Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fix'ed Up

Track stands. Skip stops. Pedal strike. All terms that will be entering my vocabulary now that I'm finally gettin' my fix and ordered myself a Langster. Sold the old faithful 'blue boy' to Nigel (not the boss, the minion) for more than half the price of the new baby. So it's sore knees and grunting up the hills of Welly in the winter.

As long as I don't start listening to Rockabilly, or contract Fyxomatosis, things will be ok.

Just gotta remember to keep the fingers away from the chainring while lubing the chain...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Matt's Frame Foibles

We were checking out a Salsa catalogue, and I said I liked the steel-framed Primero road bike.

Matt says "Why would you want a steel bike?"

I say "Coz they ride nice. Have you ever ridden one?"

"Aw probably.... can't remember!"

With that, he wisely went home.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Spoke'n words

Got a couple of stories in the local MTB rags, SPOKE and NZ Mountain Biker. The Spoke story is by K-man and myself and has gotten some good feedback. The NZMTB one is my take on Karapoti, complete with a half-page pic of yours truly looking rad (not). Dave from BikeVegas called me on Friday saying "great pic" because I was wearing Vegas kit I guess. Then he offered me a job, which of course I had to decline, being committed to On Yer Bike and not really wanting to live in Vegas. Wellington still rocks...

*To read the story and check me mooey, click on pic.

Friday, May 25, 2007

OK: Ok, I did it.....

It's been a tumultuous week in cycling, with just about everyone who's ever thrown a leg over a saddle coming clean about their drug use. Whether by guilt, wanting to clean up the sport or fear of being outed by others, riders are singing like birds.

And so it is with much humility that I must too admit, I used drugs. It was during the Tour in 2001, Armstrong going for his third 'straight' win, when I succumbed. The late nights watching the live stages were just that bit beyond me, and I administerd liberal quantities of caffiene to get me through the gruelling mountains.

Then again in 2004, when the Texan had rendered the Tour the most boring in recent history, I turned to Panadol to numb the pain of watching the frustratingly inept challenge of Ullrich and Co. struggle to make a race of it. The boredom nearly killed me, I had to do something.

Of course, there is also my abnormally high levels of testosterone. Which explains my thinning pate. Yep, I am Macho Fantastico.

Oh yeah, and I smoked a shitload of pot and dropped acid in the 60's.

Power Lunch

It was just too magnificent a day to let it go to waste. Matt made the call of the week, take an hour for lunch and go for a ride. Around the Bays of Oriental, Evans, Shelley... beautiful sunshine, no wind (by Welly standards), just the right temperature. Best...lunch....ever.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

For no good reason...

...other than I have a few more pics of the weekend.

The signs are good, when they are for trails... especially the ones that say "No horses, MTB Only". Glenrock needs lots of these....

Belting down Chestnut, one of the best trails at Vegas. Superfunflowtatsic!

Jackie exiting the upper section of Gunna Gotta, the first trail we hit. Superfuntechytastic!

The Desert Road was like this on the way home, then suddenly broke into brilliant sunshine.

I just like looking at my bike, especially the XTR cranks and rotors.... oh baby.

More Matt's Misdemeanours....

I was attaching a front wheel to a BMX. Matt was behind me inflating a road tyre.

The horrible sound of rubber being stretched to exploding point by high pressure. BANG!!

Me: "F@#K!!", jumping up, ears ringing.

Matt: "I fink vat tyre's not seated properly."

(No shit, Sherlock!)

At least I think that's what he said... can still hear only 'eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee'

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Matt's Mechanical Misdemeanours, Part 3

Nathan the mechanic was servicing a Fox F100 fork.

Matt walked by and asked "ow do ya know ow to do vat?"

Nathan: "It's not that hard..."

Matt: "If I did vat vere'd be bits all over va floor. I'll stick to servicin' me road fork."

Probably best if he does.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Three days

Three days was the morning.
My focus three days old.
My head, it landed
To the sounds of cricket bows...

Thrre days away from work, before five weeks of six-days-a-week working.... what better way than to head north to some of, actually THE best trails I've ever ridden.
I loaded the Stumpy into the Starship Laser and left Welly at 8 on Friday, stopping by the shop to get my tunes and to kiss Matty goodbye. He punched me in the face. Must've mistaken me for a customer.
First stop Taupo. I got to the Craters at 1, and was on the trails in no time, lapping up the pine needle covered delights on a perfect sunny afternoon. I thought about all the unlucky people stuck in offices, and laughed.

After climbing to the top of the Grinder, I decided it was time to check out 'Cole's Killer', supposedly a nasty downhill. I thought of Col, and laughed.

The trail has a few stupidly placed jumps, and some soft, sandy edges, but wasn't overly 'extreme' or really much fun. Next time I'll stick with 'Buzzard', that's a beauty.

I headed over to 'Young Pines', and hit the dip at warp speed, G'ing out at the bottom and launching myself into the opposite bank. That's my tyre skid mark (the long one at top of shot) and my body and bike indentation nearest camera.

Then it was over to 'Outback' and Luge, a fantastic twisting, fast trail. I thought I'd take a few snaps of myself riding between these two trees. I decided that it's easier to take someone along and give them the camera...

...or just get creative with some shadows of your bike leaning against a post.

This big fallen tree is on the singletrack that runs under the highway to get you from the car park to the trails... a cool bit of trail in it's own right.

Then it was on to Vegas. I spent the night eating crap food and watching Sky, and enjoying a shower with more than a trickle of water coming out of it. Saturday morning dawned another perfect day, no need for arm warmers or even an undershirt. I thought about going pants-less, but wisely decided against it when I remembered I had company. Jackie arrived from Auckland about 11, and we were in the forest by midday.

We headed up to Gunna Gotta, then A-Trail and Tickler. That's me tickled pink to be riding these works of dirt-art again.

Then it was up the climb of Direct Road for a bit of suffering, to get to the top of Hot-X-Buns. I gave the 24t ring on my XTR cranks it's maiden voyage on the way up.
The view up there is pretty good, but not as good as looking over Wellington. Put Jackie in the frame though, and it's way better. The ride down 'Buns' is a real hoot.

Next stop, Billy T, so more climbing was in order, up Hill Road. Long, but not too steep fireroad. At the start of the climb we passed all the downhiller goons waiting for the shuttle bus. We discussed the merits of shuttling, and agreed that they are a bunch of girls. This was reinforced while passing some of them down Billy T, with their big bikes and full-face helmets and knee-pads, but the skills and fitness of a gnat. Ok, that's unfair on gnats.
After the flow-fest of Chestnut and Rollercoaster, we linked back through the Chinese Menu (Chop Suey, Spring Roll and Sweet n Sour) then B Rude Not 2, one of the best. Pig track linked up to a new (since Feb, to me) trail which was of course up to the high standard of flow and smile-inducement I've come to know and love. This berm was great, I hit it 3 times, to get a pic and just for the sake of it. We finished up with some of the 'beginner' trails near the carpark, still better than most other trails anywhere else.
This morning it was raining a bit, and with tired legs from 70km of singletrack in the two days previous and a six hour drive ahead, I left Jackie to take another lap on her own, all the time thinking I should've gone around again too. But as it pissed down all the way through Taupo and back to the Desert Road, I wasn't too unhappy, having spent a great weekend riding, drinking beer, eating Indian food and with good company to boot.
But even though the trails are great, both Taupo and Rotorua don't have anything else going for them as towns. No pulse. Vegas was dead both Friday and Saturday nights. Driving back into Wellington, I said to myself, "this is home..."
Now it's five weeks of working off my free cranks, thanks Nigel... enjoy your holiday.
Lots of night rides coming up....

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bike business is thrill-a-minute!

Today was going along pretty quietly, a tube here, a jersey there. Then all hell broke loose. Well, it broke loose slowly and then built up to a crescendo of grappling and upturned couches and broken pot plants.
A dude had lay-byed a bike back in August 06. He came in today and saw the same bike reduced by $200, and wanted his at the same price. After a call to Nigel, Matt explained that it couldn't be done, especially as the 3 month lay-by period had well and truly expired. The dude asked for his money back, which was fine, less the 10% cancellation fee. Off he went.
An hour later he's back in the store demanding the rest of the money. Matt told him the same story, come back tomorrow to speak to Nigel. The dude refused to leave, so security was called. The guard reitereated the situation, then the argy-bargy started. An artists impression of the shop scuffle... Matt on top.
Push and shove became grappling became a threat of "I'll kill you!", eventually ending up on the couch with the dude on top of the guard. The guard was crap, basically. Matt saw that he was crap, and in one fell motion had the dude off the guard and on the lounge before he could say "triathletes are gay". The cops arrived at that point and took the dude away.
Who said selling bikes was boring? (Might've been me.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Matt's Mongoose Missive

Some cycle-tourists brought in boxed bikes for us to assemble. Upon opening the boxes, we discovered two Mongooses (Mongeese?).

Me: "What's better than having one Mongoose?"

Matt: "Not 'avin a Mongoose".

The man is a sage.

Matt's Mechanical Misdemeanours

The sound of hammering, followed closely by swearing. I spot Matt with a BMX bike in the stand, bashing a ratchet spanner with a mallet...

Me: "What are you doing?"

Matt: "Just changing a tube..."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dopers Suck!

We've known it all along really, but even though it's a half admission, at least it's something. But are we really supposed to believe this?

Meanwhile, this idiot is still trying to make us believe he's innocent. What will he come up with next?
He really does suck.

Funny... check out the t-shirt. Do you think Testosterone Boy noticed?
Next stop, Armstrong.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Blanket Man

I see this dude every day on my way to work. Yesterday I almost rode over him as he was sitting on the road at the end of Cuba Mall in the bus lane! He just looks up and pokes out his tongue and laughs. He's an icon in Wellington, even has an entry in Wikipedia and a Myspace page!

He looked like he was doing it tough this morning in the howling wind though. Didn't even smile....

Matt's Mechanical Pearls of Wisdom, Pt. 2

Customer: "Is that seat post bolt alloy?"

Matt: "Yeah, dunno, probably... If you leave it out in the rain and it rusts, it's steel..."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ay Up Mt. Vic!

It was a night of firsts for me last night. First ride testing the Ay-Ups and my first ever ride on Mt. Victoria, host of a round of the '98 World Cup (Cadel won) and several National XC races. Marty was my guide, and we left from his place in Melrose, an area of Wellington I never knew existed. You drive through the grungy inner-city suburb of Newtown (just like Newtown in Sydney) and suddenly you're in an almost semi-rural setting, with views back over Lyall Bay and the Cook Strait towards the South Island. Pretty cool. We rode over Mt. Albert, through some parks, down sets of stairs with tight switchbacks, up roads and finally on to Vic. Some nice singletrack up there, lots of roots, pine needles, some steep bits, made all the more fun with the darkness and my unfamiliarity. The lights are pretty damn cool too, almost as bright as my HID's, but so much more compact and lightweight. The only negative is the beam pattern is a spot more than a flood like the HID's. My eyes took a little bit of getting used to that, but they could be good when adjusted properly. Will be giving them another run tonight.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ahhh, music! (to my ears)

... a decent band with some real talent and an original sound (though I hear some cool influences in there, [eels]....) Read up on Cold War Kids here

and check out this, and other videos while you're at it.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Matt's Mechanical Pearls of Wisdom, Pt 1

He may be able to ride a bike (Olympian, pro roadie in former lives), but Matt is a self-confessed hubbard when it comes to anything remotely mechanical.
So I give you a new blog feature, 'Matt's Mechanical Pearls of Wisdom.' Matt says "I think this bike needs a bashguard!"

Here's today's advice on disc brake pad wear.

Customer: "How far can you wear down your disc pads?"

Matt: "When sparks fly out, that's too far..."

Good advice kiddies.

Stay tuned for more gems from the big Pommy git.


If you need any evidence that bike riders are freaks, here it is. Apparently Ross the Rad's been doing sit-ups. I think he's looking for a spot in the porn industry. In the 70's.

Check out the head on this guy...
This is a rare sighting actually. Matt NEVER cleans his bike, but I caught him, on a Sunday, at work when no-one was around, with rag in hand. He was changing his big ring from a 50 coz he got dropped on a DOWNHILL on his bunch ride. And uphill too, but that's to be expected from such a big Pommy unit.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Making hay

The sun hasn't shone much in the last week here in the windy (and wet, remember it always rains in NZ!) city, so any opportunity to get on the bike has been snapped up eagerly. Tuesday the rain abated long enough for us to get in a night ride at Makara.
The trails were still a little damp in places, becoming almost sodden on the higher sections, but in surprisingly good shape considering the amount of rain in the days before. Josh brought along Hadley from Crankworks, and his dog Drake, a black lab (I think) that halfwheeled everyone on the way to the top, then would sprint past out of sight before re-appearing looking you in the face a few metres later. Like a black ghost in the lights.
At the summit the fog was a pea-souper, and negotiating Ridgeline with 2 metres of visibility and soap-like traction was interesting and fun, until you ended up in the bushes. The lower half, when you could see again, was great fun. Luckily there is a bike wash station in the car park, and luckily Josh had brought a few beers.

The rain returned again later that night, and stayed around until Friday, which was a glorious, sunny day. Wellington when the sun shines is a beautiful city. Pity I spent most of the day inside at work, looking out into the street wishing I was riding.
This is the view over Evans Bay from my new flat.
I got to leave early though, so a road spin on the commuter bike was in order. There was just enough daylight left to head around the bays towards Seatoun and drop in on my mum, who is over and staying with my uncle and aunty (hey L & V!).
The air was just crisp enough to warrant arm warmers, and the breeze wasn't gale force... it's strange how around one corner you will be faced with a headwind, then make another turn and it's suddenly eerily calm, then back to buffetting you again, then propelling you forward effortlessly.
I wished I had my road bike here again, I need to feel the purity of a long spin, just tapping out the rhythm for a few hours. This would suffice for now though.
This is my beer of the week, I saw it in Spoke magazine (I think, or the Sunday paper...), but hadn't seen it in shops until last night. And what a little beauty it is. Reminds me of Little Creatures a lot, with a strong, hoppy and fruity flavour and 5.2% kick. Will be having a couple more with Lindsay tonight.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Check out these cool lights from Aussie company Ay-Up. They're sending me a set to try, they look the goods.