Monthly Archives: October 2013

Flight of the MAMIL

Padda. Padda padda padda. The possums tap out their pre-dawn marsupial rhythm, moving lithely across the terracotta tiles.

It’s still dark. I know this without opening my eyes. Other senses engage and come online. Sense of breath. Sense of self. My quads twitch and feel strong. I’m riding today.

Arising quietly I move with purpose. The sequence is known, a well-worn groove. Toast, tea, toilet, teeth, knicks, baselayer, shirt, socks, cap, water bottle, backpack, helmet, gloves – finally, shoes.

I close the door quietly behind and step out. Meg is there. Waiting, patient, ready. I know she doesn’t need it but I’ve got time and the ceremony is comforting. A wipe and twenty five drops of fresh lube. 110 PSI back and front. Rear light on, flashing.

A small part of my consciousness autocalculates the relative position of the red and yellow snake and then the optimal point of interception.

Meg’s bottom bracket creaks gently as I slowly pedal along Shepherd. I guide her around in a smooth arc into Tindale. I’m up out of the saddle and over the top of the 46 x 17 gearing. Maybe I’m ready to drop to 16. Maybe not. Sleeveless, it’s cool and I shiver slightly.

I reach the top of the hill as the first of my Egg and Tomato brothers arrive. Soon we have a quorum, then a throng, now a mob. Critical mass is reached, wry smiles and witticisms exchanged. The most appropriate point of attachment to the peleton selected.

And then we’re off, under a rising sun, a crisp Spring breeze at our backs. My core temperature rises and the endorphins start to flow. Spikes of adrenalin as obstacles are avoided, intersections negotiated, polite distances maintained.

Meg shies a little as we hit an unseen ridge. I overcompensate and grip too tightly before the resultant fatigue reminds me that I should trust her. Relax into to it. Go with the bumps and curves. Let her have her head a little. I’m rewarded with increasing smoothness and an eventual oneness of being.

On this impossible machine, weightless, I’m flying.

Ode to the Muggle

They sniffle, whine, whinge and complain
Shuffle and sigh as they file aboard the train

Weary and defeated, unfulfilled and depleted
They stare aimlessly at nothing, bored, inane

These poor impoverished souls
Trekking home to hovels and holes

They know not the joy of the impossible machine
That cranks, turns, brakes, climbs and rolls

Artarmon station, finally my escape is made
The Barry, for my steed, I would gladly trade

‘Tis true, The Muggles’ plight is bleak and desperate
A sedentary state from which they will not be swayed

RR Ride Report – a confluence of MAMILs

It started as a drip, a trickle and eventually become a flood.

4.55 I woke just in time to shoosh my 5am alarm so as not to disturb Lady Dora.

A bite of toast, a cup of team, ablutions, into the E&T and out the door to pedal the crisp, chill dark of pre-dawn Willoughby.

Shotgun quickly located at corner of Penshurst & Victoria. Soon joined by our favourite Freudian, Horatio, for the steady pedal northwards, following the legendary Way of the Dragon.

The Blessed Virgin caught us up and then Daffodil sprouted on the horizon. Thus we were five and soon bound for LCNP, with fingers freezing, keeping a keen and misty eye out for Hobbits.

On cue one appeared, Dopey (by name only) – blasting out of Browns waterhole like a halfling possessed. Only to be followed by another, Stealth.

Foolishly we passed them, swimming against the tide we headed north, down into the hole and then up for a perfectly timed rendezvous with the northern horde who charged towards and then past us. We turned and chased, mad for the hunt – in and out of Browns once more.

Cresting the hill on the other side found Shotgun unloading both barrels into the gutter. Good one son. Better out than in. Fair play for smashing the SS through Browns two times with gusto.

And then we were many, streaming through the back streets. Finchy, Chippo, Bam, B1 & Norman showing how it’s done MTB style. VD leading then peeling off to follow the Parra Path. Admin on the drops and menacing the Kona.

Rhodes – a sneaky slash, Concord – local constabulary out in force with all pursuit vehicles in attendance – not ready to mess with these easy riders, Five Dock, Canada Bay, Rozelle, then Anzac to arrive in a full torrent and wash up on the shore of the Google Cafe.

47kms on the clock and grin on the dial.

Good job team – a cracking ride and a great way to start the weekend.

Friday Pre GG OTP

Great morning for it, conditions..perfect..temps and pressures all in the green, maggies checked and all nesting, power to weight ratio could be a little better but we’ll live with it..ignition and transfer to Gordon in plenty of time to view a few erstwhile ERs pedalling towards start lines of much harder rides than the Mallow OTP that YHC was about to enjoy.

A chilly blast was a bit of a wake up call in the car park..9C on the clock, but with the clear blue sky and large sun, YHC chose to tough it out, and not don the rapha..( nice to know the option is there though ) . It was an eclectic bunch this morning, the weight and might of the financial markets in the form of TFS discussing the next big ferrous challenge with DT..and YHC heard that Saint Nav has found a polly pedal around Canberra for the weekend..250kms, 4000 plus climbing in a lumpy little course through the back country only a mountain goat would enjoy..”we’ll see what sort of shape I’m in for the 3 peaks “ he said..hmm is all I could respond.

Into the misnamed hills of death, and on to the OTP, 20 plus riders in fine form and style, playing nicely with the traffic and bantering on, Friday..beautiful one week, perfect the next.

No accidents, incidents, GOTFR tokens, nothing.. just the second best way to start the day. Of note was a garbage truck blocking the Tindale climb out..interesting to see a rag tag bag of misfits having to form an orderly queue to line astern formation while actually having to pedal up that hill.  The SUP through to Naremburn was filled with grockles ( East Anglian slang word for tourists ) which is also providing opportunities to test the ER resolve to abide in peace. Nice to see though, that  orderly conduct and consideration has become the norm, even a highlight.

Rolling through North Sydney..hmm another opportunity for practicing peace and calm in the face of multiple motorised challenges..but arriving over the bridge and in one piece..priceless… job done.

GG tonight, all the usual suspects will be lined up.. you know who you are..

Have a great day all


Fiftieth Birthday

There once was an Easy Rider named Half
Who thought he was terribly tough
But as said his bonne femme, Veronique
(Tres Francaise et petitie)
“Hard Man – that’s a bit of a laugh.”

His birthday it was – he was fifty
Razor poised to shave, he felt not so nifty
“Oh my dear mother” he did mutter
“That’s worse than a fluffer”
And called to Veronique: “Can you fix me?”

“I am here in the buff,
“I have a knot in my calf,
“It feels all floppy and weak.
“Might you come and rub it my sweet
“While I have a snooze in the bath?”

“Not a problem mon Half,
I won’t be too rough”
Murmured the sweet Veronique.
Who deftly took the razor – and his Antique
And sliced the latter in half.

“Voila! C’est au revoir a sa Saucisse! *
At last we have peace”
Cried triumphant Madame Demi:
“For Half – The second best way
“Et pour moi – A blessed relief.”

Old Spice

ATB – Dopey Style

We had 3 ER’s in a mixed bag group of 7 from my Bobbo Sunday ride group. Me, Lunchie and David Wright. Most had never done more than 100kms and certainly were not fit so my mandate was to help them at least get around the course or to the nearest railway station if needed.

We rolled out just after I said farewell to Magoo’s group (& Jamie thanks for the frozen Cocain bar – yum) and got overtaken in the dark by a chirpy Chipo going up Westgate bridge. I’m sure he had his sandals on. Descending the other side one got a puncture in a very dangerous spot – concrete barrier on left, we took up 1/4 of the only lane for riding & they were coming in masses down the hill in the dark doing 30-40. David took my flashing front light & was shooing them away but I could hear him saying F…off now and then to those determined to ride over the top of us.

We built up a good train but the ones ahead were often too slow & trains too long & you had to venture into the next lane with cars to get past. Then another puncture – David. We took the opportunity to pee over the barbed wire fence until we realised it was Werribee zoo & feared for our manhood. Off again and we passed at speed Boyce & someone with a puncture and then into Geelong where we met Greg Starr with his bike in the workshop. I tried to get him to join us but he insisted we carry on. Just out of there we were heading for a roundabout and the event officials decided to shift the 250km sign back 100m so people can see it. Trouble is they turned it sideways as they carried it and whilst we knew to turn left I suspect Greg was just behind and went straight ahead for the 210km (use this excuse Greg!).

Just around the corner David got his third flat & then we undulated along to Portarlington where one of our group was struggling so we stopped for 2nd breakfast – elevensies (hobbit style), bacon egg sandwich & coffee in a beach front cafe. I eyed off the Galliano but refrained. The scenery along there was beautiful with wheat fields (forgive me BT) and vineyards rolling into the sea.

We then formed a medic train & towed our friend 50kms to Queenscliff for the ferry. There at 11.45am but ferry problems so on the 2pm ferry. Ugggh. We had lunch & then I went for a joy ride around Queenscliff beautiful town & buildings in every street – then I got a call saying come back quickly as ferry now leaving early. Almost got back & they then rode out to me saying the ferry has now been put back again. We found a coffee shop and all ordered milk shakes etc then got a call saying ferry leaving now so put the drinks in our bidon cages & just got onto the 1.30pm ferry.

This is where some low life stole my new red gloves. My 8th dan thai boxing mate was going to check all of them on the ferry & if we had of found them..well I hate to think. Anyway fortunately that low life must have somehow put the gloves back in my helmet after I put it on which is where I found them 100kms later at the finish line :-).

We actually had a good train moving all the way back to Melbourne and like Magoo didn’t know that we’d already rolled over Mount Martha and we were still looking for it. Saw ER Marc Walker along the way as well. As we passed through Frankston where I was born I saw O’Grady avenue which is where I was brought up and we all let out a cheer. I left home at age 5 and moved North to Sydney where my folks joined me.  

After Frankston 2 friends began to struggle as we punched into the wind so we had a few stops before rolling over the finish line and having a few celebratory beers.

My wife also rode and did the 100km Sorrento to Melbourne ride and had worse headwinds than us so big kudos to her. She has discovered the joys of hotfoot, numb butt and sore shoulders and was glad to hear it is not just her.

The great joy was we all worked together as a team and everyone made it well beyond their limits so overall mission accomplished. Man those beers tasted good.

It was also lovely the amount of people who passed by & saw our egg n tomato colours and would say ‘hey – go easy riders’, so we have a good reputation out there.

regards, Dopey

Around the Bay 250

A lot of people had a lot of different experiences on the Around the Bay day, so I’d like to think I am starting a collaborative ride report, with certain amendments and gaps to be filled in by others. Here is my recount.

After deciding to avoid the clutter of the official starting gates, the ER peloton of Magoo, Goaders, Jenn, Alex, Boycey, Jamie, Greg and Michael set off from outside our apartments (1km from the start) at 5:30, full of the energy and excitement of small Christian children on Christmas day! … only to seemingly get every red light on the way out of the city. We had established a few ground rules – nobody should be left alone and some groups may naturally form along the way. Turns out the risk of groups “naturally forming” was rather immediate as Goaders powered off from the word go, driving a solid pace. He and I flew up the West Gate bridge, with the likes of Jenn chasing (with a heart rate of 196).

We formed a peloton for the highway dash down towards Geelong. Holding a nice average of around 40, with spurts of 45. We avoided catastrophe twice when we found two solid metal gates thrown across the road shoulder. They did claim victims, but luckily none of us. We were claimed by confusing signage however – Goaders took an exit (which turned out to be a dead end street), and a good 100 other people with us. Lesson here – don’t follow Sydneysiders while in Melbourne!

Chippo and his bunch flew past us down this stretch too. I jumped on to their bunch and started telling his mate all his dirty secrets. Not to be outdone, Goaders led the ER’s past the bunch, at what must have been 45-odd. This wasn’t set to last long – they put the foot down and dropped us. Goaders, Jenn and I thought we could reel them back in – but then I heard the all so familiar sound of the air escaping my front tire.

I was out – thanks to Jamie, Michael and Alex who stopped to help. We were on our way again. Out of nowhere Andy H appeared and joined us for the run into Geelong. I was a little upset I’d lost 10mins on Goaders and Jenn (and later learnt that Greg and Boycey had also had a mechanical) and was pretty determined to chase them down. We continued on, grabbing on to groups, only to find them to be too slow and moving forward again. Outside of Geelong we came across a large bunch doing ~28. I was pretty tired, so figured it made sense to stay with them, but needed to get their speed up. Nothing like a small blonde girl holding 35 on the front for 10mins to inspire 20-odd blokes to up the pace for the ride into Geelong.

We were split in and around the next rest stop. Again, Andy and I forged ahead, occasionally finding riders, working out quickly they were either too slow or not super willing to work with us. We started the fight against the undulations going into Portalington and then I spotted THEM. Two black and red jerseys in the distance. Already much more fatigued than I ever planned to be at that point I put the foot down and flew up and past Goaders and Jenn – quickly abusing them and then dropping in behind for a well-earned rest. Thanks Andy and Goaders for dragging us to the Ferry – I was pretty dead at this point.

A pumpkin and lettuce sandwich has never tasted so good. I threw that down, as well as a few bottles of Powerade and we boarded the SS Bike Porn (or the Queenscliff to Sorrento Ferry). All in all the rest stop was probably about 50-60mins, including the ferry ride. It was pretty overcast, but still quite warm. I might mention now that my plan was to sit in behind people (ER or not) for 90% of the ride, doing my bit on the front where required but generally pacing myself. Since the flat and having to make the catch, I was a lot more fatigued than I had planned to be. Little did I know, that was only going to get worse.

Getting off the ferry, we set off back up the coast. After about 10mins, Goaders, Andy and Jenn pulled off for a bathroom stop and somehow Michael and I lost Alex and Jamie behind us. Michael and I forged on into the “hilly” country. We had one nice group of 3 guys that worked well with us for a while, but most of the run between the ferry and Mt Martha was very lonely. Everyone we passed sucked our wheels until they fell off. It must have looked pretty funny seeing me dragging a line of 10-15 blokes along the seaside. The headwind at this stage was starting to get a bit serious, so it was pretty hard work.

I have to laugh at Mt Martha. It’s not even 1/3 of Bobbo, but people were walking up or slowly grinding up in their smallest gears. I think this is where Andy H caught us again, but we sailed past 50-odd riders in our big chain rings. The top looked like a rest stop – it wasn’t, it was just full of strugglers.

Andy, Michael and I continued down to Frankston, where we stopped for water and food. Typical Melbourne weather, there was a bit of rain about now. We set off down the Nepean Hwy in a horrible, horrible headwind. I’m really hurting now, but still need to help out Andy on the front. Same deal as always, we find groups, but they turn out to be too slow, so we shoot off again in search of the illusive large peloton doing 35. The Nepean Hwy turns into Beach Rd. Suddenly I find myself in a predicament – Andy is moving ahead, Michael is dropping off behind and I need to make a decision – I followed Andy.

At this stage my back hurts, my butt hurts, I’m developing hot foot, I had it in my mind for a while my toenails had come off, I’m going through all sorts of emotions. Andy managed to get with a small group – I kept falling off and getting back on again. The side of the road looked like a war zone, with people lying all over the place, some crying, some with their legs in the air. We passed the final rest stop (which again, looked like a battlefield medical area, except without the blood), determined to finish.

This was the longest 20km of my life. I’m in serious pain from all the work up to now. Andy is desperately hoping his calves don’t cramp. The wind lands punch after punch into our chests as we pass hundreds of riders on the last stretch (many of the 210 and 100 riders). The city skyline appears. Finally we start doing hook turns to get into the city. We randomly run into Greg who missed the 250km turn off and was finishing off the 210km ride. I’m so desperate to finish – I’m out of my seat for the run down City Rd and I sprint across the line at the end, almost taking out a Bupa girl handing out medals. I pull up, get off my bike and come close to passing out as we wait for the others.

It was done.

FANTASTIC EFFORT by all. Many comments to me and others about how “Easy Riders” don’t exactly take it easy!


Chaos commuters warned

Chaos commenced for YHC as the sun poked above the horizon illuminating the  garret at Dural with a bushfire glow , and a quick check of the wind direction ( visible blown smoke) ..decisions.. which way to go ? Strapping the camera on visibly to the right side of the helmet I was keen to see if the traffic along New Line would give a little more room if they thought there would be evidence of after pumping the tyres and oiling the chain it was onto the OTP Dural route.. and hey the camera created a magic 1 meter clearance.. no ute / Bdouble / Bus agro, and only one P plate GOTFR token..

A gentle push over to Fox Valley as there was time to waste, and arrived just as the bell rang for the 6;30 off.. caught at the lights for a banter and back slap before rolling the well worn path to Gordon. 6 on the Fox valley, followed by  3 more at Heydon and caught by Phil before Turra, making a tight but perfectly boisterous peloton sufficient to create a bike lane on the Pacific highway..all that was missing was the paint.

The ER gathering at Gordon was looking a little anaemic until our arrival doubled those waiting in the traps..and within a short while the stragglers rolled up to double it again making a huge 20 or so ( huge considering there are a bulky number still in transit from Melbourne riding the bay ) ..and chaos again when the Fatty O’Barrel failed to show..20 odd looking riders not able to slip the surly bonds of Gordon until a toot from our friend.. now scheduled for 6:47.. YHC rang the bell at 6:45:30.. putting an end to the confusion and calling a start a start.

It was orderly, but with multiple cars on the first roundabout, we quickly found a small traffic jam, and giving right of way meant a cycle jam ensued. Unravelling in single file put all traffic back in motion with minimum fuss, allowing YHC to slide “arriere du peloton “ where all the laughing was..much to be said about being official lantern rouge.. there is no one fighting you for the privilege. Of note was watching the legs of David Brown, putting in 200 rpm along Lindfield av.. road runner meet DB ..

Perfect weather for a roll into town, provided you have no objection to wood smoke, but temperature in the 20’s wind calm, viz a little blurry beyond about 200 metres ( that is with my glasses on ) there would be few who would complain about that. Tindale regroup was sufficiently long to be door stopped by the Tindale residents action and progress group, dedicated to stop all action and progress in Tindale.. politics as we know it.. a do it yourself get it done sort of thing, we salute them..

There were all the usual suspects on the SUP, and ER morning discipline on show ensuring all runners, dogs, prams, children and pensioners using the path were left unshaken, if a little stirred. It is after all a stiring sight to see this rag tag bunch.. filtering through in a blur of egg and tomato.

Regroup at Crows was in stages, half and half, making a safety sized bunch to attack North Sydney in waves, the late comers and YHC appreciate those who go over the top first, by the time we follow all lights are green and traffic looking out for cycle traffic.. even the 612 let us past only to take the turn into Lavender from the right lane around those waiting for the filter right to change green.

B&T churned out the caffeine in spritely fashion, having had an orderly arrival in small groups led of course by the OTPe and all various groups from all suburbs ..a phenomenon soon to be marketed to tourists as one of the great migrations of Sydney.

Loins to be girded for return rides, look to the web for your preferred option.. and recruits are required for a 3:45 departure ( that is AM tomorrow for a Gettalong with Flash ..go on you know you want to )


Have a great day all


OTPe with the Cherrybrook Chapter

YHC was roused in the middle of the night again, pitch black and blinking as the alarm insisted it was time to be up..everything else was certain it was not. Not even a hint of Bdouble or essence de truck out on the Old Northern, it was definitely dark out there.

Motion by pedal to the Loftus rendezvous, in a deliciously cool predawn daze.. YHC resumed automatic pilot while the brain claimed one or two moments of REM making one last attempt at a sleep cycle.

Danny the Boy and TD arrived within mere seconds of each other from different directions, kicking the OTPe in action with a minute up the sleeve. TD on the Bundy ( one day he may be able to afford gears on it but not today, it was configured with some tiny cog on the back and was looking for pain ) Dtb and YHC found a gap in the Beecroft traffic and sauntered into the rollercoaster lottery, TD held back and chased, but as there were multiple red lights we all arrived at the railway tunnel well gassed and perhaps a PB up the ramp. Alas I had selected the wrong gear ( must have put the wrong legs on ) DtB and TD flew past, leaving YHC in the dust.. The rest they say is history.. OTPe is really is a ride of two halves.. the good bit was over, and now there is a ridiculous roundabout network of interconnecting back streets which spit you out at Delhi Rd.and then interrupt normal progress by a succession of traffic lights and junctions.  Lobbster set a cracking pace from Vimera, a rolling boil for the 15 minutes up the 3 Epping climbs..YHC was cooked to a turn by pacific highway only to be overdone at Scaramanga.. limped over the SHB in time to rearrange the tables at B&T. Composure was just re-established as the ER OTP arrived and a pretend nonchalance betrayed by steam and sweat.

ERs arrived from all points, the new Manly chapter arriving as the first wave was leaving, the TSS was also a visitor, 9 weeks off the bike and feeling it, banter and tall stories of week end rides, Canberra, MTB exploits, 200plus Audax, Goader’s hill fest, there was pathos, hyperbole..all the devices used..

Choice abounds for the return rumble, blazing sunshine expected as afternoon is misnamed as evening.

Have a great day all


the mallow report

The garbage trucks of Monte Dural were running a little later than usual so YHC was not roused from slumber until the last minute.. a quick cup of tea followed by a positioning drive to the Gordon car park ensued.. then realised that the temperature was at a barmy 8C ..shocking considering there was no warning of these near wintery conditions. I thought global warming had taken care of this.

Good thing there is always the Rapha jacket option curled up in the bottom of my kit bag.. you know you all want one.. well you would if you knew the fact that Rapha gear makes all conditions perfect for a ride into town.

A mere dozen on the pedals accumulated on the OTP , mallows all, crystal pace in for the Friday relax and recuperate session before Goaders launches a team into the stratosphere via every hill in the district, or Flash saw tooths his way through 15 gorges.

Slight overcast then saw us shivering into the Hills of Death, YHC quietly falling to the rear of the peloton and offering a few sympathetic words to those laughing in the rear carriage..and then got overhauled by the B2B peloton , the effervescent Mike Peppou greeting us with “did you think this was the stragglers of the ER peloton.. “ to which I replied “ no I am the straggler of the ER peloton”..

Good thing everyone waited for me at the Hill St stop.. by now I was breathing a little better and could carry on a conversation with the best of them. The sun poked its nose out behind the clouds and things started to look much more like the weekend. The group was split and reformed through Chatswood, our “highway patrolman” on the white Beamer Bike managed to negotiate a safe passage past us without cosying up and all was well with the world..problems all discussed, resolved, mooted and minimised.. exactly what you need on a commute.

Bar Fredo ..hmmm nice sunshine, we moved their tables out from under the shade into the blinking light..and they managed to delay the moment of delivery of caffeine almost to perfection..YHC was gagging for coffee, and could barely contain the enthusiasm for it, just about every order of food was trotted out before a single wiff of the large flat white.

Busses are a booked for the GG and all points of interest north at the usual times, YHC will hopefully be on an early one..may have to delay to join the 5:15 express. A beer is already calling..

Have a great day all