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Fursday Fluffer

The rain hammered the North Shore overnight and started to ease in the early hours.

The HMAWOTN (Hard Men And Women Of The North) started to wake just before they had gone to bed.  Many of the men turned to Boys and piked quicker than you could login and press a button (SatNav – don’t want to bring attention to you but that is the third one this week!!!) .  The Hard Women of the North (Magoo and Jenna) just smiled, took it in their stride and pedalled away.  Fortunately for those that can only focus on one thing at a time both Fore and Big Goaders represented the sex admirably. for the first time lied to me.  It showed big concentrations of rain passing over the Fluffer route but absolutely clear from 4.45am.  The potential cancellation was cancelled and a desire ‘not to go’ turned into a ‘should go, and when no one turns up I can head back to bed’.  This is clearly against the rumour that I, like SatNav, do not sleep……..

Heading into McCarrs it got cold – very cold………Magoo wanted something to help her warm up.  Top Secret: she now wants to install a ‘cyclist warming station’ in the regroup point at the bottom of McCarrs.  The patent will soon be pending.  Her belief is that if she gets one of the following installed all will be fine.



Just past Church Point Fore turned to head back to West Head and give it a bashing whilst the trio headed down the beaches.  The further south that we all got the more the sun refused to rise, the wetter it got and the colder it got.  The only thing that warmed everyone was the smiles and the camaraderie of the small peloton heading down the Pittwater Road.  Note: It was wet so Manly CC were not out.

A brief stop in Manly and we were off again, navigating safely through Sydney Road and up Pirrawi.  Magoo invents a new call – Not a ‘Regroup’, not an ‘Ease Up’; this one is good – ‘Wardrobe’.  Everybody will know that when someone shouts wardrobe you should drop everything and stop!!!  Quote of the day – ‘Can we get Frostbite this morning from the weather?’.  No Magoo you are safe today don’t worry.  A wet and dripping magoo takes off her gloves as her hands are cold.  After swapping some clothing with Big Goaders she is off again – warmer than before.

An on time delivery at the B&T to meet a sodden OTP of 10 riders huddled under the umbrellas.  Both Magoo and Jenna had headed North before the bridge to traverse the final ridges back to a warm shower at home.

This morning the shower at work was one of the nicest places to be.  On reflection it’s amazing how you can enjoy such horrible weather when you are with such great company.

Normal 5.15pm and 6pm returns this evening.  Please note the Allambie return will be cancelled due to Safety Reasons.  We will save an Allambie onslaught for another day.

If anyone finds a Sully to warm them up please let me know………


Big Goaders

Heading south to the Sydney Plains

What a morning and what a way to wake up!!

Big Goaders received joining instructions late last night from the Fluffettes:

  1. Big Goaders – come and wake up with us in the morning.
  2. You need to be up and out for 4.25 to be in St Ives for a 4.45 departure
  3. We want you to take us to Sydney Plains to see the Lions and the Giraffes.

Well who could refuse an invite like that! There I was at 4.47am (late due to my legs not working as normal) ready to go at St Ives – Magoo, Jenna and Norman all in attendance. We took the ride to Laura via MVR, Forest Way, Spit, Parrawi and then met her after she had been doing Parrawi repeats for many hours.

From here we headed south talking about the beauty of the Sydney Plains. A place that is allegedly far flatter than the North Shore and goes on for miles and miles. Quickly given the topic the discussion got onto the Lion King. The key question was who in the ER’s would be which character in the movie. What a discussion – key conclusions as follows:

  •  SatNav – Clearly Rafiki (according to the Fluffettes). His wise words are helpful. Magoo claims that SatNav isn’t as old as Rafiki. I am not so sure.
  • Timon – This is Clutters. A youthful and mischievous individual that seems to pop up everywhere and is highly adaptable irrespective of environment ie road bike, MTB.
  • Bam Bam – The discussion was about being a power house. Like a charging elephant. Remember that elephants are also very intelligent.
  • Bullet – This one was tricky but Pumbaa came up as a joyous fun loving type of character. Also perceived to be the pin up of the jungle – perhaps he should be January in the ER calendar!!!

You can tell the intelligent conversation that was shining through as we crossed the bridge and headed South down Clarence and across to Bourke St. The endless cycle paths traversed each plateau until we came to the link to the Sydney Planes – Mascot Airlink station – a quick turn right joining the path to the biggest planes we could find. The excitement on Magoo’s face as a flying kangaroo descended above her. It was like taking a child into a sweet shop.

A rose between some thorns

A rose between some thorns – Hugh Heffner and the Fluffettes celebrating Jenna hitting her ER target 3 days early – well done Jenna.

Magoo searching for the very rare sea Hippos out near the airport

Magoo searching for the very rare sea Hippos out near the airport

The only person missing was Magoo’s ER Commuting partner – Comet – he apparently needs to hit 165km’s this week so that Team Comet and Magoo can hit 500!!!! Go Comet.

Normal returns this evening – 5.15/5.30/6pm Outbounds plus a 5.15 Fluffer return (Jenna is in the process of talking herself into this one to cap off a fantastic day)

Fluffettes – Thank you for a fab ride. Definitely one of the best ways to start a day.

Pedal safe

Big Goaders

Tuesday Freezing Foggy Fluffer

It was cold today. So much so that we saw Polar Bears and Penguins prancing through McCarrs Creek (perhaps I had been smoking what Bullet smokes).

9 on the pedals including Fluffette Norman. We had 2 virgin Flufferers this morning – Stealth and Mark – both had found the ridiculous o’clock settings on their alarms and decided to wake up before they went to bed.

SatNav was on fine form despite being 3 minutes late along with Norman – Both of you wake up 3 minutes earlier please. Perhaps he had been doing Bobbin Head repeats on his Fixie as a warm up. Robert was so wrapped up that anyone would think he was cycling in Scotland (not the Island but the big cold place above England). Lunchie allegedly stopped at Manly and had a Bacon and Egg roll which was tucked into his back pocket and Admin was riding his pimped up loan frame as a test ride for his warranty job.

All in all a great, if not a little cold, ride with all safely delivered to the B&T at 0745hrs.

Great ride. Thanks.

Allambie return for those interested tonight at 5.30 SHBS/5.35 SHBN. Please let me know, or use the calendar, if you are riding.

Pierre’s First Fluffer

Welcome Pierre to your first Fluffer.

A great ride today with 7 starting and Matt catching up by Manly because he was 3 minutes late to the Pittwatter junction. 3 minutes……..why does everything happen in 3 minute blocks on the Fluffer.

I’m surprised for such a youthful individual it actually took Matt until past Manly to catch us!!! Must try harder Matt. Simba – apparently Matt wants to be added to the ER email so could you pass his email name onto SatNav please.

Other riders today included SatNav, Scott, another Matt (Scott’s son – was actually kicked out of bed by Dad), Ivan of Terrigal and Mark the Pope. From this description you can deduce that we clearly had a lack of Fluffettes which meant that Beauty didn’t blossom until the sun rose at South Curl Curl. What a stunning sunrise this morning.

Also as self appointed diversity officer outside of the Fluffettes there was also no Mavis. This is concerning and he is alleged not to have ridden at all today which clearly I don’t believe given that he gave me so much abuse for catching a train yesterday. Next thing he will be doing is leaving work early today. He has to be careful he doesn’t pick up the new ‘Soft Lad’ moniker that is starting to fly around.

The pace was a little hotter than normal, I was really hoping that Pierre was going to call an ease up, but all stayed silent. Looking at my Garmin on Mona Vale Road we were travelling at 32km/h, Down McCarrs we descended fast and then sped along Pittwater Road in a rolling group that was impressive – great calling from all and good lines…………

Arrival at Manly at 6.38 which was the earliest for a while and a B&T landing at 7.32 with the OTP. Well done to all the riders.

Reviewing Strava it described my ride as Tough. That Strava thingy is a funny thing. How did it know that I had 10 bottles of beer last night and 5 hours sleep. Does this mean that Strava is actually a female with Extra Sensory Perception as good as Mrs G. Very worrying.

Normal returns tonight at 5.15pm and 6pm. There is an additional ride that I am running at 5.30pm from SHBS routing via Mosman, Spit, Allambie, Forest Way and St Ives. Schleck, Ivan the Terrigal and myself are confirmed. The pace is Goaders pace (remember lots of climbing so i’m responsible for the pace…..).

Have a great day.

Pedal safe

Big Goaders

Tuesday Fluffer Frolicks

What a beautiful morning. Less chilly than yesterday with the sun rising steadily across the Northern Beaches. Surrounded by beautiful views including South Curl Curl, Manly and many more on the way. So warm that even ‘the Jugs’ were out (apologies – had to crack that one). Matt was joined by many more Fluffer newbies including Ian, Phil and new Fluffettes Adele and Jenna. Given the numbers I may have missed many so apologies in advance. Mavis and Bernadette joined after bolting it up from Manly, Gemma joined us in Manly.

28 on the pedals today – so many for a winters morning. Absolutely fantastic. Briefing went swimmingly, normal T&C’s accepted and we pedalled into the distance up Mona Vale Road. SatNav and Big Phil kindly volunteered to be Lantern Rouges. Apparently there was once again a photographer above the St Ives Showground who probably caught us at our most scrappiest moment after a mechanical was called. This won’t be a photo to be proud of but at least we were out in force – 25 up Mona Vale and 3 picked up on the way.

Every time we regrouped I saw more and more faces that I recognised – Michael, Jamie, Robert, Timon, Gregg and many more. The sight was impressive. A large rolling group (steady speed recognising that many had not done it previously) down Pittwater with a secondary back group who were either on fixies or needed a little bit more confidence to join in the fray.

As the sun rose on South Curl Curl the beauty blossomed. The light on the water was fantastic and another impressive morning dawned. Congratulations to all of those riders who joined us. Apologies for the herding and the loudness of the instructions but hopefully that helps us to keep moving.

On time delivery at B&T at 7.45am. This is great considering the size of the group. All safely delivered.

Big apologies from Big Goaders to Big Phil and the B2B’ers (great to have you on board and I look forward to you bringing out the B2Babes to meet the Fluffettes – doesn’t every group have a name for their female riders?) who we managed to drop with a puncture. Fortunately they hit the pedals hard and managed to catch up just after Manly. How did 25 people not spot that we had lost 3!!!!

Laura once again managed to dash across the North Shore and failed to find us. She was 3 mins ahead at Manly. Laura – download Google Latitude and I will switch it on for a Tuesday and Thursday Fluffer so you know where we are.

Can you all please download your rides to who are tracking this mornings commutes into Sydney. I expect the Fluffer to be a dominant line on the report. Drastique will have his slight Akuna variation to add a little originality.

Congrats to one and all – we were only discussing that a couple of years ago it was lucky to get 8-10 on the OTP. To think that between us we can run an MTB ride in, a Fluffer and an OTP is impressive.

Salute the pedals and pedal safely. For those heading back towards Manly tonight I will be at SHBS at 5.30pm.


Big Goaders

Fursday Fluffer Report


12 on the pedals at St Ives. Difficult to mention everyone but great to see Micheal, Sam and Big Phil back. Alex put in another excellent ride. Well done.

SatNav actually managed to make it today after getting his ‘Onesy’ zip got stuck on Tuesday. Apparently Mrs SatNav has now swapped it for velcro so he should be able to make every other Fluffers in the future. No excuses after the pathetic Tuesday excuses!

We will hold judgement on whether SatNav is really turning into a ‘Soft Man of the North’ (SMOTN) albeit Graham was competing for this title at Manly today with his claimed mechanical! Unfortunately his Chain was stuck in his Big Chain ring so SatNav managed to get it swapped for the little chain ring so he could belt up Pirrawi.

Talking about the Big Chain Ring; Newby Sean joined us from Dee Why again and had the ride of the year so far. Told me at the end that he had managed to stay in his Big Chain Ring all the way into Sydney and found it less tiring than he has before. Well done Sean. Great ride.

We also picked up Robert and Matt on the way through the ride. 15 is an impressive number for a winter ride – well done to all the Flufferers who managed to get out of their beds at ‘ridiculous O’clock’. Big Phil apparently only just made it after pressing sleep a number of times but felt the Fluffer commitment. Robert started off about 3 mins behind us and managed to chase us down by Pittwater. Well done Robert. It was Norman on Tuesday and she managed to catch us by Manly. One tip to all the Flufferers. Just try setting your alarm 3 mins earlier and you will be on time otherwise you could be breathless!

Talking about breathless after all of her climbing all over the place at the weekend. Laura managed a Fluffer First – She was the first person to complete the Fluffer from her bed. This must be classed as the ‘cycle of shame’. Thankfully she kept in regular contact with the peloton by text.


‘Big Goaders – see you at Church Point’
‘BG – running late see you at Mona Vale’
‘Perhaps Dee Why’
‘Don’t wait at Dee Why – I will catch you up’
‘Perhaps Manly’
‘Missed it – still in bed!!!!’

Congratulations to Laura – she must be absolutely knackered after all that exertion.

This brings me to the ‘Fluffer Motto’. We need to develop one – somebody suggested ‘Once a week is great, twice a week is out of this world’. Please submit the suggestions by carrier pigeon.

The Fluffer runs officially every Tuesday and Thursday from St Ives at 5.15am. Runs like clockwork now. If you want to do it on another day put a ride in the calendar and see if anyone else can do it. For safety reasons I don’t recommend doing it on your own. I think Nick plans to put in a ride on one Wednesday so keep your eyes open for this one.

A few apologies rolling in for ‘sleep ins’. The question has to be wouldn’t you prefer to wake up with Big Goaders rather than lazing in your beds………. Fluffettes please don’t be offended.

Safe pedalling

Big Goaders

Fluffer Report

6 out of the traps at St Ives. The last time I saw mist like that was in some dubious night club where you couldn’t see arms length in front of you. Fortunately the visibility was better on todays Fluffer, but not much.

As we waited to see the Fluffettes enter through the mist we were left with an air of dissapointment. Flash’s comment put as sensitively as ever ‘where’s the Fluffettes!!’. The implication of this was that he doesn’t actually like riding with a bunch of blokes. After promises of don’t worry Laura will join us later, Bernadette in Manly he seemed to calm.

2 mins late starting as we were waiting for Greg to adjust himself and SatNav to turn up. Checking the phone SatNav said he couldn’t get the zip off his ‘Onesy’ undone so he was staying in bed and waiting for Mrs Satnav to wake up to help – poor excuse. Don’t let me start any malicious rumours but one of the hardest men of the North has changed into one of the softest…………

Into the mist, like Gorilla’s dissappearing into the trees (Flash that one is for you). We had Scott (Matt’s Dad – where were you Matt!), B2, Greg, Falsh and Mark. What we didn’t know was Norman was 3 mins late – remember we left 2 mins late so that means she ended up chasing us in the mist all the way to Manly where she eventually caught up. Definitely a HWOTN. Impressive.

No Laura – high levels of precipitation meant alternative arrangements had to be made for her. No Cristina either – after an impressive climbing show on Sunday she is busy resting but has become an Honary Fluffette.

Hit B&T at 7.40. Another on time arrival. Special mention for Gregg – he had an outstanding cycle this morning and was really pushing it with no calling for any ease ups. He will regret this later as he is slumped on his desk by mid morning but I am expecting a bagful of Strava records from Greg. Well done. I was concerned he didn’t make it to the B&T but assumed he was working in North Sydney. This was confirmed. He is safe if not tired.

Thanks for a great ride – no colours means no Mavis

Big Goaders

The Fluffer Classic

Fluffer Classic Start

A big thanks to SatNav, Drastique, Admin, Both B1’s and many more for the fantastic help that they gave either leading groups or playing the role of ‘Lantern Rouge’ at the back of the pack. Between us all we got 45 safely through the Fluffer Classic without any real incidents beyond a minor mechanical (Quarter will need a new hub!!!).

What a fantastic ride. If you were in the second group you would have had a very easy climb up the Mona Vale Road whilst Sir Lunchalot and Ravi effectively ‘did their knitting and had a good old chat’. Once they separated the momentum picked up. To think that we could ride 45km and get two groups to meet up in Manly for a photo shows how good it was.

Hello Admin

The line of egg and tomato’s was fantastic. Great to see so many new faces.

To think that 45 people rolled out of bed ridiculously early to ride with their mates shows what a great group this is.

If only I had sent a few more emails I may have got a bigger turnout.

Thanks to all who rode. A great event and I hope a fantastic introduction to one of the ER rides.

The Fluffer occurs every Tuesday and Thursday – Start time 5.15am from St Ives. I will be back at the starting post on Thursday morning waiting to see if anyone will turn up!!!!

Please thank all your friends for attending. They are welcome anytime – Priority clearly given to the Fluffettes within the group. What a wonderful bunch to wake up with! (Fluffettes – please forgive me……)

Enjoy your day. On behalf of your boss – No Sleeping……….

Big Goaders

Fluffering Fun Continues

What a fantastic Fluffering morning…….. As the sun rose on South Curl Curl the gift of dawn had blessed the ten riders (11 including Drastique who meandered off into Akuna) who had stopped sleeping half way through the night to complete this mornings ride.  It was nearly an extra 2 but unfortunately both Comet and Ravi had a sleepover as their alarms struck and the land of nod called once more.

Riders included Saint Nav, Matt Mooney (on his second Fluffer), Simba, Nala (also on her second one), B1, Andy H, Sir Lunchalot (ready to Spoke out this time), Magoo and Scott.  T&C’s were quickly agreed to and we were off.

The wonders of the Fluffer continued:

  • The ride adjusted quickly to the groups pace today which was a pretty pacey 26 km/h including stops.  This gave an ‘on time arrival’ at the B&T at 7.45 bang on the chimes of the big bell.  Such a surprise clearly that the pretty server managed to spill coffee all down her top.  Bullet then passed around a collection to try and entice her to remove it under the guise of buying her flowers as an apology……. He’s slick…..
  • Nala put in an outstanding Fluffette performance for her second ride.  Considering she only had 2 stops what a brilliant ride she had.  I descended behind her in the National Park and her descents were also confidently done whilst being very safe.  Well done Nala.
  • At the other extreme chief Fluffette Magoo has shoulders about 12 inches wide that she still tries to fit through spaces about 6 inches wide!!!  A close call between Big Goaders and a parked car but all were safe in the end!!!
  • The rolling groups are also getting good down the Pittwater Road – so much so that we ended up picking up 2 extras who appeared very professionally kitted out!  I just said that we were a commuting group who took a long way to work on a Tuesday/Thursday.  Three things for us to focus on: 1) Keeping the right hand side at a steady speed, 2) Keeping close to the wheel in front so that we are nice and tight and 3) calling when you are front left and the space is clear for the front right rider to move and also calling when you are the last rider at the back on the right.

Thanks for a fab ride – Invigorating.

The Fluffer is on for Thursday – the same time as normal.

A date for your diaries.  On Tuesday 9th April (the Tuesday after Daylight savings clock change) we are going for a ‘Fluffer Record’.  So many people tell me that they struggle with the early morning that on this date your body will feel as though it gets an extra hour in bed.  As a result this will be a celebration of sleeping (name tbc, suggestions welcome). We will start at the normal time of 5.15am but your body will think it is 6.15am.  For those who will only do this once this year this is the day.

Our biggest turnout is 19 for Admin’s 50th Birthday so let’s see what we can do this time?

Big Goaders

The Spirit Of The ER Community

The weather was almost Fluffer-like gorgeous this morning after Half Lindfield had booked a 0730 hours start at Half Corner – a bit of a lie in was had by all; but clearly as an academic Half didn’t want to rush the morning.

The expectation was an 80-90km ride through the 4 Gorges followed by a Hearty Breakfast – ‘Don’t worry Big G we’ll be there in a couple of hours as we passed the Bobbin Head Road Cafe!’. The biggest case of mis-selling I have heard this year………

In true Pied Piper style Half meandered through The Hills Of Near Death, St Ives Alps, turning the wrong way into the Mona Vale Road (apparently to catch the lights into Pentecost – thanks for the call Halfie!) and up Bobbin Head Road to pick up the ‘Merry Few’ that decided to join Halfie and I including Leonardo De Finchie (LDF), Dragon, Bucky and Andora.

For me there are a few key things that I want to call out about this mornings ride:

  • I absolutely applaud what I call ‘The Spirit Of The ER Community’ including the advice that is given during these rides as people want to encourage others to improve – Today’s ride included many constructive comments from all around. It started with Half’s advice about focusing on the pedal strokes during the upward phase of the rotation, ‘Staying in the Big Chainset Big Goaders to develop your power’ through to LDF’s advice and encouragement on climbing. All welcome. Thank You.
  • This ride wasn’t about smashing it. Half had been clear on the expected pace, as the ride leader, and not once did I hear anyone question it. This was about enjoying a ride with others. Great example was on the last Bobbin Head climb I could see LDF working to pull us all up the hill. Every so often he would look around, realise he was widening the gap and then ease back a little to get us in striking distance – a form of teasing and encouragement to keep pushing it up the hill. Now LDF is in top form at the moment with his recent KOM’s to add to the bag but he really lived ‘The Spirit Of The ER Community’ today. His, and others, speed reflected the group and where gaps did exist people pulled over to regroup regularly. My Strava PR’s on this ride is down to the help all around me. Once again a big Thank You.
  • Bucky was an absolute gem – How many people follow you up a climb, and down a drop, to tell you that your wheel is slightly off alignment and you should get it looked at to prevent any problems. I picked this ‘pronounced wheel deviation’ – in Bucky’s words – in mine it was a minor buckle but then apparently I hadn’t seen it with my weight on it!! Bucky – clearly a man passionate about the spin and alignment of a wheel and the safety of a fellow ER. So much so that after we all departed at the end of the ride he suggested that I came up to his ‘wheel lab’ so that he could put it right. Let me tell you the Wheel Lab has more spin than the Fluffer – if you are interested in a set of wheels then he is definitely worth a conversation with. If you need a set aligning then that too is worth a conversation.
  • I learn’t more with Bucky in 20mins about the general maintenance of a bike than I have learnt all of last year. I know that I need to work on the maintenance of my bikes but wouldn’t know where to start. Schleck gave me some good advice on Friday also. After the 20 mins with Bucky I have suggested to him (and Brownie previously) that we should run some short sessions on general bike maintenance especially for all the Newbies (including myself). Think of these as 40 min masterclasses. We could try the first one and see ‘how it works’ if this is of interest to people. Let me know if you are interested and I will try and set one up if there is enough of you. The first session could be about general maintenance i.e. wheel alignment, cleaning chain sets, altering gears and brakes etc. If anyone is interested in this the let me know. I am willing for the first one of these to run in my garage if one of the ‘experienced’ ones are willing to give up some time. We could probably do one on a return OTP one day and each throw in a few dollars to have a beer during and buy the professional a few coffee’s as a thank you.

Reflecting on the ride (and the 17 PR’s…..) we shouldn’t forget ‘why’ we enjoy riding together. I spent nearly a year riding on my own in Sydney because I didn’t know of people who I could ride with. I can only thank you all for the ‘Spirit of the ER community’ that every rider demonstrates. A very big thank you to you all – I am loving it.

The Fluffer is on both Tuesday and Thursday this week as normal – meet at 5.15am at St Ives. The Spirit of the ER will be on full show. The weather is forecast to be excellent. Let’s get pedalling. Don’t forget your big lights. If any Fluffettes are coming up from Manly/Mosman let me know and I may be able to link a couple of you up if you are riding up to the start.


Big Goaders