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  Saturday, 30 September 2006

7:35:21 PM    Comment []

"Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use "
Charles M. Schulz

8:38:55 AM    Comment []

  Friday, 29 September 2006

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9:55:17 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 27 September 2006

8:59:27 PM    Comment []

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8:35:08 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 24 September 2006

9:57:03 AM    Comment []

  Saturday, 23 September 2006

I went to Rabbit Island this afternoon to meet up with friends Mark and Pamela, and hopfully do some kite buggying. The wind did not eventuate however, so we amused ourselves throwing boomerangs, collecting shellfish (just had cockles and chips for tea) and some last minute bird photography.

This handsome little bird was swooping around the bridge at the entrance to Rabbit Island. I had to do a search when I got home to identify but I think it is a Welcome Swallow. Nice name.

This Pied Shag was nearby, drying his wings, while another was diving for fish.

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7:49:00 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 21 September 2006

You may remember the great golf ball grabbing game. Well, now I'm into another new and innovative sport. A twist on regular road cycling, fender slapping is best played when there's lots of traffic around, which makes it great fun while commuting. The object is for the cyclist to make firm contact on the metal panels of a car with the open palm of the hand, thereby alerting the driver of the vehicle to their presence. Obviously the game has evloved from the need for some drivers to be constantly reminded that they don't, in fact, own the road and in this country at least, they are obliged to share it with cyclists (equally).

Points are calculated by the area of the car slapped (some areas are worth more points than others), and multiplied by a driver reaction factor (like the difficulty factor in olympic diving).

Boot or rear fenders = 1 point
Front fender or bonnet = 2 points
Roof on passenger side = 3 points
Roof on drivers side = 5 points

The Rules:

  • Slaps do not count if cyclist is stationary. Cyclist must keep moving during and after manuvour; this is critical.
  • No slappings cars with learners 'L' plates displayed as these drivers have a legitimate excuse for poor driving.
  • Only slap cars which are being inconsiderate to other road users. Most often this will involve 'hogging' the road in some way but other offences, eg bad parking, could also warrent a slap.
  • Cars can be moving or stationary as long as the driver is present (in body, if not in mind).
  • Use an open gloved plam only. The object should not be to damge the car, but only to make a noise loud enough to wake the driver up.
I scored a rear fender slap this afternoon, on a car in the act of parking across the access to pedestrian path instead of one of several nearby empty car parks. As he reversed in I zipped through the gap, applied a clean slap to the left rear fender and informed him that it was "not a carpark". The abuse that was hurled back gave me a very high reaction factor.

There are only two little problems with my new sport. First, it doesnt really work on 18 wheelers. Second, it is very difficult, not to mention hazardous, to fender slap cars moving faster than 30pkh... which makes me wonder, if anyone has invented a bicycle with a paintball gun built in...

Disclaimer: Fender slapping is not an official olympic sport and could be considered dangerous. It will definately piss off some drivers, and scare the crap out of others. Kids, DO NOT try this at home (there's no traffic there).

8:01:19 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 19 September 2006

It's been a strange old day.

Got up late, got to work late. Nelson Kite Club committee meeting was on this evening so rather than make two trips into town (one for work and another in the evening) I 'glide' my working hours so I can go from work, to the meeting, then home.

Got rained on as I left work. That's fine... I had my rain gear so no big deal. It cleared just before sunset which made for some dramatic skies.

I rode into town, picking up a neat Geocache on the way. Here's the view from the cache site.

I then rolled down the hill into town and picked up a kebab for dinner with some turkish delight for desert. This I ate in the Queen's Gardens with a brave and hungry Thrush for company. With 20 minutes to spare I set off to the Kite Club meeting only to find that I must have picked up a puncture just before stopping as my front tyre was now flat. First time I've got a flat on the commute. Never fear, I had my puncture repair kit with me and by the failing light I fixed it, using the duck pond water to locate the leak in the tube. It took me about 15 minutes which isn't bad considering it was in semi darkness. Made it to the meeting 10 minutes late.

After the meeting the Xtracycle was quite the attraction amongst the other club committee members. Lots of the usual questions to answer about it. These things sell themselves.

I set off into the darkness for the final leg home. The sky had cleared but there was no moon. I actually really like riding at night. If it wasn't for the other traffic I could turn my lights of and ride by starlight. Coming up the only hill on the trip, the Gentle Annie, I got another puncture. Back wheel this time. What are the chances. Months of riding with no flats, then two in one trip. I was at the top of the hill, it was very dark and there was no water handy to test the tube for leaks anyway. I should carry a spare tube for situations where repair is too difficult; I will from now on. I walked the last 4 or 5km home. There was hardly any traffic so most of the way it was just me and the stars. I should have been hacked off and grumpy after such rotten luck, but I wasn't and I don't know why. Something to do with the silence...

I've just finished pactching the tube and just need to check it for leaks, pop the tire back on, and pump it up. Its 11.25, and I'll be up and back in the saddle at 6. I shall sleep well.

11:25:08 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 18 September 2006

And you thought my bike was long....

Snapped somewhere in Los Angeles, USA and found on Bitchinspin.

BTW its World Carfree Day on Friday (Sep 22). How about walking, biking, or taking a bus to work, or better yet call in sick and have a day off (without the car).

7:49:26 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 17 September 2006

The Maitai Valley this afternoon.

Devon looooves his xtracycle (a little to much).

10:55:26 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 15 September 2006

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This evenings sunset over Boulder Bank Drive.

Waiting outside the Hira Store for my fish and chips to be cooked, just 5 minutes from home. The Xtracycle is loaded with a weeks worth of groceries which I have just hauled the 15km from the supermarket in town.

9:20:59 PM    Comment []

Devon's 'Limo' is now sporting a snazzy looking, professionally upolstered snapdeck. Finishes of the bike very nicely don't ya think?

8:54:37 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 14 September 2006

Now there's a great rolling advertisement for Xtracycles. Devon's bike all stripped down exposing the bones of the Xtracycle frame extentsion, and mine all loaded up. I noticed a few rubber-neckers as we rode around Nelson this afternoon.

After reading this today, it ocoured to me, as I rode home with my load, that in some places I would be taken for a bike-bomber. Here in sleepy little Nelson though the assumption is more like, just another hippy 'trucking' his gardening supplies home.

8:33:39 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 10 September 2006

Finally, after a loooong relatively windless winter we got a steady northery wind all afternoon on a Nelson Kite Club meet. Rabbit Island Beach is the place to be in a northerly and this afternoon low tide was around 5.30pm. A least seven club members, including myself made appearances, with a couple of buggys, three landboards, and a stunt kite or two.

I finally got to really test out my 8.0m2 Rebble foil. It's the big yellow one in the pictures below. What a great kite! Bags of power, great wind range and almost inpossible to luff. It even kept flying when the 8.5m2 C-quads (previously my prefered light wind buggy kite) were falling out of the sky as the wind dropped at days end.

Between speed runs down the beach I stopped to take a few shots of the others...

Tim having a ball.

Tim and Caleb.

Ted trying out the 8.0m2 Rebble

The rear view of the 8.0m2 Rebble, my new favourite kite.

8:18:29 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 9 September 2006

Kaycee and I went for a bike ride up to the top of the valley this cool Saturday morning. Got to the top in just 39 minutes (just thought I'd mention that especailly for Briggsy). There are some old cattle yards, that haven't been used in years, near the start of the ride. Every spring they are full of dafidols.

Although she prefers to run up the hill, Kaycee doesn't mind the ride down in the freeloader saddlebag. Here she waits patiently while I stop take photos of flowers.

2:39:50 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 8 September 2006

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9:35:42 PM    Comment []

9:27:32 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 2 September 2006

With all the 'extra' commuting I've been doing on by bike since I got my xtracycle, I decided I deserved to be comfortable. I never realised what a poor fit my old bike was until I upgraded to a frame that actually fits me. My old green machine feels awkward and cramped compared to my new Bauer Hardline Xtracycle conversion. My credit card lies seriously wounded but it was worth it, and since I'm not forking out for desil, tyres, road tax, etc it will pay for itself in time.

One feature that really makes a difference, apart from the large spacious frame, is the seat post suspension. Rear suspension is always a comprimise as it soaks up some of the riders effort every pedal stroke and prevents a fraction of the power from getting to the ground. The seat post suspension gives me comfort without the sacrifice. It just soaks up those ruts and bumps that are common on the shoulder of the road.

Adjustable handlebars positions are also a good idea. I've also fitted an airhorn. It is delicously evil fun. At 115 decibel it s louder than your average truck and is a great way to let other road users that you're coming (or that they have just cut you off). And the best thing about it is it's rechargable. The bottle mounted of the front carrier rack can be pumped up to 80 psi with and ordinary bike pump which gives me around 70 half-second blasts before it needs refilling.

The first task for my new xtracycle setup, was to cart away my old bike....

(btw... I have to mention the fantastic service I got at the Stoke Cycle Center. I have used the services of several other local bike shops recently, but this is a business that really remembers the meaning of the word 'service'. Not only did they fit my Xtracycle at no cost, but the put my old bike back together, and tuned it. They transfered all my accessories like airhorn, carriers, bags and lights too. The new bike came with a service contract that gives me free servicing of my bike for the entire time I own it. And what's more, they remember your name. Highly recomend them to any locals buying a bike or looking for good bike servicing.)

10:40:16 AM    Comment []

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