New Art Installation

Bikes are really complicated. I have been riding for so long and for so far — but I am still learning.

DENTISTRY/SCHOOL

Last week I got this massive lecture about looking after my bike. Essentially it was just like the lecture I get each and every time I go to the dentist. “Keep your bike clean,” they said. “We had to soak [some random part] for an hour!” “Your drive-train is missing this [tiny IMPORTANT screw]” 

It was like being in school again. Ugh.

Just this week I learnt that you can’t get a new chain and rear cluster and expect it to sync with your shitty worn-out chainrings. It made the most obscene noises and stagger when I got out of the saddle and grinded.

And the Felt was complicated. It was such a great bike, but it had been thoroughly USED before I got it. I should have expected that. And then I proceeded to neglect it — never cleaning it. So then it failed and it really FAILED. So now it is reduced to just ART. It was always beautiful (and ART), but crucially FUNCTIONAL as well. Now it is just frozen in its ARTNESS. 

Tonight I said to Dee — “Come look at my new Art!” She took one look at my effort and walked out of the room with a look of utter disgust on her face. All can say: PHILISTINE!

So let me know what you think. Here it is:

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Biggest ride ever!

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About 4:45am at the old substation just across from the Old Museum at Bowen Hills. Just me and Ryan today and the plan was Caloundra and back. We’d done this before back in 2012. But conditions this time were so, so much better.

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It was dark for the longest time. Later today when we came back through in the opposite direction we were like, “Oh — this is what this road actually looks like.” Some sections — like at Strathpine — were just BLACK. Not even street lighting.

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Just coming into Caboolture the light started to seep in. The Glasshouse Mountains looked a lot prettier than this pic.

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20 minutes later the world was a tiny bit more civilised.

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We had a break at Beerburrum — just like last time — then started smashing along Steve Irwin way. This road has about 18kms of no-shoulder death-zone-ness. It gets quite scary in some sections where there is a traffic island in the middle.

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Beerwah has to get on the map somehow.

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AUS-TRAY-YA!

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From Landsborough the road is actually really, really good. Nice surface, plenty of shoulder, not too much climbing.

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CONCENTRATE!

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The sun came out for a bit.

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Caloundra!

For the return journey just imagine exactly the same as before except:

1) heaps more traffic

2) a tiny bit of rain

3) very sore legs, plus sore neck, back, hands, bum, etc, etc

4) I had the beef and vege pie at Beerburrum instead of the chicken curry on the way up.

OH YEAH

Total distance was 207km, over 1500m of climbing, an average speed of 30.9 and 6.5hours of riding (not including breaks). It is safe to say that me and Ryan are pretty fucking proud of ourselves — just quietly. Having made it through today we both know this will make the Killarney ride that’s coming up just a little less daunting.

BONUS PIC:

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The Beatles in Brisbane (and how I was *kinda* there)

A few weeks ago a friend of mine — little Jess — found this picture taken on June 30, 1964. It was taken during The Beatles concert at Brisbane’s Festival Hall.

It was on display in the lobby at “Festival Towers” — the ugly hi-rise apartments built over the ashes of Brisbane’s Festival Hall.

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And the reason she sent me this pic was not cause I am a huge Beatles fan — it was because that dude above looks just like me. Quite impossibly. It is quite disturbing. He has the look in his eyes of funny-amazement, (plus the eyes are just about the right distance apart), the epic sharp nose, the flared ears, and he even has (seemingly very RED HAIR) composed just like I might have down at various points in my existance.

He is even dressed how I might have done that at the age he seems to be (16-18?) — just a refrained-but-somewhat-decorated collared shirt hopefully hidden by a non-discript black jacket.

Over my life I have never really ever seen anyone with even a tenth of my resemblance. Once upon a time when Facebook did that thing about posting a pic of a celebrity who looks like you in your profile pic — I was completely lost. It might just be my imagination — but I think I look quite unique. My mum and dad don’t look like me — apart from my mum’s gingerness. There is no chance you would pick my sister as my sister. I think my dada looked a bit like me when he was a super-kid, but definitely no more. In saying all that I am not complaining.

Here is a pic of me at 16.5, maybe roughly the age of that doppleganger-dude above. (I was posing for pics in our backyard before our Year 10 semi-formal).

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Here is a (slightly-later) pic of me (and mum) when i was still sub-17:

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BELOW: Here is another pic from the John Oxley Library. This time a different angle of my doppleganger back in ’64. This time he doesn’t look quite as real as me, but it is still a bit creepy. There’s a bit too much teeth in his smile. But everything else is so very “me”. All those girls are going nuts, I’m just smiling and enjoying the experience.

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If I could dissect the photo above just a little more. And I am just imagining stuff here.

“That is his sister next to him. He had to chaperone her.”

FESTIVAL HALL

I am old enough to have seen some shows at Festival Hall. Each and every time I was so fucking aware that The Beatles had played on that stage. You guys might not have an idea how big of a Beatles fan I was/am. See I think I was a bigger fan in my youth. Both my parents had Beatles bios in their bookcases. Mum had the Hunter Davies “official bio”. Dad had “The Love You Make” by Peter Brown et al. In retrospect that was the opposite of what I would expect of those two — but that is another story.

I went to only two shows at Festival Hall — one was Custard/Regurgitator/Powderfinger (the EasyCheese festival) and the second was Beck (supported by Custard).

Less than a year later it was derelict. About 2 years after that it was being demolished.

Here is a John Oxley Museum pic of the building in it’s beautiful integrity.

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DEMOLITION

When I got my current job, our building was BANG next-door to Festival Hall. (96 Albert Street would rise only 5 stories above and mostly fill the space at the left of this pic above). But within a year they started pulling down that amazing venue. I must have lamented this fact in the office cause Ros randomly said she was at the Beatles show in 1964. Ros was our oldest worker and she is still working at our office! It was pretty amazing knowing someone who had seen the Beatles in the FLESH!

ROS and her BEATLES SEATS

So when Festival Hall was demolished Ros went next door and talked to the Rosenlund crew who were ripping apart this historic building. Ros had kept her ticket from back in 1964. And so she secured the exact seat she sat in during that amazing concert from epic destruction. AMAZING. I think this is actually a story they should put on TV but you get to hear it here first.

Inspired by Ros’ dedication I got Ros to grab a few bricks from the decay and these bricks are still with me. I am not exactly sure which ones they are — but at least three of those Festival Hall foundations make up this path beside our house I recently made:

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BACK TO THE BEATLES IN AUSTRALIA

So yeah — the ABC documentary is about to start!

It is so funny but the Beatles stayed at “Lennon’s” in Brisbane! Am I the only one that thinks that is hilarious?

Lennon’s is still around and just got a face-lift. I took a picture (below) of the hotel mid transition:

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Anyway — the Beatles came to Brisbane — how fucking cool is that? EPIC.

 

Training for something big

In less than 4 weeks I have planned something big. Another Adventure.

It is one of those overnight bike rides to some random location — as far away from Brisbane as possible, in a direction that leads to a semblance of civilisation, where we can get food and lodgings and — crucially — many, many beers.

Once upon a time it was Byron, then it was Uki, then it was Woodenbong, then Toowoomba, another time it was Noosa and now it is a place called Killarney.

It is roughly 162km from Toowong through rolling country roads and up and over the Main Range. Maybe there will even be a look at the Queen Mary Falls. We shall see.

TRAINING

So I have been doing all that training stuff. Me and Ryan have been quite diligent. We started a training plan about 5 weeks ago and we have stuck to that and done some more.

This is the pub where we are staying in Killarney: (photo from gdaypubs.com.au)

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On Saturday I rode 101kms on my Kinfolk — fixed at 75 inches. I was the only one running that nonsense and we were hitting the Ford Road circuit near Rochedale — something Tom had hooked us into. Last time I did it I was aver gears and it was tough, but I had no idea how much tougher it would be.

Here is a list of things I found tough about that ride:

1) Grinding up the Mt Petrie Road climb (which is an incline that is just uncivilised for a fixed gear). We hit this hill just as a huge group of geriatrics were working their way up in the granny gears. Meanwhile I had to smash up as much momentum as I could and then snake a route around (and overtaking) these Freds as they zig-zagged up and eventually I ran out of pace and was just crunching at walking pace for the last few metres in absolute agony and with the definite probability that I would be forced to stop the bike and walk and suffer that indignity. (But I made it!)

2) Smashing down the subsequent hill stretched my spinning to the limit. I hit about 60km/hr which meant my legs were spinning so furiously I thought they might break off. I had to brake just in case. I only got overtaken by one of those freds but I overtook him only a few seconds later. (why do they bother?)

3) At that point I could feel the right side of my chest was so sore. I had injured myself at work on Tuesday trying to lift something that was too heavy. Then I tried to lift it again. But it was ok. The pain was almost unnoticeable until I went for a Thursday Night riverloop and when I got home I was in agony. This made Saturday’s ride really, really awkward. On the way to the 6am meet-up I felt the pain and stopped at a servo to get some over-priced panadol — but it made no difference.

4) Being at the back of the pack on a fixed gear is not where you want to be. There was a few more times over the Ford Road hills that I found myself boxed in at the back of our crew. Thus I lost all momentum and had to grind and grind rather than smash.

5) Spinning and more spinning. It must look so stupid all that spinning you do when travelling above a natural cadence. i felt a bit embarrassed.

In saying all that I think I compacted a whole bunch of effort into that ride — much more effort than if I had had gears. So maybe it was all worth it.