Sunday, September 30, 2007

Daylight Savings

Two people in our house think it's hard getting up earlier due to Daylight Savings today. The other thinks it's great to be allowed to go to bed earlier!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Trip recap - day 1

A haze of flu has stoppered my roiling thoughts over the last week, so I won't post as many details on my trip as had been hoped. Here for your enjoyment, however, are notes on the one day of real solid cycling.

Firstly, here are my notes made at the end of the day itself:
  • Only 85kms, but very enjoyable.
  • Lost momentum sitting in Octagon eating late lunch. [For over an hour]
  • Final stretch a bit hard, as essentially out of water so stopped eating snacks also. From town out.
  • Got fairly tired a couple of times, but seemed to move through that.
  • Just realised forgot to buy cereal for breakfast.
  • Left some stuff in locker in town. $1/day - super value.
  • Bum a bit tender in shower, but not feeling bad.
  • One patch of numb feet. OK after shifted feet.
  • Best drink ratio is 1/2 strength raro. [Later added ~1/3t salt to 2L. 2/3t was too much.]
  • Airport to Dunedin: 36.1km in 1:57, ~18km/h even with hills. 3:10 elapsed.
  • Past Octagon without noticing it [due to Gay Pride event combining with covered pedestrian paths distracting me from wider (and octagonal) open area the road passed through].
  • Apparent off-road cycle path at junction Kirkbride Rd and George Bolt Memorial Dr dumped me back onto the wrong side of a 100km/h road in the middle of a long block.
  • Left bike lock key at home with keys I actually didn't need.
  • Got stuck on Mosgiel-Dunedin route where signs ran out. A friendly local escorted me on an alternate route he was taking.

Extra notes as best I recollect:
  • I left home at 4:49am, arriving at the airport at 5:59 and finding the supermarket had only day-old bread for my breakfast. 22.17km, 18.6km/h avg. (okay, I had that written down.)
  • Packing the bike took longer than expected - even longer to return home.
  • Bike weighed 15kg, with luggage the same again. Just on my limit.
  • Most campervan people not very friendly. Keep to selves. - perhaps because was weeknight?
  • Arrived at campsite at 4:30. Very civilised, and plenty of time to figure out unfamiliar tent.
  • Dunedin really is quite hilly.
See also my Flickr set, which has comments covering scenery and other bits of cycling. My biggest hill was climbing to the spine of the peninsular on the way back to town. The first 7km of Highcliff Rd were almost all at snail's pace, and I walked one stretch of about 100m. It didn't help that there were about three false crests where I stopped to rest and take another round of scenic photos. It felt good to stretch the body, though, and after a couple of relaxing days I felt ready for a workout. Now if only I'd gone to bed early every night I was down South...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Trip stats

Well, I made it home safely and enjoyed my trip immensely. 230kms total, in about 13 hours. The only big day was the first, on which I did 85kms including two solid climbs between Mosgiel and Dunedin. After that there was too much to see and enjoy to get many miles in. Not that I managed to see much of the famous wildlife -- no penguins, no sea-lions : just a few shags.

My food and fluid worked well. Ran out of water late on the first day, after being too shy to refill at a petrol station in Dunedin, and really felt the difference. The bike held up well, although there is some obvious wear.

The back wheel has a visible flat spot. I was watching the odometer tick up to 100 while enjoying the sweet downhill leading to the Albatross Centre at the far end of the Otago Peninsular. Looking up, I realised that there was a cattle grate about 3 metres in front of me! My 45km/h of speed wasn't enough to jump clear over it, and the rear wheel hit hard on the 1" lip of the far side. Oops.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Off we go

Just about to sleep before the trip. I feel overpacked - my two panniers are quite full, with tent, bedroll and day-pack on top of the rack. I have a plastic bag from the mattress store to ship the bike in - seems to conform to the airline's instructions on their website, and I gave up on carting a box around once I'd rolled the thing up and seen how small it wasn't.

Several posts remain unwritten in my head. Had a great chat last Sunday week about what a Christian Left theology might be - my interlocutor expected liberalism, which doesn't fit several I know will be at the conference. No time to write on that now - perhaps I'll get time on my return, and I certainly expect to have more thoughts in that direction.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Joy of Cycling

Got to love this advocacy project from Germany, care of the eCAN newsletter, especially the quote from Saint-Exupéry.

From the same source, apparently the rental bikes in Paris are going well.


Heather asked me to take her for a walk at lunch, since I was home sick. Just to the end of the cul-de-sac, in the wheelchair. Even in that distance there are so many flowers, and you really notice them better at walking speed. Yellow oxalis was my favourite, even if they are an invasive nuisance. Even a bird of paradise on the driveway.

Travel preparations

With less than a week remaining until I go to Dunedin, my preparations lag somewhat. My friend who had offered me a bag to stow the bike in for flight had misunderstood that I needed to carry the thing around. He has offered me some cardboard bike boxes, and perhaps I can make the cardboard work as a bedmat then re-assemble at the airport. Other schemes are also being hatched.

Several times I've thought it would be nice to take my trailer and use it as a frame to box the bike, but a) it is probably too heavy, b) it still awaits painting, and c) there are a couple design changes that would make it easier to use that way. An interesting idea for my next trailer...

I'm having a second crack at snack making, having chopped the oats much finer this time. Hopefully this will make them closer to the 'quick oats' in the American recipes I'm using.

Marmalade Mistake

Don't add acid to marmalade to tart up the flavour at the end of the process. We now have three large jars of tasty gum which cannot be spread with a knife, and I blame the acid. There is a chance that I overdid it because the gas hob transmits far more heat and for once the jars took longer than boiling the jam.

Monday, September 3, 2007

One visitor triumphs over another

A pop quiz for your edification, with visual clues:
  1. What should turn up in the Timms trap on Saturday morning?
  2. And who should turn out to have trapped furs for pin money during school?
  3. And what did we have for tea on Sunday night?
  4. And what is nailed to the underside of the lounge floor?

And just to test out the technology, here's a clip of Claude shaking the rigor mortis out of the wee beastie.