Thursday, November 29, 2007


To start this latest post off with, here is a great picture of my man Paul Larkin (Jazz Apples mechanic/lawyer) at the top of Split Enz, one of the wicked trails in Rotorua. His new Commencal Meta 4.1 is certainly getting a lot of miles under it's wheels...

Last night was a very cool night. My two eldest sons and I did a trail maintenance work party in preparation for the Makara Rally... We chucked our bikes in the RoadworksMobile and drove up to Karori, parked up at the Makara Peak carpark, then rendezvoused with Head Trail Pixie for the day, my good mate John Randal, to collect tools and say hi to him and his lovely daughter Kaitlyn. We rode slowly up Koru clipping random gorse, overreaching branches and clearing drainage, then had a breather and a quick go at the (Lack of) Skills Area. Once John and Katy had caught up with us on their tractor/trailer/rider/stoker bike arrangement, we rode up Magic Carpet, then down Lazy Fern to help do some final tidying...after that, we repaired to John's house for a pizza, beer and ice cream in a cone frenzy! As well as Kaitlyn, Kester and Harry, there were also three other kids helping out; Aidan, Kirsten and Brynn - great to see the enthusiasm with which these young kids tackled the digging alongside their respective parents and other workers! The trails will be primo and super enjoyable for the Rally, no matter what level of riding you're at. Hope to see you there...

Today I built up the latest Lynskey to hit the roads of Wellington, a 410 with an AlphaQ seatpost and Chris King headset, that we retro-fitted the Campag kit from his old bike to. It turned out beautifully, and should make Barry happy for many. many years...

I also managed to fit in a fantastic and morale-boosting 90 minute road ride in the hills today, as well as a coffee with my mate Jonty Ritchie at his cool shop Revolution Bicycles in Northland. Jonty is an absolute legend of New Zealand mountainbiking, having won races as a junior from the earliest days of the sport in this country, to still kicking arse on the road or trail today. He was a NZ representative to the first ever UCI MTB Worlds in Durango, Colorado in 1990, and his shop is a repository of MTB knowledge and lore, along with some cool memorabilia. Revolution is also my favourite bike shop to sift in when I'm allowed out of Roadworks!

Below is a pic of Wellington's Independent Bicycle Dealers having an important meeting at Revolution a few Friday's ago - from the left it's me, Declan from Valley Cycles in Aro Street (one of my co-mechanic's from MTB Worlds, Rotorua 06) and Jonty still working...

Vive le Velo, Oli!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sarah Ulmer Retires!

Former World and current Olympic Individual Pursuit Champion Sarah Ulmer today announced her retirement from all cycling, due to the debilitating mystery leg ailment she has been suffering from for the last couple of years. She had been offered surgery but the chance of it helping was only 50% so Sarah decided the risks outweighed the possible benefits and decided to pull the plug on her illustrious cycling career...

I had the incredible privilege of working for/with Sarah on what has turned out to be her last proper race, the Trust House Tour of NZ, when I was mechanic for the NZ Women's Team earlier this year. She is every bit the Champion person as she is a Champion cyclist, so I'd like to thank her for her stellar and magnificent career, as well as being such a cool woman.

Cheers, Sarah! :)

In other news, I haven't had a second to post anything in the last couple of weeks due to the Taupo rush. It's always a busy time and one needs to make hay while the sun shines, so I have been working stupid hours to fit in as many clients bikes as I possibly could. I apologise profusely if you were someone I wasn't able to squeeze in...I have heard back from several of my friends and it seems PBs were the order of the day, so congratulations to all of you brave road warriors for your good work.

I completely missed taking any pix of some of the H.O.T.T.ness I have worked on over the last few weeks - Colnagos, Condors, Kuotas and many, many more, but here is a shot of a very cool Serotta MTB I revived a couple of weeks ago for my good friend Bill. As you can see, it's a late 90s build but a beautiful ride nonetheless...

I had a cool day last Saturday; in between work and a trip to the Stock Cars with my two eldest sons I jumped on my road bike and rode up and down Mt Victoria to spectate at the inaugural Wild Wellington 6/12 hour race. Very cool event based around the Hataitai Velodrome, and some of the cool trails up Mt Vic. I had many friends in this event but no Roadworks team - a situation I plan to rectify next year! Next MTB event up will be the Makara Rally on December the 9th, where I am one of the sponsors, will be helping marshall and will have a team riding. Check out Vorb for details on how to enter this cool event that benefits all of us who ride on the awesome trail network the Makara Peak Supporters have created for us all.

Speaking of Makara Peak, I had one of those completely brilliant rides today, on one of those rare days with both great weather and no schedule for once, so a couple of friends and I met at Makara Peak carpark at 10.30ish.
We hit up Koru at a decent clip, then meandered up the Snake Charmer. A quick pause to take in the view from the Summit, then down Aratihi. I rode point, but the trails were quiet up the top of the Park so had a wicked clear run down to the Pylon.
We began Missing Link and then made the unusual and confused decision to try Nikau the wrong way, despite the sign that said "wrong way".
The ride down into the valley was flowy but tight, with a couple of sketch moments in there to keep us sharp. The climb out, on the other hand...
We persevered to Leaping Lizard where we enthusiastically chose to re-do Nikau the RIGHT way - good call, as all those nasty pitches we'd just portaged up are an extremely fun technical downhill in the XC sense, and we rocked it. The ride out wasn't even that bad.
We exited onto ML where we waited for some good folk to make their way down, before discovering it was some more friends, so we chatted for a while, then they went off to either Aratihi or Leaping Lizard, while we rode up ML, then down Sally Alley, and up into Ridgeline Extension.
Now the flow really came on, as my legs were so poked I had virtually no choice but to coast as much of it as I could, and rely on momentum to float me over the rough stuff. The Trail Pixies have done a great job all over the Park cleaning the tracks up for the Rally, and RE is just perfect! Some decent (for me) air at Picnic Table, and a drifty zoom down onto Big Tom's Wheelie.
Two of us hit what we thought was the start of Lazy Fern , only to get completely confused (despite having worked there only three days prior!), and lose our third guy. We eventually regrouped and slowly edged our way down LF, checking it out as we went, then finished off back at the carpark feeling great...
It was a revelation of a ride; flowy, techy, uppy, downy, with great company (thanks Matt and Alex!), no crashes, ridden in great weather, and I was even pleasantly surprised by my own form for once!
There's nothing like a good ride like this for making you appreciate the beers afterwards! I then fell asleep on the couch watching the Sword in the Stone with Bodhi! :-D

One last thing; if you can you should grab a copy of the latest North and South magazine (December 2007 issue) and have a read of Jim Robinson's excellent article on the current growing popularity of cycling. Jim has even included some quotes from me, along with other much better qualified personages!

Hopefully have less inane banter and more bling-bling for y'all next time...CU, Oli

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tri Bike

On Saturday I cunningly managed to avoid shovelling a huge pile of dirt down the back of my house, moving a huge load of manky rubbish and weed-eating my way overgrown lawns by instead building up this Lynskey Triathlon frameset with a fine selection of fruity bits from Campagnolo, USE, Sampson and FSA. It's always nice to do a job like this with plenty of time, and I was stoked to have my good friend Henry (ex-Cycle Services) keep me company for some of the build...

A close-up of the cool Sampson Stratics TT bars

I always run a tap through the bottom bracket threads to ensure the b/b goes in easily

Also I check that the b/b shell is faced properly - vital with the modern external bearing systems

Here it is, almost complete. Only the handlebar tape and the not yet specced saddle to go

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bike Fitting

I'm afraid I have to let you all know that I am finding it more and more difficult to find the time to do bike-fits, so I've decided I won't be able to continue to offer this service until further notice, I'm sorry...

I really appreciate the huge compliment I'm paid by the amount of inquiry I am getting for my fittings, and am truly humbled by the great testimonials people are giving, but as a one man show operating only limited hours I am finding it impossible to find any more time in my day. This means I don't feel I can do justice to the service you should expect from me, so I am restricting my focus and energy to the repair side of things.

With a usual couple of late nights a week clearing the repairs, along with morning and evening drop-offs and pick-ups, plus the way too much time spent administering any small business, I am missing out on time with my wife and kids that I want to share with them, so I need to make space for that. Hopefully also a wee social life and a ride or two can squeak in there too! :-D

As much as I'd love to say yes to everyone who asks for my help, I am finding myself unable to and for this I apologise.

Please continue to book your repairs, as the way they work demand completely different time constraints so aren't affected in the same way as the fittings are.

Cheers, Oli

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Dave Johnson from Bike Fixation is carefully adding new product to his excellent range. The latest is this wicked Chumba XCL 5 inch travel trail bike that looks as if it will absolutely own the trails. See Bike Fixation for more details on availabilty and price, or for the full spec of the XCL.

While you're checking out Bike Fixation also note that Dave is going to be doing Tommasini road frames, Topolino Carbon Core wheelsets and Sampson frames and components also, to add to the AlphaQ and Lynskey gear that he is already stocking...He also has stock of Enduro Ceramic Hybrid bearings for a variety of hub and bottom bracket applications. Email Dave with any questions about any of these products...

Cheers, Oli

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I Got Soulcraft!

What a week! Mad busy from beginning to end with a few nights burning the midnight oil and imbibing Cuban rum (thanks Fraser!) just to keep on top of things...Lots of fun fruit to work on to make it all worthwhile though. I had to fettle this beautiful custom steel Soulcraft that I built a few years ago, giving it a bit of a birthday with new Columbus Muscle forks and Record chainrings along with a tickle up. This lovely bike belongs to Karl, my old DS on the Wholly Bagels team.

Then I had to replace the front derailleur on Nic's Specialized Transition, as well as try to sort some shifting issues.

I also got to build up this cool Commencal Meta 4.1 for my man Paul Larkin. This bike came from Commencal/Fox/Troy Lee (among other cool products) wholesaler Blue Shark down in Wanaka - thanks Al and Rick! I have to say the pre-assembly is the best I've ever encountered. All I really had to do was bolt on the bars, swap over the brake levers, fit the front rotor, put the front wheel in and chuck on some pedals and she was done! The photo doesn't do justice to the stunning pearlescent white paintjob...

The last wee job I had to do was build up John Randal's Raleigh XXIX singlespeed 29er. A cool rig for him to add to his growing quiver!

Next project is to build up this wicked Chumba XCL for Bike Fixation to show as a demo bike. Hopefully I'll get to that over the weekend, so long as my kids don't kill me first!

Lastly, I have blatantly ripped this picture off the PNP website...Congratulations once more to World Champion and bronze medallist Garry Humpherson.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Time Trial and Trail Time

I built this lovely TT bike up on Tuesday for a local road racer wanting to dip his toes in the water of Time Trialling without making a huge financial investment initially. He has used an Avanti Kona frame and some forks off a Specialized Transition with a mix of assorted parts to create a cool rig for working out whether or not he will want to invest in a dedicated TT feeling is that this will do him fine.

I love the Sram gear and brake levers, although running the cables through the Easton carbon aero bars was a tad frustrating! The Mike Burrows designed Giant wheels and aero seatpost are very cool, as is the Sram Force rear derailleur, although I'm not sure my lard arse could handle the Token carbon saddle for more than a few minutes... :-D

I had a most fun evening tonight (Wednesday) - I finally made it to a Makara Peak track building work-party, 3 years after my last one... :blush: I chucked my GT I-Drive in the back of the new Roadworks Corporate Nissan Prairie (see below!) and drove up to Karori. I was just about to head up the soon to be opened Lazy Fern track when my wise friend Grant told me I should ride up Koru and down Lazy Fern. Great idea! So I got to experience this delightful bit of new singletrack in it's intermediate state, before it's eventual clean-up into a true beginners downhill. After a cool ride I found the work-party and was showed by the trailbuilding experts how to wield a pick for an hour or so. Hugely rewarding to see the track taking shape before my eyes, although the Makara Peak rock took some damn pickin', I tell ya!

After the work we adjourned to Makara Peak Supporters stalwart and loyal Roadworks Team rider John Randal's nearby abode for pizza, beer and banter - great fun!

Makara Peak is a fantastic resource for the Wellington and New Zealand mountainbike community, as well as the many overseas visitors who hear tell of it and hire a bike to schralve it bigtime. The many folk behind the scenes of this inspired playground for MTBers deserve our fervent thanks. Good ways to do that are by taking up a membership of the Makara Peak Supporters, helping on a work-party (even if only for a few minutes), by riding in one of the events held up there such as the Makara Peak Rally coming up in early December, or by simply dropping a coin in the donations box at the carpark when you go for a ride. Your help will definitely be appreciated, and will also pay off for anyone who rides on these glorious tracks. I have a family membership and will be one of the Makara Peak Rally race sponsors, so I look forward to seeing you up there!

CU, Oli