Sunday, May 10, 2009

I didn't ride today...

I didn't spend all week working my arse off and busting for a day that wasn't too busy or too climatically challenging or both, and I didn't take advantage of a cold but gorgeous Wellington Saturday by chucking my bike on my rack and rendezvousing with my good buddies Alex and Matt.

We didn't saddle up and ride up the delightful Cemetery Trail, and we didn't marvel at the constantly changing character of this sweet singletrack.

I didn't start out with a hiss and a roar before tapping the depths of my climbing fitness after the first five minutes...Matty didn't take over point, and Al didn't clear the entire climb despite this only just coming back from a pair of nasty injuries.

I didn't go anaerobic trying to wrestle my camera out of my shorts pocket as I wasn't riding to take shaky photos of Matt and Al climbing away from me as I went deeper and deeper into oxygen debt...

We didn't collect ourselves at the gates and we didn't decide to carry on and ride Johnson's Hill back down to the Cemetery. Our cheery greetings also weren't ignored by an ignoramus heading past us back down to the Cemetery. HEY WE DIDN'T WANT TO TALK TO YOU ANYWAY, BUDDY!

Next we didn't ride up to Skyline.

By now you're probably getting as tired of this lame schtick as I am, so when I tell you that we didn't run into some old MTB friends out for a walk who didn't pull out some inane calls on me then you won't understand?!?

My somewhat bitter "humour" is directed at the two things people I bump into when I'm out riding seem to say the most; "I didn't know you rode off-road?", and one I've unfortunately had cause to mention once or twice before which is, "Your bike is so clean - you must never ride!" Both of these calls were pulled out on me in quick succession, and the best I could come up with in return was to hassle them for losing their bikes...why do the best comebacks always occur 10 minutes after you need them?

Firstly, anyone who actually knows me knows that when I do have a chance to get out I ride my MTB far more than my road bike these days, not to mention that I've ridden mountainbikes (poorly, I'll admit!) since 1992. Secondly, I find the utter inanity of hassling someone about not riding when they're out for a ride very odd indeed, not to mention extremely impolite.

After this frustrating encounter we set off again south along Skyline, around the clever cyclist-friendly stiles, until we hit the turn off to Johnson's Hill. The climb up to the trig is a toughie and we all walked a fair bit of it.

Unfortunately my camera doesn't do it justice, but the view south was spectacular with the Kaikoura Mountains crystal clear in the distance framed by Makara Peak and the hills out towards Cook Strait.

Al was riding on his classic old steel KHS hardtail with v-brakes and early Marzocchi Bombers, but he out-rode Matty and I with our 5 inch travel trail bikes on most of the steepest technical stuff we'd encounter on our way back down the Hill.

The view out west has been irrevocably altered by the windfarm that's being erected. I have no problem with the site or the intent of the thing, but I can't say I prefer the sight of the windmills over the bare hills.

Matty flowed down the stairs while Alex and I followed carefully.

We took a turn-off that Al and I had regretted passing the last time we were up here - this trail started out with some rooty, slippery goodness, before taking us down some steep pine-needle covered zig-zag action, where Al expertly slalomed us through the trees - it wasn't until later that it was revealed it was because he simply couldn't stop! Lucky for us he carried it off so well...

This was much steeper than it looks!

Matt in a techy steez.

After much slithering and sliding and some mad skidzzz, and only a couple of minor offs for me, the trail took us eventually down to the Cemetery. We got back to the cars buzzing but, as we still had some daylight and didn't feel like the ride should end, we decided to give them the swerve and keep rolling - Matt hadn't seen the new Karori Park pump track, so we headed along the Main Road.

After a wicked blast through the traffic I hit the Park but somehow I managed to take the wrong way up not once but twice! I arrived in time to watch Matt roll adroitly around the pump track...

...before we ped-surfed back around the Park and fanged hard back through Karori, finishing up with some awesome judder bar air.

After reaching our vehicles and farewelling Matt, Al and I drove back to the Bay where I couldn't resist taking a couple of shots of the full moon rising above Tapu Te Ranga Motu.

Then from up on the ridge...amazingly, it was raining heavily about 20 minutes after I took this last shot.

Home in the bosom of my family, with the rain starting to fall. I love my bike and, despite the scepticism I seem to face from some people with no idea how I live my life, I really, really love riding it...

Another great ride with great friends - cheers Al and Matt!

Of course, if there is a reason that I don't ride bikes as much as I should, it's because fixing them dominates a huge chunk of my week. As that is actually the real reason for these long-winded diatribes I call a blog, I thought I'd better show you a couple of the bikes I saw this week.

Before I do though, here's a shot of Grant's sweet new Cotic Soul. You may recall I built up some wheels for Grant a couple of weeks ago for his Great Divide ride from Canada to Mexico, so here they are fitted on his weapon of choice by the guys at Taupo's best bike shop, Top Gear Cycles.

As the week began I had a couple of jobs to finish off, the first of which was Blair's Scott. I tubelessed the tyres and fitted the rotors and cassette to the wheels I built him last week, before installing them and giving the bike a service.

Next up I cannibalised the chain, front derailleur and cable set off this lovely old Raleigh...

...with cool 50s transfers... enable me to complete Dan's lovely Colnago Technos. I think it turned out very nicely indeed.

Check these pics out of some more of Dan's impressive quiver of retro steel rides, which I haven't had the privilege of fettling yet but definitely hope to get my hands on over the course of time!


Roberts TT bike.

And his brilliantly restored Mercian...

Links to more pics of these fine machines here: Raleigh, Roberts and the Mercian.

I next worked on a slightly more modern rig. Matt's (a different Matt!) Opera (a Pinarello subsidiary) was having a chainset transplant. The recent advent of the first ever Dura-Ace compact chainset meant Matt's old 7800 53/39 DA was being ditched in favour of more knee-friendly gearing.

7900 Dura-Ace chainset.

The Opera before removal of the 7800 chainset.

Matt has fitted some interesting and very light Zero Gravity brakes to his bike.

As well as doing this, the Opera required some tender ministrations - as did the AC420 wheels. Soon enough Matt's race bike was ready to rock.

Lastly, I'll show you Andrew's lovely titanium Everti hardtail MTB. Bought for a relative song off Everti's designer/builder Kurt Knock, this sweet rig is a 24lb XC race machine. It just needed a good going over after a few months of riding since new.

The welding of this Canadian designed/Taiwanese built frame is faultless, and the ride apparently smooth and fast.

That's all I have for this week. The upcoming week holds some more interesting projects I will be getting on with. Until then, thanks for reading. Cheers, Oli


Lexi said...

Sounds fantastic, Ol, and the photos are brilliant! x

Oli said...

Cheers, Lexi! x0x

Pete said...

Nice story.

Everyone loves clean bikes. People making comments are jealous!