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Monthly Archives: June 2012

My Surly Hates Me!

Dirty chainstays from a rusting chain

Due to the fat tyres, mudguards and dyno-light set up that I have on my Surly Long Haul Trucker, it is my bike of choice for winter. Unfortunately for the Trucker that has lead to some accellerated wear of components.

A few weeks ago when there was a big storm front headed towards Perth, we had some monster tides. The Swan River around the city is quite heavily tidal, and this monster tide caused flooding along it’s banks. Barrack Street was flooded and closed for a period of time. As I rode around Burswood, it was dark and I plunged the Surly through several flooded sections where the water was up to my hubs. Not thinking about how salty the water could be, I failed to give the chain a rinse that night. Now the chain is quite noticably orange and is weeping orange gunk on to the chainstays. With some regular oiling, the chain is still running OK, despite leaving rusty gunk everywhere. I will replace it at the end of winter in a couple of months time. Hopefully it will hold out that long!

I also noticed over the past week that braking is getting spongey. I had a closer look at the brake pads and discovered that the stock pads that came with my Avid Shorty cantilevers have been dissolving quite quickly. The Koolstop Salmon pads I have on the front are faring slightly better but they will probably need replacing soon too. I put a spare pair of Clarks cheapie brake pads that I got to bulk up my last order from Wiggle.co.uk in order to get free postage. They seem to perform better than the stock pads, so that is a positive.

Hopefully the Surly won’t hate me so much that it decides to go on strike. It will get some serious loving in Spring.

 

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Training: Perth Ride to Conquer Cancer, 1000ks in June

This weekend I fell behind a little bit progressing towards my 1000 kilometre goal. Since last month I came off a base of 350 kilometres, the 1000km target has left me pretty stuffed. I am surprised overall how well things are holding up though! This morning the only niggles are a red patch that looks like it wants to become a blister on the outside of my right foot, and some tired(ish) legs. I still have a fighting chance of making it.

My progress chart

I have already started thinking about goal setting for July. I am thinking that I will give myself a bit of a recovery week, and then since I am really in training to do back-to-back centuries, setting some weekend based targets. I am thinking 1 x 100k weekend, 1 x 120k weekend and 1 x 160k weekend with a minimum of 600ks for the month. It is going to be a bit less ‘neat’ in terms of plotting my progress but I’ll do some ride reports of the longer rides.

 

 

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Training: Perth Ride to Conquer Cancer (1000ks in June)

We have had a bit of rain, and that has slowed me down a little bit but as you can see below I have managed to stay on target so far for this month. 

graph: target vs actual kms

My progress towards my 1000km target for June

After a week where I struggled to ride much because of the weather, I managed two good rides on the weekend. Nic & I went for 58 kilometre dawdle out to Bells Rapids on Saturday. The rain meant that there was some nice water flow at Bells and even a couple of kayakers practicing for the upcoming Avon Descent race. They were still getting stuck on the rocks, but hopefully as we get more rain over winter the rapids will be high enough to kayak through.

On Sunday I went for a ride with a mate up to Mt Helena. I had never done a ride in the Perth hills and I was quite surprised with how well I went. I ran the Gopro on my handlebars, but I had a problem with it fogging up after half an hour or so. I’ve never had an issue with fogging while using the Gopro on the bike before – the only time I really had fog was diving with the whalesharks up at Ningaloo.

Anyway, here is a bit of footage that I got from the ride. It was very scenic and a good work out. My legs are still a bit tired now.

Now that the rain is back I expect my little ‘actual km’ line on the graph will dip a little bit, but I can always make it up on the weekend and there seems to be some sun forecast.

 

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What does cycling have to do with “early retirement” – the bike-filled manifesto of Mr Money Mustache

I cannot remember exactly how I stumbled upon his blog, but Mr Money Mustache (MMM) is an American fellow who is married, has a kid, and retired from the rat race at a very young age. Before I stumbled across his blog I had no idea that these kinds of ‘early retirement’ money blogs existed. They are many, and they are varied.

Mr Money Mustache’s manifesto or philosophy is based around reducing costs while saving 50% of your income from working. He reckons that you really shouldn’t spend money that you earned yourself – only money that your money has earned for you (i.e returns on bonds, stocks, real estate etc).

The reason I like him so much is that cycling is a cornerstone to his cost-saving strategies, both in reducing transport costs and increasing your own health and wellness. Health is a big deal in the United States because of the tendency for health issues to result in big costs (really, you can’t just go on a waiting list and get a public hospital to fix you for free).

The value for me, is that he constantly reminds his readers that they do not need to spend big dollars on things to make themselves ‘happy’. This probably also applies to my habit of spending far too much on bicycles and associated accessories! Obviously, being in the States some of his investment strategies don’t add up for Aussies, but the anti-consumerist message definately rings true for me.

Here are some of my favorite posts of his, specifically regarding bicycles, cars and consumption from oldest to newest:

Get Rich With… Bikes

The fundamental reason for the Bike’s status as the Greatest Invention of All Time is its unique combination of simplicity, efficiency, and incredibly good health benefits.

But another side effect is that bikes are good for your wealth. Let’s start with the bare minimum: any mileage you put on your bike instead of your car saves you about 50 cents per mile in gas, depreciation, and wear and maintenance. From this savings alone, doing a couple of bike errands per day (4 miles) in place of car errands will add up to $10,752 over ten years.

Mustache on the Move: Am I really the Most Badass Person in my Whole Town?

After considering all the alternatives, the only rational explanation I could come up with, for the fact that I biked to the store while everyone else drove, even in the most perfect imaginable bicycling conditions, is this: Mr. Money Mustache must be the Single Most Badass person in Longmont, Colorado.

This happens to me frequently when I ride to Midland or even to IKEA to buy something like bedsheets, or order something that will be delivered cos it wouldn’t fit in my car anyway (the custom made couch in our living room comes to mind).

Get Rich with….Craigslist

…not only should you use Craigslist instead of a retail store to buy every manufactured thing you need. You can also use it as a free way to “store” your unused goods. I didn’t hesitate to sell my papasan chairs today, because I know if I ever need them back, I can open up Craigslist and find plenty more just like them at any point in the future.

This post has me thinking about reducing my bicycle stash. There are plenty of bits and pieces that I have sitting around for projects that just aren’t progressing. A lot of it is easy enough to replace. I really should just get rid of it all now.

The True Cost of Commuting

I don’t think Australians are as insane about car-commuting as some Americans are, but there’s potential for it to happen with people moving further out into the suburbs in order to own a little-used backyard and two car garage (though I’ll admit a two-car garage would be useful for me for the storage of kayaks and bicycles!)

Muscle over Motor

Because of the power of Muscle over Motor, you should be deeply suspicious of anything with a motor. A motor represents a shortcut to getting something done. That sounds good on the surface, but you must consider what you are shortcutting.

Maybe one of those manual push-reel mowers is in my future. It will take up less space than a petrol mower to start with, which is why I sold my last one when we moved. Having a hand-mower to maintain the street verge and the grass in our small yard would probably be practical and sensible enough.

You Can’t Cure Obesity with Bigger Pants

put those damned tight pants on and keep wearing them. When they bite at you, it’s a reminder to take the stairs instead of the elevator, eat a piece of grilled salmon instead of a chocolate bar and bologna sandwich, and to start walking and biking more. Those tight pants are your biggest ally in addressing the underlying problem – if you give them up, you’ll be allowed to forget what the real problem is: your lifestyle has become unhealthy and you’re doing everything with a dull saw!

Safety is an expensive illusion

Here he looks at the ‘small car’ arguement, and biking vs driving in a sort of safety cost/benefit analysis. I only wish that people at work would apply this to their Occupational Health & Safety mantra which sees the building stairwells permanently locked in case someone trips and lodges a Workers’ Compensation claim!

Anyway, there is a lot of stuff on his blog and I found it all very interesting. It’s an insight into how irrational an ultra-consumerist society can become. MMM is an eternal optimist though and he offers constructive suggestions to solve problems around debt and over-spending.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Reasons to Ride

 

Just to prove I’m still riding….

We have had some wild weather since a big storm on Sunday caused a lot of damage to the electricity network and some houses in Perth. Last night a storm which rivalled Sunday’s was predicted. The only thing that has changed is that the kilometers are ticking over a lot more slowly, and I’m riding a tank in my Surly LHT instead of a road bike.

Anyway I had the Gopro on the bars last night to see if I could catch any action. Not really anything exciting like trees coming down or pieces of roofing flying through the sky, but the clouds were pretty. Maybe storm clouds being pretty is a strange concept for some, but we are pretty starved of rain and clouds here so I make a point of appreciating them when they are around.

Don’t forget you can sponsor me.

 

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Owner Review: Macpac 150gsm Merino Cycling Jersey

Icebreaker, a famous NZ merino-clothing brand has a new catchcry “nature is better than plastic”, I wholeheartedly agree after finally getting some lovely superfine garments for myself – none of them from Icebreaker though as even on sale their stuff is crazy-expensive, and usually is cut for someone with a more athletic figure than myself.

I stalked into Macpac one day at lunch time and saw they were having a Merino clearance, including these cycling jerseys which were going out the door for $55.95.

mac pac merino jersey

Macpac Merino jersey

They only had two colours left, black and a bright blue colour. Both jerseys had grey panels, and there are reflective logos on the centre/rear pocket, the sleeve and one shoulder (facing forward). It has a full length zip. I went for the blue colour for visibility.

While this jersey isn’t skin-tight like the synthetic jerseys I own, it doesn’t flap around in the wind enough to be annoying.

The main advantage though, is that I can ride to work in the morning, let it air out during the day, and put it on again to ride home without the stink of the synthetic jerseys after sweat has evaporated off them. I have now worn it two days in a row without any discernable stink. It dries faster than a cotton shirt too.

Bottom line, if you can find yourself a merino jersey that fits you and doesn’t break the bank, go for it. The only caveat is that if you wear a backpack a lot, then you might get some premature wear around your backpack straps just because of how lightly woven 150gsm merino is.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2012 in Reviews

 

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Training: Perth Ride to Conquer Cancer

At the start of the month, I undertook to get 1000 kilometres under my wheels for the 30 days of June.

As there was a bit of rain around this week, I just did my standard short commute every workday, but I have kept up with a few big weekend rides. I have been logging kilometres into bikejournal, and have been using Strava for new or long rides.

Image

Today, I did 58.8 kilometres to Fremantle and back, eating lunch at the ‘Beach Cafe’. The weather man had forecast an measly 5% chance of rain, as opposed to tomorrow which was a 90% chance of rain. On the way back, we saw that someone had applied this charming penny farthing stencil to the bike path which runs along the coast.

Penny Farthing Stencil

Penny Farthing Stencil, Shared Path, Fremantle

Last weekend was the ‘WA Day’ long weekend, which gave me an extra day to put in some kilometres. I haven’t ridden a century for over 12 months, so I decided to ride south towards Mandurah until my odometer clicked over 50 kilometres, then turn around and ride back. I ended up going into a suburb down near Baldivis and eating a museli bar for lunch in their neighbourhood park.

Strava screen dump

My first century in 12 months, as recorded by Strava.

I also banged out a 60 kilometre Freeway-Roe Highway-Railway Parade loop on the Saturday, and I slept very soundly that working week. I didn’t fall asleep at my desk, honestly, I didn’t.

Anyway, without the long weekend this week I am going to have to extend my weekday rides next week. If you would like to help with my motivation, please visit my profile and donate some money towards my Ride to Conquer Cancer in October.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2012 in Charity Rides

 

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