A sunny winter day in Melbourne

A sunny day in Melbourne is one thing. A sunny day in Melbourne, mid-winter AND on a Sunday is a riding oppurtunity not to be missed!

The Peugeot road bike had been dusted off and a mysterious puncture repaired. ‘Mysterious’ because the bike was fine and had been sitting on carpet for months. It wasn’t even due to heat expanding the air in the tube because I’d let most of the air out.. one of those little mysteries, I guess.

Since March, before visiting Europe, I’d not ridden anything except the singlespeed GT. Gears, skinny tyres and dropbars (bars not bears!) were about to become a novelty!

I originally wanted to do the 100k “Springvale Loop” (preparation for an as yet unplanned Melbourne to Mildura “tour”) but I had other stuff I needed to do and didn’t want to spend that much time on the bike. Solution? Climb a nearby hill – the “1 in 20” to be precise.

It was windy but the road bike was obviously a lot more aero than the GT and the gears were fun (yes, I DO remember how to use them!).

The 1:20’s 7k took a slow (not my slowest) 23:50. Numerous muscles, apparently unused on the SS, really let me know they were there – it was a painful return to the climb.

Quite a few other roadies were out and most of them were nodders. Bonus.

The descent was into a reasonable headwind so my max down the tourist road was only just over 60kph.

Sore triceps. Sore knees. Sore back. I think I’ll have to do some more of that – bring on the sun! πŸ™‚

Ride Stats:

Distance: 38k

Total Time: 1hr 35min

“1 in 20”: 23min 50sec

Max Speed: ~61kph (into headwind)

Vegemite Street Fix.. problems..

I decided to take the wheels off my “NotAGibson” track bike and fit them to Vegemite, hoping to ride it today. Nuh uh!

The front wheel was too tight in the forks so I filed down the dropouts a little and in it slipped.

The back wheel was a little trickier, having never actually removed a track rear wheel before.

– Loosen wheel nuts to give some chain slack

– Drop chain off sprockets

– Remove wheel from bike

– Panic because I have no tool to fit the lockring groove

– Find the lockring is ‘actually’ finger tight and remove it by hand (reverse thread spins opposite to normal)

– Use chainwhip to remove cog

I thought the Miche groupset included a lockring. It turned out to be a splined mounting ring for easy cog removal.

Before realising this, I panic, looking at a cog with no thread that would surely not fit onto the threaded hub. Then I found this site: Jeff Noakes “Potentially Useful Cycling Information” which explained that, what I thought was a lockring, actually goes onto the hub first and the splined cog sits on top of that. It was lucky that this setup didn’t need a chain whip because it didn’t fit the fatter Miche teeth anyway!

The whole lot is then held on with the normal lockring (note: removing skin from fingers is not actually necessary at this stage).

Now the real problem becomes apparent:

Being a road frame, with longer chainstays, the track chain included isn't long enough!

Being a road frame, with longer chainstays, the track chain included isn’t long enough!

The chances of finding a suitable chain right now are slim, but I’ll head to the shop and see what happens..

Chivalrous or Suckered?

Last night, peak hour, Burke Rd north-bound.

I ride up behind a woman riding with no lights and no helmet! At first I pass, thinking to myself “If you’re that stupid, to hell with ya!”.

Stopped at an intersection I told her she needed lights on her bike. She explained that they were stolen today along with her helmet. She said she was stopping at Whitehorse Rd. and catching a tram home.

I said I would ride behind her because I didn’t want to see a her killed!

No doubt she thought I was a psycho (hey, most people do πŸ˜‰ ), but I figure it’s better than leaving her to get squished.

I leave her on the footpath to lock her bike and catch the tram as I turn towards home, thinking to myself “my good deed for the day, done”.

Problem was I couldn’t help but think she might have been fibbing to me simply because she was busted without proper gear.

There didn’t appear to be anywhere for a rear light as her seatpost was all the way down. I think I’ve been in the city too long – my faith in humans has been depleted I guess. πŸ˜›

Anyway, I hope she made it home safely, however she traveled and I hope she scores some new lights soon!

The rest of the ride involved me busting a lung chasing a workmate in his car and an guy on a older racer. Ah, fun! πŸ™‚

Looney Tunes cartoonists couldn't have…

created a better timed comedy moment!

With the coverage of the Track Worlds starting at 7pm I really had to drop the hammer to get home. I don’t usually carry a hammer on my commute, but lucky enough, I found one in the office and made sure I dropped it on the way πŸ™‚

Up until this point the only things on my mind were ‘get home quick’ and ‘wow, this new mudguard is really working!’

Then came the comic incident I noted, involving car and bike, timed perfectly with the location of a large volume of water. It couldn’t have been scripted better!

We hit the deep puddle at the same time and speed, and the water hit my face with such force all I could do was squeak, gurgle and then burst out laughing!

In two seconds I was as soggy as if I had been riding for an hour in the rain. For some reason, the mudguard didn’t seem to work to well dealing with an “UP”pour!

I spent the rest of the commute emptying water out of my ears, rubbing the grit out of my eyes, wincing at the stinging rain or ginning my silly backside off! πŸ˜€

Note: Buy expensive bags AFTER winter.. my costly Crumpler has been hit with rain 3 times in as many weeks!


Wow I’m sore all over now. Yesterday I was just sore in a few places but today.. wow.. all over!

This is what happens when I ride the singlespeed GT 100k’s on Saturday and then again on Sunday.

With 25k’s left today my body suggested politely that it didn’t want to continue. I told it to “stop ya whinging!” and we eventually made it home for a nice dual metric century weekend.

Why? Well I’ve always wanted to ride from Melbourne to Mildura or vice-versa and a mate is going to be in a stage production around August. I know!

I’ll ride to it!


Rode the Avanti Montari HT in to work today (was planning on doing one of the dirt crits at Westgate Park?) and it felt like a flippin’ downhill bike!

I understand it’s not a super light racing machine, but compared to the singlespeed GT, it was rolling terribly slow and felt very “mushy”.

(Yes, it has Bombers on the front versus rigid, but!)

I hope it was just the high rolling resistance of knobbies running low air, versus 50psi semi-slicks on the GT, that made it feel that way, otherwise, my legs are in need of a serious tuneup!

I noticed the position is quite different too. I’m over the back of the seat and it feels like I’m pushing the pedals forward rather than down. I have a sore lower back now, I’m guessing from leaning further forward from the Montari’s slack seattube angle? (Could there be a ‘disadvantage’ to owning multiple bikes?!?!)

The bike handles really sketchy too. Sharp turns really upset what I hope is the low-air tyres…

Also, what are possible causes for speed wobbles?

None of my other bikes have the front wheel shake when I ride no handed, but this one was VERY shaky.

I checked the headset and it seems to spin fine.

A paranoid hippy might check the frame for cracks.


Time: 1:10 (slower than the SS)

17 May 2004

I feel so “messenger” today. After about 20 years of using a normal backpack (about 10 riding with one) I finally tried something different – a messenger bag.

A Crumpler “Fux Deluxe” to be precise. $170aud from the store in Lt. Burke street, Melbourne.

It’s a funky black/orange/blue – I bought an old model which has horizontal AND vertical reflective strips compared to the new model’s single horizontal one.

The guy in the shop said that striping was the most expensive thing on the bag. La dee daa πŸ˜‰

It feels different. That’s all I can say about it for now.

Of course I rode the GT SS in and popped nice little track stands at all the lights to complete the messenger stylin’ package. All I need now is a radio and some tatts!

Cadence Wars.. After some discussion on a.b, I thought I’d see how fast I could spin. Going down a hill on Whitehorse Rd. towards Box Hill on the GT I counted my right leg pushing 32 times in about 10 seconds, for a cadence of 192bpm. I say ‘about 10 secs’ because I was looking at my watch for the timing. I’d get a bit faster with a more accurate method of cadence measurement!

Time: 1:06 (about what I was doing before the Europe trip)

15 May 2004

Ordered an ENO eccentric hub from Dan at Atomic Industries. 130mm spaced, 32h, $225. Arrival time = ?

Drove (urgh) to Bicycle Recycle in the hope of picking up a used road frame for my ‘road-fixie’ project.

This shop is COOL! So much bike stuff! I was there all afternoon – which kinda made up for the crappy drive over.

Spotted some suitable but cheap/heavy bikes out front and looked at a few candidates inside – some frames, some complete bikes.

Looking at 54-56cm frames. The Perkins that “Jay” mentioned on the phone the week before was 56cm seat tube but 58cm top tube (C-C) which I thought too long and moved onto measuring:

– nice white pearl Perkins, 54cm, $650 complete bike

– grey Viner who’s silly owner had painted over the original paint! 54cm $550 complete bike, waiting on whether or not they will strip it down to frame only for $200.

– nice red Viner frame $350

– MBK(?) yellow frame $250

– pink Vetta w/ Campy 8spd, $200 for frame/fork only

The pink Vetta would’ve been perfect (I would’ve left it pink too!) but it had internal cable routing and the grey Viner seemed much nicer to ride for some reason.

So, I’m waiting to see whether or not they pull down the grey Viner and how much its frame would be…

Now that I think about it, the 58cm toptube on the red Perkins might be okay for me, given that I ride a 56cm toptube + 10cm stem now.. can’t test ride a frame though πŸ™ Need some a.b opinions about this…

Hippy’s Kona 24 Hour MTB Race Report

Fri night:

Madly buy camp gear, food and other nicnacs and pack it for race.


5.30am: Wake, shower eat some weatbix and pack everything into car (inc. Avanti gearie and GT SS).


Arrive at Troy’s place worried that there is actually no room for anything of his!


Leave Troy’s with all his stuff (inc. On-One SS) packed.


Arrive at Redesdale and setup bikes and everything else, except tents, which can wait until later (when it’s even hotter!).

We sit under the shade provided by Steve and Jukka’s tarp arrangement, get ourselves registered (collecting a horrid, evil, black, drink-approximation and not paying the $5 mtba fee??).

After attending the race briefing we send our first rider to the line. Jukka was all set to draw straws to decide the first rider until Aaron “volunteered” to go off first. πŸ˜‰

12pm: The start was a 400m run along the campsite from the transition tent, around the corner through the entrance gate and up Mt. Lofty Road to where handlers waited, holding the runner’s bikes.

Once riders had grabbed their bikes, there was a short prologue course before returning through the transition start/finish line.

The first rider to complete the prologue won $100. I think someone mentioned Sid Taberlay winning this?

Wisely, Aaron took it easy at the start and followed most of theΒ  bunch through – after all this was only 5mins worth of a 24hr race!

Start-line antics consisted of one male rider stripping off normal clothes to reveal a (SBR?) bikini, complete with major wedgie action – a technique to scare away other racers perhaps?

Another rider decided to do their first lap aboard Kona’s ridiculous (but oh so cool!) BikeHotRod.

The ss gearing looked super-low and I don’t think this machine would even fit through most of the twisty singletrack!


Back to Tarp City to hydrate, eat and talk crap.


My first lap is shocking…

I’m nervous and too excited. I go out too hard so that I’m nearly hurling. It’s really hot and I’ve had too long off the bike before the event.

The track starts with unsealed road, and moves into some seriously fun, twisty singletrack that has riders dodging trees, left then right, down, hairpin, flick the back around, pedal out from the corner, fast down, flick back around tree, “damn, those trees look close together..” BANG! Bars smack into one of them.

At least I know I’m not the only one to do this as there are bar-height marks on both trees already!

The uphill firetrail and heat cane me but there’s nothing really steep and they link to a lot of singletrack which is really fun and gives riders a rest.

Some rocky sections, where I’d dabbed lots during a practice ride a few weeks before, I managed to clean. I was trying so hard I didn’t even notice the rock drop until I’d plowed right over it!

Nice πŸ™‚ Pity I couldn’t bring myself to do it again for the other two laps.

Mid-lap I do what everyone says not to do – I try something new – a gel. A few minutes later, lunch almost comes back to say “hi”.

A short and steep ascent had me pushing the bike uphill which atleast gave the backside a rest.

I cross the line looking like death on two wheels and the commentator comes over with the mic and comments on me doing it tough. He spots the fact I’m racing in my sneakers with flat pedals, wearing board-shorts and pays me out about it. I mention something about crashing lots and needing to get my feet out quick. I think I was one of the only riders on flat pedals and I won some patches and tyre levers for it. Lap time was 1:17, or about 30 minutes slower than the fast riders!


Eating, drinking lots of Gatorade and the best bit.. showering!

9pm: Wood-fired, teriyaki chicken pizza from the stall. Yummo!

11pm: My second lap. This one is at night. Uh oh! I’ve never ridden real mtb tracks at night – this is going to be interesting. I strap the 10W Vistalite to my helmet with the battery in my Camelbak and attach the 5w onto my bars with battery strapped to the Avanti’s downtube. Head over to the transition area and wait for Steve to show…

High five Steve and I’m off and racing. This time I force myself to take it easy at the start and with no sun I’m wearing a wind vest over my jersey – much more comfortable – except it’s all dark.

I quickly forget about being worried about the darkness and start having fun shining my lights around the bush. I’ve never used a helmet light before (good prep eh?!) and it makes it heaps easier to ride twisty or fast sections as the light is higher and shines where you are looking, not where the bars are pointing. Glad I bought that helmet mount now…

I managed to go over the bars in a slightly rocky section this lap. A short time later when looking for the distance remaining, I noticed I didn’t have a speedo! No, wait. I did have one, it was dangling off the bars – I’d snapped it off at the mount.

Hey! It was still reading the k’s πŸ™‚

About 3/4’s of the way around the track my helmet light starts dying. I make do with the bar light and only switch the 10W on when it gets twisty. Doing so squeezes out all the sweat in my helmet pads.. yay! another shower! πŸ™‚

With a kay to go, my helmet light is totally dead and I’m forced to try and work my way around the last paddock section, which is scattered with rocks (lots of ’em, hidden in the long grass).

I do the best I can but end up losing the track. I can see the finish line from here and just head towards it. Over the line with a 1:33 lap time, I hand my pump to Troy and he sets off to set another blinder of a lap. Even in the dark, on a singlespeed, this guy’s flying…

Even though I was slower, I felt heaps better this lap and ended up with the biggest smile on my face. It was only out of consideration for the poor, sleeping masses that stopped me screaming out “YEAAAH!”.

1am+: Not sure of the time but after putting the 10W’s battery on charge I try and go to sleep. All I can remember doing is shivering, no sleep, just laying in a sleeping bag shivering.

All too soon, I hear Jukka return and Steve head out – something had happened to Steve’s lights, I think, so he had come back to camp to fix them.

5am: I crawl out of bed and put on lots of clothes… I was soo cold! Eat, drink and grab lights I’m ready to go again. By now we had a pretty good idea of everyone’s times (‘cept maybe mine!) so waiting at transition wasn’t too bad.

5.30am: Third lap was the dawn lap..

I thought it was too dark at the start to end up seeing sunrise but one of the other guys on the line was sure we’d get it.

I was pretty buggered now, but this lap was awesome!

I was now a lot faster downhill and through singletrack, just slower up the hills with low energy and a seriously complaining lower spine.

15 mins in, my 5w bar light dies. I carry on with just the helmet light until it is bright enough to do without lights altogether.

Having the twisty singletrack churned up in corners from countless riders before me meant that I could slide through and use the mini berms with less braking. I was running 45+psi to avoid pinch flats on my hardtail so the bike was a bit skittery earlier laps.

The scene from the really fast firetrail section, across the valley, was Special with the early morning colours looking fantastic… okay! okay! I slowed down a little bit before cresting the hill to get a better look! πŸ™‚

I love the big berm just before the rocky last section, near camp.

But each lap I got so excited about hitting it fast that I always messed my timing for the next turn. This time, I nearly went OTB (again) when I smashed a pedal into a large, grass-covered rock. No wonder there’s no red ano left on my V8’s!

I think Troy and Steve attempted similar tricks during one of their laps too?

With a 1:25, I handed over the baton, err.. mini-pump to Troy so he could go and put a fright into those other breakfast riders…

8am: Our 6th rider, Paul, arrives and does a double lap with the boys refilling his Camelbak in-between. Phew! We were all worried that we’d have to go out for another lap! πŸ™‚

12pm: Race ends and everyone waiting to cross the line after 24 hours (you have to, to make it a 24 hour race) walks across the line from around the corner.

We sent our last rider (Jukka) out “just” before 12 to get another lap in. He still managed to rip out a 1:15 lap time! He passed some riders on that last lap, so the final rider came in a bit after he finished.

1.45pm: Last rider crosses the finish line and soon after presentations start. After the winning teams/solos were awarded, (www.fullgaspromotions.com.au for results), the organisers started giving out chain lube, patches and stuff.

Then someone won some bars and out goes an $800 pair of forks!

Next prize is a $600 set of CrossRoc UST disc wheels. The number called was “1338”. Now, I thought I was 1336 so that’s pretty damn close! I was sure 1338 must’ve been on our team? Sure enough, “from Team PubBUG” was mentioned – our team. Then… MY name!

Holy sh*t! I just won a wheelset!

…and all this while eating a free pastie from the caterers πŸ˜€

3pm: Packing up camp. I took beer, but during the race didn’t touch it. I was already brain-dead so thought better of downing one before the drive home – Coke instead. From the first lap I was battling – mtb’ing seems so much harder than road riding (at least if you are not used to it?) and I have a whole new appreciation for the solo riders. Next time, I’ll take less stuff, but include a torch and a towel. Maybe even try clipless pedals!! Now the hunt is on for a light-ish duallie – something to take care of my back while doing races like these – because I WILL be doing more races like this!

Mon: Sore back, sore legs, sore arms, sore fingers.

Maybe I should’ve actually ridden my mtb before doing a 24hr?

Big thanks to all the people that ran such a fantastic event as well my team: Steve, Troy, Aaron, Jukka, Paul!