Thursday, 13 December 2007

Image000.jpg

Image000.jpg
Image000.jpg,
originally uploaded by circumcyclogation.
Not cycling related, but way cool. Big Blue big iron, a half petabyte hard disk. It doesnt know if it wants a Tardis, a coke machine or a data device :-) Awesome!

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Torture

Torture
Torture, originally uploaded by circumcyclogation.
Here's the route profile for the Annual Seven Hills Dash (ASH Dash), a ride Dante and I will be doing this weekend. 206km From Hobart, down round the Huon, Channel and back. Ouch.

Monday, 19 November 2007

We Ride And We Vote

Saturday, November 24, meet at Hobart Cenotaph, 10am.

Up to Ferntree - down to Margate - around to Howden - across to Kingston - through Taroona - along to Hobart.

About 61Kms (Cenotaph to Cenotaph)

We can all vote at the polling booth at Taroona.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Meet Dan

Meet Dan
Meet Dan,
originally uploaded by circumcyclogation.
This is Dan, the other wheel in this machine.

Tonight we consumed ale and had our first serious discussion of logistics. Circumcyclogation is going to take some time to plan.

Unlike most intrepid explorers, we fit cycling into normal lives. As a result, we face a choice of staging the ride or postponing it. Life isn't about achieving something at the expense of living, so if we cycle around (the literal meaning of "circumcyclogation") in stages, over time, between living, we've acheived at least as much as somebody who puts life on hold to achieve in one bite.

So, here begins the adventure, one spoonful at a time :-) Cycle on!

Your Intrepid Blogger

Your Intrepid Blogger
Your Intrepid Blogger,
originally uploaded by circumcyclogation.
OK, it needed a little tweaking since i last used it, but if you can see this post, my mophotoblogging works.

So, this is me, Steve, the wordsmith of the dynamic Circumcyclogation duo. Dan, the conceiver, pace setter and somelier (well, beer chooser) of our team, will get his mug up after our planning meeting later today. :-)

Monday, 13 August 2007

Where Art Meets Craft in the Cafe of Practicality

Sometimes there is no substitute for engineering. The cold, clinical precision of technology providing the lightest, fastest, most exhilarating ride you can throw a leg over. Yeh, it's cold, it's dead, but it's FAST, man!

Then there is beauty. Fleeting, priceless, warm and not a straight line in sight. Warm because it is organic, made from timber. Priceless because, while these could be mass-produced, they shouldn't be, it'd just be wrong to destroy whole forests to cheapen the rarity of a hand-crafted piece. Fleeting because, many of us wouldn't dream of spending money on something so precious, simply because... well, what if you dropped it, laid it down at speed? Horror! Never mind the skin, varnished wood won't heal itself when grazed!

This fleeting, beautiful and warm poetry of motion, with it's laminated frame and wheels is the Gota. Gota bicycles are inspired by the shapes of nature and crafted in Brazil. Get back to the bicycle's roots.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Cell S2200 Road Test

Following up on my earlier report on Cell's bargain basement road rocket, I've now had mine nearly a week, so it's time for a road test report. I could sum up this bike in one word - AWESOME!

At AU$449 you don't expect much bike for your money. With the S2200, that expectation just goes out the window from the minute the courier hands you the box. My exclamation at this, "It's lighter than my Giant Iguana and it's still in the box!"

I expected the retro downtube shifters and I expected the cheap, nasty Cheng Sing tyres, the latter common on even $2000 bikes. I guess the manufacturers all expect people to have a favourite tyre they'll swap to right away and keeping the cost down that way is good business. I didn't expect the Shimano 2203 triple-ring gears to be so positive and clean shifting and I certainly didn't expect Tektro Promax head system or the Selle San Marco saddle. This bike is cheap, but not a compromise.

I've been riding mountain bikes for the last 20 years, so the steering I find very twitchy compared to trusty old "Iggy", but the effortless way I can take the S2200 up to 30km/h is just dreamy. Lets face it, road bikes are meant to be a bit "hairy" in their steering, and it's not taking me long to get used to the differences. It's actually quite well mannered and responsive like a well set up sports car to a mountain bike's family wagon feel.

The downtube shifters are the only "cheap" bit, because according to Shimano's specs, 2303 groupset has integrated shifters as an option, but the position and geometry of my 56cm frame make them no less difficult to use than STIs. The only time it's a problem is climbing out of the saddle, where you have to sit, change, then stand again. (I'm sure old-timers will tell me there's a trick that'll take me a month to learn... if I'm lucky ;-)

So how is it overall? Light, fast, tight and in every way feels like a bike of at least twice the $450 price tag. Replace the Chen Sings with Michelins or Contis and it's a fine road warrior, if only for the weekend warrior. How they make a 7005 heat treated frame and 24 speed bike so cheap and so damned good defies belief. Even if you buy this and immediately replace the downtubes with integrated shifters, you'll still be in front. This bike is an absolute winner in the under $1500 category, probably even keeps up with some $2000 bikes. All this comes down to one word, as I said at the start, AWESOME!

Training Improves With Weather

With the arrival of my new bike, the Cell S2200, and the almost "tropical" break in the usually miserable Tasmanian winter, your intrepid Circumcyclogationists have got out on the bike a bit lately. This includes two stints for me (once for Dan) round Hobart's bridges.

Round the bridges is a good training route that takes in a safe cycle path, heavy traffic, undulating shoreline backs streets and a short hill. It's a good run and I recommend anybody try it, whether they live here or are just visiting.

Monday, 23 July 2007

New Tasmanian Cycling Forums


If you're new in Tasmania, just looking for a new cycling experience or travelling to Tasmania and want some local knowledge, get on the new Tasmanian Cycling Forums, hosted for free by Forumer.com. It doesn't matter if your into racing, BMX, road, off-road, touring, commuting or campaigning, TasCycFor is for discussion and sharing of the cycling experience.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Getting Serious: Day 2, Stage 1, Weilangta-Triabunna

This is the hardest day on the East Coast, traversing Orford and Swansea to Bicheno, so have a good breakfast!

0.0km: Head along Weilangta Forest Rd to Rheban Rd.
11.3km: Left off Weilangta Rd onto Rheban Rd and head north to Spring Bay and Orford.
26.0km: At Orford, continue north along Tasman Hwy (A3) to Triabunna.
33.7km: Morning Tea in Triabunna recreation Ground.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

New bike! Vale "Iggy"? Not yet!

"Iggy" my trusty mount for the last (nearly) 14 years, a British racing green 1993 Giant Iguana, double-butted, chromoly, no-suspension mountainbike, is about to clap out. Not surprising really, in her heyday "Iggy" probably pounded Hobarts roads and bridges on average an hour a day - and has probably seen as much as 30000km. So, "Iggy" won't be my mount on the Circumcyclogation.

Instead, some time early next week, a new Cell S2200 will become my main ride. I picked this up while researching the piece below on cheap folding bikes, finding Cell's road bike range to be amazingly good value, the S2200 itself being one of Cell's best sellers, at AU$448.

It's only got generic Shimano triple-ring, 8-speed groupset and downtube shifters, but in my local area, you pay twice the Cell price for an equivalent, 7005 framed bike with generic Shimano. It's a good base frame for casual upgrading, with chromoly fork, 7005 heat-treated alloy frame, Samson double-walled deep vee rims and reasonable selection of frame sizes. I'll post a review once I've had a week or so in the saddle.

Of "Iggy's" fate? She's becoming a single-speed. With a seizing bottom bracket, sticky chain and shark-toothed chainrings, it's the cheapest rebuild path for a trusty old faithful that's not worth selling anymore. Surprisingly too, its only as I've come to write this post that I've realised I don't think I have a photo of "Iggy" other than a head-on shot on the Tasman Bridge and all you can really see is me, the Bramha bars and a Tioga Cityslicker front tyre.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Bendy Bikes II

According to Cell Bikes, their Cell Compact model is...

The most compact and lightest geared folding bike Cell carries, features a tough alloy frame and 6 speeds for efficient and easy riding.

Features:
  • Alloy Frame
  • fold up dimension:35cmx83cmx63cm. easy put into any boot.
  • Strong Double-wall Rims
  • Shimano Gear System 6 speeds
  • only 10kg

"Bendy Bikes" tend to be expensive, so a 10kg alloy folder isn't going to be cheap, right? Surprisingly, wrong! The Cell Compact, while not a race horse, is a very cheap AU$349.00

Without having a test ride I can only say that, while the price is good value, it would have to come at the cost of basic group set and an overall cheap build quality. The straight fork looks like speed wobbles waiting to happen, too, but I'll reserve judgement until I can get a ride.

Still, for a second bike, for quick and dirty family rides without racks, or for an airline traveller to save on public transport while on holidays (one bike plus one backpack ;-). the Compact looks like it might fit in anybody's stable of steeds. It's also got quite sturdy looking rear rack braze-ons.

Getting Serious: Day 1, Stage 3, Dunalley-Weilangta

The third leg of the first day's riding will take us from Dunalley up into the hills of Weilangta Forest.

0.0km: Dunalley, the last chance to buy decent groceries for dinner at Weilangta camp. Head north-east up Arthur Hwy (A9) to Bay Rd.
2.4km: at Bay Rd, turn right off Arthur Hwy (A9) heading for Marion Bay.
9.2km: Marion Bay is the home of the Falls Festival in Tasmania. Continue north on Bay Rd.
12.8km: Turn right from Marion Bay Rd to Bream Creek Rd, heading for Bream Creek.
22.3km: Turn Right from Bream Creek Rd onto Kellevie Rd.
23.6km: Turn right from Kellevie Rd onto Franklins Rd, heading for State Forest.
30.9km:The day's riding ends in beautiful Weilangta State Forest picnic area. (You did remember to pack stuff to cook for dinner, didn't you? Last shop of note was at Dunalley!)

It's important to note that this is an unofficial campsite and additional respect for the area, above normal good camping practice, should be given. If you carried it in, you can carry it out, don't light fires, leave nothing behind but footprints, and keep those to a minimum.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Cannondale: The Pannier for "Suits"

Lets face it, when it comes to commuting, panniers are not a good substitute for a briefcase, and when it comes fitting the bike, a brief case is no substitute for panniers. Cannondale must be God because their new pannier is an answer to the corporate cyclecommuter's prayer.

From the handle on top, to the black fabric and the fold-away Rixen-Kaul clip system, it has a style that merges the funkiness of a classic gladstone bag with a pannier and a briefcase in a stylish whole greater than the parts. It will carry a 14" laptop, but don't go rock hopping with such a precious cargo, it's for work, not play, stick to the smooth paths and arrive fresh. I think this could actually make me switch from my aging Mountain Designs courier bag!

Friday, 6 July 2007

Now This Should Keep The Cars Away!


I wonder how this would work as a touring machine? Do I need to mention that I WANT one... BADLY!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Row Row Row Your B... er BIKE?!


Not sure, but I think this is madness! Still, I'd love to have a crack at one, although, not sure I'd be happy to own one for much more than a bit of passing fun. BTW, It's a rowing action. Your next bike, Dan?

Monday, 11 June 2007

Banbury Slice Run



The 42km round trip from Lutana to Richmond and back, via Bowen Bridge and Grasstree hill is a ripper littel test of the legs, but take two bananas: one each for the top of Grasstree Hill. Yesterday's spin out and back was particularly chilly and I found myself cramped up on the final stages, partly from working harder on my old clunker to keep up with Dan (who is honestly leaving me behind in the fitness stakes!) and partly from burning more energy to keep warm on the downhills. (Never stop pedalling on a cold day downhill run!)

The route is as follows...
0.0km - Lutana: Starting at the Lutana Liberty service station, head along Gepp Pde to Howard Rd.
1.4km - Goodwood: Follow Howard Rd around to Goodwood Rd.
2.2km - Dowsings Pt: Turn right from Howard Rd and proceed across Bowen Bridge to Risdon Vale.
6.7km - Risdon Vale: Pass through the roundabout, adjacent to Risdon Prison, to Grasstree Hill Rd, and follow this across the hill to Richmond Rd.
19.6km - Richmond: Turn left off Grasstree Hill Rd onto Richmond Rd, following this to Richmond, turning right into Henry St.
Turn left up lane to bakery courtyard. Do try their Banbury slice. (Jam between two sheets of puff pastry, bakes to a golden crisp.) Yum! Return to Lutana retracing the route.

Have to say, I felt like I was holding Dan back. My legs felt OK this morning, but I was a pile of misery last night, and I should have eaten this spin for breakfast without a hassle. Can only suspect the cold weather, and lack of bananas at "the top" left me a bit bereft befor I'd finished.

Ask Dan how he pulled up. (Probably didn't even feel like he'd been out, the bugger ;-)

Friday, 8 June 2007

Getting Serious: Day 1, Stage 2, Sorell-Dunalley



Continuing the route outline for Circumcyclogation, we head from morning tea at Sorell for lunch at Dunalley on Day 1.

0.0km: Leave Sorell, heading east on the Arthur Hwy (A9) to Lewisham Rd.
5.1km: Turn right from Arthur Hwy onto Lewisham Rd, also known as Lewisham Scenic Drv. Follow this past Old Forcett Rd to Carlton Beach Rd.
12.1km: Proceed straight ahead off Lewisham Rd onto Carlton Beach Rd (NOT Carlton River Rd), following this to Athol St.
15.2km: Turn right from Athol St onto Bally Park Rd, following it onto Carlton Beach Rd to Provence Drv.
17.3km: Turn right off Carlton Beach Rd onto Provence Drv.
18.0km: Turn right off Provence Drv.
22.8km: Turn right from Carlton River Rd to Sugarloaf Rd and proceed to Carlton Bridge.
23.4km: Proceed straight ahead off Carlton Bridge, along Fulham Rd.
25.8km: Connellys Marsh is a small seaside hamlet. Continue through along Fulham Rd.
33.8km: Lunch at the chippy, on the canal bank or at the Dunalley Pub, across the bridge.

Bikely Now Part of Cycling Plus Stable

We here at Circumcyclogation depend pretty heavily on Bikely for our mapping. This cyclist-specific frontend for Google Maps is the state of the art in cycle tour research tools, providing up to date maps, satellite images and route profiles for just about all of the planet.

So today, reading my email and finding that Future Publishing (publishers of Cycling Plus and Mountain Biking UK) are now in charge of Bikely, I couldn't help feel this service is going to a new level. Great news for cycletourists!

From the email...

Meet the new Bikely team - June 2007

It's little more than a year since Jules launched Bikely but in that time it's really struck a chord with the world's bike riders helping us find and share great routes all over the planet.

Now Jules is handing the Bikely baton on to Future Publishing - we're the people behind the top British cycling magazines: Mountain Biking UK, Cycling Plus, What Mountain Bike, and Pro Cycling we also do plenty of biking stuff on the web too through our magazines' websites and forums.

Everyone here lives to ride and we've been big Bikely fans for most of its short life - we're not going to mess with a winning formula but we do have big plans for Bikely and our new website BikeRadar.com, click on the link to find out more.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Bendy Bikes

A bicycle tour of Tasmania involves flying or boating in from "mainland" Australia, and the airlines can be as crappy with bikes here as they are anywhere in the world. The solution may be a folding bike.

My personal fave brand is Bike Friday because of value and design, while Dan has on occassion expressed interest in a Birdy. Both are fine, compact tourers, with Friday's offerings being billed as "performing like a conventional bike", while some Birdy test rides we did at last year's bike expo in Melbourne, revealed that to be a fast, stable and comfortable mount. So, what are the advantages of a "bendy bike"?

While often a little more expensive for a given equipment standard, and a little heavier overall than a good roady, a folding bike will carry your panniers as well as a conventional ride. This, coupled with the convenience of being able to bag it up and have it look "not like a bike" to airline staff, are obvious considerations on both sides of the argument. Then there's the fact that a quality 20 inch wheel is both stronger and lighter than an equivalent 700c and has a smaller centripetal mass (means it's easier to spin up) than a bigger one. On the downside, smaller wheels have a little more rolling resistance and are harder and a little more expensive to get quality bits for. Panniers mounted on a small-wheeler will result in a lower centre of gravity than on a similar conventional bike, too, and a lower centre of gravity can result in slightly better rolling resistance.

So, depending on your needs, a "bendy bike" may be more suited to your touring needs. As I already live in Tasmania, and don't need to argue with airline staff over when my bike will get to Tassy, I'll probably stick with my Giant Iguana 650c hybrid tourer, but if my budget this year allows for a road bike, I see a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket in my future.

Other brands worth a look, but a little lower down the price scale include...

The "brommy" is a little on the heavy side, but damned fine quality, while the Dahon, an affordable favourite can be a little flexy, but is a great performer.

Tasmanian Road Rules

There are cycletourists circumcyclogating Tasmania, either partially or fully, every day of the week, so it's not like Dan and I are planning anything new. That's the point, ordinary people can cycle extraordinary distances.

Of course, it's important that cyclists obey the road rules, as much as for the reputation of cyclists in general, as for personal safety and consideration of other road users. Thankfully, our friends over at Bicycle Tasmania have distilled the bicycle specific rules from the Tasmania Police Traffic Code.

Additional to the cycling-specific rules, all the usual ones apply. Ride on the left on two-way roads, obey speed limits (yellow ones are advisory, but can be enforced in some circumstances, white ones are compulsory - and yes, I know cyclists capable of breaking some speed limits), you have the same basic responsibilities and rights as motor vehicles, give way to the right unless otherwise signed, first to a roundabout has right of way (although don't push this one on a bicycle, Tasmanian drivers seem to have no idea how to use a roundabout), and so on.

If you're planning to cycle Tasmania, Bicycle Tasmania's comprehensive site should be an important part of your research, as should membership if you plan to stay for a significant length of time. Worth comparing the optional membership insurance policy to your travel policy, too, it may cover things your travel insurance calls "high risk".

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Zap Zap Shoot Shoot

The Beatles once sang happiness is a warm gun. Well, what warmer feeling inside can a cyclist in traffic have than knowing, when the next motorist hassles them, all they'll need to do is pull their Aether Oscillator and wave it at the motorist menacingly.

OK, they don't actually oscilate any aether. They don't even give the target a terse zap, but they look convincing. Complete the superhero look, your lycra cycling gear gives you, with these rayguns from special effects gurus, Weta, on your belt. ZAP!!!!

I recomend the "Manmelter 3600ZX", a snip at NZ$1165 (incl. GST), and just the thing for... well, melting the menace from a cussing car occupant. Fry 'em in style ;-)

Jeez, the kiwis make some good stuff, sometimes.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Tasman Predawn


People familiar with spinning into work along Hobart's Intercity Cycleway before the dawn's early light will be familiar with this scene. The air is still, the river a millpond, the bridge reflected against the briney black.

I'm told I arrived at work with a silly grin. I certainly felt good.

The Tasman Bridge is part of the route on Day 1, option 1 and leads onto Riawena Rd. It's a good view from the top.

The photo isn't from this morning (it was this time last year), like I say, it's a common sight, but it's worth a publish. As are some Tasman Bridge facts as taken from the plaque at the westen end, too...



Tasman Bridge
Construction Authority:Department of Public Works, Tasmania
Consulting Engineers:G. Maunsell & Partners (London & Melbourne)
Contractor:Reed, Braithwaite, Stuart & Lipscombe,
Salsbury, United Kingdom
Principal Statistics:
Overall Length:4650 ft.
Width Between Kerbs:44 ft.
Maximum Gradient:1:18
Navigation Span:(overall) 310 ft
And (clearspan) 240 ft.
Concrete:145000 tons
Reinforcing steel:5200 tons
Number of 54” bored piles:216
Waterway width:3500 ft
Overall width:57’-2”
Main viaduct spans (19):140 ft.
Anchor spans (2):197 ft.
Minimum clearance above MSL For shipping:150 ft.
Prestressing cables:72 ½ miles
Deepest pile:(below MSL) 265 ft.
Construction commenced June, 1960. Completed December, 1964.
Approach roads and Lindisfarne Traffic Interchange constructed by Public Works Department of Tasmania.
Direct of Public Works – R. C. Sharp, Esq., B.E., A.M.I.C.E, A.M.I.E. Australia, M.A.P.I.



All very interesting, shame it's a crap link to the Eastern Shore. I don't mind crossing it for a recreational ride, but it used to be a real chore to commute across by bike. Really glad I don't live there anymore, especially on windy days! The ol' girl looks good, sets off the harbour nicely, but she's totally car-centric.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Citrus Moon and Sea Fog

Between 16:00 and 18:00 yesterday, if you'd been on your way from Hobart to Kingston along the Channel Hwy, you'd have seen Dan and I out training. From New Town to Citrus Moon Cafe and back via Taroona is 43km according to my cyclometer and we did it in 1h 47m - an average speed of 24km/h. Dan, coming from Lutana, would have travelled a little further. The peak speed was over 50km/h (headed into Kingston around the golf club - steep!) and the trend was more like 30km/h on most of the level stretches, a nice workout after work.

Aside from Citrus Moon's always good standard of hot chocolate, the shining highlight of the trip was the seamist rolling across Bonnet Hill on the return journey. The air was so still and silent, the only sound in the grey light, the occassional car and our tyres on the road. It struck me as being like a set for a Steven King film a la The Langoliers.

This popular cycle training route takes in Sandy Bay, Taroona and passes the historic Shot tower. The picture is a watercolour of the famous Hobart landmark, held by the State Library of Tasmania, and believed to be painted by Curzona Allport. (Date unkown, but would have had to be some time between 1860 and 1946.)

Find the route here, on Bikely.



Wednesday, 16 May 2007

WHAT?!

According to The Phobia List...
Cyclophobia - Fear of bicycles

I think I just found where hell is and I never want to go there! (Hmm, that's called "hadephobia", apparently.)

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Getting Serious: Day 1, Stage 1, Hobart-Sorell (Option 2)



An alternative route out of Hobart to Sorell on Day one is via Grasstree Hill and Richmond. While steeper, the route is also about 4km shorter. However, it doesn't encompass as much coast as the first option, and one of the aims of Circumcyclogation is to encompass as much of Tasmania as is possible by road without doubling back.

So, the route runs as follows...

0km: Starting at Prince Of Wales Bay Sports Reserve front gate, head north on Gepp Parade to Howard Rd roundabout. This route passes a pleasant riverside park with views of fishing boats in the marina.

1.1km: Turn right around roundabout from Gepp Pde to Howard Rd, following Howard Rd to Goodwood Rd.

2km: Turn right from Howard Rd to Good Rd and head across Bowen Bridge to East Derwent Hwy.

4.1km: Straight ahead on East Derwent Hwy to Risdon Vale and Grasstree Hill Rd. This section passes the Bowen Park Pyramids which mark the site of Tasmania's first settlement, just back from Risdon Cove. The settlement relocated to Sullivans Cove, site of Hobart's current waterfront a year or so later.

6.5km: At the Risdon roundabout, adjacent to the prison, take Grasstree Hill Rd up the steep climb to summit of Grasstree Hill.

11.4km: From the top of Grasstree hill, descend quickly to Richmond Rd. Be careful as the road is wound tight like a corkscrew and the views can be distracting.

19.3km: Turn left off Grasstree Hill Rd onto Richmond Rd heading for the historic village of Richmond, turning right onto Wellington st to cross the convict bridge, the oldest working bridge in the southern hemisphere.

22km: Head straight out of Richmond from Wellington St, along Brinktop Rd to the Tasman Hwy.

31.5km: At Tasman Hwy, turn right and head into Sorell. Enjoy a coffee and a donut before heading off on the second leg of the day.

Coming Soon: Day 1, Stage 2, Sorell-Dunalley via Lewisham, Carlton Beach and Connellys Marsh.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Touring by bike requires a bit of gear, and while I do regularly see people using backpacks on mountainbikes, the best way to carry gear on two wheels is racks and panniers. Panniers from brands like Topeak, Karrimoor and Arkel can be expensive, but cheaper brands can be prone to falling off the bike. (Potentially not pretty!)

I must confess, my own panniers are a bit towards the type that fall off. Thankfully, Arkel, one of the more expensive (but certainly top quality) brands mentioned, aren't too proud to help out by selling a retrofit kit for their mount system that you can install on your own panniers.

So, if your bags are cheapies, but strong, replace the hooks with an Arkel locking system. I know I will be. :D

Of course, if you're starting from scratch, and only the best will do, take a look at Arkel's range. For a long tour, I'd recommend their GT54 model (US$339 a pair) with detachable tent bag on the right pannier, and their T28 front panniers (US$129 a pair) for a total of 82 litres of gear stowage. Oh, and it's worth noting, according to everything I've read on the subject, loading should result in a weight distribution of 40% front and 60% rear for best stability.

Alternatively, you could get a pair of square buckets, an Arkel mount kit and a spanner, and do this. ;) I wouldn't recommend it, really, too heavy.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Stretch To Increase the Limit

Looking down the barrel of between 80km and 120km per day over 21 days, the concession has to be made - there are days where the legs will be sore! The solution is stretching.

Over at RoadCycling.com is an article on stretching to stay limber....

Hard training can give you well muscled cycling legs, but will also lead to tightness and inflexibility unless you incorporate regular stretching into your routine. The off-season is an excellent time to start working on these exercises so you will be ready for the early season.


Contracted muscles can cause a gradual loss of muscle elasticity as well as an overall decline in flexibility of your joints – both of which can lessen your range of motion and pedal power. Stretching may increase the flexibility of the joint up to 10-20%. Flexible muscle groups have increased strength, therefore increasing pedaling power. Poor flexibility also makes you more prone to strains and pulls. Incorporating a regular 10-15 minute stretching program will help you become more adaptable and will prevent injuries.

The image above is from the article, so click on the link to read it and learn about stretching. Some other useful links are...

Friday, 11 May 2007

Getting Serious: Day 1, Stage 1, Hobart-Sorell (Option 1)



Preparing the route details, and with the idea that Circumcyclogation should hug as much coast as possible with as little doubling back as possible, this starting leg serves as a shakedown run and provides a picturesque start to the great adventure. Beautiful views of the Derwent, no serious hills and a fair smattering of quiet backroads will provide much to talk about over the first coffee of the journey, at Sorell.

0km: The ride will start at Rugby Park, in the leafy Hobart suburb of Lutana, heading along Queens Walk to the Intercity Cycleway and Tasman Bridge. The cycleway follows the railway line down to the river bank and the bridge. Taking the upriver path of the bridge allows cycling all the way, as the downriver path is only accessible by stairs.

4.3km: Across the bridge, in Montagu Bay, the route passes under the bridge, left opposite the primary school, then right, all the way up Riawena Rd: the first good leg test at 50m elevation. Just over the hill, turn right onto Bastick St, then left through Rosny College and around Kangaroo Bay to the Bellerive Yachtclub and shops.

6.8km: After crossing at the lights outside the Yacht Club, ride a short distance to Percy St, turn left, right onto Scott St, then left onto Queen St. This leads to bellerive Beach and Rotary Park: a popular and beatiful beach and reserve behind Bellerive Oval. From here the route takes the short cycleway between the car park and Alexandra Esplanade.

8.1km: Follow Alexandra Esplanade to Wentworth St, then turn right into Clarence High School. (Only traverse the High School on weekends or school holidays, on weekdays, proceed up Wentworth St to Clarence St and head directly to Shoreline Shopping Centre.) Riding down the right side of the high school, cross the lawns at the end of the school carpark to the rear student entrance on Silwood Ave.

9.2km: At the far end of Silwood is another stretch of cycleway, through Wentworth Park, behind Howrah Beach. Bellerive and Howrah are very popular suburbs because of these public parks behind the main beaches. At the end of the cycleway, the route emerges onto Howrah Rd, turning left, then proceeding to Clarence St, where we turn right to head to Rokeby via another cycleway.

11.4km: At the end of Clarence St, the road is closed off to the South Arm Hwy, but connects with the Rokeby Cycleway. This runs parallel to South Arm Rd to just short of the Garden Centre, turning right into a right-of-way up to Buckingham Drv, the highest peak on this leg at just shy of 100m elevation. Turn left and follow Buckingham Drv to its junction with South Arm Rd and turn right onto the cycleway which leads to Rokeby.

13km: Following the cycleway, the route soon connects with Grange Rd West at the Rokeby fire station. Follow the road down to the first exit to South Arm Rd, cross (carefully!) to Grange Rd east, then ride to the end of the parallel section and cross onto the left side of South Arm Rd. Follow South Arm Rd past the Rokeby Police Academy to Acton Rd, on the outskirts of Lauderdale.

18.2km: Turning left onto Acton Rd, the route approches the halfway mark for this leg. Follow Acton Rd to Axiom Way. Turn right here and follow Axiom Way to Seven Mile Beach Rd, turn right here and follow Seven Mile Beach Rd into the town of Seven Mile Beach, via Esplande and Lewis Ave.

25.1km: Seven Mile Beach was once proposed as Tasmania's first nudist beach, and while its more remote end was used for this purpose, it was never officailly recognised as a nudist beach and nudism is illegal in Tasmania. (With our weather, so it should be!) Turn right from Lewis Ave onto Surf Rd, then follow Surf Rd to Pittwater Rd. Turn left onto Pittwater Rd, proceeding to the Tasman Hwy.

31.8km: Turn left onto the Tasman Hwy (A3) and follow this road across the causeway to Midway Point. Be careful at the roundabout as Midway Point is a busy satellite suburb of Hobart and many cars will turn off to the left here. Still following the highway, head over the second causeway to Main Rd, Sorell, turning right onto Forcett St.

38.2km: Follow Forcett St to Parsonage Pl, which runs adjacent to the park which used to be rail yards many, many years ago. At the end of Parsonage Way is Sorell's CBD, a coffee with croissant and the Arthur Hway (A9), the start of the next leg of this great adventure! 38.9km, approximately 2 hours riding.

Coming Soon: Day 1, Stage 1, Hobart-Sorell (Option 2 via Grasstree Hill) and Day 1, Stage 2, Sorell-Dunalley via Lewisham, Carlton Beach and Connellys Marsh.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

The Leader of the Crap

While I'm on the subject of how easy cycling is, even without electric or 2-stroke assistance, surfing e-bikes turned up this monster on eBay. Yeh, it's probably fun, it sorta looks stylish, but at 48kg, there's NO WAY this is going to be easier to ride than an unassisted bike of similar design. This is what burns my shorts about electric mopeds.

A basic Huffy mountainbike from K-Mart (yes, Rainman, K-Mart sucks ;-) weighs around 15kg, add a bit extra for a chopper and you're probably looking at 20kg. What this means is the elctrics (battery, motor and controller) adds up to 28kg to get a 200 watt boost.

It's not rocket science (well, it is, physics IS rocket science ;-) to work out that when the battery dies, this bike is a boat anchor. What happens to batteries after several cycles? They get shorter charge life. Eventually, this brute is going to need a new battery or the motor and battery ripped out to be any use.

My advice, get a proper, bike-shop bike and ride it every day. Not too far, but far enough to sweat lightly (just a glow when you get home) for 10 minutes before turning back home. After about 4 weeks, add another 5 minutes. After about 4 months you'll find cycling as easy as Dan and I do. I guarantee it!*

*As no money is changing hands here, I feel safe offering your money back if you're not completely satisfied with my advice. I mean, what money, free advice is exactly that, free. Free of cost and free of obligation. Cycle at your own risk, you timid weenie.

Suitable Transport

Now, if you're reading this blog, and thinking to yourself, "Cycle around Tasmania?! These guys are either deluded or superhuman," think about this...
  • You can cycle 16km on the calories in a bowl of rice,
  • A car would travel about 20 metres on the same amount of energy,
  • Cycling is 5x more efficient than walking the same distance (ie walking 16km requires 5 bowls of rice) and
  • A labourer in a warehouse will burn more calories in a day than a cycletourist doing 80km/day.

Still not convinced that cycling vast distances is easy? Have a look at Suitable Transport, these guys rode a team tour on power-assisted treadlies from Sydney to Melbourne, many of them in suits. Now, add to this that, at any given day, thousands of people tour Australia on unassisted bicycles - I mean circumcyclogate Australia, too - many of them are retirees! Cycling is easy, OK.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Gear! Rear Racks.

No, not GEARS, gear! Racks in this case. The deadly Giant Iguana I've been riding since 1993 has all the mounts for racks, but the cheap clones of Blackburn stylings I've been using may not be sturdy enough for a trip away from home for so long.

The rack shown is a home-built jobby. Hmmm, looks a might heavy to me... Looks a might ugly, too, but then so's the Iguana.

I think with Iggy being my likely mount for Circumcyclogation, weight is to be an issue. So something better than crude workshop racks is in order. First, there's Blackburn...

  • TR1 for 51.95,
  • Mountain Rack and XR1 for $55.95 and
  • the EX1 at $72.00
Topeak have several nice units, too...Hmm, how much to spend?!

Gadgets!

As you can see from Steve's fluffing around with his mobile, we like gadgets!
Here are a couple I'd like to take on the circumcyclogation with us.

Garmin eTrex Vista Cx. With one of these strapped to the handle bars we'll want to get lost! I've never owned a GPS unit, but from what I understand, we can upload all our waypoints for the trip. Hey, who cares?! It's a gadget!





Polar AXN 300. I bought myself one of these a few weeks ago and use it at the gym and on the bike all the time. Its a bit chunky, as its supposedly designed for skiers, but it does the job well. As well as being a HRM, it also measures altitude and atmospheric pressure and can record rates of climbing and descent. Great for hilly Tasmania.

Garmin Edge 305. This is what Steve needs to get. It's a heart rate monitor, cycle computer and GPS all in one.

MOB: And now every feature works!

Even the message body gets posted now, too. Ok, time to get a decent phone :-)

MOB: Bingo!

MOB: Bingo!
MOB: Bingo!,
originally uploaded by circumcyclogation.
Whoot! It looks like the photomoblog feature works! The image is a default pic from my Nokia, now to get a camera phone :-)

Friday, 4 May 2007

Finally! Moblogging works!

I'm a moblogger! :-) this was sent from my Nokia.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Foot Work

On a non-cycling aside, my mate Graham and I are doing a few days in Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clare National Park later this month. A quick tool up the lake to The Labyrinth, rock hop up to Mt Geryon, scrub bash across to Gould Plateau and back to the car over 3 days. Now that should be some good cross-training for the legs ;-)

Actually, any half-fit, reasonably-skilled outdoorsman should make time to check out this classic national park when they come to Tassy. Even a day-trip drive into Cradle Mountain and a walk around Dove Lake is worth a look. Several days rambling is the recommended thing though. But remember, pack for four seasons in one day (ABSOLUTELY NO BIKES, OK!! but you can cycle in and chain up at the end of the road), it can even snow in summer in this wilderness and gets more than 20 rain days a month some months!

Training Goals

Last year Dan and I did the Round The Bay In A Day, and we've threatened a few times to include it this year as a training goal, too.

Last year we finished about 30 or 40 minutes apart (EDIT: I came in behind Dan), both completing the 223km (the official distance was 213km) event in less than 11 hours. This year, I'm aiming for a sub-ten-hour time. (With the realistic caviat that I'll have to be on a better bike and better trained for that to be likely.)

As another possible training goal, there's the ASH Dash, in the first weekend of December. 213km around the Huon and Channel district in southeast Tasmania, over seven pretty nasty hills instead of flat like the RTB, above.

What say you, Dan? Both, old chap? There's no confirmed entry for the ASH Dash 2007 in the Audax calendar yet, but it's worth watching for.
Audax Australia

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Yum!

An army marches on its stomach, and a squadron (er, well, 2 of us) of cyclists spins on its stomach. While researching recipes which will translate to a Trangia to fuel this planned 1515km cycling madness, I came across the recipes from the AIS/Nestle Survival books, "Survival for the fittest", "Survival from the fittest" and "Survival around the world".

My favourite is this one...

Monday, 30 April 2007

Bike fitness

Well Steve, I'm glad you asked me about training. Ok, I'll fess up, I haven't been on the bike for a week or so.
That's not to say I haven't been exercising. I head into the gym at least 4 times a week and work myself silly. Mostly aerobic work with a bit of weights, so my fitness is way up there.
Rest assured I be hitting the tarmac on the velocipede very soon. How about Sunday, Steve?

The Training Begins

Started a bit of training yesterday. It was Dan's birthday do at Da Angelos in Battery Point on Saturday night, and a load of pasta and vino needed to be worked off.

Just as a test of the legs I decided on a 20km sprint down to Sandy Bay and back. Despite feeling a bit liverish at the outset, my round trip was 50 minutes, making an average speed of 27km/h. Not bad, thought I, not bad. The training for Round The Bay In A Day, the ASH Dash and Circumcyclogation has begun.

As a bonus, I've tripped a quick-sprint, 5km commute today, too. What's your schedule looking like, Dan?

Friday, 27 April 2007

The Journey of 1000 miles...

...well 941.4 miles (1515.1km metric will be used from here on in) begins with the first step, or in this case, a turn of the pedals.

This is the plan, a circumcyclogation* of Tasmania, Australia's Island State. So, "puff puff, can you hear me down the back? Is this thing working?"

(* BTW It's a "circumCYCLOgation" rather than a "circumNAVIgation" because it's travelling around by bike, not boat.)