Tuesday 29 January 2013


Thanks Minicapt, this is gold.


Friday 25 January 2013

Clearly, a horrific injury


Getting some attention ... a cyclist is treated by ambulance officers after breaking a pedal during the Tour Down Under in South Australia. Photo: Kathryn Watt/www.wattshotz.com

Treated for breaking a pedal?

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Knob of the day

The idiot driver of this Audi gets my "knob of the day" award. I was going to present it to them personally (ie, bang on their window and ask them in which cereal packet they found their driver's license), but when I pulled up behind them, I noticed a dangly thing hanging from the rear view mirror.

We all know what dangly rear view mirror things mean.

They mean a clueless, incompetent moron is at the wheel. Someone so far down the evolutionary scale, it's no point even trying to engage with them on the short comings in their driving skill set.

So I just took a photo of their car and posted it here.

Their crime?

They weren't parked across a bike lane, or something silly like that. The driver went straight through a Stop sign and nearly bowled me over. A bit of emergency braking was required to stay off their bonnet. It's not like they stopped, looked through me and then took off. They just didn't stop at all. It was peak hour, so I guess they were in a rush and were desperate to take any gap in the traffic they could get. Just one problem - I was in that gap.

We really need some open carry laws in Sydney. I would have improved those four rings in the Audi symbol by putting a 9mm round through each of them. Or perhaps made a smiley face. I have done the smiley face at the range - with two nostrils instead of one.

I think I busted a tit

Because it's a bit hot at the moment, I'm carrying two bidons - just in case I get really thirsty on the way home and need a bit more to drink. Which is what happened tonight.

The thing is, I rarely have to extract the rear bidon, so my muscles aren't used to the action. When I pulled it out at the lights tonight, I ripped the pectoralis minor (I think) something wicked. I almost fell off my bike with the pain of it. It was agony from nipple to armpit.

The pain subsided after about 5 minutes - for a while there, I was riding with my arm across my chest like I had a broken collar bone. I couldn't bear to grab the handlebars or pull on the brakes.

The stuff that happens to you as you get older.....

What's wrong with chocolate milk?

What's wrong with it?

Absolutely nothing. I often make myself an icy Milo when I get home from a long ride. If the kids have not consumed every banana in the house, one goes into the blender with lots of Milo, milk, ice and a dash of honey.

In fact, it might be described as the perfect sports drink.

Common sports drinks such as Gatorade supply those carbs, as well as fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat. However, more recent research suggests that adding protein to the mix may further hasten recovery. Hence the new wave of drinks such as Endurox R4 that include protein as well as higher doses of carbs.
In the study, nine male cyclists rode until their muscles were depleted of energy, then rested four hours and biked again until exhaustion. During the rest period, the cyclists drank low-fat chocolate milk, Gatorade, or Endurox R4. During a second round of exercise, the cyclists who drank the chocolate milk were able to bike about 50% longer than those who drank Endurox, and about as long as those who drank the Gatorade.

Go read the rest at the above link.

This video is well worth watching - just to see how a modern athlete gets enough energy into them to keep moving.

Monday 21 January 2013


I don't see the point of drinking hot coffee in the middle of or after a ride. You're already bloody hot - why make yourself any hotter? So for me, iced coffee is the drink of choice. But it must have the following properties:

1. Iced
2. Coffee

The third ingredient of course is milk - otherwise it would just be cold straight coffee, which would be awful. Some people like to fill them with sugar - I detest that. I just want:


You'd think that would be nigh well impossible to fuck up. Well, you'd be wrong, as cafes manage to balls it up no end on a regular basis.

For starters - ice. In order to be icy, you need a requisite amount of ice. Not too much ice - otherwise there's no room for the milk and coffee. But there still needs to be plenty of ice - otherwise it just won't get cold enough.

Second - coffee. Coffee means coffee. As freshly made shot of coffee from a coffee machine. Coffee syrup, or a shot of coffee that was "freshly made" 4 hours ago and tipped into a jug is not fresh. Syrup is not coffee.

Third - milk. Use full cream milk. Not soy. Not low fat. I want milk. Proper milk. You think I give a shit about a few grams of fat after riding 50 kilometres? No. Bring it on, baby.

So let me explain how to make the worst iced coffee ever.

First, pour a small dash of syrup into a tall glass. Use just enough for the milk to discolour slightly, but not enough to impart even the smallest hint of coffee flavour.

Next, fill it almost to the brim with milk.

Lastly, add two ice cubes - small ones at that - because there is now no room to pour a good sized handful of ice into the glass.

Then serve.

I was at a work function when this was dished up to me, so I didn't want to make a fuss. I walked around for 10 minutes with this abomination in my hand, anxiously looking for a pot plant to pour the contents into and a table to dump the glass on. In the end, I found a drain and got rid of it that way - I wasn't in the mood for killing an innocent plant.

But I was in the mood for killing whoever trained the person that made that coffee.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Why the Greens are the real mysoginists

Who hates women the most? Clearly, it's the Greens.

Which is weird, because apparently a lot of Green voters are young women. Yes, I'm confused too. But obviously not as confused as those young women.

I had this revelation when I was hanging out the washing yesterday. I'd told Junior to hang out an earlier load, and he complained and said we should just stick it in the drier rather than using the heat of the sun to dry the clothes. I quickly filled him in on how much electricity the dryer uses, and how expensive electricity is these days. I told him that if it rained later in the day, and his clothes hadn't dried, he could carry them down to the local laundromat and pay them 6 bucks to dry them. That horrified him enough to get his arse out of his room and to hang the stuff up.

It was at that point that I started thinking about how electricity has eliminated a lot of the drudge from our daily lives - or more particularly, the lives of women. We use electricity (or gas) to remove much of the hard work from washing clothes, from cooking meals, from heating water and cleaning the house. Even though men are doing a bit of housework these days, survey after survey still finds that women do the bulk of the labour around the house.

If you think that modern women have it bad, try washing your clothes and sheets by hand for a week, or walking down to the local park to collect fallen sticks to make a fire to cook all your meals over (no cheating and ordering take away), and using the same fire to heat water for washing and cooking. Electricity has been the greatest liberator of women. Not the pill. Cheap power.

The same goes for cheap petrol. Imagine the drudgery of walking to the shops every day to shop, and then lugging it home. Or walking young kids to school, or wheeling them to day care. Sure, I do this from time to time, but walking to the shops - or walking the kids to and from school - is a choice, not a necessity. Imagine being forced to do it every day.

You can walk to the shops each day quite easily - if you are a single person and live in a small inner city apartment close to shops. I did that myself for years. However, it becomes a lot harder when you have kids - particularly more than one kid. Once the kids start coming, you need all the labour saving devices you can get your hands on. A lot of women don't have the luxury of choosing to walk the kids to school (or sticking them in a cargo bike and riding) - they have jobs to get to, so they need to drive to school, drop the kids off and then drive to work. Choice is a luxury that some people have - most don't. I have the luxury of being able to choose to ride to work - I'd hate it though if someone forced me to do it.

This of course is what the Greens want to do - they want to force you to act a certain way by making it unaffordable for you to do it the way you want to. Yes, the peace loving Greens are using force. Try stealing electricity or gas and see what happens. Force will be used against you, either to remove some of your income or wealth (via fines) or to remove your liberty (via prison).

Why would anyone want to make electricity more expensive if it has the potential to make the lives of women harder and more miserable? The only reason I can think of is that the people doing it hate women.

Which is why the Green vote is concentrated amongst young women with no kids. As soon as they have a family, the Green vote tends to decline. And the other Green constituency is the rich - those that don't have to worry about falling into fuel poverty.

The Greens - hating women more intensely than any other political group.

Saturday 19 January 2013

Riding in the heat

There was much hoo-ha about the heat here yesterday. It went over 45 degrees in the CBD for a while, and it was hotter out in western Sydney. I went outside the office when it was 45 - it was pretty hot, but not unpleasant as it was a totally dry heat. Really different from the usual Sydney humidity, which leaves you in a very sticky mess.

I was told the ambos treated a lot of people for heat stress - I even saw a motorcycle cop being treated for it during the morning.

So why did I ride in that heat?

Well, by the time I finished work, the cool change had started coming in. The first clouds were overhead, and the temp had dropped to 37. I had a magnesium salt replacement drink before getting changed, and made sure I drank plenty of water in the hour or two before leaving. I stupidly left my bidons on the bike in the morning instead of putting them in the fridge - when I went to have a drink, I found the water in them was  about 45 degrees.

And when I hit the road, I took it easy. At least I tried to take it easy - the body is programmed to go at certain speeds or a certain level of effort, so whenever I stopped thinking about going slow, the programming took over and off I went. I then had to consciously slow myself down. This happened a lot.

There were still plenty of bikes on the road, but when I got to the Bay, there was not a single pedestrian. It was a ghost town.

It was around that time that the rain started coming down. I thought we'd get a brief shower, which would do  nothing for the heat but everything for the humidity, but instead it started bucketing down. The rain drops were so fat and cold, they hurt. I was waiting for it to start hailing, and was keeping an eye out for likely spots to stop and shelter. At one point, it rained so hard, I almost had to pull over as I could barely see where I was going.

The worst thing about the rain is that I totally forgot about the impact of water on bike braking performance. I almost over ran a stop sign by braking for it as if it was dry. Duh. I was so fixated on it being hot, the brain just ignored the fact that it was also wet.

Here's an odd thing - because I took it easy, I reckon I sweated less than I do on a ride on a cold day. Either the sweat was drying up immediately, or I just wasn't sweating much. I'm used to having sweat dripping off my nose and running down my arms, but instead, I was pretty dry. I certainly wasn't cooking when I got home. The nice thing about being on a bike is the air flow cools you down quite effectively.

I got home to find a barrage of complaints from friends and family about how awful it was catching the bus or train home, or how unpleasant it was to drive with cars breaking down here and there. I don't know what all the fuss was about - I had a comfortable and easy trip home.

Thursday 17 January 2013

More on the wrong trousers

I have one concern with buying trousers that will fit around my thighs, and then having the waist brought in.

Hammer pants.

Monday 14 January 2013

The wrong trousers

The holidays seemed as good a time as any to shop for some new work clothes. I desperately need some more trousers - I have a tendency to wear holes in the crotch rather quickly, and there are few things worse than wandering around town with your arse hanging out of your pants.

There's just one problem with trouser shopping - I can't get my bloody legs into most of the trousers cut for my waist size! My thighs have grown fairly substantially since I started cycling, and it appears they are now quite abnormally large. I tried half a dozen pairs of trousers on - I couldn't get half of them over my thighs, and the rest gripped them so tightly, I know I'd burst a seam the first time I bent over, squatted or so much as sat down.

This shrinking waist/growing thighs is a problem. It would be so much easier if I was built like a lot of other blokes my age - stick thin legs and pot bellies.

Friday 11 January 2013

This commuting business is tough

I'll get back to the beer one day. I promise.

I think I finished the holidays a bit thinner than when I started. I guess that's a surprise to most of you, who are probably rolling around wondering if you can finish that last wafer thin chocolate mint.

The secret? Lots of miles on the bike. These have been the first holidays in years - in fact since I got the bike - when we've been at home over the holidays and I've been free to ride almost every day for up to 6 hours.

Although I've done a lot more kilometres per week than I usually get commuting, I've been nowhere near as tired and sore at the end of the week. It's easier to do say 4 x 80km rides than 10 x 15km rides. The long, sustained rides have been surprisingly comfortable. Because I've mostly been going west, I've had lots of sections where I haven't stopped for ages - the ride into town is punctuated by lots of traffic lights, making it a very stop-start affair.

I'm not going to give up the commuting though and switch to doing a few long rides per week - that would mean catching the bus to work, and that would be a fate worse than death. I'll just have to put up with passing out on the couch at 7pm on a weeknight.

Which is probably one reason why I haven't watched any TV in quite a while. I haven't seen any live TV so far this year, and can't remember the last thing I did see on TV - it was probably at least 3 months ago.

Thursday 10 January 2013

The wisdom of kids

From one of the kids tonight:

"Big people do big farts".

Got no idea how he made that observation.


I haven't put up a photo of bikes in ages - can't think what has come over me. I've seen more and more of these lately - I think they fold up and fit in the back of the car pretty easily. My initial thought was that these would be slow and uncomfortable, but I have since done a 40km ride with a bloke who was on one, and he had no trouble keeping up and made no complaints about comfort or handling.

I'm still about as likely to buy one as a pink handbag though.

Pub crawl?

Pub crawl? How on earth can 4 drinks in 4 venues be classified as a "pub crawl"? The promoter of this event should be prosecuted for false and misleading advertising.

When I was at uni, there'd be several pub crawl contests each year. I wouldn't be surprised if they've been banned since then - binge drinking and all that. If memory serves me correctly, we'd form teams of four:

  • A drinker
  • A navigator
  • Two scouts (or buyers)
The job of the drinker was pretty obvious - they were the competitor. They had to be able to run between about 20 pubs, scull a beer in each and keep it all down until the end (vomiting brought instant disqualification).

The job of the navigator was to get the drinker from pub to pub. Obviously after 10 beers or so, the drinker would be heading off in all directions, so a reasonably sober navigator was required to finish the race in the correct pub.

The buyers would leap frog from pub to pub, ensuring that when the drinker and navigator arrived, there was a beer or two waiting on the counter for them - no time to waste buying drinks!

The last pub would invariably be one that served dark and ghastly brews - like the Sail and Anchor in Fremantle. After drinking middies at all the previous pubs, the finale would be the drinking of a pint of stout or dark ale - something guaranteed to turn the stomachs of unseasoned teenage bingers. After downing that, the drinker wouldn't be allowed to vomit for half an hour. 

By that time, things would usually be pretty blurry for me, so I have no idea who won these races. You could chart the course between the latter pubs by the puddles or streams of vomit along the footpaths or gutters. Some drinkers would vomit as they ran, hoping that they wouldn't be spotted and disqualified - hence the long streams along the footpaths. After each race, the local papers would be full of indignant letters from local residents complaining about the intolerable behaviour of us young louts.

I have a photo in my collection of a mate with beer vomit pouring from his nose. He protested that because it came out of his nose, it wasn't really chundering, so he should be allowed to continue.

That was pub crawling! Not four measly pubs. The young these days - they really have no idea.

Sunday 6 January 2013

Why we drink beer from bottles at home

I have been thinking about writing this for a while. It's going to be in quite a few parts, so be patient. It's all about how the bicycle can help us to understand the modern economy and how we live. Freakonomics has been done - and I'm not going to call this Bikonomics.

This brain fart started when I recalled that a much skinnier and fitter mate of mine used to ride to Canberra every year with a group. That's a pretty good ride to do in one day - around 290km. I shudder just thinking about it. I reckon I could make it to Goulburn in one day, and no further. In fact, plenty of riders were collected by the sag wagon around the Goulburn mark, which is 200km. They just ran out of puff, and wouldn't make it to Canberra in time for the big dinner and piss up which marked the finish. I simply couldn't ride fast enough over a long distance to do Canberra in one day. Goulburn - maybe. Canberra - no way.

Apart from drinking lots of beer at the dinner in Canberra, what has this got to do with why we drink beer from bottles?

Stay with me.

Consider the logistics and technology that goes into that group of 30 or so doing that ride. For starters, they're riding on a good quality tarmac surface all the way. The worst grades have been leveled off with cuttings and bridges (although there are still plenty of nasty climbs to do on a bike). The road has at least two lanes in each direction the whole way, allowing plenty of traffic to move quickly. Imagine doing this ride 150 years ago when it would be nothing more than a dirt track through the bush.  It would be really tough and slow, even on a modern mountain bike. It would probably take a few days.

And what would you eat over those few days? How would you get your food?

The modern bunch riders carry all sorts of energy gels, energy drinks and snack bars. On a long ride, I go by the rule of thumb that you need to eat something every 20km. Most of these fancy food things didn't exist 20 years ago. On a long, supported ride, you don't have to weigh yourself down with stacks of them either - the support bus that follows the riders can carry hundreds of kilos of them (and icy cold cans of Coke), so you just need to carry enough to get you from one pre-arranged stop to another where you can top up.

Now take away all those fancy space age foods and think about how you are going to get enough food and water in you over that 290km journey. According to this calculator, I'd burn about 11,000 calories riding to Canberra at about 22km/h. Crank that up to 26, and I'd need to take in closer to 13,000. Yes, you could stop at McDonalds and feast, but you'd still need to scoff a lot of Happy Meals in order to ride without collapsing - or 8 Combo Meals. At 400 calories per litre, the alternative would be to drink 32.5 litres of Coke.


In the old days, there would have been roadhouses all the way along the track to cater for travelers so you wouldn't have to pack too much food or water. But the food they served would have been very limited - when your means of transport is a horse of bullock cart, you're pretty much stuck with what's grown in the region or what you canned or preserved from a previous season. You wouldn't be getting out of season tomatoes and lettuce on your steak burger.

Baked Beans keep pretty well and were a staple food for a long time. At 70 calories per 100 grams, you'd need to eat 18 kilos of baked beans just to get to Canberra.

I wouldn't try that on a group ride - not when you're riding close to the bum in front in order to minimise wind resistance.

So we've looked at food and roads. In short, you're probably thinking that cycling is a pretty lousy option. Hot, painful, tiring and possibly gassy as hell. Now imagine cars had not been invented yet, and you had to go everywhere by foot, horse, bullock cart or perhaps a train (if you had a train line nearby). Transporting goods (and yourself) is no longer fast, convenient, cheap and easy. It's slow, uncomfortable, inconvenient and expensive.

Which is why as soon as people get rich enough, they throw away their bikes and buy a car. Until they get really rich, when they go out and buy many expensive bikes and spend their free time riding off their waistlines.

Give me a few more days, and I'll get around to the bit about beer. We've got a few miles to ride yet.

Saturday 5 January 2013

Beating the heat

It hasn't been as hot in our part of town as other parts of Australia. Mother in law reported today that it was 46 down her way. Thank goodness she has a top notch air con system.

It only made it to just over 30 over our way, although it was reading 34 on the bike thermometer when I went out this morning. It told me it was 39 a few days ago, and I didn't believe it - although I did get home with a slight headache from the heat. One downside of helmets in hot weather is your brain cooks just a little bit more.

Here's the funny thing - I don't feel any hotter after a long ride as after a short ride (say 15km vs 70km). And I don't really feel the heat for the rest of the day either. I've been mowing the lawns etc in the noon day sun whilst the neighbours have all been hiding inside with the air con going full blast.

Maybe cycling is conditioning me to being hot?

Friday 4 January 2013

The amazing thing about home grown tomatoes

I've had better luck than normal with the tomato crop - most of the plants that I put in survived my indifferent attention and have yielded a reasonable amount of fruit. One of the varieties that did well was the roma or plum tomatoes. They're crap to eat raw, but they make a good sauce.

I've made tomato sauce before, but not an old fashioned passata. I did a bit of googling and found half a dozen recipes that described making it in six entirely different fashions.

No matter how I cooked it, I wanted the skins off. I didn't want little chunks of skin messing up my sauce.

In years gone by - before I started growing my own - I'd venture out to the Flemington Markets and buy cheap tomatoes by the box. One memory of that time is how hard the little buggers were to skin. I was dreading having to skin a few kilos of the home grown variety. I almost had to use a potato peeler on the ones I bought at the markets.

However, when it came to skinning time, the skins just fell off after doing the X thing across the base with a knife, plunging into boiling water and then into cold water. I couldn't believe how easy it was.

I'm wondering if that's because they were actually ripened on the vine in the sun rather than in a dark shed full of ethylene?

The sauce turned out pretty well too. I can see the attraction at making up a huge vat of it in one go though, and having the entire extended family over to do the skinning, de-seeding and pot stirring.

Tuesday 1 January 2013


The thing about lycra knicks is that they slowly fade away. Or wear away. With every ride and wash, they get a little bit thinner.

Until you can see through large patches of them.

Here's a question for you - you're riding along and you catch up with another cyclist, and as you close in, you discover that you can see their entire bum.

Do you:

1. Tell them about it
2. Look away
3. Follow them for the next 20 km