News and Events

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Reunion

My wife Christine with Ange and Hilary

L to R we have Mick, Mick, Jane, Geoff, Evelyn, Eff, Jic, Ali, Ange, Simon, Lou


Maybe in the last post I mentioned a few friends of mine were having a combined 50th birthday party. Well it's all done and dusted now. My friends Geoff, Jic and Simon are now officially 50 now despite "actually" turning 50 earlier in the year. And it was quite a gathering of the clan.

"We met / When we were at school / Never took no shit from no-one / we weren't fools"
(From Cheapskates, the Clash)

Well in about 1977, me, Jic, Mick, Geoff, Joel, George and Simon and Wal were all in year 12 at Melbourne Grammar together. Most of us were much more interested in various combinations of Rock'n'Roll Music, smoking, drinking, girls and surfing than what we were at school for. What were we meant to be at school for? Oh yeah, we were meant to be getting a good education, meeting the right people and becoming gentlemen. Anyway the bonds formed between us at school through music and surfing were strong enough to last many years, evidenced by the fact that 33 years later we are all at the same party together.

Some of the girls at the party I'd known since school as well (Debbie, Ange, Jayne, Jane, Effie, Evelyn, Hilary, Ali, Lou) and some who I'd lived in houses with I hadn't seen for 25 years, give or take a day or two. So there was quite a bit of recounting of marriages, children, boyfriends, divorces, water under the bridges, waters not yet under the bridges, and highly exaggerated stories of surfing and sailing and conquests, and remembering some of our gang who hadn't made it this far (George, Mandy and Sue) and other stuff.

"Back to the days of the 4 and 7 friends and the all night rock'n'roll. / Hey 'Chelle, we were wild then" (Michelle Shocked, Anchorage)

Anyway, many thanks to Geoff, Simon and Jic and their families for hosting the party. Early in the new year I will be catching up with Jic as his family heads to Bell's Beach for a junior surfing competition. Will post more about that later.

Well why not leave you with another almost quote.
"Well I'm goin' back to Newhaven on a journey through the past / and I won't be back till Sunday morning comes"
(Neil Young, Journey Through the past. I think the lyrics actually involve things like Canada and February but they don't fit in with my story)

Christine's comment: Terrific catching up with people after 20 or so years and there was lovely food and atmosphere. I learnt a few techniques on how to shimmy from a lovely young lady. (Ange, you know this means you)

PS I have unceremoniously dumped my photos of the night onto the web folder

PPS Many thanks to Kevin who put Christine & I up for the weekend.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fed Square this Saturday


This Saturday (December 11) I will be at Federation Square selling my bike books and cycling boardgame from 11 - 5. Last chance before Christmas to buy them, after Saturday I hang up my booksellers hat and start doing things appropriate for the season - finishing off the year at work and going surfing! A few of my friends are having a 50th birthday bash at Phillip Island and my family will be down there with bells on.

Anki Toner has listed my cycling boardgame on his cycling boardgames website, see

He likes the chance card "Schoolkids yell get a real bike, move back 1" but what about the shopping tokens "Kamahl's Greatest Hits, $0" or "The Adventures of Barry Mckenzie Movie on VHS Cassette, 50c." C'mon Anki, lift your game.

Ok, might see you Saturday

Best Wishes

Steve Nurse

Saturday, December 4, 2010

An Inner Trailer


For a while now I've been mucking around with bike trailers and recently built one for carrying a large amount of shopping behind a folding bike. Unfortunately this trailer didn't fit on my recumbent and I wanted a trailer for my recumbent so you guessed it, the shopping trailer was due for the chop or rather "annihilation by jigsaw". And rather than building an ordinary trailer, how about one that trails from the front wheel of my bike? (My bike is well-qualified for this type of trailer, being long wheelbase, front wheel drive and having a really big space between the 2 wheels, more about it here:

So I began work. The trailer has a height limit - it will bang into the bike frame if its too high. Keeping this in mind, I mounted the trailer wheels on the back of the trailer box so the bottom of the trailer could be kept low allowing for reasonable depth. The box is made from unbraced plywood and is therefore a bit wonky and I will see about improvements at a later stage. The drawbar is a 28mm garden stake and it's attached diagonally on the base of the trailer.

Initially I thought I could just drill a hole in the drawbar and hang the trailer on a pin mounted on the front fork. I made the bracket on the bike, but when the trailer was hitched up it was too high and I couldn't pedal. Back to the drawing board.

Next step was to cut a small extra piece of garden stake and sandwich part of an old bike tyre between the drawbar and the new piece of wood. Apart from anything else, the extra bit of wood helps push the drawbar away from the wheel so the wheel doesn't bang into the drawbar during turns. The tyre was looped at the top and the loop was secured with a few screws, nuts and washers.

Then it was time for a few blockies to sort out any problems. The low ground clearance led to, you guessed it, scraping of the trailer base on the ground and I did a bit of work to fix that. My son Ewan took the main photo the next day when I was on my way to sell books at a book market. Trailer still way too low and lots of scraping, so en route I stopped and twisted the tyre which the front of the trailer hangs from to bring the drawbar up a bit. And this worked, I arrived, bike, self and cargo and trailer intact at the book market.

While at the bookmarket, I readjusted the loop at the front of the trailer and the whole thing worked very well on the way home.

Well what I have here is certainly exotic - an exotic trailer on an exotic bike. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the design.

* Wheels on the trailer are at the back. When compare to a 2 wheel trailer with wheels in the centre, the trailer hitch bears weight and the drawbar must stand more bending force. The bike is front wheel drive so weight on the front wheel is a good thing - there was no wheel slippage when climbing hills.
* This bike plus trailer is much shorter than the standard trailer arrangement. As well, the trailer following behind is very low and would probably need a flag for it to be seen by drivers peering over car bonnets. With the trailer in the centre, a flag is not needed.
* Having the trailer in the middle restricts the height and length of the trailer. Extra volume can be achieved by having a wide trailer, but this starts to make getting on and off the bike difficult.
* Once in motion, the bike and trailer handled ok. But starting was a bit harder than normal, I had to sit on the bike and start pedalling from a standstill. Normally I can start walking or running, then leap onto the bike side saddle and get going that way.

* The current trailer hitch allows the trailer front to "pendulum" about the hitch on the front. There is little resistance to motion from the trailer wheels at the back, so the whole trailer can move back and forth relative to the bike during acceleration / braking creating a not unpleasant "trailer surge" phenomenon.

* Not for the shy and retiring!

* Here is the video