Review of 2012: The author’s highlights

It’s still January, so I feel I should be partaking of the retrospective fever that grips so many people around this time of year. Sure, we’re two weeks in, but hey, I’ve been busy.

More importantly, it’s roughly a year since I myself got back on the bike, after a very long leave of absence. So here’s what I did in 2012. (Don’t worry, I’ll cover 2012 in pro racing in the next day or two). Feel free to click away if the cycling tales of nearly-middle-aged blokes bore you to tears.

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THIS is how you HTFU

It’s Strava’s Base Mile Blast challenge this month. One rider from Adelaide seems to be doing extraordinarily well

Good work, Peter, on completing 35,876.8 miles in 11 days. Whatever a mile is. You’re certainly flying the flag for Australia

I’m languishing down in something like 4500th place with a bit over 200 miles right now. Makes you think I ought to pedal harder, huh?

(By the way, I’ve confirmed that Peter hasn’t been doing nefarious things like flying his Garmin from Sydney to London and back – it’s a bug on Strava’s side)

Protip: If you want to ride up the Ventoux, don’t eat all the drugs

I’ve been watching a fair both of YooToob cycling recently. Today I stumbled across this BBC documentary on Tom Simpson.

Bonus: Narrated by King Theoden from Lord of The Rings. Imagine him at the front of the peloton, shouting “DEEEAAAAAATH!!!”


Tips for novices? Yeah, why not.

The Guardian has a tips for novice post-christmas riders post, which was just shared to me via a Sydney Cycleways Facebook page. So I thought I’d have a crack at my own five tips for post-christmas novices. Bearing in mind that this time last year I had been off the bike for a bit over ten years, I think I have some valuable input to offer.

1. Pedal harder

The fat ain’t going to shift itself, Tubby.

2. Sort out your contact points

Buy some proper cycling shorts, observing rules 14, 15 and 17. In fact, buy some MTB-style shy shorts, because you’re still tubby, Tubby. Buy some riding gloves, and buy proper clipless shoes and pedals. The first two will help you ride longer in comfort. The last one will help you to observe Tip #1 and while you WILL spend some time flat on your face, the benefits outweigh the inevitable injury. Also it’s  still funny for those of us who’ve been through the whole learning experience thing to see other riders do the flop of ignominy.

And throw away the gigantic heavy sprung saddle your bike came with, and get one that actually fits instead. Your LBS can help.

3. Lube your chain once in a while

Within a couple of weeks you’ll be one of those annoying squeaky bastards that I have to overtake fifteen to twenty of every day. Buy some oils, and buy a chain cleaner, and use it once in a while. A quiet bike is an efficient bike. Also, you’ll enjoy riding more, and you’ll be more capable of observing tip #1.

4. Get off the fucking pavement.

The pavement is for children, grandparents and chihuahuas. Get in the road. If you find the traffic intimidating, refer to tip #1, and/or choose a better road.  I don’t want pedestrians whinging at me because you ran one of them over. Also, rule 5.

5. Pedal harder

See #1

All the kids are doing it

Found on Strava, a moment of indelicate wording from a phArmstrong fanboi, or an indication that everyone’s doing it now?

Yo yo yo we's all jacked up on da juice if yous knows... oh whatever

click for full size

Luke Durbridge’s chin takes second Road Nats TT Championship

Durbridge's Chin celebrates a stage winNews is in from the Road Nats that Luke Durbridge’s Chin has successfully defended his Australian National TT Championship. Congratulations are in order for the chin, which has rapidly become a force to be reckoned with. As chins go, it’s a pretty fast one.

Rumour has it that several of the chin’s competitors are in consultation with chin enhancement specialists, hoping to gain an edge on the Durbridge Chin.The UCI are drafting rules on allowable chin implant sizes, speculatively allowing a chin critical length or “chinocrit” of no more than 50% enhancement. Other teams are investigating the possibility of prosthetic chins, perhaps attached to the chinstraps of aero helmets, in order to regain an edge. Wind tunnel testing has indicated potential aero savings of up to 50 available watts over more conventional chin shapes, which is not to be sniffed at.

(SBS covers the day here, with spectacular chinography)


(seriously though, gratz to Luke and to Shara Gillow for taking her third women’s title)


In a rare departure from protocol

Oprah is to support Big Pharma.

Well, look. It’s marginally better than giving an interview to Jenny McCarthy.

Maybe next she can get Michele Ferrari on to give health advice?

The embodiment of Rule 5

In celebration of the fact that Velominati gave this the V-Moment of the year, I present something I dug up on the YouTubes. Watch Boonen fuck off into the distance at the 2012 Paris Roubaix.

Roll on April and five victories for Tomeke.

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)