Archive for the 'bikie bits' Category

Announcing the ATBIAW 2008.

Announcing this year’s Around the Bay in a Weekend ride, on September 20th-21st 2008, with a backup of the following weekend if the weather doesn’t co-operate. This year we ride anticlockwise! What a thrill.

More details: see my ATBIAW page, where the latest news and updates will be found!


Eastlink 65km ride: Redux #1

OK, I’m back from the 65km Eastlink Challenge. Yes, that’s me mugging at you with my homemade carbon fibre recumbent bike. And yes, I did do the ride wearing a checked shirt. But no, I wasn’t smoking a pipe and chewing on beef jerky.

You know, I can’t tell you much about Eastlink the road because I didn’t see much of it. I can tell you that it’s smooth and undulating in places. The concentration required on the ride was so intense there wasn’t time to enjoy the scenery. There were just so many people.

A. Lot. Of. People.

I turned up early… real early. The organizers were still setting up. In return for a lateral engineering suggestion that solved a signage problem for him, a thankful organizer went and got my rider ID for me early, so I had plenty of time to sit about and watch the gradually growing mayhem.

The organizers area was on the east side of the tollway under the interchange (see pic – I’ll bet most of you didn’t see it this empty!). The starting grid was on the western side of the road – we would be riding on one side of the tollway only, and returning on the same road, albeit on the other side. I staked out my position (#2386) reasonably early, and was able to watch as some plans went awry.

The first blue was that the organizers had put some very nice ramps across the divider so that riders could cross over from the registration area to the ride start. Unfortunately, both these ramps were near the front of the start line. As the area at the start started to fill with riders, it became difficult for riders to get over the ramps and make their way back up through the crowd to their start position. The organizers were forced to send the riders up and over the interchange to join the ride from the rear instead.

The second blue was, that as anticipated, the rider ID and transponder distribution system – which worked fine early – was unable to cope with the massive queue that grew later – and as the ride start time approached, the organizers threw up their hands and told the rest of the riders not to bother and to join the back of the ride (by riding up and over the interchange).

The pic at right shows the riders in front of me with the start gate in the far distance…

I had time for a pleasant chat with all the folks close by in my start area – and we were able to chat for some minutes after the start gun went, too, since nothing was moving. Eventually we shuffled off, and I was only able to actually put both feet in the pedals just before the official start line.

I wove my way through the crowd and after about 3km was eventually able to put it in the big ring.

The organizers had admonished us to form into 2-abreast after the first couple of km. This just didn’t happen until we were about 12km down the road where it narrowed to 2 lanes (one coming, one going). There were folks over the entire width of the road. In order to pass in the first 7km, I had to use the breakdown lane (on my right). My bell got a major workout.

Eventually the traffic spaced out a little and it was a good run for a few km until our lane narrowed and 2-abreast was – sort of – honoured, although there were always folks in the third position passing, often diving into the opposing lane.

I waved hello to George and Eric as I passed. I was sort of hoping to catch Steve, but he started almost a thousand riders ahead of me and he’s fast, so I never did.

A few km out from Frankston, a lone HPV came swishing in the opposite direction. It was Jeff Neilson in Overzealous who had overtaken the elite CSV riders after about 12km (he started after them) and who would go on to lead all the way to the finish.

Update: Jeff started 5 mins after the CSV race, caught them within 12km, and finished 8 minutes ahead of them in a time of 1hr 23mins. And that’s despite having to stop to make the U-turns at the turn points (he has a 50m turning circle!)

Halfway to Frankston, there was a rider down in the middle of the road being attended by paramedics. I encountered an ambulance on the way back, as well. I’m not sure if it was for the same accident. (Update: it appears to have been the aftermath of a wheel touch amongst the CSV rider peleton.)

It was a bit of a zoo in the single-lane area near Frankston, with one near miss I saw when a woman slowed right down in the middle of the road causing an entire peleton to swerve and panic.

Things had thinned out a bit by the time we passed the start, and I was able to wave royally at the massive crowd of cyclists building for the 30km fun ride. I heard the commentator say “Look at that! One handed!” as I passed. (Note to worried readers: the traffic was negligible by then and I only need one hand to steer this machine, so no, this wasn’t reckless.). From this point, my average speed started to drop, thanks to some long although not steep climbs – the roll down never seemed to make up for the slow grind up, and I was passed by (only a few quite fast) small groups as I groaned my way up to Ringwood.

The ride back from Ringwood was a dream – overall more descending than climbing, and it was fun zooming by as we encountered the rest of the 65km ride going the other way.

In fact, the last 30km was actually very pleasant indeed. I seemed to have left the biggest group of riders behind me, and the really fast riders were well ahead, so the road was mostly clear in front.

In the last 10km of the ride I’d got a second wind and was going well. Unfortunately, the folks on the other side of the road weren’t. There were a mixture of 65km and Fun Ride bibs in a massive crowd of riders that was going at a snails pace. My guess is that the slower 65km riders were not fast enough to get through the start before the Fun Ride started – and they became entrapped in the 3-lane-wide slow-moving morass of Sunday hybrid bikes, MTB’s tandem trailers and so on. Some of them were straying into the single lane left for we returning riders, so I found myself hammering along in the breakdown lane a lot.

I have never seem so many bicycles in my life.

It would have been nice to put on a sprint for the end, but the area after the finish gate was clogged with riders.

At the finish, I said Hi to the HPV contingent (see right), who were all very nicely cooled down by now, including Steve in his Block of Cheese. Then I cycled back to the car and – well, the rest is irrelevant, and you really wouldn’t be interested.

Yes, I enjoyed the ride, mainly because I came early and well prepared.

My average speed (including the walking pace shuffle to the start, so the actual riding average is somewhat faster) was 34.9km/hr, with a maximum speed of 62km/hr somewhere about Cheltenham. No sore bum, shoulders, back or neck, and a nice burn in the thighs.

UPDATE: By the looks of things, I probably finished somewhere in the first 200 riders. I must have passed over 2000 upright bike riders along the way!

UPDATE: You can leave feedback on the ride with Bicycle Victoria at

(scroll down to the bottom right)

Overtakers Anonymous

My name is the Chicken, (*Note 5) and I am a pass-a-holic.

Yes, it’s true (sob). I just can’t stand to see folks ahead of me on bicycles. I just have to try to catch and pass them.

Now, of course this is a pathetic and totally futile exercise.

First off, the folks ahead aren’t racing me and couldn’t care less (*See note 1) if some mustachioed geek on a recumbent rumbles up behind them and proceeds to gasp and wheeze his way past.

Secondly, chances are I won’t catch them. After all, I’m no athlete, and many of the folks out on Beach Rd where I train most definitely are. A funny bike does not make up for being 20-30 years too old.

And lastly, of course, there’s always someone else ahead of them. You can’t pass them all – that way madness lies. * (see Note 2)

The only saving grace in the whole sorry situation is that being a pass-a-holic does mean that you get a pretty damn good workout.


*Note 1: unless they are a pass-a-holic themselves…. and there are a lot of these sorry specimens about.

*Note 2: The Fat Cyclist guide for actually scoring your ride if you are a totally unrepentant pass-a-holic can be found here:

*Note 3: Todays training ride and sad stats…

42km Beach Rd to Mordialloc & return.
Average speed 32km/hr*,
Max speed 51km/hr,
Bikes passed: 6. Passed by other bikes: 0 🙂

*Note 4: I reserve a special corner in Hell for the two white haired ladies who pressed the button on the pedestrian crossing at Ricketts Point, just as I came screaming down the hill at 50km/hr with the momentum I needed to boost me up the next hill into Beaumaris. Two ladies who smiled sweetly at me as they crossed … as I sat at the lights, panting with my brakes gently smoking.

*Note 5: No it’s not.

Heartbreaking yet inspiring

I’ve linked before to the excellent blog Elden writes with humour about his experiences as a MTB rider – you don’t have to be one to enjoy it. But lately, Elden’s life has taken a sad turn, with his wife Susan diagnosed with what is most likely a terminal cancer that has spread to her brain.

Elden is documenting Susan’s progress on the blog and it’s heartwrenching stuff. Susan is brave to let him do it. But it’s not all bad. Elden is using his blog to help support and fund Susan’s fight to live. He’s selling cycling gear and even having a raffle and sausage BBQ.

Elden and Susan are strangers to me, but their story deserves some extra publicity.

Read the blog, send Susan a message of support… buy a shirt.

Eastlink 65km Cycling Challenge. 15th June 2008

Updated June 17th

A refund of all but the cancer council donation is available if you didn’t get what you paid for in the 65km challenge. See my later post here for details

Updated just after the ride

Well, I was right…. the organization just wasn’t up to handling the sheer volume of riders. Nevertheless I had fun.

See my ride report here.

Updated 12:13pm 12th June

Well, the organization train wreck that is this ride continues. Apparently I’m one of 1500 people who are going to have to pick up their rider numbers and transponders at the start because they weren’t able to send out the second 1500 transponders in time. Riders 3000+ (and there are 6000 riders!) got their rider numbers in the mail

A queue of 1500 people at 7.00am for an 8am start…..!

There was supposed to be an incentive to order early – a transponder and a start in rider number order. My guess is we riders 1501-3000 will be wayyyyyyy back in the pack by the time we pick up our numbers.

Updated 12:13pm 12th June

One business day left before the ride and still no rider pack in the post today…. I entered on the 25th May. Hmmmmm…. not good.

UPDATED 4pm, 15th May

Register for the Bicycle Victoria free events: here

Register for the 65km Challenge (not Road Race) @$39: here

Enter the 65km Road race (CSV licence), @$50: here

UPDATE 4pm 14/May:

I just got a phone call from John Trevorrow at Cycling Events Down Under. They will manage the 65km ride and take their fee from the entry fee.

Revised web pages (Event and registration) will be put up tomorrow. They acknowledge that they jumped the gun in putting info up unpolished, and you will see some changes, apparently. (hopefully)

There will be “separate” 65km rides. The first riders to leave will be the racers (license required), followed by “the rest”.

The cost is $39.


    Cycling Events DownUnder commission/running costs
    Timing system
    Cancer Council donation

The Cancer Council donation component is estimated at $15-$25 depending on the level of subscription and other variable costs.

The Eastlink tollway folks are having an open day on the 15th June 2008 featuring cycling and walking on the road prior to the official opening to cars.

Not a Race, but….

Here they are, finishers 2, 1 and 3 in the 30 Minute Challenge at the Melbourne Festival of Cycling.

This is how it was advertised:

Challenge your mates, your work colleagues, or just yourself. Set a goal and if you like, “get sponsored” for the distance you ride. Not only will you enjoy the feel good effect of physical activity, you’ll be riding on the traffic free Albert Park road circuit, maybe even alongside some of cycling’s best.

Basically, the idea was this: Ride like stink for 30 minutes to see how far you could go.

Well, about eight of us “funny” bike riders took part as part of our usual Sunday B-Spon ride. Obviously we couldn’t resist opening up the throttle for a bit of friendly competition. In the end, if there’d been anyone keeping tabs, three of us would have finished “on the podium” in the distance covered. There were only a handful of road bikes doing a reasonable speed (using drafting techniques), so to a large extent, finishing faster was a matter of “recumbent pride”.

Of course, in the end, nobody except us cared, and in the context of the event, that’s how it should be.

More photos from John Halbrookhere.

Confidence inspiring….

Degnsied in Taiwan