hippy blog - aussie cycling in london

31 January

Legs still not 100%

Ran a reverse loop last night. It was slow and painful. The sides of my lower legs (kinda beside the shin bones) are still giving me grief and I don't know why. It feels like they're bruised. WTF?! I thought I was being nice to them.
It pisses me off that the longer I run the more pain I have to endure and the slower I seem to get. I can't frickin' wait to get into regular bike commuting again!! The new job has showers (insert collective: "ahhh ooooh" here).
It appears that the only way to get faster running is to run once and then rest for a month, then run again. Total poo! Grrr...
The local gym (of which I am a member) is shutting down too, so I don't know if I should get another month out of them or if that will just leave me pissed off when they finally close? Double grrrr..

Did I mention I get to ride into the city soon? :D

Oh, I spotted FixieChick(tm) riding outbound through Ealing again last night. When I say "again" I've seen her ride towards the city in the mornings but not outbound before. She looks like a courier (bag, stripey leggings, cut denim, etc) but that could just mean that she wants to look like a courier?
The way she veered around a car last night while apparently slowing with legs only made me wonder if she is indeed riding brakeless? Further investigation a must.. *jumps out bellowing "STOOOOOOPP!!!!"* (Gawd, I'm evil! ;-) :-D).

In gastro-news: I cooked Lucy's (Peregrine's night receptionist) Thai Red Chicken Curry and my flatties (doss hosts?) are still alive!
They did a really good job of faking approval too.. ;-) I have an interesting pasta sauce recipe from her as well.. Has the cooking mojo returned?

Time for EARL (Reversed): 41:02. Summary: "Blah!"

18:00:25 - hippy - 7 comments

Blue Skies + Free Time = Ride

I still remember how to pedal.. even if it is pretty damn slow. My planned Pommie crit domination will have to wait ;-)
I decided to go in summer kit for the simple reason that I could do with the extra Vitamin D(aylight).
Also, I don't have any winter kit!
Ripped out a (cough) massive (cough) 40k ride yesterday, exploring to the west of Ealing. Didn't get killed, even when trying.
Helped a guy with a flat tyre because I happened to be carrying a pump - I'm planning on saving up karma points from kind gestures like this and redeeming them for freaky scx later on. Just need to find the right 7 or 8 women..

Found the Richer Sounds hi-fi store I've been looking for, which should come in handy when I can afford to build up the "Killer Stereo from Depths of Hell #2". Gotta have something to entertain the neighbors with..

Nearby, "London Joggers" might be able to sort me out with some new runners - mine are getting old and apparently it's a good idea to have multiple pairs in different styles (run type, not colour and sh1t!) to choose from.

Further west and it was like Little India or something! If the Bhangra was any louder and the pedestrians any more unpredictable I might've been forced to walk!! ;)

One more day in Siebel hell and I get to experience a new kind of employment hell.. at least it will pay more.. yippee!
"New bike for me! Yeah! New bike for me! Yeah! New bike for me! Yeah!"

03:39:59 - hippy - 2 comments

26 January

Top 30 Chuck Norris Facts

Top 30 Chuck Norris Facts

19:25:10 - hippy - 2 comments

Happy Australia Day!

I'm sitting here at work in jeans and short sleeves. Such a rebel! *groan*

Next to me: an iced coffee and a 235g jar of Vegemite (the biggest size I've seen for sale in Europe - seen bigger? let me know!).

Looks like tonight will involve a pub crawl through central-London's Aussie pubs with as many fellow convicts as I can muster. I'm officially ending my Walkabout ban.

What else? What else?

Well, I got the job I wanted. Both of them. I knocked back the one in Wandsworth and from the 1st of Feb I'll be working alongside Dan.. again! Small world eh?!

I have been running but it's been very dodgy recently with my shins giving me plenty of grief. I hate that running causes so much damage! On a bike you ride as fast as possible and all that happens is you run out of breath or your muscles go down in a fiery ball of lactic acid.. running.. grrr.. running is hazardous to your leg's health! Dark times folks, dark times.

More rest, slower running, more dedicated stretching and self-massage (ooh yeah! rub harder baby!) seem to have sorted most of that out now and last night I finally felt good again.

Hammered away at the start without warming up, of course, because I am a dickhead. I know it's bad but it was so frickin' cold last night, I didn't want to piss about with any slow jogging.

I was feeling great, like really great, like a mad-man that's just won the 85-million lottery. I was all set for a new EARL record but 3/4's done, the starting pace got to me, my knee started feeling "odd" and I slowed it right down. Once I realised there would be no chance of a PB, I slowed RIGHT down and cruised in at 39:00.

It was Wednesday, which means TNT magazine comes out. For those that don't know, it's a mag for antipodeans, or Aussies, Kiwis and Saffas living in London.

So, I ran back to Northfields Tube station and picked up a copy. The run there and back added another 2.5k onto the EARL circuit, according to www.gmap-pedometer.com.

Now.. Where's my beer?!

18:42:51 - hippy - 3 comments

24 January

Tour de France.. in LONDON!

Big Ben Cyclists

If I can't make it to le tour, le tour comes to me! Ha! :-D

Statement from the Mayor of London, Ken Livingston:
"I am proud to announce that following a successful bid, London has won the right to host the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in July 2007.
The first part of the legendary French cycle race will visit London as part of our efforts to excite people in London about cycling and to promote the capital both to visitors and as a venue for international sporting events.

from: www.britishcycling.org.uk - tour de france confirms london start in 2007

In other news:
"Man is the animal that intends to shoot himself out into interplanetary space, after having given up on the problem of an efficient way to get himself five miles to work and back each day." - Bill Vaughn

21:47:33 - hippy - 5 comments

Do "beer goggles" really exist?


"The reasons behind this phenomenon have to do with alcohol stimulating the nucleus accumbens, aka "the part of the brain which is used to determine facial attractiveness." In the 2002 study, male and female students were shown pictures of members of the opposite sex and asked to rate them on a scale of 1-7 (sounds cruel, we know). The more students drank, the higher they rated the photographs." from: ask.yahoo.com - do "beer goggles" really exist?

At least it works for both sexes ;-)

18:12:25 - hippy - 8 comments

23 January

Australia Day - What to do? What to do?

Australian Flag

Hear what Sam Kekovich has to say here.

I've so far avoided entering an Aussie pub whilst in Europe. You see, other than the friends and family I left behind, Milo, Cherry Ripes, Pascal Licorice All-sorts and a bit more sun, Oz doesn't hold that much appeal any more. Guess it's easier to be patriotic before travelling? Maybe I should head to Africa for a dose of perspective?

BUT! I think for one day of the year I can show a smidge of clever-country patriotism and at least try and find an Aussie beer to skull (no beer bongs this time.. well.. unless my arm is twisted ;-)).

Perhaps I'll even sink so low as to talk about the cricket and relive some crushing English defeats for the locals? ;)

F_sters and VB are most definately still on my banned list - I'd rather drink from the Thames - so Coopers it is!! :)

The choice then becomes: a BBQ or meat pies?

Any other Aussies going out on Thursday 26th can help me decide an appropriate course of action. Some options below:
guide to the best pubs & bars in London for Australia day
www.viewlondon.co.uk - Australia day pubs and bars
www.citypublife.co.uk - Australia day

23:21:24 - hippy - 8 comments

20 January

"Might have been hallucinating, but.."

"he had just seen a whale in the Thames."

"A large whale has been spotted in the River Thames in central London by boaters and sightseers. The mammal, thought to be a 17ft (5m) northern bottle-nosed whale, was seen swimming past the Houses of Parliament."

news.bbc.co.uk - whale spotted in central London
news.independent.co.uk - whale swims up Thames to Westminster

22:32:11 - hippy - 6 comments

Hatchback update..

"Hatchy meows like mad each morning when I feed him. He wants me to brush him!!! He loves it. He doesn't even finish his food, he just wants to be brushed. So we have some bonding time as he rubs against me and purrrrrrrs and is very happy."

17:20:07 - hippy - 8 comments

Couple of runs, couple of jobs

Reverse loop that went to hell stressing over upcoming job interviews.
Wednesday, after a good interview and test, my legs self-destruct after 10 minutes running and I have to walk home swearing.
Had another interview this morning which went beautifully. Then..
Job offer #1 comes in.
Job offer #2 comes in.

Can't find a job, now I can't choose one.
Can't run a lap, time to get the booze on.

After speaking to someone who actually has a clue (thanks Dan!) I now know the true path. All is good again. Now, I wait..

02:58:15 - hippy - No comments

18 January

14 pints in 5 hours is..

Too Much!

14 pints in 5 hours, with no lunch or dinner beforehand is..
Much Too Much!

14 pints in 5 hours, with no lunch or dinner beforehand and some of those pints disappearing in under 10 seconds with the help of "Barry the Beer Bong" is..
Just Fscking Ridiculous!

It all started innocently enough, with a trip to the London Adventure Travel Show with Simon, a mate from Swinnie's Res. college.
I picked up a tonne of ideas for future travel - loads of road touring stuff, mtb touring, hiking, diving, yachting and even some groups that organise rides and other 'interesting' stuff for Londoners.

Dermot, a Scottish bloke was particularly psyched about his cycle tours and I'm now dreaming of some insanely difficult, high-altitude "not a holiday, but an expedition"-type touring.

Once we'd cased the entire show it was into the nearest pub to break the drought. Two pints of "Cockle Warmer" 6.5% ale. Now, here is where I should've made the decision to head home and study some travel brochures. Nuh uh! "Barry" was calling...

Long-story short and a couple of John Smith 6-packs later, not much of London's west managed to escape the "liquid upheaval"...

Sunday was a write-off, just like me!

(This story provided with the post-puke-pride only a proven piss-weak pisspot can provide!)

How did the phrase "three sheets to the wind" come to refer to being drunk?

03:20:42 - hippy - 4 comments

13 January

Ready... Set... Slow!

Red Boots
I have six months to train for the London 10k. Tam suggested the two months prior to the race be 10k-specific training. The four months prior to those should be used to experiment..

After I removed the frilly pink corset and matching suspenders and swapped the red vinyl CFM boots for some runners, I was out the door for a "slow as possible" EARL run.

I figured, with my legs still trashed from the recent PB and my for-once-in-my-life-I'm-not-eating-enough dizzy spells of late, I was due for a "rest".

Running slow(er) is harder than I'd imagined. With no real need to concentrate on breathing, every spare nerve impulse was free to relay the pain from my shins to my brain. I guess there was none of that adrenalin/dopamine pain-blocking. It hurts to be me. Time was a Zimmerframe-equivalent 49:03.

06:15:36 - hippy - 5 comments

That (Toxic) New Car Smell

"The odoriferousness of your new car could make you sick, according to a new study published by the Ecology Center.
The report states that dangerous amounts of PDBEs (Polybrominated diphenyl ether chemicals often found in flame retardants) were detected in dust and windshield film samples taken from cars from model years 2000 to 2005. The Sun can raise the temperature of car interiors to up to 190 degrees, which accelerates the chemical breakdown and the release of toxins

from: www.wired.com - that (toxic) new car smell
also: www.treehugger.com - beware: that new car smell is toxic!

Use your legs instead!

01:23:48 - hippy - 4 comments

12 January

Gumtastic Ads - Funny Ads from Gumtree.com

A Collection of Funny Ads from Gumtree.com

23:44:00 - hippy - No comments

11 January

Not as sore as I thought..

Woke up* (thanks for the call Tee, really!) and I could actually walk.
What's up with that? I'm going to have to try harder next time!
Sub-30min EARL in a month? 4min/kays by July? Is the big fella getting a touch too optimistic? Meh! We shall see..

Note to self: Leave laptop volume UP! ;-)

(*Disclaimer: "Woke up" is not entirely accurate... zzzzz...)

19:57:45 - hippy - 3 comments

Vegetarians produce less gas

rundave.blogspot.com - vegetarians produce less gas

Thanks for the link RunDave. Ant, you were on the money all those years ago!

16:39:54 - hippy - No comments

Motion + Anger = Speed

Bus 65 is supposed to go past every 10min. I waited a fscking hour for that piece of sh1t to show up!

I reckon ten bus 65's went past in the other direction and two going my way even stopped and dropped people off, but let none on. Being late was going to fsck up my night - stopping me revise .NET for a job interview and pushing my run back so late I couldn't do it. If I exercise too late I don't sleep. If I don't sleep, I get grumpy. My grumpy is worse than "normal" grumpy - trust me.

It was going to be late but I decided to run anyway. My legs were still tender from Sunday's run with my shins letting me know how I'd treated them with every step. This just fueled the rage.
The over-sized red sardine tin finally arrived home and ejected me into the street. On the bus I'd decided to channel the anger into a fast run. No, it was more than that, tonight wasn't just going to be fast, tonight was going to be a PB.

I was fuming. I wanted to hurt. I knew it was going to be a PB.

I changed as fast as I could and sipped on some water - as much to hydrate as to get rid of the "oh my god, too many coffees!" taste in my mouth.

Insert run here -->

It was a blur. Lots of awkward breathing trying to kill stitches and lots of shin pain. It was quite windy ("from the Southwest at 14mph gusting to 26mph"). Charge home. Stop clock.

Before I could even think about it, I had my breath back. This pissed me off because it meant any slowing was because my legs can't handle the impact and NOT because my CV system is at its limit. I walked up and down the street to "warm down", breathing as if I'd spent all day in a deck chair, but with legs that felt like they'd spent the day being pulverised with a ball-peen hammer. Who the fsck would be a runner eh? ;)

Time? 33:10

That's another 2 minutes off my previous best and includes stopping for a car leaving a driveway and something else.. what was it.. fuggit..

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, bus 65!!!

08:01:52 - hippy - 4 comments

10 January

Hogmanay 2005, Edinburgh

Grant, Sheila, Picky, Nelsie and I visited Glenn and Dee in Edinburgh for Hogmanay (NYE 2005) and other drinking games. Lucky for you lot I took very "phew!" photos. Click here for the gallery or any photo below for a bigger version.

Arthur's SeatSome of us at HogmanayNelsie and dawgHogmanay festival continues..Dotted around where King James I/VI fell over drunk, hitting his head on the pavement! How fscking cool?!SpikeyThing(tm) and ferris wheelView of Edinburgh from Calton HillDogmanayView of Edinburgh from Calton HillObBike: Bike 'melting' into footpathDark & moody on Calton Hill, just like me..More SpikeyThing(tm) action
07:24:03 - hippy - No comments

09 January

Richmond Park

After 30min of pondering how to ride to the park and then run around it, without getting my gear nicked and without carrying 5+ kilos of crap on my back..
I gave up. It's impossible. I decided to throw everything in my bag, ride there and deal with it once I arrived.

Rode slowly towards Richmond, noticing stuff I just don't see travelling on bus 65, like the Steam Museum with its huge tower out front. I was riding slowly as a test to see if I could arrive at work without being drenched in sweat.
I could. What's more, I could do it in only 25 minutes! Let's recap: 1 hour on the train, 30-40 minutes on the bus and 25 minutes riding S-L-O-W-L-Y by bike. DAMN THEM for not having showers! So, I COULD ride to work, but that whole 'holding back to stay dry' and putting good clothes on sweaty body thing. Blah! New job!

I'd forgotten my A-Z so I couldn't find the gate I was after. It started to rain.
Attempting to keep the weight down in my bag, in case I had to run with it on, I was only wearing running shorts and a t-shirt. Was I cold? Hell yes! Time to bail. Running the park can wait.
I'm not sure how to get around the lack of gear storage space and I hate carrying stuff. If I run when the Serpentine people run I might be able to leave stuff in someone's car? Worst case - I catch the bus in running kit.

On the way back I found a cute little bunny rabbit. What I mean to say is: I found a roadie to chase down mwahahahaa! This dude looked kinda serious, ie. he was riding fairly hard, he wasn't wearing a scarf, a huge jacket, jeans or an overcoat and he wasn't riding a 50yo shitter, an mtb (threw that one in for the a.b peeps ;)), a hybrid (ooh stop me!), a folder or anything embarassing like a GT fitted with mudguards. I chased and "holy crap" I could actually keep up!
Usually with time off the bike my legs seize up and I run out of air trying to ride hard. Not this time. I eventually lost him at a red light - but that was only due to him taking what I thought were silly risks through the traffic to get green. I might not win any races but it's good to know that I can still ride.
Oh, I can still trackstand too. Good thing riding a bike is just like, um, err, riding a bike? ;-)

Feeling in my hands returned quickly thanks to the super-heated nature of this house. I wasn't going to run (I thought "maybe later") but it didn't take long before I felt the urge.. I was warmed up, after all..

Out into the rain, somewhat annoyed about getting my shoes wet, I shuffled off. It might be petty but I'm no longer in the position to buy expensive kit so I can't afford to have these ones ruined. "I've got FIVE kids to feed!" or at least bond and rent to pay.

Note to self: Get arse into gear and get a better job!

I'm also not in a position to buy warm cycling gear - I should've kept the jacket from Courier Systems! It was so much easier in Melbourne - even in winter I could usually get away with just a jersey, knicks and warmers. I badly need a funky riding jacket and some long-arm and long-leg options. Short-sleeve summer kit doesn't cut it.

Anyway, run was normal EARL loop. Clock stopped at 39:18 which included some walking. Yes, walking, shuddup! My legs felt trashed. When I woke up (thanks for the call Mum but my alarm beat you ;)) I could still feel the after-effects of Friday's run so I expected as much. Lactic acid buildup in my shins was pretty bad (guess there is muscle there) and my calf muscles were copping quite some burn too. I went out a little bit pumped up but quickly slowed to a trot and then a walk. Wait for the burn to subside and then run again, repeat thrice. Quite sore.

In other news: "Lucky" the cat has returned safe and well to its home.

02:24:52 - hippy - 2 comments

07 January

SSWC06 announced for SStockholm, SSweden

Go Eurotrash!!

Check out surlyblog for more info. No idea when it's on or anything else for that matter but the Surly dudes will update as news comes to hand.

I was thinking to myself as I walked home tonight - I want to build another SS shitter, like the GT was, but shittier. Something that (almost) doesn't need locking-up in London..

Then I had a flashback of hard rubbish days in Oz and wept a little. Once the tears had dried I cursed London's inability to provide me with a salvagable trash-bike. It's punishment for the running thing isn't it?

10:10:13 - hippy - No comments

Run backwards?

Okay, not backwards, like 'tripping over because I can't see where I'm going' backwards but 'opposite direction to normal' backwards. Enough backwards?

I had an awesome run (never though I'd say that!). The first half was slowed due to running towards car headlights and dodging Friday-night shoppers through Ealing but the second half was 'motivated' and went quite quickly (for me).
I don't know why but I suspect it has something to do with my good frame of mind (thinking of silly sh1t to run in) or the hills shifting positions ;)

I'm already thinking about making the London 10k a bit of a joke run (yes, yes, of course it's just so I get on TV!) and then doing another 10k 'seriously' to get a better time. Hell, if I can crack an hour without cracking a knee/hip/ankle I'll be happy!

EARL Reversed: 35:35 (automatic PB being the 1st time I've run this way :D)

06:37:06 - hippy - 1 comment

06 January

British London 10k Run - 2nd July 2006

The annual British 10k London Run has quickly grown to become the third most significant mass participation road race in the UK. It is staged on the world's greatest route, which no other road race over any distance can match. The race route passes many of London's most famous historic landmarks, and is run on some of the most famous street names in the world! Click Here for more information. from: www.thebritish10klondon.co.uk

I've entered a frickin' running race!!!


Enough of this whiny bullsh1t from yours-truly, I'm over it!

I'm going to make sure I hurt and hurt lots, from now, until July 2nd!

10k baby, 10k!

(see what happens when you take away a dude's bikes?)

22:23:57 - hippy - 5 comments


www.bikemagic.com - 2005: a year in pictures

06:27:44 - hippy - 1 comment

Ran this morning..

It was horrible - mentally and physically. Didn't feel normal until 3/4's of the way around the loop. Slowest time yet of 44:01.

This was made extra fscked because I lost valuable sleep to do it and set myself up for a day best-forgotten.

The silver lining on all this? It was the last straw. I did some reading and I'm going to see a doctor about my possible depression. Just as soon as I work out this fscking health system. Lucky me.

Apparently my symptoms are more like grief, not depression. It gets better and better doesn't it!?

01:11:38 - hippy - 3 comments

05 January

Hour Record with a twist.. can you pedal at 90kph for 1hr?

"The $25,000 Dempsey-MacReady prize will be awarded to the first person to pedal at a steady 90kph (56mph) for a solid hour. That hasn't been achieved yet, but the current mark is 52.57mph, held by Sam Whittingham of Canada in the Varna Diablo speed bike."

"The $23,000 .deciMach Prize will be given to the first HPV to exceed one-tenth the speed of sound for 200m. At sea level on a perfectly flat course, this is 75mph. At Battle Mountain, the speed is adjusted to 82mph to compensate for altitude and grade. Whittingham is also the fastest man on Earth in this competition, having clocked a speed of 81mph in 2003."

from: wired.com: high-tech pedal power

01:01:30 - hippy - 6 comments

04 January


It was raining when I left work, last night, but there was no question about heading out for a run. It had to be done.
The rain had stopped before I passed the front gate to do a little (200m) warmup jog, though it remained quite damp underfoot.
Hung a U-ey and then it was into EARL (EAling Run Loop) proper.

Starting a little quick I was shocked and horrified (okay, maybe not) to see three women running towards me (this needs to happen more often!), near Northfields Tube. This was about the same number of people I'd seen running my loop every other time I'd done it - in total. Very Odd. Yes, Odd with a capital 'O'.

Into "ooh, too fast, now I have a stitch" mode on the slight undulations of Pope's Lane. I slowed down, telling myself "it's not a race" and I should "ease back into this silly activity". Then I spotted another two runners heading towards me. I'm thinking "this is the wettest day I've been running on and there's more people running than ever, what the hell?!".
It wasn't until I spotted the third pair and dismissed the notion of a gym or club run that I realised..

These were all suckers, just like me, guilty of over-indulging during the festive season!
Ha! Guilt strikes!

This amused me and I continued, checking the time: "Hmm.. doesn't look too bad.. maybe I can beat my PB?"
I upped the pace a fair way out, knowing that I'd still run faster in town because "people are watching!". Through the centre of Ealing was good fun. I like being the lone runner, passing all the diners, commuters and shoppers. It makes me feel a little bit superior actually, like I have a higher purpose.
While they wander home in a post-spreadsheet daze or gurgle down wine I am focused on my breathing, where my feet should land and which direction I need to head to avoid peds and maintain my momentum. All the pain is gone now. I'm in control. Very "yoga", very "zen". Where's Mr. Miyagi?

Clock stops at: 36:57.

I almost started a second lap but didn't want to push it. What were those three rules for newbs?
Run slower than you think you should.
Run shorter distance than you think you should.
Run more often than you think you should.

The time might not have been a PB but was still pretty good considering the weeks of punishment I'd just dished out on my body. I decided not to get fussy and take off the 15 seconds I lost waiting for traffic. I'll need that later, when getting faster becomes much harder! :)

The good thing about setting a quick time on the year's first run? My yearly-average pace looks much quicker than it should! :D

23:23:40 - hippy - 3 comments