Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Down the crapper goes another green dream

World's biggest eco-toilet scheme fails

That loud clunk...

That loud clunk you just heard - it was a brass monkey losing a ball.

Crikey, it's arctic here at the moment.

Monday, 30 July 2012


I've been putting off buying some new bike shorts for some time, but finally relented last week after holding a pair up to the light as I hung them on the line and discovering that they were so worn, they were nearly see through.

Not a good look.

I trotted down to one of the local bike shops and tried on many nicks and found the only two pairs in my size that fitted properly. One was what I would call "mid range quality", and the other was upper-middle quality. One level below the pro-level. Both were from the same manufacturer.

I wanted to get something decent - the last ones I bought were dead cheap, and they fit terribly. I got two pairs from the same brand (not the same as above). I couldn't work out whether I needed the large or XL, so I bought both. The large squeeze my legs so badly, it feels like they are always falling down (the elastic is tight down towards the knees, and it pulls in that direction). The XL pair fit like a potato sack.

The latest additions to the wardrobe fit much more comfortably. The upper-middle quality pair fit like a glove. The cheaper version isn't quite that good, but they are a vast improvement on the potato sack.

Now for a price comparison.

The cheap and crappy knicks cost me $60 in a shop.

The mid range ones cost me $90.

The really good ones cost me $180.

I got home and looked them up in a few web stores.

I can get the really good ones on line for the same price as the crappy knicks. That's right - the same pair of good quality knicks that are just over $180 in a shop are $60 on line. And that's from an Australian web shop that is renowned for being pretty good.

I guess I'll never be walking into a bike shop and buying knicks again.

The CFMEU, and other crap you find in bike lanes

The CFMEU have been barricading the gates to the Barangaroo development each morning for the past week. I've got no idea what their problem is. However, I have a problem with them - they've decided to take over the bike lane for their protest zone, marking it out with flags and filling it with fat unionists.

The first time I rode through here, it was almost pitch dark, and I nearly slammed straight into the flags and a few dopey union thugs in dark clothing. Given how they love to strike whenever safety is a problem on a work site, you'd think they might know a thing or two about assessing site hazards, reducing risks and traffic management. Then again, maybe not. These morons don't seem to understand that the bike lane is there to separate bikes from traffic - to reduce the chance of a cyclist getting hit by a car. Forcing cyclists into the car lane is a recipe for disaster.

I tried sticking to the bike lane one morning, which was a bit of a mistake. One of the fatsos stepped backwards without looking and I had to brake, skid and slide out onto the road between the flags. Not a bad effort, given I was toodling along at 40km/h. Just glad it was so early, there was no traffic.

Whinging union members are not the only thing to be found in the bike lanes down that way - some taxi drivers have a bad habit of either parking in the lanes whilst awaiting a fare, or driving along the lanes in an attempt to pass other cars on the wrong side of the road.

If one of these taxi drivers crashes into the protest, it really will be Peak Stupid.

Mist and early morning starts

Posting has been a bit light of late because I've been so knackered each night. I'm lucky if I can avoid falling asleep on the couch when I get home, only to drag myself off to bed at 2200hrs at the latest. I've been starting well before dawn some mornings, which means very little photography in the inky blackness. Or the misty mistiness.

I tried an experiment today to see if I can end the week feeling less wrecked - that meant cycling in at a kindler, gentler pace. The sort of pace you achieve when you fit mudguards to your bike. It was actually pretty hard for me to ride slower than normal - I had to concentrate and work on easing up. It didn't always work, but I did my best to ride like someone with mudguards.

The results were interesting - on the last section coming home, I was bursting with energy when tackling the last few hills. I really wanted to tear up them like no tomorrow, but I resisted and took them gently. I wasn't sweating much when I finished - if anything, I was cold. The legs feel good - totally free of the usual aches and pains. Even the pain in my knee has subsided.

There's just one thing missing - I'm still thinking about work, and the problems of the day. A hard ride does one thing very effectively - it wipes the mind of all your troubles and tribulations. I sleep very easily after bashing myself silly on the bike. I stress not at all. I actually have neck tension at the moment from the crap I had to go through at work today.

So it's a choice between sore legs or a sore neck. Stressing the body or stressing the mind.

I think tomorrow I am going to ride to and from work in the red zone. This dawdling along at mudguard speed shits me.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

A few links

Why I feel sorry for Cav. Ah no, this is nothing to do with the best looking Cav returning home safe.

The Olympic road race - more on why the poms failed to win.

Behind the scenes technical look at how they televise the TDF.


Oh. My. Goodness.

Those words above are supposed to be a link. I can't get links to come out in a different colour. Stupid new theme.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Old shoes, new shoes

My old shoes died completely this week. Sure, they've been getting pretty manky for a while, but they really turned their toes up this week. I went to clip into a pedal in a hurry, and the cleat slipped off the pedal. I was putting enough down force on the pedal at the time to almost crush my nuts against the saddle as my foot slipped off, and the side of the shoe gave up the ghost and split from the upper down one side from heel to toe as the shoe twisted off the pedal. I had to ride home with one shoe half hanging off. And a sore nut.

As you can see, they were pretty worn by that point. The constant scuffing of the shoes against various bits of the bike had worn right through the outer layer in a number of places. If they'd lasted any longer, they would have become extremely well ventilated.

The wear on the cleats was something else. See how on the left, the bottom bit is worn to a point like a chisel? That's supposed to be rectangle shaped. The nose of the cleat has been worn down by constant clipping in and out until there's almost nothing left.

That's what a few years of commuting will do to your shoes. Commuting (for me) involves a lot of stopping and starting. There's at least 15 sets of lights between home and work, and chances are, most of them will be red when I reach them. By contrast, I can go for a weekend ride for a longer distance and period of time, and unclip only 2 or 3 times. The bloke who served me in the bike shop was stunned at the amount of wear on both the cleats and shoes. I guess I'm a bit of a tight fisted bugger when it comes to spending money on certain things.

Wet crack

A slightly unpleasant side effect of riding in the rain is getting a wet bum crack. You can prevent this by installing mud guards - but they are strictly for poofters. If you walk into a proper bike shop and ask for mud guards, the thin-as-rakes pro-racer staff will beat you over the head with the nearest hard object to hand (possibly a bike frame or a pump) and throw your unconscious body into the street. And they'll staple directions to the nearest bike shop for poofters to your forehead. Misunderstandings of this sort could be avoided if mud guards were produced in one colour only - pink. Then it would be quite clear who was allowed to install them.

Getting an icy cold crack wash first thing in the morning is a function of two variables. The first is the volume of water on the road. A light sprinkling of rain might make the road surface wet, but you need a critical mass of water on the road before it starts to adhere and flick off your tyres in sufficient volume to douse the hairy behind bits.

The second is speed. At low speed, your wheels won't be turning fast enough for any water that has adhered to them to flick off with any pace. Water needs to flick off vertically and travel for at least 6-8 inches if it is to fly far enough to give you a constant douche. However, at 50km/h, I produce a rooster tail tall enough to reach my neck. I could draw a graph to illustrate the interaction of road surface water volumes and velocity, but it would probably look like a couple of mud guards - and I don't want to go there.

You might think that pouring a steady stream of cold, dirty water down your crack early in the morning is about the most unpleasant thing that could happen to you on a wet day. But you'd be wrong. By far the most unpleasant thing is extracting your wet, smelly riding gear from your locker at work and climbing back into it at the end of the day. It's cold. It's clammy. It's probably spattered with mud and other unidentifiable road debris (just think of all the snot that cyclists blow out of their noses each morning...and where that ends up). It definitely reeks. It's about as pleasant as smearing your body with cold porridge.

And this is where we sort the hard men from the soft.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Knobhead in a ute

It's nice to know that some drivers aren't just pricks to cyclists - they are pricks to everyone else on the road.

Take this bloke in the ute. There was an obstruction in the bus lane, so the buses were pulling out to get around it. The bus driver indicated he was changing lanes, but the bloke in the ute just bulled ahead and blocked the bus, rather than letting it in. Everytime the bus driver pulled out a bit, the driver of the ute pulled ahead to block the bus out.

The ute driver didn't just do this once - he did it again at the next set of lights.

The big surprise to me was that this idiot was driving a Toyota ute instead of a Ford.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Shopping before supermarkets

One of the nice things about living in a suburb full of wogs is that there is a good selection of wog shops. As in places that sell wog food. Cramped little emporiums crammed with cheese, hams, pasta, bread, olives, funny wog drinks, canned tomatoes and so forth. And also crammed with little old wogs speaking in tongues.

Unfortunately, due to things like having to go to work, I get to visit these places a lot less often than I'd like. I managed to squeeze in a visit to one shop this weekend, and it was just as I remembered it from my last visit. I couldn't pronounce the names of any of the goods properly, I was about the only English speaker in the place, and it took about half an hour to get served. Even though I was third in line.

Which leads me to my thought of the day - how time consuming shopping for food etc was before the rise of supermarkets. 80% of what I wanted was behind the counter - I couldn't select it myself. I had to point at what I wanted, dictate the number of slices/weight/length of cheese, and wait for the ham to be sliced, packed, weighed and the cost written down; wait for the cheese to be hacked off the wheel and weighed, packed and costed; wait for the buffalo bocconcini to be drained, packed, weighed and costed; etc etc etc. Then the cost of the whole lot had to be tabulated - the cost of each item was written down on the wrapping of the first item I selected, and they were then added by hand. Buying 8 items took 10 minutes - after a half hour wait.

I have no problem with doing that once a month or so. It's worth the wait for the excellent hams, the great range of olives, the wood fired breads and the interesting cheeses. And if you aren't sure which cheese you want, they'll slice samples off each one and let you have a taste. You can easily burn through 10 minutes just doing some cheese tasting.

But imagine shopping like that every single day. Imagine how much time it would eat out of the time between getting up and going to bed. Especially if you had to visit 4 or 5 shops to get everything you wanted.

Compare it with a trip to the supermarket, where you can select dozens and dozens of items yourself; it's a one-stop shop; everything is bar coded for rapid tabulation at the check out; almost everything you select is pre-packaged in a can, bag, carton or shrink wrap. There is no bespoke service. If you want 16 slices of ham instead of 12, you're out of luck. But the trade off is the convenience and speed. And the lower cost - a supermarket can sell millions of dollars of goods with minimal staff costs, because they don't need to devote one staff member to each customer. 

It's amazing how innovation in retail has given us lower cost food and freed up that most precious commodity of all - our time. That is something we just take for granted these days. The Soviets never allowed this sort of innovation in retail - they had queues, whilst we had convenience. 

The downside of course is having to shop in a pretty soulless environment, and having to put up with whatever the conglomerate decides to stock. They choose what you'll buy, how you'll but it and in what quantities (depending on what the market dictates). But that's how most people want it - they've chosen cost and convenience over the alternative of the old style shops.

I bought some mortadella this time - I haven't been able to face this sort of sausage for about 25 years. In WA, it's called "polony", and we used to joke that it was produced from lips and arseholes. I was fed large amounts of it as a kid - usually thickly sliced on white bread with tomato sauce. During a sojourn on a wheat bin in the middle of nowhere, I discovered that blue tongued lizards don't mind it either (when you've got sod all to do between trucks, catching and feeding lizards with flies and polony is a good way to pass the time).

Sunday lunch at boarding school consisted of a few slices of polony, a bit of iceberg lettuce, a scoop of cold, grainy, grey mashed potato and maybe half a tomato. That pretty much put me off it forever. (Interestingly enough, some years ago, I visited a relative in an old people's home. He was fed the same stuff for lunch. I had to say my goodbyes and leave at that point before I threw up).

But mortadella is to polony what Grange Hermitage is to cask wine. They're both pink and supposedly made from pigs, but the similarities end there. I bought it for the kids, but I had to try a bit myself. I think the mortadella drought is over. Good wog mortadella from a good wog emporium can conquer ancient food phobias.

One last thing - we've got a nice variety of pastry shops out this way too. Trouble is, there are so many, I always have trouble remembering which one does the best vanilla slice. There are two Vietnamese bakeries and several wog pastry shops, so the choice is pretty broad. I fluffed it and ended up in the wrong Vietnamese bakery this time - the vanilla slice was a double decker (in the style of a mille-feuille), but the pastry was soggy and it lacked an essential ingredient; passionfruit icing. I didn't even think to check for the presence of icing before purchasing - a very stupid move. I give it 2 out of 10.

Another Australian victory at the Tour?

From here:

By the way, I can't help notice that the team's sponsor, Wiggins's coach, his late father and a couple of the riders are/were Australians. So, Australia's greatest ever sporting achievement then, if it wasn't for the fact that an Australian won it last year? Oh, and the fact that they count test cricket as a sport.


Wiggo's late dad - scroll right to the bottom. Sideburns clearly run in the family.

Close encounters

Another week, another close encounter with an idiot that really shouldn't be behind the wheel of a motor vehicle of any sort. When they dish out brains and common sense to people, there are always some that somehow failed to make it to the distribution point in time for their dose.

A very common collision between cyclists and cars is when a car overtakes a cyclist, and then immediately turns left in front of them (or right, if you are a yank). It's caused by motorists being in a hurry, and underestimating how fast a cyclist is moving.

And it happened to me this week. It happens often enough to me that I'm always on the look out for it - whenever I hear a car coming up behind me as I approach an intersection, I evaluate whether they are going to have a go at overtaking me and then turning across my bows. As soon as I hear some hesitation from the engine behind me, I know the driver wants to turn. It then comes down to whether they will wait an extra second or two for me, or whether they will try and gun it and get around me before I make it to the corner.

In about 95% of cases, the driver will wait - they realise that at the speed I am travelling at, they've not going to get past safely. But there's always 5% who don't have the judgement to do the mental calculations regarding closing speeds and relative velocities, or they can and they just don't give a bugger about the bloke on a bike.

I got the idiot with no judgement during the week. I could hear them coming up behind, they hesitated, held back, and then after a few seconds of waiting (as the intersection got closer and closer), they gunned it and went around me. I had to stand on the brakes to avoid going into the rear quarter panel. At times like that, I have to do my own mental calculation - if I chase the idiot, will I catch them? Will that traffic light down that side road stay red long enough for me to come up beside them, pound on their window and give them a mouthful? Is the traffic heavy enough to slow them right down, or even bring them to a standstill? Is it worth it? I've got about 1 second to make that judgement call.

In this case, I let them go. They were driving a BMW - people that drive those things are generally too stupid  to understand what they did wrong. They're even worse that tradies in Ford utes.

Is Fairfax going the same way as the Guardian?

There's a good article at Harry's Place on the death spiral that the Guardian is in. It's long, but it is worth a read. 

At some point in the past, the staff at Fairfax started to consciously or unconsciously modeled their papers on the Guardian. They came to view the Grauniad as the epitome of what we (the readers) should have, and they've rather slavishly followed where the Grauniad has led. For instance, a quick search on the SMH site for "the guardian" returns over 10,000 hits. That's a lot of recycled Grauniad articles.

The parallels between the Grauniad and Fairfax are worth thinking about. It's interesting that in both cases, they've gone out of their way to offend what used to be a core group of readers, and now they are reaping the results.

Friday, 20 July 2012

All things Green and generous

We were invited to a very pleasant little soiree recently - a gathering of friends old and new at a pub. It was a set price bash, and the guests could pay in advance or on the night.

Part way through the night, the organiser collared me and asked me to round up the cash from the delinquents. It was a reasonable amount of money to collect - a few thousand bucks. I don't know why they asked me to do it - the last time something like that happened, I did my best to spend the loot on strippers, and ended up putting it on a bar in a nightclub where we did a lot of shots. That evening kind of blacked out a bit after that. I forget which gutter I woke up in.

I was much better behaved this time though. I managed to get almost all the money together without blowing it on loose women and spirituous liquors.

Once people noticed that I was collecting cash, a huddle quickly formed around me and much moolah was pressed into my palms. I had a hard time grabbing it all without dropping any, and my brain was going 100mph trying to keep up with who had paid for whom.

I lugged the bundle of loot over to the bar manager, and we counted it out.

We were two people short.

A bit of brain wracking then resulted, and I eventually worked out which faces weren't in front of me when the money was being thrust my way. I didn't know the culprits well, so I despatched one of their close friends to extract the cash.

They eventually returned with it about an hour later. In the end, they had to chase one of them down and corner them in the dunny in order to get them to part with a few readies. Apparently they are notorious for this sort of behaviour. Long pockets and short arms. Very free with other people's money, but incredibly tight fisted with their own.

The worst of the pair is a Green politician.

Thursday, 19 July 2012


I just about killed myself tonight - I decided to race a car. Silly bloody thing to do - those things have engines and suchlike, whilst I have to put up with a set of aged legs. Unlike wine, I don't think legs necessarily get better as they age. I managed to stay ahead of the car over my selected distance - a winding bit of road where my cornering ability would outweigh the car's engine advantage. Trouble is, I completely shattered myself in the process. Am preparing to go face down on the keyboard at any second.....

I wish people would put lights on their dogs. As usual, the magic of the camera has made this photo look a lot brighter than it actually was. I almost ran over a black labrapoodle puppy this week - the owner stopped at the kerb to let me pass, but they hadn't trained the puppy too well. It shot out from behind them and almost went under my wheel. I had the anchors on so hard that my back wheel was off the ground. Good thing I was on a bike and not in a car - otherwise, it would have been a flatrapoodle.

Star light, star bright - how many fucking ninjas are there out tonight?

As much as I enjoy watching the Tour, I like to read at the same time. I read One Way Road last week, by Robbie McEwen. It was great - it's the kind of interesting, well written book that should appeal to non-cyclists as well. I read about 1/4 of it online at Amazon before buying it and reading the rest the following night. I used to think that I was pretty useless for feeling so tired and smashed some nights when I got home, being barely able to roll off the couch for dinner. Then I read how the professionals feel after a hard day on the road (utterly smashed), and that made me feel much better. It made me realise that I almost never ride in my green zone (my comfort zone) - I'm always pushing myself into the orange, and occasionally deep into the red (like tonight). I enjoy it, and I can't stop it.

That got me in the mood for reading Mark Cavendish's Boy Racer. Again, I read a good chunk of it online before laying down the plastic. I read a tip about training that he received as a teenager - "Always train 16 hours per week - doesn't matter what you do, just do 16 hours".

I thought that was interesting, and then calculated how hard it would be for me to put in 16 hours on the bike a week. Depending on how many days I work per week, I'll ride between 7.5 and 10.5 hours per week - and that's not training - it's commuting. It might sound easy to add another 5 to 8 hours per week to my regime, but it isn't. There are kids to feed, meetings to attend, clothes to wash etc etc. 16 hours per week, when you work full time and have a family, is a bloody hard goal to reach!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Yes, you have come to the right place

I just thought I'd try something new. Sorry if that's confusing for you old farts.

Stupid Blogger Spam system

After seeing complaints on other blogs regarding Blogger eating comments as spam, I finally had a look in my own spam bucket.

Hmmm. Quite a few comments from Rob somehow ended up in there. Along with a lot of advertisements from India for things I don't need. Ah well.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

No longer having to ride away from my own smell

Bike commuters come in two varieties - fast and slow. Those terms are relative - I refer more to the mindset of the commuter. Some go as fast as their body will move them; others meander along at a very leisurely pace. Flat out for me would be a leisurely stroll for an A grade weekend warrior.

Us flat out types tend to sweat a bit. Or a lot. My handlebars were getting really slippery one morning last week; it turned out that my gloves were totally saturated with sweat, and they were slipping on the sweat that was squishing out of them. The sweat in turn had run down my arms inside my jacket. I read a nice little description of "breathable" fabrics - you can either get wet from the outside in, or you can get wet from the inside out. One is cold and wet, and the other is warm and wet. In winter, I prefer the warm and wet option, even if it does mean slippery gloves.

Sweat eventually means smell. It doesn't matter if I wash my kit every night - enough residue builds up over time to produce a rather nasty tang. It's worse in winter, funnily enough, as the clothes don't have an opportunity to dry out as they would on a stinking hot day. Instead, they fester.

I was at my wits end last week, and then someone suggested soaking them in baking soda. I had no idea how much to use, so I threw half a cup in a bucket of cold water and threw the kit in to soak overnight. Then I washed it all as per normal.

Amazing. No more stench. 

Friday, 13 July 2012

Bad behaviour

The missus and me enjoyed a good meal this week in a nice restaurant. It had most of the things you need for a good night out - enjoyable food, nice ambience, comfy seats (to avoid numb bum), drinkable plonk and a waiter that was half competent.

The staff working at the restaurant did their best, but there's not a lot you can do about your customers. By the look of the place (a lot of empty tables), they needed every face feeder they could get.

A family of five took up the table next to us. The parents looked to be in their late 40s/early 50s. Dad pulled out an iPad and spent the entire meal reading the paper, ignoring his kids and wife.

What a twat. The waiter should have covered it in soup.


Another day, another broken down vehicle on the Anzac Bridge. In the top left hand corner, there's an RTA traffic camera. I bet everyone in the control room was looking at this scene and yelling at the bozo on the monitor who was causing traffic chaos for thousands of motorists. I once saw a bloke run out of fuel in the middle lane just before the peak of the bridge - he didn't have enough juice to get over the hump, which would have allowed him to roll down the other side and off an exit ramp. The idiot then jumped out of his ute and ran across three lanes of traffic to borrow a mobile phone from a security guard....all so he could ring his boss (the owner of the ute) and swear at him for forgetting to refuel it the night before.

Out there in the darkness is the Harbour Bridge. It's sitting under that big cloud, which to me, looked like one of the spaceships from Independence Day.

Speaking of weird things in the dark, I was annoyed this morning that a car crash failed to happen. I was cruising down a hill at about 40 when White Van Man flew past me. It was on a narrow road - narrow enough that when buses are travelling along it, cars coming the other way have to pull over to let the buses past. White Van Man was in a hurry, and a roundabout was coming up. It's so easy to tell when they're in a hurry - he was snatching his way through the gears as he accelerated.

I hate White Van Man. They are the natural enemy of every other road user.

Coming from the right (with right of way) was a tradie in a ute. I hate tradies in utes almost as much as White Van Man. Both drive way too fast in the morning, and they tend to treat cyclists as road kill. I've had so many close calls with both types that if you armed me with something small and  handy, like a 9mm Hi-Power, I'd open fire reflexively as soon as I spotted either of them on the road.

I was waiting for the brake lights to go red on the van, but nothing happened. White Van Man kept on heading towards the roundabout at around 70 (in a 50 zone). Tradie in ute could see the van coming, but he also showed no signs of slowing, figuring that as he had right of way, White Van Man would stop.

Ha - sucker. That's  happened to me plenty of times. I'm in a roundabout, when White Van Man or Ute Man decides that the road rules don't apply when giving way to cyclists with right of way, and I have to brake hard and swerve to avoid a smash.

In the end, the Ute woke up the fact that White Van Man was in no mood to stop, so the Ute came to a screeching halt, skidding through the roundabout and just missing the back of the Van.

I just shrugged and went on my way, sorry that I had missed what would have been a very entertaining punch up.

The roads around The Rocks are being ripped up at the moment to lay more electrical cables. The result is traffic being diverted down the wrong side of the road by Irish lollypop ladies. Why are all the lollypop ladies Irish? Is this fall out from the economic crash in Ireland?

The people who laid out the cones weren't very generous when it came to marking the lanes. A fat arsed car, like a Ford, would be rubbing those cones along each side. That hasn't stopped the odd idiot from trying to overtake me in the morning when I'm riding through.

The cyclist above and me had a classic Irish moment this morning. We got to the last lollypop lady (having ridden down the wrong side of the road for some distance) and she waved us through. What she forgot to do was to direct us back onto the correct side of the road, so we kept on riding up the wrong side. We were too far gone when she shouted after us that we were going the wrong way. It took me a few seconds to decipher the accent, and by then, there was no turning back. The other bloke looked at me; we shrugged our shoulders at each other and pushed on, hoping no speeding buses were coming the other way.

Ah Cav.....you would have died if you'd been on the bridge with me this morning. As it was, I was just about dying of exhaustion. I spent a few moment admiring the shapely down tubes and curving forks of the lady above, and then she put the hammer down and left me for dead. I'm not used to that. Most female commuters are of the relaxed and non-sweaty variety, preferring upright bikes and lower speeds. The weekends are different - then the roadies and triatheletes come out, and the chicks are seriously fast. But not on weekday mornings. Getting blown into the weeds was a bit disconcerting.

Then again, if you put the two ladies in this photo on one end of a see-saw and me on the other, we'd about balance out.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


It's one of those nights. I smashed myself riding home tonight, racing a bloke that was a good 10 years and 20 kilos lighter than me. He made it look easy - I got home OK, but it's hit me hard now. I'm rooted. Utterly rooted.

Just for something different, I rode west on the weekend. I ride for about 90 minutes a day, but my commute is very stop-start. I go through brake pads like crazy. I clip in and out dozens of times. That makes me fairly good at a very specific style of riding. I'm hopeless on longer rides with not breaks, so it's good to head west rather than east. I rode for over 90 minutes and only stopped 3 times (for lights) during that time. All those stops were during short periods at the end of the ride, so I did about 80 minutes non-stop. The poor old legs aren't used to doing that, but they need it.

The only downer during the ride was the knob shown above, who slowly drifted further and further into the bike lane until he almost hit the kerb. Some drivers are just hopeless.

The rain has settled in this evening, and it was preceded by heavy fog this morning. At best, visibility on the hill tops was about 100 metres. I tried to take a photo in the pre-dawn dark to show how creepy it was. This is the best the camera could do.

It was lifting a bit by the time I got into town. Just as I went under the Harbour Bridge, I spotted this photo shoot in progress. Given the huge red light on the back of the bike being photographed, I presume it's going to be used in an advertisement for the rear light.

And that's about all I am good for. Rooted.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

One reason why the carbon tax is so useless

From here:

I’ve included the US emissions, because they show a very important point. If we were able somehow magically to reduce our emissions to their 1980 levels, that reduction would be offset by the Chinese gains in one single year. In other words, what the US does is meaningless in global terms.

The US economy is about 14 times larger than the Australian economy. If efforts by the US are made meaningless by Chinese emissions, how stupidly pathetic are our efforts to reduce emissions via a tax on carbon dioxide?


I had to re-learn an important cold weather lesson this week - when expunging the contents of your nostrils, be sure to aim your nose away from your handlebars. Enough said.

School holidays have started, so traffic should be light and fast moving. Not this week - there seems to have been a prang or a breakdown on the Anzac Bridge every morning, brining traffic to a stand still. When I'm travelling up hill at a much faster clip than the cars next to me, I know that something has gone badly wrong.

Sure enough, there'd been a bingle at the first exit. It's not surprising - some drivers don't realise until the last minute that the left hand lane exits the bridge, so you occasionally see a car swerving frantically to the right just as the driver realises they're about to get off the bridge too soon. And then you get the inconsiderate morons who don't want to queue up for the exit - they duck in at the last minute, ramming their car into any gap that exists. I don't know what happened this time, but I've seen tow trucks at this spot a few times this year.

A pelican enjoying the sunset. With a couple of little pelicans (I think). I didn't stop to look that closely.

I usually hit the road in the mornings around the same time as the airport curfew lifts. We're not directly under the flight path, but we're close enough to be able to read the tailfins as the planes line up to land. We've had patchy cloud some days this week, and I spent a few minutes one morning watching the lights of the aircraft as they emerged from the clouds. It was still pitch black on the ground, but the sun was up just enough to shed some light on the clouds. It was a pretty amazing sight. I guess you had to be there, shivering on the wet grass, to really get it.

Monday, 2 July 2012

I think winter has arrived

Crumbs - either I am getting old and the cold is starting to penetrate deep into my weary bones - or it's simply getting cold. I still haven't gotten organised enough to search through the garage to find my long fingered gloves, so my finger tips don't thaw out until morning tea time. Must be the impact of the carbon tax.

At least it's dry - so far. Rain is predicted for later in the week. I haven't had a cold, wet day yet. Warm and wet or cold and dry - but no cold and wet.

I nearly smacked into two cyclists coming towards me in the dark this morning. Neither had lights or reflectors, but they were perfectly "safe" because they were wearing helmets! Idiots.

Hmm. It's very cold, and I had a dangerous experience. Putting two and two together, I get "dangerous climate change"

I punched that into Google and searched the SMH site and was rewarded with 2,470 hits. Ben Cubby was using that term again today. Well, not so much using it as regurgitating it. Oddly enough, I had a look at the Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis page that his article was based on, and the word "dangerous" doesn't appear anywhere in the scientific reports. And neither does the phrase "climate change" appear anywhere in the report. It's just the cold, hard facts on how ice melts etc and how ice coverage is measured. I wonder how "dangerous climate change" slipped in there?