, I made my order for the lights on Tuesday and they were in my office by Friday. Rock on for quick service.

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Sat, 21 Jun 2008

Serious carrying capacity - 13:06
On my 4 current working bikes I tend not to have a pannier rack mounted. Largely because I use the road bike and main mtb as race/training bikes and the fixie road bike has no rack screws and would not be suited to carrying panniers. The single speed however has rack mounts, and though it seems silly having a rack on my single speed mtb I have not bothered putting together the components and frame I have mostly ready for a touring bike yet. However I decided I wanted to use my panniers a bit once more for my shopping and other stuff.

Until I can get the last few parts and time to build the touring bike up the single speed seemed the obvious choice. Usually when I do my shopping I just take along a 35 litre backpack or similar and hope I can fit everything. I just mounted my pannier rack, both my panniers and a rack top bag onto my single speed, there is some fairly serious carrying capacity on that bike now. (see the photo)

Sure the capacity of this bike even with a ruck sack on my back is dwarfed by a bob trailer style arrangement and is made to seem puny when compared to the Dutch Cargo Bicycles such as those sold by a friend of mine in Victoria (follow the link). However I have yet to purchase either, although the Cargo Bicycles are sort of tempting, possibly due to how rare they are on Australian roads. Still the carrying capacity of two panniers and a rack top bag should enable me to carry a bit more home easily from the markets and shops (meaning I can do both in one trip and not do two trips)

Time now to ride to some shops and buy some items I need, than past uni to visit the co-op bookshop to buy a birthday preswent for Sam and Ben's daughter Max who is celebrating turning 6, also need to grab a projector from work to use at a dinner for BGCC tonight for a paddling slideshow on in the background.

Serious load carrying capacity with 2 panniers and a rack top bag (Full Size)

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Wed, 11 Jun 2008

Lake Safety - 18:47
A lot of my paddling through winter is done on Lake Burley Griffin at night here in Canberra. My AR friends and I want to be safe and visible out on the water for obvious reasons. However there is a rule the water police sometimes enforce that you should not use red flashing (or red constant on) lights to on your body or boat. This is somewhat annoying as flashing LED safety lights for cycling are very cheap and easily available. Many of us resort to using flashing white with our head torches, or simply ignore the rule and wear a few flashing red lights anyway.

Julie sensibly has some proper suction cap attached safety lights she bought for this purpose, last year I used flashing orange road safety beacons sold by jaycar, however these were not easy to mount, not water resistant (and thus obviously not water proof) and seemed a bit cheap. Last year on Dans Data I saw a review for battery powered glow sticks known as Krill lights. Although they do not come in pink at the time I decided they would be really good safety lights for my boats while out paddling.

Today as I am getting back into night paddling again at last I finally received a pair of krill sticks. I got a 180 degree AA stick to put in front of me and face forward so as not to leave the glow in my field of vision directly and a 360 degree stick to sit at the back of the boat. I can tie them on at each end and sit them upright on velcro so they should stay in place reasonably well and still be quick to swap to another boat or remove.

The photos below probably shows fairly well the difference and the nice blue glow.

Blue Glow from Krill Lights (Full Size)

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Sat, 31 May 2008

Another reason cycling through winter is hard for non cyclists - 18:14
On Thursday when I arrived at work I happened to give some thought to the clothing I had been wearing to go out cycling that morning with the temperature around 2 degrees Celsius and stay comfortable. People living in Sydney do not have it so hard as people living in Canberra, however Sydney has other problems, such as horrendous traffic and not much cycling friendly infrastructure.

On Thursday morning I was wearing the following items (with original purchase costs) CORC cycling socks ($10) and Ground Effect wind proof fleece socks ($25), Ground Effect tights with wind proof fleece from knees down ($99), knicks (a cheap pair I got at the Mont sale for $49), a poly propylene thermal (Kathmandu sale item for $19), Short Sleeve cycle jersey (Alpine Classic jersey, $70), arm warmers ($20 back in 2002), long sleeve fleecy lined winter top (A Netti top I bought in 2002 for $90 (or so)), Mont wind proof cycle vest (one of my favourite pieces of kit, $80 at the sale), Ground Effect fleece beanie with wind proof material over the ears ($19), helmet (not counting this in the price as all cyclists in Australia wear one in theory and you do not need one as expensive as mine), Ground Effect winter gloves ($39) over poly propylene glove liners ($8 at Kathmandu).

As it gets colder (down to -7 some mornings) I will also have neoprene booties ($80) over my cycling shoes, an extra poly pro thermal, and a full length sleeve Mont (or similar) wind proof jacket ($130) oh and often fleece gloves under the wind proof gloves. However if we simply add up the costs of what I was wearing this Thursday morning it comes to a rather staggering AUD $528. Considering I was riding in the dark that ignores the cost of lighting and also ignores how much I spend on bikes. Sure you can ride slowly not working up much of a sweat or exposing yourself to the wind as much in cheaper gear and be comfortable enough. However to actively enjoy cycling in cold temperatures and be able to do it a lot it helps having all the warm comfortable gear that protects you from the elements.

Of course clothing gets smelly quickly when you sweat in it a lot so I have more than one item of most of that gear to enable me to get out most days a week even in winter and stay active. Fortunately lots of it lasts a long time, however the cost of getting into cycling in winter is somewhat prohibitive when you first start doing it (such as the Bilbys novice program participants who keep going through the following winter).

I guess to counter balance this you can look at how much many people spend on petrol, when you consider I filled my car up with a tank of petrol for AUD $60 last week, it was the first time I had filled my cars petrol tank since March (I filled it in Sydney to get back to Canberra following the kayak race I did up there). I can comfortably get around by bike all through Canberra in winter, get my groceries often by bike, do other things by bike and can avoid using my car a lot.

However the point I guess I am getting at in the title is, most non Cyclists think $500 is about as much as they could conceivably justify spending on a bicycle. If they then find out to cycle through winter they may need to spend almost as much on clothing it is quite likely to put them off.

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Thu, 29 May 2008

La Muerte, my little black boat - 21:30

La Muerte - Time Bandit (fullsize)
So I finally got around to naming my Time Bandit Multi Sport Kayak. La Muerte, the Spanish word for death, however as it is a feminine word and I am a fan of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, the goth girl style Death from the series seemed like a good name. I have been told many a time that boats need female names, and though this could be seen as macabre or tempting fate I decided I liked it enough to go ahead and do the naming.

For more photos of La Muerte I have a photo page up now.

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Wed, 14 May 2008

Neat saddle bag feature - 11:00
Another thing that broke in my big road crash was my saddle bag, it broke in the same place as the last time however as this was in a crash I did not think they would repair it again. So I ordered myself a new one from T7. Road bikes are often about clean lines and minimalism, thus having a hulking great big bag filled with tools, tubes, clothing, white goods, etc is not the norm (unlike on the mountain bike, or worse the contents of mountain biker's camel backs after a few years (I knew I would find that air compressor if I looked everywhere...)).

Thus this is a small saddle bag, as was the one that broke on my road bike. There is a problem with such a small saddle bag, I carry two spare tubes and a multi tool on the road bike for flats and repairs. This should be enough, and it was always one heck of a squeeze to fit it all inside. However there have been occasions when I have had more than 2 flats while out riding by myself. Last time it happened was a work day, well before any bike shops opened and I was out past Tuggeranong, I got my mother to come over from Gunghalin and pick me up that day. After that experience I taped or somehow attached a small patch kit to the bottom of the saddle bag so I could fix more than two flats. This did not stay attached easily and was in harms way a lot.

So after this long winded story I can get to the really neat feature of the new bag, it has a small zip up compartment underneath, in which there is a water proof cover, however as I see no need to carry a water proof saddle bag cover it is the perfect location to stash a small patch kit with glue, patches, sand paper and wet wipes. What a fantastic addition, it does not increase the size of the bag too much so you can still look like a roadie, yet it gets me out of the more than two flats problem in a neat manner. Good design T7.

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Mon, 12 May 2008

Replacement Helmet - 13:39

Pink Giro Animas
Pink Giro Animas (Full Size)

For years now I have worn a Giro E2 as my primary bike helmet. When I first started wearing it Bell helmets were rare in Australia (previously I found Bell helmets fit well), after trying out a number of helmets (including cheaper Giro models) the E2 was the only one I found that fit well at the time. Since using it I have also come to love the adjustable height visor and generally found it a really good helmet to wear.

When I broke my helmet last month I sent it off to the Australian Giro importer as they have a crash replacement policy, they will sell you a replacement at 40% of RRP. Once you include postage this would have put my new E2 at around AUD $170 to 180. I had already made use of this policy last year so all seemed fine. However the Giro importers rang back to say they would have no E2 helmets in stock until June sometime. So I started to look around online, a number of friends have bought their helmets that way and it was likely to be cheaper. I could have bought a new E2 for around AUD $160 including postage, however I happened to notice the Giro Animas mountain bike helmet model came in a really good pink flames colour. How could I resist getting more pink race gear, even though it will forever clash with anything red. So I ordered this (a model not available in Australia) and it arrived today.

I and I suspect many other customers love the ability to track packages being shipped, Danielle suggested I had too much time on my hands and am obviously a geek when I mentioned I knew my helmet had arrived in Sydney on Friday morning. However I could not help but look once a day or so and see the progress of the shipment until it arrived here. Anyway though I like my lilac spare helmet, this new helmet is far more comfortable, has an adjustable visor and comes with the added bonus that the flamingos I hide amongst do not even have to be painted lilac.

Date  	Time  	Location  	Event Details
May 12, 2008  	06:58:00 AM  	CANBERRA AUSTRALIA  	Out for delivery
May 12, 2008 	05:56:00 AM 	CANBERRA AUSTRALIA 	Arrival Scan
May 12, 2008 	04:11:00 AM 	SYDNEY AUSTRALIA 	Departure Scan
May 9, 2008 	08:55:00 AM 	SYDNEY AUSTRALIA 	Completed customs clearance process
May 9, 2008 	08:39:00 AM 	SYDNEY AUSTRALIA 	Arrival Scan
May 7, 2008 	11:10:00 AM 	JAMAICA NY UNITED STATES 	Departure Scan
May 7, 2008 	06:11:00 AM 	JAMAICA NY UNITED STATES 	Arrival Scan
May 7, 2008 	01:04:00 AM 	WILMINGTON OH UNITED STATES 	In transit
May 7, 2008 	12:56:00 AM 	WILMINGTON OH UNITED STATES 	Arrival Scan
May 7, 2008 	12:01:00 AM 	WILMINGTON OH UNITED STATES 	Departure Scan
May 6, 2008 	10:52:00 PM 	LOUISVILLE KY UNITED STATES 	Departure Scan
May 6, 2008 	08:05:00 PM 	LOUISVILLE KY UNITED STATES 	Departure Scan
May 6, 2008 	03:45:00 PM 	--- 	Shipment picked up from seller's facility

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Thu, 08 May 2008

Yet Another Cycling Jersey - feeding the addiction - 16:33
google cycling jersey
My very own google cycling jersey (Full Size)
Yes I have a Cycle Jersey Addiction (though the number decreased by one when my CORC jersey was cut off me at the hospital. (though I will probably replace it as I like my current CORC clothing, I still have two of the old style jerseys, fortunately the jersey that was damaged was not one of my irreplaceable jerseys (out of print or small print run))

Anyway as can be seen to the left I have acquired another cycle jersey, one that I suspect will be somewhat rare in Canberra, though to some extent this is obviously a corporate looking jersey, I think it is a rather good design and will be rare enough here I will enjoy wearing it. Thanks Mikal.

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Tue, 25 Dec 2007

N+1 applied to kayaks once more - 23:47

The Time Bandit at the Carillion (fullsize)
Since I bought the Floozy I have become reasonably confident in keeping tippy boats upright. I think it has been good learning to paddle tippy boats on a surf ski, I did not have to worry much about falling off as I could get right back on. However the ski has two major draw backs I find. The most annoying one is that it is too small for me. It really is suited to someone under 5 foot 10 rather than someone over 6 foot so I always had my knees a bit high. The other problem is in the middle of a Canberra winter paddling a surf ski is not my first choice of water vessel.

This winter I paddled my Mirage most of the time, which meant I had to find someone to paddle with all winter, however I did make it out there a lot which was good. Sure I can get a wet suit or some other attire that would make paddling a surf ski in winter bearable however when taken with the fact the ski is a bit small for me it seems a new boat may be a better idea.

Thus when Matt finally decided to go ahead and sell his Time Bandit (which he bought of Ado who had purchased it new last year) I was keen to buy it from him. This of course is the 6.2 metre long new toy I have been referring to the last few days. I have taken it out paddling twice now, and damn it is a nice boat.

First with Danealle on Sunday arvo down to the governor general's place and back from Yarralumla bay. Then today across to the Carillion in rather windy conditions (waves washing over the cockpit a bit coming from three directions as I came under Commonwealth Ave bridge). So apart from knowing I need to buy a spray skirt for the boat I must say I am happy to say it stays up well and can handle pretty nasty conditions well. Sure I was nervous at times today on the water but I kept it upright and never really felt close to falling in.

I did however wuss out of paddling back and went and got a lift with friends I met at the Carillion back to get my car and pick up the boat (thus I also have photos (medium, fullsize) of the new boat on top of the car). I have yet to choose a name for this boat, and as the first name for my Mirage was a failure and it took a while to find the name Matilda for it I am in no rush.

This purchase does increase my kayak collection, as suggested in the title N+1 being applied to kayaks, however I do wish to sell the Floozy as it really is small for me and the primary positive of owning a surf ski (the ability to use it in the surf and play around there) is not something I go and do much (I hardly seem to get to the coast often) I will be better off selling it.

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Mon, 29 Oct 2007

A new name for my Mirage 730 Double Kayak - 14:20
When I purchased my Pink Mirage 730 Double Sea Kayak back in April/May I had thought it should be named Patrick. The name has never stuck, heck even I did not like the name. Many people told me I needed a female name for a boat, I did not feel I could use the name Patricia (partly because one of the coaches at BGCC is named Patricia, and partly because it had no real meaning or background that could be applied).

I have had a few adventures with the boat now, such as Geoquest 2007 and the 2007 Hawkesbury Canoe Classic (this race report is not there yet, I am still writing it) this past weekend. I think there is a new name for it that will stick, my support crew for the weekend (my friend Prue) suggested the name Matilda during the drive back to Canberra.

The name was out of the blue but I liked it, so did Danielle, the back story that I thought works well for it is the Roald Dahl book Matilda. If my kayak is bored or not given interesting trips and events to do it may develop mysterious powers, also if we do not treat it well (or the other kayaks it is close to) it may punish us or whoever mistreats it.

So if you see the pink Mirage Double Sea Kayak out on the lake here or at some event (even though there were well over 200 Mirage kayaks at Hawkesbury this weekend Matilda was the only one with that colour scheme and was quite recognisable), say hello to her and be nice <g>.

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Wed, 10 Oct 2007

N+1 happened again, say hello to Jake - 11:28

Jake The Snake Cyclocross Bike (fullsize)
So going with the N+1 theory, it happened again to me yesterday. I picked up my brand new 2008 model Jake the Snake.

I have thought for a number of years a cyclocross bike would be nice to own. Something I can go fast on and yet still take off road or for long rides with significant amounts of dirt (such as the rather fun ride to the coast via Araluen). Recently I found my Lemond Zurich road frame had developed another large crack on the head tube area (photos sometime soon). It is unsafe to continue riding it much, so I was wondering what to do about needing a road bike.

It occurred to me a cyclocross bike makes a great road bike (tougher than most, which is good knowing my tendency to break frames) and can be used off road (which I think bikes in general need to be able to be used there if at all possible). Also I can not justify buying a bling road bike as I do not race on the road. Until I can join ACT Vets club in 7 years or so I probably will not, I just can not raise any interest in having anything at all to do with Canberra Cycling Club (CCC).

So Mal said he could get me a 2008 model Jake the Snake in and build it up, I thought why not, should be fun. The photo was taken in my living room last night, I have since changed the tyres to skinny road tyres and took it out on the Wednesday morning road ride I do every week. Fun was had, oh and yes the pink bottle cages are necessary, it makes it go faster or something, I am sure there is a scientific need for them.

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Tue, 31 Jul 2007

Clean bike - 22:47
After almost a month of not cleaning my geared mountain bike, leaving it in the shed and doing all my mountain biking on my single speed, I finally got off my arse this evening, overcame my dislike for working in the shed in the cold and cleaned the thing. Kind of funny when I will be using my single speed in the 8 hour race this weekend. Ahh well I can finally ride it again and take the Friday morning ride up some steep hills. Wheeeeeee.

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Fri, 25 May 2007

Patrick the Pink Boat - 18:34
Last week I happened to drop a hint that I would be getting a new toy that our team would use at Geoquest this year. So here it is, a brand new Mirage 730 Double Sea Kayak. Yay.

Took it out paddling today and it was indeed good fun. I will have to wait until I can paddle with someone I am used to paddling with to gauge if there is much difference in speed compared to the Mirage's I am used to paddling. However I was happy Amanda was able to join in the paddle at lunch today as it meant I got to try out the brand new boat.

As I mentioned, I decided to name it Patrick, fun will be had.

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Tue, 13 Mar 2007

Signs of the decision made - 12:35
So I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a Grafton Paddle Sports Time Bandit from a friend for a week. The primary reason is so we have a rather fast boat Randall is comfortable in for him to paddle in the Jindabyne multi sport race this weekend.

Anyway I took my surf ski out this morning to paddle with Andrew, Andrew was giving the time bandit a go to see how much he liked it. Having recently sold his Horizon Rocket Andrew has been thinking about another boat for a while. As the Time Bandit did so well in the recent Rapid Ascent Kayak Testing he was keen to try one out and see how it went.

I was entertained to hear Andrew, half way through the paddle, say it shows he is well past thinking about it at the point he was starting to wonder what colour he should get for his new Time Bandit....

Update: so a short while after posting this I got an email from Andrew, he has ordered himself a Time Bandit, of course he is a little impatient with having to wait until August (long waiting list) to take delivery of the new toy, ahh well at least he gets a lot of time to choose the colours.

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Tue, 06 Mar 2007

Get a Floozy - 19:10

Get a Floozy (full size)

Rear name (full size)

Front name (full size)
So as I mentioned I got myself a surf ski, I now have the photos of it with the new name transfers on. The name is "Floozy", in honour of Sam jokingly suggesting I need to get a new Floozy while speaking to her on the phone the other day.

Still having fun with it, still room for lots of improvement, I have to make sure I can stay upright before winter at least.

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Mon, 05 Mar 2007

New tippy floating toy - 15:54
So I went and bought a second hand racing surf ski (6.1 metres long) on the weekend. I have taken it out on the lake a few times and tend to be tipping into the water about twice every time I paddle it. Definitely have to work on my balance and skill more. Should be good I will build up my core strength and balance well trying to keep it up right.

Having fun so far with it, though no photos yet as I am waiting until I have the transfers with the name I want to give it on the boat before taking photos to put up here.

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Thu, 11 Jan 2007

I found some kernel hacker wheels - 14:45

Kernel hacker wheels (fullsize)
This post is probably in the wrong category. My friend Lina is Swedish, her road bike has some wheels on it I always thought to myself I should get a photo of. When the wheels that came with the bike died or something she got some new wheels from a small wheel making company back home run by some friends.

Of course all the Linux geeks reading this realise a certain kernel hacker should have this brand of wheel on his bike if he rides one.

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