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hippy blog - aussie techno fan cycling in london
Love Your Bike
Manchester Friends of the Earth have a naughty bike vid for yaz..
Here's another one
A Benefit of Tube Travel - Reading
Notice, I said "benefit", singular? That's because extra reading time is the only advantage commuting by train offers over bikes. Hrmmf!
In aid of all this extra reading time, thanks to my recently snapped GT frame, I bought a stack of bike mags (C+, Cycling Weekly, Cycle Sport, MBR).
In Cycle Sport, I glanced an article written about The Hour record and noticed it was actually referring to an extract from a book, called, surprise-surprise, "The Hour
Rushing over to Waterstone's I was stoked to see that they actually had a copy of Michael Hutchison's "The Hour". I put down the other fifteen books that I wanted and settled on just the one (for now) - I have a bike to buy after all! I've only read a few pages, I might let you know if I like it later, meanwhile I've stolen a synopsis for you:
Synopsis: "The Hour". It's the only cycling record that matters: one man and his bike against the clock in a quest for pure speed. No teammates, no rivals, no tactics, no gears, no brakes. Just one simple question - in sixty minutes, how far can you go? Michael Hutchinson had a plan. He was going to add his name to the list of record-holders - riders like Coppi, Merckx, Anquetil, Boardman, the supermen who've made the Hour the domain of cycling's greatest stars. It didn't sound too hard. All he needed was a couple of hand-tooled bike frames, the most expensive wheels money could buy, a support team of crack professionals, a small pot of glue, and a credit card wired to someone else's bank account. Still, getting the glue wasn't a problem.
"The Hour" is the story of how a man who became a professional athlete by accident embarked on a quest for sporting immortality. But it's also the story of an extraordinary record, and the riders who have made it so - from Graham Obree, the genius who built his own bike using parts from a washing machine, to Jacques Anquetil, great champion, great drug-taker and great family man (having had a child by his step-daughter, he married his step-son's ex-wife).
Gripping, packed with fascinating stories and very, very funny, "The Hour" is what happens when a man from the secret, early-morning world of British bike racing takes a shot at stardom.
Ouch! - Why cars are bad, Reason #7983
Cool Touring Idea #433
Pick the Tour de France course from your birth year and then.. ride it!
I'm currently watching "Long Way Round", an interesting doco about motorbike touring from London to New York, the uh, long way. It's quite cool and is really making me want to pack up and head off to do something just as "epic" with my deadly treadly. At the moment though, it's still a dead treadly. I get paid tomorrow.. wonder if I can afford the Pompino?
New Blog Machine - HP nx9420
My other new toy.. Yes, this retro-grouch managed to upgrade two pieces of technology in the same month!
£1621 for 17 inches of LCD pleasure, 2.16GHz Pentium M, 1Gb RAM, 100GB HDD and lots of other go-faster computery goodies.. It's only slightly slower than the "googleplex
Manufacturer: www.hp.com - nx9420
Reseller: www.dabs.com - nx9420
Just like Pound Sterling, that equates to about 60deg in Aussie degrees. ;)
There was an article in the paper tonight that stated something like: "Tube 47degC, Bus 52degC". Not too sure how accurately they measured these (it was a headline, after all).
Gettin' up early to avoid the heatwave-related Tube meltdowns. Yay for no bike.. *mumbles rude words under breath*. Condor bikes are looking better and better.. very "London". :)
Update: What he said!
ECMC06 - Tommi Hyvonen's Photos
Click above for some more of Tommi's fantastic photos!
Who needs the Oxford Dictionary when the insultmonger is available?! :D
75-fscking-quid for an overdraft fee?!?!
HSBC called me the other day to let me know that I was £100 into overdraft. I didn't even know what the guy was talking about until he explained what it meant.
"So my account balance is negative? Riiiight.."
I transfered money from my online-only account to rememdy the negative balance. Done, sweet, thanks mate. Bye.
Tonight I find a bank statement in the post that shows I'm to be charged a £75 fee for going into overdraft! Seventy Five Fscking United Kingdom Pounds!!! That's like $14,000,000AUD!!!
How the hell do these fools justify such a huge fee? Why don't they just debit my other account, you know the one with money in it?! Why don't they hit up my credit card? Why do they even have an overdraft "feature", other than to sting you? I certainly never asked for overdraft - it must be a default option. This is the same idiot bank that couldn't explain why my O2 bill payment was declined, cutting off my phone for a day.
"We don't keep transaction records that far back, sir"
"You don't keep records for transactions that occured three weeks ago?"
"No sir, sorry sir."
You know what the fun part will be? Going to bed at 4am tonight after watching the late Tour coverage and then arguing with these idiots tomorrow. Because the fee hasn't yet been taken out (thanks for the warning HSBC!), what's stopping me withdrawing all my money and telling them to stick the £75 fees up their ATM slots?!
On a happier note, the GT made it home. 2hr 12min it took to walk my bike the 12.5k home.
Bloglines, RSS, etc
I'm feeling left out of the Bloglines loop because I don't have an RSS feed from my blog..
Well, it turns out I do
have an RSS feed and, in fact, I have had it since this blog went live!
If you want to add my fevered rantings to bloglines click this button:
If not using bloglines, you might want to try one of these:
I snapped my frame!!!
This morning I was "Just Riding Along" (I can hear all the LBS guys groan but I'm serious!) when my GT
I was 30 minutes into a fairly relaxed 36 minute commute, having set a PB for this same ride yesterday (finally cracking the 30 minute mark with a relatively easy 29:52).
I was cruising along Sussex Gardens
when there was a loud bang from the rear wheel.
I thought it was the quick 'n' nasty spoke repair I'd done last week but a glance seemed to indicate the wheel was true. Another quick look at the next set of lights and everything seemed ok.
It was all very odd because when I spun the wheel, everything appeared straight, but as soon as I jumped on and pedalled, the back-end was all over the place, like I had a flat rear tyre.
I thought it might be a broken axle or perhaps shot wheel bearings or some other internal chaos (maintenance levels are not high on this bike) so I watched the hub closely for signs of movement (while dodging the black cabs of course). Nothing seemed out of the ordinary except the swishy rear end. WTF?
Being close to work I just kept going, slowly, knowing I'd get to check it out properly once I'd stopped.
Which I did. The spokes were all intact and the wheel spun straight and free..
So I grabbed the wheel and yanked it side to side. The whole rear triangle moved. This is when I spotted the crack all the way through the drive-side chainstay. Damn..
Pic was taken at an odd angle, in a dark room with my mobile. I'll try for a better one just as soon as I work out how to get the bike home!
This certainly explained why the whole back end was fishing around even though the wheel looked and spun fine.
Ode to the GT:
The GT Talera
was a mid-90's steel bike bought for $300AUD in showroom condition with lots of bits in 2002.
It was going to be my first singlespeed project but I got into trials and fitted it with wide bars, platform pedals, etc.
When I bought the trials-specific Zebdi, it was time to turn the GT into an SS. Mick from CCW helped me do this under the "$0 Rule".
It was raced at the SSWC
in 2003 (against Cadel Evans!).
It did a tonne of commuting in all weather conditions.
I had so much fun with this I rebuilt it with better bits when the first lot of parts wore out.
It did my first lap at the Kona 24hr in 2005
Before leaving Australia for England I fully rebuilt the GT as a touring machine with new front wheel, Deore LX, guards, rack, panniers, barbag, etc.
Spent 4 months riding around Europe on it - killing both wheels - one from loading strain, one from a head-on with a motorbike.
Rode it briefly while working as messenger for Courier Systems.
Back in London it was my commuter since early 2006 when I started working for a company with showers.
More of the GT's illustrious history, click here
Photographic Build History:
One of the guys who rides at work suggested this mob for frame repair: Mercian
Not sure of a course of action yet but given the repair is likely to cost more than the bike is worth, a new machine is definately on the cards. "N+1", where N=0, currently.
For now I am a Tube-bitch.
But that On-One Il Pompino
is looking better every day.. "I'm EXCITED!"
Speed, Skill & Sausages 3 + Berlin Courier Cup 2006 Pics
Sep 17th: SSS3
- London courier track day: www.addicts.tv
Pics from the Berlin Courier Cup 2006
TdF - Pushing Broadcasting to the Limit
Just some TdF nerdage I felt a need to link to..
www.virtualvtr.com - tdf www.apple.com - tdf
I missed tonight's tour update because I was held hostage in a pub (again). Common problem over here I've found..
I'm not sure I will make it to 2am to watch the repeat. What to do.. what to do?
I didn't even get to read the cyclingnews.com live coverage. Damn this silly "work" thing!
RR: London 10k
Total running since March - about 3 hours (not all at once), brain surgery, riding me bike!
Saturday's Race Preparation:
Tour de France Prologue Live on ITV3. Thanks for the bloggy reminder cfsmtb!
England vs. Portugal match. Managed to limit myself to a single Tim Taylor Strong Pale Ale during the game.
Renae's birthday party at Green & Red
Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar, moving to nearby Tea Bar. Self-control disappeared (must've been the heat.. uh huh.. the heat..). A bunch of margaritas (strong and not the blended ice ones like back home), an odd tequila shot+champagne "slammer" thing, mmm bourbon, Mal's vodka martini.. and I was still in better shape than Jobbo ;) It got a little interesting here with bouncers, police, an unhappy Shaun and with the race in mind.. we bailed for the train. Of course, we missed the train and had to take the night bus. Met Mei-Ling on her way home!
It was 3am and we'd made it back to Ealing, now loaded with chips ("crisps" for the poms), powerade and icecream. With this kind of preparation.. how could I fail?!?! :D
Sunday Race Day:
7am and I'm in for a bit of a shakey rise. Into the shower and out again for a coffee and piece of toast.
I taped my nipples up with Elastoplast but I think the tape fell off before I'd even started because I still ended up with some bad chaffing.
Desperate for a crap but the loo was occupied so I left. Ealing Broadway's toilets were locked so jumped onto the next train. The toilets at Piccadilly maccas were out of paper (runners were hanging around here already, obviously with similar ideas).. Finally found the race portaloos (there must've been a hundred of 'em). Ahhh.. Lucky I made it too because the place was rammed after another 30min.
Dropped my bag off with the bird at the correct numbered bay, wandered a bit and pinned my number on (below the "Speedy" and snail image on my appropriate t-shirt). The place was filling up and I stood back to watch people shuffle towards the start (10min walk away). Chatted to a guy from Houston, Texas. I had shorts without any pockets and my watch had died, so I was carrying my phone around for timing. He spotted it and made some comment, showing off his Garmin wrist-mounted GPS. He then pointed out some skydivers and we noted the poor PA setup (surely they could afford more speaker stacks with 30,000 x £29??). Also the silly route to the start which went by the toilets and caused a bit of a blockage ('scuse the pun). Silly me put the Lucozade bottle in my bag and which meant for the next hour or so I had no fluids. Walking and waiting in the sun with a hangover wasn't doing me any good..
So anyway, there were about a million people on Piccadilly (Okay, the commentator said 30,000). It was mental!! Never seens so many people.
I was in the middle of the pack when the start gun went (9.35am) and everyone cheered and started clapping runners as they ran towards us on the other side of the road.
Watching runners go past in the opposite direction on Piccadilly, I waited.. and waited.. and walked.. and waited.. At some point I turned around to look behind me and found that I was at the back of the field!!! WTF?! How did everyone get by? We're not even running yet and there was still tonnes of people waiting to go over the start line. I started shuffling forward and finally went around the U-turn and started my warmup jog over the start line (10.05am).
I was passing lots of people and getting stuck behind big groups. There was definately no clear path guarantee. Even before 1k was done, people were walking.
At the 2k mark (I guess) I saw a water stop and grabbed a Lucozade. They're crap and I should've got water but it's what the guy was holding out and I badly needed a drink (other than tequila). I was in quite a good mood now, pootling along, smiling at the guys in dog suits, horse suits, bear suits, princess costumes or nodding to the people cheering us on. It wasn't "really" a race.. :)
I think I hit 4k at 23min which is about 6min slower than what I'd done 4k in during a BRW tri. BFW (that's a TISM reference for Carl). It was damn hot! Every time we went under a bridge or under buildings you could hear the crowd of runners sigh with relief at a little shade. When we'd come out the other side it was a large scale groan as we were punished again. I was running with phone in one hand and bottle in the other and hugged the curb in order to use the most tree shade I could find. It was always possible with the amount of dodging necessary. You wouldn't use this race to set any PBs unless you were at the front from the gun.
Somewhere around here we ran past a steel drum band and they were playing YMCA so, of course, I had to do the dance as I ran past. I wasn't the only one. Loads of people at this stage were looking pretty wrecked and walking. There was also an enormous amount of empty water bottles lying in the gutters and skittering across the road as people dropped and kicked them.
Over the bridge I got my hopes up seeing one of those big, blue, air-filled start/finish "bridges". It even said 10K on it! Unfortunately, people were doing a u-turn and continuing the run which meant it obviously wasn't the finish.. damn! I was struggling now. The dehydration and 30+ heat were doing their best to shut me down.. I was getting cold flushes which is odd when it feels like your feet are on fire in your shoes..
8K mark.. I was still passing lots of people and actually upped the pace a bit here - probably mostly a case of wanting to get it over and done with than anything else!
9K mark.. the MC was hyping the crowd up to support the runners. There were tonnes of people lining the roads here. When you have 30K runners, you are bound to have some famiy members or friends watching. They did their bit, a few yelling out "Go Speedy" and I'd acknowledge them with a wave or smile. Then back to the grimmacing.
10K mark.. Finish line in sight! I'd grabbed a bottle of water and tipped it over my baked head. The finish line wasn't one of those blue things after all. There were ambulances trying to get through the crowds, MCs hyping people up, cheering and clapping, people directing runners. I crossed and check my phone - 11.05. 60min on the dot. I was pretty please considering my prep and, well, it has to be said, previous loathing for running. Besides I've peppered this with loads of excuses already, do you really want more? :)
After the line, all I wanted was shade. There was one tree. London (at least this bit) is not built for sun - there are no verandahs, no masses of trees, no aircons..
There was a guy collapsed in a corner being attended to by paramedics. I walked on, desperate for shade and water. I wondered if my heart might actually stop working? I found a tiny corner behind a pillar and sat down in a pool of my own sweat and the water I was pouring on myself. I'd arranged to meet Mal in Trafalgar Square but I called her now and said I was opposite 55 Whitehall, dying and might not be there soon.
Eventually, I figured my dead legs would start to cramp if I didn't walk so I headed off. Turns out I was only a couple of hundred metres from Traf. Sq. anyway. Mal spotted me and asked if I wanted a drink.. Um.. let me think about that.. YEESS, PLEASE!!!! We headed back to the portaloo/bag area. My legs were trashed and it felt odd to walk. I kept bumping into people as I rocked side-to-side. It's now three days later and it still feels odd walking down stairs. We picked up my stuff and the finishers pack, which included a medal.. awww! :)
Sat outside EAT. and drank iced coffee watching the hordes disperse. Eventually got onto a train and headed home. Spoke to Sara after the race (she's the girl I worked with at Peregrine who I entered this race with). She'd run with a friend for an Alzheimers-related charity and they'd come in a 1h30m and sounded glad that it was over. She later told me two people had died during the race :S That might have been the marathon though? She also said something about me beating her because I was Aussie and used to the heat. Well to that I'd have to say that England has changed me. It was crazy hot out there. Maybe it was the running rather than cycling or maybe it was the amount of concrete or the direct contact with the tarmac? Whatever.. have I said it enough? It was HOT!
Spent the rest of the day on the couch with Mal, only moving to get more water and only leaving once to get pizza and Subway (yes, both!).
I'm just getting over the dehydration today..
On Monday I found out that Ian (guy from work) had done the 10k in 40:44. This was not only a great time, it meant that I'd guessed his finish time right in the charity draw he was running and so I was the winner of two tickets to see The Comedy Store Players at Shakespeares Globe. Sweet! Everyone's a winner baby that's no lie! :D
In Other News:
Set a new PB commute record for the work-to-home trip. Finally went sub-30 chasing down a roadie.
This morning had an argument with some fsckstick in a Porsche Cayenne. He cut me off, indicating 'as' he turned the corner. I avoided him and he did see me though, because he stopped before I hit his stupid car and beeped at me. I told him what I thought of his driving. I'd gone around him and he came after me. I stopped up the road turned around again and flipped him off. He said something about killing me as I delivered a not-so-subtle barrage of abuse. He took off, not turning after all. He was probably worried I was going to insert my $300 bike into his £3000 paint job.
I'd had a nice night last night though so I was totally chilled about 50m up the road. Stolly is visiting for a couple of days after flying from the States. He'll be heading off on a Contiki soon and then Thailand, Singapore and back to Melbourne. A bunch of us had dinner and brews in Walpole park.. at least until some wino decide to join our party. "Spewy" Sheila must've had one too many though as she called in sick today.. slacker!
How much more exciting is Le Tour without Lance Domination and with a nice big drug scandal knocking a stack of the top names!?!?! Schweet!!
That's enough feckin' typing for now. I spanked a (cuttin' off tosser of a) roadie on the way home (not THAT kind of spanking!) and my eyes are hanging out of my head.. did I mention the heat yet?