Well, my Monkey is finally beginning to turn into a proper touring bike. I installed the Rohloff, and then some time last year I sent Scott from Porcelain Rocket the sketch below, with a request to make me some bike bags: In November, he finished them up, and I got an awesome early Christmas present. Which I have finally gotten around to photographing! As you can see, he rather awesomely brought my dreams to life. The bags have had a bit of use already, as they’re really handy for longer day trips, and for just biking around town when you … Continue reading Monkey metamorphosis
Phew, I don’t want to even think about how long ago it was that I started working on this video. Long enough. It’s finally finished now – a selection of our photos from the Hokkaido, Japan portion of our 2009 cycle tour, set to a frenetic ska version of Turning Japanese, and invoking awesome route-drawn-on-map technology (well, not that awesome, but shh).
“From 768m to 2504m and back down again. Sometimes all you can do is slip into your lowest granny gear, set some Queen playing on your iPod, and grind your way to the top.” Setting off we plan to get as close as we can to the start of the Großglockner Pass road. However we get distracted after finding a market, and then an enormous bike store, and then in Bad Reichenhall there are cakes, and internet. By the time we’re finished in Bad Reichenhall it’s after midday and the clouds have finally lifted, revealing the mountains surrounding us. … Continue reading Into the Alps: The Großglockner (26 – 27 Sept 2009)
Looking through the guidebook for an ice climb to do on a windy day with high avalanche risk, we struck upon the climbs down by the edge of Lake Minnewanke. The guidebook told us that the first ascent team had used iceskates to get to the climbs – but for later in the season recommended bikes. “Ok”, we thought, “bikes it is, that sounds like a great idea”. Walking the bikes across Lake Minnewanke Arriving at the lake we had to hunt around for a while to find a good place to get onto the ice – neither … Continue reading ice-capades on a frozen lake
Fed up with not having any exercise for the last week and a half, I decided to test out my knee on a short bike ride. Unfortunately the warmest it managed to make it to today was -22oC (-8oF) or so. And there was a lot of snow around, so it ended up being a longer than planned bike ride with large sections of pushing. As I set out it was like a world of pastel though, with everything snow-covered and subdued sunset pink and blues soaking through. I went back out and cycled along my nemesis track … Continue reading back on the bike
An expedition into town today led to the acquisition of some Continental Spike Claw 240s (at the only local bike shop that wasn’t sold out of winter tyres). The physio also made my knee work again – well, it’ll still be recovering for a few more weeks, but now it bends at least. So maybe eventually I’ll be able to ditch the crutches and start utilising the fancy new winter tyres. And perhaps one day our car will no longer live at the mechanics.
After Sundays adventure I’m hobbling around on crutches with a knee that is swollen like a water balloon and won’t bear much weight. Thankfully there’s probably nothing broken, fractured, twisted or torn, so I just have to wait for my knee to stop panicking (it has an built-in air bag that doesn’t deploy quickly enough?) and recovery might not take too long. I hope. Then I shall buy these tyres (Schwalbe Winter Marathons) and laugh in the face of any ice and snow in my path.
The things you do when you don’t have a functioning vehicle. (Yes those are nordic skis and poles strapped to the bikes – it worked quite well)
So apparently it’s largely uphill along the highway from Canmore to Banff. Only 700 metres gain over 25km or so. Gradual enough to make you think it’s flat, and that you’re just really unfit – until you turn around and go the other way. Riding along the 1A Despite the cool temperatures on Thursday (it was around minus 13oC at 11am, I don’t know that it got much warmer), we went Banff-wards by bike – largely to go and see the new Warren Miller movie (Children of Winter, much better than other Warren Miller movies I’ve seen in … Continue reading another silly bike adventure
Breaking the fixie out of confinement, I took it for a ride along the river and through the streets of Melbourne. Going back to riding fixed wheel was fun. Though I forgot I have to look out for snakes rather than bears, and at one point clipped the tail of a brown snake who was happily wriggling across the bike path.
The Surly LHT went out for a test ride today, from town back to the farm – a distance of just 45km which seems much further psychologically, but realistically is fairly similar in length to most other segments of 45 kilometres, and so didn’t take much more than two hours, even with my loaded panniers on and an unpleasant headwind. In the end I got distracted with the riding and did not take many photos. Well, not only distracted with the riding, I also developed a gripping fear of getting catheads (or caltrops, or whatever you want to … Continue reading the bike ride
“I’VE HAD IT WITH YOUR ATTEMPTS TO GET THESE MOTHER F**KING BIKES ON THIS MOTHER F**CKING PLANE (without paying the relevant fees which we are levying even though you thought that because you’d bought your tickets from Air New Zealand you would only have to follow their baggage rules)” the Calgary Air Canada employee yelled at us, hurling a stapler at Alex’s head. He went on to threaten us with overweight fees of $100 per bag for our two bags which were underweight by 500grams, and overweight by 800grams respectively. This was right after we’d killed his puppy, and stolen … Continue reading the depth of my love for air canada knows no bounds
Driving to work along the highway this morning: notice leaves are looking increasingly yellow. Combined with snow on surrounding peaks, begin to suspect it isn’t Summer any more. Contemplate purchasing worm farm. Will not help fend off approaching winter months, but will reduce production of bags of rubbish. Also will be able to have pet outside-worms, which is considerable bonus. Resolve to raise the issue at next board meeting. Up at Whiteman’s Gap, feeling the breeze of a surprise chinook as the sun sets Watch WALL-E and Get Smart, and am amused by both. No repeat of the … Continue reading making a crunchy pudding from the bones of americans
He sat there looking at me for 20 seconds, then chattered loudly and ran away with his pinecone. And just to prove it really was in a bike park: Ok, even that shot doesn’t look that much more bike-parky. Rest assured, there were more log rides, and some jumps, and a see-saw. And a 10km single trail loop that started out fairly smooth, but then seemed to get rougher and rougher as you went round it. My hardtail and I are petitioning against the excess of pine tree roots around Canmore. Also perhaps the rocks.
Despite the miserable looking forecast for this weekend, the weather actually turned out ok (apart from the snow on Saturday night/Sunday morning, which cannot possibly count as ok). So when we decided to go for a ride out to Grotto Canyon followed by a hike up it as far as we could be bothered going, my backpack ended up being full of a nice ballast of warm and waterproof layers while we stripped down to t-shirts. Biking out along the 1A to Grotto Canyon And we ended up getting to the waterfall tucked in the back of Grotto … Continue reading testing the lht
Thanks to the guys at Campione in Calgary, I’m now the happy owner of a very shiny Surly LHT. It went for its first test ride today, and seems to work. And aaahhh, the smooth gear changes of a brand new bike. All stock components on it so far, no upgrades to fancier parts. I’ll probably keep it that way too, until things actually need replacing… except perhaps the saddle. A comfy saddle is always good. (And yes, it is green)
As I’ve been whiling my time away looking at accounts of bike tours, it suddenly occurred to me that my two rear panniers (Deuter Rack Pack I think they are) probably wouldn’t carry enough stuff for cycling round Europe for four months. Even if I lashed things on top of them. There would be water and food and camping gear, and maybe, just maybe, tying everything to the back of my bike would be do-able, but would not necessarily be very rideable. Lots of people seemed to have front panniers. Also, I would really need somewhere to put my camera … Continue reading planning for europe
My current loaner road bike – JD’s Campagnolo beastie. It has just 14 gears and likes to go fast. (Oh, and a giant statue of an eagle)
Another ride up to Whiteman’s Gap, but without the hike up Ha Ling afterwards. It was cold (well, not really cold in the scheme of things for the Rockies, but cold after the nice 20oC temperatures I’ve become accustomed to), and raining as I cycled into the cloud. This left the dirt road lovely and muddy. This photo was taken at the top, looking away from town across the dam. It takes just under an hour to bike here from home. And it only takes about 15 minutes to get from Whiteman’s Gap back down to … Continue reading mud and pemmican
We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming with an exhilarating account of Megan’s ascent of Ha Ling Peak. Bike rests at the pass (note water crackers in drink bottle holder) The cycle from home, through town, and up the hill to the pass between Mt Lawrence Grassi and Mt Rundle went something like this: (click to embiggen) Then the bike was hidden in the trees, and bike shoes were switched for Chaco sandals. And the hike went something like this: The summit of Ha Ling is at 2407 metres (7897ft), so … Continue reading on the rise