Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who rents bikes?

Tramp's singlespeed outside the Auckland Public Library

I took my boys for a bus ride into the city centre on Sunday. We cruised around the art galleries, went to the library, checked out all the public sculpture, ate junk food and loaded-up on ice-cream. We had a good time despite the cold rainy weather. 

I'm not a public transport user and was pretty impressed with our new bus route into the city over the harbour bridge. It's a separate two-way bus lane for most of the way and is not affected by the congestion on the motorway. I wasn't however impressed with the expense. It cost me something like $18 for 1 adult and 2 children and it's only a 10 minute ride. I would have used about $5 petrol if I had used my car, but finding free parking in Auckland is a challenge.

$3 per hour or $15 for 24 hours. I think you pay with your phone somehow.

The photo above is taken on Auckland's Queen Street. The main street that slices down the centre of town. In the past year or so these hire-bikes have been available but I have never seen anyone actually riding one. Auckland City is a cold, wet place in winter. It's a hilly and dangerous place to ride around and although I applaud any cycling initiative I just can't see this business making money. I think over summer they might get some customers, but it's never going to take off. I wish them luck all the same.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fenders Rock!

I put some SKS fenders on the commuter bike 6 months ago and last night was the first time they've been used in anger. I've had a dream run in a typically rainy Auckland and apart from wet roads and a bit of drizzle I've managed to dodge the worst of it. That's until Wednesday night. Wednesday night it bucketed down.

What a difference they make. My back and bum were bone dry and my feet only got a little damp (despite wearing sandals!) because I was crashing through every big puddle I could find to test them out. A home-made mud-flap on the front should fix that, my next project. 

I remember riding my ten-speed in the rain to high-school in the 70s. The objective was to get as wet as possible and the ultimate was to soak people walking on the footpath as you rode through the torrent in the gutters. You didn't seem to mind sitting around wet all day when you were 13.

The Nasty-Evil-Bike sits outside the front door awaiting garage access

When I got the bike in the garage at home I noticed masses of grey sludge on the top of my rims. It looked like mud, but I soon worked out from the blackness of the braking surfaces my brake-pads had been dissolving on the mostly downhill run home. These are 15 year old MTB rims and they are rough as hell and almost worn-through. Little bits of aluminium occasionally come loose and embed themselves in the pads which makes a horrible scraping sound until I dig them out with the tip of a knife.  The wet weather braking is as good as the discs on my Pugsley but I'm a little nervous about a "catastrophic wheel failure" at an in-opportune time. Time to learn wheel building I feel.

Dissolved brake-pad and rim

Thursday, July 3, 2008


My online auction buy of the century! 

I've lusted after XTR for 15 years but have always been to sensible to pay the big dollars for it when XT or LX works just as well. I guess dollar reserve was not such a good idea for this guy. He told me he recently paid $200 for it.

*That's one New Zealand dollar, which is worth approximately nothing.