Author Archives: Bucky

About Bucky

Bucky: ~Pain is temporary... memories are forever.

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What can I say?

Today was a perfect day for me… and so I write the ride report, please see below.

Assembly called in Gordon, and rolled beautifully down the hill, just as I arrived exactly at the jumping off point. Once again the siren call of “No Passing Steel Bikes” was called, and sure enough Bam Bam rolls up and exclaims “I am riding steel” and promptly takes off and leaves me in his dust. I think I am going to change the clarion call to “No passing Red/Yellow (egg and tomato) coloured bikes”. That should fix everyone except DT.

The roll in was great, despite the hard pelting rain through Chatswood and Artarmon… by the time the group arrived at the B&T all was dry for a nice relaxing coffee and chat.

There was a flat in Chatwood (archer st) and a small group collected to have a committee led meeting on how to fix it. They arrived at the B&T only a few minutes behind the group… so could not be too bad….

I’ve been a little scatter brained lately and have lost a couple of things along the way, over the past few weeks. A pair of dress shoes went walkabout 2 weeks ago when I moved my desk back from Market St to Kent St, and a pair of sunglasses went awol about 3 x weeks ago after a stop at the B&T.

Yesterday, the shoes turned up when I checked my old desk drawer in the old building… hooray.

Today my sunnies turned up when Sarah from B&T came running out to give me my sunnies. Apparently, the sunnies slippled out my helmet and landed in the bushes… it was not discovered until a week later when they cleaned the bushes!

The moral of the story… is that if you put enough Love out to the universe, then it seems to reflect itself back to you….

If any of you all wish to reflect Love back to me… I cordially invite you to stand in line, and will get to you as soon as I can.

Look forward to seeing you on the ride home at the usual times…



I rode my bike today – and I liked it

Dear Brethren of the Pedal..

I rode today… and I liked it a whole lot. Had a great time, and getting the Strava Kudos from you all, just makes the ride all the more sweeter.

Now let me take a moment and say, I rode today, albeit with a starkly different twist than the normal ER model for writing. One thing I’ve learned over time, is that the ER brand is hard to define at the best of times. We ride hard on the commute, yet only as fast as the slowest rider. So if anything we tend to act as a dichotomy of different neo-philosophies… but more on that later.

So how did I ride today? Well… I rode slowly. I looked around and smelled the roses while I rode. I made a concerted effort not to go fast. I think my avg speed was under 20 kph… which is how I like it!  Never the less, the climbs up the gorges were tough no matter what speed you do, and the weather was very hot.

I left the house after 8:00am. A little late for this time of year, but welcome change from the 5:30-6:30am starts that are de-rigour during the week. I love riding my bike in the heat, but am aware it sends my heart-rate very high. I am much more cautious in the heat as you would need to be.

I applied the brakes during every descent… and loved it. I saw a goanna in the wild, and I said hello to it.

I stopped in the valley at Galston Gorge, and said hello to the turkeys/chickens, that congregate at the Walkers intersection. I saw no walking enthusiasts.

Bobbo was getting very hot, so I slowed down even more, and kept a steady pace. I loved it. I twisted my head around at every opportunity to see what was going on in the bushland. This beats focusing straight ahead… as I was looking at the majestic views as I pedaled my way through my thoughts.

My thoughts ran free… mostly thinking about writing this email… an example of a random thought receiving expression in an action post ride.

I rode by myself… which I love. I was alone in my thoughts. Had no worry about going too slow/fast with another rider. I rode and searched for that quiet place inside myself… I found it only 15 minutes into the ride… and lost it again, 2 hours later when I got home.

For you, my brothers and sisters of the pedal… you might also have ridden your bike today, however you did not ride like me.

Have a great break… and will see you again mid jan.



Tour de Israel (pt 2)

This is the second part of a two part ride report…

After the mountain challenge it was already lunch time, and we drove to a nearby restaurant and refuelled. During this time Oren told us his story which was extremely interesting. He was hearing impaired and had an operation for an Australian invented hearing device that changed his life. He also told a sadder story, that a few years ago his sister was killed bike riding in Israel. The family  instituted a bike ride much like the Amy Gillet Grand Fondo, and this ride had occurred only the week before our ride… so many stories told about this. Very inspirational.

Oren lived at nearby Kibbutz Neot Mordechai, which lucky for me is noted for being a manufacturer of premium sandals. My 10 year old sandals I was wearing packed it in during the trip and were dead. I ducked into the store and quickly bought a pair of sandals after a 20% discount was offered by Oren.

My nephew and I got back into the car and drove back to where we had parked the other car… transferred some stuff, and at this point I’m now on my lonesome. I booked a B&B in the north from which I could explore the surrounding area. This B&B catered specifically for cyclists, and here it is…

This place was great. It could house some 50 people, and I was the only person there for the entire stay. The pool and Jacuzzi were to die for, and especially needed after a long hot day in the saddle. My hope was I would meet other like minded people, however it was late in the season and was not meant to be. Somewhat lonely, I set out by myself over the next few days to explore. Dror, the owner of the establishment had spent several weeks cycling in New Zealand, and was happy to map out some interesting rides….

As a recovery ride, I set out to do a 60k circuit of the area surrounding Kfar Tavor where Hooha are located… The Kineret (Sea of Galilee) is some -200m below sea level, and like an oven down in the valley… I elected to stay a little higher up and skirted the kineret. Some serious tourist areas in Tiberias, as it gets intense interest from the christian community. Very interesting place. In addition I spent some time in Nazareth which is a VERY interesting place close to where I was staying….

This next climb the following day was the highlight of the trip for me… It was a more manageable climb similar to say 3-4 Gorges, and spectacular scenery trough a forest during the course of the climb. Har (Mount) Gilboa is a national park, and littered with Mountain Bike trails. I followed the road around and was treated to some great scenery.

and for some scenery that is breathtaking in beauty…

Har (Mount) Gilboa

After the climb, time for a dip in the pool, pack my bags and a quick dash to Tel Aviv (2 x Hours). I booked a hotel to stay on the Mediterranean, close to all the cafes and culture of the big smoke. Well as it turns out TA is in middle of transforming itself into a European model of a cycling/pedestrian town. Incredible.  Bike paths though not complete are well established and people are taking to them. Not too many road bikes to be found though as Mountain bikes seem far more popular. In TA I go out exploring daily and you can see some rides I had done here… the key is to meander up and down the coastal beaches and participate in soaking up the atmosphere which mercurial.

While there are many bike paths in TA, I note that pedestrians do not fully appreciate this, and tend to wander into the bike path without further thought for cyclists. This is endemic, and I suspect some accidents are bound to happen and some re-education needs to be done.

During this time in TA I met many interesting people all who had a significant story to tell. What you need to realise is that Israelis are a very difficult people… they are argumentative, aggressive, rough. But underneath the nasty exterior is a heart of gold. The Sabra fruit is the universally used term to describe this phenomenon.

I seem to have a rare knack of engaging these people and bringing out the best in them. Not exactly sure how I do it, but I seem to be able to quickly cut through the rough exterior to show the more humanistic and engaging side of the people. I made a few more friends who are now connected to me by facebook.

I should add that Israel is not generally safe for cyclists and this should be well understood. I was aware that Saxo Bank had done some of their spring training in Israel, as Oren had got the chance of riding with Contador and friends. The country offers large shoulders where cyclists could ride for many hours, but the drivers are aggressive and largely do not see the law as something they are required to follow. Red lights are only loosely adhered to, and shoulders are often used for other purposes other than breakdowns. Most people I spoke to warned me about the dangers of cycling in Israel… so a defensive cycling posture is definitely the way to go.

In summary… the trip was a great success.

  • Had many cycling adventures with Mt Hermon and Gilboa as the highlight
  • Met many interesting people with great stories to tell (TA)
  • Reconnected with a sense of history one does not get in Oz (Jerusalem, Nazareth, Tiberias)
  • Juxtaposition between Old (ancient) and New (Centre of High Tech) is amazing

So for something substantially different from what you are used to, I strongly recommend it. If there is enough interest in the ER domain to do such a tour in the spring, I know that Oren would be interested in helping to do some guiding. Let me know and I will set it up~

Best regards,


Tour de Israel (pt 1)

Hi folks,

A few of you had asked for a ride report… as was difficult to get the full story on snatches of conversation while trying to climb scaramanga. So here it is.

Trip was scheduled a month previously. I was on my way for a two week trip… 1st week was family related stuff needed attending to, and second week was all personal time, so I decided to take Little Fish on the Journey.

I’ve done a couple of tours in country NSW, but never something so ambitious as this. Logistically an overseas tour is a LOT more complicated. Satnav very kindly offered use of this Bike Specific Travel Bag that he recently got as a birthday present. Worked a treat. When riding overseas here are some things you will need to think about:

  • Weight Limit – I had a 20 kg weight limit. About 15 for the bike and 5kg for everything else. I packed lightly, and squeezed through without paying any excess. Bear in mind Israel was summer temps so only had to pack for 1 x season.
  • Rent a Car – I rented a Mazda 5, which provided plenty of room. Don’t forget to drive on the RIGHT side of the road. Car is needed when you lug around bulky bike bags.
  • Oversize bags are sent to a special carousel in airports. Always look in a different place from where you drop your bag off.
  • Let the air down on your tires (at least halfway) before checking in.
  • Wash the bike before you come back to Australia… Australian authorities were worried I picked up some dirt/organisms somewhere on the way.
  • Takes about 1 hour to disassemble bike ready for packing. Equally another hour of assembly on the other end. Remember to pack adequate tools.
  • I flew via Korea, with a LONG stopover (overnight) in Seoul. I sent my bags ahead and spent the night with just the carry on bag… which was fine.

I spent some time trying to find some groups to ride with before I left. I surfed the internet, and sent off some emails, but not much luck came my way…. Admittedly I was arriving early June, which is at the tail end of the cycling season, simply too hot as you travel into June. My nephew lives locally and is an active runner and triathlete. We had planned to do some riding together though he lives in a very difficult area which is hotly contested, so personal security was an issue. I committed to spend the weekend with his family at the end of week1, and so after the weekend we took off for the biggest ride of the tour. But more about that later.

I packed the Garmin, and somehow got a hold of the latest Israel map. I downloaded this into both my car Garmin, and my bike Garmin. This turned out to be both a blessing and a curse, as we shall see later. The Garmin maps were extremely helpful while cycling since it gave me some reassurance that my preselected route was being properly adhered to…  I found when you ride a route for the first time, it is not very relaxing since you have not seen the landmarks, and are unsure of where and when to turn. You certainly don’t want to miss any turns, as options may NOT be available. Water and food are an issue, as weather was very hot and dehydration was certainly a danger.

As I intimated earlier, my nephew has a young family, but lives in a difficult area that requires passing checkpoints and personal security. Most people he lives with are heavily armed. Interesting to note that I gave my nephew an older set of my EasyRider kit, and he simply LOVED it. He thought this was the best thing since sliced bread. I also pre-agreed with him I would leave my wheels with him at the end of the trip, as a present. These wheels had been built by me a couple of months before, and were fully tested and ready to roll.

So on the Friday… we did a practice roll in the area where he lives. Our big ride was planned for the following Sunday. We took the bikes out and gave it a run… here is a pic in front of his house.


I mentioned earlier that personal security is an issue, so being armed is the new normal. No kidding, when he remarked how relieved he was when the ER Jersey was deep enough to fit his 9mm.

ER Jersey was deep enough to fit his 9mm

My plans for the tour called for me to spend 3-4 days in the North of the country (very hilly and cooler), and 3-4 days in Tel Aviv which is flat, hot, and an inner city experience. Tel Aviv is a beach city situated squarely on the Mediterranean Sea.

My nephew planned to take the day off on Sunday and planned an all day excursion for a challenge ride up to the top of Mt Hermon, tallest mountain in Israel, which during winter months is a ski resort. On Sunday morning… we woke up very early, and got away at 4:00am. Since I was staying that evening at a B&B up north, made sense for us to take 2 x cars. We drove separately for 1.5 hours, parked one of the cars at a convenient location in the North, and then joined back together again to drive an hour together for the latter part of the trip. The path we took was via the Jordan Valley, which was one of the most spectacular and picturesque roads I’ve ever had the privilege of driving. It resembled a moonscape to my eyes and was VERY different from what you are used to.

Here is some background on the Jordan Valley but pics do not do it justice. For a moment while driving through the area I felt transported to the moon… cool.

We arrived at Kibbutz Dafna which was at the base of the mountain at around 7:30am. We met a third person there who my nephew had corresponded with when searching for routes up the top of the Hermon. His name was Oren, and belonged to a local cycling club, that kindly agreed to ride with us for the day. He was an invaluable resource as he had all the local knowledge, which was sorely needed on the day.  Interesting to note, Oren had made a few calls the week before to see if he could get an army training road open which would allow us to get to the very top of the mountain… that is another 4 km at about 15%. Unfortunately the road was firmly closed as several army training runs were on for that day. Secretly I was happy he was not able to open the road, since I had my doubts about this whole challenge anyway, much less these last 4 km’s.

Here is a pic of the Oren and I, while still reasonably fresh…

Bucky and Oren

The Mt Hermon challenge was positioned as a 30 km climb ergo Mountain Top finish, but should be easy at an avg 5%. I had my doubts, about this and with some trepidation agreed to this climb, or perhaps adventure is better articulating what it really was. I think the 5% avg, was after taking the descents into account, because it was really 10-12% average. I have never seen anything like it! My cardio was blown out of the water, and I was going so slow I could barely turn the pedals worrying about stalling. We started the climb late, say about 8:00am, and so the temps started to climb, and it was Very Hot for the duration of the ride. Two water bottles were the way to go…. Oren knew where fill up points were along the way, which was a relief.

I got 20km into the climb, and capitulated. I felt overheated and spent, and was worried about health, heart, lungs, and survival. I had a whole week of cycling ahead of me, and did not want to blow the trip by overextending. The two guys with me looked ok… though I was not so sure about myself. Oren suggested we deviate and start to descend after a break at Neve Ativ, which I was very happy about. We did a major descent that seemed to go on for ever… and bike handled great throughout. Oren told us a story how he destroyed a bike on this descent a few weeks ago.

Here is the strava story….

and some pics of the participants…

Mt Hermon

And here is the wiki about Neve Ativ

Ben, suffering on the climb….


An old Druze woman gave us a bowl of cherries at a pit stop… how quaint


In summary, a great day had by all. This was truly an adventure as it took a lot of guts to brave the unknown and enter truly unfamiliar territory, and to conquer your fears in this way is truly exhilarating.

In part two, we talk about the climb up Mt Gilboa, and then on the Tel Aviv….