Hurtling into the distance on two chunky wheels

In which I talk Mountain biking, and occasionally some general cycling stuff too

If you're here, you shouldn't be, because the blog has changed a bit

It's OVER HERE

Skepticism has invaded my other blog

I have a blog over here about cycling. I started it because I wanted this one to return to scepticism, music, alcohol and misinformed ranting. Turns out that it's almost impossible to have non-overlapping magisteria in the blogosphere, though, as I take on Kinesio Tape on The Crankset.

Normal Service soon to be resumed

It's come to one's attention that most of the posts here recently have been about riding bikes. This is a departure from the 'normal' material, which should consist of drunken rants against the unreality-based community, pictures of beer and stupid puns. This being the case, I've decided to put the cycling stuff over in its own blog, The Crankset, which will consist mainly of ill-considered slander and bile directed toward the two-wheeled community, memes of Lance Armstrong and pictures of carbon fibre thingummies. And probably some frank and uncensored talk of bushman's hankies, belgian toothpaste, rule 5 and the like. If you...

The MTB Report Dec 2012 - A Day Out In Victoria

  Part One: Up A few weekends ago, I received and invite from my good mate James Taylor (no relation) to go visit him in Bright, VIC, where he's been living for a while as a paragliding, bike-riding, rock-climbing, beer drinking dropout bum. And so it transpired that on Friday 7th December I found myself in a cab on the way to the airport, in thick Sydney traffic, with my bike in a box and a small bag of stuff for carry-on luggage, bound for Albury and thence to Bright. James's housemates are deeply involved with the Bright Brewery, so obviously the first...

The MTB Report October-November 2012

It's taken me a while to get round to blogging about my riding of late. I've been rather busy, as will be elaborated shortly. October opened with much preparation for the 100km Kanangra Classic, of which I've blogged before. This was to be my first endurance race this century, and my first actual crack at properly racing the MTB Marathon distance of 100km - my previous endurance racing being the multi-day Polaris Challenge MTB orienteering series, a format which is not so much about covering a set distance quickly as balancing navigation, tenacity, fitness and time management. So the early part of October...

How to fail at Astroturfing

My attention was drawn today to a website called "Helmets On Heads". This website purports, under the domain helmetsonheads.org, to be a promotional campaign to raise safety and tries to look independent but industry supported. It's actually wholly owned by the industry. This should be a warnign flag to treat claims with caution - there's a monetary incentive to overstate the case, so a little extra scrutiny is justified. Their FACTS page makes a rather odd set of claims, which you'll probably spot if you're schooled in spotting hokey numbers. Now, I do like a good hokey number, so I thought I'd...

The MTB Report, Sept 16th 2012

I've been a bit quiet on the blog of late. Ordinarily, I'd be at least updating what I've been up to on the mountain bike each weekend, but, well... I kinda couldn't. You see, back on 26th August, I decided I'd take a little ride down to Loftus, on the edge of the Royal National Park, and ride a bit of singletrack and fire trail on my full-suspension bike, a 2011 BMC Speedfox SF03. Well, I got to Loftus and, about halfway down temptation creek firetrail, snapped the frame in half. DAMN IT It wasn't as if I was riding hard. I was doing about...

The MTB report 19 Aug 2012

This weekend was an unusual one. Esther has been away in hospital for a few weeks, and on Saturday she was given an overnight pass to come home and do a trial-run before being released back into the wild. So while I initially planned to do a long ride on Saturday, I ended up skipping it in favour of some domestic chores followed by the hospital run. And Sunday was of course out. But Esther was due back at the physical rehab centre at 7pm on Sunday. So.... NIGHT RIDE! My initial plan was to go check out Loftus Oval, but as usual,...

Stop Building Bike Lanes!

"GERROFFTHEFUCKENROAD!!" As a cyclist, I hear this so often that I can almost predict its arrival. Usually, it's shouted out of the open window of a tradie's ute as it barrels past me at a dangerously short distance, but it can come from vehicles as diverse as taxis, vans and the humble Hyundai Excel of a barely-qualified P-plater. And it's really quite annoying. Because when I'm on my bike, I'm as entitled to use the road system as anyone else. In fact, I can go anywhere on NSW Roads other than places where it's specifically signposted not to go. Generally, this means Motorways,...

The MTB Report 4 Aug 2012

I didn't actually report last weekend's epic ride. 75km out to Yellomundee Regional Park, 15km or so around the park, 75km back. There was a fairly nasty incident involving some random western suburbs assclown who wanted to run me off the road and wasn't afraid to either say it or attempt it. He failed, of course, being an incompetent driver. But still, let's speak less of that and instead speak of today's ride. Last night (Friday), I drove out to Jenolan Caves, where I'd booked a room at Caves House. My intention was to do a reconnoitre of Kanangra Boyd National...

The MTB Report 24 Jun 2012

Well, it's done and dusted. My first bike race in about 14 years and I didn't disgrace myself by coming last, or, as in the last event I rode, getting censured by the marshalls and losing my position for the day* The Careflight Oaks Classic for 2012, down 25km of the extremely popular Oaks Firetrail, featured somewhere in the region of 400 mountain bikers and started out, in the cold of a mountains morning, from Woodford Station. I travelled up in the company of Gaby Mayo and James Taylor, both fit riders who've raced before, and Jo, who was playing the role of support driver for the day....

Those bike lanes again

It's been a couple of months since I last blogged about Sydney's bike lane traffic light problem. As I hinted in the last series of blogs, I've largely stopped using the Sydney Cycleways, due mainly to the appalling performance of the detection loops, but also due to some other factors, not all of which apply to all riders, among them being it often takes longer to get from A to B via cyleway than by using the road (due mainly to very short, unreliable light sequences, but also due to the next item) It's almost impossible to...

The MTB Report 6 May 2012

shambolic  (ʃæmˈbɒlɪk) — adj informal  completely disorganized; chaotic That's the word I'd use to describe yesterday's attempt at a 50km circuit of Kangara-Boyd National Park by myself, James Taylor and Dave The Happy Singer. Getting in what we thought was an early start, we decided to take my car, a small car, out to the trail rather than convoying. So we loaded three bikes onto the rack and started out. Breakfast in Blackheath was grabbed, laughs were had at adverts for a "Homeopathic First Aid" course, and soon we were driving down Victoria Pass towards Jenolan Caves Road, all ready to do a first recce...

In which I shall swear at trees... competitively

That's torn it. I just paid my entry fee for the 2012 Kanangra Classic Mountain Bike Enduro. It takes place in October 2012, the weekend before my 38th* birthday, in Kanangra-Boyd National Park, in the Blue Mountains Plateau, somewhat south-west of my usual biking trails in the mid-mountainsplateau. To be honest, I'm not too intimidated. I've done the 100km thing quite a few times this year, including a two-day ride with a 130km second day, and the reputation of Kanangra trails is that they're relatively friendly and don't have the horrifying climbs you find, for instance, going up Ingar and down Anderson's. Still, I've never...

What I did at the weekend

The view from Hassan's Walls Lookout As I noted in the previous post, my plan for the weekend of 31st March - 1st April 2012 was to ride my bike across the Blue Mountains, from West to...

What I'm doing this weekend

Jamison Valley from Katoomba. Wikimedia Commons Well, I'm doing this. Yep. I'm crossing the Blue Mountains, from Lithgow to Penrith, utilising as little actual road as possible, on my shiny BMC Speedfox Mountain Bike. I'll be packing...

Response from City of Sydney re: Bike Lane Lights

As I was drafting the previous post, this popped into my mailbox. It resolves a few questions, more so than the previous RTA email, in fact Subject: RE: Bike lanes, traffic lights, police operations and RTA guidelines Hi Jason   The Lord Mayor has asked me to reply to you directly on this issue.  I'm also available to speak to you in person if you'd like to discuss in detail   You've raised quite a few issues, and I know John at RMS has replied to you though you feel not all questions are fully answered.  So I'll try here, and you can let me know if...

Sydney Morning Herald picks up on the bike lights story

I spent an hour or so on Monday morning in the company of Amanda Hoh, a video journalist from Fairfax Digital, looking at the bike lane traffic lights which have so exercised me over the last couple of weeks. I was Amanda's guide and model for a video piece on the lights. We tested various ways of hitting the sensors and found that they really only work when you're dead center on the line where the diamond markings should be. We also discovered, in an adjunct experiment, that it's not sufficient to have a wheel on the outer edge of the sensor...

MTB Day Out 17 Mar 2012

I managed to get out on the bike again at the weekend, despite awful weather. This time I was in the company of Dave The Happy Singer, who would be riding my new (to me) Avanti Hammer XT hardtail. Esther's dad Tim was kind enough to bring me the Hammer, a 2003 model, from his large collection and I was told to consider it a permanent loan. Which is win. Anyway, two bikes don't fit into one small Celica, so it was also the first outing for my new bike rack, and the first time I've had an external bike rack...

Response from the RTA/RMS regarding Pyrmont cycle traffic control

So I wrote to the RTA about the trouble with the Union Street cycle corridor, which I've been blogging about for the last few days. I include the response here in full. My initial approach garnered a specific name, so here's what I sent: Hi John, I've been given your email to forward the below enquiry. I've re-pasted the enquiry here. Not sure if you'll end up receiving this two ways: http://www.mycolleaguesareidiots.com/archive/2012/03/06/The-green-light-and-why-youre-not-getting-it.aspx  Traffic lights/delays Message I'm a blogger with an interest in cycling, among other things. I've recently posted about sensor-activated cycle lane traffic lights in Sydney - which made the SMH news yesterday due...

Email to NSW Police regarding Pyrmont cycle control lights

Having written to the RTA and Clover Moore about these frustrating bike lights, I figured I ought to talk to NSW police about their crackdown day: I'm a blogger with interest in, among other things, cycling in and around Sydney. I've recently been blogging about the cycle lane lights in Pyrmont. A day after my first blog on the topic, I noticed a crackdown by Sydney Police on red-light running. Ironically, my blog of March 6th had been about how the traffic control sensors are unreliable and badly installed. This being the case, I'm after some press comment on the crackdown of...

More about those Pyrmont cycle lane lights

I've posted recently on some problems with Sydney's otherwise excellent cycle lane network, well it turns out the subject doesn't really go away. A day after I blogged about the road sensor problem, NSW police staged a crackdown on red-light infractions and non-helmet wearers. Laying aside the helmet issue for now, it's easy to see, if you've read the previous piece, that there's a problem here. It could well be that the issues with the traffic light sensors have contributed to the light jumping problem, and this, in my opinion, makes any fines issued on crackdown day very doubtful indeed. So I...

MTB Day Out 10 Mar 2012

So I spent a day riding the Speedfox around the Blue Mountains yesterday, and had a great time, though I covered fewer kilometres than originally planned. Torrential rain during the week blew the original plan, which was to take two relative Newbies down the Oaks track. NPWS closures and a river purported to be in flood meant it was probably unwise to do much in the lower mountains, so I decided to head for higher ground in the Mt Victoria - Blackheath area, but not before stopping off in Lawson to have a one-hour thrash around the Old Volvo Trail. The old Volvo Track is...

The green light and why you're not getting it

I've been riding my bike to work recently. Not every day, but certainly enough to re-learn a few of the things I used to know back when I was a regular bike commuter. One of these is that drivers are sometimes idiots. Certainly not all the time, but when you encounter perhaps a hundred cars on a given commute, it only takes 0.1% of drivers to be idiots, and you're getting a near miss (or worse) once every ten trips. However I've also observed that sometimes cyclists can be idiots too, me included. So, anyway, there's this lovely bike path network that the City Of Sydney have...

That Cycling Thing

I've been riding my bike a lot lately. This is partly because I want to regain some lost fitness, and partly because Esther has simultaneously challenged and bribed me to lose a few kilos, and partly because I'd forgotten how much I enjoy riding. I've dropped about five kilos in the last couple of weeks, putting me two kilos away from the first level of bribery. That level ought to see me acquiring a new bike to complement the old, probably a Fuel EX5 or EX6. Mmmm.... nice. There are other levels to follow that, but they may be quite a...

Narrowneck track, 21st Jan 2012

Today, despite thrashing rain and thunderstorm warnings, I took my bike for a bit of a ride. Driving out to the Blue Mountains in driving rain - and a couple of scary aquaplaning moments - I questioned the wisdom of doing the ride at all. There was a lot of rain on the radar, and thunderstorm chances were high, but arriving at Katoomba things looked dry-ish So, off I went. The first potential mistake happened when I parked on Cliff Drive. The start there is, I have subsequently discovered, at the top of a category 5 climb. Lovely on the way down, pretty...

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