Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pugsley Ramble on the North Shore

I've been feeling a bit guilty about the lack of local vistas in my posts lately. The inspiration that got me started on this blogging journey was the wonderful scenery on Doug's cycling blog up in Minnesota. 

My posting has turned out to be a sporadic diary of my cycling life when I think there's something people might be interested in. Lets face it, my routine of bicycling to work, school and the shops doesn't change much from week to week. I guess you're not too interested in commuting, unicycles and kids so I made the effort this weekend on a four hour training ramble to get my camera out and snap some of the places I ride often. 

I had to go to Albany to get my bike safety-checked for my big race this weekend. The salesman at Avanti Plus North Shore (Cycle Store) glanced at it for a fraction of a second and said "Where do you want the sticker?". I guess they can spot the kind of bikes that are showing neglect, but I did expect a bit more attention than that after a half-hour ride to get there. 

I stopped at my LBS on the way to order some skewers for the Cross-Check build and a spare tube for the Pugsley. I had my first flat tyre in three years of Pug ownership last weekend and I don't want to be left stranded, out in the middle of nowhere on a volcano in the harbour. 

It wasn't really a proper flat. We had just arrived at the forrest for some trail-riding and the valve-stem had separated from the tube while in the back of a friends truck. I have heard about this happening with the low pressures we run but thought I would be OK as my tyres tend to self-glue themselves to the rim with the adhesive at the edges of the wide Surly rim-strips and I didn't think they shifted under load. You live and learn. I think I'll run them above 10psi for a while and see how I go. That will get me through all but the softest of sand. 

While in Albany I explored around looking for some gravel (dirt) roads to ride but although this area was "the country" not that long ago all I found was sealed roads and million-dollar homes. The traffic was light and I was enjoying the riding all the same so I eventually made my way across to Long Bay and started hopping from bay to bay on my way home. I usually ride on the beach as much as I can but I tackled plenty of inland hills this time to give myself a bit of a work-out.

Climbing up Gills Road out of Albany looking for dirt roads.

The highest point heading towards the coast. That's Rangitoto (look for it in other shots) in the distance. A dormant volcano in the middle of the Waitemata Harbour, just across the water from my house! That damned volcano haunted me all day and is the location of next weekend's epic race.

Developers want to build housing on this land behind the beach at Long Bay. There is much opposition and it will be a real shame if it happens.

Climbing out of Long Bay on the cliff-top (walking) path.

Waiake landmark. The Pugsley makes stuff ridable that you would be walking on other bikes.

Waiake (Some call it Torbay). Quite muddy sand but popular with boaties and swimmers when the tide is in.

Waiake self-portrait. This could have ended badly and people were watching.

Browns Bay. Big, but pretty scungy. I don't know why it is so popular.

Sampling the local Baker's Delight at Browns Bay. Apple, walnut and cinnamon scroll. It was divine.

Rothesay Bay. Looks nice but smelt really bad. I like riding down into here from Browns Bay because on the way out you ride up one of the biggest hills on the North Shore. I like hills!

Murrays Bay, home of the local sailing club. If you view large you can see dozens of children out racing in the harbour.

Mairangi Bay. A lovely day but nobody swimming for some strange reason. 
(View large for impromptu brown-eye)

The author riding along Campbells Bay, the last beach heading South before I ride up the hill to home and a nice cup of tea. I can see the beach from my house.


Mel said...

Nice photos... it has me itching to ride. :)

Lol at the IRB photo with brown eye!

Hey, have you tried talc in your tyres to help stop the tube sticking to the tyre?

And lastly, good luck for the Dual next weekend. I look forward to the post-race post.

Antoine said...

Thanks Mel.

- The brown eye: I wondered why her parents were staring at me, didn't realize she had wandered into the shot!

- I always use talc.

- I'm taking my camera but from past experience I won't get many shots in during the race. Too hot, bothered and exhausted to take off my Camelbak and get the camera out.

Doug said...

I've never heard the term "brown-eye" before. Now I'll never forget it after enlarging that picture to see what you were talking about.

Nice to see a picture post of one of your rides. Good luck with the volcano!

Antoine said...

Thanks Doug, I've just got back from the island and I'm absolutely shattered!

I did stop to take some photos so when I have recovered I'll throw up a race-report.

Ha ha, flashing a brown eye... probably a British expression. What do you guys call it? Mooning?

Doug said...

Yes, mooning is the only term I've heard in my part of the world.