Bikes

Commuting -  How, Why and Where

Distance  -  The Longer the Better

Routes and Rides  -   Where I've Been

This Cycling Life  - Thoughts and Reflections

  

I don't train, I commute. My work sites require a 60 or 70km round trip for the day. Ride into work two or three days a week, and training is done!  This is because the key issue for touring, and for endurance rides, is simply having lots of miles under the belt.  It's not about speed or sprints, but simply riding the distance. I often say to people that if I asked them if they could ride up to Mt Lofty the answer would be, "No!" But most folk could walk up there because they walk all the time.  Ride all the time, and physical training is 90% done. 

Add to this the fact that any long ride is as much mind as it is body, and training looks like a different thing.  Mind and strategy is huge in racing, too, but in the longer day after day rides, mind is often the key factor, especially when conditions are bad.

We are coming up to the Tour Down Under. Deb and I will do the full Community Ride, which is 162km to Murray Bridge, and then we plan to ride back to her place east of the city, which will be another 80km. It requires a climb home through the Hills, and we will take a less direct route to stay out of traffic (Friday night pubs and bikes are not a good mix.) I'm then hoping to do at least another 250km, but this will be very weather dependent. In the new Australian climate it is entirely possible, if not likely, that the entire event will be cancelled due to catastrophic fire danger... Read on >>>

thumb_hillclimbThe way we look at a hill changes everything. Hills and head winds are often perceived as the big bogey of cycling, and are a major deterrent for beginners. Certainly, in a race, hills can be enormously significant, but that's because in a race the idea is to cause the other rider to burn energy faster than yourself— so that you get to the line first, and a hill is a very good place to do that. But in the real world a hill is just... there.... Read on >>>>

20190402_8abovefallscreekMy holiday ride consisted of two day loop from Bright, Victoria, over Mount Hotham to Omeo, with the return through Falls Creek. This ride has some significant climbs. It is mostly uphill from Harrietville to Mt Hotham, which is a distance of 30 kilometres, with a climb of around 1700 metres; this section has an average grade of 6%.... Read on >>>>

3-gur-startAssuming we have addressed the material in Staying Alive, where are we most vulnerable? There are several key areas:

  1. a) When we are just starting to move. This is the most likely time to take a fall, because we do not have the stability of speed, or we are not properly footed into the pedals. It's possible to put a foot down on the thin edge of a pedal, or to misplace a foot due to a wobble or slip in gravel. This can happen even if we are not using cleats or clips.
  2. b) At intersections where we are crossing traffic flows, or where traffic crosses our line. The collision risk is much higher
  3. c) Where the bike is de-stabilised by the road surface or by weather conditions.

There are a number of steps to decreasing these vulnerabilities, and to increasing our stability. Read on >>>>

routeThere is a cycling experience called the bonk. It's what happens when you ride too long without food, or didn't have enough breakfast to begin with, and the brain decides in the space of around 5 minutes, to reserve the remaining blood sugar for itself. It essentially says the rest of the body can look after itself until fat conversion gets into gear, which takes a long time. It feels rather like you are beginning to die.

I planned to use this year's Tour Down Under Community Ride as a springboard for a 400km day, and more if I still had the legs. If I start in the crowd at my average speed ranking of around 20 – 25kph, I find I post a really quick time for my age, but am then a bit burned for the rest of the day— something about the psychology of keeping up with those around seems to mess with my head. So I begin at the very back of the crowd. Sometimes I've ridden out behind the ambulance.  I soon begin to pass the very slow riders, especially when the hills start, but it's just enough of a mind-hack to help me maintain an appropriate long distance pace... Read on >>>>

I travelled from Elizabeth across to Bright, hoping to travel up through the snow and across to Bairnsdale. Not everything went according to plan! I did this trip using a trailer, and have pretty much decided I'm over trailers. Read on >>>

20180531moreoncoldOur NZ friend Bruce Stevenson stayed with us on his way down from the Birdsville Track, and in our hours of talking, we inevitably dealt with the issue of wind and cold. Bruce has ridden all over the world, and finds Oz a cold ride!  We have a huge diurnal temperature swing; I've ridden in 7 degrees to 46 degrees Celsius in the one 24 hours!

I also have a really nice jacket made from wind stopper fabric which lets most of the sweat out and is peachy warm down to about ten degrees, despite being tissue thin, but which then fails miserably. Since people like the GCN say such jackets plus a jersey and base layer are now so good that they are all you need in most circumstances, how come it doesn't work here? After all, the UK has snow; us Aussies say it has three miserable months each year, and then nine months of winter. By comparison to the UK, our climate is gentle... Read on >>>>

I can see why bikes work for me. As a child, any socialisation meant walking the two miles to my cousins' farm. A couple of times, I persuaded a parent to deliver me to the town swimming pool, and I walked the six hot miles home at the end of the afternoon. The Christmas present of Cousin Bill's old Colton Palmer and Preston bicycle was freedom on two wheels! The boy whose life was developing around the metaphor of journeying, was all set.

Transport was a problem in Adelaide as a student; I lived some 10 kilometres from where I studied, and the buses were less than helpful. A bike was a tenth the price of a Mini Moke. The new machine had gears, and I discovered that it was a fine way to explore the Adelaide Hills.

At the end of my first year, I went fruit picking; Ag. Science students had to do on-farm experience each holidays, and this seemed a good beginning. My Dad delivered me, and the bike, to a fruit block near Moorook. It was brutal work, and as we got faster, we were paid less per bucket of peaches! At the end of the first week or two, it began to rain, and we were laid off, and told to come back when it stopped raining.  I decided to quit. How hard could it be to ride back to Adelaide?... Read on >>>>

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Commuting

 

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Routes and Rides

 

This Cycling Life

 

 

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