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To Elwood, Quickly
Capital City Trail
Jobs I Don't Want
Anzac Day
Another Puncture
One Thousand Miles
Lysterfield Kangaroos
Lysterfield Racecourse
Good Friday
Happy Birthday!
Sun Apr 29 17:17:42 2007

To Elwood, Quickly

fifteen point eight miles per hour

After a pleasant excursion by motorcar to Williamstown together, I grabbed my bike, put my nose on the bars and dialled in the pain. 23 miles in a little under 90 minutes. Not that I was counting. Ahem.

There was some sort of event at Yarra's Edge. This shiny red helicopter was parked right on the quayside. You can see our flat in the background.

Red helicopter Shiny. Want.

As I approached St. Kilda at ludicrous velocity, this little boat was sailing inside the pier. She must have a very shallow draft. I've seen kiteboarders run aground here.

Sailing boat, tan sails Can you see the bottom yet?

For my next trick, I'm going to drink all the beer. I've earned it.

Sun Apr 29 17:08:24 2007

Capital City Trail

Melbourne circumnavigated

We cycled the whole Capital City Trail together yesterday. The full account is in the other place. I took a couple of pictures too:

Picturesque stream Brook, bickering. No coots.
Picturesque stream Brook. Still bickering. Also, 'hern' is not a word. Thank you for your consideration.

It took us a little over two hours to do 18 miles. Comments have been made about performance. At some point I'm going to have to give it a go at nosebleed pace.

Sun Apr 29 17:00:25 2007

Jobs I Don't Want

window cleaning

I strolled out of the bedroom the other morning to be greeted by this:

Window Cleaners Don't look down.

I'm not sure who was more surprised.

Wed Apr 25 17:11:16 2007

Anzac Day

Trails again

Today is Anzac Day - a public holiday across Australia. The weather looked good, so we loaded up the bikes and headed over to Lysterfield. We arrived about noon, and the car parks were almost full. We started out together by doing the singletrack around the lake. After five miles of that, Sensible People had had enough. We parted ways by the car, some of us seeking a secluded spot by the lake for some reading and photography, others to do silly things on the trails.

I was taking it fairly gently up Middle Buckle Trail, enjoying the scenery and looking forward to the more challenging bits when a rider coming down the trail misjudged an obstacle. He executed a textbook faceplant from a height of about two metres. Impressive. I stopped to check he was OK. Cuts and grazes, but nothing serious broken on him or the bike. Once he'd recovered a bit I continued with my ascent. I had a lovely ride to the top, a reasonably quick descent of Middle Trail and climbed the mountain with fuel to spare (behold the mighty power of breakfast). There was no-one to applaud my masterly ascent of the switchbacks, nor to witness my fearless execution of the fast traverse section. Halfway down the berms, there was a potential audience. He'd entered a tight turn with a bit too much enthusiasm and had slid impressively across the gravel, leaving sheets of skin in his wake. The poor chap wasn't feeling very well at all, so I stayed with him until he'd calmed down, then rode slowly with him back to an area that, while not exactly civilization, at least had other people around.

Feeling pretty good, I opened a large jar of the quickly, and finished the last few miles of the circuit as fast as possible, allowing for pedestrians, children and slow riders. 1h9'36". It would have been a lot faster if I'd left them both bleeding on the trail.

Sun Apr 22 20:35:25 2007

Another Puncture

number seven in an infinite sequence

The Big Dry is showing signs of breaking. It's been pissing down for two days, the roads are covered in puddles and it's cold - around 20C. That's my excuse for staying in yesterday, anyway.

My plans were slightly foiled today when it stopped raining for a bit. My two-hour whiny stream of reasons why I had to stay in did not have the desired effect.

Up towards Moonee Ponds, east towards the zoo, and on around the Capital City Trail. There was one dude who had a large jar of the quickly. I was on his wheel as we approached a short, vicious climb. I had a gear selection malfunction, and my spirit nearly broke as he strolled away. Nil desperandum. I can absorb astonishing amounts of pain when my ego is on the line. Nose to the bars, mouth wide open, and binding carbon to oxygen as fast as I can, I grind him back in. After a few hundred metres, another hill is coming into view when he says 'You can pass, if you like'. How kind. Once I'm past, he turns off. Self.ego++.

Past Dights falls, up to the top of Studley Park Road and back towards the city. Captain Smugness here is happily pottering along the cycle path (ignoring the two roadies who might, hypothetically, have passed on the road), passing people left and right at ridiculous speeds, when I hear the familiar 'pffft'. Front tyre deflates, I stop just before I'm riding on the rim. Fortunately, I have a spare tube. As I fix it, various roadies, recreational cyclist and children with stabilisers pass me. Do. Not. Like.

A Puncture along the Yarra Bicycle, dismantled

So I took the long route home. 30 miles. 50kms. Two hours. Can't walk any more.Have a sunset.

Hazy sunset Yet Another Gravitationally Bound Thermonuclear Reactor.
Tue Apr 17 20:25:31 2007

One Thousand Miles

and two crashes

Earlier this week (Tuesday, possibly), the odometer on my cycle computer ticked over the 1000 miles mark. Well, actually, it ticked over the 2200 mile mark, but I did 1200 miles with it on my old, stolen bike.

So, in six months its done 1 million, six hundred thousand metres. It's had two crashes, one serious (when The Sensible Cyclist discovered the capabilities of hydraulic disc brakes), and one trivial (where I discovered a hard limit of the front end grip). Its nearly run over two snakes, seen lots of kangaroos and done many, many trails.

Almost immediately after reaching 1000 miles, the computer battery failed. I was not entirely successful in identifying which of the two batteries needed to be replaced on the first guess. Once my superior intellect had narrowed the field down a little, I had a spot more luck. Unfortunately, the RAM is volatile, so it's lost all memory of the previous epic distance, and I'm starting my next thousand from scratch.

Sat Apr 14 18:46:38 2007

Lysterfield Kangaroos


To Lysterfield Lake Park again. The More Sensible cyclist was persuaded to have another go at some singletrack. We swooped along the lake circuit track to the dam, pedalled (or pushed) up Snipe Track and headed into the forest. After doing the whole Blair Witch track, Enough Had Been Done, so we rode back to the car around the main lake track.

While others found a quiet spot for some relaxation, I headed off on a full 20km circuit. About a third of the way round I started to notice a profound lack of breakfast. Halfway round, at the switchbacks, I was feeling pretty miserable. I would have given up and come home, except there were other riders to chase down and pass. I knocked off one on the climb, one on the steep descent and a two more on the fast traverses. Smug.

As I hacked back up the Blair Witch track, I was overtaken (well, crossed, really) by a couple of kangaroos. They stopped right by the track, less than ten metres from me, and had a nibble of the greenery. A few of minutes later another one arrived. They were all females, carrying young. I was starting to get a little bit apprehensive - surrounded by large, territorial wild animals. Herbivores or not, they can dish out a serious kicking.

Then Daddy turned up. He loped onto the path right behind me, stopped and gave me a serious optical inspection. He was twice the size of the females and, critically, bigger than me. Discretion being the better part valour, I snapped a couple of shots and hared off with some enthusiasm. He didn't chase me. The photos were ruined by camera shake.

The only decent picture I got was of the first two:

Two kangaroos at Lysterfield Boing.
Mon Apr 09 22:10:13 2007

Lysterfield Racecourse

seventy five minutes - whoops

As has been reported elsewhere, I wasn't able to climb any hills yesterday. Sadness. Rattiness, too. Not becoming. Apologies, etc.

So, today, we went back. Nobody, anywhere, ever, had such a wonderful partner. The only quid pro quo was that I had to fix a small electrical problem on the Toorak Tractor. On Easter Monday. In Melbourne. Fortunately, my google-fu is strong.

So, suffused with excellent in-car entertainment we risked our lives once again in a traversal of the Domain Tunnel. People would rather die than let someone change lane here. Really.

The Sensible One had left her bike at home. She pottered off with her cameras, while I hared off along the trails. I could bore you with tales of obstacles surmounted, riders humiliated, records broken and glory won. I shan't. Except? Up Buckle Trail (all three) , down Middle Trail, up Red Gum, across to Trail6, down to the Blair Witch. All on the Big Ring. Boo Yah.

Some pictures: First, panorama from the top of the switchbacks.

Lysterfield Yes, I stopped at the top.

Halfway up the switchbacks, these dudes were demolishing a tree. At first glance I thought they were eagles. Huge things, black feathers and a wingspan like a 747.

Huge black parrots Tree, being dismantled
Huge black parrot airborne The path is 1.5 m across here

Later, in the city

Prat, in profile. Notice the total focus on bike control.

Some People are indicating that I should stop bragging about how rarely I get passed. Suggestions are being made. Hints dropped. Racing has been proposed. My poor little ego is in conflict.

Fri Apr 06 15:21:12 2007



Forced to make our own entertainment, we saddled up and headed south around the bay. The sun was shining and the headwind was, unusually, below force eight. Beyond St Kilda there is a lovely section of trail along the beach which The Less Obsessed Cyclist hadn't seen before. We went almost to Brighton Marina before turning back.

In Westgate Park I turned off to hare along a section of singletrack. I entered a tight corner to a sharp climb with a little more kinetic energy than usual. The bike turned in a bit sharply, so put on a fraction more power to correct. Maybe a tad too much, in hindsight. The correction had me hurtling towards a tree. Power off, brake a fraction, rear end slides out wheeeee crash. No visible damage to the bike, slight graze to the elbow. No witnesses. First proper crash in over 1000 miles. I'm obviously not riding fast enough. We'll fix that as Lysterfield Park tomorrow.

Fri Apr 06 11:27:10 2007

Good Friday

Australia Closed

Up betimes and off to the market, with the intention of gathering provender for the weekend. Market closed. Poot. Back home, stopping to pick up some coffee. All three coffee shops closed. Double Poot. Back home to check supplies. Coffee, check, milk, nope. Out to convenience store. One litre of milk available that meets requirements. No change for a fifty bar. Triple Poot. Back home, scrabble some coins together, downstairs, buy milk, stop by booze shop to save another trip. Booze shop closed. Quadruple poot. Home. Eggs. Bread. Coffee. Success.

Much more of that and I'd have nailed someone to a tree.

Tue Apr 03 19:41:07 2007

Happy Birthday!

no bunyips spotted

Yesterday was someone's birthday. Presents were, well, presented, and we hared off to Bunyip State Park. It's huge, it has miles of unsealed roads and there was a marked shortage of bunyips.

The Toorak Tractor had its first real experience with off-road driving. This was not entirely intentional. Ahem. Fortunately, it turns out that the car is better off-road than the driver, which was just as well.

After an hour or so we decided that one bit of forest looks much like another, and moved on to the main entertainment - booze.

The cellar door at Healesville Wine Company was friendly and welcoming. The showed us the wine in barrels, with fermentation still in progress, and took us through their range, including a 2007 Chardonnay, bottled about a week ago. Because of tractor-piloting responsibilities, I could only sniff. The Birthday Girl made the most of the opportunity, and we ended up with a case of it. I suspect the adorable platypus logo was a factor.

Also, Happy Anniversary. To those of you to whom it applies.

email BurbleChaz

Last modified: Thu Aug 31 22:46:12 AUSEST 2006