Friday, June 29, 2007

The troll returns.... a skirt! Yes, it's the snot-dribbling man-who-swallowed-a-sheep, back to get his tyre pumped up for the umpteenth time until he can afford a new tube. He came in two days ago, I was having lunch, and Matt came down and said "can you serve this gentleman please, we've got a shop full of customers." Being the nice guy I am, I came up onto the floor to see the big nutter standing there. I'd been duped. Today I tried the same trick, but Matt was awake to it and I ended up dealing with him, while Big 'stealthy' Nath snapped the grainy image you see here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dirt Fix

Working six days a week can really suck. So can riding the road all the time. So with Nigel back from his European odyssey, I had my first non-Sunday off for five weeks. I realised the Stumpy hadn't seen any action for a couple of weeks too, due to rain and the lure of long rides on the Langster. Only one thing to do; hit Makara! The sun was shining again in the land where "it always rains" (still trying to work out who the idiot was that said that before I left Australia) and the toes were tickled by a chilly breeze. I think I'm used to the cooler weather, because it doesn't seem to worry me as much as the locals, who always seem to be complaining that it's cold. I've probably ridden more here this winter than I do at home in the same season. The trails were in superb condition, only a few puddles along the singletrack, the traction perfect. I soon remembered why I love riding the dirt so much. After Koru, Salley Alley and Missing Link, I stopped briefly at the start of Aratihi to check out the fauna. I heard some riders back down on Link, then headed off up to the start of Leaping Lizard, and looped back down Nikau to the same spot where I'd started. Up the climb of Aratihi, I felt that pushing around a fixed gear (yeah, and sometimes the freewheel) on the road has really helped with my strength. Maybe it's just a placebo, who knows, I'll take it. At the top I ran into the group of riders I'd heard before.
They took off down Ridgeline not long after my arrival, and as I watched them crawl their way along the top, I decided they might be a while, so I took off down Zac's Track. This is an awesome trail, winding along the side of the hill, before dumping you out at the start of Vetigo. I climbed back up the fireroad to the Peak instaed, so I could enjoy Ridgeline, unfettered. I had the flow going all the way down to the Extension... twisting through the trees where Josh had his head-cracking off last night ride, then the best way to finish a ride ever, SWIGG and Starfish. The other bunch had just got back, so my timing was perfect... as was the day, reminding me just why mountain biking in Wellington rocks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

This kid could really get hurt...

oh, wait.... Ok, so it wasn't an accident that put him in the chair, but he's got bigger balls than me.

Let Bruce be Bruce

Apparently this man has been causing a bit of a stir over at Josh's blog by leaving some 'fruity' comments. Unfortunately Josh has stifled the controversial one's right to free speech and has removed said comments. So I'm starting the 'Let Bruce Be Bruce' campaign.
Bruce, if you're out there, you're more than welcome to have your say on my blog. Who are you? Was there some past sordid connection with you and Josh? Reveal yourself Bruce, we need you.

In the meantime, check out some of Bruce's infamous work here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Dead Zone

The shop has been deader than the follicles on Josh's head. The weather has been colder than that comment. The wind has been worse than Matt's. Okay, that's an over-exaggeration. Saturday was a glorious winter's day, with sun, a light breeze and nose-chilling air, which kept people away from the shop and out enjoying it. Oh how I longed to join them. Being the only staff member to have sold a bike all day, I used that as bargaining power to take off early and go for a spin. Halfway around Oriental Parade, I was nearly wishing I'd stayed at work. Some dickhead in a metal womb decided to impress his fat girlfriend by attempting to side-swipe a singlespeeder. As I glanced off his front guard with my foot, all I could see was her stupid fat head with the same look of horror which I probably had on my less fat, more pissed off and abusive head. He just sat there silent as I let him have both barrels in front of a packed and attentive boulevard of onlookers. They were probably well impressed by the sublime handling skills of the swearing singlespeeder.
When all is said and done, there's nothing more to say and do, so I continued on, dropping my bag off at home, and headed around the bays on my usual jaunt. At Shelley Bay, the ships rusted quietly while the jets rusted more noisily, and in the air.
This guy was out on the same ride as me, and I kept passing him after every photo stop.
The green building is the Chocolate Fish Cafe, a favourite haunt of Val and Lindsay... which bay is it?
I know this Bay, it's Breaker Bay, and these fools were braving not only the cold, but a shallow reef break (as told to me by the guy I kept passing).
On the way back around I ran into this shady character...yes, it's big Matt... the first time I've ridden with him, it tacked on a few extra k's, racking up a cool 50 by the time I got back home. The wind returned on Sunday, and tonight there is SNOW forecast down to 300 metres in Wellington. Makara Peak is 450, so I won't be going up there.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


We had a visit today from Mark Inglis, double amputee, Everest conqueror, mountain biker and producer of the best tasting energy gel around. Just seeing him walk on his high-tech prosthetics, let alone climb mountains or ride a bike is amazing.

He has borrowed our test bike for the weekend while the marathon is on in town. Ok, I know it's in questionable taste, but it has to be said that the test bike is a Stumpy....

Art for art's sake, sushi for sake's sake

I'm gonna take up painting. Or sculpting. Or any of the 'arts'. Went to an exhibition on Tuesday with my new friend Sue (who I met at Havana, along with her friend Dolores/Mulva, a couple of weeks ago) and was dismayed by the lack of talent on display. Seriously, I've seen better paintings stuck on fridge doors with magnets and the signature 'sally aged 4'. But I got a couple of glasses of free wine, so it all evened out.

Mulva clip

We then went for a bite at Wasabi Sushi in Cuba St. I love sushi. Especially when it's on a conveyor belt going round and round in front of you, tempting you with each pass. I think I ate eel, which was a bit disturbing at first, just because it's eel, but it was pretty damn good.
Riding wise, the week started out real well, Monday to Wednesday were cold but no wind to speak of, and the Langster got three 35km rides back to back, in the dark around the Bays. I even got to play with a 'Bay road commuting road bike hero' as well. I was spinning that thing along at 40kmh on his wheel until he popped around near the airport. Just as well coz I don't think I could've spun any more! Thursday and Friday were very windy and cold, but today is gloriously sunny, a little wind, and is begging for an afternoon ride.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Matt's Mechanical Misdemeanours 652

Matt, holding a Hope facing tool: "Wots vis?"

"It's a facing tool"

"F@#k me... looks like some mediaeval sex tool"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Emperor returns... pay $2 off his lay-by!

Stevie looks bemused, even more so than usual. Pic by Big 'stealthy' Nath.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Celebrities and Nutters

Wellington being a small city has it's share of characters inhabiting it, and on any given day you can spot TV stars, socialites and maybe even the Prime Minister. But you're more likely to see some of the stranger citizens, such as Blanket Man or the guy with the gammy leg which he drags behind him around town.

The shop has had a good mixture of the famous and infamous lately. A good customer of ours is TV One presenter Simon Morton. I didn't know who the hell he was when he brought in his new Stumpy for a service, he was just a friendly dude with a cool bike. That same night though, I got a text from Matt saying "TV One, that guy with Stumpy in shop today". And there he was, presenting a series called "Why We Buy", all about consumerism and retail. Really good show. And he loves his bike. Obviously good taste.
Bald men prefer Stumpjumpers...

A few days later it was again Matt whispering "that guy's off 60 Minutes". Mike McRoberts also reads the nightly news on TV3, and he was checking out a few Specialized road bikes... didn't buy anything though. "Here's the news... Tarmacs Rock!"

Then there's the nutters. A guy came in the other day wearing tattered old clothes, a beaten cycle helmet adorned with Holden bonnet badges, and what I would describe as a cape, more like an old bedspread with a crown insignia on the back. A cane wicker basket hung from a piece of rope around his waist. Matt was serving him while we looked on in bewilderment. He wanted to lay-by a tyre... $20 we're talking. Matt asked him his name and had trouble not laughing in his face when the answer came back "Emperor Andrew Brian Bernadotte". I kid you not. I saw His Highness yesterday in Dixon St, he was right next to my car as I sat at the lights... wish I'd had my camera, he looked well regal astride his mighty steed, observing his subjects as they tried to avoid him.

A day later a scruffy long haired old bloke who looked like he'd swallowed a sheep bailed Nathan up for 20 minutes with his brilliant idea of a "one-piece bike". Matt concluded that 'one-piece' probably meant 'one-piece of shit'. While he was talking, a large trail of snot hung from his nose, which Nath enjoyed a lot... he then produced a A4 piece of paper from his pocket and cleaned up the mess, sort of. We saw him walking past the shop today, and I've never seen so many guys make a run for the safety of the workshop so fast! Luckily, he kept on walking. He looked scarily like this...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Indoors and out of mind

It's been a cold and wet couple of days, with the Langster laying dormant in my shoebox disguised as a flat, and only the landlady's cat to keep me warm. It's a real struggle to get up and put on bike clothes, layers and layers of them, at 7 in the morning to ride the 3 k's to work in the rain (or at least on a wet road... fixie scares me in the wet). So the old Laser has been getting a bit of a run for the last few days. I always feel like a wuss though when I'm driving and see some 50 year old guy in shorts and a t-shirt pedalling along Oriental Parade into the southerly chill.
So I've done what any lazy bastard bike rider who is afraid of a cold, wet arse would do. Sit on the home trainer. Of course I don't have a home trainer, or a home big enough to house one, so I set up in the shop and spin for as long as I can stand without going completely insane from boredom. Usually half an hour. The other night after my brain had been sufficiently numbed and my legs 'fixed', I was loading the Langster into the car when I had the brilliant idea to see if I could teach myself skid stops. The smooth concrete in the upstairs carpark was a perfect learning pad, and I was soon locking up the rear wheel at will, albeit assisted by a healthy dose of rear brake, but I was doing it, and felt like a real fixie rider before reality snapped back in. There's no way I'm going to attemp it on the road for a while yet, but that carpark is gonna get a few more 23mm rubber marks laid on it for sure.

The cooler weather has also brought a downturn in customers, well it's dead to say the least. So with three guys standing around having looked at every cycling and soccer website imaginable and going stir crazy, there's only one thing to possibly do....
Stevie G rails the Lube Stand Chicane on the way to another sub-standard time.
Now, Matt might be a former Pro, Olympian and still holds the British 30mile TT record, but on the ill-handling, under-sized Raleigh, I own him. Might be the fact that he's 6'3" and his knees hit him in the chin on every pedal stroke, but I don't care. He may own the bike leg in his gay new sport, but I'm taking the glory, baby! A full second faster. ONE second! Not just once either, but half a dozen times. Stevie G has all the handling skills and showpony antics of a BMX whizz, but like all BMXers he has no top end at all. But he has the coolest tatts out of us all. Well, the only tatts out of us all. Matt didn't want to be embarrassed by a picture of him riding a Chopper, so I dug up these ones instead. Not embarrassing at all eh big fella!
Run Forrest, run!!

Just got a call from Josh, telling me his shop blog is up and running. Check it out.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lookin goood

I can't help myself. Just had to put on these 105 cranks to replace the cheap and nasty Suginos that came on it.
Also put on a 44 tooth ring, to ease the out-of-control spinning going downhill. Makes it harder going up though.... singlespeeds: never in the right gear, but just right.
This is the view I get every morning and night.
Hard not to love this city when it looks like that. And nestled up in those hills, singletrack goodness.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Matt's Mechanical Misdemeanours, part ?

Minion Nigel: "Do you know how to fit a headset?"

Matt: "I could probly work it art, but I'm not garn to. It'd end up upside darn."

"Ciao Mama, Ciao Papa"

Gotta get me one of these...
comemmorates my favourite movie of all time, and looks damn cool.

More cool stuff here.

Why do people using pedestrian crossings here always give a thankyou wave when you stop? Is it because they expect to get run over by the terrible Kiwi drivers?

Boots are even more prevalent now the weather is getting colder. Still a good thing I think.

Havana Bar is the coolest place around. And not just in NZ. Cool vibe, great tunes, friendly crowd. And their coffee is heavenly. Coffee U Feel for sure.

Fixies don't have quick release wheels. I got a flat on the way to work. I was reminded of that fact. I'm getting one of these. It opens beer bottles too.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Yeah na...

Has anyone else noticed the "yeah, na" phenomenon? I first noticed rugby league players doing it in interviews in Australia last year, and it is rife here in NZ. Kiwis are also fond of the multiple yeah, as in "do you have a 26inch tube?" "Yeah yeah yeah yeah..." I heard Steve answer a customer's enquiry with "yeah yeah na definately" the other day. I still can't work out if that's an affirmative or negative answer, but at least he was definite about it. Nath has taken it to a new level with various combinations, like "yeah yeah yeah naaaaaaaaaaaaahh" and "na na na yeah na yeah yeah yeah....... na", usually in text messages late at night. Is it funny, or annoying? Yeah but no but yeah but...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

And I thought Wellington was windy!

Yeah right! My home town of Newcastle was hit by a huge storm on Friday, washing up this ship onto Nobbys Beach and causing havoc and tragedy all around the Hunter and Central Coast. Think I'll stay here where it's calm!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Who said tar and dirt don't mix?

The night air was crisp, biting even, but the wind had dropped and the trails were dry... perfect for a Makara mission. I met up with Josh at his house and we rode the tar as a warm-up. Josh's idea of a warm-up is to put it in the big dog and smash it up through Aro Valley, while I beg for mercy and my knees scream in protest. He was riding the I-Drive like he rides his fixie; out of the saddle and grinding. I'd recovered sufficiently by the time we got to Karori, meeting up with Carl and Marty at the carpark. Carl had ridden up also, but took on Deliverance, something I'm not that eager to do at night. It's challenging enough in daylight. Amy and Clare also came along, but Clare dropped out early as she was a bit under the weather. The trails were in perfect condition, they dry out so quickly up there, there were a few small sticky patches on Aritihi but Ridgeline was perfect. Perfect until I railed around a corner to find Josh sprawled on the ground, groggily regaining his feet after testing his Bell's integrity. He later discovered a crack through it, so it must've been a decent headbutt to the soil. The ride back down Starfish always rocks, and Marty was charging on the front with Carl on his heels, while I watched them from a more sane distance. Amy kicked the butts of some 'freeriders' who we'd encountered halfway down Ridgeline, on her hardtail with a half functioning fork... she's only been riding a year but goes real well both up and down. Smiles all round when we got back to the carpark, except for Josh who was complaining about a sore leg... couldn't hurt that head... Carl basically told him to harden up and that taking the road back to town wasn't an option, so we climbed up the singletrack of Salvation to Wright's Hill and then bombed the twisty, narrow switchback trails to Campbell St and the old gold mine. A bit of high speed road action finished off another fine Wellington ride.

*Trivia: how come '2 minute noodles' always take 5 minutes to cook?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Like a kid in a candy store...

In real rider news, Rad Ross had a good weekend at the NMBS round in Angel Fire New Mexico, taking second in the XC and topping the box in the short track. Rad!

Then it was off to the Teva Mountain Games, where he bagged another second and got to kick a doper's ass (well, by three seconds!)in the hillclimb... won by an absolute legend, NED!

He also beat up on some kids in a Big Wheel race,

and got to see and touch a woman's breast for the first time!, ride.

The best thing about being part of a Monarchy is the Queen's Birthday Holiday! She gave us another crisp, cool, sunny day, perfect for a cruise around the bays on the Langster. After a coffee and bagel at Midnight Espresso with Josh and Yaz, I thought about taking the Stumpy up to Makara, but apparently it's still a bit muddy up there, and besides I'm really enjoying the purity of the singlespeed/road combo. Nothing to think about except pedalling... and the Queen.

First up I headed around to Lyall Bay, and turned right instead of left, just to be different.

Looking back towards the airport and Seatoun. A bird flies from right, to left...

There were a few brave souls out for a surf at Houghton (not Island!) Bay... I was freezing just watching them. That's dedication to your sport (them, not me).

The Langster at rest at Owhiro Bay (I think...anyone, anyone?) The Interislander ferry and the South Island in the distance. I thought about the Nelson crew, A-Dub, The Train, Tristan Shout, Chris n Bob, and if they were out riding...I bet they were.

Seatoun jetty, and some cool clouds.

Looking back to the city from Shelley Bay, on the way home. Wind at the back, after slogging into it on the other side of the point, much welcome. Roseneath, where I live, is at the left of pic...

...there. My flat is just above the three garages at the bottom, and below the stairs. You cant actually see it, it's tucked behind some trees. But it's in there.

When all else fails, go for the shadow shot. On the way back around Evans Bay, I heard a rapid-fire voice behind me, and not being able to understand a word he was saying, it had to be Nigel. Him and Pete were just starting out for a spin, but with another 55km in the legs I was shagged and headed for the beer. It's back on the Stumpy for a night ride with Marty tomorrow night. Mmmm, gears.... dirt....

Check out those fixed gear vids on the right... some amazing riding. The vids change periodically by themselves, so don't blame me for the lame ones.

Also another Langster convert to read about here.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Spun out

Oh it was a cold day today in Wellytown. But the sun was shining and the Langster was calling for a longer ride. I flipped the flip-flop hub around to give me some coasting abilities on the long downhills I had in mind. First I ducked into town for a lap, and coming along Lambton Quay I was getting frustrated by a slow-moving Commodore. So I whipped it past and ran a red to get away. Bad move. Unmarked cop car! I told him I "weren't from round these here parts," and he let me off with a warning. I stopped at every set of lights after that! Then it was out along my old commute, up the Ngaio Gorge Road, cranking it out of the saddle, probably faster than I ever did it on the geared bike. I was welcoming the decision to use the freewheel though, coasting the downhills out around J'Ville. Back into town and a lap around the bays, and who should come past me, but my old mate the Cycleway Hero! I asked if I could sit on awhile, which turned out to be about 20kms! I did do a few turns though, when I wasn't spinning my ass off at about 120 RPM. I can sit comfortably around 40kmh, then it's just too much to spin any faster. But damn good fun, the legs know they've done 60km on a singlespeed for sure, finished off with the climb up to my flat and a sprint over the top. Nice. My feet are still frostbitten though!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Scared Shiftless

First ride to work on the fixie this morning, a pretty cool and at the same time daunting experience.
Coming down Carlton Gore Road was strange, having to pedal through the tight corners on the brakes, rather than letting it all hang out, pedals level, off the back of the seat!

Then a stupid bitch almost took me out in Courtenay Place, sitting in the traffic jam then deciding to turn left just as I was about to pass. She got a mouthful of kind advice on driving safely.

That's what it's all about... less gears, more beers!