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


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 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?!


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


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...