Tag Archives: commuting

Happy New Year

Dear Rouleurs,

This is my  last blog for 2015.  At the start of the year, I set myself a goal to ride 5000 km before 1st January 2016. Despite illness and a couple of really enjoyable holidays I was able to achieve this easily.  I’m actually pretty chuffed. The grand total was 5947.39 km from 432 individual rides.

So this my ride log care of my GPS ->2015-Bikelog

And this my monthly ride total -> November and December were great months.

2015-KM-by-Month-01

As I have a fetish for charts here’s another 2.  This time its my weekly total below,

2015-KM-by-Week-01

and ‘worm’ charts showing progress to target.

2015-KM-by-Week-02

Woo hoo…I’m off to a barbeque.  Happy New Year, see you all in 2016.

Marv

Melbourne City’s Cycling Plan

Dear Roulers,

Occasionally, I’m prone to having a winge about why Melbourne Councils and the Victorian State Government don’t do more to encourage people in inner suburbs to commute to work.   The other when I was doing a search for cycling infographics I stumbled upon this -> http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/AboutCouncil/PlansandPublications/strategies/Pages/Bikeplan.aspx

I have to say was impressed.  However, the current plan finishes 2016 and the Council have commenced seeking engagement and feedback on the next plan for 2016-2020.  All I can say is get involved -> http://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/projects/draft-bicycle-plan-2016-2020/

Any way here’s the current cycle plan’s infographic and I think its pretty kewl.

See you on the roads.

Marv

20150608-MelbourneCyclingPlan

 

Marv’s Law of Bicycle Punctures….Revisited

20150602-RearTyrePuncture-banner

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Dear Roulers,

I had intended to write a wrap up of the Giro 2015 and list of where all the surviving Australians placed.  I will digress briefly to contgratulate Luke Durbridge for his second place in Stage 21.  However, this blog is about the new clause I’m adding to my eponymous law of bicycle punctures.  For the record this is second one in 3 weeks.  Its winter, its wet and there is all sorts of crap on the roads at the moment, so therefore its not unexpected.

So this morning I’m keen to do a medium paced, for me at least, 30km. The conditions are cold, wet and windless, in other words perfect for an early morning ride. I set off slowly, I’m still getting used to the SPD-SL clip in-action.  They are super-slippery in wet conditions.  I arrive at the second most irritating traffic lights in Port Melbourne, on the corner of Beaconsfield Parade and Pickles St, when I notice that horrible ride feeling of quickly deflated rear tyre…..sigh.

I’m still a bit sleepy and still warming up.  Consequently I’m mildly annoyed, however as I said before, its not unexpected. After a fit of the fumbles I managed to swap the inner tube over.  I start pumping air into the tyre when I realise …horror… nothing is happening.  I recheck the pump and its seal on the valve.  Then I realise that my new replacement tube has a faulty valve and that I do not have another spare or a repair kit.  Now I’m cold and really irritated.  I trudge back 1.5km back to my house, no doubt mangling the SPD-SL cleats.  I have no choice.  Its this or bare foot which on a wet, cold morning was unthinkable.

So lets go back to the law:

Clause (i) If you are going to get a puncture, it will be at most inconvenient time – Tick -> early morning was very irritating.

Clause (ii) It is inevitable that you will have more punctures on your back wheel – Tick -> back wheel it was.

Clause (iii) It more likely that you will have rear puncture when you haven’t cleaned your rear running gear and/or are wearing new clothing – Cross -> I had just cleaned by gears and I didn’t have new clothing on.

Clause (iv) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when it rains – Tick -> Yep it had rained heavily overnight.

Clause (v) It is more likely that you will get a puncture and then have the weather turn bad with heavy showers making your machine’s parts that much harder to handle. Tick -> It was wet and cold.

Clause (vi) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when you are riding alone when there is no one to help you. Tick -> Yep, I was alone.

Clause (vii) It is more likely that you will get a puncture, if you are stupid enough to boast about never getting one.  Cross -> Nope, I never thought this or said it out loud.

Not bad validation so far, now for another clause,

Clause (viii) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when you have a dud spare, for example one with a faulty valve and no other way of fixing the puncture. Tick -> Yep, this was very F%&#king irritating.

Until next time,

Marv

Tips for cycling in Melbourne’s wet weather

20150425-WetBikeBanner

 

Well Roulers,

April has been a really crap time for riding and blogging. The combination of bad weather and an early Autumn cold has me off the bike and off my game. I wasn’t able to do the MS Melbourne Cycle weekend either.  Bother…

This morning was the first longish ride I’ve done since returning from holidays and it was a sodden and cold 34 km, with the last 7 km into a driving headwind. I don’t know how the Dutch and Belgians ride in these conditions in the lowland classics.  Breakfast at Balderdash has never tasted so good.

Notwithstanding a pretty slow and miserable ride it made me thing about my personal safety and what I should be doing while riding in the wet.  I figured that would be a good topic for an Autumn blog entry.  It is also revisiting a topic I wrote about back in August last year after seeing Chris Froome bow out of the Tour de France.

So here’s some on tips on wet weather riding:

  1. Your tyres only provide traction for one activity at a time: braking, steering or accelerating. Don’t risk losing traction by braking or sprinting around bends. Brake on the approach, flow round, ride away.
  2. Avoid riding through puddles, particularly if you can’t see the bottom of them. They could conceal shards of glass, potholes and slippery surfaces like painted lines or ironworks.
  3. Your brakes will be a lot less efficient in the wet, especially if you have rim brakes and are on very wet roads. This means your stopping distance in the wet is greatly increased so you’ll need to leave plenty of room to slow down and stop.  You may need to “pump” the brakes a little to dry the rims. In addition, don’t forget to give your brakes a really wipe to remove all the grit that’s splashed up during your ride.   An old toothbrush is perfect for this.
  4. A back wheel slide under braking can be controlled with practice.  However, a front wheel slide isn’t quite as easy to recover from.  So take it easy on that front brake and use more emphasis on the rear brake.  If you’re on very slippery surfaces keep pedalling while you use the back brake to prevent the wheel from locking.
  5. Drivers may have problems seeing through wet or steamy windscreens when it’s raining. This means you need to take extra care to be visible with front and rear lights on your bike and helmet.  Bright clothing high visibility clothing and pannier covers will also help.
  6. Pedestrians are doing their best to get where they’re going in without getting wet.  They may have rain hoods up or have visibility shielded by umbrellas.  This will means they may not see you coming so you have to be extra vigilant (and visible) and be prepared to avoid them.
  7. In low light, clear or yellow lenses for eye protection are critical. When riding in the rain, normal sunglasses cut out too much light and can make road obstacles hard to see.
  8. Warm and waterproof clothing will make you much more comfortable so you can concentrate on riding safely. Wear good gloves and overshoes as well as a waterproof jacket.  If you wear glasses consider wearing a hat with a peak to help keep the rain off of them.
  9. Newly laid tarmac may be greasy and slippery so you need to be extra cautious on new roads.
  10. If you’re a regular commuter consider fitting mudguards for the winter season. They will stop the spray into your face off the front wheel and the wet strip up your back from the rear wheel.
  11. Avoid these slippery things where possible: Painted markings, metal drain covers and manholes, metal studs and cats eyes, rainbow coloured oil splotches, wet leaves, wooden surfaces, mud.
  12. Even when running good tires, traction on wet roads is hard to come by. An easy way to increase traction on wet roads is to lower your tire pressure. A drop of just 5-10 psi could improve traction noticeably.
  13. When riding with others, it is best not to ride directly behind the rider in front as this throws up spray and grit. Also, stopping distances will be affected in the wet so it is best to keep a safe distance apart to avoid collisions.

See you on the roads.

Marv