Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rainy Day Cycling

Not a lot of cycling done this past month apart from my ride into work and back. It's been cold and wet but I've had a dream run on my commute, not even needing to don a raincoat yet. 

My days off looking after my daughter have been quite another matter. Long cold rainy days with no prospect of a quick trailer trip to the park or riding on the street. 

To beat the boredom and stay warm we have been heading to the garage to race our bikes around my car. You couldn't do this on a normal bike, there's just not enough room, but the A-bike is perfect. It takes nerves of steel to pilot a 6 inch wheeled bike at high speed on the slippery concrete floor whilst a two year old is trying to t-bone you at every opportunity. God knows what the neighbours think... manic bell ringing, shrieks of delight and the roaring of "bike monsters" can be heard echoing up the street. We really have a good time together and get some exercise as well.

The self-portrait taken while riding a bicycle is known as a "Panda" in Flickr circles. I may well be the first to pull it off successfully on an A-bike without requiring hospitalization. It handles like a two wheeled office chair on ice at the best of times.

This cracks me up. When I pulled out the Bickerton for a pre-race tune-up I put it upside down and grabbed a rag and a stool. Carla then flicks her trike upside down, steals another rag and found a block of wood to sit on. Bike obsession at 26 months old, I'm so proud!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The best $149 I've ever spent

Trailer Panda
This bike trailer has been so useful and was really cheap. I don't often say that about bike accessories in New Zealand.

A trip to the shops or to the local playground becomes an adventure not a chore. The handling is unaffected and you can barely tell you are towing it at all, just a little extra weight going uphill.

Carla and Dolly are captured here at high-speed, heading downhill on wet grass with road tyres and cantilever brakes.

You can't say I don't live life on the edge.

The Nasty Evil Bike

That's one ugly evil bike!
A cross between Darth Vader and a run-away chainsaw

Those of you who browse through my Flickr photos will be familiar with this beast. It was my first mountain-bike and was raced for 3 or 4 seasons in the early 90s. I did several painful (metric) centuries on it and it's now my commuter "beater" as the Americans say, complete with electrical-tape paint-job, fenders and a rack borrowed from the Pug. 

I call it The Nasty Evil Bike because it has tried to kill me on more than one occasion. The steering is lightning-quick and it is a real handful off-road. You don't get a chance to catch a front wheel drift or a locked-up front tyre, it just slams you into the ground! 

On the road it's more manageable as long as you don't take your hands off the bars or start relaxing. I have tamed the handling somewhat with the fitting of Schwalbe Marathon 2.0 tyres. They provide some relief from the too-stiff solid gauge aluminium frame and grip wet or dusty roads much better than the 1.5 slicks I used to have on there. 

Despite the physical and emotional scaring this bike has left me with I am quite attached to it. It has proven unbreakable and is doing a great job hauling me to work and lugging Carla around town in the trailer. 

With the suspension seat-post off the Pugsley it's pushing 35 pounds, which is laughable for a fully rigid aluminium MTB, but I just might keep it for another 15 years.

Not exactly the Iditabike

It's been in the family over two years now and I still love this bike to pieces. It hasn't lost that new bike allure and always makes riding fun. 

This afternoon I was cooking dinner and it was tasting a bit bland. I had half an hour to pick up some zing from the local supermarket and get back home before the kids arrived from school. 

Pugs to the rescue...

If I go by road there's a big hill in the way, but as long as it's not high tide I can ride from bay to bay along the beaches. Errand running doesn't get much better than a sunny ride along the beach in the middle of winter. I was back home and had the bike washed and dinner rescued before the family arrived.

Back from the beach
Pugs resting after a post-beach hose down