Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yuletide Salutations!

Holy maladjusted derailleurs! Twelve days since my last post and it seems like just yesterday - it's been a mad blur of work and socialising but finally all the repairs are done, the shop is swept and clean, and hopefully the chaos has abated for another year.

I'm pretty sure I've worked on some nice bikes of late, though I can't really remember, but I can definitely tell you how much each different Star Wars Lego set in the world costs and where to find the best wizard costumes!

I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks. For most of us Christmas is all about catching up with family, partaking of good food and nice wine with friends, and lolling about on the beach soaking up the sun, and it's going to be exactly like that for the Brooke-Whites too...

I want to wish you all the very best for Christmas and the New Year. Thank you all for your friendship and custom over the year, and I look forward very much to seeing you all in 2008.

Have a Cool Yule!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tour de Peak

The 2007 Makara Rally is done and dusted - and I do mean dusted! It's rare for the Park to be so dry at this time of year, and the race was held in record heat with the looming rain not arriving until after the prizegiving...

The event seemed to go very well on the whole, with around 130 competitors riding in either the Creek to Peak morning race or the Tour de Peak in the afternoon. There were amazing spot prizes and despite suffering in the sweltering heat, most of the entrants were wearing huge smiles at the finish.

I was a marshall for both races, egging on the riders from the entry to Sally Alley in the a.m., and the top of Lazy Fern in the p.m., so I got to see everybody at some point. Being a more social event than a full-on race, it's one of those great chances to catch up with people and have a laugh and a sausage (!?) together.

Competitors came from Levin and Palmerston North and joined Wellington's riders to make for some great racing. All the various class winners thoroughly deserved their accolades, no matter what their final placing, and the non-winners deserve mad props for managing to cope with the fierce concentration that riding Welli-track requires...

Despite the effort required to simply race, some folk went out of their way to make things harder on themselves - one guy dressed as Father Christmas, and looked like he was going to expire from heat stroke, another did a lap of the C2P on his full-on DH big bike, and Team Roadworks rider John Randal rode around with the help of his stoker-bike propelled by his lovely daughter Kaitlyn! Team Roadworks was also well represented by Alex Tashkoff and Matt Isaac, so thanks to them all for flying the colours.

The Makara Peak Supporters did a fantastic job running the show, aided by many able volunteers, and raised a considerable sum that will go directly back into building and maintaining the trails that were raced on, and that we lucky Wellington mountainbikers get to ride whenever we like, so thanks to Ben and John from MPS for all their impressive hard work on the day and for all the hard yards they had to put in to make it all come together!

Results here and inane banter from prior and post race here on Vorb, NZ's finest MTB website.

Cheers, Oli

P.S. Some great pictures of the day are viewable here...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Makara Loop

I rode the Makara Loop today for the first time in a long time today. I rode up Ngaio Gorge, through Johnsonville, then blasted down the Takarau Gorge to Makara Beach, then slowly struggled back up over Makara Hill to Revolution Bicycles in Northland for a while to regain my equilibrium/composure/breathing, then fanged down Glenmore and home around the Bays...very sore now, and enjoying a beer.

Back in the early 80s and right up to the late 90s this loop was a staple Saturday afternoon training circuit of my friends and I. I have fond memories of barging shoulders with Chris Taylor and Andy Bray, racing for primes with Henry Chlebowicz, attacking Antos Kowaleski and Bruce Stewart through the Paris-Roubaix gravel, racing the downhills against Wheels and Jonathan Neill, and simply riding with many, many other good friends...

I probably sound about 90 years old, but I couldn't help but reminisce about how the Loop has changed/is changing since the halcyon days of my youth - the Takarau Gorge is sealed (apart from the wee taster of olden days), all the pines have been logged, opening out the lower Gorge, the cool old macrocarpa tunnels on the way to the village have gone, and now they're widening all the roads in preparation for the wind turbines going in.

I know it's all for a good cause, and that eventually the trucks will be gone again, but I can't help but feel sad that this classic road loop is being irrevocably altered. We have too few rural style circuits around Wellington as it is. Oh well, that's progress, I suppose...

I still had fun and reveled in being able to escape the city for an hour or so...lovely.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Makara Rally Week

Hi there! It's been another full-on week at the shop - a couple of unfortunate Taupo crash victims to repair, and a big pile of munted mountainbikes to deal with. I managed to sneak in a couple of sly Road Ninja rides this week, and I can even glimpse a distant sight of some form...On the down side, I have been forced to euthanase my poor old Commodore, which many of you will know, and which has provided such sterling service to the Brooke-Whites for many a year now, so respect to The Beast please.

Good work to everyone who achieved their goal of a successful Taupo ride, but if it didn't go your way I'm sorry - there is always next year, as they say! I heard lots of great stories, so thanks to all who have let me know how they got on.

Hopefully all the mountainbikes I saw will be being ridden in the Makara Rally...It would be awesome to see a big turn out at either or both the Creek to Peak and Tour de Peak, both of which have a category for any level of rider. The money you spend goes directly back in to building and maintaining the fantastic world class trails we have the very good fortune to be able to ride here in Wellington.

Here a couple of shots of the superb John Randal and I winning the Vets duo section of the 2004 Creek to Peak - the only MTB race I am able to claim on my palmares! :-D

Mid-week I swapped the Ultegra gruppo off the Lynskey Flamer I've had on display, and substituted it with Dura-Ace for it's new owner. I'm sorry to see this one sold, as I liked looking at it in my shop all day! A truly individual and beautiful ride for some lucky bloke in the 09...

The Ultegra went on this stunning example of the sort of air-brush work that they can do at Lynskey...

The working week came to a pleasant end, as Dave from Bike Fixation brought in a couple of fruity frames and a chainset from boutique US brand Sampson to fettle. The frames were a full carbon Sampson Diablo in a subtle red clear laquer, and a carbon/titanium Exalt that is just begging for a Campagnolo carbon gruppo.

Here's the ISIS chainset Dave brought with him as well...another lovely bit of kit.

I look forward to seeing you at the Rally this weekend! CU, Oli

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

Monday, October 29, 2007

PowerTap Wheels

I love to build wheels more than almost any other job; bar fitting Record gruppos to beautiful road frames, of course! Here are a wicked pair of wheels I built up over the weekend for my friend Glenn. He obtained the PowerTap hubs (carbon rear and rare matching front) and I supplied my favoured Mavic Open Pro CD rims and some black DT Swiss Competition spokes and alloy nipples. I laced them up standard 3 cross, as per PowerTap's recommendation, and also to provide a lovely responsive ride...

These hot wheels are going on this very cool Time VRXS that Glenn rates as his best frame ever - high praise from a man who has owned several Colnago's, including a Master Olympic, a titanium CT-1 and a C-40! Full Campagnolo Record gruppo, naturally.

Note that the PowerTap is wireless. Also note that the tyres are yet to be fitted. ;-)

Cheers, Oli

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another day, another build...

This time a Lynskey HB310R frame, with an AlphaQ GS10 fork and finishing kit supplied by Bike Fixation. I got the Campagnolo gruppo and Eurus wheelset from NZ Campagnolo distributor W.H.Worrall and Co. Ltd...which was nice.

Hope I'm not overdoing it with all this wall to wall titanium but it's in my nature to share! By the way, this sort of premium bike build usually takes me about 3 to 4 hours per bike, not including building wheels.

Step 1: Grease AlphaQ post and fit Flite saddle. Put in stand. Wipe off drool.

Step 2: Install Chris King headset then AlphaQ GS10 forks. These forks require a reinforcing sleeve/star nut to be epoxied in and cured overnight, so here's one I prepared earlier...Fit AlphaQ stem and lovely carbon 'bars, as well as carbon spacers. Fit tubes and Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres to Campagnolo Eurus wheelset. Fit 13-26 cassette also. Fit wheel to frame.

Step 3: Discover I am supposed to fit a Campag seat clamp instead of the Lynskey one (blush) so do that and set seat height while I'm at it. Fit AlphaQ carbon bottle cages. Chase bottom bracket threads using my cool Park Tools BTS-1 threading and facing tool.

Step 4: Install Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque bottom bracket cups. Marvel at near seamless juncture between frame and cup...

Step 5: Install Campagnolo Chorus Ultra-Torque compact crankset. Fit Chorus Ergolevers, front derailleur, chain and Skeleton brake calipers. Fit front wheel. Set derailleur limits and brake pads as well as possible.

Step 6: Install Campag cable kit with appropriate grommets, o-rings and cable end caps, pre-stretch all cables and properly adjust gears and brakes.

Step 7: Fit Specialized Bar Phat handlebar tape, run through the gears and brakes one more time, fit pedals and take for test ride. This bike is too small for me to really judge effectively, but it felt damn good as far as I could tell. This photo was taken with the bike on my Ultimate scales, where it weighed in at only 7.3kg sans pedals. An awesome weight for such a solid bike that will literally last a lifetime...

After the test, I recheck the headset, brakes, gears, quick releases and all bolts, just in case things have bedded in during the ride.

A couple of things a test ride won't immediately reveal are the incredible quality of the welds on these beautiful machines, as well as the artistry in the shaping of the tubes. At first glance it appears to be almost conservative, then you notice the gently curved seat stays, then the asymmetrical chainstays, the moderately ovalised down and top tubes, all wrapped up in a semi-sloping frame package. There aren't many current frames that really inspire passion in me these days, but Lynskey definitely do.

Thanks for bearing with me over the last two days - I promise not to post every step of every frame I ever build! :-D

Pedal on, Oli

P.S. More congratulations are due Garry Humpherson for his bronze medal in the 70+ Points Race at the Masters Worlds, to follow his gold in the IP earlier this week. What an inspiration and an absolute legend Garry is!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Labour Day - No rest for the wicked!

After yesterday's great ride up Makara Peak with my eldest son Kester, and against the whole ethos of today's public holiday, I spent Wellington's third consecutive sunny day in my cave building a Lynskey Pro 29er. I thought you might enjoy an insight into one of my builds, so here's a small sequence of pictures. You can easily see why I didn't mind working Labour Day so much...

1st Step: I use Tacx Dynamic Compound to fit the Thud-Buster seatpost, then use the post to clamp the frame in my workstand. Note the glimpse of sun outside my workshop door...

2nd Step: I check out the funky sliding dropouts, grease all threads and reassemble them to torque.

3rd Step: Now I have fitted the Bontrager Race Lite rear wheel (pre-built, although I fitted the Avid rotor), Sram X9 rear and Shimano XTR front derailleur, FSA carbon crankset and MegaExo bottom bracket, and Sram 971 chain.

Step 4: Now I have carefully pressed in the Chris King headset, cut down and installed the White Brothers forks, chucked in the front wheel, as well as fitted the AlphaQ stem and X Roc carbon riser 'bars, Sram X9 shifters, RaceFace grips and Avid Juicy Carbon front and rear disc brakes.

Step 5: Then I install the derailleur cables, give the gears and brakes a run through in the stand, recheck all torques and it's almost done!

The final step is to fit some flat pedals and test ride the machine. While not a true test (I didn't go off-road at all...) I found the handling to be much more nimble than I assumed, and the bike felt light and agile. I look forward to a proper test up Koru one day soon, as I'm sure it will be as sweet a ride as it was fun to put together...

Hope you enjoyed watching me build it as much as I enjoyed doing it! Cheers, Oli

Thursday, October 18, 2007

If this is Spring I don't wanna be sprung...

Curse this fickle Wellington weather! One day sunny with extreme galeforce winds, the next day freezing with extreme galeforce winds and hail...No sign of sustained decent Spring conditions at all, dammit. I'm used to the wind at this time of year (okay, all year really...), but not the amount of rain and cold we've been experiencing. Even Jacques Anquetil would be getting ratty!

Apart from the weather it's been cool, though. After escorting Bodhi on his Tour de Botanical Gardens on Saturday, I managed to get out for a sifty Sunday blast on my MTB for the first time in months, which totally rocked. Nice to reconnect with the dirt on my GT I-Drive. I rode Mt Albert and Mt Vic and cruised home through the Basin Reserve, where I stopped to listen to a young woman playing the bagpipes (!?) superbly in the late afternoon sun. This was followed the next day by a fun road ride around the Bays on my Hillbrick, which was only slightly marred by the wind slowing me to a 12kph crawl around Point Jerningham!! "There is always wind on the road" is there, Jacques?

The shop is still cranking, and among other jobs this week I especially enjoyed building a set of 1570g MTB wheels for a friend. They had supplied me with an XTR rear hub and an XT front hub, and a pair of 32 hole Mavic XC717 disc rims, then I used DT Competition spokes on the rear and DT Revolutions on the front with aluminium nipples all round. Lovely! Lightweight without losing strength and durability for a hard-charging downhill oriented XC racer...

I also had a nice time today fettling my friend Nick's Litespeed Vortex by swapping out his 1997 original edition 9 speed Dura Ace for a 2007 10 speed version of same. The bike is finished with FSA's cool shallow drop handlebars with Fizik gel tape, an FSA carbon post with a Fizik K:1 saddle, Bontrager carbon cranks and a wicked pair of Real Designs carbon/aluminium clincher deeps. I've posted a pic of this lovely bike below...

Lastly, but by no means leastly (?) I wanted to give a massive shout out to Welli's own Garry Humpherson who just won the World Masters Championships 70+ Individual Pursuit Gold! This was a Champion ride by a Champion bloke. After the impressive feat of setting a World Record in qualifying, Garry had to come from being down at the start of the final to finishing clearly on top and winning the gold medal! Absolutely brilliant, and thoroughly well deserved by this multiple (both title and discipline) New Zealand National Champion. I'm proud to have one of Garry's National Champion jerseys hanging in Roadworks and you can be sure I'll be badgering him relentlessly for a loan of his World Champions one...

Ciao, Oli

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nothing to report...

That's not to say it's gone quiet at Roadworks - far from it! The pre-Taupo build-up is well in swing, and I've been building wheels like they're going out of fashion, as well as doing general services, the odd TT conversion and all the usual stuff...that combined with my son's 12th birthday last weekend, Friday night drinks at Revolution Bicycles in Northland and other pressing social engagements have conspired to keep me offline a bit. Also no new pics of fruity bikes makes for a slightly more dull post, but at least you know I'm still here! I'll post again as soon as I have something more to offer. :-D

In the meantime, please get in touch if I can be of help, though remember I am flat out at the moment so need as much notice as possible. Generally I am booked out for a given week by the end of the Monday!

I'm off for a ride with Bodhi now! Cheers, Oli

Saturday, September 29, 2007

It's a dirty job...

But someone's gotta do it! I showed these lovely samples of the Lynskey family's titanium artisanship to a client this arvo...jeepers, what a life.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Paris in the Springtime

I'm still coming down off the race-rush of last weekend, but I had a lovely week hanging with the family, as well as catching up with my man Paul Larkin and my good friend and star Roadworks rider John Randal (pictured above putting the hurt on!). I did a bit of a bike-fit on John on his Specialized Roubaix (long overdue...) and he promptly went out and rode 175km with Simon Kennett the next day! Luckily no deleterious effects reported...

I was also really pleased to get a visit today from another good mate, my old Wholly Bagels DS Karl Kane. He went over to the Tour de France this year to interview NZ National Road Champion Julian Dean, as well as to research his thesis, so it was great to hear some of his cool Tales from the Peloton. I hope to hear more over a quiet rum or two very soon.

Anyway, I was able to fit some work around all the gossip and this Pinarello Paris with Dura-Ace was the week's highlight. Yummy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Grammar Hammer - Second Hit!

The next day dawned a bit early for this slightly blurry around the edges wrench, but a healthy breakfast was eaten outside on this balmy morn and I was soon refreshed and ready for the day.

We droved up to Fielding for day two's road races, parked up at a school and I set up my workshop outside to deal with the inevitable niggles. Most of the jobs were more about putting the boys' minds at ease than any real necessity, although just as the U20s were warming up I had a mystery gear issue on one of their bikes that I had some difficulty working out, but ended up sorting (I thought) by replacing the rear derailleur housing. I then took the opportunity to go to the neutralised area to watch them roll out, take the opportunity to say gidday to Tom David, Myron Simpson, Andy McNab, Alex McGregor and Alex Cull, who I worked with at Canberra and Mooball earlier in the year, and then cheer on the Grammar Hammer as they set off...

Back to my tools and stand to be ready for other age groups warming up, where I was able to give a few of the younger boys advice on their set-ups. Bizarrely, the only work I had to do now was to check over a few of bikes after some unfortunate and painful looking roller mishaps - no real harm done luckily!

Some time later the U20s finished - no win, but a fine 3rd place for Alex Ray, 5th and 6th were great results behind Junior Worlds reps Myron Simpson and Alex Cull. Team Captain and 5th place finisher Aaron Gate told me though that his gears that I had such trouble with before the race had been pricking him in the finger! It turned out that his gear cable was a fraction away from snapping, and it was one of the strands painfully spearing his finger, though luckily for me the gears still worked well enough to race...

After a working on a few more bits and pieces, and chaffing a nice saussie and onions on bread, I wandered down to the finish straight to join some of the parents cheering on some of the junior groups as they finished. I then meandered back to the "workshop" to tidy up. Once everyone had finished safely and I had established that there were no mechanicals again (apart from Aaron's gear cable breakage), I packed my stuff into Hunno's wagon and we were off.

We drove to Ashurst now, where the Junior Tour of the Manawatu was being held. Hunno put on his selectors hat and a motorbike helmet and jumped on the back of Mike McRedmond's moto to follow around the race, while I blagged a ride with my good friend Ken Bewley, his wife Sue and son Zac to spectate. Ken is a master tactician, coach and UCI commissaire who I first met at the MTB Worlds in Rotorua, where we had a lot of laughs on top of Ngongotaha at Tech 2. Ken and I then worked together on the Oceania/Mooball trip, where he was assistant team manager and expert pool tutor - although I maintain it was actually a very close game.

We drove up to the top of Waterfall Road, the major climb of the stage, so Ken could check the progress of the three athletes he was coaching. Great fun spectating without having to worry if I'd done a good job on the bikes, although a few of the Grammar boys were backing up from the TTT and riding the Tour instead of doing the Fielding event. It was lovely to be in the countryside surrounded by enthusiastic parents, coaches and non-competing riders, and we had a great time cheering on the efforts of the young competitors as they rode the hill at warp speed.

After a quick wrestle to get spectator and cyclo-cross novice Alex Culls' massively twisted chain back on his Tarmac properly, we then jumped in the Bewleymobile for a quick fang to the final climb then, after grimacing at the attrition, we drove back to Ashurst to watch the finishes and grab a quick coffee. There was some great sprinting to be seen, but I don't have any results to share sorry, as we were off again back to Palmy!

Once at the motel, I replaced Aaron's gear cable and made sure his bike was ready for the Manfield Points Races the following day, then packed my tools back into the Holden and had a final beer with Hunno and Ken. Dale Johnson gave me a lovely thank you, then I shook hands with as many of the boys and parents I could find and I was off back to Wellington and my family...

This weekend was a fantastic experience for me. I was blown away by the fantastic cycling culture that Auckland Grammar School has created through the great work of the teachers and parents, as well as helpers like Graham Hunn and, of course, the boys themselves. Without fail, the boys were polite and pleasant, and showed so much passion and commitment for the sport it humbled me at times. They are a truly special bunch of kids, that are a great credit to their school, and they gave me hope for the future - both in terms of bike racing and in the wider sense! Quite apart from the two wins and two records we set, the racing was quality throughout and I felt truly proud and privileged to be a part of this team; in fact I have already asked if they'll have me back next year.

The boys competed the following day in points races at the Manfield motoracing track where apparently yet again the Grammar Hammer was dropped bigtime. Hunno tells me he has rarely seen such awesome team racing in his life. It doesn't surprise me a bit. This dominant team effort resulted in an Under 20 win for my man Aaron Gate, which pleases me no end...

Once again, thanks for your time. CU, Oli

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Grammar Hammer!

I rolled into Palmy around noon, dropped the Lynskey 420 off with my client, then rendezvoused with the AGS guys at the motel. Hunno introduced me to Grammar's Master of Cycling, Dale Johnson, and some of the boys and parents and I was straight into it.
I transferred my stand and tools to Graham's car, then we drove out to the course at Koputeroa (7k out of Levin) , where I did my first repair - putting a new Record chain on one of the bikes. A couple more little bits and pieces then we followed one of the squads around the Teams Time Trial course...

At this point, I was starting to get what I was involved in. Auckland Grammar has, through the hard work of some parents and key teachers like Dale, created an amazing cycling culture. Since the event's inception in 1968, Grammar has won the Sir Bernard Fergusson TTT no less than 19 times! The school is defending champion this year, and to compete against about 600 girls and boys from Intermediates and Colleges all over NZ, an incredible 11 Grammar teams have been sent. These are composed of 7 junior teams and 4 senior teams. These teams are populated by kids from all the ages, backgrounds and abilities imaginable, yet all are incredibly supportive of each other, and share a cool and inspiring (there you go!) bond forged in working together towards success.

This is matched by an incredible bunch of parents - both cycling and non-cycling - who do everything from feed the whole crew, to massage, to coach, to driving and many other vital tasks. Graham has had sons go through Grammar but no longer, yet he still is an integral part of the Team and it's associated success, utilising his many years of experience as a rider for New Zealand, his 7 years of coaching the NZ Women's Team, and his prodigious cycling knowledge.

Once we had sussed the TTT course, it was back to the motel for the real work to begin. I set up at a picnic table in the sun, and began working on a long stream of bikes. Many of them needed a fair amount of fettling, but before I knew it it was beer o'clock, followed by a Team meeting, where the A Team were presented and given yellow helmets and booties, then we meandered down to the neighbouring motel for a beautiful meal provided by the AGS parents, who made me feel very welcome and a total part of the Team.

The next day was my favourite day: Race Day. We loaded up and drove out to the course, and set up shop in a classroom of Koputeroa School. I parked up under a kowhai tree and began work on the bikes I hadn't been able to get to last night. It seemed like 50 bikes, but was probably only half that, with no real dramas to speak of luckily. I was stoked my good friend Jazz Apples Team mechanic Paul Larkin arrived from Wellington to support us.

The day was perfect for racing; still and warm, without being too hot. It was hard to keep track of who was racing and how they were doing, but the Team spirit was amazing. Laughter was the way to calm nerves, it seemed...Then we got word that the Junior A Team had won in a new course record! Awesome! And something for the Seniors to really key off, not that they were suffering a lack of motivation!

After sorting the final B and A team bikes, I grabbed a pair of wheels and followed Hunno down to the start area past about 8 billion dollars worth of bikes; Pinarellos were everywhere, but there were Serottas, Look 595s, Colnagos, De Rosas and many, many others. I was taking in the huge atmosphere when I realised one of the boys had a problem - he had been fitting a wheel and somehow dislodged a brake shoe. The problem was he only had a couple of minutes until the start! I whipped off the pad and sorted it while he went through the rollout check, then whacked the fixed pad back on in time for him to get to the start for the 15 second count and go. Phew!

Then we waited for the Teams at the sharp end to go. Westlake Boys looked great as they started - smooth and focussed. St Kentigerns were hot favourites, with NZ reps Myron Simpson and Tom David featuring, but their chances were dealt a serious blow with one rider dropping his chain metres from the start and being unable to fix it fast enough to get back on. Then Grammar A took off to a huge roar. We waited. Westlake appeared, but were ever so slightly hindered by some inane driving by a local in a ute, who seemed to find it amusing to endanger children on bicycles. Somehow noone was hurt, and they thundered off towards the (hidden to us) finish. Next came the St Kents boys looking pretty good considering they were a man down, although they were down on Westlake. A small wait and here they were! The A Team appeared looking like a ProTour team pedalling in one sharp line in their yellow helmets and booties. Hunno on the stopwatch gave us a split as they blasted past to another massive roar; 8 seconds up! Could they hold it?

Parents were texting and calling the supporters at the finish, but noone could raise an answer. Word came over the grapevine that we had won by 5 seconds, and in another course record, but we couldn't confirm this at all! Then, suddenly, a buzz started around us as from down the road in the distance appeared a huge blue AGS banner being carried by two Old Boys and members of the winning '06 Team, Blair and Roman. These hard case legends had spent their first year of University coaching their successors, and had spent hours making up the banners that were slowly approaching us, as we realised that both the A and B Teams were riding along behind it, accompanied by all the other supporters. We cheered wildly assuming this display of ostentatious braggadio meant we had definitely won, only to have the boys all asking if they had! As Hunno put it, it was lucky we had or we would have looked like real idiots!

After that we basked in the glow of our success for a good long time, as we all slowly made our way back to the classroom and the eventual presentation ceremonies. I was rapt to hear that we had had no mechanicals, although we did have a crash in one of the junior teams. Luckily, he was okay, and I sorted his bike no problems. A few small post-race cassette swaps and then I packed up. The medals ceremony began with AGS banners strung up in every available part of the courts they were being held in, although I was forced to disgrace myself in the Team's eyes by cutting down one of the huge banners, as parents from the other schools didn't seem to want AGS in all the photos! Go figure...I was honoured to get a hard time from Aaron Gate, the A Team Captain, in his speech as he let me know my work had been appreciated by them.

After collecting "Bernie" (the trophy), we packed up and drove back to the motel for a quick shower, a couple of celebratory ales, then we went along to the Palmy Convention Centre for the Grammar function. Good food, speeches (including by NZ Junior Track Coach, Mike McRedmond), Monkey Rolls and more than a few beers, it was on to the pub to see the night out...I'll draw a curtain on the evening there, and relate the Sunday's road races in my next post.

Cheers, and thanks for reading...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm off!

Well the tools are all sorted, the stand is packed and I have TWO trackpumps (don't ask!) ready to load in the Holden tomorrow morning. Then, after dropping Bodhi at kindy, I am driving up to Palmy to drop off the completed Lynskey HB420R I built over the weekend, and then on to rendezvous with my man Hunno to begin working as the Auckland Grammar Cycling Team mechanic at the Secondary School Nationals, as mentioned in the post below.

I'm really looking forward to another bike related road trip - the last time I loaded up the car for this purpose was as a BikeNZ mechanic for the Trust House Women's Tour of NZ in March, which was a continuation of the cool trip I did to Geelong (read about it at Roadworks Archive). That time I had the great honour of working for established champions like Sarah Ulmer, Jo Keisanowski, Meshy Holt and Toni Bradshaw, but this trip will be great to work with some of the champions of the future...Ace!

I will be back at the shop at around noon on Monday the 24th - hopefully after an inspiring weekend with no drama!

Above is another cool bike I worked on this week - a Chorus BMC SLC-01 in Astana livery...

As ever, thanks for reading. Cheers, Oli

Monday, September 17, 2007

Away this Friday!

I'm posting to let everyone know that I will be away from the shop this Friday the 21st of September. I am going to be working as a mechanic for defending champions Auckland Grammar School (!) at the 2007 Scottwood Trust National Secondary Schools Road Cycling Championships and Sir Bernard Fergusson Teams Time Trial in Levin, so won't be back in town until late on Sunday.

I'm really looking forward to watching the best school-age riders in the country compete, and I'll be taking note of who will be our next Ulmers, Deans, Prydes and Hendersons...

this means if you want anything done this week you'd better get in very fast!

Just because I haven't built another nice bike since Saturday, here's a gratuitous shot of my own bike. This Bianchi TSX-UL is a beautiful ride, despite it's 9.65kg weight. The frame is circa 1996, equipped with Campagnolo Record components, Ambrosio Giro d'Italia rims with Veloflex Pave tyres, ITM Krystal Ti stem and Millennium 'bars, and Celeste Fizik Arione saddle.

Hope you like!