Hugh Blemings's Blog

Hugh Blemings's Blog, A Diary and Miscellaneous ramblings

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    Sun, 02 Jul 2006

    Riding in and around Böblingen

    Did about 65km today, a loop out to the south of Böblingen taking in Holzgerlingen, Bebenhausen, Tübingen, Lustnau, Dettenhausen, Weil, Neuweiler and Schönaich before returning to my hotel. Nice detour on the way through Schönbuch nature park too. I've already raved about the riding here so shaln't again, some pictures if you're curious though.

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    Thu, 29 Jun 2006

    A nice problem to have

    I'm working at the IBM facility in Böblingen, Germany this week on the way to OLS via Austin. I brought my bike with me on the trip for the first time and it's been a delight to get out and ride around a bit at the end of the day.

    Having done a bit of a recce yesterday I rode in to work this morning. As someone accustomed to having to circle around a carpark to find a place to park it struck me as delightfully odd to have to do the same thing to find a spare spot to lock up my bike. Not through lack of cycle parking facilities just that so many people ride to work. The cycling facilities here are excellent and it's also the first place I've visited where it felt superfluous to lock up your bike...

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    Tue, 21 Mar 2006

    A Clarification

    In a recent post I intimated that Mikey had arranged for Jo to carry all his stuff in her back pack. Information received this morning suggests that this was in fact incorrect, it was Jo's stuff in her back pack, not Mikey's.

    I apologise for any confusion, consternation or upset this grave error on my part may have caused.

    /me hopes he won't be kneecapped now.

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    Mon, 20 Mar 2006

    Big Canberra Bike Ride

    Headed out this morning to ride in Pedal Power's Big Canberra Bike Ride. Quiet enjoyed it last year so was keen to support the event and head along today.

    Needed to be on the road earlyish to make the Lake Burley Griffin start by 8am - forgot to pre-register. Only notable on the ride in was being flagged to a stop while barrelling down Dryandra Street. Gentleman enquired if I had a pump, which I did, so gave a hand by pumping up his companion's tyres - seemingly bike hadn't been used for many months. Suggested some oil for the chain mightn't be a bad idea either - meant to be black not rust brown after all...

    Met up with the 'bent contingent at the start as well as Jo and Mikey. Curiously Jo seemed to be carrying all Mikey's stuff in her back pack, not quite sure what the deal was there. Trike wise I spotted five Greenspeeds (John, David, John, Peter {I think} and mine), as well as Peters suspension trike (forgot to ask what make). Alex and Bev were on their recumbent bikes as was Mike and his daughter on the 'bent tandem.

    Ride itself was uneventful - pretty easy 25km, the climb out of Yarallumla up to Forrest being the hardest bit. Once you made the top though you were rewarded with a nice downhill run on Melbourne Ave into the back of Parliament House - clocked bit over 54km/h down there :)

    Back at the start had a bit of a natter with folk then headed home, nice 55km all up for the day.

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    Mon, 13 Mar 2006

    Going downhill

    First, gentle reader, a confession. I have bought a bicycle. Yes, as a confirmed recumbent enthusiast I have recently been living a dual life sometimes puttering around on one of those two wheeled things that fall over when you stop. I've not yet had the heart to tell my Mob buddies, will have to fess up on Wednesday morning I guess.

    There were a couple of motivators for this - when riding with Rachael and Lu a bike is a bit more convenient, I can go where they go without having to worry about jumping gutters etc. I fancied a bit of a change too - the GT3 is lots of fun and very comfortable but having a MTB adds a new dimension to riding around. Last and by no means least is that my commute will eventually involve a fire trail.

    Got the bike from Trevor and the guys at Lonsdale St Cyclery who I can heartily recommend - very nice people and very knowledgeable.

    So on Sunday chucked the MTB in the back of the car before we headed out to Carwoola. The intent was to try to find a path through the bushland between Captains Flat road and Queanbeyan, hence avoiding having to ride down the very perilous King Highway. A friend of ours, Simon, was keen to come along which was cool - was nice to have someone to bounce navigational decisions off as we rode around unfamiliar territory.

    It ended up being quite a descent and I was very glad for having at least read a few articles on riding downhill on an MTB even if I hadn't actually done it before. Spent most of the time hanging off the back of the seat proceeding very carefully.

    Thankfully we avoided any spills, riding all but one section of about 30m as it was just too steep and rough, at least for my/our riding skills. I suspect if I start doing this at all regularly I may have to consult an expert...

    The hill thus conquered we rode into Queanbeyan and parted company there, 8km total over about 40 minutes. Shortly afterwards I had to stop in a side street for about 20 minutes to remove the bindis from my front tyre and fixing the associated puncture. Lady from the house opposite even kindly came out with a tub of water in case I needed to bubble for the holes. New tube did the trick instead but was nice to have the offer. Remainder of ride home was uneventful if warmish, only other stop was to get a couple more tubes and fill up water bottles.

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    Tue, 07 Mar 2006

    A well oiled machine

    Was out of town with work for the last two weeks of February so organised with Michael from Fuse to do a service on the trike. Wasn't anything wrong other than a frayed gear cable but 12 months was the recommended service interval (!) so was a bit overdue, probably doubly so with just shy of 4,000km on the odo :) I should add that I have actually being doing regular maintenance during that time!

    Michael kindly dropped it in to work for me on Friday so got to take it for a burn on the way home. Niiiiice. Everything was just snickety-snick, running quieter than I'd thought possible and put in a good time to boot. As they say, a well oiled machine...

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    Sun, 11 Dec 2005

    Riding in Rochester,MN, Again :)

    A work trip was once again going to see me in Rochester, Minnesota so I emailed ahead to Dave that I'd ridden with back in July to see if riding was an option this late in the year. He was keen so I made a point of packing my riding gear including several layers of thermals in anticipation of a chilly day.

    A few days out I checked to see if the ride still looked like a goer, I'd been keeping an eye on the weather courtesy of and figured it could go either way - it had been in the twenties (fahrenheit) for much of the week I was in Austin so was by no means sure that we'd be on.

    On the Saturday night I gave Dave a call and we agreed to meet at his place around half one in the afternoon. Turned out to be a glorious day - sunny for the most part but below freezing the whole time which for me was a real novelty. Dave once again kindly loaned me a bike and with a quick check of settings we were off.

    Riding in the snow is really something else - the roads had been swept so they were only slippery on the edges, rest of the time it was pretty much like riding in wet weather. We did a 30mi loop through similar territory to the earlier ride and the whole experience was quite special - snow makes everything quiet and no better way to enjoy it I think than from a bike/trike. To someone like me unfamiliar with snow it was a delightful experience, if a bit chilly.

    We took about two hours to cover the loop before returning to the suburbs, I had a few wobbly moments but was relieved to have no spills or even a need to put a foot down. My cold weather gear from Ground Effect did very well, though I'd have wanted another (3rd/4th) layer if we'd been out for longer, or in colder conditions.

    Dave made the rather wry observation that the average temperature for my rides in Rochester was now a pleasant ~60F on the basis of the two rides so far (100F for the first, 20F for the second)...

    Rest of my time in Rochester while brief was equally enjoyable, catching up with colleagues and getting some good work related stuff done too, but the ride was certainly the most unique bit!

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    Sun, 17 Jul 2005

    Riding in Rochester, MN

    Last weekend I was in Rochester, Minnesota and managed to go on two rides which was rather fun.

    I'd done a bit of googling and found the Recyclers, a mob associated with the Rochester Active Sports Club which looked promising. I visited a couple of bike stores and was able to get a bike through Rochester Cycling & Fitness - nothing flash just a hybrid/comfort bike. A few emails back and forth with the organisers of their Saturday morning ride and I was ready for the first outing.

    Saturday morning I met up with Jenniene and Rosemary who run the Hybrid Biking Group rides. We did a leisurely 15km ride around the bike trail network then had a coffee to finish up. Thus motivated I explored the trails for another 10km or so before returning to the hotel.

    I fancied doing a longer ride so did some more digging around the RASC website and found that there was a ride planned for the Sunday morning with options of 53, 68 and 87 mile routes. This alone gave me pause as I'd not done rides much over 70km (~40mi) before and these were all on the trike. I sent an email off to Dave who organises the rides and explained my background and riding experience to see if he thought I'd be up to it.

    Armed with the map of the route I decided to drive it and see what it was like. Looked promising, pretty flat and very little traffic. By the time I returned to the hotel there was a reply from Dave's which was most encouraging - he thought it would be fine and even offered to loan me a better bike. The latter being just one example of how welcoming the whole group were!

    On Sunday morning I rode my rented bike over to Daves to arrive at 7:30 and he got me set up with his "loaner" bike. Really nice bit of kit, carbon fibre frame, Shimano/Campagnolo components and even had a speed sensor installed that would work with my Polar HRM. Did a few laps around his street and confirmed all was well before we headed off to meet up with the rest of the bunch. Between Dave and I got some photos of proceedings.

    There were seven of us riding in total, very nice bunch of people and most helpful. This was both the first time I'd ridden a roadbike in earnest as well as in a bunch proper - much closer quarters than I'm used to from riding with the mob. The guys were very accomodating and patient, plenty of useful advice and a well planned route made for a highly enjoyable ride.

    We ended up doing the middle length route, some 100km or so. A number of snack/drink stops were most welcome, I think I went though something like 4.5l of water and about 1.5l of Gatorade. 30C+ temperatures will do that. Thankfully I'd bought some snack bars (nuts, sultanas etc.) which along with a banana purchased enroute helped keep the energy up. The roads were great, very little traffic, well maintained and fairly flat. Just enough hills to keep it interesting at the start of the day and provide for a few "are we there yet" moments in my mind toward the end.

    About six hours later I was back at the hotel, bit sore and dehydrated but elated, a great ride with a great bunch of people. Thanks guys. Figured a total of 130km for the day. Next time I'm gonna take the trike though, hence avoiding a sore butt as well as (perhaps) the ridicule of my recumbent mob mates for riding a wedgie :)

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    Tue, 05 Jul 2005

    Riding in Germany & UK

    While I was in Germany I rented a bike from a place near the hotel and went for a bit of a spin. I'd planned to do some riding while away so had brought most of my riding gear with me so basically just needed a bike. A small saddle bag and waterbottle bought from the shop did rounded things out.

    I ended up doing a bit over 40km in 2 hours and was just a great way to see the countryside. On the advice of the folk at the bike shop I rode up to a watertower above the town as a starting point, then found the Boblingen/Sindelfingen bike route which as I hoped turned out to be a nice loop from Sindelfingen to Boblingen and back.

    This was the first time I'd ridden in a new area let alone a new country while on business and it was just a blast. Was a delightful way to really see the scenery with far less pressure than when driving which, largely due to the whole left hand drive/right hand drive thing requires quite a bit more concentration than usual. Higher speeds obviously contribute too as it doesn't really do to be looking at the scenery at automotive speeds. Being on a bike on a dedicated cycle path allows a lot more comfort in just looking about.

    The following weekend I went to the UK to see family and friends and attend a family wedding (which was very nice, but I digress). On the Sunday evening stayed with a mate of mine, Roger. Roger and I ended up doing about a 15km ride around some traditional English country roads which was most pleasant. Even stopped at his local for a pint (or in my case a half :)

    Bit odd to be back on two wheels but not too bad. Missed the beach chair style accomodations of the trike though...

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    Mon, 21 Mar 2005

    Big Canberra Bike Ride - II

    Ride this morning was great fun - took a bunch of photos that you'll find here

    Pockettracker seemed to work pretty well

    56km all up for the day, since I'm on holiday think I'll have a little nap this arvo :)

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    Sun, 20 Mar 2005

    Big Canberra Bike Ride

    Barring anything majorly unforeseen will be riding in the Big Canberra Bike Ride tomorrow morning along with, I gather, several hundred other people. Should be fun!

    Pockettrack rig is behaving nicely so you ought to be able to follow my (our?) progress from about 7am tomorrow here.

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    Wed, 02 Mar 2005

    On the road again

    With apologies to the late, great, Willie Nelson and/or Canned Heat as you prefer.

    I'd hoped to get up early enough to join the Mob for the usual Wednesday morning ride but a broken nights sleep and lingering chest cold put paid to that. Was underway by 7:45 and arrived at the ANU in time to see Ian and Geoff at the Barry Drive lights. Helen and David were just leaving the Purple Pickle so had a chat with Helen as we rode on to Barton.

    Took it very easily - kept heart rate down to about 65%HRMax for whole ride as I'm still shaking the vestiges of said cold. Not too bad a time none the less, still under an hour. Man, it felt so good to get some exercise!

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    Sat, 19 Feb 2005

    The weeks riding...

    Great commute in on Monday then an even nicer one Wednesday as was able to meet up with the Mob for the customary ride then breakfast. Big turnout and was nice to see everyone after having to miss last week.

    Ian eschewed his "usual" GT3 for the morning and rode TriSled Gizmo which he's selling off - think it's a demonstrator/second hand but at $2,500 was very tempted as they're a nice trike. Sorta figured a present for Lu but decided appropriate to gauge her interest first. If you're after a trike tho, worth considering.

    Picked up some White Lightning chain lube from Ian and applied it that evening. It's wax rather than oil based and got good reports from a couple of other mobsters. Short ride with Rachael this morning was encouraging, cleaner and quieter shifts.

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    Wed, 26 Jan 2005

    Australia Day Spin

    Out with the mob again this morning albiet at the more sociable hour of 7am. Met up with Matt and his wife Leanne and headed off towards Lake Burley Griffin. Leanne was our official "diversity" representative on the day being on a regular MTB rather than a recumbent :)

    Rest of mob had already got underway so we went east along the northern shorline to meet them coming the other way. Larger group today - about a dozen or so - including Mike (not Peter as previously reported :) and his daughter on a tandem bike and Ian on his red GT3. Ian runs Flying Furniture who are another local recumbent dealer. Called in at the Australia Day festivities at Stage 88 then on to Civic for breakfast. Took the longish way home to total 46km for the day, feeling healthier than I have, well, ever!

    Put some photos up from last week starting here along with some from todays run.

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    Thu, 20 Jan 2005

    Out with the Mob Again

    Lovely ride again yesterday morning out with the local recumbent mob that I'd mentioned earlier. Much the same crew as last week, embarrassed that I'm still not good enough with names to provide a definative diff against last weeks roster. Different route saw us ride up from Lake Burley Griffin into Belconnen, over towards AIS then back to the ANU for breakfast at the Purple Pickle. Unfortunately I had to leave proceedings a bit earlier than I'd have liked to accomodate a meeting but an enjoyable run none the less.

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    Wed, 12 Jan 2005

    Meeting the "OzHPV_Canberra_Mob"

    There's a local recumbent Yahoo group/mailing list called OzHPV_Canberra_Mob with about forty members. This morning I was able to join their regular Wednesday morning breakfast run.

    Pre sunrise start to the day, met bje's brother Matt just near our place then headed down towards Lake Burley Griffin to meet up with the rest of the mob. Took a pic of the trike just before meeting Matt as well as a couple enroute. That's Matt on the bike.

    Met up with the mob - about half a dozen and proceeded on a 10km run around the western end then up the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin. Very picturesque, almost a magical feel with the sun still low in the sky. Even had to brake for a kangaroo at one point. As expected, everyone was on recumbents, all bikes except for myself and another rider on a Trisled. The Trisled belonged to Dave who kindly suggested some worthwhile improvements to my riding technique as we went along. He and his partner had recently returned from a 1000+km tour around France on their trikes. Neato!

    We proceeded around the foreshore of the lake past the National Gallery and High Court then on through to Kingston. The smooth concrete of the foreshore affording Dave a surface on which to demonstrate that trikes can indeed be ridden on two wheels. A manoeuver I am for now content to merely aspire to...

    We were joined by a couple more folk in Kingston at one of the local cafes. Combination of interesting conversation and a yummy and, after nearly an hours riding, welcome, breakfast rounded out the mornings proceedings. Took a quick photo of the parking area before we decamped to work. Very friendly bunch and, frankly, a delightful start to the day!

    Took it pretty easy on the ride home that afternoon as temperatures were over 35C/95F, still making good time (~55 minutes) All told some 45km for the day which puts me at around 270km since I took delivery.

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    Wed, 05 Jan 2005

    First "real" ride to work

    Rode in this morning, first time have done so for "real", that is as part of my normal commute. Good run in, took it pretty easy but still managed to make it in just under 50 minutes with an average speed around 22km/h - about the same as the best I'd ever done on the bike.

    Pleasant surprise while riding through the ANU was bumping in to Mikey. Stopped for a bit of a chat and checked out his Garmin trip computer. Looks pretty cool, and outputs NMEA sentences. Hmm...

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    Mon, 03 Jan 2005

    More riding

    Did about 40km today with a mate of mine, Cameron - he was on his MTB, I was on the trike. Took a run around Lake Burley Griffin, over to the IBM office in Barton to pick something up (which wasn't there) then sat in Civic for a couple of hours and had our customary Venti Mocha Frappaucinos. Hardly high-brow beverages (being Starbucks and all) but good for caffeine and sugar to get home :)

    Was the first longish ride I'd done with the computer set up, seemed to make good time overall and reckon was 5-10km/h faster on the flatter bits of the ride relative to being on my bike.

    Picked up a few odds and ends from Lonsdale St Cyclery including a bell for the trike (!) and new tyres and tubes for Lu's MTB so she can start riding again. Bumped into Cams brother and Dad while there so I didn't have to wrestle with transporting 26" tyres on the trike :)

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    Tue, 28 Dec 2004

    Nice ride / out and about

    Did about 40km all up yesterday on the trike, returned home at the end feeling tired but not sore apart from my feet which are still getting used to the shoes.

    In the morning met up with John, Gavin and Tanz and did a gentle ride from Melba into town then around Lake Burley Griffin (the Bridge to Bridge ride as it's known) This was my first opportunity to ride with others on the trike, my companions being on regular bikes. Gavin and John are quite accomplished riders - go out for a 80km warm up sorta thing. Tanz is certainly fitter than I am but still closer to my pace so we brought up the rear a few times. John had compatible SPD shoes so we swapped for about half a kilometre, he seemed to like the 'bent.

    Being with others really adds another (positive!) dimension to the whole experience. I found it quite easy to keep pace with the bikes and the bike paths comfortably allowed us to ride two abreast, two deep and have a chat as we went.

    After the run around the lake we stopped in Civic (Canberra's city centre) for a coffee as is customary for Gav and John. This was kinda cool as it gave me a chance to work out how to lock the trike up in "real world" conditions. In the end we were less than 10m from the bike racks but since I'm still getting into the routine was nice to practice. Caffeine consumed we headed back to O'Connor where we hooked up with the rest of the family.

    Later that afternoon I wanted to catch up with some friends who were having a few quiet ones at a pub near Lake Ginninderra. A few bemused looks as a I pedalled up and was again able to lock up the trike near where we were sitting. Craig and Rohan went for a quick spin, both returning with "Recumbent Grins". A couple of hours spent in good company and an uneventful ride home rounded out the day. Tired, but not sore.

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    Mon, 27 Dec 2004

    Trike Update

    My GT3 was delivered back on Wednesday last week and I've been out on a few rides of various lengths since. Very very happy with it and with the service from Michael at Fuse Recumbents - I commend them to you.

    What can I say - it's just a really nice way to get around, much more comfortable than a bike. No aches and pains with the exception of slightly sore feet as I break in and adjust the cleated shoes, this of course isn't unique to the trike.

    Still waiting on the cycle computer (ordered it separately from the US) so I've not got absolute data but subjectively trike feels about as quick as the bike for the same rides. Expectation is anything that involves a head wind, trike will prove to be quicker and certainly takes less effort

    Will post some photos presently - this is a good likeness though including the colour :)

    A few random observations

    • For the first few minutes of the ride it feels like I've forgotten to put on my seatbelt - guess it's from being in a more car like seating position
    • It is very cool to be able to just sit back when stopped at crossings, or when slowly working up a hill
    • There are more bugs and insects 1 metre off the ground than at 2 metres
    • Other road users (ie cars) really do give you a wide berth

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