Category Archives: Gadgetry

Ooooh. Shiny.

Friday Video: How a bicycle is made

Well, not your bicycle, unless you’re a vintage bike freak. Rather, a 1940s Raleigh, all-steel – no carbon or aluminium, no 30-speed XTR groupset, No suspension and certainly no dopey on-the-fly tyre pressure adjustment. It’s all rather industrial – though to be honest, I’d love some of that machinery in my own workshop.

Discovered via the Yo Eddy!! blog


No. Just No.

As if there wasn’t already enough to adjust on the trail, I give you… Adaptrac on-the-fly tyre pressure adjustment.

No. Seriously, no. Fuck off. If I see you with this on the trail, I’m going to push you off your bike and steal all the CO2 cartridges. FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

Seven things I hate about Strava

No, really

Strava. What it's really all about.

Lots of people whine about how Strava is destroying cycling, what with the whole “added competition” aspect and all. Or something.

These people are of course entitled to whine as much as they want about whatever they want. But the fact remains that Strava, and similar apps, are enormously valuable to cyclists, and not just competitive testosterone-driven street racers out for a new KOM. The key thing being the fact that your detailed data allows you not just to compete against others, but to compete against yourself. And even excluding the competitive aspect, it’s really quite nice to have a record of how many kms you’ve covered, how much uphill you’ve done and how often you’ve done it, and how much you’ve improved over time.

And I’d be a whole lot slower and a lot less fit if I didn’t have some kind of self-challenging tool to kick my arse of a morning. Or, to be more accurate, some kind of self-challenging tool that turns every commute into a gut-wrenching interval session.

That said, there are things about Strava that piss me off. Royally.

Continue Reading →

The travel hairdryer of doom

In one’s suitcase of courage, one may find all sorts of things. Most welcome is the multi-pronged travel adapter of unexpected pace, but it’s rarely found. What I came upon yesterday was the travel hairdryer of doom.

It was over 42°C in Sydney yesterday. For those using non-approved units, that’s over 107.6°F and a whopping 315°K.

In colloquial terms, it was hot. Really hot. On my inward commute, I found that the water in my bidon rapidly became tepid, then lukewarm, then actually quite fucking hot thank you. The second bottle was more of the same. An unhappy boy I was. The breeze was nasty, rather like having hot air blown in one’s face for just over an hour.

Hence the travel hairdryer of doom. Or “the speech from Tony Abbott”.

So I went to Atelier De Velo and bought a gadget.

It’s the Camelbak Podium Chill drink bottle, and fuck me it actually works.

Like many other bike riders, I just use whatever bike bottle comes my way. I resent paying for bottles, and I reuse them forever and a day, or at least until they jump out of their cage on a rocky descent and make a rapid escape. However, I think I’m sold on these camelbak bottles.

For one thing, the closure system actually seals. Unlike the traditional bite and pull valve, which rapidly wears out and leaves the bottle dribbly like an old bloke’s old fella, The camelbak comes with a “Jet Valve”, which is a fancy word for a twisting tap system, which can be operated by hand or by teeth, if you fail it and forget to open the valve ahead of time, but the main thing is is does genuinely seem to keep your drink colder longer.

On my ride home, which I did via a scenic route, I was comfortably happy with my first bottle. Of course, dipping into the reserves left me with yet more hot water and I had to hunt down a refill tap for the third. Yes, 40km, three and a bit fills. It was hot. The Garmin showed an average temperature of thirty-eight degrees.

So I think I’ll be buying one or two more of these chill bottle things.

The other stuff I bought (for one may not simply walk into a bike shop and buy a single item) included an energy gel which I may actually find palatable, some wax-based chain lube (to be reviewed when I get round to applying it) and some electrolyte tabs, also as a response to the heat of the day and the inevitable sweating out of every salt in my system. Reviews will follow later, at a discreet distance so it doesn’t look like I’m a filthy product plugger.

Anyway, did you ride in the heatwave? Did you fly, or did you collapse into a sweaty heap of useless flab? Speak up, it’s what the comments are for.

(Extra: Rupert Guinness – he of the shirts – has a piece on extreme heat in the SMH. Apparently, elite athletes can handle it. Except tennis players, apparently. HTFU, tennis players)