Blog entries tagged with "cycling"

Those slow flashes

Thursday, December 6th, 2018 at 10:21pm

Today was was my first time riding to work in too long and although there was plenty of light, as I rode on the suspended section under the freeway near Kooyong I was reminded of something that annoys me because it can be dangerous: a slow flashing front light.

So what am I talking about? Consider this road rule:

259. Riding at night
    The rider of a bicycle must not ride at night, or in hazardous weather
    conditions causing reduced visibility, unless the bicycle, or the rider, displays -
    (a) a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres
        from the front of the bicycle; and
    (b) a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres
        from the rear of the bicycle; and
    (c) a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the rear of
        the bicycle when light is projected onto it by a vehicle's headlight on low-beam

On its face this is all reasonable, my particular issue is with the word “flashing” because it doesn’t indicate how slow or fast the flash should be.

I prefer a fast flash as it draws your attention, but is still continuous enough that you can follow where it is, especially when there is a bend or obstructions.

On the other hand a slow (where you can notice the delay) flash I find to be dangerous as you may not have seen enough flashes to get an idea of the direction and speed the bike is moving, before you need to allow for the direction to be changing because of a bend or curve in the path.

The compounding factor with this morning’s example was that it was also a super bright light. The sun wasn’t quite up and the freeway casts a decent shadow, it isn’t good to be faced with a blinding intermittent light on a narrow path with metal railings on both sides.

For the record I had my lights on, if I want to see I have the front on steady, but I wanted to be seen so today was the fast flash…

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Last bicycle commute for the year

Thursday, December 24th, 2015 at 08:58pm

Today was my last day of work for the year, but more importantly yesterday was the last time I would commute to work via bicycle in 2015. I am happy that I have mostly kept to my target of riding to work twice a week, some weeks I manage three times, but others only once or for a couple I didn’t ride at all.

I have been tracking all of my rides via an app on my phone, so if I wanted I could go back and see exactly which weeks I did not meet that target. What I did look up was the total distance I have ridden: 3,938km across 187 rides. While almost all of this is the commute, there have been a handful of other rides, there are six days left in 2015, a ride or two should get me up to 4,000km.

Next year I will up my target, I will aim to ride three times a week…

There is no nice summary for it, but something else I noticed while looking back through the rides in the app is that my average speed has changed. The ride in the morning (downhill following the creek/river) has changed from an average of 25km/h up to an average of 27km/h, with the ride home (uphill along the creek then a climb at the end) changing from 20km/h to 22km/h. It is not much of a change, but nice to see.

I have also been tracking my walks through the same app, it shows 89 walks for a total distance of 488km. I also expect that to get up to 500km by the end of the year.

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Cycling in a group

Saturday, May 9th, 2015 at 09:52pm

While I have been cycling for many years, the vast majority has been by myself on my commute to/from school/uni/work. There has been a handful of times where I have gone on a ride with one or two others.

Today I went along to two events from the Melbourne Cycling meetup group.

The first was a session for those new to the group. About half of it covered basic bike and riding advice, but the parts that were new were about when and how to use hand signals and verbal calls when riding as a group. After lunch we met up again for an easy ride to Williamstown (via the punt) and back.

It was quite a different experience cycling in a group compared to cycling alone. At first it felt weird keeping pace with the others and repeating signals for those further back, but I started to get used to it by the end of the ride. I expect it will become easier next time, which looks like will be in two weeks from Heidelberg Station towards Bundoora.

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Twice a week for four weeks

Friday, February 27th, 2015 at 08:57pm

After getting back on my bike I quickly realized that as it needed a bit of work (new chain and cluster, new brake pads, etc) it was time to invest in a new one. After some research online and at the bike shops in the area I decided on a flat bar road bike:

New bike for 2015

In the four weeks that I have had it I have ridden to work twice in each of those weeks. It is a much smoother ride than the old bike, but I have only cut a few minutes off the ride to work. The ride home is steadily reducing in time, but I put that down to riding more rather than the new bike.

I have also been fine tuning the route, trying different things to see what is easier. As the bulk of the route is along bike paths there are only a couple of possible variations at the start, middle and end.

Near Alamein Station I tried Dent Street for a while, but as I found the rough concrete and speedbumps annoying I reverted to Baird Street. Dent was also fairly busy with car traffic on the ride home.

When almost at the city I now head up the Exhibition Street extension (footpath is a shared path) and then down Flinders Street. Before 7AM there isn’t much traffic and it is much better in regard to pedestrians than going past Flinders Street Station along the river.

On the way home I did try heading back up Flinders Street before making a hook turn into Swanston Street and then down beside Federation Square, but around 4PM the traffic is getting busy and it was annoying waiting at the lights. One time I tried crossing over the river and riding in front of Southbank and the boatsheds, there were even more pedestrians to contend with than the path between Flinders Street Station and the river.

In the morning I still start off by heading down High Street Road as that is a nice direct downhill stretch with very little traffic at 6AM. On the way home I leave the bike path to head up towards Jordanville Station to follow the railway line up to Mount Waverley Station.

Initially my plan was to ride at least once a week, but I think I can reasonably set the minimum to be twice a week…

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Back on the bike

Saturday, January 10th, 2015 at 09:32pm

Today I rode my bicycle into the city. In itself that isn’t much, but to me it is both the first time I have gone for a ride in over six months (not sure when, but before my US trip last July) and has removed another excuse for not cycling to work. Currently the weather forecast for Monday is humid with late showers, so it looks like I will be riding in. Whether I ride home or catch the train with my bike will be a question for later.

In the past when talking about rides I have used Bikely but since the last time I used it it has become broken. There are two versions of the interface, in the old interface you can draw out a new route but then you cannot save it, while in the new interface you can save your route but I cannot find where to edit an existing route. I also was not able to import a GPX file as a new route like I used to, it says there was an error.

Instead here it is in a Google Map created from this KMZ file:

This is a mix of on-road and bike paths:

  • Along High Street Road taking advantage of the downhill to maintain speed
  • Onto the Gardiners Creek Trail, including crossing under Warrigal Road
  • At Alamein Station skip a section of the Gardiners Creek Trail by using streets that a more direct
  • Rejoing the Gardiners Creek Trail and follow to the end (including the new bridge near Kooyong)
  • Join the Main Yarra Trail and follow it past Federation Square and Flinders Steet Station
  • Loop around to the bottom of Queen Street to the office

The distance was 21.7 kilometres, with a moving time of 56 minutes. The total time was just over an hour as I did briefly stop a couple of times. I expect that as I get into a routine that time should reduce a bit (and I won’t need to stop).

I expect to refine the route over time, should I get back on the Gardiners Creek Trail a little bit earlier or should I use some of the gravel sections instead of crossing back and forth over the creek? One mistake I did make was to miss the turn to the lower path next to the Yarra at Birrarung Marr which meant I had more pedestrians to negotiate and then had to zigzag down. Now I know where to go (turn next to the Angel sculpture) and at 7AM there should be very few pedestrians.

Right now I am committing myself to riding at least once a week, but hopefully more. This will depend on what else I have on, for example in the coming week what I have on the evenings means I will not be able to ride on Tuesday Wednesday or Thursday. So Friday is still a possibility…

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What is a bicycle lane?

Thursday, October 31st, 2013 at 08:58pm

It didn’t take me long after moving into my place in Mount Waverley to determine what while there were options (length, hills, shops) for my bicycle commute home, the commute to work was via Lawrence Road and Pinewood Drive:

While this still involved a decent hill, it was fairly steady and didn’t have anywhere near the traffic of Blackburn Road. What wasn’t clear was whether Pinewood Drive had bicycle lanes. There were no signs or markings, just wide parking lanes, yet the council’s maps of bicycle paths (local copy) showed it as having on-road marked lanes.

In February 2011 I contacted the council and then in April 2011 they painted bicycle logos. However they never installed signs, which means they were not legally (according to VicRoads information) bicycle lanes.

For a week after they painted the bicycle logos I used the “lanes” but after three near-doorings I didn’t use them again, but I continued to ride along Pinewood Drive.

A few weeks ago the council resurfaced Pinewood Drive and once they started to mark our for new lines I asked the council via twitter if the new lanes would continue across intersections. The answer was yes. But once they started marking the actual lines I realised my question was too narrow. Instead I should have asked if they would follow current design standards in general, not just one specific part.

It isn’t as if the council’s Walking and Cycling Strategy (local copy) – adopted 30 April 2013 – has a section (6.3, page 22) about ensuring consistent design standards. Oh wait, yes it does. See page 14 for ‘Ensuring consistent design standards’ and action item 18 references Austroads and VicRoads guidelines.

Those guidelines are available online: VicRoads – Design Standards for Bicycles and Austroads Guidelines. I haven’t bothered to register to get the free PDF download from Austroads, since the Cycle Notes No. 12 – Design Standards for Bicycles (local copy) looks to have sufficient information.

This is the third page from that document:

To me it provides a pretty good overview of how a modern bicycle lane should be marked out.

Here are two photos of the new markings (note quite complete) in Pinewood Drive:

Pinewood Drive and Waverley Road

Pinewood Drive and Illuka Cres

So what issues do I see?

The text at the top of page 3 in cycle note 12 says that bicycle lanes are defined by:

  • painting two, 100mm wide, solid white lines on each side of the bicycle lane – nope, left hand side is broken line
  • painting bicycle logos – ok, there are some of these, but more later…
  • installing bicycle lane signs – not yes, maybe they will be installed this time?

Referncing between the page 3 diagram and my two photos:

  • Bicycle logo is not at the start of the lane.
  • Solid lines and a painted island prevent entry into the bicycle lane. Has this been just marked wrong? See the spray painted line…
  • Instead of a parking lane line to define the parking area, there is a broken line
  • Continuity lines (there is only a single line) do not continue through the intersection. Though the marking out has two lines…
  • The end of the bicycle lane (under the painters truck on the other side of the road) does not end of a short length of continuity line.
  • Why is the end of the parking bay angled, not squared off as in the diagram?

This post is partially being written as my way of explaining my concerns to the council, it will be interesting to see what happens. And I haven’t even covered the eastern end of Pinewood Drive (between the school crossing and Blackburn Road) which the council’s map shows has having marked bicycle lanes, yet…

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A ride to Caulfield

Sunday, April 15th, 2012 at 01:41pm

This morning I went for a bicycle ride from home to the Caulfield campus of Monash Uni and back. At a trip distance of 10km each way (not the exact same path) I was surprised that I got there in just over 25 minutes, with the entire round trip taking just over an hour.

As I currently work at the Clayton campus, why would I ride to Caulfield? Because they will be renovating our building (yes again…) and this time they want 100 people to move to space in Caulfield for the six months the renovations will take. Although we were told late last year that they wanted to renovate the building, it was only a few weeks ago that they dropped on us a deadline of construction “starting” in June. After much discussion within our team, we finally decided to say yes to moving.

At Clayton we are not in the main campus, we are out on Blackburn Road which means that on the days I don’t ride my bike, there is free parking on the street a short walk away. At Caulfield the parking is much more limited (there is also a large railway station next to the campus) which changes my transports options to bicycle or public transport.

After extensive review of online maps and aerial imagery, today was a test and this is the path I followed:

The route is what I determined to be the most direct, while still avoiding hills and busy roads where possible. The route back is different, significantly in that I will not return via High Street Road as a big downhill would turn in to a painfull uphill stretch. Just look at the elevation profile:

Breaking the ride down it is:

  • Along High Street Road taking advantage of the downhill to maintain speed
  • Onto the Gardiners Creek Trail, including crossing under Warrigal Road
  • Loop onto the footpath and then follow Argyll Street that parallels the railway line
  • At the freeway join the western end of the Scotchmans Creek Trail to get to East Malvern Railway Station
  • Through the station carpark and then out and along Waverley Road.
  • Leave Waverely Road for the parallel side street of Ardrie Road
  • Onto Burke Road for a short distance and cross over Princes Highway at the lights

The route home is the reverse of this until nearing Holmesglen Railway Station where I enter the station carpark and then use the pedestrian bridge over Warrigal Road where I follow the railway line until Mount Waverley Railway Station. The benefit of this change is that instead of climbing the hill up the busy High Street Road, I use a mix of off-road paths and side strees.

Variations include:

  • Heading up to Mount Waverley Railway Station and following the railway line on the way in
  • Keeping to the Gardiners Creek Trail and getting to East Malvern Railway Station from the other side of the freeway
  • Following Gardiners Creek Trail further until Winton Road and then using side streets on the north side of Waverley Road

Of course there is one other variation that I wouldn’t plan on using, but is handy to have: using the train between East Malvern and Mount Waverley Railway Stations.

It is not yet final if we will move to Caulfield during the renovations (keeping the team together is one of our conditions), but now I know that cyling is a realistic option.

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A public announcement

Monday, September 26th, 2011 at 10:19pm

A few weeks ago I ordered some books online. While the trigger was Paranormality by Richard Wiseman, I also ordered two other books of his: Quirkology and 59 Seconds.

Quirkology was quite an interesting read, but it is 59 seconds (which I am currently halfway though) that surprised me. Most of this was because I didn’t fully realise that it was a self-help book, albeit a self-help book that is backed by peer-reviewed research. This should be the only kind of self-help book.

Take motivation for example. Research from large scale scientific studies found that techniques such as focusing on a role model, thinking about bad outcomes of missing the goal, trying to supress unhelpful thoughts, relying on willpower or fantasizing about reaching the goal are not effective.

On the other hand making a plan, telling other people, thinking about good things of achieving the goal, rewarding progress, and recording progress all signifigantly increases the likelihood of achieving the goal. Most of these involve writing, which other studies have found to be considerably more effective than simply talking or thinking about something.

So here are parts of a plan that I am sharing with the world to achieve a current goal of mine: losing weight.

  1. Reclaim the habit of cycling to work. I will allow three exceptions: it is raining enough that I would be soaked through, I need to head somewhere directly from work (ie not enought time to ride home to get the car), or mechanical issues that make the bike unsafe.

  2. Exercise every day. At bare minimum this is the above cycling to and from work, but on the weekend this means at least a 30 minute bike ride or going to the place mentioned in the next point.

  3. Going to the gym (yes, some would be very surprised to know that I know what one of those is) at minimum three times a week.

  4. Eating better. This fairly broad and covers avoiding take away and soft drinks, cooking for myself (but avoiding fats and sugary sauces) or resorting to healthy frozen/prepackaged meals.

As an aside, finding appropriate frozen/prepackaged meals has been an interesting journey. Many pasta type meals include parmesan for that delicious aroma while heating, but are actually passable. I would say that those that include rice are preferable. But then you get to those with “potato”, while not hard, I would consider these to be dwarf bread.

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Time for a new bicycle?

Sunday, August 7th, 2011 at 03:03pm

For the first seven months of this year I averaged riding my bicycle to work once a fortnight. In the five working days of August so far, I have ridden four of them. But at a price, though not necessarily a new price.

For a long time I have known that it was time to replace the chain, cluster and at least two chainrings. For longer than that I have been needing to replace the rear disc brake. The rear tyre is also wearing down so that should be replaced, and it is probably also time for new brake pads (at least on the rear with the new disc).

This all adds up, but don’t really have an idea of what the total would be and it is part of a balancing act between replacing parts on the current bike, or to simply buy a new bike. I have obviously been deferring that decision.

Now, while riding home on Friday night, probably becuase I hadn’t been maintaining the chain enough, I had some slight chain suck that slightly bent the front derailleur. It still worked, but ended up with unexpected changes when at the extremes on the rear. Not good.

Today I made some time to have a look and while I had the chain off the bike for cleaning I strategically applied a pair of pliers to bend the derailleur back into approximate shape. It should do.

But this adds another item to the above list, an item that you don’t normally replace due to normal wear and tear. I now need to think about the repair vs new bike question.

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At least 100 minutes per charge

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 08:58pm

Two months ago I started using an LED torch as my bicycle light. It has been working very well in conjunction with one of my smaller Cateye lights as a flasher.

To mount it I ended up going the extreemly high tech route by using rubber bands – doubled up – and the mount for the Cateye light that I am no longer using. As it turned out there is a groove on top of the mount which is enough to keep the light pointed in a consistent direction. The rubber bands simply hold the light to the mount.

Despite this solution being quite workable I am planning on making a proper mount. In the long term what I want is a mount that I can use for swapping back and forth between lights and a camera.

One of my original concerns was about battery life. After going through a couple of pairs of alkaline batteries I bought a new charger and a set of four NiMH batteries. From the rechargeable batteries the light is still very bright (I haven’t done a side by side test with alkalines) and I have been needing to charge the batteries only once or twice a week.

I haven’t been keeping a detailed record, but I can say that on my way home the light faded out to nothing from batteries that I started using last Friday. So a full charge gave around 25 minutes flashing (it was dull and rainy on the way to work one morning) and 4×25 minutes on turbo.

I’m quite happy with it and I doubt that I will get a second one – either on the bike or helmet.

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I have found my new bicycle lights

Monday, May 4th, 2009 at 10:09pm

A few weeks ago when daylight saving ended I setup the lights on my bike for riding home in the dark. A Cateye HL-EL135 light and a Cateye HL-EL530 light.

Although I used these lights last year, I was never quite satisfied with the EL530, the bright spot in the beam isn’t very wide.

So I started looking around for other options and I came across this impressive setup that didn’t use lights designed specifically for bicycles: Fenix L2D Premium 100 Flashlights as Bicycle Headlights. I was impresssed, but I wasn’t sure so I ordered one of the lights online to test. I reasoned that if it wasn’t suitable for my bike I still needed a new torch.

It arrived today.

It is very impressive.

(I got an L2D Premium Q5 which is slightly higher spec than the L2D Premium 100)

Next to this, even at the lower settings, the EL530 is pathetic. In turbo mode the difference is insane.

Now I have to work out how to mount the light. Do I go the lockblock method which doesn’t allow for much adjustment, or do I do something else? I might be able to rig something up temporarily using the Cateye mount as a base with velcro straps to hold the light on.

Also, do I buy a second one to mount on the handlebars? Two at the lower power level would mean a wider coverage and less battery changes. What about one to mount on my helmet? A helmet mounted one could be very handy.

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The islands are no longer just painted on

Friday, May 1st, 2009 at 10:07pm

A bit over a year ago I took this photo of England Road after it was changed from having no line markings to having a shoulder for parking and a series of painted islands between the traffic lanes:

Is this legal parking?

Since I took that photo I have been varying my route home, but I usually go this way once or twice a week. Earlier in the week work began on the four painted islands and yesterday I took this photo of the result, all four are now actualy traffic islands:

The islands are no longer just painted on

(The photo isn’t the best, it was quite late and there wasn’t much light, and in hindsight I should have recreated the original photo.)

So what does this mean?

Previously when riding home this way cars would simply drive over the painted islands (I still don’t know what the road rule is about that), but now I suppose that they have two choices:

  • wait until after the traffic islands where there is space for them to overtake; or
  • try to overtake in one of the gaps between the islands.

I sure hope that they choose the first option, there is not space for the second.

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Inconsistent responses from Victoria Police

Sunday, April 26th, 2009 at 04:07pm

I’m annoyed with the Victorian Police at the moment.

Hold on… let me back up a bit…

This woman is a danger to other road users and should not be allowed to drive a vehicle:

UTN-201 has a dangerous driver

Whoops… not far back enough…

On Thursday I was riding to work as usual and had turned into Ivanhoe Street from Waverley Road, my next turn is a right into Leicester Ave. As I was nearing the right turn I heard the car behind me – I had seen it in my mirror – come over the speedhump quite hard (ie quite fast) so I moved a bit more to the right (to be just to the left of the centre of the road) and indicated right in accordance with this road rule:

31.  Starting a right turn from a road (except a multi-lane road)
     (3) If the road does not have a dividing line or median strip
         and is not a one-way road, the driver must approach and
         enter the intersection from the left of, parallel to, and as
         near as practicable to, the centre of the road.

So there I was: riding to the left of the centre of the road and indicating right. So what did the car do?

Read the rest of this entry…

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Riding out west, including going the wrong way

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 at 05:32pm

Yesterday Damien and I went for a ride:

Bicycle Path - Federation, Werribee River and Skeleton Creek Trails at

We covered:

The Skeleton Creek Trail was not part of our initial plan, our plan was to head back up the Federation Trail and around the Western Ring Road Trail to Albion Railway Station. Because of this change we were not aware that there was only one bridge on the Skeleton Creek Trail that allows you to cross from the west side of the creek to the eastern side.

We did not use the bridge and continued along the west side of the creek, which meant that once we reached the end of the path there was no way to cross over. However Google Maps did show a ford across the creek which we did use to cross over, but only after jumping a fence into the Cheetham Wetlands. We then crossed over a small channel to get back to the path on the east side of the creek.

In hindsight we should have crossed the creek at the bridge, but the way we ended up going was definitely more interesting.

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Another successful geohashing expedition

Saturday, February 14th, 2009 at 11:01pm

As mentioned earlier today’s geohashing location was in an achievable location. In the end I decided to ride over and arrived just after 4PM, at which point I took some photos and wrote out ‘XKCD’ in a patch of bare ground.

More details and photos are now up on the expedition page, which is how I know that myka, one who made it to last week’s location, was at today’s location, but an hour later.

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Third local geohashing location in a row

Saturday, February 14th, 2009 at 02:22pm

Last Saturday I hoped that today’s weather would be much more reasonable – though I can’t complain as while I was uncomforable, it was nothing in comparison to those affected by the bushfires – and had the implied hope that geohashing location would be close by.

It is and it is, so I guess I have to go.

The Melbourne weather forecast is for 28°C with the local temperature being 26°C.

Today’s geohash location is in the backyard of 186 Central Road, Nunawading, around 8km from where I am now.

If I had checked the location earlier in the day I would have done things a bit differently as I have only just returned from a short ride after picking my bike up from a service. Instead I would have picked it up a bit later in the afternoon and ridden over to Nunawading from there.

I was thinking of going out to do some shopping, so I could just drive over. But I have just checked the wiki and seen that there was someone else made it to the location by train and bicycle last week. Maybe I will ride over.

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Geohashing again by bicycle

Sunday, January 11th, 2009 at 08:48pm

I went on my fourth Geohashing expedition yesterday. While I have previously mentioned the first one and the second one, I haven’t mentioned the third one as there wasn’t much to say.

After looking up the location and seeing that it was not too far away in Boronia, and more importantly quite close to the Blind Creek Trail, I decided to ride over to arrive just before 4PM. I waited around for about 20 minutes, but no one else arrived so I left.

Instead of heading back the way I came I continued on to the Ringwood-Belgrave Rail Trail and headed towards Bayswater and the Dandenong Creek Trail:

Bicycle Path - Gardiners Creek Trail (upper) at

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The last ride of 2008

Sunday, January 4th, 2009 at 02:24pm

After posting about yesterday’s ride with Damien I realised that I hadn’t said anything about a ride last week with Hamish.

After riding over to his place in Ashwood we rode up the Gardiners Creek Trail to Blackburn:

Bicycle Path - Gardiners Creek Trail (upper) at

From there we headed along side-streets (including along the Eastern Freeway for a short section) to Ruffey Lake, the start of the Ruffey Creek Trail:

Bicycle Path - Ruffey Creek Trail at

Ruffey Creek (and its trail) flows into the Yarra River (and its trail) which formed the second half of the ride. We ended up taking the easy way out and jumped on a train at Kooyong instead of riding other lower half of the Gardiners Creet Trail.

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The annual ride with Damien

Sunday, January 4th, 2009 at 01:11pm

Yesterday Damien and I went for a ride. This is on track for being an annual event as the last ride we went on was last January. However I have still been going on rides, either by myself or with Hamish.

So where did we go?

A few months ago I found out about a trail along the old Maroondah Aqueduct which sounded interesting:

Bicycle Path - Maroondah Aqueduct Trail (with Main Road) at

But that isn’t much of a ride so it needed to be part of something bigger. The obvious choice is the Diamond Creek Trail, but we had riden that before. Then Damien suggested cutting across to the Ring Road Trail which led to considering another path that we have not covered, the Craigieburn Bypass Trail (now signed as the Galada Tamboore Pathway):

Craigieburn to Ring Road via Hume Freeway at

So that is what we ended up doing:

Bicycle Path - Eltham to Craigieburn (with Maroondah Aqueduct) at

The day started with catching the train out to Eltham, followed by tackling the Maroondah Aqueduct Trail first. Riding along Main Road was fairly average, but it was quite nice once we got to the acual aqueduct as most of it is lined with pine trees. Once we got to Allendale Road it was clear why the recommendation it to do the trail anit-clockwise as it is a sizeable hill down to the bottom of the Diamond Creek valley. It was easy to maintain 65km on a mountain bike.

After passing the railway line and the Diamond Creek Trail we continued up the other side of the valley, thankfully not as steep as the way down, and then along the pipe reserve to get to Diamond Creek Road. From there it wasn’t far to the path alongside the Greensborough Highway which meets up with the Ring Road trail. None of this was particularly interesting.

Once we reached the Craigieburn Bypass Trail it went from not particularly interesting to annoying as much of the trail was dominated by the thump, thump of the concrete seams. It was only towards the end that it changed to sawcut concrete. Even then we cut it short by leaving the trail early at Craigieburn Road to get to the train station to head home.

I would ride the aqueduct again and use the ring road trail to go between other trails, but there is no point to ride along the Craigieburn Bypass. If I were to do it again it would only be to start at Craigieburn and ride south as that is downhill.

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Do I change gears too often?

Saturday, December 20th, 2008 at 01:05pm

On Thursday I noticed that my rear derailleur wasn’t shifting properly, it wouldn’t shift up to the largest gear. Once I got home I confirmed my initial suspicion, that the cable had again broken inside the shifter. As well as this happening on my old bike, this is the second time it has happened since I got this bike.

But what does this mean?

Other parts such as brake pads and even chains are expected to wear out. But I have never heard anyone mention cables breaking under normal use.

Unless what I am doing isn’t normal use…

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Commute videos

Friday, October 17th, 2008 at 10:33pm

Yesterday I was fiddling with the PowerShot A430, the second secondhand camera I got, and for some reason decided to look up how long it could record video for. Unlike other cameras I have used, such as the S45, which have a time limit of a couple of minutes this camera will keep recording until the output file reaches 1GB.

When set to 640×480 it says that it can fit 47 minutes on the 2GB card. To say it another way: 33 minutes per video. That’s enough to record my commute so before I left home this morning I mounted the camera to my bike. and they have just finished uploading to YouTube

The ride to work:

The ride home:

I only started using that route home a week ago and it is the shortest yet. Not to mention that there isn’t a single traffic light and I avoid a couple of dodgy bits caused by riding on the footpath up Blackburn Road.

Here it is in map form:

Monash Uni to Glen Waverley (October 2008)

The file from the camera is 640×480 at 10 fps and around 800MB for each 20 minute ride. Converting to Xvid at average settings dropped that to around 140MB. To fit under YouTube’s 10 minute limit I sped it up 3x, which also makes it a bit more interesting. Also to make it easier to upload I reduced it to 352×288 to get a much smaller file. I also removed the audio as there was lots of wind and other noises.

While recording video worked well, it’s not an option for longer rides. For those I still want the camera to automatically take a full resolution photo at frequent intervals.

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Riding in a big loop, thanks to Eastlink

Sunday, October 5th, 2008 at 04:28pm

Last weekend I went on another ride with Hamish. This time in a big loop from my place, out to Eastlink, in along the Eastern, down the old outer circle railway to Alamein then across to his place in Ashwood. I then wimped out and caught the train from Jordanville to Glen Waverley instead of riding all of the way home. Despite that it was still a decent ride for me at 52km in 2.5 (riding) hours.

The night before I had worked on a second version of the camera mount, but as it ended up conflicting with my GPS unit I reverted back to the first version. However, this meant that I was able to assemble a second mount that Hamish attached to his bicycle with another secondhand camera that I had bought. Although they both required a manual trigger we got over 350 photos.

Although it isn’t the ride we did, I have drawn up the following loop that is almost entirely on offroad bicycle paths:

Blind Creek, Eastlink, Koonung Creek, Anniversary, Scotchmans Creek and Dandenong Creek Trails

The following trails are used:

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Riding with a mounted camera

Sunday, September 21st, 2008 at 04:50pm

Today I went for a ride with Brendan and Hamish (they are getting ready for the 100km around the bay) up the Eastlink Trail to Ringwood, around to the other end of the tunnels and then back. As well as it being the first time riding along that section of Eastlink it was the first time I had a camera mounted to my bike.

Last Thursday I spent some time making a bracket so I could mount the secondhand camera to my bike. I thought I was going in the right direction until I discovered that the older Cateye mount wouldn’t fit on the newer Cateye mount. So I stopped.

On Friday I remembered a bracket that I had in my box of bicycle bits that might be suitable for this style of mount. This is the result:

Simple camera mount for bicycle

with the camera mounted like this:

Simple camera mount in use

I had to remove one of the Cateye mounts, remove the light from the other one and there is no quick way to remove the camera, but it worked surprisingly well. However the camera wasn’t quite level, partly due to the shape of my handlebars and partly because the tripod mount on the camera isn’t centred.

I have another old mount of the same type, so a new version I am thinking of is to use both mounts, one of each side of the stem, with a horizontal bar in between. The camera is then mounted onto the bar. As well as better distributing the weight of the camera it would also keep it level with the handlebars. The bar might also provide a place to attach a quick release for the camera.

Enough about the mount. What about the camera?

For the first two thirds of the ride I had the S45 attached. It was on all of the time and when I saw something interesting coming up I would reach over and press the shutter. I ended up with almost 200 photos, most of which are ok, even if they aren’t necessary showing anything interesting. I also tried out the video function which worked nicely except that it is only 320×240 at 15 frames a second for a maximum time of 3 minutes.

For the last third of the ride I had the Flip video camera mounted and after reviewing the video I can see that it isn’t suitable for this purpose as the vibrations coming up from the path surface are seen as distortions in the video. In contract the video from the S45 is shaky, but each individual frame is fine.

Aparat from the cost of the Flip I am not that concerned as I prefer to have photos of the ride at a much higher resolution than a video camera would give. Instead of reaching over to press the shutter I am thinking of two methods to take a photos automatically:

  • A firmware enhancement such as CHDK that provides an intervalometer function.
  • Wiring up a timer of some kind to the camera that mimics pressing the shutter.

I shall see how things go.

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A new (old) camera

Friday, September 12th, 2008 at 08:12pm

For the next two months I won’t have my little digital camera, it will be travelling Europe with my parents. I won’t miss the camera, except for when I go for rides. Which I am planning to do a few of in the coming weekends.

Since it’s not practical to take my 400D and the camera in my iPhone isn’t good enough for what I want I ressurected an idea I had when I first mused about taking photos while riding: buy a secondhand camera to mount to the bike instead of the camera I bought new.

So I started watching eBay for cheap, but working cameras, even bidding on a couple. I ended up bidding on, and then winning, a Canon S45. There wasn’t any postage costs either as it was literally around the corner so I walked around to pick it up.

I have two thoughts about how to mount it:

  • the simplest being to attach the mount from an old Cateye light to the tripod mount on the camera and then slotting that onto the brackets used for one of my lights
  • more complicated is a bracket that holds the camera forward and at the same level of the handlebar, possibly with damping to reduce vibrations

I’m thinking the first one … for now.

(lets not mention the Flip video camera that I have also been meaning to mount, but that would be more suited for the second option)

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My first geohashing expedition

Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 10:41pm

Ever since The Alogorithm was first announced I have wanted to go on an expedition.

Last Saturday I was a bit late in checking for the days location (it was after the official 4pm meetup time), but as it was so close to home I had no option but to ride over. More details can be found on the expedition page which I have just finished updating with my info and photos.

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The gaps are slowly being filled

Friday, July 18th, 2008 at 09:29pm

Over Easter last year I went for a ride to cover the new section of the Plenty River Trail that connected with the Yarra Trail and, at the top of the Yarra Trail, the Lower Mullum Mullum Creek Trail. Before being interrupted by a chain failure I ran out of path along the Mullum Mullum Creek.

Today, via the Bicycle Victoria email newsletter, I found out that a new section is under construction that will bring it closer to the EastLink Trail. It doesn’t reach all the way, but the final section is in the planning stages.

Gradually, as these gaps are filled, the Metropolitan Trail Network is becoming a real network. This makes it easy to get lots of variety for easy weekend rides as covering the same sections of path in the same order can easily get boring.

Then there are the long rides to consider. Now the EastLink Trail is open you can get from Craigieburn to Patterson Lakes on nothing but off-road paths. Which one ride I intend to do later in the year.

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First decent ride in a while, to Belgrave and Ringwood

Sunday, January 20th, 2008 at 03:11pm

Yesterday Damien and I went on our first ride since last May, what was planned as a nice big loop that included Belgrave and Croydon.

First we went via Scoresby and Upper Ferntree Gully to Belgrave:

Glen Waverley to Belgrave (via Rowville and Upper Ferntree Gully) @

The new bridge for the Eastlink Trail is well underway at the south end of Jells Park:

New bridge at south end of Jells Park (1)

And, despite the website saying otherwise, the upgraded trail south of Ferntree Gully Road is open:

Goat track to wide concrete

all the way to where Eastlink crosses the Dandenong Creek in Mulgrave:

No more detour up the hill

But some landscaping and cleanup is still to be done.

Since it drizzled for much of the ride to Belgrave we decided to catch the train to Ringwood and continue riding from there:

Ringwood to Glen Waverley (inc looking at Eastlink) @

Paths near the Ringwood Bypass are done, but not yet open:

New path under EastLink in Ringwood

And the upgraded path through Koomba Park has been open for six months now:

Upgraded path through Koomba Park (1)

Apart from the drizzle it was an enjoyable ride and once Eastlink is complete there will be a decent network with many combinations to enjoy.

Part of what we skipped was a loop from Bayswater to Croydon (via the Tarralla Creek Trail), Ringwood (via the Upper Mullum Mullum Creek Trail) and back to Bayswater:

Bayswater, Croydon, Ringwood loop @

Some more photos are available in my Bike paths and Eastlink (January 2008) Flickr set.

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Playing with my handheld GPS unit

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 at 08:12pm

After I posted my thoughts on getting a handheld GPS unit last week I realised two things:

  1. I do not need the electronic compas or barometric altimeter. So I could step down from the eTrex Vista Cx to the eTrex Legend Cx.
  2. I do not really need the basemap in the unit to be for Australia. Most of the units I was looking at on eBay were US models that had Australian maps loaded.

So on Sunday I was the winning bidder for an eTrex Legend Cx with Australian maps for two thirds of the cheapest price I could find locally.

It arrived today and for the past couple of hours I have been playing around with it. What do I now know?

  • The Australian maps take up 96MB of the 128MB microSD card (included instead of the supplied 64MB card) so it might be necessary to get a bigger card, especially if I do by detailed maps. Currently a 2GB card is under AU$40.
  • Logging the track to the card means they are available to any computer without special software by putting the unit into mass storage mode.
  • The Trip & Waypoint Manager software that came with the unit lets me upload a route to the unit. The track log can also be downloaded using this software.
  • Routes exported from Bikely as GPX need modification (stripping out elevation tags) before the software will accept them. I just used gvim but a simple perl script should also do the trick and could automate other cleanup tasks.
  • With only 500 possible waypoints, any route that I plan out using Bikely will need to be drawn fairly coarsely. But that is ok for a plan.

Tomorrow is the monthy Melbourne Perl Mongers meeting so I won’t be riding to work. But I will take the unit with me to record my journey anyway. I also bought a bicycle mount, from a different seller on eBay, that should arrive in a few days, ready for my first ride with a GPS on the weekend.

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Thinking about a handheld GPS unit

Thursday, November 8th, 2007 at 09:52pm

Over the last few years I have periodically thought about getting a handheld GPS unit to take with me on rides. Not for navigation with maps, but to record the ride for later review.

Although Ride to Work Day didn’t get any new participants from our office this year, I did suggest a couple of routes using Bikely. While I was doing this I decided to have another look at Google Earth, in particular loading in kml files exported from Bikely.

In turn, this renewed my interest in a GPS unit.

Since I wasn’t interested in mapping, just logging, I had a look at a GPS unit designed for cycling, the Garmin Edge series of units. As the new models with maps are not yet available, I was looking at the Edge 305 which also has a wireless cadence/speed sensor so it does not rely solely on GPS for speed.

What were the positives?

  • It is designed for cycling.
  • The default behaviour is to log where, when and how fast you were going.
  • It seemed to be possible to load a route (originally drawn up in Bikely) to follow onto it.

I almost made an impluse purchase, but there were some negatives:

  • A battery life of 12 hours wouldn’t suit for day to day use as a replacement for my current bicycle computer. It has been years since I replaced the battery in that.
  • It wouldn’t be useful away from the bike.
  • The route capabilities seemed to be a hack for what I wanted to do.

Because of these I went back to looking at handheld units that are primarily designed for bushwalking or similar:

  • It wouldn’t be tied to the bike, so I wouldn’t be obliged to use it day to day.
  • There was a much wider range of options.
  • It could have the capability to load maps.
  • The maps could even be used for driving directions.

At this point I recalled that a co-worked had gotten such a unit a year ago so at the next opportunity I asked him about it. It turned out that one of the uses he has for his unit is to take it on rides with it mounted on his handlebars.

The specific unit he has is the Garmin eTrex Vista Cx that was, at the time, the top end model that Garmin has for that style of unit. It has a (relatively) high resolution colour display, mapping capability, electronic compass and a barometric altimeter.

This does seem to have all the capabilities I need. Including some that I might not. Since the Vista Cx is fairly expensive (over AU$500) a cheaper option is the Legend Cx (around AU$450) which appears to be identical except it does not have the compass or altimeter. After you add another AU$250 for Australian street maps this does start to become expensive. Considering that navigation units for cars can be had for around AU$400. But they don’t have the non-road and logging capabilities of a “proper” GPS unit.

So what are my actual requirements? My current thinking is that I would do something like:

  1. Plan the ride out in Bikely or Google Earth
  2. Export the planned route and load it into the GPS unit
  3. Go for the ride. The loaded route will show if I deviate from the plan and the unit will be logging where I actually go.
  4. Export the log from the unit and use it to more accurately show the route in Bikely or Google Earth.

Over time I would have a series of logged routes that I could view through Google Earth.

For now I will continue investigating my options. Including whether to get it from an actual store, an online store, or through eBay which is the cheapest option I have seen. But the support may not be the best…

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LED only bicycle lights

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007 at 08:07pm

A week or so ago I finally got around to doing something about my bicycle lights: first I bid on another Cateye HL-EL135. Shortly after winning that auction I also bid on (and then won) a Cateye HL-EL530 that is supposed to be stupidly bright.

Yesterday the EL530 arrived and it was a simple matter of swapping out my remaining 10W incandescent light as the mount for that one is compatible. Then tonight was the first time using it.

So how was it?

Althought it is bright, most of that is focussed on a small area that doesn’t compare to the coverage of the old lights.

One interesting thing I noted was although the front of the box said “up to 90 hours run time”, the side of the box clarifies that with “up to 10 hours headlight quality”. Allowing 30 minutes for a single trip home this could equate to 20 trips. A new set of AA cells every 4 weeks is a lot less effort than recharging batteries every single day.

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Ride idea: Craigieburn electrification and bypass

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007 at 02:51pm

This morning the first electric train ran out along the newly electrified line to Craigieburn. Hopefully this means that they are on schedule to start running in October.

Why is this significant? Because it is a thin excuse to catch a train to Craigieburn and then ride back down along the Craigieburn Bypass of the Hume Freeway to the ring road:

Craigieburn to Ring Road via Hume Freeway @

Where to after I get back to the ring road is still to be answered (maybe further north beyond Epping). But this is a starting point that includes a section of path I have yet to cover.

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The shortest day of the year

Friday, June 22nd, 2007 at 08:39pm

Either today or yesterday is the shortest day of the year for those in the southern hemisphere. This is ironic as last night my bicycle lights took another turn for the worse.

For the last few months I have only been running one of the lights from the set as the batteries no longer hold enough charge. Last night it faded out just over halfway through my ride home. Half the load only gets a quarter of the original runtime. It is now critical that I address the problem.

The batteries are in two sticks, each with five 1600mAh 1.2V C cells, which (originally) drives the pair of 10W lights at 6V for an hour. If I were to build a replacement battery pack it needs to be rated for at least 3600mAh.

A brief browse through the Jaycar site gives me:

Five cells and the charger (the charger I got with the lights is for NiCad) could be a solution. But is not cheap at $144.72. I have been meaning to find another source, such as a hobby shop with remote control vehicles, but have yet to do so.

When my light faded out on me last night and I was left with just the LED front light I asked myself: What about totally replacing the rechargeable+incandecent lights with LED based lights? For the price of building a new battery pack I could get some decent lights that:

  • are self contained, ie no wires to a battery pack
  • last for weeks on alkaline batteries

But how does the brightness compare?

It is a compelling alternative. One way or another I need to do something. Soon.

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Another block o’ wood (and some other stuff)

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007 at 09:43pm

Last week I broke the clip on the rear light on my bike. The fortunate aspect of this is that I was forced to mount the Cateye TL-LD1000 I picked up a few months ago.

I had been procrastinating over mounting this light as the obvious solution using the belt clip to attach the light to the loop on the back of my seat bag (where the old light was) has a crucial flaw. It was too easy to detach the light from the clip and I doubted if it could survive even a single trip to or from work. Another issue was that the light then angled downwards at a 45° angle which isn’t very good for visibility. The old light was much smaller and only angled down by a few degrees.

At first I was considering an elaborate bracket to attach the light to the back of the seat bag but by necessity I ended up with a much simpler solution that used a screw, a cable tie, and a roughly shaped block bit of wood:

The components

As well as the belt clip and a post mount the light can be mounted on a rack via some holes on the back of the light. In the drawer of miscellaneous bits I found a screw of the right size that was short enough, had a coarse enought thread to self tap into plastic, and had a domed head. The hole that resulted from breaking the tab off the belt clip was in the correct location to drive this screw into one of the mounting holes to securely attach the clip to the light.

Rear light in place

After I slipped it through the loop on the back of the bag it was a simple matter to shape a small scrap of wood that both fitted in the gap on the back of the belt loop and lifted the light enough to be parallel with the road when secured with a cable tie.

This isn’t as elegant as my previous block o’ wood solution but it has been doing the job. If I find the time (unlikely) I may replace the bit of wood with a better shaped piece of plastic.

The even more obvious solution for mounting the light would have been on the seat post where the reflector currently is. This has two issues: first that it is then obscured by my legs and the bag, and second is that the road rules for cyclists state that a rear light AND rear reflector are required…

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Riding through Endeavour Hills, Narre Warren, and Berwick

Saturday, May 26th, 2007 at 11:12pm

Today Damien and I followed through on my recent ride idea.

The return trip from my place ended up at 67km in 3.5 hours. I found it quite easy, however Damien was struggling towards the end. Not surprising since this is the first actual ride he has gone on since he got his new bike back in January…

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Wantirna South, Endeavour Hills, Dandenong and Wheelers Hill

Thursday, May 24th, 2007 at 05:23pm

In order to use up some leave I have been taking Thursdays off work. Today I decided to go for a ride and initially I considered following up on my idea involving the Hallam Bypass I posted a few days ago.

As I didn’t want to go that far I went for a ride that incorporated parts of the idea, but in the reverse direction:

Wantirna South, Endeavour Hills, Dandenong and Wheelers Hill @

This ended up a total of 48km measured (compared with the 44 km bikely estimates). The strong northerly was good initially as a tailwind, became an annoyance as a sidewind, and finally was difficult as a headwind. Apart from that it could be considered a perfect day for a ride, sunny apart from a few clouds and just the right temperature.

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Ride idea: Endeavour Hills, Narre Warren, and Berwick

Saturday, May 19th, 2007 at 05:45pm

I picked up the latest edition of the Victorian bike paths guide earlier in the week and while I was comparing it to my older edition it reminded me that there were some paths down where the Monash Freeway was extended past Hallam, specifically the Hallam Byass Trail.

After a few hours of studying the bike paths guide, the online version of the Melway and Google Maps (inside Bikely) I have the following:

Endeavour Hills, Narre Warren, Berwick, and surrounds @

This is a 33km route that starts at the Dandenong Creek Path in Dandenong. From there it heads east along the Eumemmerring Creek, along the Monash Freeway, past Fountain Gate Shopping Centre and along other paths to the Wilson Botanic Park in Berwick. Heading back west along the Princes Highway it passed Fountain Gate Shopping Centre again then turns north along off road paths, through Endeavour Hills, until it eventually meets up again with the Dandenong Creek Path in Dandenong North.

The total journey from my place and back would be around 50km, something for an afternoon.

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A block o’ wood is the solution

Saturday, April 28th, 2007 at 06:15pm

In order to solve my urgent need for a working bicycle light I used a block o’ wood:

The block o' wood solution

If it goes well and it is part of my long term lighting solution I’ll replace the wood with plastic.

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Using the box and running out of power

Friday, April 27th, 2007 at 08:47pm

Today was the first time that I used one of the new bicycle lockers to store my bicycle at work instead of keeping it at one of the empty desks inside.

My first issue was that, technically, my bicycle does not fit. When my handlebars come in contact with the sides of the locker my front wheel protrudes about ten centimetres which gets in the way of the door. Fortunately the walls are only thin sheet steel and flex enough for me to push it back enough to close the door. This is an interesting aspect of the design as my handlebars are the same width as the bars on most mountain bikes that are sold these days.

My other issue is a logistical one. Originally I toyed with getting the locker near the powerpoint so I could just continue to charge the batteries for my lights while still on the bike. I decided against that for two reasons; first because the access to that locker isn’t the best due to a pillar and second because that is where the smokers congregate.

Based on one days experience I’m thinking that the hassle of taking the batteries off in the morning and putting them back on at the end of the day is greater than the hassle of working around the support pillar. But then there is also the risk that my lights would not get charged if the single powerpoint was needed for something else, for example the builders that were using it for their saw the other day.

None of this matters in light of what I discovered fifteen minutes into my ride home. Even with a full charge the batteries for my lights now only last fifteen minutes, down from the fifty minutes when they were brand new three and a half years ago. I estimate that these batteries have gone through around 700 charge/discharge cycles plus four periods of stitting idle (and self-discharged) for a few months.

This means that I will need to do something with the batteries and I am leaning towards making a new battery pack instead of replacing the current cells. This is because I could make a new battery pack that is quick and easy to remove. It was a real fiddle getting my current batteries back on the bike as, along with a rubber strap, there is a loop of velcro that runs through a slot in one battery, between the frame and the drink bottle holder, through a slot in the second battery, under the frame back to the first battery. This is a pain to reattach as it must be thread under the drink bottle holder every time.

However my immediate concern is to, over the coming weekend, mount the addtional LED based front light that I have. Mounting the new rear light is less critical as I do have a working rear light.

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Boxes for bicycles

Friday, April 20th, 2007 at 07:21pm

After well over a year of talk it looks like one of the final aspects of the renovation is nearing completion as I spotted the following from my window at work:

A truck with metal boxes

That is a truck reversing into the carpark under the building with what looked like six storage lockers, each holding two bicycles.

Later, when I was down in the carpark it looked like:

Bicycle storage in place

Which is storage for eight bicycles. One of which looks like:

The bicycle goes here

Sometime soon allocations should be made and keys distributed.

What about charging my lights? There is a power point located on the ceiling near the lockers so I may just get a locker near it and run a lead down. Another option is to get new batteries that are more convenient to remove from my bicycle and charge them at my desk.

Also, it is interesting to see that they chose this type of storage, not a shared cage as recommended by Bicycle Victoria in their Bicycle Parking Handbook.

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The third ride of the long weekend

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007 at 03:13pm

I went for another ride today. All the way down the Dandenong Creek Trail to Patterson Lakes and then up the southern end of the Bayside Trail to Mordialloc:

Jells Park to Mordialloc (via Patterson Lakes) @

I then caught the train back to Glen Waverley, first going in to Richmond. After I got on the train I realised that I could have ridden from Ormond to Darling or East Malvern and only needed a Zone 2 ticket, not a Zone 1+2.

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Glass instead of a nail

Sunday, April 8th, 2007 at 11:09pm

As I said yesterday I headed out to cover the path along the Eastern Freeway:

  • along the line from Glen Waverley railway station to Holmesglen railway station
  • around to Alamein railway station
  • up the Anniversary Trail through Camberwell to Kew
  • just after Burke Road leave the trail and head up through Stradbroke Park and Hays Paddock
  • all the way along the south side of the Eastern Freeway (technically the Koonung Creek Trail) to Springvale Road
  • along the north side of the Eastlink construction to the western tunnel portal

Glen Waverley to Donvale (the long way) @

Originally my plan was to head back in towards the city along the north side of the Eastern Freeway but it was getting late and I didn’t feel like riding into the afternoon sun. Instead I simply headed down Springvale Road to get back to Glen Waverley.

But what went wrong? When I stopped at the drinking tap in Markham Reserve between Holmesglen and Alamein railway stations I picked up a small piece of glass in my rear wheel. I was on my way again fifteen minutes later after making use of my new tyre levers and my new pump. I now need to apply a third patch to what is now my spare tube.

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Fixing the chain and finishing that ride

Saturday, April 7th, 2007 at 04:58pm

I took my chain up to the bike shop today and they confirmed what I had read online; that you cannot properly join a modern chain. Instead you need to use a replaceable connector so I got one of those.

I also picked up a new tool (the Topeak Hexus 16) as it has a chain tool. Also, the sides are removable to be used as tyre levers. This is important as with these ones I am less likely to repeat my previous mistake.

Once I refitted the chain I updated the route I entered into Bikely to represent where I actually rode:

Plenty River Trail and Mullum Mullum Creek (from Watsonia) @

For now my plan is to finish off that ride tomorrow by covering the path along the Eastern Freeway, among other things.

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An intact chain is also essential

Friday, April 6th, 2007 at 08:36pm

This afternoon I broke the chain on my bicycle.

Until that point it had been a pretty typical ride based upon my plan:

  • Train from Glen Waverley to Watsonia (via Flinders Street)
  • North along the (technically not yet open) bike path that was added as part of the upgrade to the Greensborough Bypass
  • All of the way down the Plenty River to what used to be the end of the path
  • Along the new section which runs around a golf course, over a new bridge and then through horse paddocks until it joins the Main Yarra Trail
  • North along the Main Yarra Trail to Westerfolds Park where I stopped to have some lunch (that I brought with me)
  • After Westerfolds Park there is a choice, cross over the Yarra River and head up the Diamond Creek or continue up towards Mullum Mullum Creek
  • Up Mullum Mullum Creek until the path ends at Old Warrandyte Road

At this point my plan was to ride along Old Warrandyte Road, Springvale Road and then Mitcham Road to have a look at the construction of Eastlink between the end of the Eastern Freeway and the western portal of the tunnels. And that is what I did. At least until I got onto Springvale Road.

Old Warrandyte Road from the Mullum Mullum Creek to Springvale Road is a long climb so I stuck to the footpath (the Melways says it is a bike path and in sections near roundabouts it actually is) in a low gear. It was here that I started to notice an irregularity while I was pedaling. I realise now that this must have been one side of the chain link working loose until it finally worked all the way out and separated.

Fortunately a friend was able to drive out to pick me up but while I was waiting I continued walking along Springvale Road which allowed me to take some photos of the Eastlink construction from the end of the Eastern Freeway.

I ended up riding 36 kilometres at a fairly leisurely pace which took me just under two hours. I could have doubled that as I was considering riding along the path beside the Eastern Freeway to Burke Road and back.

An ironic aspect to this is that back when I got my current bicycle (almost exactly two years ago!) I also picked up a multi-tool so I could make adjustments or repairs while on a ride. I chose not to get the next model up as I didn’t see the need for the chain tool…

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Ride idea: Plenty River Trail and Mullum Mullum Creek Path

Monday, April 2nd, 2007 at 11:30pm

Quite some time ago Damien and I caught the train out to Watsonia so we could ride down to the bottom of the Plenty River Trail, up the trail past Greensborough, west along the ring road and then up and down the Darebin Creek Trail. Recently I found out that the link between the Plenty River Trail and the Main Yarra Trail was nearing completion.

One the link is complete the following ride would be possible:

  • Train to Greensborough
  • down the Plenty River Trail, including the new section
  • up the Main Yarra Trail to Westerfolds Park
  • instead of tracing a previous trip up to Eltham and Diamond Creek continue along the Yarra to the Mullum Mullum Creek
  • head up the Lower Mullum Mullum Creek Trail
  • at the end of the trail head south down Springvale Road to the Eastern Freeway and towards the city
  • or continue down Springvale Road all the way home or catch a train at Nunawading.

I mapped it out on Bikely which tells me it would be at least 24 kilometres. Based on previous experience a realistic distance would be 30 kilometres which doesn’t take into account any detours I make.

Now I need to give the Banyule City Council a call to find out if the link is complete as is indicated by the wikipedia article on the path, and if so it is an option for the upcoming long weekend.

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A working bicycle pump is essential

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 at 07:44pm

I picked up a nail about halfway to work this morning.

In itself that doesn’t sound too bad except it was the rear wheel of my bicycle that picked it up. At first I thought I had just run over a stone that I hadn’t seen on the smooth asphalt but it happened a couple more times (as the wheel rotated) and I started to notice that my bike felt a bit wobbly and by the time I stopped it was fully deflated.

After some swearing I realised that it wasn’t that big a problem as I had everything required to fix it so I flipped the bike over and removed the rear wheel. A few minutes later I had removed the nail and the tube it had punctured and I set about fitting the spare tube.

It was here that I found a larger issue. The pump that has been attached to my bike for quite some time now didn’t want to pump. Thirty minutes later I arrived at work after walking for about four kilometres in my cycling shoes, not a terribly pleasant task.

So where did that leave me? At work with a bicycle that was functional except for a deflated rear type. Fortunately I knew one of the other regular riders carries a pump that I would be able to use. Was this the end of the saga?

No. When I fitted the tyre back on after replacing the tube I must have been careless with the tyre levers (they do have fairly sharp corners) as this tube also had a puncture, two in fact, which meant that over lunchtime I applied four patches, two for each tube.

Why two for the original tube? On the outside of the tube there was a single hole where the nail had penetrated. However on the inside there were five holes. As the wheel went through a few rotations before I stopped the end of the nail moved around and found a new place to put a hole. At least I was able to cover all of them with a single patch.

From that point on it was smooth sailingriding all the way home with the exception that it was a bit soft. Application of the floor pump I have at home rectified that.

So what now?

For starters I need to get a working pump. I should also get some new patches but I think I will buy a new repair kit as the tube of cement is almost empty.

(I may not be at fault for the punctures in my spare tube as I found a sharp bit of plastic inside my seat bag where I kept the tube…)

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It’s clock adjustment time

Sunday, March 25th, 2007 at 09:37pm

Today marks the end of daylight saving time.

As well as simply changing most clocks back an hour there are some devices that need special attention. One of these is my phone which I synchronise with iCal. The trick there is to not use the summer/wintertime setting the phone has. Instead I manually change the timezone back and forth between +1000 and +1100. At least I remembered to do that this time which saved a few hours.

Today also marks the day on which I need to start seriously reviewing the lights on my bicycle. I actually started this a few weeks ago with the purchase of some new LED based lights through eBay which allowed me to buy some Cat Eye lights at a third of the retail price. All I really need to do is work out how to mount the new rear light and how I want to use the front light in conjunction with my existing front lights.

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Handlebar pouch for camera

Sunday, March 18th, 2007 at 06:05pm

Two weeks ago I mused about taking photos while riding. Last week I picked up a small camera pouch from a computer swap meet for the grand sum of AU$5 with an eye to mounting it on the handlebars of my bike.

Earlier in the week I modified the pouch to remove and extra bit of padding that actually made it more difficult to fit my camera (which is one of the smallest…) and today was the maiden voyage one my ride out to Endeavour Hills and back.

How did it go? Excellent as I was able to take a lot more photos that I normally would. It also gave me a location to store a map of where I was riding, given that I folded it up pretty small. My next action is to make a more secure mount as I don’t quite trust the velcro on the belt loop, at minimum I will add a backup connection to ensure that the pouch doesn’t go far if the velcro lets go.

And here it is (follow the link to flickr to see notes):

What's on my handlebars

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Taking photos while riding

Sunday, March 4th, 2007 at 08:56pm

Ever since I got my camera I have had it with me almost all of the time, either in a pocket, in the top of my backpack or in my laptop bag. When I am riding, such as commuting or rides such as this afternoon, I rarely take photos as it is a hassle to stop, release two clips, swing it around, and unzip the top of my backpack in order to get to the camera.

For a few weeks now I have been considering getting another pouch for the camera to attach to the handlebars of my bike, the headstem in particular. This would make the camera readily accessible. Instead of stopping I could even take the riskier path of actually taking the photos without stopping.

As well as taking photos of landmarks or interesting things I have also been thinking about documenting my commute as has been done by others, and they are just some local ones.

What about taking it further?

Some time ago I found an article about building a simple camera mount. There are other homemade solutions as well as options you can buy but for me they all have the same issue. The view is fixed to be ahead of the bike. What if you want to take a photo of something else?

The next step is to consider recording video instead of taking still photos. As well as homemade options there are commercial options targeted as pretty much any action sport. But whatever option you take it seems that the cost is non-trivial which eliminates it as an option for me.

So what is the outcome of all of this? I’m going to look for a suitable pouch or small bag that I can attach to the side of my headstem. This should only set me back at most AU$20…

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Riding to Ferntree Gully with Bikely

Sunday, March 4th, 2007 at 05:11pm

This afternoon I decided to ride out to Ferntree Gully via Ferny Creek and then back via the Blind Creek Trail. However first I decided to plot out the route on Bikely. As well as giving my a better idea of where I would be riding it also gave me a distance estimate of 33.2km which would be easy to do in two hours.

When I got back home (after riding for just under two hours) I needed to update the route to reflect where I actually rode. This bumped the estimate up to 36.6km which is still short of the 38.9km that my speedometer recorded. I guess this is understandable as the route entered into Bikely is only an approximation using straight lines and I don’t know if it takes elevation into account.

The route: Shepherds Bush to Ferntree Gully and back

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Plotting routes

Sunday, February 25th, 2007 at 10:58pm

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon Treadly and Me which is a locally bases cycling blog. As well as some other cycling related blogs it let me to Bikely, a Google Maps mashup that allows you to enter in your favourite bike paths.

Tonight I entered in my commute:

As well as my ride from earlier in the week:

The current plan is to enter any future rides and I am also considering adding some of my past rides.

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A new way to the city

Monday, February 19th, 2007 at 08:59pm

I took the today off work and decided to ride into the city. However this was a ride with a difference. Instead of taking the established route of the Scotchmans Creek and Gardiners Creek trails I set myself a small challenge. Follow a close as possible to the railway line, keeping to the south side as much as possible. This choice was based upon bits of path that I had seen from the train.

Where did I go?

First the sections that I was familiar with:

  • Glen Waverley Station to Syndal Station is along Coleman Parade.
  • From Syndal Station to Mount Waverley Station there is a proper path all the way along the reservation.
  • After the Mount Waverley station carpark it is back to the road that follows the line past Jordanville Station and almost to Holmesglen Station where a dedicated path takes over.
  • After a detour around (or through) Holmesglen Tafe it is onto one end of the Scotchmans Creek Trail to East Malvern.

    Read the rest of this entry…

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To hold a charge

Thursday, July 6th, 2006 at 11:07pm

On my way home from work tonight I made a detour to drop something off that almost doubled my ride from 25 to 45 minutes. That in itself is not an issue, what was an issue was that 30 minutes in the batteries for the front lights on my bike ran flat. Riding in the dark with a very very dim light is Not A Good Thing™.

I rambled on about the lights when I moved them to my current bike but I will repeat it here: I have a set of CatEye ABS-20 which consists of two 10W halogen lights (one wide, one narrow) and two Ni-Cad rechargeable battery sticks. When I got them almost three years ago I didn’t want to spend the extra on NiMH batteries as I could get at least 45 minutes out of the Ni-Cad’s. Skipping ahead to the present day I am now getting just over 30 minutes which, under normal circumstances, is acceptable for my 25 minute ride.

One of the many items on my (long) list is to supplement these lights with a flashing LED light. The batteries in that will last for ages and while it will not let me see where I am riding its purpose will be to make me visible to others. Given that around half of my ride is on well lit streets there is generally enough other illumination to avoid hazards and in those areas there is little point in using the halogen’s just to be seen.

I have been giving this thought for some time now and I believe I have the following options with regard to the halogen’s:

  • Do nothing. The current setup is serviceable and as the days are now getting longer I will be riding home in plenty of natural light if I get to work early enough so I can leave early.
  • Replace the Ni-Cad cells. Each battery stick consists of five C size Ni-Cad cells which should be a straightforward matter to replace with equivalent cells. This means I can use the current battery charger.
  • Build a new battery pack. The second drink bottle holder mounts on my bike are useless for a bottle but it could be a nice location to mount a battery. I would need to determine what battery would be suitable, possibly a NiMH pack, but I would also need a new charger as well as having to make a suitable connection to the existing harness.

Obviously option 1 involves the least effort and option 2 is also pretty straighforward but it doesn’t give me a fallback option if I mess up the battery pack. Looking long term option 3 is the best as it will be a superior battery as well as allowing the fallback position of the current batteries but it is more effort up front.

The ironic aspect of this is that as the days are now getting longer I need the lights less and less…

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Twelve weeks in the planning

Sunday, June 4th, 2006 at 04:17pm

For the past twelve weeks since my last weekend ride I have been meaning to go for another except that prior commitments or the weather provided suitable excuses for not going.

Today the weather decided to cooperate so I rode out to Ringwood in order to cover the path that runs north from Ringwood Lake along the Mullum Mullum Creek. After that I followed the railway line west to a path that follows the water pipeline from shortly after Mitcham.

Throughout the 50 odd kilometres the most interesting part was the construction of Eastlink behind Eastland and just south of Maroondah Highway…

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Sunday saver is the ticket

Sunday, March 12th, 2006 at 03:34pm

For the second Sunday in a row I have gone for a bike ride, something I would have been less inclined to do if I had to pay the regular price for a train ticket.

Last week Damien and I caught the first train (at 7:30AM) from Glen Waverley in order to get to Laverton by 9:00AM. We then rode around the bay through Altona, Williamstown, Port Melbourne and Elwood to get to Brighton where we jumped back on the train to get home. On any other day of the week we would have had to purchase a Zone 1+2 daily full fare ticket at a cost of AU$9.70 each. However we only paid AU$2.50 each for a Sunday Saver which allows travel over all three zones for the entire day.

This morning I rode up along the Dandenong Creek to Bayswater where I caught the train into East Camberwell. From there I rode down the lower section of the old outer circle and then back home along the Glen Waverley train line. For my single trip from Bayswater to East Camberwell I would have had to have spend AU$7.20 on a Zone 1+2+3 two hour full fare ticket. Again I was spared this by getting another Sunday Saver.

My current plan is to go for a ride every Sunday morning which will be much more interesting if I include a train journey…

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Thomastown to Port Melbourne via Kororoit Creek

Monday, October 31st, 2005 at 07:34pm

Today I went for my first ride (I’m not counting commuting to work) since April when I rode down the Maribyrnong River Path.

My day unfolded as follows:

  • Train from Glen Waverley Station to Richmond Station
  • Rode through Yarra Park (where the MCG is) to Jolimont Station which saved me from having to go around the loop and then wait at Flinders Street Station
  • Caught an Epping bound train to Thomastown Station
  • From Thomastown Station I rode down to the bike path along the Metropolitan Ring Road and then west until I reached the new Hume Freeway
  • I detoured up the Hume Freeway to the City of Whittlesea Public Gardens, where there is also a pedestrian bridge across the freeway, and the back down the ring road.
  • I took a couple of photos where the Hume meets the ring road as it was under construction when I last saw it almost two years ago
  • I continued west along the ring road to Jacana where I took a number of photos from the pedestrian bridge over the station of the goods line meeting the surburan line which I regretted not taking when I started here when I rode the Maribyrnong River Path
  • Continuing on I came to the start of the Maribyrnong River Path at Brimbank Park. It was good to see that the path that ran down under the E.J. Whitten bridge has been resurfaced.
  • Pressing on along the pretty boring path I eventually reached the top of the Kororoit Creek Path
  • There are two things I can say about the Kororoit Creek Path: It is boring and it does just end in the middle of nowhere like the maps show. The concrete path just stops behind some factories with apparently nowhere to go…
  • Instead of turning around and negotiating my way along side streets to Sunshine Station as I had planned I pressed on and found a vacant block between some factories which led me out to Somerville Road. The ride from there to Tottenham Station wasn’t very pleasant as it is industrial with a lot of trucks.
  • After I got off the train at Footscray I rode across to Docklands on the path along Footscray Road. When I got to Citylink I was fortunate enough to catch CLF1 and CLF4 at the automatic rail crossing that wasn’t there when I last went through
  • Once I has traversed Docklands and found my way around the back of the Melbourne Exhibition Centre I followed the path along the light rail to Port Melbourne and back.
  • I crossed back over to Docklands and made my way to Birrarung Marr along the north bank of the Yarra (normally I would use the south). Making my way behind the Holiday Inn was interesting as it seems to discourage through traffic.
  • After taking some photos back towards the city I returned to Richmond Station for a train home…

Just over 80 kilometres in just over 4 hours of actual riding…

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More photos…

Saturday, May 14th, 2005 at 02:16pm

I have just finished sorting through and uploading two sets of photos:

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7,918 kilometres

Monday, April 25th, 2005 at 10:33pm

Seven thousand nine hundred and eighteen was the value of the odometer on my bicycle computer before I transferred it over to my new bike two weeks ago. I have just reset it back to zero and now I need to work out an efficient method of adding one hundred and sixty to it in order for it to reflect how far I have ridden on the new bike…

I will need to trigger the counter 72,748 times in order to register the appropriate distance… maybe not…

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Riding the Maribyrnong River Path

Friday, April 22nd, 2005 at 05:28pm

Damien and I both took today off work in order for us to ride the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail but this plan was shelved as he needed to spend the day working on the lighting design for a show in a few weeks. As I have heaps of leave that I need to take I decided that I would go for a ride anyway and the next path around from the Moonee Ponds Creek is the path along the Maribyrnong River.

My travels unfolded as follows:

  • Train from Glen Waverley to Flinders Street and then to Jacana (on the Broadmeadows line). This took an hour and a half but it could have been done in twenty minutes less if I had caught an earlier train from Glen Waverley and changed to a Belgrave line train at Richmond that ran straight to Flinders Street rather than around the loop.
  • Rode along the Western Ring Road past the suburbs of Tullamarine, Airport West, Keilor Park and East Keilor to Brimbank Park. Initially I had planned to do a circuit of the park before heading down the river but I decided against it.
  • Negotiated the very washed out track that runs from the east end of the E.J. Whitten Bridge almost straight down the valley to the path next to the river.
  • The hill on the other side of the river to the Department of Defence Explosives Factory was a pain but from the top there is a very good view over the factory and beyond.
  • After this it was a pretty easy ride all the way along the river (crossing over once) until Footscray where I turned onto the path along Footscray Road (aka Docklands Hwy) that leads to Docklands itself.
  • Underneath Citylink I was required to wait for a load of containers to cross Footscray Road on the line to Appleton Dock. I’m kicking myself for not taking a photo as I had plenty of time…
  • After Docklands it was a pretty straightforward ride past Crown and Southbank. I crossed to Flinder Street but I continuted down past Federation Square, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne Park and the MCG to Richmond Station where I caught a train back.

I left Jacana at 11AM and arrived at Richmond at 3PM after covering just under 50 kilometers. All up it was a very easy ride.

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New bike is back!

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005 at 06:16pm

On my way home tonight I picked up my bike and now I have front brakes that actually work. It turns out that as the Giant rep wasn’t able to pick it up yesterday the bike shop disassembled the brake caliper for an inspection. It all checked out fine so they reassembled it and now there is only a slight deflection in the join between the two pieces when the brakes are applied very hard, but most importantly there is no leak. Giant is sending out a new part in case it does start leaking again but otherwise the hope is that it beds itself in.

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New bike has more problems than previously thought

Monday, April 11th, 2005 at 11:43am

This morning I dropped by new bike off at the bike shop so the front brakes could be fixed up and I have just received a phone call from them with some bad news. It appears that the brake caliper housing is actually leaking out the side is a pretty signifigant problem. A rep from Giant will be picking it up today, getting it fixed, and dropping it back tomorrow (to the shop) which means that I won’t be able to pick it up tonight as previously expected.

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New bike! So far both good and bad…

Saturday, April 9th, 2005 at 05:59pm

This morning I picked up my new bike, a Giant XTC-3, and while I was there I finally got some gloves and also a saddle mounted bag. It is certainly a different feel compared to my old bike as the handlebar is wider by about 60mm and more significantly it has front suspension.

After getting it home I proceeded to spend the majority of the afternoon transferring the accessories from my old bike across to the new. Unfortunately not much of this went to plan:

  • I could not install my speedo (a now outmoded Cat Eye Mity 2) as the clip for the sensor was not large enough to fit around the suspension fork.
  • As the frame on the new bike is 19″ instead of 20″ as well as the top tube meeting the seat tube at a lower point it proved impractical to have a bottle holder mounted on the seat tube as it was difficult to remove the bottle. I may review this however.
  • The down tube (and the top tube) on the new bike are of signfigantly larger diameter than the old bike which mean that the batteries for my lights have to sit at an angle. I also had to dig up some longer bolts that would reach through both the bottle holder and the battery holder into the nuts embedded in the frame.

The one thing that did go smoothly when transferring the accessories was that I was able to mount the two lamps for my lights directly to the handlebar. Previously I had the lamps mounted forward of the handlebar on a Minoura Space Grip.

While I was trawling through the drawer that contains miscellaneous bolts and nuts I began to wonder if I really had to mount the batteries under the bottle on the down tube. What if there was an extension cable that would let me place them in a pannier bag? This would mean I would have to accelerate any plans I had to buy a rack for a bag but it would also mean that I would not be restricted to the ABS battery packs, I could use another 6 volt rechargeable battery…

When I went to the Cat Eye website to see if they made such a thing as an extension cable for ABS I found that what I have no longer exists. The only ABS product I could find was the ABS-10 the single 10W lamp and single NiMH battery product. No mention of the ABS-20 ( two 10W lamps and two batteries), the ABS-25 (one 10W and one 15W lamp with two batteries) or the ABS-30 (two 15W lamps with two batteries). On a hunch I checked the UK site (ie ‘English (UK)’ instead of ‘English’) and there I found a mention of the ABS-20 however this has NiMH batteries instead of the NiCad’s mine has. It makes me doubt the reliability of the Cat Eye website as there are plenty of sites out there that mention them but the manufacturer’s doesn’t…

And now for the really annoying thing; it appears that when the front brakes were assembled in the factory they didn’t tighten the bleed value enough as the fluid leaks out if I depress the lever. This means that I will be dropping the bike off at the bike shop on my way to work on Monday and picking it up on my way home…

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Commuting via public transport is painful

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005 at 09:58pm

Today was my third day in a row of commuting to work via public transport. I leave home just before 8AM in order to get to the nearest bus stop just in time for the correct bus to arrive. This bus is particularily busy so I have had to stand until most of the passengers get off at Glen Waverley at which point I can find myself a seat while the bus fills up with even more passengers. Fortunately this bus actually passed through the university which means that at 8:45AM I get off at the stop that is around one hundred metres from my office. All up it takes around 50 minutes from walking out the door at home until I walk in my office door. The journey home on the other hand can take over an hour if it is peak hour and the main roads are almost stationary.

This is actually around about the same time that I need to spend in order to ride my bicycle to and from work:

  • Go out, open garage door, get bike close garage door etc: 5 minutes
  • Ride the 9km to work: 20-25 minutes (depends on how long I have to wait for traffic lights, etc)
  • Cool down and get changed: 15-20 minutes

However riding is much less stressful as missing the bus automatically adds 20 minutes but if I leave home a few minutes later I simply arrive a few minutes later. I also have the flexibility of being able to easily make a detour during the ride (for example to return some dvd’s that I had hired) and riding along side streets is much more pleasant than staring blankly out the window at hundreds (if not thousands) of tin cans.

The point I am trying to make here is that it is much better for me to ride to and from work than to catch the bus. I believe in this so much that on Saturday morning I will be spending the equivalent of what it would cost me to buy a bus ticket every day. Yes, I stopped off at the bike shop on the way home (an extra half hour waiting for busses) and placed an order for a Giant XTC-3

(Unfortunately I will have to endure three more days of public transport as my old bike isn’t currently in rideable condition)

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Last golf lesson and bike shopping

Saturday, April 2nd, 2005 at 05:19pm

This morning I had my final (of five) golf lesson. What I am supposed to do now is actually go out and play some golf in order for it to be of any benefit. This may or may not happen…

Instead of heading back home like I did previously I travelled around to the bicycle shops in the area. After telling them my requirements three of them ended up recommending the same bike, a Giant XTC-3. This is a hardtail with hydraulic disc brakes and fairly decent components although I would add bar ends and get it with semi-slick tyres. I was also looking at racks and panniers as I have been considering not using a backpack anymore but I’m not sure if I will go down that route…

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Five day weekend… what to do?

Thursday, March 24th, 2005 at 09:43pm

Due to Good Friday, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday all being university holidays I am now facing a five day weekend. Although I will end up sleeping or watching movies for most of it I might as well entertain the delusion that I might get something constructive done.

These things may be:

  • Actually visit a number of bike shops in order to find a replacement as my current bike is getting very worn out.
  • Move a signifigant number of items from my computer collection in order to be able to paint the room they currently occupy.
  • Finish creating a WordPress template that mimics the look of this blog so I can migrate to it.
  • Something else…

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It is time for a new bike

Thursday, December 16th, 2004 at 09:19pm

While smoothly turning a corner on level ground one my way to work this morning yet another spoke on my rear wheel decided to let go. What this meant was that I stopped by a bike shop on my way home to get a replacement fitted. As my current bike is at least ten years old and I have been thinking about a new bike for over two years now I have decided that I will have a new bike by mid January.

So while I was there tonight I enquired about a new bike and the suggestion given was for a 2005 Apollo Aspire for AU$999. Being an Australian company Apollo doesn’t have the reputation that the big American brands do but this bike does have all of the name brand components.

A few weeks ago I had a look at the other bike shop and there was an older model Giant Rainier for AU$1350 (reduced) that was also tempting.

One thing that I am sure about is that I will be visiting a number of bike shops early in the new year…

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Time for a new bike

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004 at 10:28am

I need to start seriously looking for a new bike and the time is good now as the 2005 models are coming in which means that I should be able to get a better deal on a 2004 model.

I’m fairly set on a hardtail with the highest quality componetry for the price range. The big question relates to brakes. Do I go for discs? If I did then the other components would have to be lower than if I just went for V-brakes…

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Another broken cable….

Tuesday, September 14th, 2004 at 08:24pm

Over the past few days the shifting of the rear gears had become erratic and finally halfway home tonight stopped working altogether because the cable had parted from the end bit inside the shifter. So for the remainder of the ride I was relegated to three gears…

If wouldn’t have been so bad except that the exact same thing happened not so long ago…

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43.4 km in 2 hours and 11 minutes

Sunday, March 21st, 2004 at 02:31pm

This morning I went on the 2004 Orange Great Melbourne Bike Ride. The full ride was supposed to be 45km but as Damien had to be somewhere by 1pm (and we were running over 2 hours later than planned) we decided to skip the section around Albert Park lake.

After Damien left the finish at Lygon Street to ride back to his car I rode down Grattan St and Flemington Rd to the Moonee Ponds Creek path in order to complete the final section down to the Docklands that we skipped a few weeks ago…

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Shankland, Aitken, Woodlands and Moonee Ponds

Saturday, January 31st, 2004 at 08:16pm

Today Damien and I covered:

  • Broadmeadows to the Aitken Creek Track near Craigieburn via the Shankland Valley Track
  • back down through Roxburgh Park and across to Woodlands Park
  • up to the Gellibrand Hill lookout (and airport radar installation)
  • down to the plane spotting area at the end of the north-south runway at Melbourne Airport.
  • around to the start of the Moonee Ponds Creek Path at the markers at the end of the east-west runway.
  • all the way down the path to Fleminton Bridge station.

Overall just under 60 kilometers, although I continued on all the way past Docklands…

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Clipless pedals

Friday, January 30th, 2004 at 08:44pm

For a while now I’ve been considering buying some clipless pedals and shoes, on the way home for work today I bought some. Nothing fancy; Shimano PD-M520 pedals and Specialized Sport MTB shoes…

I put them on the bike at the shop and the ride home was different…

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New cable makes such a difference

Monday, January 19th, 2004 at 08:06pm

Riding home from work today was slightly wierd because there was literally no resistance and the indexing was perfect when shifting the rear gears.

I’ve also been poring over the Bicycling Buyer’s Guide that came with my December Bicycle Victoria News and now have some concerns over the prices I was given for 2003 models at Bicycle Superstore yesterday..

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Bike maintenance

Saturday, January 17th, 2004 at 07:25pm

Over the past few days my rides to and from work have become increasingly frustrating as the real derailer hasn’t been shifting properly. Thanks to Sheldon Brown‘s page on Derailer Adjustment I attempted to sort it out myself this afternoon.

I eventually discovered that the problem was not with the derailer but that the cable had (by the time i realised) actually parted from the end bit that holds it inside the shifter…

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Merri Creek Trail

Saturday, December 6th, 2003 at 07:05pm

I got tired of Damien cancelling on me so today I decided to go for the ride anyway:

  • Caught the train to Victoria Park
  • down to Dights Falls
  • up the lower park of Merri Creek / Capital City to St Georges Rd
  • up St Georges Rd and others to the ring road
  • east to check out part of the Darebin Creek Trail that was skipped on a previous ride
  • west to the start of Merri Creek Trail, passing the construction of the Hume bypass
  • down Merri Creek Trail to St Georges again
  • west along Capital City Path to Royal Park, checking out Edinburgh Gardens on the way
  • up the Upfield Bike Path to Coburg station
  • train home…

Just over 50 kilometers and was pretty good except for some residual effects of the torrential rain earlier this week; sections at the upper end of Merri Creek were washed away so the path alternated between nice concrete, jagged rocks and drifts of soft fine gravel.

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