Thursday, February 28, 2008


Alleycat racing is a big part of bike messenger culture in the States, and Wellington now has it's own little race around the city streets: Wellycats! The best thing about it was there wasn't a bike messenger in sight, just a bunch of mountain bikers on whatever singlespeeds or fixies they could cobble together. Of course, the best place to start an alleycat is in an alley, and behind Emporio was the gathering spot. The rubbish skips and broken beer bottles added to the authenticity.
The rules are simple; get to the checkpoints in any way you please, first one back with all the points stamped on his card wins. Then drink beer. There were time bonuses for the first rider to each checkpoint, and I picked up the one at the SPOKE office (only about 200 metres from the start, and no-one else went there!).

And they're off! Owen and me almost didn't make it out of the street, trying to go in opposite directions on the wrong side of each other. Most went to the Basin Reserve first, Mark headed to the Beehive for the sprint win, then it was a heinous climb up to the Met Service.

Benji got a flat down near Parliament and ended up running his 50c dumpster-special back to the finish, proving that you should spend at least a dollar on a bike.

I show off my unco-ordinated running dismount skills. A couple of monumental navigational errors had me riding up Cuba Mall, like a salmon swimming against the current, pissing off a few pedestrians.

And the winner is.... Ricky stomped around the course on his brakeless ghetto fixie in 20 minutes, then made us all feel ill with this unbuttoned shirt victory salute. Thanks to Paul for putting this on, it was a blast and I can't wait for the next one (last Wednesday of each month is touted).

*Pics by Aidan

*For some real hairy Alleycat action in London and New York, plus other stuff, check this site out.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More new stuff

I've done it again. It's new bike fever here at the moment, with too many good deals to pass up. Only a week after getting my Tarmac over from Aus, I've sold her off and it's in with a new Roubaix Pro. This is the bike for an old guy like me. Higher in the front end for my aching back. A shorter top tube for the same reason. Sad to see the old girl go, but she's gone to a good home and I'll still get to see her on weekends.
I swapped out the white bar tape for black, and am contemplating whether to swap the saddle for black as well. There's rules, you know. It also came with red-striped tyres, which were immediately removed and sent to TradeMe.

Check out that baby. Carbon cranks with integrated bottom bracket, which apparently saves weight (and everyone knows how obsessed with that I am!). The compact chainrings also help a weak old man, but a 34/28 low gear? The cassette was swapped out for the 25 off the Tarmac, which is plenty low enough to get up most of the hills in Welly.

My first taste of Dura Ace. Well, if I've got XTR all over my mountain bike, why the hell not? The brakes and front derailleur are Ultegra though, but that can be remedied! The wheels are pretty sweet Roval Fusee's, they don't have gold spokes, but they do have a splash of red which suits the bike better than the gold bling anyway. Me happy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Something old, something new, something rekindled, something blue

Much like women, bikes come and go, but with a bit more regularity it seems. But unlike women, bikes can be ridden whenever you want, without complaint, and put away dirty and forgotten until the next time that pleasure is required. I like bikes. There's been a lot going on in my bike world in the last week or so, with a not so old flame being replaced by a newer, slimmer love, and an almost forgotten older flame coming back into my life. Yes, I'm still talking about bikes.

Something old: I really loved this bike. My 07 Stumpy has seen a lot of action on the trails of NZ, bringing me immeasurable pleasure from Welly to Rotorua, Nelson to Craigieburn. For it's final incarnation, I dressed her up in all the brand new bits off my new love and made sure she went to a good home. I'll still get to see her from time to time, and she'll always have a special(ized) place in my heart.

Something new: My new belle, 08 Stumpy. Not that I'm into body image or anything, but dressed in the XTR attire from the ex, she's half a kilo lighter than the old girl, and has sexy curves that I just couldn't resist. And as she was offered to me at a price akin to a street-corner hooker, how could I refuse?

Something rekindled: Back in my life after a year adrift in Aus, my S-Works Tarmac has re-appeared this week and she's still as sexy as ever, even if she's getting on a bit. But I couldn't wait to rip her out of the box and ride her back to my place, where she now waits for my return and some nice, long days in the hills of Wellington, before she too gets the heave-ho for something younger.
Something blue: Oh yeah, Josh has also been spending up, getting himself hooked up with a Turner Flux frame, and is now trying to get it as light as my bike by throwing money at it in huge amounts (Chris King hub, chocolates and flowers).

Monday, February 04, 2008


The Trust House Tour of Wellington wound up with a criterium in Lambton Quay yesterday, and it was a chance to catch up with Ebo, a mate from Newcastle who was racing.
For the first few laps I was trying to pick him out in the peleton, but couldn't find his diminutive figure or floppy hair. Then I noticed him, in the King Of The Mountains jersey! The little bugger had picked up some points in an early break in the day previous, and got the jersey for his trouble. Nice one Ebo.

The star of the show though was Travis Meyer, an 18 year old Aussie who is already a junior World champion on the track. He was safely in yellow and could've cruised around safely in the pack, but instead decided to smash the field to bits, lapping the entire field bar six!

Kiwi number one Hayden Roulsten was the pre-race favourite, but was blown apart by Meyer on the big climbing stage up Admiral Hill a few days earlier.

Ebo gets touched by an old man, but doesn't seem to mind.

Meyer out front alone and hammering. The crowd were getting right into it, urging him on to catch the last six breakaways, but he ran out of time... the kid's gonna be a star for sure.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

This Dogg needs a needle

Youtube is a hotbed of untalented people making painfully ordinary at best, and embarrassingly tragic at worst, videos. Anyone can be a 'star' for a day, or a week if they're lucky. One of these stars is the now legendary Reh Dogg. Watching this guy 'sing' has had me in stitches for the last couple of days. It's a cultural trainwreck of the highest order. Particularly disturbing are the shower scenes, especially the one where he appears ro be cleaning his arse as he forces out his monotone, depressed mental patient drawl. Enjoy the magic of the Dogg...