Thursday, February 28, 2008

Salt water.

Headed out to see more water today, but this time not rain water.

Elroy came along for a look.

So close yet so far.

And picked up dinner on the way home..........

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ridin' in the rain.

As a result of poor planning on someone else's part I decided to take an early mark from work and venture out in the rain to check out the dam. Unfortunately it wasn't overflowing so there were no photo opportunities to be had. Instead, I focused on the some scenery and the Retard.

Harveys Range.

On the river bank.

On the dam wall!!

A bit of cyclocross on the forest paths along the river. Good fun while you're moving but not when you need to stop in a hurry!

You may notice something different about this photograph:

Yes, the handlebars are not perpendicular to the direction of the front wheel and the right hand pedal does seem to be buried in the mud. This is what happens when you are riding along blissfully and you notice that the cement path is a beautiful GREEN colour, but before your brain realises that green paths are very slippery, you begin to hear the sound of metal and skin sliding along cement for approximately five meters. Ouch! Lucky there's nothing on the bike to break!! And skin grows back!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


It's been blue skies for the last few days so I thought I'd head out to Stuart for a ride this morning. Bad idea. Even though the trail was beautiful two weeks ago, it's now terrible. Where it's not washed out and rocky, it's muddy and boggy. The rocks uncovered by the washed away soil are hidden by the overgrown weeds like boobie traps. But that's not the worst part, the worst part is the type of soil. I've been using eggbeater pedals for the last seven years and never had the slightest issue with mud shedding, until this morning. The soil is made of large and coarse sand that actually sticks to everything it touches. It crunches and grinds through your drivetrain and clogs up your pedals. After 20 minutes of riding and several offs, I decided to spare my drivetrain and my soggy sanity. On the way out I thought I'd better bathe the bike to rid it of the evil soil prior to the ride home.

So the ride turned into an exploration of the weirs along the Ross River.


A view I rarely see, the weir, looking back at the Riverview Pub.

And some before and after pics from the rain a month or so ago.

Monday, February 18, 2008


It's been pissing down for months now so I always ride with a fender on the back. It's funny how dry you feel as long as your arse is dry. I've been using a behemoth plastic mtb fender which rattles around and generally pisses me off. As a result I've been thinking about how easy it would be to build a fender that attaches to the brake boss on a fixie, considering the brake boss doesn't have a brake attached. Then one day I came across Fast Boy Fenders. So VERY cool. (He also has a fantastic flickr website showcasing his awesome photography, my kind of guy!!).

I was on the brink of buying a set, but lately I've been having guilt issues to do with how I just buying everything I want. I think it's No Impact Man's fault! Then I figured there was no reason I couldn't make one myself.

Twenty bucks worth of stuff later (and a google search on how to steam and bend wood) and I was well on my way to creating my first prototype. Cut, steam, bend, rest, drill, coat with Carnauba wax, make bracket and attach to bike.

Sure it's no where near as pretty as the real thing, but it's been test ridden through a few days of rain now and the wax seems to work really well to protect the wood; with the added bonus of keeping my arse dry!!

The obligatory beautiful-view-on-the-way-to-the-pub photo.......

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The herd.

It was feeding time at the ranch and they came from all around.

There was (from left):
- Fixie - Healing (Circa 1971) - Known as Betty Blue
- Fixie/commuter - Premier Cycles (Circa 1980's) - Know as Retard
- Fixie/track - Hillbrick with Miche drive train and Mavic Elipse wheels - Known as Racerboy
- Roadie - Cervelo R3 with Campagnolo Chorus and Mavic Ksyrium wheelset
- Roadie/trainer - Willier Triestina with Campagnolo Centaur and Easton wheelset
- Fixie/mtb/tourer/commuter/whatever - Surly Karate Monkey with Velocity Blunt wheels at the moment
- MTB (Singlespeed) - Ventana El Comandante with Middleburn singlespeed drivetrain and Industry 9 wheels.
- MTB (Geared) - Slingshot Farmboy with Rohloff hub.

And three Kings


Had a delivery come on Friday. Three hours later, after some heart in mouth head-set insertion moments, this is what resulted.

So what is it? It's a Slingshot Farmboy. Slingshot bikes have been around for years, but laying low for the last few. They re-entered the market and have built their take of a 29er all-purpose machine. Effectively, it's a soft tail mountainbike. It provides a bit of rear travel, with zero bob. The interesting part is that it stores energy in the spring situated underneath the headtube/toptube junction, and turns it into forward motion on the dead spot of your pedal stroke. (If you want a real explanation of 'Slingpower' visit their website)

The white fibre glass flexible board allows the bike to flex in the middle.

And the spring resists the flex, giving the feel of suspension and creating the Slingpower phenomenon.

We headed out on the maiden voyage this morning. I was very sceptical about the bike as I rode toward the Stuart trails. Foremost was the fact that there was some toe/wheel overlap which really concerned me, but there is also two cable mounting points on either side of the top tube that seem to be situated right where my legs like to be when they are pedalling. So with some trepidation I hit the single track.

All concerns soon became null and void. I think I heard my shoe hit the front tyre twice during the entire ride, and nothing happened. Nothing, just very short buzz. The cable mounts were almost unnoticeable. I will grind them off when I get the time but they definitely do not cause any issues.

Most importantly of all though, was the fact that the ride was fantastic! The bike felt like it had around 1-2 inches of travel, smoothing out the trail nicely and taking the edge off just enough to enable you to remain siting almost all of the time. Standing was a blast as you felt the bike soak up the trail on fast descents. Stuart trails are very technical and the bike handled all terrain very well.

One thing I did notice was that it felt as if I was riding on a flat tire sometimes. As if the rear wheel was taking a route of its own. Something that definitely needs to be experienced and is very hard to explain.

So within a space of two hours I went from very sceptical to being overwhelmed with how good this frame is. A pair of Fox F29s and this bike will be a fantastic enduro machine. (The bike is also designed to fit 32:20 gearing without the need for a tensioner!!!)

Then all that was left was to enjoy the compulsory curry chicken jaffles from the Stuart Snack bar Est. 1956.

The bike is - Slingshot Farmboy, White Brothers Rock Solid forks, Rohloff hub, Rennen Rolenlager chain tensioner, Middleburn cranks, Eggbeater pedals, Chris King head set (like there's anything else), Kenda Klaw rear tyre, Maxxis Ignitor front, Salsa Moto Pro bars, Avid BB7 brakes, Velocity VXC rims, Salsa 'Rasta' skewers, Thomson Elite laidback post and WTB pure V saddle.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sheldon's gone...

The internet is full of crap, in general. You can type a question or subject into the Google box, hit enter, and 0.0463 seconds later a list of subject matter experts, home reviewers and naysayers will flood your screen with misinformation or stuff to buy.
With one exception. Sheldon Brown.
Many a bicycle related argument has been settled by checking his site. Many backyard mechanics have been delivered from the deep depths of despair by having the intricacies of chain wear explained to them in layman's terms. All disciplines of cycling have swarmed to his site at one time or another. He was the man we could all trust to tell us the way it worked, how to fix it, how to set it up or how to just plain ride it.
I discovered him in the late nineties. When the interweb was just taking off, he had already established one of the most formidable resources on the net, something no-one ever surpassed.
Sadly Sheldon passed away on Sunday, after a long illness.
Without sounding trite, I'm sure the cycling world will never be the same.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Just downloaded a trial version of Photomatix. A program that allows you to combine multiple images of different exposures to create one image of more detail, or what is called a High Dynamic Range (HDR) photo. I could spew forth a pile of technical jargon but I'll let the pictures explain it for themselves.

The first photo is taken using the best exposure possible to get the greatest amount of information. The sky is too bright and the objects are too dark but it's a good compromise.

The second is taken with a shorter exposure. The sky is great but you can't see any boats or land.

And the final image is taken with a longer exposure, capturing the boats really well but the sky is blown out.

Combining the photos together and conducting some 'tone mapping' with Photomatix and this is what you get. Pretty cool for a first go.

And another one.

Once I pay for the key I'll be able to get rid of the watermarks created by the trial version. Happy days.