Monthly Archives: May 2015

Richie Porte, Wheelgate and Emergency Repairs


Dear Roulers,

Not much seems to be going right for Team Sky’s Richie Porte at the Giro.  He has been docked two minutes by the race jury after he received an illegal wheel change from Orica-GreenEdge‘s Simon Clarke following his puncture in the closing kilometres of stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia.  Porte punctured with seven kilometres remaining and lost 47 seconds to the main peloton, despite the wheel offered by Clarke and the assistance later provided by GreenEdge’s Michael Matthews during the chase effort.  Man doesn’t that suck.    I wonder would that have happened between Aru and some other Italian rider?


Also is it my imagination or is Orica-GreenEdge giving him more help than his own team?….AND WHAT EXACTLY IS THE SKY RIDER IN THE FRONT OF THE PHOTO DOING?? Given that he’s out of contract at the end of this year, are GreenEdge sending not so subtle messages about which team he should ride for next year.  Time will tell.

Given Richie’s faux pas, it triggered some thinking on my part about what else he could have done to effect an emergency repair and then in general about emergency repairs.

Here’s my bumper list of emergency repairs you could do by the side of the road:

Split Tyre No tyre patches…no problem.  Wrap strong paper, plastic sheeting around the tube inside the tyre.  Wrapping tape around the tyre with tape or part of an old inner tube may help.  Remember to disable the brakes or remove the brake blocks, otherwise the tyre won’t spin freely.
No Spare Tubes You’ll love this.  Tie a knot in the tyre on the hole.  You may be able to inflate the tyre hard enough to be able to ride.  Plan B is stuff the tyre with lots of grass and spare filling such as paper.  This is hard to do and it may be more time effective to walk to help.
Broken Gears I wish has known this a few months ago….if you break the rear derailleur, shorten the chain and remove or bypass the gears.  This will result in a single speed bike. Riding will always be quicker than walking.
Snapped Gear Cable Thank God I’ve never had this happen…screw down the ‘high adjuster’ screw on the gear mechanism, so that the chain is one of the middle sprockets.  You should be able to keep going , especially if the front derailleur is still working.  If the front cable breaks, repeat the fix and put the chain on to the smaller chain ring.
Freewheel Failure I didn’t even know that this could happen…however, use zip-tie to secure the sprockets to the spokes of the back wheel.  Be really careful as you are now riding a fixed wheel track bike.  Be very careful applying the brakes.  Provided you are careful, there’s a really good chance you’ll make to assistance.
Cracked frames or forks Again if they are carbon or aluminium forget it…if its steel or titanium based you’ve got half a chance of bending it back into shape. If you cracks in your frame, again gaffer tape and strong pieces of wood may be enough to hold the frame together long enough to reach assistance.
Bent Rims Hopefully it goes without saying this won’t work with carbon wheels.   Emergency straightening can be carried out by standing on them or leaning on them against a gutter or manhole.  You’ll have to disable the brakes.  Toss the rim when you get home.
Broken Seat Post 2 fixes that you might be able to try, depending on where the break is on the post.  The most obvious action…drop the seat post until decent portion is in the seat tube, uncomfortable but doable.  Second, find a piece of wood or tree branch that can be jammed into the two halves.  Brace the saddle to the top tube or seat stays by using gaffer tape  or straps.

Hopefully you’ll never have to use any of these.

Until next time


What the heck does Isotonic mean anyway??


Dear Roulers,

On my recent Easter holiday I was laid low by a very nasty stomach bug. I’ll spare you the details, but it pretty much ruined my first trip to Kuala Lumpur. I didn’t eat any of the very nice chocolate my wife had bought until I came to Australia. I digress, back to the point of this blog, in the middle of a very average night I’m really dehydrated, I reach into the hotel minibar and find this weird drink called 100Plus.

I’m desperate, so I sip the drink slowly over the course of a few hours. It tastes bland and most importantly stays in my stomach. I look at the can and there’s some blurb about the drink being Isotonic. At the time I wondered what that meant and thought nothing of it.

About month later I’ve run out of Staminade. I’ve been buying the stuff for years as a means of having non-vile tasting liquid to drink whilst cycling.


At this point I’m putting in a shameless plug for Staminade being made here in Australia…how rare these days…and raise a 2 finger salute to another couple of US drinks ending ‘ade’.  I buy another container at local supermarket and I notice that word again ‘isotonic’….hmmm some little gears whirl around in my head….ah ha I’ve made a connection back to that awful night in KL. So what the heck is isotonic? And why is it important.

Enter the science of the sports drink as provided by Google….
The basic theory goes like this. Being hot and dehydrated is bad. I’ll dispense with the explanation. It should be self-explanatory.  Plain water will keep you hydrated not fuel your muscles. Research has shown that body will perform better if your drink contains some carbohydrate. But it mustn’t be too much, fruit juices and sugary fizzy drinks can dehydrate as the body uses available water to dilute them and enable the carbs to be absorbed.

So much to my surprise sports drink can belong to one of three categories: Isotonic, Hypotonic and Hypertonic. Essentially these words describe how rapidly the fluid and carbs are absorbed through the stomach.

Type of Drink Description
Isotonic Drink These drinks are said to be in balance with the body’s fluid levels and empty easily from the stomach into the bloodstream. They contain somewhere in between 5 to 8 grams of carbs per 100ml. Some have sodium to assist absorption. They can be consumed at anytime while cycling.
Hypotonic Drink These drinks are absorbed by the stomach faster than Isotonic ones, but this is achieved by having low levels of carbs. They are very useful for hot conditions, where you are working up a sweat. However as a long distance cyclist you must eat something as well to keep your energy levels up.
Hypertonic Drink These drinks are the slowest to be absorbed by the stomach. They have upwards of 10 grams of carbs per 100ml. They provide plenty of energy, but can hinder hydration, as discussed earlier. They are best consumed after cycling, possibly when you are too tied to eat food.

A word of caution…drinking strong hypertonic fluids can reverse the normal process of osmosis and cause diarrhoea. Think Greg LeMond, Tour de France circa 1986. Which brings me full circle to KL and the 100plus drink in the minibar. Ta da 🙂

Until next time


And of course I was wrong again….it was Michael Matthews

Dear Roulers,

The problem with making predictions is that are, at least in my case, more often wrong than right.  So this is me, fessing up and congratulating Michael Matthews for his big win last night in the Giro 2015 on Stage 3.










Although its way before the mountains, I would just like to point out how incredible it is to have the following GC result at the end of stage 3:

  • 1. Michael MATTHEWS, ORICA GreenEDGE, in 8:06:27
  • 2. Simon CLARKE, ORICA GreenEDGE, at :06
  • 3. Simon GERRANS, ORICA GreenEDGE, at :10
  • 4. Jhoan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO, ORICA GreenEDGE, at :10

Finally, there seems to be spate of dickheads on bicycles at the moment.  Last Saturday I had a guy on a crappy MTB riding one handed, holding a helmet whilst talking on his mobile phone, and riding in the bike lane in wrong direction.  Hopefully this man will be Darwin Award winner this year.  Unfortunately, he’s going to have some stiff competition from some dickhead on a fixie, who caused a massive crash when he joined the peloton in Stage 2, 10km before the end.

Caio for now


The lost art of team time trial or how Orica-GreenEdge won Stage 1 of Giro D’Italia 2015

Dear Roulers,

I have to say how much I’ve enjoyed the SBS coverage of the spring classic one day races. Clearly the standout performer this year has been this man, Alejandro Valvarde.

The Spaniard wins so many races that his exploits in the Ardennes sometimes go a bit unnoticed, but he fully lived up to his status as the favourite in all the races in 2015.

The Movistar rider just missed out on the Ardennes clean sweep, pipped on the line by Etixx-Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski in the Amstel Gold Race. But that minor blip on the palmares was recovered a few days later when he won Flèche Wallonne. Keep in mind that he’s the same age, 35, as the soon to be retired Bradley Wiggins.

However, the Giro d’Italia is now underway and again its Orica-GreenEdge giving other teams a lesson in how to do team time trials.  The Orica-GreenEdge covered the 17.6km course in 19 minutes and 26 seconds (54.3km/h average), seven seconds ahead of Tinkoff-Saxo and another six seconds faster than Astana.  That’s about 25km/h faster than I can manage along Beach Road.20150509-OricaGreenEdge-ChainGang-B







At the intermediate time check, 9.9km into the stage, the Orica-GreenEdge squad lead Astana by eight seconds. Much of the damage had been done by three of the team’s time trial specialists Luke Durbridge, Brett Lancaster and Michael Hepburn.  I have to say I really felt for the team’s specialist climber Esteban Chaves, who looked like a 12 year old, tailing behind the bigger Australians.  At 55kg, Chaves is 25kg lighter than the other guys and looked to be hanging on to the last wheel as if his life depended on it.

You have to wonder how practice these other teams put into the discipline of chain gangs and riding team races.  Most teams seemed to have formations that were at best untidy at worst disjointed. Mind you it helps it have Olympic team pursuit medalists in the team.Simon Gerrans Stage 1 Winner Giro 2015








Nevertheless last night was a great win for Simon Gerrans who has been beset by bad luck and injury for the last 12 months.  The final results for stage 1 were:

Stage 1: 17.6km team time trial, San Lorenzo al Mare – San Remo
1 Orica-GreenEDGE 19min 26sec
2 Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:07
3 Astana 0:00:13
4 Etixx-Quick-Step 0:00:19
5 Movistar 0:00:21
6 IAM Cycling 0:00:25
7 BMC Racing
8 Sky 0:00:27
9 Trek Factory Racing 0:00:29
10 Lotto Soudal 0:00:31

Tonight’s stage in the  Giro d’Italia is a 177km stage from Albenga to Genoa which has only one small classified climb and which will almost certainly end in a bunch sprint.  I reckon Simon might be turning up for a second maglia rosa later tonight.

See you on the road