Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Mavis perspective … week 2 (Bike Budgets)

Due to my naive* interpretation of the feedback I received to last week’s edition, I’m back again with another reflective message.

I want to echo Ben Lee’s (or is it Daffy?) sentiment – quite a group you have going here.   I reconnected with Old Spice yesterday – we used to sleep through the same lectures at uni 30 years ago!

Part way through week 2, I’m happy with progress, even managed a ride home last night with the 6pm bus, safely directed by Old Spice and Norman.  From St Ives I rode with MRE along MV Rd and down Forest Way, then solo to Seaforth and finally home to Allambie.  45km!  After taking a 25km route to work, I covered 70km yesterday – and didn’t hear those legs until I got home.

(As I type this, my legs are mumbling –  “You deaf head – too many rock concerts in the 80s and “We woke you up 5 times last night with cramps, what does it take to get the message through?” )

Enough of the emotional soppy group hug stuff and the painful physical update – over to the topic for this week:

Bike Budgets – or to put it another way:  “How can I get away with spending lots of money on my bike and not get busted by my wife?”

To those ERs who ride under a male ride name (I’m assuming that is the females of our group) my apology for the sexist assumption underlying the alternate title for this week’s topic.  I promise that next week’s ramblings will be more attuned to your tastes.

The tips below come with no guarantee, and you can be pretty sure that if one approach works this week, it will not work next week.

In the end, it all comes down to psychology – and being a lawyer, I know more about psychology then anyone (except other lawyers).  It was part of first year law – not psychology – knowing everything.  All lawyers learn that they actually know everything about every topic known to man (and even those topics not thought of by anyone yet) just by virtue of them completing law.  How else can judges sit and make decision about anything and everything?  😉

But I digress – back to psychology – that is you know which buttons set off your significant other.

So what do we know to help us?  A few things that are pretty commonly experienced:

  • That for some reason, our significant other has a soft spot for us (when we are not disappointing that significant other);
  • Generally, money is not important in a relationship, it is time that counts;
  • If I change my approach to money, my partner doesn’t like to be told, but would rather be able to understand;
  • Money becomes a focus if we make it the focus.

So let us just imagine that you have just seen your dream bike – imagine a shiny yellow and black 2012 BMC Cadel Evans signature edition – with your favourite number “34” on it.  Unless the owner decides to let it go for $100, the price is likely to exceed you delegated (or single signature approved) authority.  How can you justify the spendFAIL  – as soon as you start trying to justify the expense, you have lost.

You should let the Cadel go – until you can lay the foundations for success:

(You wouldn’t do the 3 peaks without some sort of training?)

  • Highlight the importance of cycling to your well-being:
    • You have a hot body thanks to your riding (ok – maybe don’t go that hard – but you are in better shape than if you didn’t ride at all)
    • You are more relaxed due to the way you commute one or more times each week  (don’t yell at the kids from the couch when you are totally wrecked from having ridden 70kms in a day – on top of a day at work – trust me 😉 )
    • Highlight the extra time you can spend with your loved ones:
      • You save time by doing your exercise in your commuting time, leaving more quality time you can spend with your partner and kids
      • Mention the dollar value of riding (but don’t go overboard or it will look like you are scheming)
        • You save money on bus/train fares by riding to work.

Once you have laid the foundation (over time) and you have demonstrated the benefits mentioned above (eg take your partner out on the money you have saved on fares and using the time you previously may have gone to the gym for a run) then you need to slip in the odd comment about servicing the bike etc.  It should become part of the fabric of your household, just like getting the car serviced – but with the exception that your saved bus/train fares could never come close to the cost of car service – in fact there is another saving – you don’t need to drive to the station anymore, so you save on car servicing.

I’ll leave it to you to work out all the possible benefits and justifications, but everyone knows that there comes a time with all cars, that you should get rid of it and replace it with a new or recent used car.  If you have laid the foundations for success – replacing your bike will just become another expense in the household budget.  Just make sure when you go shopping for a new kitchen, you don’t put the brakes on the budget – you always have to give the ultimate decision to the one who knows best – so if you talk about good value … you get where I’m heading yeah?

Then the end result is that you explain that the Cadel Bike cost nearly $27,000 brand new, so $15,000 is a real bargain …

For those who have read the whole of this perspective – you are a hardy lot.  I’m a lawyer – you are not supposed to believe anything I say – basically the above is just a load of (^@#.

Alternate strategies

In my experience, you have to act like a 5 year old, just keep asking until eventually the “no” turn into a “yes”.  Or live according to the rule that forgiveness is easier to get than permission.  Or work really really hard on that spreadsheet, adding up everything you have saved by riding (it still will not work) but threaten to kill yourself if your partner says no again – that’s really just a variation of acting like a 5 year old …

One thing that actually works (kinda)

The only thing I’ve found that helps (nothing works) is to have some mates over, let them give their opinion of what an awesome deal you got on that bike and how they wish they were as good a negotiator as you – for some reason, most spouses like to hear their other half get compliments – even stuff they said “no” to counts on this list (and once your partner has put your skilful purchasing skills on the “pros” list, the world is your oyster- or should I say bike shop?)

So the most important thing is – make sure your mates are free for a BBQ (and know what to say) the weekend after you pick-up that new bike!

Note:  No guarantees – good luck – I know a good divorce lawyer.

For more serious reading –

Happy cycling,


* When people send me a compliment, I take it on face value – I’m actually prepared to fool myself that some folk get enjoyment from reading my dribble – anyway, I’ll continue in my state of delusion for  now …  😉

Inaugural Flambie Ride Report

As newly (self-) appointed Press Secretary for our Spiritual Leader, Le Bullet, the Cycling Sadhu, it is incumbent upon me to chronicle his greatest deeds for the global audience and future generations. In this capacity I lay this short passage before you.

Last Friday, for reasons known only to himself, the Good Shepherd Saint Navigation spruiked the running of the first Flambie, seizing upon the opportunity to welcome pink-jersey aspirant, Sam, with a ‘slightly more challenging’ way home than the sacred OTP.

And so it was that, on a hot 32 deg, 95% humidity Friday afternoon, we turned right instead of the holy left at SHBN and in what can only be described as blasphemy we strayed from the Golden Path to the GG, that most sacred house of Friday afternoon fellowship & libation.

Had it not been for the spiritual credentials of two of our crew I would have truly feared for my mortal soul. Our small band of heretics assumed a formation of sorts and rolled out – new girl Sam (ride name pending, I vaguely remember Bullet trialling ‘Cadel’), Bullet, SatNav, YHC and a homeward bound Mavis completing the quintuple.

Through the back streets of Kirribilli, Neutral Bay, Mosman we weaved our merry way. No rush, a long weekend ahead, embracing the key tenet of OAFATSR. With lots to look at and chat about, and encountering many other cyclists in a similar mood, revelling in the holiday atmosphere.

Down Parriwi and over the bridge we picked up a couple of GOTFR tokens from a passing STA bus clearly in a Friday afternoon fluster. Up Mont Seaforth at a slow and steady clip then the sprint along Pittwater Rd, SatNav demonstrating great SS skills with a mix of high cadence, drafting and crouching for max speed, the pilgrims arrived at the base of Mt Doom.

A quick farewell to Mavis and YHC looked for signs of trepidation in the new recruit but was disappointed – Sam merely grinned, took firm hold the Specialized’s reins and got stuck into the climb.

North of Frenchs Forest the group split further with SatNav and Bullet continuing north, Sam and YHC turning our steeds’ heads west to cross the much feared Roseville Speedway. Taking the advice of the Good Doctor Watsford, we erred on the side of caution and prudence and pulled our mounts onto the footpath for a couple of kilometres of windy, root-infested, debri-strewn, overgrown concrete before making it onto the bridge bikepath – no improvement here with large gaps between segments and open to the northerly cross-wind. All up a true bone rattler and not be repeated by any who care for their rims.

After the bridge, back around, under, then up and out for a pinchy climb through the back streets of Castle Cove. Ciao to Sam, then a gallop on to Chatswood and back home to Artarmon for a hot shower and a cold beer. Total ride time about 2 hours and well past the previously agreed hour with the good lady requiring appropriate levels of genuflecting and contrition from YHC as penance.

A small price to pay for yet another great Easy Riders adventure. Thanks again to SatNav for the inspiration and guidance. Strongly recommend the Flambie to all – a great complement to the Fluffer – get one or two of these in before daylight savings comes to an end.


The Mavis perspective … week 1

Hi All,

I have “survived” my first 2 outings with the “Easy Riders” – both Allambie returns.

Here is my “report” – I hope some of you enjoy a few of my insights – glad I’m 15kg less than I was at the start of 2012 – I’d be dead otherwise …

Words in Blue are my Legs, Words in Red are my Head, Words in Green – how dumb am I? – sometimes there are other words from my arms …

 The Mavis Perspective

Sometimes I amaze myself at just how DUMB I can be !!!

  •  “… we only ride as fast as the slowest rider … “
  • “… join us, you will enjoy the ride …”
  • “… come to St Ives with us … we’ll wait for you …”

Shadowing Comet’s cry “wrecked” and Richard’s advice in response, I am today walking around without any legs (I can see them, but I can’t feel them).

I suppose it doesn’t take Einstein (but it does take someone smarter than me) to work out that a group of cyclists who want to add Allambie hill and an extra dozen kms to their homeward journey either:

  • Don’t really want to go home; or
  • Are suffering some sort of guilt trip for which they need to punish themselves.

Having made it to Corkery Cres on Tuesday, I promised to ride to the BP (Flers St) last night.

Yikes – still on a conference call at 5:10pm!  I hate rushing to meet a group – they are fresh and I’m puffed!  Why did I take a front position across the bridge?  Am I stupid?  (see above – YES)

The rest at Spofforth St as we waited for a flat tyre repair worked against me.  I thought it was good – to have a chance to recover – but clearly others recovered faster and more effectively than me …

As we headed off, staying near the front (not at the front this time) was simply my insurance policy for coming rises (anything short of a decline was a challenge) as I slipped back toward the rear, with pairs of ERs strolling on by.  Thank goodness for the red light at the bottom of Parriwi Road – another breather!  I grew up at the top of Battle Boulevard, so that hill and I have a natural rhythm – it is not a fast rhythm, but we have an understanding …

Yay – downhill to my place (my home is at the first roundabout as you head up Allambie hill).

I say to myself over and over again:

“Save your legs Mavis – the rise through Manly Vale is deceptive – you know it and have ridden it hundreds of times”

My legs scream back:

“Save your legs??? We are expired – reach down and use your arms to help us!!!”

I dig deep into the Jens Voigt volt of advice:  Shut up and keep pedalling princess (my paraphrase)

The leaders go straight past the end of Sloane Cres:

 “Nooo, the main road hill is much more fierce than the Sloane/Cornwell rise”

“I’m taking the easier route – I call out:  ‘less traffic – safety …’

  • did anyone notice I could hardly speak?
  • do they know I really just went this way because it is easier?
  • at the roundabout my home is straight ahead – I’ll decide about the BP promise when I get to the roundabout …

Arriving at the round about – we are ahead of the main road group by 50m – I told you it is easier up Sloane/Cornwell – I decide that the 50m head start will help me – but by the time I pass Goondari (only 200m up the hill), I’m near the back and by Earawy(50m later) – I’m simply dust – still 300m to Corkery and 1.5 km to the BP – seriously, am I stupid?  I could be home now in my pool!  See above – YES.

But I told MRE to keep me honest – hold me to my BP promise – I have to push through – Jens in my head again …

My legs reply:  “Yes, but that promise doesn’t count – you made that promise when you thought:

  • “… we only ride as fast as the slowest rider … “
  • “… join us, you will enjoy the ride …”
  • “… come to St Ives with us … we’ll wait for you …”

In my head – Jens Voigt …

As I pass the BP I can still see one Yellow and Red jersey ahead – I wonder where they re-group?  I know they will not expect me anyway abd even if they do re-group, they will leave before I arrive – so  I’ll just toddle along and turn around at the top – but why – I said I’d turn at the BP but I’m still going – my arms (remember, the parts of my body that only 15 minutes earlier were called on to help my legs) are completely unresponsive – they can’t muster the energy to turn the handle bars – so I’m stuck going forward – up Allambie Hill.

At about this point, the flood of sweat teaming down my face is so great that my eyes are stinging from the salt and I have to remove my glasses to wipe – peddle, peddle, wipe, peddle peddle wipe etc etc.

“where did that jersey go?”  “Oh yeah, no glasses!”  … see above … YES

“Is that a big bunch of daisies on the road up there – maybe it is the last ER jersey – I wonder IF they re-group?”

  • Legs: “We don’t care – turn around – go home – downhill is good …”
  • Arms: “What?  Can’t move – can’t steer. Stop pedalling – we are just hanging on.”
  • Heads:  Jens Voigt … Jens Voigt … Jens Voigt (why am I saying that name to myself???)  … YES

Wow – they do re-group – wow I’ve made it.

  •  Legs: “Are we there yet?”
  •  Arms: “What?  Can’t move – can’t steer. Please fall over now!”
  •  Legs: “Why do you get a break, we still have to stand!  Can’t we sit on that cool grass?”
  •  Head:  Don’t show pain, don’t show pain.
  • MRE:  Coming to Mona Vale Rd?
  • Head:  Don’t show pain – OK Jens Voigt … Jens Voigt … Jens Voigt   … YES


Pretty much the rest of the ride is a blurr – even those parts when I put my glasses back on – everything was spinning.  I rounded the bend at Bunnings to see the ERs at the exit ramp 400m ahead – fortunately nobody wanted to lead nd the group split and then re-grouped – I thought they were waiting for me, so up I stood – I think – and in no time I was on again – they pushed me forward “sit behind a big bloke”.  I amazed myself – after too many kms, I sat in the group and rode through to St Ives, but that Alpine climb up to Richmond Ave is the final straw


My Legs call out (in the style of Leighton HEWITT?):  “Come oonnn!!! We are at St Ives already – way past Mona Vale Rd – and who cares where MRE is – just go home already – and just in case you don’t think we are serious – remember that knee re-con you had – and the DVTs you had – and the other issues – well we are going to throw a few cramps your way – just so you know to stop and turn around.”

Head:  There is MRE – he is turning around – phew.

MRE nurses me back to Forest Way shops.  Crossed at the lights and along the footpath to go over Warringah Rd and the Parkway into the Aquatic Centre.

Do you know how steep that hill is out of the Aquatic Centre up to  Madison Way?

Downhill home – what a ride.

Not much sleep last night – legs kept waking me up every few hours with a new cramp: “Don’t do that to us again you fool!”

Head:  Ow, pain!  Jens Voigt, Jens Voigt.

The only reason I rode in today is because I am getting way to tight in my old age to pay $3.60 for the privilege of sitting in a stinking bus going slower than I can ride (even with no legs).

Thanks guys – I’ll try to be a regular on the Allambie return – and I’m currently looking into my diet – found an awesome research paper on the internet about fatty foods vs Carbs vs Protein and when I need to eat them … D’Oh  …  YES


Caption Competition #1


  1. Bullet admires his reflection “like two badly-parked Volkswagens”
  2. Bullet “Yes mine is more sumptuous…”
  3. ahem … honey when you’ve finished with the chauffeur, I’ve got a bike over here that needs washing
  4. One man’s Rolls is another man’s muffin top.
  5. “Does my arse look big in this?”
  6. Is that what an Egg and Bacon Rolls looks like?
  7. Bullet: “GOTFR!”
  8. “Now calm down and get out of the car darling . I told you months ago what I was planning to wear today.”
  9. “Old Spice…….is that you…….?”
  10. Lady Penelope: Look Parker – is that one of those Easy Riders?
    Parker: Yes M’lady I’m afraid it is.
    Lady Penelope: Is it… Brains?
    Parker: No M’lady, I believe those that know him well call him Virgil… or something of that nature – although perhaps not to his face.
  11. Kiss me Katut.


My vote is for 8.

Andy’s Song

…… a little country and western.

Thinking ‘bout you baby
As the train left Wynyard Station
Packed with people, my only care
Was the chafing and abrasion

Coz you grind me baby
You know you do
But I can’t wait til I’m on top of you
Gonna ride you like a bike
Coz that’s what you are.

You can keep your car
I’ve got my Dogma
As true as a love can be
And you know that she’ll be by my side
As I climb up Allambie

She’s my reason for living
My reason for loving
And she gets me out of bed
And there’s nothing like the joy I feel
When we’re giving each other West Head

Coz you grind me baby
You know you do
But I can’t wait til I’m on top of you
Gonna ride you like a bike
Coz that’s what you are.


To be continued…….

Birthday Fluffer

Thanks to all 11 of the Flufferers who attended the Birthday Fluffer this morning.  We have 4 Virgin Flufferers including our youngest Flufferer to date – Grant aged 14.

No mechanicals to report.  Flufferettes were on great form (Briony and Anna Banana). The Sunrise and views were all delivered on schedule along the beaches – Thanks for booking these.  A little bit untidy today in the Group Riding but that’s because we were partying hard and enjoying ourselves.

Graham organised the Birthday procession into the B&T right on schedule with a 7.45 delivery.  Great timing.  Well done.  Ravi bought the Birthday drinks – thanks mate.

All Flufferers welcomed by the OTP – Thanks for all the ‘Happy Bird Day’ messages – Go Fluffer your feathers today and enjoy a wonderful day.

Fluffers organised every Tuesday and Thursday – 5.15 start at St Ives – Next Birthday Fluffer Procession is 14 Feb.  Let me know if there is a Birthday on a Tuesday or Thursday before then with an intended Fluffer.

Lots of fluffering fun and frivolity


Big Goaders/Big Bird

Feeling the Buzz on the OTP

YHC was aroused well before first light , atop the col de Monte Dural to the sound of B-doubles rolling past and the unmistakable swish of puddles being bulldozed into atoms..not a portentous  beginning to the second best way…Rule #9…

So straight into the car for a swift transfer across to Fox Valley Rd and strapping on the plastic with Ravi there was some talk as to who and how many “Bad Asses” would be on the ride..Bad Ass Saintnav was the next arrival, “Googleman” made a quorum so roll out was ..Rule 87..on time. On this side of the valley in rainshadow it was a dry roll down the hill to Gordon, of note was the darkening tan on Satnav’s bike, getting the look of a ironmogers yard. ( and adding a kilo to bike weight for training effect )

Much frivolity and jocularity happening on the launch pad, holiday atmosphere but undertones of business as usual, how fast those heady days of alcohol and family rows recede to make way for three peaks training and superhuman basecamp training..base meaning peak in cycling parlance. YHC is still confused sometimes as “base” training entails peak training..and YHC is always base and wanting matter where in the continuum..perhaps there is an unwritten rule about where in the line between base and peak one actually “is”..Professor has YHC missed a chapter in the explanation of “non event” appreciation, or just eaten one or two of Schleckies “brownies” for breakfast…it is all too beautiful man…???

20…on the pedals to ply the OTP, names and addresses to follow, greeting to “newbie” Greg, from Dural ( meaning the Dural Chapter has expanded by 100% in the first month of the new year )…and  a slow wind up into the hills of death..the first point of safety to discuss was YHC..first roundabout, Ute approaching from the right , YHC jammed on the ancors but only managed zero braking and had to commit to riding through the roundabout hoping the ute was able to stop and give way…I was not travelling fast but had no chance of stopping on the slick road with ‘gatorskin slicks..simply no grip..

Luckily no sticky ending but lesson again on wet road considerations.

Traffic has definitely increased, and once into Roseville we were overtaken by a car intent on breaking road rules ..possible frustration due to peloton size but no excuse for dangerous driving..ignored the double whites and mashed into the peloton when meeting oncoming traffic..could have been messy but again thankfully no injuries to report..there are now nice cycle symbols stencilled on the road to alert the road user to the danger of cyclists but it seems that 15 seconds of delay is not acceptable to some.

Archer St lights did their thing and chopped the 24 strong group into sections of about 6 ..regrouping at Tindale, again the moist conditions making the surge into the park and shared path a possible health hazard..but one ER has mastered with sensible precautions taken..slow speeds and single file, much vigilance to ensure all arrive in one piece..( and no pillory in the SMH due to the predatory practices of the “lone” cyclist ) ..YHC slipped to the Lantern Rouge position to ensure that Greg made it up Scaramanga and would know where the KOM line is, unfortunately by the time he arrived up to the carpark, his hypoxia was such that he rolled over the footbridge, and could not hear YHC calling for the right turn ..he rejoined the group on West St, having found some oxygen on the freeway section.

North Sydney and red light action making light work of the peloton again, good discipline on show, meaning the B&T tables had already been rearranged by the time YHC rolled in for a mega coffee and conference ..rule #56. And a quick thank you to Schleck for the degustation  menu, no evil wheat and a calorie filled comestible with delicious mouthfeel, enough sugar to cause havoc with your endocrine system but keep those legs pumping..( 15 pages of food commentary deleted here )

Great to see such enthusiasm and vigour on show, enough to encourage the other 180 on the list to make an appearance in the near future..

Returns all teed up and ready for the usual times..

Have a good one all


Fluffer Report

On the hottest day of the year so far the intrepid Flufferer’s conquered yet another ride without a mechanical between them.

9 riders in total – Anna, Alex, Ravi, Blue Stratos, Andy H, Sam, Simon, Sir Lunchalot and Big Goaders (think I got everyone right).

A stunning ride by all involved with regular regroups on the first part of the ride at the Terry Hills Turning, The bottom of the big drop in the National Park and just before we hit the main Mona Vale road.  Pace was as fast as the slowest rider with calls that ‘The Back’ is now the ‘New Front’ where all the conversation, fun and banter happens.

The ride was Hot with a fully diverse team!  Simba – still missing you in your pink!!!

The Captain would have been proud of us – down the 15km of bus lanes we were practising our ‘rolling groups’ where the average speed was 32km per hour due to the amount of drafting going on – effectively we got a ‘free 10km/h’ from working as a team in a closely nit group – lots of changes occurring with military precision. Great fun and great effort. Well done and thanks to all involved.

By the time we hit Manly Sir Lunchalot felt hungry and targeted a $1.5million tuna seen closely offshore.  Running down the beach like Daniel Craig he quickly dived in supported ably by Blue Stratos.  Unfortunately missed the Tuna but had a fantastic swim.

Enjoyable ride from Manly with a good climb from Spit bridge, through Mosman and over the Bridge. Joined by the Flutterers just short of North Sydney which was great that they rode in with us rather than just whizzing past us with a wave.

Great effort by all. An enjoyable ride.

Next Fluffer on Thursday at 5.15am at St Ives

Enjoy the heat

Big Goaders

Strato Cumulus


I acknowledge the traditional owners of this email and give thanks for allowing me to commune in this sacred place. I can feel their presence.

Australian Property Monitors report this morning a sharp spike in interest and value of postcodes 2070-2075 citing “The appearance of the Captain” as the overriding influence.

Local investors and owner occupiers were out in force to see this rare cyclical phenomenon in action, as such factor convergence in market conditions is far too rare these days.

That said, 30 of the 2070-2075’s most attractive offerings were on display this morning. For many it was their first foray into the market this year, for others it was the hope of a more buoyant times after the sluggish conditions of the previous week.

Some highlights from the catalogue:

  • Captain’s evergreen stunner – “Rolling Downs”, the perfect combination of ease, with just a hint performance. Luxury and delusion in perfect concert.
  • Turnip’s fixer upper – “Balboa Estate” – a rustic charmer in need of some TLC after a recent run in with an erratic buyer during last Thursday’s inspection
  • Shleck’s classic Art Deco – “Moneypenny”. The impressive property has been let go in recent times; the hedges are a little overgrown, all of which adds to the mystery of this top drawer offering. Insiders note a recent garage sale of certain fixtures and fitting suggest that the Schlecks may be more motivated than first indications. Potential for good buying here.
  • Chippo’s compact entertainer – “Nads”. Crisp, clean presentation with bright colours that create an ambience of fun and functionality. A lot of value has been squeezed into this appealing unit. If you poke around inside you’ll find hidden nooks and private spaces to please. This one’s a real peach!
  • The Houghton Family Estate – “Strato Cumulus” a collection rambling gems that carry a warm familiarity. One for the family here

With stock numbers on the rise, many are looking for expansion opportunities to new developments and undervalued opportunities; Flufferville, Aallambie-by-Sea, and Getalong Grove all attracting early season interest.

Tomorrow sees up and coming agent – Goader Partners, testing a bold  marketing innovation – a pre-dawn tour through Flufferville. Expressions of Interest have been strong with many hoping to get the jump on the market and snap up a bargain off the plan.

It’s shaping up to be quite a year and we’ll be looking to set records, maintain high clearance rates and continue the stimulate the market with interesting and attractive offerings from the FM group of companies.

5.15 & 6pm briefings as per.

Bullet (Le)

Grand Fun D’oh report

A great weekend of riding, and from reading the reports we’ll make it to the moon and back this year..

YHC was hit by a sudden rush of blood to the head and made a seemingly rational decision to ride the Fondo..Wisemans loop with the Boy , George and Wiggo.

A cool 20C at 6:30 rendezvous, George and Wiggo had already conquered GG , but the Galstone shops was a logical spot to start, and thus it for YHC it would also be a tortuous finish..

Rolling the Old Northern Rd, clear skies, nil wind, George at the front chuffing out a steady 30kph providing a draught for the lesser mortals, and all this with Georges trademark smile and gentle encouragement. YHC considers the Old Northern Rd as kind of “road to nowhere”, it goes on and on through a continuous loop of trees and short hills 50km before you arrive at the escarpment decent into Wisemans..where our lesser band of riders foraged for water but drew a blank..( anyone know of a tap there ? ) ( Mike “Wiggo” was experiencing mechanical issues and turned left for a flatter than the flat lands ride to Windsor )

The ferry across to the dark side, ( as the hill shadow provides a delicious shade from the gathering heat ) and a “gift of the road”..George found a spark plug spanner for his whipper snipper..yup sometimes these things just appear and you just say thank you. Once back in the groove, next stop Spencer, signpost says 25kms, but the further from the city you go the length of a km stretches..everywhere seems to take ages to reach, luckily Spencer is announced at about 10kms from Wisemans, and then you do another 15km to reach the village shops, at which there is perfect little cafe for a stop and refresh..cyclist special , coffee and bacon and egg roll for $8..and a happy snap for their facebook page..YHC merely indulged in a chocolate milkshake, but when combined with 2lts of water..$8.40. The serious climb out of the Hawkesbury valley begins a little way further down the road, temp just nudging 30C at the start, and still in a little shade, but the higher up the slope once clear of the trees and into chook hell..( pong of factory farmed chooks is quite overpowering )..temp climbed to 34C and our happy band gritted their teeth and pedalled on..( Party political broadcast..factory chook farms are just plain wrong, designed and implemented with ruthless efficiency and tellingly are the only farms I know of with 8ft chainlink wire fences with razor wire on the top..when they open the vents in warm weather, the stench is but one manifestation of the evil within)  PPB over …Mangrove mountain..aptly named, and relief found at the Corrugated Cafe on Peats Ridge Road..George now counting down the kms to home, 50 to go ( for him ) YHC another 70, nothing that a strawberry milkshake can’t fix..and coffees for the Boy and George, The Boy making this ride look easy, or maybe he just doesn’t sweat. 35.6 C on the Mt White section, George calls this “undulating..” also point of order, never ask George if a section contains a hill, he has no recollection of anything with an incline, for him the world is flat. Some flat sections you can ride without pedalling and go very fast some other flat sections you have to pedal a bit hard to keep going at a normal speed.

Pie in the Sky and for YHC the dream was nearly over, but the road was still long…a quick recovery Gatorade..and back into the heat but now it is the homeward leg, and familiar territory makes it not feel so bad, so the section to Mt Colah sped by in no time, You could hear the beers in Georges fridge calling ( but that would be a siren song to YHC ..GG with a beer in the legs..) He peeled off with grin and gusto, Boy and YHC pedalled on..Boy was headed to collect a car..Normanhurst..( no GG for him then ) but YHC made that right turn and set off with as much bravado as could muster for a gritty little climb out and home..

If it is not on strava it didn’t happen…thankfully a full and frank report uploaded with PBs and words like “Extreme” used to describe what was in fact a very enjoyable day ..many thanks to Mike, Boy and George.