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All New Flying Machine – My Promo Videos

I have decided to make a video featuring each of the fur-kids in my house. So far I have done two.

Starring my Greyhound, Barbie.

Starring my current foster, a Ragdoll cat called Bumblebee.

As always, click on the link if you want to win a bike. The comp closes on the 25 February 2013.

All New Flying Machine – Share the love and win.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2013 in Bike shops

 

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Valentine’s Day – OOPS wrong bike moment!

On Valentine’s Day 12 beautiful long stemmed roses were delivered to my office. After enjoying them through the week, it was time to take them home on Friday.

Thursday night though, I got a flat on my Schwinn Le Tour Sport. It was a nasty double gee which made my tyre hiss like an angry cat when it was removed. I didn’t fix it because I got distracted, so on Friday morning I grabbed the nearest bike – my Giant STP, to ride to work.

The STP is in mountain bike mode and doesn’t have a rack. I shoved my stuff into my Crumpler messenger bag and left. It wasn’t until I got to work I realised I would have to get my roses home somehow and I had ridden the wrong bike for the job. My only saving grace was that the sender of the roses knew I would be bringing them home by bicycle and selected the dozen roses that came in a massive box.

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I deliberately didn’t water them so that I wouldn’t have water running down my back whilst riding home. I put them back in the box, and the messenger bag straps were only just long enough to clip around it. Crumpler to the rescue!

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They made it home safe and sound.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Commuting, Everyday cycling

 

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All New Flying Machine – Share the love and win

There’s this guy in Perth who owns a shop where he makes all manner of lovely custom bicycles. They are running a competition at the moment where you could win one for yourself!

All New Flying Machine – Share the love and win.

It’s a big social media campaign, the more you share, the more points you get and the closer you get to winning a bike. If you are big on social networking then join up and see how you go.

If I win, I’d choose a custom bike with a belt drive, just because.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Bike shops

 

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9:zero:7, bringing a bit of Alaska to Perth

Finally my beautiful Carver O’Beast fork arrived from the USA, so did a small amount of assembly. At this point the frame/fork/stem/bars feels light. Of course the heaviest component is to come…. the wheelset.

9:zero:7 and o'beast

After much deliberation I decided to get a Large Marge Light wheelset built by Bikeman.com – I thought about ordering the parts and doing the build myself but it turned out that the Bikeman price for a custom built wheel is highly competitive.

I’ve also got some RaceFace turbine fatbike cranks on their way – I got the red ones because they were the only ones in stock that were 170mm and they look pretty cool. Not sure how they are going to go with the orange frame, but I think they’ll be OK. People aren’t going to look much past the 4 inches of rubber anyway.

At this stage I’m aiming to have the build finished by the start of March, just in time for it to start cooling down and the beach crowds to start thinning out.

 

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Car vs House – Fatality in Merriwa

I was collecting these car vs house stories as I was flabbergasted about how so many cars manage to be driven into people’s places of residence in Perth. I have no idea if this is a prevalent thing in other Australian cities but it is shocking to me how often it happens here. It got to the point where I gave up because if I kept sharing them, my blog would be full of them and not have enough proper cycling content.

This one is worth mentioning though because it involves a fatality and serious charges by the Police (finally). 

Some of the article text from PerthNow: 

A WOMAN has been charged after crashing a Toyota Hilux into a home in Merriwa in the early hours of this morning, killing a sleeping eight-month-old baby inside.

 

It will be alleged that at 2:30am, the 35-year-old woman’s vehicle mounted the median strip, ploughed through a wooden fence and into the wall of Nate Dunbar’s bedroom in the Tug Cove home his family lives in.

 

Emergency services tried desperately to save the baby boy, but tragically he died from his injuries.

 

The Quinns Rock woman has been charged with dangerous driving occasioning death. She is due to appear in Joondalup Magistrates Court on February 11.

 

RIP Nate, my thoughts go out to his family. 

Unfortunately this isn’t a ‘freak’ occurrence, drivers attempting to demolish houses with their motor vehicles happens quite frequently. Those who escape unscathed are lucky. Perth’s luck ran out on this one though. 

The major factor in all of these cases appears to be alcohol (although the Police are still investigating in this case so I can’t say one way or the other whether alcohol was involved).

The driver was walking at the scene and was taken to hospital but is in a stable condition. As cars get more and more safety features built in, the mortal threat to the driver seems to be diminishing. This isn’t the case for those innocent people outside of the car. 

There is something seriously wrong with our thinking here. Why do people continue to drink and drive? Is it because they don’t see an alternative? Is it because they think driving is a right, not a privilege? 

I hope we see some serious sentencing for this woman. Perhaps making an example of her would help curb reckless behaviour for Perth drivers. Perhaps it won’t, it might be something that is just deeply ingrained into our driving culture. 

I need to go for a ride to cheer myself up.

 

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Route Planning: Google Maps Blowout!

Google cycling directions are still in beta for Perth, and this is what happened when we discovered a couple of bugs on our ride from Thornlie to Atwell which I wrote about in ‘Bike and Train: Half the Pain’.

It was a problem for me because I was not familiar at all with the area we would be cycling through, and because Google’s satellite images for Perth are so old that many don’t accurately represent the roads on the ground. If there isn’t a road on the satellite image, but the shadow of a road is there, it is usually safe to assume one has been built.

Well it wasn’t a safe bet this time!

gps track

Problem number 1 – a crucial part of Meriton Blvd has not been built yet, so we were forced to go back out to Nicholson Road.

Problem number 2 – Fraser Road stops when it gets to Jandakot Regional Park. There is a sandy track in it’s place, which is not really navigable for road bikes – it’s like a fire trail. We followed a track we thought was the right one, but it wasn’t. We ended up taking a rather large detour to get back on track.

I reported the bugs to Google and received an automated acknowledgement e-mail. The reporting process was pretty simple, you picked an option “ie the road was closed’ and pick the point at which this was a problem from a list.

The Meriton Boulevard problem was quickly resolved by Google, they send you an e-mail that says:

“Your Google Maps problem report has been reviewed, and you were right!”

Despite submitting the report at the beginning of December, I only just got confirmation that Google Maps have accepted my report regarding Fraser Road. I am not sure how they verified my report, but it seems that they have.

Google maps isn’t a great way to navigate even in the car sometimes, but I think the problems are amplified by the cycling directions because they try to route you through quiet roads. Turns out it would have been better to use more major roads as they have since been re-done and were two empty lanes with bike lanes along some of them as well.

The lesson here I guess is to use Google Maps with caution!

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Everyday cycling

 

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Owner Review: MonkeyLectric M210 Wheel Light

MonkeyLectric is about making awesome looking, and hopefully visibility enhancing, lights for bicycle wheels.

From their website:

Show your Style! The M210 Monkey Light is a rugged, practical, high performance bicycle light that keeps you visible in all weather conditions. The M210 straps to your spokes and displays brilliant patterns on your spinning bike wheel. Show your style with cutting edge themes designed by our electronic artists.

In all there are 20 themes programmed into the light, which displays them on a strip of 10 LEDs, with patterns forming, and filling your wheel depending on your speed and wheel diameter. The M210 will fit in wheels from 20″ upwards in size. It comes with a warning that the maximum safe speed is 65 kilometres per hour – so this light isn’t for crazy hill descents, or for motorcycles.

I have run the M210 on the front wheel of the Schwinn Le Tour Sport for two months now and so far I have been very happy with it.

I still own the original monkey light and the M210 shows that they have taken on board all the customer feedback they received in the development of this new light.

monkeylectric m210

The main highlights are:

Ruggardization: The M210 looks a lot tougher than the original monkeylight, the circuitry has a thicker plastic coat and the battery compartment is sealed. I have ridden it through Swan River flood waters twice with no ill effects.

Weight distribution: Most of the weight is in the batteries, and having these mounted on the hub means that you don’t get the noticable wobble in the wheel that I had with the original.

User friendliness: The power on/off button is a different colour so it’s easy to know you are pressing the right button when you are on the bike. It is pretty easy to cycle through the designs and the packaging is the instructions – you can keep them tacked up on a wall somewhere for easy reference.

As the M210 is a ‘mini’ version it is not quite as crazily eye-catching as the original Monkeylight which had 32 LEDs (the M232 is the M210’s big brother if you still want that much colour). For my mind the 10 LED strip is a good thing, as with the original monkey light I actually got motorists horning me and yelling stuff at me from their car windows about the light. At times this extra audio feedback was not particularly welcome. There is a very small difference between ‘hey your light is awesome’ and ‘get off the road %#$**!’ when it is yelled out of the window of a passing car at 60kmh.

Now I mainly hear pedestrians say to one another ‘hey that light is pretty cool’ to each other as I ride on past.

I made a video to illustrate what it looks like in real world conditions. The first part of the video is what it looks like to the rider, and the second replicates what it might look like to cars waiting at an intersection.

Overall: For me the M210 is the perfect size and intensity. It looks pretty, adds to side on visibility (hopefully reducing the ‘sorry mate I didn’t see you’ or SMIDSY phenomenon) and the 8-bit preprogrammed patterns are pretty funky. The claimed run time is 40 hours, and I haven’t run the batteries flat yet. I suggest that you get yourself some rechargeable NiMH batteries so that this light remains environmentally friendly though. If you are after a nice bit of bling for your bike then you should consider one, or two of these guys 🙂

If you’re in Australia you can order directly from MonkeyLectric. If you are after something bigger and more eye-catching than the M210, you could always go for the M232, which has a whopping 32 LEDs and 42 themes to pump out brilliant light shows.

Full Disclosure: MonkeyLectric gave me a 50% off deal on the M210 to review on this blog. All other reviews on this blog are written without inducements of any kind from suppliers or manufacturers unless stated otherwise.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Reviews

 

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