Canberra to Picton

I have sat on this long enough and have decided to write about this particular ride as I feel it is one I would like to do again but with a different finish point.  I started this ride on the 24th of September. I packed the Giant Iguana touring bike with panniers of clothing and some other gear and headed off. I followed my usual route to Goulburn. I followed the Federal Highway to Collector and had lunch at the Daily Pie. I then rode into Breadalbane and from there rode to the Hume Highway and on to the South Goulburn Caravan Park where I had booked a cabin for the night.

When I got to the caravan park I got talking to some of the various “Grey Nomads”,  that dropped into the van park in their mobile homes. I was quite happy to have a cabin, it was looking like rain and I was able to unpack the bike and ride into the town and get some supplies before heading back to the cabin.  Goulburn is a town where I have cycled to before – like my home town Lithgow it is the last stop on a City Rail train line. I settled in to the cabin for the night and got myself ready for the Goulburn Cycle Grand Prix the next morning.

During the night it rained quite heavily. When the morning came around I got myself ready for the Cycle Grand Prix. I had signed up the night before and was ready for the ride. I made sure that I was prepared for the wet weather and the cold. I had my arm and leg warmers and had mudguards fitted on the bike. I filled up the water bottles and rolled out to the park at Eastgrove where the ride was due to begin. On the way there was a brief shower.  I had a feeling that it was not going to be an easy ride. I got to the park and collected my start number. There was a charity called Abbeyfield that was selling bricks to a home for the disabled for $50. I bought a brick and got talking to some riders from the ACT who came up especially for the event. One couple had driven the route and found that there was a section of gravel/dirt. They thought that my bike was well prepared for this with mudguards and wide tyres.

When the ride got underway we were hit with a head wind. The conditions of the ride were that the 25 km point had to be reached by  a certain time after which the riders were to be directed onto the 50 kilometer course. The head wind made riding difficult. Combined with the cold and the rain it made going tough. As a result I fell further behind the ride leaders. I reached the 25 km point at Windallama and was turned around for the 50 km ride. The ride back to Goulburn was easy but there were crashes caused by cross winds and terrible road conditions. I got back to the caravan park worse for wear. I got myself settled down watching a doco on ABC 1 on Pink Floyd and did a bit of reading about the next part of the ride. The rain became heavy and I wound up settling in the cabin and abandoning a plan to go out and have a meal in town.

The next day I packed the bike and checked out. The noise from the highway was noticeable and I put it down to the fact that this day was a monday and trucks were moving goods to shops in time for today.  I rode along the Hume Highway shoulder and was allowed into the barricaded area on the shoulder at a point where there were some road works.  There was a point where I had to dismount and walk the bike over a bridge which had no shoulder. I eventually rode to Carrick Road which I turned down to avoid some road works near Marulan which had closed the shoulder.

As I went along Carrick road the noise from the highway fell away. The road was mostly good until I got to a point where the road became dirt. At this point the going got slow and I road with increased caution. I was overtaken by a couple of vehicles but had no trouble from the drivers. I eventually got to Brayton Road where the road became sealed again. I was able to ride on to Marulan having bypassed the road works. I had a brief look around the township before heading off onto the Hume Highway shoulder.

I took the Hume Highway shoulder onto the Highlands Way. I crossed the Hume Highway and rode the Highlands way through the villages of Tallong, Penrose and Wingello onto Bundanoon. At one stage I was attacked by a magpie but made it through the ride without incident. When I got to Bundanoon, I dropped into the Olde Bicycle Shoppe cafe and had lunch. I got talking to some of the staff about places to stay and decided on the YHA. I got a map of the area and headed off to the YHA. Bundanoon is the first town in Australia which banned the sale of bottled water. If you need water you can get it from some of the bubblers in the main street. It is a beautiful town and has a lot of heritage. The Southern Highlands remind me a lot about the Blue Mountains and Bundanoon is no exception.

I got to the YHA and checked in. I initially thought I would have the room to myself but it turned out I wound up sharing it with an old man from South Australia who was on his way to Sydney. I went into town and got myself some food for that nights dinner and breakfast the following day. I wound up talking to some of the other guests including a mother and son from Victoria who were on their way to Sydney. I got myself to bed and set my alarm for an early get away.

When I woke up the following morning I got the bike ready and had breakfast. I read over the book of cycling tours by Neil Irvine and prepared myself for a ride through the Southern Highlands. I went back to the Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe and got some photos of the mural. I then headed back on to the Highlands way and went through the township of Exeter and on to Sutton Forest, where I took the Illawarra Highway on to Moss Vale. I followed the Illawarra Highway to Burradoo and into Mittagong. The road became busy with school holiday traffic and I found myself riding through some busy areas.

I got to Bowral and consulted the book for the ride route. I wound up bypassing the highway with some back streets. I was tempted to go to the Bradman Museum but the traffic put me off. I eventually found my way to Mittagong and onto the old Hume Highway. After some mucking around I eventually found myself on the Freeway where I turned off and went into the township of Hilltop. I enjoyed the rollicking descent through the Glenelg National Park The road was calm and there wasn’t much in the way of traffic. I had lunch in Colo Vale and was asked by one of the shop assistants in the bakery if I was going to do the Razor Back Range. I had limited time to do the ride and told them I would pass on that. I eventually got back onto the road and found myself riding through bush and small villages. The thing that stuck in my mind was how Sydney was sprawling out even in these areas.

As I approached Piction I found myself climbing a steep climb, I had a minor problem with a gear change and had issues climbing. I eventually had a rollicking ride into Picton. I had some trouble finding the railway station. I found it only after asking a guy who was delivering papers. I crossed a pick a plank bridge and found the railway station. I bought a ticket for Springwood and took the train to Liverpool, where I took the Liverpool to Parramatta railtrail to avoid the peak hour charge for bikes. I got to Parramatta and took the mountains train to Springwood where I rode to Ruth’s Place.


Gong Ride 2011

On the 6th of November I took part in the Gong Ride. It is a fundraising ride for the MS society. I raised more than the $250 target set on joining the ride. The ride itself fell just short of achieving the $4 million set by the organisers. This may be due to donor fatigue from the Qld floods and other natural disasters or to the uncertain economic situation.

I was undecided about which bike I would take on the ride and decided to take the Shogun Katana Road Bike which I had upgraded with a 9 speed cassette. I replaced the old Selle Italia saddle with the Brooks Saddle and strapped on the Carradice bag. I filled the Carradice bag with my rain jacket, puncture kit and tools for repairing punctures.

I joined the Pedal Power team which was led by Chris Mann, whose parents live in Wollongong. Some of the team spent the night in Wollongong. I spent the night at Ruth’s mother’s place and caught the train up to St Peters in the morning. While on the train I got talking to some riders one of whom bought his bike for the event a few weeks before and had been doing roller training to build up road strength for the event.

When we got to St Peters I got myself ready and eventually caught up with the rest of the team who had arrived late. We got a team photo and eventually got ourselves on the road. The ride had some delays caused by some people being eager to get to the new Ikea outlet on the Princess Highway.  It was good going through old familiar areas and seeing how some things had remained the same while others had changed sometimes for the best. We passed a group of motorcyclists who also were on their way south and were gathering at Deano’s Diner – now a Harry’s Cafe De Wheels at Tempe.

As we were late we found ourselves with riders who perhaps had not had as much training as they should have. Things were a bit slow and there was an incident that could have caused a crash. One rider was handing another rider a mobile phone as they were approaching a set of traffic lights which changed to the red signal. Fortunately they stopped albeit abruptly.

The first stop was the water point after Brighton – Le Sands. It turned out to be a scorcher of a day so water was in high demand. I estimate I went through over 3 litres of water during the ride. Eventually we made our way through the St George area and into the Sutherland Shire. We proceeded on to the morning tea stop at Loftus

At Loftus the Pedal Power team regrouped and we discussed the ride and when we were going to meet afterward. It was decided we would meet at a beach side cafe at North Wollongong. I also took the opportunity to catch up with some St John people I know. It turned out there was also a St John team in the ride as a promotional team. We got rolling again and it was great to see the rolling countryside of the outer reaches of Sydney.

When I got to the entrance of the Royal National Park there wasn’t any of the usual delays for the road to clear. I proceeded down the steep descents riding on the brakes. I have to admit being a scaredy cat with the speeds some people were descending at.

As we proceeded to the lunch stop the hills and heat began winnowing out those who had not done enough training. There were some people walking their bikes and others stopped by the road side. There were also some crashes with St John Ambulance having to treat some people by the side of the road in some cases for what appeared to be serious injuries.

Eventually we made it to the Lunch post and again the Pedal Power team regrouped. Chris was able to check out some maps of the ride on his mobile and we had discussions on riding and touring. It was good to get some Lunch and more water in because the heat was taking a toll.

We regrouped again at Bald Hill where we had some ice cream from a van that must have done a roaring trade on weekends with the heat like the one experienced that day.  Eventually we got to Lawrence Hargrave Drive and the last of the serious descents.

We then entered the Illawarra towns and made our way through to Scarbourgh and the Fruit stop. The heat brought out a great crowd at the beaches at Thirroul and Austinmer. There were some interesting moments with people dashing across the road to the beach or to the shops but nothing serious.

Eventually we went along the Sea Cliff Bridge and there were photos take there. When we entered the northern suburbs of Wollongong we wound up on one of the local share user paths and I caught up with Chris Mann again who took some photos. As we wound our way through some of the back streets of North Wollongong near the university and on to the finish line, I came across a guy mowing the lawn in Speedos – something that gave me an inkling into how laid back the area must be.

Eventually we made it to the finish line – had the ride finished at the lighthouse it would have made it to the 90 Km mark but the numbers and organisers finished it at the park with a photo and some stalls and some meeting points for the various teams.  I picked up my copy of the Sun Herald which I used in the cleaning for my latest bond inspection and bought a souvenir jersey. I then made my way to the cafe where I caught up with the rest of the team. I had a coffee and a bacon and egg roll and discussed other rides with the team. Eventually the group went back to it’s hotel and I went to Wollongong railway station and onto a train at Dapto to catch up with Ruth.

Update on Operation Phoenix

A while ago I  announced on this blog that I was going to do up Iggy the Giant Iguana mountain bike that I crashed before I started this blog. I am proud to announce that significant advances have been made towards the completion of this project., these advances are:

1. The fitting of a new handlebar stem and Ahead converter which happened a week after the beginning of the commencement of the project. This lead to some uming and aring about the new handlebars.  It also involved a lot of work removing the stopgap stem from a child’s bike.

2. The fitting of new handlebars. I was initially looking at putting either shallow drop bars or moustache bars. I decided I would use bar end shifters but due to the cost limitations I was not going to be able to use indexed shifting. I found I could not locate any moustache bars in Canberra or in the Blue Mountains. I decided that I would go with drop bars and make Iggy a form or touring bike.

3. Handle bar installation. The handlebars became an issue as I went around the ACT bike shops looking for likely replacements. I found that there was not much in the way of moustache bars so I wound up having to go with drops. I found that the handlebar stem limited what I could get and was looking at breaking the bike budget on new bars but fortunately there was a miracle find. I went to Blaxland Cycles and found a pair of 2nd had bars which fitted just fine. I also found that they stocked friction bar end shifters. I fitted the drops the night I bought the bars.

4. The fitting of new brake levers. In order to save some more money and to give Iggy a more retro look I decided to use a set of brake levers I got from the Shogun Katana road bike when I got a set of drop bars which came complete with levers fitted. I found that I could do this quite well and was amazed when I could see Iggy coming together.

5. The fitting of the bar end shifters and the bar tape. I took Iggy to Blaxland Cycles at Katoomba. Blaxland Cycles at Katoomba is a shop owned by Blaxland Cycles operated by the owner of Blaxland Cycles son. It has not had much business and I was able to drop Iggy off and get the bar end shifters fitted and new bar tape on the handle bars without making appointments. I also got the brake cables fitted. The problem with indexed shifters was I can only get 8 speed shifters which may have worked well with a 7 speed cassette. I have heard of people having issues with 8 speed shifters on 7 speed cassettes though.

6. The fitting of mudguards. I took the mudguards off an old Coke mountain bike. I fitted these to the old Coke bike because I wanted to do it up but I found it was not supposed to be ridden. I fitted them to Iggy and it has improved the bike’s look no end.  Iggy will be a good bike to ride after rain given that it now has mudguards.

7. The fitting and installation of a new seat post I had a look at the old seat post and have some live memories about the old seat shifting as it had issues with its mountings. I decided a new seat post and saddle would be a brilliant idea. On Tuesday I took the old seat post to On your bike Civic and asked for a new post. Given that the post has a particular measurement the guys at On your bike Civic had to order a seat post in. I got a call on Friday to tell me it had arrived and I happily took it home after work and fitted it.

8. The purchase and fitting of a Brooks saddle. Before I ordered the seat post I decided to get a Brooks Saddle. In order to make sure that the bike still came in at a reasonable price; I decided to go on ebay to see if I could source a Brooks Saddle at a reasonable price. Brooks saddles normally sell for prices in excess of $150. I scored a Brooks saddle from someone in Tasmania for $60. I fitted the saddle when I installed the seat post on Friday.  The saddle has some scratches and abrasions and will need a coating of the polish/oil that Brooks recommend for protecting and seasoning their saddles. It is a beautiful saddle made of leather. It is a B17 model so it seems that it matches Iggys brown brindle finish.

9 The installation of a new bike computer. I scored a bike computer from Kathmandu. I got the new computer for $19 at the Kathmandu store in the Canberra Centre. I fitted the computer last night and tested it. Given that Kathmandu is a shop that specialises in outdoor gear; the bike computer was not one of the best. I probably would not be able to use it for any of my bikes using 700c tyres. However as Kathmandu was catering to mountain bikers and recreational cyclists using 26 inch tyres, the bike computer is ideal for a 26 inch tourer/commuter.

All that appears left to do is get a new set of SPD pedals fitted – I am definately going to do this on either Thursday, Friday or Saturday when I get paid. I can get a pair for On your bike Civic for $50 or a pair for $56 at Lonsdale Street Cyclery. I gather I can get free fitting at Lonsdale street. Either bike shop that fits the pedals will have some trouble with the old pedals being rusty and probably a bugger to get out of the cranks. Once that the pedals are installed the bike will to some smaller items to make it road worthy. This items include a bell – yeah I know but a bell is a legal requirement in Australia.

I will also get a red reflector and something to fit a red  light to either the seat post or the rack. The rack may also be replaced as it is gold and a bit delicate.  I will post a further update when the bike is finished and I get some photos.

Canberra to Goulburn

Yesterday, it was the beginning of 5 days of holidays in Australia. We have the Easter long weekend and an additional day for ANZAC Day. I had been planning this ride for a while and decided to give it a go even though I had a number of setbacks such as the loss of my wallet and the consequential cancellation of cards that involved. Basically the ride was a test run for possible touring rides including a shot at riding from Canberra to Sydney.  In preparation for the ride I drove to Lithgow with 4 days worth of stuff for the long weekend. I also took the bike rack. I left the car in Lithgow and took the train and the bus to Canberra.

The plan for the ride was to ride to Goulburn to use the City Rail train network from Goulburn to Lithgow. This would enable me to get to Lithgow with in a day and would eliminate the need to stay overnight in Goulburn or anywhere else. The fare from Goulburn to Lithgow is $7.80 for a single trip and that was markedly more attractive than the Countrylink fare from Canberra to Lithgow of $32 & a booking fee of $12.10 for the bike.  I used this as a challenge for how much money I could save as a result of the ride.

I rode to work at a new facility that is being opened in Mitchell and have clocked up some more kilometers on the single speed. This built up some leg strength for the coming ride. On Thursday after I finished work I rode home and did some cleaning and some preparation of the bike for the ride. I took the 2 Amy Gillett Foundation bidons – they are bigger than the normal bidons and there was going to be a need for water on this ride. I also used a frame bag that fits into the front of the frame. I bought this at Aldi to be used on rides such as this. I also fitted a new Nitepro light to the bike – this is a bright LED light that I picked up from Torpedo 7. In the frame bag I took 3 energy bars, the cable lock, my St John ID and rank slides (I will be on duty at ANZAC Day), AAA batteries for the rear lights and the USB modem for my netbook. I also packed the Stanmore Cycles mussette. In this I put the netbook, my raincoat, 3 chocolate chip hot crossed buns, my mp3 player & my copy of Smack Express by Clive Small (the latter 2 I was going to use on the train).

The bike I took was the Shogun Katana which has recently been fitted with 9 speed shifters. I chose it because it is a road bike and has a bike computer which shows the distance. I also chose it because it was going to be a light trip. I wasn’t going to be doing a multiday trip and had packed relatively lightly for the ride.

Before I left I conducted the usual last-minute kit check and made sure that I transferred things such as the pump & wedge pack from the single speed to the Katana. When all was good and ready I took the bike down stairs and noted the odometer reading on the bike computer which was 5467.3 befor starting off. I rode through Mawson and Philipp and on to Adelaide Avenue. I then went down state circle and up another street past the Chinese Embassy and the British High Commission on Commonwealth Avenue and then across Commonwealth Bridge. The day was warmish as I went up Northbourne Avenue – there was not much in the way of traffic so things were quite good.

When I got to the NSW/ACT border on the Federal Highway I noted that the odometer read 5492.5 and for some reason it was as if someone had started a race, for all of a sudden there was an increase in the cars heading out of Canberra. I clipped in and began the familiar ride north along the highway.

I found the going quite easy – there was a good tailwind which I took advantage of, it meant that much of the time I kept a pace at least 25 km an hour and in some places got to 30 km an hour. However I eventually came to the hills and the pace slowed. At one point I passed 3 four-wheel drives with a group of guys working on the first one which appeared to have over heated. I remember riding past the same point a couple of weeks ago with 3 cyclists discussing their ride.

Eventually I crested the hills that lead to the Lake George area and enjoyed a quick descent which was only slightly marred by a hard cross wind. It must have been close to lunch time because I began to get hungry as I passed the lookout. I decided that when I got to Lerida wines I would have lunch there. I would also use their facilities and freshen up for the next leg of the trip. I was relieved when the turn off to the Anderson VC rest area & Lerida winery came up.  I rode the extra 1.5 km to the winery only to find it was closed. I returned to the rest area and noted the odometer now stood at 5527.4. I had the hot crossed buns and some water. I decided that I would try the Daily Pie cafe in Collector for lunch.

I rode out on the highway and began the ride to Collector. There were grey clouds in the sky and the temperature began to drop slightly I began to wonder if there would be rain, fortunately there wasn’t. I enjoyed the flattish terrain on the way to Collector. I noticed that the countryside was beautiful even through the surface of the road was not the best. It was basically concrete which had corrugations in it which made the tyres vibrate. I eventually got to Collector – which is a small village. It’s old stone buildings standout among the new houses which can be seen from the highway. It is a commuting suburb of Canberra. When I got there I went to the Daily Pie, which is an old service station converted to a restaurant and found it was closed. I headed back to Bredalbane road which itself used to be the old Federal Highway and noted that the odometer was 5539.9.

I rode from Collector to Goulburn with a Pedal Power group. I was the slowest rider partially due to the fact that I had done a century the day before and partially due to the fitness of the other riders. This ride went along Bredalbane Road and followed back roads into Goulburn. I decided to use this road to bypass some pinch points further along the Federal Highway and avoid having to cross 2 lanes of fast-moving traffic to get onto the Hume Highway.

Breadalbane Road is not one of the best roads. It is narrow and not well maintained. It has potholes and is patched in some areas. It has a speed limit of 100km an hour but you would be suicidal to do over 80. Having left the highway the noise dropped. I kept my ears open for cars but noticed the birds and the sounds of cattle and sheep. There was a hazard reduction burn on one of the farms and there was the smell of smoke. As I went along I could see some wind turbines installed on some of the farms. Apparently there will be more and this has divided the community in Collector. I rode on counting down the kilometers to Breadalbane. I only saw about 3 cars at the most on this leg of th journey.

I got to Breadalbane which seemed to consist of a Rural Fire Service Shed, St Silas Anglican Church and some houses. I later found there was a pub (the Bredalbane Hotel) which I am unsure if it is still a functioning business and some fine houses including a former service station on the Old Hume Highway. When I stopped outside St Silas Church the odometer reading was 5556.7 km. I had an energy bar and some of the water. I noticed a sign indicating that Goulburn was 24 km away, which was better than the 42 km I had planned for. I took a right onto the old Hume Highway and rode through Bredalbane.

It turned out the old Hume Highway lead to the current Hume Highway – one of the most heavily used roads in Australia. I reluctantly took to this road for the ride into Goulburn. It turned to be a reasonable road. I have driven on this road many times going back to Lithgow and on to Sydney. It’s shoulder was good enough although there were bits of dead tyre where some people had a blow out and on some parts some blobs of black goup which I assume was sump oil from trucks or something used to keep the cateyes in the road. I avoided these in case they caused trouble with the bike. I was buzzed by a truck at one stage but other than that there was not much trouble. I was passed by many cars including some with bikes on bike racks. I decided to go to the French VC rest station to use the loo and rest for while before riding in to Goulburn. I still had the benefit of the tail wind and things were going quite well.

I eventually got to the French VC rest area where the odometer read 5572.6, I noticed that Both Anderson and French lost their lives in the actions that earned them their VC’s. Given that ANZAC Day was coming up this gave me food for thought on the ride. After using the facilities I headed out onto the road. The traffic was steady although there were more trucks. I found myself riding through some countryside which looked different from the bike to what it did in the car, but I did pick out some landmarks such as the houses in Parkesbourne and the old sandstone mansion which is now behind a wall which I assume was constructed by the RTA to block traffic noise. This old mansion is quite beautiful but only part of the top story can be seen above the wall.

I eventually began the climb into Goulburn and found to my surprise the ride into South Goulburn was a lot easier than anticipated. I went past the big Marino and the McDonald’s and fast food outlets servicing the highway traffic and into Goulburn. I went through an RBT station and said hello to the local police. I rode down Hume Street – which I gather used to be the highway  and into Goulburn I went through some residential streets and onto Sloane Street. I then rode onto the war memorial which overlooks Goulburn from a hill. It is similar to one in Lithgow which was set up after World War 2 and has a light which can be seen from the highway. This memorial was built-in 1925 and includes a museum which was closed. It has stunning views of Goulburn and the surrounding area and was well worth visiting.  The odometer read 5583.

After visiting the memorial I went into town and enquired about the next city rail train. As it left at 9 pm I had about 5 hours worth of time to look around and get fed. So I went out to the Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital which is now a museum. It has been sold and was closed so I had to settle for looking from the road and reading the blurb on a sign about its history. It was one of the states first mental hospitals and used its early inmates for labour building the buildings and orchards and establishing the grounds. It would have been a Dickensian hospital and those who were kept there would have gone through hell.

I then went on to see Goulburn Goal which I saw from the road – it still has its old Victorian buildings as well as the new ” Super Max” wing. I gather it was established in the 1880’s. It now houses some of the states worst criminals. The odometer read 5597.2 km. I decided to head back into town as the light was fading. I still hadn’t found the Police Academy but wanted to get fed. I road to the main street – Auburn Street and walked the bike along until I found a restaurant with sign pole (basic bike parking) close by. I went in and had Thai fish cakes for entre & then a beef curry with rice, with a Coke Zero this all came to$25.80.

As darkness fell I went for a ride around Goulburn, where the Nitepro proved it’s worth. I eventually found the Police Academy and rode up it’s entrance and had a brief look at the buildings I could see before riding back into Goulburn. I then went to the McDonald’s on Hume Street and had a soft serve cone before heading back to the railway station. When I got to the railway station I got a ticket, which I thought would get me all the way to Lithgow. I also got a soft drink sold by the Countrylink staff drinks club. I sat in the waiting room and waited till the train came in at 8:30. While I was there an elderly woman who seemed quite a toff and either her daughter or granddaughter brought a small dog in – they were waiting to pick someone up. It turned out the dog was a long-haired Jack Russell and was quite spoiled. It had been hit by a sand truck but had recovered and had a dislike for heavy vehicles. When the train rolled in they went and greeted their relative and there was a huge crowd who had evidently been at the Easter Show in Sydney.  The guy from Countrylink showed me where the area for bikes was located on the train. I hung the bike up and took a seat near by.

The train went as far as Campbelltown, where I changed trains for a train to Granville, where I caught the Blue Mountains train to Lithgow. On my way to Granville I found the ticket was for Goulburn to the City, fortunately the Transit Officers were not checking tickets that night so I got home to Lithgow as planned at 3.00 am. I rode home and went streight to bed. The odometer reads 5612.3km. Effectively a cycling trip of 145 km.

I am looking forward to getting a bike bag by Carradice which I bought from the UK on Ebay. It will enable the Katana to do some minor 2 or 3 day tours. I enjoyed the ride although the late train trip home with the need to make connections was a bit of a concern. I would like to do something similar on the June Long weekend but this time only to Ruth’s place.

Amy’s Ride Canberra 2011

I got up at 6 this morning for the Amy’s ride Canberra 2011. This year they had combined it with the Big Canberra Bike Ride. I took Black Magic for the ride. I packed a 2nd tube and the full puncture repair kit. I got to the park in front of old parliament house and picked up my number. I got the jersey I ordered and a free T-shirt from a previous event – probably the Parra Pedal ride, I packed all this into the jersey pockets. I got my number pinned on and was ready for the ride start at 7.30.
When the ride headed off I got talking to a guy on a newish steel frame – I was later to see him at the drinks stop near Mt Stromlo with a badly damaged STI Shifter. We headed out through the streets out towards Mt Stromlo and the Cotter area. It was a mixed bunch doing the 105 Kilometer ride. Some very committed club riders and some ordinary riders such as myself.
We rode through the road works and onto Uriarra road. The traffic was light but it was there. We reached the first drinks stop near Mt Stromlo and I refilled the water bottles and put some sunscreen. While I was there there was a guy who’s day was almost set to end early with a dead tyre. I lent him the puncture kit and pump. I also gave him a tube. I was surprised someone would ride without at least a new puncture kit. He was riding an old road bike that was using 27 & 1/4 tyres. Eventually the mechanic came and lent him the track pump to top up the tyre. He thanked me profusely. I guess the Karma bank account got topped up and I was to need it desperately later on in the day.
As the ride progressed I got talking to a guy from Cooma Cycling Club. I have one of their jerseys from the Netti sale in Sydney. I wasn’t sure that there was any such thing but there is. He was a nice guy and we rode on for a while. We got through Uriarra Crossing quite well and there was every sign of last night’s rain.
We got through the first lap of the Cotter loop and I used the Power Bar. I began the 2nd lap aware that the humidity was taking it’s toll on me. I rode back down through Uriarra Crossing and began counting down the kilometers to Canberra. The humidity did have a major effect I was sweating like a boar and was lucky to get through the ride.
It turned out I was to be the last man in. I rode had hard and as well as I could. I got to the Brindabella road and the organisers car began following me. I let the driver know that I was going to have to have to stop to use the Gu packet to keep myself going. I eventually did use it but was low on water. He drove ahead of me to get some more. I rode on through the Cotter area and met him as I began the climb out. I got 2 bottles one with Power aid and the other with water. I was desperate for this. I went through to the next water stop where I got some jelly beans to build up my energy I rode on down Cotter road through the new area being built near Mt Stromlo.
I nearly crashed on the loose gravel but stayed upright. I got to Adelaide Avenue and rode on to Parliament House following the organisers car. I got to the park where the ride started and got some more water and yet another t-shirt. I got a look at the organisers car – a Honda Hybrid – which was a hatch back and was quite surprised. I had a good rest before riding home.

Operation Phoenix

A while ago I put it the question of resurecting Iggy the Giant Iguana MTB I crashed before beginning this blog to the people at Sydney Cyclist. I got an overwhelming response – the Iguana should be resurected. To this end I dug the frame and a wheelset out of Mum and Dad’s shed. I have begun the rebuilding project with the purchase of a A-head converter. This will enable me to replace the handlebar stem with amore moden stem used on more uptodate bikes. I will buy a new stem on thursday. I may even get a set of mudguards for $20 from a local bike shop.

Rebuillding Iggy will be a really interesting experiance. I have seen a guy with a touring bike of a similar vintage to Iggy, which has 26 inch wheels. The bike is a Thorn brand tourer. It has drop bars and uses bar end shifters. I am thinking carefully about upgrading Iggy to a simiar set up. The only issue is getting Iggy back to life. The componants will come in at or even under budget. The only issue is the service, which will include a new chain and a good test of the brake and gear cables.

Sofar I have bought the forementioned A-head converter I have a set of Schwabler tyres which I will dig up these have been kept in the shed but have been pretty much in ther original condition. I have also bought a box of 5 26 inch inner tubes from Kathmandu for $9.00. I aim to begin the actual rebuuilding within a week.

But what about Iggy? Iggy is as I said a rigid forked MTB – probably 1990s or even 1980s vintage. It was a really good commuter and I once even used it for a trip out to Sofala. I have to say that it is a shame to have pranged it and have left it in the shed for so long. However it did have a suspension stem – probably a forunner of suspension forks, which may have conntributed to the crash.She has a threaded head set which means that the A-head conversion will be essential to the rebuilding. Iggy is like a brindle staffordshire terrier – it is not only loyal but it also has brindle paint. The frame appears to be in good shape.  It should be able to take the new parts that I intend on adding to it.

This job will be a labour of love. I do not need another bike. I am sure that this bike will be a good test of imagination and mechanical skill. The imagination will come out in how the bike is reconstructed. If it becomes the bike I have in mind then it is likely I will have suceeded in building something that I promised after coming off – see the first post on this blog for the details of what happened. Even if it doesn’t then it is likely that I will have learned something about how bikes should be maintained and the limits of my design and mechanical knowlledge.  I get the feeling I will have fun with this bike and may even use it for some rides which I have in mind.

Welcome back to Canberra ride

This morning I rode to Gundaroo via Queanbeyan. I headed off at about 8 o’clock. I took the bike path to part of the way to Civic hoping the path behind the hospice would have been repaired but it wasn’t I wound up riding through Royal Military College (RMC) Duntroon. I then crossed the road and then  rode up the bike path to Queanbeyan.

When I got to Queanbeyan, I  visited Hammer and Cycle – the Queanbeyan bike shop. I bought a Cateye head light that was on special. I then headed through Queanbeyan’s streets and on to Sutton Road.

I rode up the hill near the Kowen forest and eventually found myself enjoying the ride. I have well and truely mastered the bar end shifters on Black Magic. I reached the junction with the Federal Highway and decided to ride on to Gundaroo.  I was joined by two guys one on a timetrial/triathlon bike and one on a road bike. They passed me just before Sutton.

I rode all out to get to Gundaroo. Most of the motorists were reasonably good although I did get buzzed 5Km out of Gundaroo.  I rode to the the local general store and got talking to the guy at the counter who told me that they were going to do a deal with Spar who are a European grocer who run conveniance stores in Sydney. He told me this was because Gundaroo is considered to be so remote by Metcash and other suppliers he has to do deals with Spar to get goods delivered. I have never considered Gundaroo and other villages outside Canberra to be “remote” as his suppliers have claimed, but what I was told made me wonder.

I then went to the Cafe and got fed and watered. When I was finished I got myself ready and headed off back to Canberra. About 5 km out side Sutton, Ruth rang and I told her I would see her in Mawson I saw her on the Highway and waved to her. I saw here again on Adelaide Avenue. The ride back to Canberra was good. I had a head wind, but got through it. I got home and washed and shaved and then caught up with Ruth when she got in.

The day is very hot but it has been quite good.