Fashionable Bike Helmets – Brisbane Designer

A great concept from the Brisbane designer Katie Lou to make fashionable helmet covers for Australian Standard approved helmets.  Of course the concept is not new.  Yakkay already sell a range of fashionable covers for their helmets which is sadly not approved for use in OZ.  But it is great to see some one picking up the torch and running with it for the Australian market.  The extra sun protection can’t be beat in this climate!

Sadly, they aren’t on the market yet but you can sign up with an e-mail address to be the first to know.

Hat (or helmet) tip to Adrian for the tip off.

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World time trial champs –

World road time trial championships are going on at the moment in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Australia has done really well this year with Jessica Allen winning the junior women’s time trial and Luke Durbridge winning the under 23 men’s time trial.  In addition to this, Michael Hepburn won bronze in the under 23 men’s time trial and Dave Edwards also won bronze in the junior men’s time trial. That has to bode well for the Olympics next year.

Looking at their bikes, I always think they look some uncomfortable – I mean skinny handlebars, bum at the same height as your head, weird helmets and lots and lots of lycra – which part of that looks like fun? That being said, these guys fly.  They are averaging above 50 kms an hour on regular roads, including speed bumps!

Magpie Season

After getting swooped twice on the way to work this morning, I guess it is Magpie season.

For those who don’t know, the Australian Magpie is a medium sized, black and white, predominately insectivorous bird who nest in spring.  A small number of nesting individuals rigorously defend their nesting territory and swoop intruders – predominately cyclists seem to be the prime, but not only, target.  These birds often do multiple swoops, beak snapping and, in rare occasions, make contact.  Swooping is most active in September and October.

BQ has a great article with tips on avoiding a swooping magpie and includes the most important tip to always wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.  Especially, after the tragic sight loss reported in the news last week.

There is conflicting evidence over what will actually prevent an attack so best to just avoid those routes where birds are active if possible.

Gear Review – Louis Garneau Santa Cruz Skort

I thought I’d do a little review of one of my cycling skorts.

I got this skort a few months ago (from Team Estrogen) to cover up my lycra.

The skirt is a wrap around style, with a velcro tab protecting your modesty, and a webbing  buckle to hold it all down.  On first impressions, the pattern is not as obvious as in the picture – it is there, however it looks like a plain black skirt.

The skort is quite short (I’m only 160cms, and the skirt still comes mid thigh).  The fit is pretty easy, thanks to the velcro tab and buckle which makes the skirt super adjustable.

The knicks are a mesh type liner pair, that are pretty short (to hide under the skort).  You probably wouldn’t want to wear them as an outer layer however, as they are pretty seethrough.  The chamois is bright orange (which I think is quite fun).  It’s quite thin, but moulded, and for me, quite comfortable.  They are held in via a couple of little button snaps, and pop out quite easily.

P8061836

The chamois (don’t worry, it’s clean)

I think the skort is awesome.  It covers up the lycra really nicely.  I’ve worn it on some long rides (80-100 kms), and it seems to not get into the way.  The only thing is, that because it’s a wrap around skirt, the flap tends to fall open when you ride – it’s probably more of an attractive ‘off the bike’ than ‘on the bike’ skort, however you could probably fix it with a press stud or two.

The blurb says that the skirt is suitable for mountain biking, however I’m not so sure. I think it’s certainly durable enough, however I can imagine trying to get off the back of the saddle, and getting it caught in the rear wheel.

In summary?  For road riding – it’s fantastic.  Really comfortable and I think it looks great.

How to lube your bike chain

Maybe you’ve just cleaned up your chain, maybe it’s rained a lot, maybe you’ve got a lot of riding coming up, maybe it’s something you haven’t done in a while.  Time to lube your chain!  Don’t worry, this is a very easy task to do!

Lubing your chain reduces the friction between the chain and the other components.  This reducing the scraping and reduces the amount of wear caused by normal use.  Regular lubing will extend the life of your bike.  You should lube your chain when it loses that oily sheen.

Equipment:

  • Chain lube
  • Rag (optional to catch drips)

How to clean your bike chain

After Cycle Qld, 8kms of dirt and 570km of riding, my chain was looking a bit dirty.  You might want to clean your chain if you have been riding in the rain a lot (water flicks dirt up on to the chain) or have to ride over dirt or sand.  A chain looks dirty when there is caked on, grainy black stuff on it.  Cleaning the chain removes all the dirt, sand and grime from your chain which reduces the grinding and wear on your moving components.  This will extend the life of your bike.

This is a bit of a dirty job, so don’t wear your best clothes and be prepared to get a bit of grease on your hands.

Here is what you will require:

  • Chain cleaning tool
  • Stiff brush or tooth brush
  • Degreaser / Citrus cleaner
  • Rags
  • Lube for afterwards

If you don’t have a chain cleaning tool, that is ok.  Just use a tooth brush.  It will be a bit more time consuming though.

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It’s bike week!

Sorry everyone, I dropped the ball on this one.  It’s bike week in NSW this week.  What with Cycle QLD and getting back into work mode, I completely forgot.

But, never fear.  There are still plenty of events on over the weekend, including plenty of guided rides, a “get started” event in Kiama for new riders and an artist talk in Manly.

For more info, check out http://www.bicycleinfo.nsw.gov.au/events/bikeweek_events.html

How to reassemble your bike

Well, since I’ve just got my bike back from the courier from Cycle Qld, I thought I’d do a quick post on bike reassembly.  This post is targeted to bikes that were transported in a cardboard bike box.  If you have a bike bag or some other arrangement, your mileage may vary.

I pulled out all of my bike bits and put them together.  They consist of the frame plus rear wheel, the handlebars dangling by the cables, the front wheel, the pedals and the seat.  I have removed all the packaging and padding that was used to protect the bike.

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A chat with Omar–Bike NSW

So, whilst I was on Bicycle QLD, I was fortunate enough to have a quick chat with Omar, the CEO of Bicycle NSW.

Firstly, I have to say, he has the most beautiful bike.  It’s made of hickory, yet has not sacrificed any performance – it’s got Easton Creek wheels, disc brakes, and a rather cute, albeit odd, fur covered Fizik saddle.

Omar's bike

I also must confess that I am not a member of Bicycle NSW.  I am (and have been for a few years) a member of Bicycle QLD (I am a Queenslander at heart), and I felt that Bicycle NSW couldn’t and didn’t really offer me anything.

Omar was really upfront.  He agreed that cyclists in NSW had traditionally felt that Bicycle NSW didn’t offer much other than insurance for cyclists.  He confessed that he hadn’t thought much of being a member of Bicycle NSW, and that his motivations for becoming CEO, stemmed from wanting to create an organisation that he would be proud to be a member.

I asked him about research – and how I thought that cycling in general would have a much stronger advocacy case with more well designed research.  He agreed with me, mentioning the cycling study being done by UNSW (I’ve plugged that one before), but said that with a limited budget and research skills, good research was difficult.

I lastly asked him about what was in the pipeline – particularly about a big ride – CQesque.   He mentioned the Spring Cycle (16 October in Sydney), National Ride to Work Day (12 October) and the NSW discovery long weekend (23-25 March 2012 in Orange NSW), and hinted that Bike NSW might have a partnership with Bike QLD in the next couple of years to run a tour, but sadly, there’s nothing concrete.

Overall I thought Omar was really upfront about some of the challenges facing Bicycle NSW.  I certainly congratulate him for being very approachable – he rode with the back of the pack – not out front with the fast pack, and really made an effort to engage.  Oh, and did I mention his beautiful bike?

DIY Panniers

I’ve always thought our panniers really let the team down on the fashion stakes.  They always seem a bit utilitarian rather than a nice stand out piece.

Now there are quite a few companies that make nice pannier bags as can be seen on our Stylish Bike Gear page but some can be a little pricey.  Wouldn’t it be nice to actually convert your favourite bag in to a pannier?

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