Sunday, 30 October 2011

Friday photos


Hell's bells - been flat out lately and rarely have enough time for posting.


"Mad duck adventure sports" - just goes to show you can stick an advertisement almost anywhere these days. And there's no such thing as a "bum" spot to put one.


The rowers seem to be racing every morning when I ride past the club house - this is just a small selection of what I saw this week. On some days, you could almost walk across the Bay from shell to shell.


Mixed nuts - from the very racy to the very relaxed, and everything in between.


George St early in the morning - although it is a slight uphill all the way to the Town Hall, I like to race the traffic all the way there. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose - but most of the time, it's not too hard to keep pace with the cars. Due to the density of traffic lights and buses, there's no reason why a reasonably fit cyclist on a good bike should hold anyone up.


Speaking of racing, commuting has an interesting cultural difference to riding with a training pack. When on  a training ride, you'll get called to the front to set the pace and act as a windbreak for those following behind - everyone does a turn. Getting on the front is something that you have to do - you'll get yelled at if you don't.

With commuting though, the opposite tends to hold true. If you overtake another commuter, it's seen as a mortal insult, and a death race will then ensue with the bloke you passed going hell for leather to get back in front. Weird.


And there are those who are in such a burning hurry, they'll duck through the stalled cars at red lights. I'm not keen on this - if the traffic conditions change and the cars start moving, you can find yourself stranded. Plus it's illegal. So make that stupid and illegal as reasons not to do it.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Here endeth the experiment with cheap tyres

Not long ago, I had to buy a new tyre in a hurry - the old one was puncturing like crazy because it was down to the canvas. I pulled in at the closest bike shop, bought a cheap tyre (only had cash on me, and not much at that) and that was sufficient to get me home without another flat.

Since then, I've had nothing but flats. Sometimes two in a day. The cheap tyre has given me more flats than the old one gave me in a year.

The final straw came today when a fellow cyclist (much more experienced than I) looked at the tyre and exclaimed "That's a really cheap and shitty tyre!" I had to agree, since I had changed yet another flat on the way to work this morning.

I now have an expensive, kevlar-lined tyre on the bike. The cheap, shitty one is where it belongs - in the bin.

Another reason to dislike bike lanes

Weather has been a bit damp of late - not pouring down, just the odd bit of drizzle. Certainly enough to put the "slip" into slippery road surface.

Cycling isn't made any easier when idiots paint cycle lanes with green paint that is SLIPPERY WHEN WET! What morons thought that idea up? Do they think that cyclists are afraid of water, and never go out in the rain?

I was behind a bloke at the lights last night, and not long after he took off when the light went green, his back wheel almost went out from underneath him as he put down just a bit too much power on greasy green stuff. He went sideways in a nice power slide, managed to stay upright and recovered beautifully. It's not like he was going for broke - we were accelerating at moderate pace up a gentle incline. If cyclists are doing power slides in the drizzle, the friction coefficient of the paint must be negligible.

Funnily enough, I was getting some more work done on the bike today, and all the mechanics in the bike shop were bitching about the useless green paint as well. The mechanics were all string beans - whipcord muscle on a skinny frame - the sort of blokes who have massive power to weight ratios. I imagine they'd find their back wheel breaking out on a regular basis on the stupid green stuff.

Bike lanes are supposed to make life safer for cyclists. I'm so glad that the retards in charge of building them have managed to add a big chunk of risk, and to tilt the balance back to "danger red". Life on a bike was getting too boring.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Are the Greens really childless?

I've read a number of political stories over the last year or so that have categorised the Greens as a bunch of childless, Mercedes driving rich people. How close is that perception to reality?

One indicator is the sort of people they elect to represent them.

Here's the current list of Greens MPs in NSW and their known family status:


Greens

David Shoebridge lives in Sydney with his partner Patricia and their two daughters.

John Kaye - n/a

Cate Faehrmann - n/a

Jan Barham - n/a

Jeremy Buckingham lives in the beautiful provincial city of Orange in central western NSW with his wife Sarah and two boys, Eden and James.

Jamie Parker -n/a

Lee Rhiannon - has three adult children and lives with her partner in Sydney.

Summary - 7 reps with 7 kids between them. That's a pretty simple average to calculate - one child per rep.

How about the Labor party? Rather than grind through the whole lot, I just looked at the Shadow Cabinet:


Labor

In case you don't want to read through the whole list, there are 16 of them and they have 34 kids between them - an average of over double what the Greens have. The Greens have two kids max - some of these MPs have 4 or 5. One who didn't have kids of her own has fostered kids. Only two out of the 16 have never had kids, whereas 4 out of 7 Greens appear to have never had kids.

Does the stereotype fit? You decide. (And Jamie Parker certainly drove a big Mercedes before the election. He used to park it some distance from political meetings and walk so that he wouldn't be photographed arriving in a huge lump of luxury German metal. Got no idea what he drives now).

----------------

John Robertson has lived in Western Sydney for over 20 years, and he is raising his three children there with wife Julie.

Linda Burney has a son and a daughter. Her partner for a number of years until his death was Rick Farley.

Michael Daley lives in Maroubra and is married with four children.

Barbara Perry - A mother of five young boys

Paul Gerard Lynch - n/a

Robert Furolo has lived locally for many years and is the proud father of two beautiful children

Sophie Cotsis is married with two children.

Andrew McDonald and Jenny have lived and worked in South West Sydney since 1990. They have two sons.

Penny Sharpe has been a foster carer for young women aged 15 – 17

Luke Foley is married to Edel and has three children

Nathan Rees - n/a

Mick Veitch is married to Adrienne and has four children, and one granddaughter. He and his wife are foster parents.

Carmel Tebbutt has lived in Newtown, Stanmore and Marrickville. She currently lives in Marrickville with her husband and her son

Steve Whan lives in Queanbeyan with his wife and two children.

Adam Searle lives in the Blue Mountains with his partner and their three children.

Tania Mihailuk - My husband Alex and I live in Bankstown with our young children Larissa, Matthew and baby son Daniel.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Anyone for chocolate?


Can't make it to Newtown on Saturday 29 October for a hot chocolate - got a pre-existing engagement. However, feel free to pop down there and partake of one of their delicious beverages. And try not to spill any hot stuff on a hippy while you're there.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Occupy Sydney - three views of the swampies


I paid a visit to Martin Place whilst on the way into work earlier this week. Here is the swampy camp from three angles. It had rained the night before, so I guess only the diehards were left. Or those with water proof sleeping bags.


The bored cops didn't outnumber the swampies - but it was close.


I noticed that their numbers were slightly inflated by a couple of winos that sleep here all the time. I wonder what the winos think of this mob moving in and "occupying" their land?

Thursday photos


These aren't really photos from Thursday - they're just photos I'm putting up on Thursday. The bike had a major mechanical malfunction the other day - it totally not go. I've had things that have slowed me down - broken spokes and broken cables - but rarely something that stops me moving altogether.



It rained just before I left for work on Monday, so I put the spray jacket on.

Of course it didn't rain again for the whole trip, and I had to take it off halfway into town before I expired of heat exhaustion.

On Tuesday, it looked fine - so I didn't bother with the jacket. And then it started raining halfway in.


How's that - a photo of a cyclist right on top of a bike icon.



This is why I like riding to work early in the morning - the views are something else.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Cycling into Spring


If I can, I like to have a crack at the Spring Cycle. It's a cycling promotion event - not a race - and as the name suggests, it's held in spring. Start time is 0630 in North Sydney, which is about 15km from home. I was up at 0500 and on the road early enough to make the start time. The last time I did it, I arrived a bit after 0700 and I was stuck in meandering hordes of inexperienced, unfit cyclists for the next 3 hours.



There's the Harbour Bridge in the dawn light - and me racing to get to the start line in time.


By the time I reached the city, I'd joined up with a steady trickle of riders heading north for the start.



The bastards started things 5 minutes early! I was there at 0625, and watched as the police motorbike on the far right led the first group off.


And there they go - the speedy buggers up front.


Photos are a bit out of order here - this is me heading over the bridge on the bike path.


Lots and lots of cyclists at the start, all waiting to be waved off.


Lots of middle aged blokes stretching the lycra around their tummies. I would class this event as "the middle classes at play". There were a lot of blokes my age and older, riding bikes a lot more expensive than mine, and with corporate jerseys advertising various financial institutions. It must be great to police one of these events - no drunks, few idiots and a great mass of law abiding family folk just out to enjoy themselves.


Approaching the arch of the bridge.


A breakdown crew helping with a mechanical.


Passing shadows.


I couldn't take many photos as I was always surrounded by lots of other bikes jockeying for position. Taking one hand off the handlebars was too much of a risk with that much traffic about.


Passing the Art Gallery in the Domain - the cyclists coming towards us were those first away at 0625. They were moving.


Three shadows.


Going under the fig trees in the Domain. It's a lovely place to ride around.



This bloke's jersey was about "racing begins at 40", with the website being 4tplus.com - ha ha.


Woops - well ahead of ourselves here. This is the finish line in Homebush Bay.


An event like this has lots of starts and stops - one reason I wanted to get away early was that after 0700, the crowding gets so bad, you spend more than half your time braking to avoid people in front.


Tim Blair would hate this - there were people walking around all the cyclists at the finish line handing out copies of the Daily Telegraph - imagine that; the Telegraph supporting a cycling event!

This year's was the best I have done, mainly because I got to the start early enough to avoid the sluggish riders. Only "experienced" riders were supposed to start at that time, and I would rate myself at the bottom of the "experienced" pack - but there were hundreds there at that time who were clearly much worse than me. Over the first 10km or so, a slow sorting took place, with faster riders filtering to the front and the slower riders being dropped.

After that point, the group I was with had overtaken almost all the slow riders that got away before us, and we were able to settle into a nice rhythm where we weren't having to brake constantly for the slugs up front. The pace held at a comfortable 32km/h or so from then to the end (traffic lights and hairpin bends excepted). Like I said at the start - it's not a race, and no one was treating it as such. We spent a lot of time on narrow paths with poor sight lines where overtaking just wasn't possible because of pedestrians wandering the other way.

I'm now utterly wasted - the ride to the start from home, then the ride itself, then the ride home from the finish has done me in. It was about 4 times the distance I am used to doing in one hit, and I didn't spare myself on the few small hills along the course. Commuting gives me lots of short rides of 15-20km; my legs just aren't used to doing nearly 80km in one hit.

What it showed is that I am fitter than about 80% of the cycling population, which probably makes me fitter than 95% of the blokes my age.

And now, it's time for a nap. After some chocolate cake.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Thursday prats


Another day, another shot of rowers in the sunrise. You'll have to embiggen the picture to find them.


The guy on the right was a complete prat. He was riding down the middle of the bike path with his earphones in and couldn't hear me and the bloke in yellow yelling at him from behind to move over. Yellow bloke found a spot to overtake, and pink guy was so incensed, he took off at top speed in order to overtake yellow guy.

It doesn't matter what you do or where you go - you'll always find the odd tool.


Opposites - bloke on the left has the baby seat on the back. On the right are too very fit blokes who didn't appear to be commuting - they were just riding into the city by the looks of things for a spot of training. I got the jump on them at a red light (where I know the timing of the lights) and about 2 minutes later, they caught up to me and blasted past like I was standing still. Or even going backwards. They then turned off and chose a big hill to tackle - just for shit and giggles. Bastards.



And then it was time to go home. The lady right in front of me was riding an electric bike. She hardly turned a pedal for the next few kilometres. That's fine if you don't want to crease your suit or wrinkle the stockings, but it won't make your bum any slimmer.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Oops


The view you get when you get a flat tyre and leave the video camera running when you change the tube.

Occupy Wall Street - I like this

Link.

Wednesday photos


Today was Ride to Work day, which means Big Flipping Deal to me, since I ride almost every day. What is has meant in previous years is battling through hordes of slow moving cyclists - kind of like if we had a Every Learner Driver Drives to the Shops Day. Imagine thousands of Barinas with dented doors and Magnas with L plates tottering along at 30km/h, petrified learner drivers at the wheel.

So I got up early, avoided the crowds and managed to take a photo just as the sun was clearing the horizon - and I managed to get a rowing crew almost backlit by the rising sun. How about that?


And here's more rowing crews a few minutes later.


Cyclists really are divided neatly into two camps - those that disparage lycra, and those that swear by it (ie, those that have gone to the Dark Side). There were plenty of the former out and about today - slow moving people in casual clothes or sports clothes generally don't fit the mould of the Sydney bike commuter. I started out as one of them - and then after a bit of chafing and a lot of sweating, I made the switch. And I've never looked back. Cyclists who eschew lycra are, in my opinion, cyclists who have never ridden far enough and/or fast enough to get crotch rot on a hot day.


And then the day was over, and it was time to go home.