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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!

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