News and Events

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Wendouree 2014

Juice Blenders and a big tyre bike

Superheroes prepare to do battle

Douglas and Damian outside the administration hut

After the race.

My bike and Douglas's.  Douglas has a gizmo for displaying the speed of the bike in lights on the back wheel!

In the centre of Ballarat on the way to the train station,  I meandered around the Rockabilly festival,

these guys know how to have a good time.



Victory is mine!

The Ballarat Wendouree ride is an annual event which raises money for cancer research, and the total raised is edging towards $1,000,000 over about 7 years.  Despite posting on several Bulletin Boards I only managed to get 3 (out of a possible 12) on the recumbent team but Douglas Tuck, Damian Harkin and I managed to put up a good show.  Teams ride around the lake for 2 hours and the total laps are counted.  There are other rides that take place on the day, and to be honest, the relay ride is a bit of a kiddy pool with faster fitter riders mostly taking on the rides from 50 to 100km. 

Douglas Tuck finished first in the first lap and no one passed him at all on the whole ride.  He averaged about 30kph.  I was third in the first lap and only a few people passed me in the whole race, amongst them were some of the "Superheroes" team who were actually fit cyclists  on good bikes underneath all the costumes.  Damian got a puncture halfway through the ride but was pretty quick up till then.

After the race I trundled into town before taking the train back to Melbourne.  There was a Rockabilly Festival on in town and dancing amidst the hotted up cars and music in Liddiard St.  So quite a lot going on in Ballarat on this particular weekend.

Oh yes, and my bike is still adorned with the pink number 22 on the back.  So if you get run over by a wooden recumbent bike with pink reflectors on the front and a pink number 22 on the back, it wasn't me!


Steve nurse

Wendouree 2014: Prelude

Beeac, Western Victoria

Finn's $5.00 Surfboard Bike


Fresh Blackberries at the start of Riflebutts road.

Top of the big hill, Riflebutts Road

Near Beeac

Blurry flowers

More blurry flowers

A few days ago, I took some time off work and decided to use some of it for for a bicycle road trip.  There is a place I can stay in Airey's Inlet, and I was booked in to a Motel in Ballarat for the Lake Wendouree relay ride , so why not make a tour of it?

Friday Feb 14:
Up early and made the 7k ride into Southern Cross Station for the train trip to Geelong.  My bike is big, awkward, and heavy to move around, but I had some help getting it onto the train so no problems really.  Arrived at South Geelong about 8am and I rode to my friend's Rob's place in Torquay.  Rob wasn't that surprised to see the bike, (having seen a range of my machines) but another mate Paul was very surprised, a wooden fwd bike being entirely new to him.

Rob had bought a tip shop bike for his son Finn for $5.00.  It is a cabable touring machine with canti brakes but now it is garishly painted and has surfboard racks fitted. After a mango smoothie, I went on from Torquay to Aireys Inlet where I stayed the night.

Saturday Feb 15
Made a 7:20 start for Ballarat.  There is no main highway between Aireys Inlet and Ballarat and the first bit of the ride needs to be over or around the Otway hills.  I chose to go up the dirt road to Bambra - and my bike does not cope well with uphills on gravel at all well, so there was lots of pushing to be done.  The basic strategy to employ is shut up and get on with it. Here is a short video I took

So 2 hours for the first 20k to Bambra, and then on over fairly familiar territory to the Colac - Ballarat road.  (So no more navigation then)  This road runs north through Beeac, Cressey and Rokewood .  I hadn't seen these towns before and they were very pretty.  Beeac has a windmill museum celibrating the diversity and craft of Beeac local windmill builders.  Had a nice lunch of dim sims, tea, and coke (I was cycling so this sort of makes sense) in Rokewood before moving on through the hills to Ballarat.  Found the motel fine and zonked it pretty early.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Weather / Fixing Aki's Bikes

Shadow on the smoke: A hot air balloon over Chadstone in Melbourne casts a shadow on the smoky air.

Aki and .......

I share a beer and some chips in my backyard before ......

proceeding via a lane .......

to the park and various .........

bikepaths where Aki learnt how to ride the bike.

After a cold start to Summer, its been quite hot in Melbourne for a month.  For the Buckleys Ride I did on January 4, it was mild and wet, but a week later, when I was back at work, Melbourne baked with four fairly relentless 40 degree plus days.  Since then the weather's been up and down a bit, but basically hot and no rain.  And then last weekend, there was a sting, a very hot Saturday followed by a hot and very windy Sunday.

When things get dry, there is a buildup in potential energy in the form of all the dry leaves and grass and trees and branches that surround all the houses and farms in the bush.  Its sort of tottery like a tower of miscellaneous objects left on a table.  Shake it, rattle it , disturb it a bit and it will fall or burn.  So it was during last weekend, almost 5 years to the day after the devastating Black Saturday bush fires which hit our state.

Although not as bad as Black Saturday, the start of bushfires last week puts us in a different situation.  Like the inestimable PJ Harvey sings, "I wanna pistol in my hand, I wanna run to a different land".  There is smoke in the air, there are reports on the radio about fires in Warrandyte and Kilmore and Hazelwood.  People with asthma and breathing difficulties suffer a lot.   It puts us all on edge and though it sounds a bit boring, most of us just want it to stop! 

Anyway, one of the very small bits of silver lining on this cloud of smoke and bushfires is improved photographic opportunities.  Amateur snappers shouldn't really try to get near the fires, but the smoke makes the sun and moon both look bigger and red-tinged.  My humble contribution to the smoke-enhanced-photography-genre is shown above.

In the middle of this my friend Aki came over to get the bike I sold him shortened.  He had had the bike sitting in the garage as he couldn't ride it or reach the pedals with his feet.  The first time he came over was last Sunday and I managed, in a painful comedy of errors, to stuff up the bottom bracket cartridge bearing and the job wasn't finished on Sunday.

But by Wednesday, everything was fixed and I'd replaced the pedals with the clip on type which are almost essential for recumbents.  Aki was waiting at the front door when I got home from work.  We had a beer and very pleasant chat before I took him to the park to learn to ride the bike. Success as can be seen in the photos!  Incidentally, the photos are in the same spot where this video (at about 1:15 minutes in) was taken last September.  You can see how the grass has dried out!

A few days later I got an email from Aki.  He was enjoying riding the bike now and forwarded on a few photos he took, please see below, thanks Aki!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Some Aims for 2014

Could not help taking this photo - my bike at work with the corflute and cable tie tailbox sitting happily next to its counterpart, the corflute and cable tie sign on some pallet racking.


Well judging from one of my last posts, which mentioned managing to do a couple of 2013 bucket list items, stating some aims for the year and then attempting to achieve them seems like quite a reasonable idea. It sets up the blog for the rest of the year and (sort of) explains some of the ludicrous bikes and things I am attempting to make and do.

"He robbed a bank"
"Yeah, but it was on his bucket list"
"Ok then, Cool!

So here we go, nothing too ambitious here.  This is the official list related to bikes etc..
* Make a Velocino . I have a separating bike that is hanging out to be converted,
* Complete 1000 Audax km in the Audax calendar year, over several rides.
* Engage with a university in some way on a bike related project.
* Ride to and from work 3 times during a working week.  

A slightly more ambitious goal is to complete an Audax 1200k ride.  This needs top level bike equipment (lighting, bike etc) and nutrition even to make it.  Unnofficial goal.  The hot weather we are having makes it hard to train.

Thats It!


Steve Nurse