Thursday, July 30, 2009

All kinds of wrong

Sometimes you just have to do things that you just aren't comfortable with, in order to satisfy a greater need. I need to ride bikes.

When I returned to Australia last month for my annual catch-up, I decided not to be burdened with lugging a box around airports and train stations at all hours of the night. After all, my network of friends own between them enough mountain and road steeds to start up their own retail outlets from their garages (and loungerooms in some cases).

Mountain bikes were easy to come by, and while they may have been Mongooses (thanks Mick and Youngy), they provided good times. The road bike choices were even more limited. But after busting a rib in the first week, I needed the low-impact, easy-spin option of the blacktop, and the only thing I could do was something I'm not proud of; I rode a Giant.

But not just any Giant, oh no. I rode 'The (road) Parts'. What the hell am I talking about, I hear you ask.

Years ago Col was looking for a new MTB, and he chose a Giant NRS over a Specialized Epic on the strength of the parts spec, rather than how the bikes rode. It became known as 'The Parts'. Then when he adorned his TCR road bike with full Dura Ace and Ksyriums, the logical moniker for it was obvious. Now Col doesn't like to throw old crap out, hence these two bikes, along with a selection of other museum pieces, still inhabit the mess he calls his garage.

So when I needed a road ride, I had to swallow my pride and ride The (road) Parts. But no more DA on this puppy, Col had seen the light a few years ago and got on board a Tarmac SL (and finally an Epic for the dirt) and some old Ultegra 9 speed was taped to the TCR. Col doesn't attach, bolt or fit things to his bikes, he tapes them, zip-ties them and binds them with bits of string and wool. (What's more, he's a doctor, so god only knows how he fixes his patients.) I was just glad to be riding, even if I was wearing his old shoes (a size too big) and my MTB helmet and gloves.

The pump rattled like a bitch, and after 100 metres I was stopping to look for a flat rear tyre. Col assured me the "thunk, thunk, thunk" was just the big bulging lump of rubber he'd used to repair a cut in the tyre's casing. 50km of "thunk, thunk, thunk" and a rattling pump is one of the methods of torture used in Guantanomo Bay, I'm sure.

But the bike fit me more or less, it was a nice sunny day, I was with a good mate, and all those things helped to erase the shame I momentarily felt. Cheers Col, adios Parts.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weight a minute...

How can this (size Large, 8.2 kg)

be heavier than this (size Large, 7.7 kg)?

Someone needs to go on a diet, and it ain't the Roubaix...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Swap Meet

Here's a look at the frame swap of K-Man's 5.5 to the new Tracer.
From this...

To this...

This is a long way from over. K-Man is going to pimp this thing to within an inch of bankruptcy. Thomson stem and Masterpiece post are already palped, along with a Gobi XM saddle. Next up, new wheels, fork and XX gruppo. Prepare to wipe the drool.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First and last

Before I managed to put myself out of action in the first week of my holiday, me and the Kman took a trip out to Awaba to ride the new (to me) trails that have been built by the local club. It would be the last ride for Kedan's Intense 5.5, as his new Tracer frame was waiting in the wings. More on that soon. The Awaba trails are nestled at the foot of the Watagan Mountains, and it's a fair hike to get out there. Not what I had in mind when I envisiged 'Awaba'. I was hoping it was worth it. It was. The trails are cool. 100% singletrack, twisty, up and down, and more fun the faster you ride them. There's only about 6km of track built so far, but there's a lot of potential there for a cool network to sprout. It's just a pity it's so bloody far to drive to, and hopefully the scourge of motocross bikes doesn't get wind of the place and start digging trenches a la Killy. Check out this cool footage from Dan, notorious metalhead SS'er.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Finishing touches

The Resurrection Part 1 is now in the books as done and dusted. The old man's old Speedwell is looking probably better than it's original incarnation, all red and chrome and leather. I had a hand in its transformation, getting to wrap the Brooks leather bar tape and punch in the cool cork/wood bar-end caps. Now its onto the BSA track bike and a folding Peugeot 20".

Friday, July 10, 2009


It's funny how when you are away from your home-town for a long time, that everyone wants to catch up with you when you return. It's not a bad thing, but when you are on limited time, it's hard to squeeze in a ride/beer/chat with all and sundry. But I try. Today was the turn of Freemo, Australia's lankiest Nick Cave-impersonating mountain biking drummer. I'm sure he's had a growth spurt, or maybe I'm shrinking; that happens as you get older, doesn't it? We met up at Glenrock, and both made it clear to each other that under normal circumstances we wouldn't be riding after the overnight rain we had. But time's of the essence, right? Freemo unloaded his singlespeed from some sort of pre-mid-life crisis sports-type car (well, a Honda) and I knew I'd be in for some pain. Luckily he's been only back on the bike for a few weeks, but I was still in for some pain. Crash-induced pain, as it turned out. I hooked my bars on some Bitou Bush at the top of Bus Stop, launching me over the front before being crushed by the cartwheeling heft of the Mongoose coming over the top. Feels like I've cracked a rib, but Freemo's expert analysis was that I haven't. Still managed to get a good ride in though, slippin and slidin around the 'rock for a couple of hours. Thanks Freemo, next week I'll even it up (I'll ride my SS, you break a rib).

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Joining the Velominati

Getting bored with this blog? I am. I'll be posting from time to time in a new blog called Velominati, which is the baby of an American Dutchman named Frank, and which I've been given the opportunity to use as a sounding board too. Hopefully I can add something to it, I've been enjoying Frank's writing so far. Also trying to get the ball rolling over at SPOKE too, so I could be glued to my computer and tv even more than usual. Old square eyes is back.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Mon Ganso

Mongoose. The name conjurs different things to different people. BMX rats love them, MTBers have always been a bit leery. I was always in the latter camp, being unimpressed by their bikes for the last few years. Last visit I rode a Canaan Team, and was somewhat underwhelmed. So when K-man offered me the use of a Teocali Super, I was a little apprehensive to take it up; but as there was only a singlespeed as the other option, and with my fitness below par, I was soon loading it into the old Peugeot. In rather than on, as the 15QR fork was incompatible with my roof racks. Before I'd even wheeled it out of the shop, I managed to snap off the remote lever for the adjustabe seatpost. The Mongoose quality had me wondering if It'd make it back to the shop in one piece. But once I got it into Glenrock, all my pre-conceptions were quickly dispelled. This is a good bike. I had a blast, railing through the newly bermed corners on BJ's Surprise, dropping over ledges and roots, and it even climbed up Log On/Log Off fairly well, except for the tall fork wanting to reach for the sky a bit. I noticed the extra heft over my Stumpy on the climbs, but other than that, it's a bike that I'd be happy to own, if only it wasn't so ugly. Thanks to Mick at Gateshead Cycles for the loan, I'll get it back to you eventually, as soon as I clean it (and the after-ride glow wears off.)

Monday, July 06, 2009


Breaking your hip and still finishing only 7 seconds behind Nico.... nuts. The Downieville defence is on...

Friday, July 03, 2009