29 September, 2008

So that's how it works!!!!

OK- first day back at work for another week and things are looking a bit puzzling (to me anyway).

"We've got some U(ser) A(cceptance)T(esting) we want you to do on this application for some fixes that are going in the system."

"Ummmm.....OK. What is it supposed to do? Is there a test script?"

"Don't worry about that. You'll figure it out."

Well now I sort of feel like a real tool. This is part of our business management application that I'm supposed to be supporting and it's an area I've never seen before. "No worries" I reckon- I'll just get on to the last bloke who tested it and things will be sweet. NOT!! The whole aspect of functionality that I'm supposed to be testing has been changed and looks nothing like the previous incarnation against which the "fix" was raised.

Oh well- I have another full day before testing is supposed to be completed and I guess there's always the "FAIL" option. As they say in "Little Britain:- "Computer says NO!!!!"

Oh yeah cycling- I didn't ride today, took a full day off and am awaiting the hills tomorrow morning. If all goes according to plan- I should absolutely fly up the hills like Icarus toward the sun. Just hope I have a more graceful return to earth!!

Ride to Work Day- takes place on 15 October. I'm a member of our corporate "Green Team" which is supposed to be involved in and encouraging green activities and today I had to send a request to our Green Team co-ordinator (a full time paid position) asking if anything is being scheduled.

I mean, "Get with the program Folks!!" You want to encourage greener, more environmentally friendly attitudes in the work force and we can't even jump on the bandwagon of one of the most successful national initiatives around??? The response was along the lines of, "Oh yeah. I was going to send something out today."

When I left work today, still nothing had come out and the ride is less than 3 weeks away,

It's ok- breathe deeply. Tomorrow is another day- another chance for the wrongs to be righted and the world brought back to its proper axis.

Ride safe

28 September, 2008


Today was the "Awareness Ride"- intended to draw attention to the numbers of cyclists using our roads for recreation, commuting and sport and hopefully to foster better relations with other road users (read motorists).

Last year there were nearly 1000 cyclists in the inaugural ride which was brought together after a young lady who was in training for a MTB event was struck by a car and left for dead on the side of the road. Vicki survived and last year's ride came together to draw attention to an increasing number of vehicle/bicycle incidents and to raise money to assist with Vicki's rehabilitation.

This year the ride was again aiming to raise awareness amongst other road users and funds raised would be donated to the "Amy Gillet Foundation". Unfortunately, many cyclists were "unaware" the ride was taking place today. Organisation of the ride was left a bit late and so numbers were down considerably on last year.

The other factor I query is the route the ride took. Yes, it was along a scenic stretch of the beachfront road and traffic controls were in place to ensure safe passage of the cyclists; however, not very many motorists would have been aware that this was taking place as the route avoided any major traffic areas (we're talking 8:00am on a Sunday morning so traffic is not going to be very heavy to begin with) and it would have been "business as usual" for those off to the markets or brekkie with the rellies.

I guess it's a fine line between having an organised ride and being a nuisance to other road users. Police permits have to be obtained and if the ride is going to be an inconvenience, then it's probably going to be a bit more difficult to make your case and get the permit- after all, we're not trying to have a "Critical Mass Ride".

All in all though- a good week 220+ km's for the week and hopefully a motorist or two out there who may have seen us today and spared a thought for our safety.

Cheers- ride safe

21 September, 2008

It's a big step to take

Dee and I have been looking at S.U.B.'s this week- that's Sports Utility Bicycles for those in the dark (as I was until just the other day). The Big Dummy from Surly and the Kona Ute are the two models we have looked at. Dee has been intrigued by the Big Dummy since learning of its existance and versatility through Largefellaonabike's blog .

Why? I hear you ask- well I don't actually hear you asking- somebody has to read this in order to formulate the questions. So I don't actually hear you asking why but I'm sure that anybody who does read this would say, "Why?".

Well, it's the possibility of going carless in our household. Really, how many times do we actually need to use the car?

Holidays? -maybe, but only a couple of times a year so why not rent a vehicle on those occasions. I thought I might need it to chauffeur visiting relatives around when they come to visit- but that happens just slightly more frequently than Halley's Comet ........on my side of the family that is- my siblings have decided (apparently) that there are no airplanes that fly to the Antipodes- they only go the other way making it easy for me to return to the old country on a frequent basis. Dee's sister has made her way here from Nova Scotia 4 times I think.

Going to work?- well both Dee and I have reasonably good end-of-ride facilities and good bikeways and/or roads with designated bike lanes to get there.

Social events?- taxis are relatively reasonably priced.

Weather?- well it never snows here, although the "wet season" can be a bit on the damp side when the monsoonal rains set in.

So why do we need a car? We're having a serious look at this.....by and large the car sits under the house gathering dust and costing us money for registration, insurance and regular servicing. So we're looking at an S.U.B. And these things are versatile, the Big Dummy can be loaded up with an unbelievable amount of stuff with its panniers and racks (more than the Kona) and is supposed to be very rideable across all types of roads and trails.

Last week, friends of ours told us there was a Big Dummy at one of the local bike shops- so on Saturday after our coffee ride, we headed in to have a look. It wasn't a BD but a Kona Ute; same basic design and philosophy but not as well kitted out as the BD. I spent most of today looking at Surly specs on line and I'm pretty sure we can make this work.

It's a big step and I need a bit more time to really weigh up the consequences/options/costs but I'm starting to lean toward an S.U.B.- it will go well with the new solar hot water system!!

Anyhow, ride safely


11 September, 2008

It was that close.

I went back and joined a group ride this morning. Not the testosterone laden, road rule ignoring bunch I rode with a few weeks back. But a gentler, more in-tune with natural harmony group....yeah right!! It looked like someone trying to herd cats. The group was all over the road- riding two-abreast (or three or four) and into a couple of lanes of traffic. Good thing it was early this morning and not much traffic- this sort of stuff could really invoke some nasty reactions from motorists.

I had been riding solo lately but had been advised that the old group had split up- sort of a TL vs EL. That would be testosterone vs estrogen.

Anyway I held on to the turn and a bit beyond with people doing many strange things when it came to traffic signals and such- or even when those who had been on the front decided they had had enough and made way for the next pair to move forward- it was like "The Keystone Cops". "What do I do?" "Where should I go?"

Being my first ride with this group, I didn't feel it was my place to start barking but it was a hard thing to hold my tongue.

After the turn, we started to pick up the pace on the return leg to the city. A good mate of ours, Mark (who also abandoned the TLR - that would be Testosterone Laden Ride) made a bit of a jump so being the twitchy sort of a bloke I followed (albeit a bit late).

Well I have to say that chasing down Mark gave me my fastest level ground speed of 54.77 km/hr. Not bad for an old fart- and I never even got to grab the wheel- it was all straight chase speed.

Anyway, Dee and I are off to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays on Friday. Lots of laughs, rides and wines with some friends and a well earned bit of relaxation.

Cheers, ride safe

09 September, 2008

Been a bit slack haven't you?

Well I guess that's one way of looking at it. It has been well over a week since last I blogged but I haven't been bone-idle. I have been busy, honest; just ask Dee.

I have been getting in rides almost every morning- well except this morning because I had to take Dee to the airport, plus it was raining so that's legit. And Sunday- I didn't ride Sunday because it was Father's Day here in Oz. Went to a native plant nursery and then worked in the yard- planting, weeding, digging, edging and just general yard stuff. Very relaxing and good for the soul.

Oh and all of those mornings when I have been riding, I've been doing hills- and you know something, I feel stronger. The hills aren't necessarily getting any easier (well maybe a bit) but I am finding that my recovery time is much shorter and that I have more strength in general. Every time I start up another incline I keep reciting my mantra,"Hills will make me stronger, hills will make me stronger".

The track season has started for the year and I'm still debating whether to give it a go. I suspect I will but I'll attend a couple of starter sessions before I jump in with both feet. I did try it once before at an "Open Day" that the cycling club had a couple of years ago- I think I spent more time trying to get my feet in the cages/toe clips than I did actually pedaling around the track.

And big things happening in North Queensland on the cycling front over the next couple of months: One of the toughest MTB events around- the Croc Trophy is back for another year. Then in November, there will be a crit in Townsville with some of the big names from the pro circuit- Cadel Evans, Robbie McEwen, Adam Hansen, Stu O'Grady, Matt White, Henk Vogels Wim Vasavenant. Needless to say there's a fair bit of excitement amongst local riders hoping to catch a ride with some of these blokes.

Anyway- off to the bike shop- Dee's rear wheel was making some strange noises yesterday and with my limited bike mechanic abilities, I couldn't find anything so I'll leave it to the pros.

Cheers- ride safe