Thursday, 30 January 2014


I can see why a lot of successful authors say that one of the secrets to their success is discipline - the ability to sit down day after day and churn out so many thousands words.

Writing leads to more writing. Maybe not good writing - but writing of some sort.

I've been pretty slack since Christmas; a lot of the reason for that is I simply fell out of the habit of sitting down each night, opening up Blogger and bashing out some words on whatever topic happened to pop into my head that day. It's not like my brain has ceased to throw new stuff at me each and every day - I just haven't parked my bum where it needs to be and plonked away at the keyboard.

Being on the bike is no different - it's not so much how many miles are done per day as the fact that you actually put rubber to the road nearly every day and do some exercise. Something is better than nothing, and if you do it often enough, you'll quickly start doing it properly and see some improvements.

Let's see if I can get back into the swing of writing nearly every day.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Poor preparation

I went for a ride just before the end of the new year; when I got home, I did my usual thing and parked the bike without looking at it.

The next day, I faffed around and ummed and aaahed about pulling it out and giving it a degrease, wash and tune up. Then I put those thoughts away and went and had a nap.

This was followed by the new year, and I went out for a ride on day 1.

The year did not start well - as soon as I pulled the bike out, I found that I had a flat. If I'd gotten my act together the day before and done what I should have done, I would have found it and fixed it. I was not happy with changing a tube at 6 in the morning - especially when it was totally avoidable. If I was flexible enough to kick myself, I would have.

Prior preparation prevents piss poor performance.

True to form, I still haven't cleaned the bike.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

King tide

I was out for a spin around the Bay during the week when I noticed the tide was right up - I read later that it was a king tide that is common at this time of the year. I rode down along the Hawthorne Canal just to see how high the water was - it was lapping right up against the lip of the canal.

A short section of Hawthorne Parade had water on it - you'd probably get wet ankles if you walked through it. I didn't look very closely, but I think this section of land is below the level of the top of the canal, so water might have come up through the drains and flooded the road.

View Larger Map

It wasn't much of a flood - maybe 50 metres long.

One short section of the footpath was also under about an inch of water - again, it was a the lowest lying point. It would be pretty simple to dump a few truckloads of dirt along here, build up the path a bit and that would be that.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Losing control

I put this up last year and questions were raised about bikes "losing control

Fifty seven (57) of the recorded bicycle crashes involved a collision between a bicycle and another vehicle, predominantly cars. The most common types of crashes recorded were:
A motor vehicle side swiping a bicycle (12);
A motor vehicle emerging from a driveway or footpath impacting with a bicycle (10);
A bicycle and another vehicle impacting from adjacent directions at intersections (9);
A bicycle and another vehicle impacting from opposite direction (7);
A bicycle colliding with a vehicle door being opened (7); and
A bicycle losing control on a carriageway (4).

I've lost control a few times and crashed off the bike - both occasions required basic medical attention in the form of me walking into a clinic and getting bits of road scrubbed out of my arms and legs, followed by a few weeks of wearing shorts and short sleeved shirts to work whilst the open scabs dried out and healed. Tough Maori nurses, big tubs of undiluted Dettol and harsh scrubbing pads are not a pleasant combination.

The first one happened on a wet day as I crossed a set of tram tracks. It was my first experience of crossing wet tram tracks, and it was unforgettable. Instead of crossing them at a 90 degree angle, I crossed them at around 45 degrees and wasn't sitting bolt upright in the saddle. The front wheel went straight out from underneath me and I splattered on the road in an ungainly heap. There wasn't a car or tram in sight.

The second involved going around a corner and running over a bit of rubbish with the front wheel. Again, the front wheel went out from underneath me, and I slid down a concrete ramp shedding bits of skin along the way. I was on a shared bike/footpath at the time, so there were definitely no cars involved.

I've had plenty of close calls over the years thanks to hitting patches of oil, blowing tyres on broken glass or sliding on loose scree on the road surface. The scree can be in the form of gravel or nuts and stuff dropped by trees. One moment, you're burning down the road, and then you suddenly feel the front or back end move sideways in a little hop or slide. There are corners where I know gravel can often be found, and I take them carefully - I don't want to be leaning over at speed when the front wheel loses traction and goes sideways. I'm not too bothered with a rear wheel slide - I can handle them and am fairly good at recovering from them. However, front wheel slides give me the willies, and I'm amazed I haven't come a cropper more often.

Resolutions, or lack thereof

I gave up on making resolutions on New Year's Eve at least 20 years ago. It was pretty clear that most people talked a lot about doing something different, but it never came to anything. The only reason that I could think of as to why people made resolutions is that it gave them something to talk about during interminably boring NYE parties.

I have made a few changes to my life over the years which have generally stuck, and none of them have been made within sight of NYE.

So I have survived another year without making even the slightest hint of a resolution for the new year. I did make one small resolution back before Christmas - that was to ride for pleasure over the holidays. That was a resolution I could stick with, and I have.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Spring cleaning has knobs on it

Christmas break? Ha! Not for us unfortunately. Someone (not me) got the bright idea of scrubbing the place up whilst we had a bit of time on our hands. So much for things like lazing on the beach and going for long rides.

One thing I noticed when we were doing Junior's room is just how much stuff he has. He owns maybe 3-4 times more things at his age than I did at mine. Not only in volume, but in value. He's bought a fair bit of it himself, and I was wondering why he has been able to do that.

Then I realised he doesn't own the great money-sucker that was a must-have when I was growing up. A car. If you're not running one, the savings can be very considerable, and that allows for the purchase of an amazing array of goodies.

Why no car?

Public transport around here isn't too bad, and a lot of his friends live within walking distance. Plus he's got us to drive him around, and if you're driving, you can't be drinking.

Makes you think.