This was a really cool semi-organised scavenger hunt style ride which took us through many back alleyways in Perth in search of clues.
They have a website here.
Read the rest at my new blog perthcyclist.net
There are ducklings and baby coots almost everywhere you look at the moment. It’s been a good year for them.
The sweet cool breeze that dissipates the sun’s mild heat is a reminder that warmer days are coming. The sun will intensify until a morning ride will illicit twice the amount of sweat for the same amount of effort. As I make my way along the beautiful riverside bikeway, I begin to appreciate the headwinds for their cooling effect. I welcome the sound of the wind roaring past, whistling through the straps of my helmet.
It is time to hang my softshell in the closet for another year. If there is any rain in between now and next June I will rejoice in it, not cover my skin with water-repellent clothing. It is time to rummage through my drawers to unearth my lightweight, trendy Coolmax garments, whilst stocking up on sunscreen. Maybe this year I’ll even invest in one of those insulated water bottles, so that I can squirt some water into my mouth on a long ride without receiving third degree burns.
I will plan rides taking into account exposure to hot roads and walls, perhaps avoiding the freeway bike path for a month or two. I learned this lesson the hard way a few summers ago, being caught out in the middle of kilometres of black tar with the air temperature sitting on 40 degrees Celsius. The only other riders I saw that day were cowering in underpass tunnels, or making their way to the nearest train station for a ride home in air conditioned comfort. Being the stubborn type I struggled out to the coast and went for a much needed swim to cool off, then used the train as my sag wagon for the trip home.
Whilst I am not looking forward to the inevitable run of 40 degree days, I will enjoy the here and now. I know that in a few short months I will be baking cookies for the dogs on the dashboard of my car.
Ah Facebook! A couple of weeks ago I saw that a friend-of-a-friend had posted “yay, I got a new job, bye bye stinky public transport, hello 3 minute drive to work”
I don’t know this person, and their security settings only allowed me to read their post but not reply, but I was thinking “WHAT THE? WHY BOTHER DRIVING 3 MINUTES!!!!”
There was a time in my life where I did drive 10 minutes to work. I would not even give it a second thought now. Say if you drive 3 minutes, and the average speed you are travelling at is 40 km per hour (which is pretty standard for urban/suburban areas when you take into account roundabouts, stop signs, traffic lights etc), then in 3 minutes you are going about 2 kilometres. That might be a bit far to walk, but you would barely notice it on a bike. Say you are a newbie, or have a cruiser bike and are riding very slowly at 15 km per hour, then it would only take you 8 minutes, and you aren’t going to need a shower, so it doesn’t matter if the employer doesn’t provide lockers/showers. No need to spend much on the bike either, so you don’t have to worry much about secure parking for it.
The bad news is the commute, only being 16 minutes a day isn’t going to quite get you up to the 30 minutes a day of exercise that is the BARE MINIMUM everyone should be doing. You will need to go for a walk at lunch time.
But seriously, why not ride?
When you are on a bike, you aren’t insulated from the city you are travelling through. You have great vision with no windows or pillars in the way. You are travelling more slowly so details jump out at you. I took a little time to document my ride home so that you may share the riches I enjoy on my way home every day.
You might hear, and then see a powerboat on the calm waters of the Swan, practicing for the upcoming Avon Descent race. The sun sets on the city in the background.
I quite enjoyed this small, and somewhat sloppy bicycle stencil on a wall between two principle shared paths.
Upon seeing this very small stencil, you may break into a rendition of ‘C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me, C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me, C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me, Cookie Cookie Cookie starts with C!”
This red dog stencil looks a little like the iconic ‘dingo flour’ sign on a big old building down near Fremantle. I am not sure if the resemblance was deliberate, but it’s more food for thought as you pedal along.
The sun will continue on it’s journey below the horizon as you continue on your journey home. The pink and orange hues reflect off the calm, glassy water.
Humpty dumpty threatens to fall and break all over my bike… but you would never spot him from the road, or the train.
Sometimes you find small signs that humans are in general good creatures. I hope the owner of the computer/heart rate monitor sees this sign before it rains again!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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).
…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.
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!)
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.
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!
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.
There’s certainly no doubt about it – Western Australia has some nice places to ride, for both casual and serious cyclists. What it lacks in hills though, it makes up for in gusty wind – which is good when it is behind you, not so good if it’s in your face.
The South Perth foreshore now has a dedicated cycling path so that the pedestrians and cyclists don’t have to share. It makes it easier to cruise along and enjoy the view, one still has to be aware of the unleashed doggies and meandering pedestrians who do not read signs.
Of course, aside from puttering around the river, I use my bike for errands and transport. Unfortunately, bike racks are not always available at the destination. As long as there is some kind of pole though, parking is possible. Bikes really do not take up much room.
So I’ve added a new page to my blog about the Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer. Two hundred kilometres (plus a bit more), starting in the Perth CBD, is going to require a bit of training for me. I am trying to do at least 120 kilometres on weekends at the moment. The training schedule is going to have 3 x 120k weekends, and then a weekend off. I will gradually start to ramp up the kilometres. There are a lot of people who haven’t thrown a leg over a bike since they were a kid doing this ride, but my aim is to do each day in about 4 hours and spend the rest of the time luxuriating in camp getting leg massages and eating!
Along with the fitness goals involved, I need to raise a minimum of $2,500. My personal goal is just that little bit higher – I’m after about $3,000.
It seems like cancer is starting to rear it’s ugly head for people I know. It’s like once you get past 30, all these little evil tendrils creep in and the risk factors for everything start to climb. There is a schedule of checks and examinations you are meant to keep. Half the population will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Research is expensive and can take a long time to develop viable clinical results – but it has led to increased survival rates for so many different types of cancer.
If cancer has touched you or someone you know, please consider donating. Everything counts.