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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Temora 600, 3 strikes and you're out


Temora from the Shamrock Hotel balcony, early afternoon

Dilapidated, Temora

Abandoned bike shop, Temora

Flywire door has stood the test of time, Shamrock Hotel

Outdoor bar area, Shamrock Hotel

Late afternoon, Temora

Paleface Adios was a famous local trotting horse and this small park is named after him.

Shamrock hotel, looking onto Hoskins Street.




Stop for a pie at Gooloogong before Forbes


Over the last few days, I have been in Temora, New South Wales. This was to complete the Temora 600 Audax ride, a qualifier for The Great Southern Randonnee (GSR), a fully blown 1200k ride.  The Temora 600 was made up of 3 rides, the Temora Forbes 400, Stockinbingal 100 and Trungley Hall 100.

I didn't finish the first part of the ride,  so didn't qualify for the GSR. Given a bit more training I could have made this ride by keeping up with some slightly better equipped riders, and given determination and some basic equipment upgrades, I think I could qualify for the GSR by doing a 600k ride by the end of September. But given I've had 3 bad experiences in the last 3 rides without actual disaster, I feel a bit knocked around so have given up on qualifying. There are others who will want to take my place!

In terms of training, I didn't do any of the tougher 100k local rides, only several 50's and 60's on the same track. But I didn't know that Victoria's local  coronavirus lockdown would be over until a few days before the ride, and that was a bit of a psychological barrier to more training. As it was, I left Melbourne for Temora only hours after we were able to travel further than 25k from home.

So I needed a permit to travel to New South Wales which I applied for online, and the required email came through no worries. I was up early and got to Temora about 2pm, in plenty of time to walk around the town to get a feel for the town. And its nice, and as a relief from Melbourne there was no mask wearing!  There are art deco buildings and its quiet, and rapidly escalating rural real estate prices don't seem to have reached Temora just yet. Not much has changed in years at the Shamrock Hotel where I stayed. At $70 a night it was quite a bargain. I had to move my trike upstairs as it was Friday night and kids were beginning to play with it and sit on it but that was not a problem.

I met Pete Heal and the other Audaxers at the Ex Services club, and was briefed for the ride and had a good dinner. Early next morning we were off, and I couldn't keep up with the leaders, even with a bit of drafting, but I caught up with them at the service station at Barmedmah where they had had a brief break. I was with them for a while after that but fell behind again. Eating biscuits helped, and at one stage I ran out of water. There was plenty of roadside water in puddles and small streams which I was prepared to use but was topped up by a passing farmer in a car.  Thanks!

Other riders were leaving Grenfell just as I arrived, and I had a pie and milkshake there, saving another pie for a pleasant snack at Gooloogong.  I was in Forbes at about 6:40 and going quite well and fuelled up and rested at a Domino's Pizza place.

Somewhere south of Forbes I missed a turnoff and went straight across a railway line where I should have turned left. That lead me onto a narrower road and I didn't realise I was off course for about 6 or 7ks as my gps was not illuminated at the time.

Then followed a series of text messages to Pete Heal who was very helpful with his support, and I ended up on Wirrinya Road after the road had become dirt. Despite a text message effectively saying go right from Pete, I went left onto Wirrinya Rd. My phone and gps were running out of battery by this stage and I didn't receive his message as my phone inbox memory was full.

Eventually I turned round on Wirrinya Road and went in the correct direction, but short of the train line Pete had told me to head for I stopped and rang Pete to say I was ready to sleep for the night by the roadside, as I was tired but had plenty of food and a spaceblanket for warmth. But by then Pete was not far away, having come to get me from Temora. 

This was a great relief, but the drama wasn't quite over yet. Pete had left Temora with not much petrol, and we headed to West Wyalong in his small Suzuki to fill up. But the pumps were out of order at the 24hr service station at West Wyalong, and we were forced to sleep in the car for a few hours (about 3 to 5am) while they were repaired. Pete took it all in his stride, he has travelled round Australia and through floods on his recumbent bike, and this was probably a 0.5 out of 10 on his hardship scale.

We were back in Temora by about 6 am and I crashed very comfortably on the floor in Pete and Dome Deli's motel room as previously arranged. After breakfast and farewells to Dome and Pete I headed home.

If there's a woulda / coulda / shoulda from this ride it would be

* More training! Because of lockdowns this was a bit hard, at least psychologically.

* For long night Audax riding, significant battery backup is required for gps / battery lights and phone, and the gps should be kept on full illumination at night. For others who have smart phones (almost everybody) the battery backup is a completely standard and known technology, so in this aspect of life at least I am in the digital dark ages. 

Although I still have time to qualify for the 1200k GSR by completing a 600k Audax ride before the end of September, I called it quits and will not go in the GSR this year. I have had 3 bad experiences over 3 rides and to continue trying just seems to be inviting unwelcome danger, many thousands of times more risky than a covid astrazenica jab or a shark attack while surfing.

Thanks to Pete Heal and Audax for their support!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

50k warmup


Fairing mod from front wheel end. I put in a new bit of wood which raised the fairing a cm or so, this stops my right foot rubbing the inside of the fairing which is a major improvement!

Same mod seen from the back wheel end.

Mordialloc kiosk, coincidentally it features in the latest Jack Irish TV show.

The ring of Dan Andrews, ie, my current coronavirus travel limits. Mordialloc kiosk is just outside my travel limits, and I didn't turn into a pumpkin or get arrested!


In a few days some of Melbourne's coronavirus restrictions should be lifted and soon after that (with luck), I should be able to travel to  Temora in New South Wales for an Audax 600k ride and Great Southern Randonee qualifier. So 600's a long way and I've been training quite hard on some local hills and also attempted a 300k ride in the Otways. So today (Sunday) was an easy flat ride out to Mordialloc and back, and coincidentally almost completely within our current coronavirus travel regs.  

Nice day for riding, cool and with a slight breeze. I was quite happy with 30kph speeds along Beach Road.

Regards Steve Nurse

Update June 15, 2021: Another ride of about 50k yesterday. I set the Garmin gps going for 3 laps of the Kew Boulevarde . The route needs a tiny bit of tweaking to be accurate to what I ride. Either I eliminate the small loop at the bottom from the Ridewithgps route, or just ride the extra loop. For Audax rides, I would like to keep the same average speed for longer distances, ie 100 kilometres or more. I'm thinking 20kph hills = 30 kph flat.

Regards  Steve Nurse

Friday, June 11, 2021

Body Inertia Brakes for bikes, the road test

Finished for now.

First trip actually had a purpose, to take plastic bags to a local recycling centre

Repurposed folding handlebars. The bars now double as handbrake levers.

Brake cables are in free air in the stem but change to go through outers near the brakes.


 The brakes I was making in my last post are finished now, at least enough for a few short rides from which I emerged unscathed! The pictures and this video tell the story. The trick is to always pull on the handlebars unless you want to stop. That includes when indicating and riding with only one hand on the bars.

There is a bit of tweaking to do, for example there are 2 collars on the stem which means the bar is looser than it could be, and the feel on the bars is different right and left which could be improved a bit. Anyway I will do a bit more local riding and see how it goes.


Steve Nurse 

Update June 15, 2021: The stem has been taken apart for brazing, bog filling and painting. Previously the stem had 2 collars to keep it together, and the brazing will eliminate the lower collar. The bog filling and painting will make the whole thing look better, various unused holes and cracks will disappear.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Body Inertia brakes for bikes

Current bike showing palm forces on brakes during decelleration with red arrows
Mule train bike with a set of folding handlebars.....

which I have now stolen for this project.

Bike with original steerer and all cables removed at the same time. I can just put it all back on when this experiment is done.

New steerer uses a 32mm tube ...
brazed across a scooter fork. It has hand-made washers inside for extra strength.

Here's the original plan, you can see the handlebar with built in brake levers resembles the folding handlebars.

Here is the result at the end of the day.


For a long time I've been riding bikes which have the brakes reversed - this is possible because the handlebars don't bear any of my body weight. When I slow down I can allow the natural decelleration body motion to press in the brakes, but I still have the normal hand-squeeze braking method.  For a long time I've been thinking about using the decelleration only, like trailer brakes, but have only started building something in the last few days, after gathering a dead kid's scooter and stealing or swapping out bits from other bikes.  

I was inspired by seeing a few bikes with Shimano DI2 electronic shifters on them at a recent bike show. Surely there are ways of streamlining a bike's controls that don't involve wifi, batteries and software! A recent Age article echoes these thoughts, "It was common for cars, fridges, and even coffee machines to have embedded software".

 Its all going well and I will report further.

Regards Steve Nurse

June 7, 2021, bit of progress today. I made some handlebar halves from a straight aluminium bar and gathered a few other bits, gearchanger, bar extenders and a bell. If the brakes don't work I will at least be able to warn people to PANIC and get out of the way.

Sketch for making combined handlebar and brake levers and

Most of it already made. Top is the folding bar that is being replaced.

June 8, 2021, Good progress above as shown. I made the handlebars with some holes drilled so they can double as brake levers. Still a couple of days work before I can test the idea. The story continues in this post.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Fixing 50 bikes, bike 15, Repco Superlite


Tyre wrangling, I tried several 25c and 32c tyres but they either looked very weak or rubbed on the frame. This 28C tyre proved to be the perfect fit and looks quite durable too.

Scrabbling through parts boxes like this led to finding....

a full set of gearchanger parts from another repco superlite.

Needed to clean out my shed a bit to .....

Mount the seatpost in a vice with the frame attached and waggle and pull it till the post came out.

As found condition: grass growing out of the saddle.

Brakes on the tops, I used tee nuts as sleeves (shown below) to make fittings for the cable entry,

...... which turned out very well.

End result.

Hi, this has been Victoria lockdown bike project #1 for me. My friend Stu who lives 2 doors down gave me the frame which came from hard rubbish.

The list of fixes is quite long, 

Replace bottom bracket with sealed unit. This came from Bike 8 .

Remove toe straps and pedals, refit pedals. Pedals were quite stuck. 

Loosen seatpost. This took a bit of work, I lubed it from above and from below by putting oil down the seat tube through the water bottle bosses. The frame was upside down for this! Only then did I start using the shed in the vice, I needed to clean the shed a bit to get the space for the frame waggling.

Set up brakes on the tops.

Add new wheels, I had one at home and one came from Wecycle. Tyres and tubes were from Wecycle except for one tube.

Replace gear levers with ones scavenged from a hard rubbish wreck.

So it took a while, but hopefully the Repco Superlite will find a good home.

Delivering the Repco to Wecycle, I put up this QR code so people can check in for Covid tracing. Unfortunately its a foreign language to me, I don't have a smartphone.

Delivery by recumbent, I steer, brake and change gears on the recumbent with the right hand and steer the upright with the left.