Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Wanna Route?

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  • Peter Darlington,

    What started out as semi-regular 30 min rides has become 2-3 hours daily and she’s now completely and (seemingly) irretrievably addicted to it – to the point where if she doesn’t get out on her bike daily she actually gets extremely irritable and moans like crazy about “missing out”. This is a woman, just turned 41, who never did any exercise at all – nada, no jogging, gym, just the odd beach walk – but cycling has completely transformed her into this mean, lean, fitness machine.

    Hate to break this to you Mike, but your partner's having an affair with a Trance DJ. Life sucks sometimes...

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 882 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Hollywood,

    @ Peter .. the question originally crossed my mind because I was so spooked by her transformation but nah, let's just say her fresh zest for life has provided me with a quite different answer to that question ;-) Ahem. As I'm not sure if she reads PA or not, I'll leave it at that.

    Since May 2009 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    Prostetnic Vogon Joyce

    Bahahahahahah! He of the Holiday Hyperspace Bypass?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 799 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Heh, look at all these middle aged men with their cycling bidnezz!

    Dude, I'm 34. Please say that's not middle aged.

    One of my more humbling experiences was when I was living in the UK, when I did my first audax ride. It was a 100k around East Anglia as part of the Mildenhall Cycle Festival; a nice day out. About 40k from the end, I fell in with a couple of old blokes. Like, blokes who were saying how great it was since they'd retired, because now they had more time to train. I was 28, they were at least 65, and they ripped the legs off me. I could only keep up by wheelsucking like a bastard and riding my guts out. I think they'd taken pity on me.

    Related: people's thoughts on drafting people you don't know? Personally, I don't mind being drafted, as long as you take your turn in front. But I do get annoyed when people draft me for ages, then sprint out past me at a higher speed. If you're going to draft, take your turn in front, be polite.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    Here in Napier the council have had enough foresight to set up a cycle/walk way that goes from Bayview into Napier along the seafront then along the Marine parade to link with the Hastings cycleways with a few diversions along riverbanks. All flat and well used. On a good day it's a great ride/walk alongside the sea. Napier is conducive to cycling being mainly flat with wide roads and well marked cycle lanes. The only problem for me on my cycle to school is the amount of broken glass in the cycle lanes. Some people just don't care.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    The problem is sometimes that they're wearing earbuds and may not hear you even if you shout.

    Get a bell. A nice loud ding-a-ling bell. Isabel necessary on a bicycle? Yes.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert,

    The only problem for me on my cycle to school is the amount of broken glass in the cycle lanes

    I read about this somewhere. I used to hate this as well, and also wander why Murphy's Law meant I always got a puncture in the rain. Roads are designed to wash small bits of crap off and into the gutter in the rain. Unfortunately cycles and cycle lanes are to the left as well so the bits of glass etc accumulate as they wash away from the middle. Lots of cars tyres spraying water helps as well. So when it rains all the glass winds up under our tyres - yay

    Since Nov 2006 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I cycle for fun and exercise from Avondale, Auckland. About half of my trips have my son on the back, and are just short ones to various spots - Pt Chev Beach is his favorite, followed by Oakley Creek Waterfall, but lots of other places have had a visit - Western Springs, many trips to K-Rd, top of Mt Albert, New Lynn, Herne Bay, the Viaduct, and lots of close locations, the local primary school, mall, library, Whau creek boat ramp and pathways. If I'm on my own I go harder and further, climbed up to Waiatarua, commuted to Glendowie several times, rides out to the country, several rides to Titirangi. I've ridden to the bach on Waiheke. I can't justify really long rides to my wife! So I try to make up for it by going harder on shorter rides.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Jon Briggs,

    I have a few rides that I mix up to avoid getting bored. The favourite is probably the Waitakeres, although I avoid that on the weekend because of the speed that the cars pass by at on relatively narrow roads. Avoid it in the wet too 'cos the descent on a slightly mossy damp surface is hair-raising.

    Also like the country roads before the airport - over old Mangere bridge then kiwi esplanade and keep turning right until you run out of roads. On a cold early morning especially the Manukau can look stunning.

    The roads out around Whitford/Maraetai/Clevedon are also great - the climb on the scenic route between Whitford and Clevedon in particular.

    Since Dec 2008 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Also like the country roads before the airport - over old Mangere bridge then kiwi esplanade and keep turning right until you run out of roads. On a cold early morning especially the Manukau can look stunning.

    I think I'll have to add that to the portfolio -- although it's a bit of a bugger that the return trip to the Waitemata side via the SH20 cycleway involves a fairly taxing climb from sea level to Hillsborough Rd.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18513 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Irvine,

    Related: people's thoughts on drafting people you don't know?

    It does annoy me when people draft without taking a turn or at least saying g'day. It does happen a bit.

    Related: Do you acknowledge other cyclists? I usually try to do a little wave or raise eyebrows at the very least to riders going the other way, but over on the shore, it seems like I'm invisible to most other riders. Might just be me of course!

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 241 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Cycle Aware Wellington has created this map of Wellington black spots. Well worth perusing if you're planning a new route, and contributing to. They use it to help with submissions to the council.

    My normal ride's a strictly utilitarian commute down from Marewa Road in Hataitai, through the Mt Vic tunnel and along Brougham St to Courtenay Place and ultimately Willis St. When I go home I usually follow the number 20 bus route up Mt Vic and then down from the summit. I find the mountain bike tracks a bit too rugged for street tyres and a bit too hairy in the wet or the dark.

    Last year I made a commitment to myself that I'd treat myself to lovely new Ortlieb panniers if I rode every day no matter what the weather. I've pretty much stuck to that, and saved a bunch of money on bus and taxi fares. The panniers give me more jollies than just about any other material possession I have. SO useful.

    On nice Sundays, I ride down to the market at Waitangi Park, load up the panniers with fruit and veg, and detour along the waterfront on the way home.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2918 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    My regular run until about two weeks ago was: along Western Springs Road and onto New North Road, then up over the hill through Kingsland and straight on New North Road all the way to Exmouth Street, near the top of the hill where New North and Mt Eden Roads meet. Blast down Exmouth and up the other side (cuts out the hairiest part of New North and Upper Symonds Streets), then carefully turn left onto Newton Road and right at the traffic lights, and along onto Upper Queen Street and into town.

    The Exmouth shortcut saved a good 5-10 minutes off the run in - say 20 minutes all up - but I've since abandoned this route due to traffic hassles. I never had a crash but I found myself increasingly tallying up all the near misses in my mind.

    Now it's a straight blat along the Northwestern Cycleway right from School Road in Kingsland up to Upper Queen Street. So far it's just as fast as the quickest road run I've done. (Add say 5-10 minutes for the run home after a long day at work...) I haven't encountered glass there either.

    The only real hassle with the NW cycleway is the increasing number of dog-walkers through Kingsland and Morningside, who occupy the width of the track and whose control of their dogs is pretty variable.

    Get a bell. A nice loud ding-a-ling bell. Isabel necessary on a bicycle? Yes.

    Got one - gives a great single DING per flick of the hammer, which seems to carry surprisingly well through iPod earbuds and car windows. Knowing when to sound it gently rather than at full force is a bit of an art though; it seems to irritate some people just as much as a silent near miss would have.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1549 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I should note that I have also got over my qualms about lycra, and now own two pair of conventional cycling shorts and a pair of the cargo-short sort with the inlaid padding, plus three short-sleeve and one long-sleeve tops. Also, a short, fluouro Nike jacket in some space-age smart fabric. Didn't go as far as the black tights that seem to be de rigeur this winter ...

    The specialist clobber is good for all sorts of reasons -- although I didn't pay retail for any of it. Dressmart and the Katmandu winter sale have been my friends.

    Aso, getting a dedicated cycle pack at Katmandu has been a boon. Biggest surprise -- how much a decent pair of cycling gloves (again, 50% off at Katmandu) improved my experience. I don't like to ride without them now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18513 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    I have also got over my qualms about lycra

    But what about our qualms about lyrca? Perhaps there's a way to get motorists to like cyclists better...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 723 posts Report Reply

  • Chopper,

    No cycling routes to add, but just a plug for Critical Mass. We meet the last Friday of every month at Auckland's Albert Park fountain at 5.45 pm before a very leisurely 90-120 minute ride around Auckland. If you want to enjoy a slow ride with lots of other cyclists, then please do join us.

    Thanks,
    Warwick.

    Since Jul 2008 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    bells

    I don't have a bell on any of my bikes, for two main reasons:
    1) I, personally, get really annoyed by people ringing their bells at me - it's a bit too "out of my way, peasant!". Rational, no, but I find it peremptory.
    2) To ring a bell, you have to take one hand off the bars.

    Neither of these is a particularly major problem, but I've also never had a problem politely calling "Excuse me, please!" when I need someone to step aside.

    Also, on the road bike, I can just say that a campag freewheel is rather loud. Very effective for letting people know where you are; just stop pedalling for a bit and watch all the pedestrians turn to figure out where the noise is coming from.

    through the Mt Vic tunnel

    You're a braver man than me. I abhor the Mt Vic tunnel; my typical commute loops around the bays rather than go through the tunnel. Sure, it's about 2k further, but it's just much nicer than having to go through that vile place.

    Biggest surprise -- how much a decent pair of cycling gloves (again, 50% off at Katmandu) improved my experience. I don't like to ride without them now.

    Yup, gloves make a hell of a difference. I favour red ones, as they make your hand signals nice and obvious to everyone. But in terms of comfort, it can be quite surprising how much of a different good gloves make.

    Also, I've had various crashes over the years. Without gloves, I'd have lost a lot more skin from my hands.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • AndrewD,

    The greatest no car ride in Auckland starts at the old Mangere Bridge. West on the path beside Kiwi Esplanade. Into Ambury Park. There's a trail past the hides on the coast, round the Mangere lagoon (an old crater), past the shit farm, past Puketutu Island and keep goin south until you hit deserted beaches at Stonefields complete with a shipwreck. The wreck may have been cleared up by now but this is a 20K ride for the whole family WITH NO CARS.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    waterwheels...

    I've ridden to the bach on Waiheke.

    From Avondale? I'm guessing you put extra air
    in the tyres and added the outrigger training pontoons...
    ;- )


    obey the cycles of the moon...

    I should note that I have also got over my qualms about lycra, and now own...

    good to know that you lycranthropes (aka wear wolves) are well served by Kathmandu
    My brother swears by Ground Effect clothing.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce Hoult,

    If I'm drafting you it's because you were faster and overtook me. Trust me, you won't want to slow down as much as it would take for me to be in front — but you're welcome to if you want. I'm probably going to hit max heartrate and drop off the back within a couple of km or the first hill, whichever comes first.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    From Avondale? I'm guessing you put extra air
    in the tyres and added the outrigger training pontoons...
    ;- )

    I have seen amphibious bikes on YouTube. You think lycra looks silly?

    It's pretty cool how the Waiheke ferry doesn't charge extra for bikes.

    Knowing when to sound it gently rather than at full force is a bit of an art though; it seems to irritate some people just as much as a silent near miss would have.

    Nowhere near as much as a silent hit would though. I ding from distance. Gives people time for a dignified adjustment. Still unsure how to handle dogs though. I usually just slow down.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Alright you bikies - here's one. I want to get a bike for the man that lives in my house. He has chronic pain syndrome, and bad knees so I figured cycling was good exercise and will be easy on his poor legs. Now - who does good ordinary bikes on hire purchase terms? Can't afford to buy one outright, and I would rather get one from a shop than on TradeMe since I know little about the things. Suggestions, please.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    On the topic of sources for bike kit, Torpedo7 is definitely the shizzle IME. Quick delivery, good service, and excellent prices. I've got some very good deals from them, including a full set of limb warmers - knee, arm, leg - that came in at about $35 including shipping. As someone who heats up very, very quickly, they're a much better idea than full-length anything since I can roll them down or up while riding, or stop and haul them off and stuff them in a pocket. They often have 10-packs of inner tubes, too, often at 70-80% off ordinary retail. New weekly deals go up at 12:00 each Monday.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oh, and James Butler, hello neighbour. I live in Thorley St.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    @Jackie - Hi :-)

    Re. places to buy bikes, I'm not sure if they do finance, but I've always found Planet Cycles near the top of Dominion Rd. to be very helpful.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 799 posts Report Reply

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