The bongos were thumping last night, a steady beat, well below 140, stirring the troops who were primed to march a different route to their usual soft commute, a route only a hobbit would love.
YHC waiting for the alarm to go off in the middle of the night…. the many multitudes of ERs being drawn by bonds of friendship and wistful sadness .and lets face the bloody drums….and then
sparrows farted ( YHC could not be sure it was sparrows )
Rolling out of the garret into a pitch dark night , YHC was mostly solo .. .. Billions of stars overhead + an extra B1.
Surfing off the upper reaches of Monte Colah and down to Turra where a dawn service was due to start.
A cloud free chill, clammy with a hint of anticipation.. ( and the weather was pretty good too )
The ER troops were already on the pedal , rolling up to the launch it was wall to wall egg and tomato, obviously the word had got around, and all the cracks had gathered to the fray..lights flashing, voices hushed and plenty of the usual back slapping and bonhommie. Roll call and Laurie briefing the multitude to fight fair , no kicking or scratching the usual terms and conditions.. everyone after Andrew , Keith and Grant became another ER..and the boys lead us out.
YHC enjoys this part of the ride, a 4 km gentle slope ever downward .. cruising in convoy, into that magical piece of forest Browns water hole.. YHC slips a chain, and without further ado is at the back of the peloton waiving a lanterne rouge..some things never change.
Laurie’s briefing said there would be a regroup at the top.. there was. ( Kind of a new experience for our HMOTN ) Rolling out a group which was now about 50 strong, left plenty of time to regain a little breath and say hello to GottaRide.. only she gotta ride a moped..not too embarrassed to wear the colours though. ( quick plug here, if you are looking to dope your bike.. please opt for an electric one )
The ER traffic jam processed to the LCNP stopping normal traffic and turning just a few heads .. B1 would have enjoyed the irony of filling the park with an ER gridlock. So far the pace was sociable, banter the order of the day, Ravi and Comet in the bunch, moon blue as it was big overhead. Then just when you think all is sweet, you hit the wall, the Fullers Slap. It is vertical, with a little horizontal thrown in, pleasure becomes pain, and all the hobbits laugh as they take the front of the group and dish it out. ( only in their minds as hobbits are generally much too nice to laugh ) Satnav was on the fixie. didn’t seem to miss a beat. YHC coughed up a lung. but discreetly rolled to the front of the regroup ( to take a few pictures ) not going to be dropped with half a ride left. ( Meanwhile Andrew and the boys had peeled off to go back to school )
Chatswoo to the city is well worn OTP territory so how come the hobbits have a windy little track past a grotty little shack on the way to find the top of Tindale, this being YHC’s first hobbits ride navigation was surprisingly complicated. By now of course the ER peloton has swelled past 60 and even blind Freddy could follow the procession. No doubt the devil would take the hindmost, but there would be plenty of company.
It was a swift transfer through Narrem Burn and a traffic disaster at the top of Crow’s Nest, once onto the downhill stretch there were a few very relieved faces until it became the usual coffee sprint, ( Schleckie had his traffic light greener working overtime ) 58 ERs get entangled in the shambles of Miller St, Schleckie is first in the coffee queue ( I made that bit up as I have never seen the tail lights of Schleckie by this stage of the ride some things never change )
Photoshop was not required to fill the space around B&T, it really was wall to wall egg and tomato some faces there that I had not seen for a very long while, and of course some who could not make it. ( Highlander , Flash you know who you are )
Stragglers rolled in and sat on laps, planters, or stood around gassing in the usual ER way. Vic and his happy crew turned out about 100 coffees in double quick time, I was well to the back of the line up and was sipping before I had the breath back.
Coffee and company, connection and caring mates, B1 you would have really enjoyed this ride dammit, we really miss you already.
With six (6) Easy Riders on the Fluffer this morning, a ride report is justified. It was Anna Police_Biscotti’s first ER Fluffer and her timing was impeccable with glorious weather as well as an ER peloton comprising Doc, Magoo, Blue Stratos, Happy and Ginger.
The glory days of 20 plus ERs on the Fluffer are long gone after Big Goaders relocated to NZ. Also, many ERs have already ticked off 3 Peaks Challenge and Around the Bay, as such, it is understandable that the effort to get up extra early for the Fluffer has become less compelling. These days, 3 ERs on the Fluffer is considered a good turn out as often Ginger rides solo.
Although, Doc, Blue and Happy are considered fairly regular participants on the Fluffer, Magoo only turns up occasionally. Based on Magoo’s recent impressive racing achievements, keeping the peloton together should Magoo decides to ride at warp speed would be a futile exercise. However, Magoo assures Ginger that she is tapering before spending 8 days at the AIS in Canberra next week, hoping to be selected as a member of an elite road racing team that will get the opportunity to race in Europe. Magoo also turned up with a brand new bike. It’s a Specialized roadie naturally!
At 5:16am 5 ERs rolled onto Mona Vale Road from the St Ives car park at a nice comfortable pace. Blue joined us at the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens just before the descent. Ginger was dropped on the ascent to the St Ives Show Ground. Thankfully, the peloton slowed down to enable Ginger to get back on.
Despite the overnight thunderstorms and rain, the road surface was nice and dry. The descent from Terry Hills to Church Point was enjoyed by all as only four cars drove by. Although the pace was brisk, everyone managed to stay together and chatted.
Doc joined the Fluffer even though she had to be in Camden by 11am to set up a spinach experiment in one of the farms there. She told me that if there are too much weeds among the spinach, the experiment won’t work. In fact, the experiment had failed three times due to weeds.
At North Narrabeen, the ER peloton took a left turn to cut across the caravan park fronting onto Ocean Street which is a flat road that the local cyclists love to fang along at warp speed. Luckily, Magoo resisted the temptation to spoil their party.
The sunrise was pretty spectacular, as we took in Long Reef, Dee Why, Curl Curl, Freshwater before arriving at Manly for a brief stop. Apart from cyclists, Manly beach has become quite a happening place with lots of groups doing boot camp, running, or simply out for a stroll with their pets.
Fortunately, due to school holidays, there was very light traffic along Sydney and Spit Roads. After turning into Parrawi Road, Magoo and Happy took off racing each other to the top. Parrawi Road offers fantastic views of Middle Harbor all the way through the heads.
The ER peloton rode through Balmoral, Mosman, Cremorne, and Neutral Bay along the back roads avoiding Spit and Military Roads. Eventually, the ER peloton arrived at Milsons Point and Anna Police_Biscotti had to ride back to Lane Cove. After riding across the Bridge, Magoo went missing whilst Doc, Blue, Happy and Ginger enjoyed a well earned brekky and coffee at the Yahoo Cafe. It was nice and sunny and life is good.
Any ERs who are yet to do the Fluffer should make the effort to get out of bed early to experience one of the nicest rides in Sydney.
PS It’s Happy Luke’s birthday tomorrow. Drop by the Google Cafe to wish him happy birthday!
An early departure under a clear blue sky was the most welcoming of sights….so of course it had to be another epic adventure on the Hobbits. With hardly any traffic on KPR, the 6.35 M2 tunnel rendezvous was made with ease. But would there be other Hobbits on such a glorious morning? As I waited for the appointed time, there came the rumblings of a some prehistoric beast smashing its way the dense vegetation. Was this a dinosaur of epic scale or the first reported sighting of the yeti in Australia? Tree limbs creaked and splintered asunder as Dopey steered his way through the brambles on his new mountain bike steed. My instincts justified on both accounts.
It was a BT paced ride which meant there was a 100% chance that anyone could catch us, it was just a question of where and when.
The Hobbits is a very pleasant, sociable sojourn: there are long downhill sections and only 2 steep category 4 climbs. It is clearly the best way to start the day and the connoisseurs choice of the best ER route (yes Schlecky – you know it’s true). One day, they will make a movie based on the Hobbits ride (maybe a trilogy) and someone famous will probably write a book, that will become a best seller. Remember, tell your kids you heard it here first.
No traffic and the only incident of note was Dopey losing control whilst negotiating the short 20m off road section under Lane cove bridge. He was out of sight for sometime, but made it out from under the bridge with a wide smile.
A rafter of riders was happily nesting at the B&T as we carved our way through the construction site that is Dalgety road. Weather was perfect for a ride into town, the company was marvellous, and the conversation memorable.
Departure times set for 5:15pm. Get plenty of sleep before the ride home – it doesn’t get better than this.
Tomorrow’s morning coffee debate will be on the 2015 challenges. Be bold, be brave, share your aspirations for 2015 (in no less than 20 words please). There is nothing like peer pressure and banter to help you achieve something you didn’t think you could ever achieve. NNNick: you can just roll forward your 2013 goal another year.
Farewell 2014. We will miss you.
The T-accounts in Strava start from zero – Yehaaa 2015, here we come….
In the darkness and the rain they waited,
Fingers crossed and breath a-bated,
Alas Van Diemen never did appear,
As if the conditions where something to fear.
Stealthy and Flash continued their affair,
Matching bags, hats and in years to come, hair?
I ponder if Flash is actually Stealth in a future sense,
The possibilities of the space-time continuum are immense.
C.Hippo’s Jesus slippers continue to brave the weather,
As CFO they have been banished from my consciousness forever,
Although his commitment to the cause is to be respected,
His hairy big toe leaves me a little dejected.
SatNav rolled in with all his friends in tow,
Setting the pace until a certain roundabout, where he slows,
Phantom’s rear lights hovered in the distance yonder,
Mesmerised by their beauty I was almost clipped by a Honda.
Chilled and sodden was this group of six,
Yet showers await, providing a quick fix,
If it wasn’t already clear, let us declare it henceforth
These six are true hard men (and women) of the North.
YHC was stirred early enough to calculate the chances of rain to be sufficiently low, such that an ageing Mamil could conquer the North Shore , consume a coffee at the Cava , and be at work before the forecast showers were due.
Thus it was a pleasure to behold only 5 others lining up for a saunter along the one true path, a small but tidy peloton of the uber cool ER phenomenon.
Consulting the time gods, for a sign to depart, as BOF is now no longer scheduled at the appointed hour..YHC self selected to be Lantern Rouge, a role of increasing importance in the face of such greatness, let’s face it YHC could not hope to lead off the front anyway. And statesmanlike YHC rolled out to talk of stately things and be regaled of stirring tales of previous cycling derring do ..ok everyone was cycling in the rain and I was not..
The small group meant few if any regroup stops, and this kept the schedule almost to the second, meaning that Roseville and TIndale , and Crow’s Nest offered no respite but as LR and chuffing at a sedate speed( pre race taper for our heroes ) there was no need. Dry roads and favourable lights, few cars and nil conflicts meant the commute was business as usual, no incidents to report, a perfect day for a ride into town.
YHC has a view that rain and wet roads add to risk, not really from a bike perspective , more that the driving public are nearly twice as stupid when windscreen wipers are in use.. I can ride to conditions keeping the bike the right way up, using plenty of extra brakes and all that jazz, keeping bigger gaps, thinking ahead more, but sitting as I was on the bus in the pouring rain and watching cars dice with each other taking advantage of the bigger gaps and generally menacing each other fully ignoring the conditions, it makes me feel a little more vulnerable while in that environment on a bike.
The weekend is at least looking like a good one for a hurl , no doubt there will be a tide of ERs swirling the various national parks, beaches bushes and now swimming pools..
Assalamu Alaikum.. ( yes YHC has just made it back from the Sahara Desert .. a little sandy and fragrant of fresh camel )
Getting up before the dawn to test my mettle against the thrills of the OTPe, and the New Line Road wake up adrenalin rush, it was what I like to say “perfect weather for a ride into town”..
Darker than the ace of spades, YHC was concerned that the lights would fail having been dormant for 3 weeks, but as it turned out an ER peloton formed at the Loftus Rd turn off for a very gentlemanly paced trot along the Epping way. Greg was as wheezy as myself so keeping things to a sensible 24km average was not going to be a problem, and as DtB was a DNS, no greyhounds to pace.
A delicious Beecroft decent ended in a dead end at the turn off, some nice person has signposted the path as a pedestrian path, so YHC took the other option only to be stopped by concrete barriers a little further up..no worries climbing to Epping at a conversational 7kph was just as good as sprinting that short section. Once through to Vimera, Simon showed up, (Dobbo a late starter, and TD rampant elsewhere), the OTPe proceeded with vigour and enthusiasm, if only at a snails pace.
3 peaks of Epping were scaled and a small but early peloton of the OTP were spied on Scarramanga Pierro ? and wife a tandem with unattached stoker, making it to town the second best way.
The march over to the SHB via OTPe variant along Amherst St, and thence the freeway took us to the cafe formerly known as B&T for a schedule caffeine hit at 7.30.. The legs beginning to complain but all communications were switched off from around Loftus, luckily the autopilot continued to function.
Not enough teeth on Bullet’s rear cassette to count the masses at Gordon this morning….great to see the return to the humble beginnings of ER by so many for this Second Wednesday of the Month.
No incidents or accidents to report – all riders managing to clip in/out today – with everyone arriving safely to join our Epping path brethren who were already firmly entrenched on arrival at the B&T.
Plenty out in their purple jerseys from the weekend’s exploits before the return to the traditional tomato and egg tomorrow. Thanks TD for the photos as attached. Drastique’s busily photoshopping a few more for the website that Colette kindly took on the weekend.
A great 3P write up by Mike – many thanks mate – summed it all up well.
Great to see a wing-clipped Magoo both on the way home last night and at the B&T this morning….looking forward to your return pronto.
The Spring Classics calendar will soon be updated…..diarise the Bobbin Head Classic and VD’s assault on the Blayney to Bathurst as next on the list – arrange your leave passes carefully.
Hope BT of the Sahara is doing well – looking forward to normal service being resumed when he gets back.
In other breaking news, Drastique’s lawnmower has broken down, and DT mowed his before running in this morning.
Dawn was breaking slowly under a few scudding strato cumulus this morning which made for a steely grey sprint along the Asquith Golf course segment and a cool humid start to the second best way to start the day. For YHC it was a normal work day except it could be described as very much a holiday ride. Nil traffic before Waitara, there was a white van to report .. but looked more like the young driver was heading home rather than to work as he was observing the speed limit and displayed no agro at all.. YHC rolled forth unaccosted.
Fox Valley Road.. rendezvous was a question of me myself and I , the peloton discussed an early departure but got involved in checking the 360 app for DtB who was actually still at home..so at the appointed hour a reduced ER presence was noted but operations were still normal..
Gordon and tumbrels rolling around in the morning breeze, it looked like a solo ER bus would be the sum of it, but at 3 seconds to go Chippo hurled around the corner and doubled the numbers..( YHC was a little concerned as this could mean a hypoxic record breaking OTP but was quickly informed about a run at lunch scheduled so the ride would be at ER normal ( ok BT pace ) . So an on time departure for the second last OTP of the 2013 calendar and a perfectly formed but sartorially splendid peloton rolled out to ply the back streets of the north shore with vigour and enthusiasm ( at BT pace )..
The hills of death rolled over , and col de Lindfield increased the average pace a little, Rawhiti sprint left YHC in a breathless state although Chippo was politely jollying along .. not a single bead of sweat to be seen..then into Hills St and Welshie was waiting at the stop with Hans ( a potential new rider ) which doubled the peloton again.. its an ER thing..seems to double in size en route. ( and one of the issues we need to address with the BNSW boys as they won’t play with us until the bike bus scenario is embraced by their strategic thinking)
Nil traffic into Archer St and a clear run though to the Scaramanga climb, YHC leading ( the only way to not get dropped is to dictate the tempo up front then use elbows to prevent any overtaking on the bike path.. ) meant YHC was first to clear the carpark, in a bit of a haze I have to admit, with Chippo daydreaming on my wheel. The only traffic to Crows Nest was a garbo , and the only distraction there was finding a cafe that was open.. ( sorry flash Xenos was trap shut.. ) we decided to roll on.. What little traffic there was was actually determined to get in the way .. one was stopped at a traffic lights having overshot the stop line by a half car length, the other was a garbo parked at 90 degrees to the road blocking the on coming traffic, but he was busy ..
The lights aligned nicely along Miller St, giving the peloton a boost to the bridge and early arrival at the clam tight shut B&T.. We’ll have to call Vic and tell him he sold out..
Chippo led the way to bar Fredo.. Shut .. Yahoo, shut.. three strikes and he was out.. Welshie, YHC and hans found an extortion merchant on George St next to the Philips foot. $5 a coffee.. beggars though are not choosers so we swallowed pride and coughed up.
YHC then rolled to the office and found the Hobbits ride ensconced at Vivo ( the eatery at the foot of 388 George and an IAG local) ( who wants to go there to quote Chippo )
So it was a perfect start to the day, all the boxes ticked..YHC is looking forward to BDR and alps return to Mt Colah probably on the early mark if at all possible.. will be monitoring the mail list for all your ride reports to destinations around the Sydney basin with interest.