Archive for June, 2009

To make a short story long….

So I’ve been off the blog for a while, as well as being off my bike (and some might say, off my rocker, but that’s another story…). A few weeks back I was the recipient of a rather nasty throat infection. It was a whole heap of pain, delirium, anguish and remorse. I was beginning to empathise with emo kids, but I think that was just the fever. So I was off work for a few days, and then wasn’t feeling up to my usual cycle commute, so I resigned myself to utilise the Public Transport. It had been some time since I had regularly used the trams and trains of Melbourne, and I am happy to report that the ticket inspectors haven’t become nice, and the trains still nowhere near being on time. There are some good things about PT, reading, although I had finished my last book, and had no new one, and listening to music. Some manage to do one or the other, sometimes both while cycling, but I prefer to use my ears to listen out for motorcycles in the bike lane and my hands for braking if required. So not much had changed. A week or so after my brief but debilitating illness, I was ready to jump back in the saddle and resume my daily commute. Mother nature, however had different ideas about that. Now, strangely, because we are in a severe, long term drought it hasn’t rained for a long time, but for a solid week and a half it seemed to be raining every day. I’m not talking about light showers, I’m talking pissing down all day kind of rain. Add to that the occasional hail storm, and it wasn’t making for ideal weather for my to get back on my bike, so I continued my PT commute for longer than I expected/wanted to. I could have, of course, just cycled anyway, like many others do, but I was still feeling a bit off and didn’t want to push it and get sick again. That’s what I told myself at least. I did feel a bit guilty sitting on the (packed) tram on the way to work while it hailed outside, seeing the other cyclists urgently seeking shelter. That guilt didn’t last long as I arrived at work dry, but the PT was beginning to take its toll. Firstly, once you become used to ‘luxuries’ such as not having to wait for ages for a train, little things like that can drive you a bit mental. It’s different to the type of mental you can get while cycling; that of being cut off by a BMW 4WD might encourage a tinge of road rage, but the missing a train and waiting 20 minutes for the next one is more like ‘boredom rage.’

So in the last days of my extended PT session, my bike pimp called me up to let me know he had a few frames that he was going to take to a swap meet to offload, and wondered if I wanted one. I did want one, as my current frame was a touch too small for me, so we met up and built up a new bike from bits of my old build and new bits that would fit the super tight clearances of the new frame. After the build was almost complete we were delighted by the spectacle of the front tube exploding. It was quite loud. As we had no spare tubes, in fact it was the spare that had exploded, we abandoned our mission to be resumed the next night. In between that first build night and the next, my illustrious bike pimp had a change of heart regarding which frame I should have picked. We went for the newer, fancier looking ‘Mirage’ which I have never heard of, and doesn’t seem to exist, at least in the annals of the Internets. But I must say, it is one smooth ride. It’s so much better to be higher in the saddle. The only problem being that I have lost my cycling fitness. What used to be easy climbs are now more painfully difficult. I suppose it will take another week or so until I am back to match fitness, but boy, it’s great to be cycling again!

During my hiatus I did notice a few strange cycle-related things while being on-foot. The strangest one was a cyclist riding a Kona Paddy Wagon, one of those out-of-the-box fixie/freewheel jobs, which is nothing unusual, but he had disconnected the cable to the rear brake. The stranger thing was he had left the rear brake caliper on the frame. Now, only having a front brake is fairly standard, nay, expected on a fixed gear bike, but it seemed rather silly to detach the cable, but to leave the brake in place. I couldn’t see whether he had removed the lever or not, but I can only imagine that he was in a hurry to get on his bike, and didn’t want to ‘accidentally’ use his rear brake. This way if he did try to use it, it at least wouldn’t work.

Kona Paddy Wagon, with rear brake cable intact.

In other cycling news today, the state government have introduced harsh new laws for cyclists who injure or kill somebody, or damage property. This is all well and good, as I don’t think cyclists should get away with murder, but if this proposal is aimed to reduce the road toll, then they are barking up the wrong bush, so to speak, as cars manage to kill/maim/damage more people and property in a week than cyclists can manage in a year.

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