Monthly Archives: August 2012

Rider of the Week #4 – Virgin

1. Tell us a bit about yourself
South African born POM now happy living on Sydney’s lower north shore married to an Aussie and have two lovely little kids. I work in Talent acquisition for want of a  better definition. Oh and not the Wallaby “Andrew Blades” however most of the estate agents in the area convinced that I am and they played Junior rugby with them at Lindfield and I think I’ll have use that to my advantage at some point.

2. What got you into cycling?
I have lived on a bike from a very early age, BMX’s MTB’s but a always has a love for road. Moving to London post Uni and spending most of my time working my way round all the pubs and bars the City had to offer put paid to my cycling for a few years. I was keen to take it up again when I moved to Sydney, started commuting in just over a year ago.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?
I was keen to join a cycling club/group of sorts, but didn’t feel ready for a full on road club. Looked around the area and didn’t see any group that took my fancy.  I kept on seeing the post 6pm ER bus stragglers fly past me on their way home, followed the website address on someone’s Knicks liked the vibe and here I am.

4. Tell us about your bikes.
Only have the one at the moment, my much loved Scott CR-1 (I think there are is still a collection of MTB’s, BMX’s and a few odd Peugeot road bikes in dad’s shed back in Blighty)

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would love to follow the TDF one year and ride the route. I know a few ER’s are thinking of doing the 100th  but I’ll have to wait for a lot of planets to line up before this ever happens.

6. Tell us a riding story.
On my first commute into Sydney’s CBD.  I was feeling a little smug with all my new gear on and thinking that I was  looking every part like Mark Cavendish’s double, also very happy that I had arrived into town at the same time as my usual bus.

I was however very quickly taken back to a slice of reality when,  after arriving on York Street, I was cut up by a Beamer forcing me to brake suddenly.  A few evil glares were thrown at the Beamer driver to let him know of my thoughts on the matter. I had however forgotten that I was now experiencing the joys of riding with cleats and while concentrating on making my feeling know to the driver I had forgotten to unclip. I’m sure a few of you have experience the feeling of time standing still as you start to falling slowly towards the deck. I was now a sprawling mess on the floor in full view of the alighting passages on my usual bus. I still get a few comments when I bus in.

7. Do you have any advise for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?
Sit back and take it all in, mind the pollution coming from up front and don’t stress about taking Flash’s KOM he’ll only kill himself trying to get it back.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.
This is a hard one, as a newbie there’s a lot still to tell. I once was McDonalds employee of the year!

and Virgin has been brave enough to answer BT’s extra questions…

9. What is your next bike..
Quite keen on a ARGON 18 Gallium PRO DURA ACE, (don’t think I’m worthy of dreaming of a Pinarello Dogma quite yet) also keen to get my hands on and Raleigh Chopper for a bit of retro comedy value

10. When is your next bike..
Ask the wife

11. Does your spouse know the answer
to 9) probably not and 10) too scared to ask

12. Have you ever lied about being late at work but really just taken the “long” way home to get a few more hills in..
Forgotten to lie a few a times and paid the price

13. Where are your wiggle orders delivered to ?
Always the office (too much explaining to do), it’s like Christmas every day

A Young Virgin – London to Brighton bike ride c1990

Rider of the Week #3 – Derek McDerek

1. Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born in (^%&^$% [problem with denial], ok ok it was 1962. I grew up in Durban in sunny South Africa. I’ve been fortunate to work and live in a few countries since, some nice and some not so nice before moving to Sydney in 2005. Have a wife [Aihesha] and 6 year old son [Joshua] and work in project management in financial services.

2. What got you into cycling?
I grew up cycling everywhere as a child and loved the sense of freedom [over used cliché I know but true] and exploring the neighbourhoods, so it was probably a natural place to return when I got older. As I like bushwalking I first started mountain biking and then started riding on the road when I began commuting. Since then I have been slowly morphing into clipless, lycra and carbon.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?
When I first started riding to work I often used to pass the ER at Gordon a few minutes before their departure on the OTP. I never stopped as they looked a bit hard core with their carbon bikes and lycra for my flat pedals and trainers. They would overtake me before we cleared the hills of death and disappear into the distance rather rapidly in those days so my early cycling aspirations revolved around getting fit enough to join them for more than the first 100m. Over time Larri, BT, Brownie and Satnav all asked me to join ER [they didn’t realise I had been trying!] so eventually when I felt fit enough to formally join I did, hanging off the back to BT’s encouraging smiles!

4. Tell us about your bikes?
I have a Niner mtb, a Genesis Croix de Fer cyclocross bike for commuting and Trek Madone. All use the same 1960’s engine so variances in speed are slight.

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’d really love to ride ‘The Great Divide’ or ‘Tour Divide’, mtb rides/races from Canada to Mexico but as that’s a bit further that the OTP I’ll go with the Alps for now. Next year with ER hopefully?

6, Tell us a riding story
I’m about 11 or 12, I’m riding my blue 3 speed Raleigh in a new unexplored place miles from home and far away enough to be excited, anxious and at peace all at the same time. No GPS, tool kit or hydration pack, just the wind, the view and my tires rolling over the road, and I am very happy to own a bike.

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?
Don’t stress about it, we’ve all been there sometime and when you’ve improved enough to ride at the front, you’ll probably chose to ride at the back again anyway.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.
Hmm..what come back to bite me! I was once sunk at sea when an oil tanker hit our ship during re-fuelling exercises in a storm. I spent 4 hours in a life raft 140km from Cape Point in the pitch dark in sea state 6..cured me of sea sickness as well!

Rider of the Week #2 – Stealth

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born in 1972. The year of the Rat apparently (which is a shame, as I was hoping for a Tiger or Dragon).

2. What got you into cycling?

Whilst studying Einstein’s theory of relativity, it dawned on me one day that covering the distance to college was quicker on a bike than walking. Not enough to bend space-time, but enough for me to arrive at my lectures on time. It’s made such a quantum change to my life.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?

Moved to posh end of Wahroonga (aka Turramurra). The guys at Turramurra Cyclery put me in touch with Goose, who simply advised “Gordon 6:45am”.  I think BT was my mentor on that first ride, guiding me through the labyrinth that is North Sydney.  Regrettably, got hammered with my ride name “Stealth” in about 5 seconds of turning up. [Editor’s note” Stealth turned up for his first ride on a bike sheaved in plastic like a strange cloaking device.The ride name was inevitable.]

4. Tell us about your bikes?

Trek’s have been my favourite (before Lance came along). First serious bike was a Trek 970 mountain bike. TSS is restoring it to its former beauty. Hopefully this summer, I’ll saddle her up for the commute in. The dream machine is the Pinarello – riding up hills is so easy; it feels like cheating.

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Pyrénées please.  Less pretentious then the Alps, but no less rugged. Second to that: Falls Creek on a cool summer’s day, so will be down for 3 Peaks next March

6, Tell us a riding story.

3P training weekend in Thredbo. First big ride out on the Pinarello, and whilst I was in awe with the handling and climbing ability of my new machine, I slowly found myself near the front of the peloton. Imagine that. Loved the ride, loved the scenery, loved the hills.
[Editor’s note (again) I’m surprised he didn’t mention his ride with Cadel Evans – ask him about it]

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?

Advice……hmmm tough one. Life is like riding your bike. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Does that count?

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.

Hmmm. Tough one again. So many secrets, so little time. I used to be a weather man – worked at the Meteorological office. My area of expertise was low cloud visibility forecasting.  A surprisingly complex field of meteorology, that once you’re into, it is very difficult to see a way through.  Also, I’ve always wanted to be a comedian, but could never get my  head around irony.
[Editor’s note (yet again) Does BT know he is a meteorologist? Don’t let them sit together or if they do – stay out of earshot]

Friday Brief OTP mallow report

Colder…than a mother in laws kiss this morning …( well about 10C but with wind chill it felt like 5C )

Jumped into the car as per Friday norm and was off to Gordon, to complete the pre GG ride to the office. There is a very difficult moment on such mornings, bearing in mind that the car interior is cooked to 28C and YHC has to open the car door into what was then indicated as 7C on the dashboard outside temp gauge…good thing YHC has good quality Rapha gear to assist with these transitions.

A lively bunch of OTP practitioners this morning, minus one invited guest Louise of Macquarie Uni, who apologised in advance for having a cold, next Tuesday was her next available opportunity.

Bullet(le) introduced Michael from Berowra, as a new rider, on a robust looking hybrid with flattish tyres..Michael is trying to get fit for a ride to Bowral , biting off a short Berowra to North Sydney as his inaugural outing. Definitely fits the ER mould and ticks the HMOTN boxes, let’s hope he does not buy a Pina Dogma too soon and start dishing out stick to the regulars…today however he was happy to hold the Lantern Rouge and keep the “ arriere du peloton” honest. Welcome aboard.

No puncture, or other excitement to report, only riding at the pace of the slowest rider meant YHC was nowhere in sight of the leaders as usual up the KOM, I am sure the leaders made it through to coffee before the Tail was at Crow’s Nest, but some days that is absolutely fine..Once Newbie Michael had peeled off in North Sydney it was time to hammer it a bit over the bridge to arrive before seconds…YHC gave the Sprint Home a bit of a go but was pursued by Bullet(le KOM) and was overtaken up the last 25 metres as Bullet nearly blew a blood vessel to hold his trophy…priceless.

Chilled rapidly out the front of the B&T in bright sunshine and an icy south westerly….late to the party only a hardened few still there, but definitely the second best way to start the day..

Debriefing booked at the GG for 6pm making the 5:15 a good time to leave the SHB..if it at Monday’s return ride pace, arrival will be at 5:45..with a paramedic on site, paddles on hand and oxygen bottle nearby.

Have a good one all


Thurday’s OTP belated report

Greetings all practitioners of the pedal.. and another perfect morning for a roll into the office.

The mercury atop Col Du Dural a balmy 9C with clear skies enough to appreciate the new moon and planet mercury before hypoxia removes those artefacts from sight. The New Line Road war continues a pace, YHC now opened up a correspondence with Hills Shire Council to beat them on the cycle for transport front…this mornings run punctuated by very few trucks but still finding a warm reception from the Ute brigade, no GOFTFR tokens but definitely a game of chicken being waged, how close to the bike can you drive..but I have to say most are beginning to leave me plenty of elbow room. Boundry road saw me dropped by a hooning cyclist, sprinting up the “Hoars Drawers” strava segment where I usually spin..he had the look of a man possessed so would probably scorn the “Easy” word emblazoned on the ER kit.

Rolling up the Fox Valley to join the bus, an on time departure according to the timetable nailed to the post with Bucky, Teflon, B1, Satnav and YHC making it a heavyweight peloton sufficient to stop the traffic between there and Gordon…of note was a trap for young players, there was a car that overtook the peloton only to realise suddenly a lack of petrol so full brakes required to make the entrance of the servo just before the Bobbin Head road..YHC left a little something on the road in the emergency stop which saw a 4X4 and 5 cyclists nearly pile into the back of him.

Gordon holding point already replete on arrival, a doughty bunch, various colours on show, well snapping at the bit to be away. YHC noticed how Bucky slides to the pole position, and is away at the stroke of 6:45, the launch into action before the Bazz has a chance to sound its horn. First hazard was a lady walking the dog, small terrier on chain trying to attack two Rottweilers sitting with their owner at the cafe…luckily a fence separated them, could have been an interesting contest. Bucky slowed to watch YHC being a little squeamish pedalled on quickly.

A swift transfer through to Roseville however a large pothole on Hill St grabbed Bucky’s rear wheel, and shortly thereafter he felt very deflated…there was a Californian puncture repair for Bucky on the turn into Archer, 1 to change the tube and 9 others to share the experience…needless to say the rest of the riders rolled on..YHC happy to watch on in admiration as reinflation operations took place.

Once back en route, every single available red light was red…strange how this happens but a good 10 minutes of wait time was thrown into the mix…tempting us to transgress the letter of the law..but as Zlatko’s ticket and Jimbeau can attest, it just ain’t worth it..

Coffee was well under way as the tail enders rolled in..but Vic squeezed out the beans in a timely fashion ensuring everyone got theirs in a jiffy.

I am informed the 5:15 is running to schedule and if the temperature remains clement, the 6pm will too, it seems that the mercury can affect the 6pm sending it off early if it falls below comfort levels.

Have a great remainder of the day.

Tuesday’s OTP report

There are a few things in life that seem to be absolute certainties…death , taxes , and now I add to that list the ER bus on the one true path…

As per usual ,the wake up call sounding the instant I finally fell asleep, so with about 2 seconds rest it was into the lycra and then onto the bike for a planned spin through the Galston gorge, on rolling up the garage shutter however into a what can only be described as a deep freeze, it was roll down the shutter and get some breakfast time, then a short drive over to Gordon. Migraines being what they are, and wind chill combine to make ventures into the GG feel like a gorge too far.

Arrival into the Captains park still well before the dawn and well before the mercury climbed above 6C, I was beaten to the holding point by Herb who had done the bobbo banana and so had been cleansed, redeemed and basking in the golden glow of that halo..( not the sacred halo….wrong colour nicks but I am sure you know the glow I am describing…the second best way to start the day…)

The rolling masses started arriving and soon there were 18 in the starting gates, though Satnav, hammer in hand and a lot of new bus timetable notices went forth ahead of the peloton to nail the colourful little notes onto railway commuters notice boards. Hopefully the disillusioned rail commuter will be converted into Mamil upon reading.

A delightfully gentle pace, as the sun rose to blaze into the eyes at the most dangerous corner on the commute…much research has been done about the effects of bright sunlight in the early morning, apparently it triggers a load of serotonin and apart from waking you up makes you feel good about it too..but looking into the sun at Archer Street off Boundary St, YHC was feeling apprehensive and nervous about not being able to see the oncoming bus travelling at speed. Good thing ¼ was wearing his visor, as he called the all clear, it could have been nasty if he’d called it wrong.

Warmth, jocularity and relief ensued, KOM was attacked and conquered by the Clutters train, C.Hippo making a few chosen remarks to his rear wheel, and as per usual YHC was utterly unable to see the action due to the numbers of ER brethren in the way. Youth and enthusiasm trumping old age and cunning, c’est la vie. Burlington saw YHC tearing off up the road, having anticipated a red light change to green by a second or two, only to see the patrol car parked on the corner in a prominent position..but such indiscretions have been covered at length no further comments will be entered into…red faced …that same patrol car overtook the peloton on West st …luckily no further comments were entered into..

Quite the shambles as usual through the North Sydney to Harbour bridge sector, punctuated by slow moving buses and irregular red lights, YHC notes that the plan for the bike path from the Naremburn hill to SHB is still a hot topic of discussion among cyclists but alas not among the powers that be, it may never be built..but hey we certainly had some great chats about it.

B&T back to full staff and still Satnav polishes his coffee carrying credentials..only a single serving this morning as the courtyard heating system seemed to be out of commission, freezing the peloton ( sort of ) making that warm shower much more attractive than the second caffeine hit.

Bookings already in place for a 5:15 / 6pm return flights, keep your baggage within the proscribed limits…carry on only these days..

Have a great day all.

Rider of the Week #1 C.Hippo

This is the first in a (hopefully) weekly series on members of the ER peloton. Based on Satnav’s mailing list I think I have about 2 years worth of material but by then there will be another 100 or so new riders to interview.

Below is an intro to C.Hippo in his word words, one of the true hard men (with a few soft gel inserts) of the ER Peloton.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Self confessed IT geek and proud of it. Striving to ride 6 days a week.


2. What got you into cycling?
Friends up the road who only spoke to you if you had a dragster between your legs


3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?
After cycling for a year on the M2 route I found a post on a bike bus forum (,20.msg99.html#msg99) from a chap called Goose .  Caught up with Goose and his BikeBus backpack on Telegraph road.  Haven’t stopped since Feb 2009


4. Tell us about your bikes?
Started early.  Have owned Dragsters BMX, Mountain and now road bikes with a regular colour theme of Red.


5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Italy please, but not with Peloton Sports.  But Larri and Nat Nat are welcome


6, Tell us a riding story.
I’m not going to go write about my first attempt of the 3 Peaks 2010.  Until it snows on the ride again at Hotham.


7. Do you have any advise for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?
Stay at the back and enjoy the view. You learn more

Friday’s OTP report

Who’s been playing with the air conditioner controls…opened the car door this morning and was assaulted by a wall of freezing cold air..harsh after the near balmy conditions of only yesterday.

As the dawn broke over Gordon, mallows of the OTP gathered as they will, lured by the promise of redemption, to be cleansed by the hills of death, and seared up the KOM. Some call it a Commute but we all know it as the second best way to start the day.

A baker’s dozen set forth at the appointed hour, heavy weights all, king hitters of the ER peloton, a well wrapped bunch lead up the hills of death by DT and flagellated by the Schleck Phantom train into Roseville..thankfully a gentler spin in from there. If you were looking for a slack Friday ride though this was not the ride for you, Jerry ( the greek) ..a new rider quickly found the “arriere du peloton” and used all reserves to hang onto the back..but with regroups at all the regular stops, was never in danger of dropping off the says the recruitment poster at least..

I noticed the magpie write up in the SMH yesterday and was on Mag watch this morning, not that there are any to report at the moment as I think there is an element of “one swallow doth not a spring make” ( I do love a good misquote ) in there somewhere, reports of aggressive birds though precede the season by a week or three. ERs enjoy aggressive birds.

Other eye catching events,
Andy Schleck peeling off the front at West St to beat the lights and make the front of the coffee queue,
the main bunch making a turn into Miller St from Ridge on a lengthy green least 10 made it through which makes it a first.
The fat controller at Chatswood pushing the green light button on 3 of the 4 sets only to halt the peloton in front of the police light monitored by the thin blue line.
KOM YHC yet again unsighted ( by hypoxia this time ) .
Swatches and Bullet(le) hatching a plan.

Freezing out the front of B&T ..must be the weather…another morning sans staff, perhaps a get well soon card can be arranged as our waitress is quite ill unfortunately..reports of her being in hospital from Vic this morning as he delivered 2 dozen coffees..( it was cold enough that only 2 each would do ) .

GG debrief booked at the stroke of 6…be on the 5:15 to make happy hour..perhaps we will see the elusive Ravi the Grate..or at least his credit card behind the bar…(not)

Have a good on all

Thursday’s ride was full of it

Hands up all those who thought today’s ambient outside air temperature was perfect for a ride into the city…?

Hmmm only 30…

A bit of a scratched record but definitely up there with the phenomenon that is now in ER legend.

What more can be said about the growing accumulation of MAMILS now pedalling the OTP into town, is the more merrier. We are entering into a “Spring Cycle” which traditionally is the time to convince friends, neighbours, enemies, pensioners, wannerbies, any animate human..onto the treadly and out into the world on the second best way. If you have a suitable target for recruitment, the ER press gang are very keen to be directed that way. A red X on the door is sufficient.

Lovely pace and cadence set, once en route the initial shock of not being frozen wore off about 3 minutes into the ride, followed swiftly by the unfamiliar feeling of breaking a sweat up the second hill, and then uncomfortably warm attacking Rawhiti St sprint…YHC had a go at a record this morning only to be humiliated by the wagging tail on Schlecks Dogma, YHC was dropped with ease, although I was only off my PB by about 2 seconds…drawing board…hello Mr Pamp more punishment please.

For all the numbers, regroups and casual chit chat, the ride proceeded with swift efficiency, arriving through all without incident, it was though on the upper end of practical, perhaps a split departure time would be more advisable, the first 20 arriving at Gordon should leave once “critical mass” has been reached, and the remainders leave as per schedule…regroups and differing cruise speeds will naturally ensure a full peloton arrives for coffee at the usual time.

Scaramanga KOM …yes, it was won, by whom though is a mystery to YHC, the last time I saw the leaders heading into the park, Simba and entourage were off the front and accelerating, Tef and myself were bottlenecked behind a random rider, and taken well out of contention, and a tail end bunch were delayed by traffic ensuring a well fragmented attack , a good gap to cross into crows nest and incentive to give the Burlington dash a bit of a tickle.

Stealth was making friends with trucks at the Miller St lights, by the end of the sequence, hankies were being waved, and warm wishes exchanged…great to have some friends with big wheels, and spreading the enthusiasm to our Truckie mates is always welcome.

B&T needed no staff this morning, if Vic had sat down I am sure the ERs would have churned out the caffeine to the table by Satnav, a man of various talents and LM for such good deeds..the front of house was wall to wall lycra, standing room only, except that Bullet took up positions in the bushes to conduct one of his new business meetings involving swatches of cloth, a rotadex and smart phone…watch this space for a new brand, and imminent launch of new ordinance.

Return smasher booked for 6pm, and the early bus 5:15 jolly back up the shore.

Have a great day all.

Tuesday BAU

A clear sky, (stars still shining brightly ) as YHC rolled into the chilled air atop col de Dural, strategically timed to coincide when the B-doubles of the local quarry were all about their business, not a car on the road for miles but the only traffic seeing how close to the bike they can get. Good thing most were going the other way..

Not a gorge one for me, by the time I reached the turn off only a kilometre into the ride my fingers were cold enough and changed my mind, right turn onto New Line road, hence forth to be referred to as the valley of death…buses trucks eeejits at 5:45 all playing chicken with the bike…it seems worse than usual compared to a French society that respects cyclery to this one that really does not. Riding through Pennant hills off the beaten track, but still managed to find a car that overtook just before a roundabout and then stood on the brakes to make it around…mmmmm BAU…

Once on the Commenara a clear run to Fox Valley and being well ahead of schedule had to fly holding patterns for 15 mins until the Satnav train pulled in..he arrived armed with a hammer and nails to attach the Bus timetable to a road sign.

Gordon interchange was fully charged and ready to roll , 19 souls aboard, and more enroute..a rampant show of ER colour and style. All steaming in the anticipation of a the second best way to start the day.

Bucky arrived, hollered and rolled through to lead the advance into the hills of death, Schleck walking the dogma enjoying a break from his MTB, YHC thankfully dragged along in the draught of a mega peloton and still finding fresh faces to expound loudly and lengthily about the joys of the French way to start the day. ( Croissants , Coffee and Baguette…before a huge climb )

The theme of the day today was red lights…seemed to be plenty, especially through Chatswood, where the right turn into Archer was a) blinded by the sun, b) delayed by about 5 mins…then c) on the climb out up Archer punctuated by a hoon with a lead foot..passing the peloton by burning about as much petrol as 20 cyclists had saved by not driving in. All good though the halo was still in place for the regroup at Tindale where through good management YHC found the “ arriere du peloton” to grasp the lantern rouge and cruise up the KOM . Safe to say the KOM champ was a) out of sight, b) cresting crows nest before YHC launched up the last slope to at least be in front of a few other tail enders..

One fortuitous green got us across the Miller St crossing of Pacific Highway in a large bunch, and then another charge to attack Bullet’s KOM along Lavender St , not a great place to attain terminal velocity, look out for the many hazards there, I am sure Bullet was possessed by the devil to achieve his accolade but it could have just been a moments madness…

The first wave at the B&T were already served and looking for seconds by the time I arrived, next door’s enclosure looking like an expensive bike park, there was nowhere to prop up the Wilier except in front of the garbage bins…may have to find another bike to prop up against if that is any guide to the future, there has to be a pina or colnago to use instead.

All good to go for the return to base…departures scheduled apparently for 5:15 and 6 pm…BAU.

Have a great rest of the day all

Incidentally have made contact with Bikewise about doing a course or two ..any others interested, I am looking at doing a bike skills course with a view to teaching it..