Monthly Archives: January 2014

Kinglake National Park mtb ride

I got a GoPro for Christmas. Thank you to my lovely wife.

Here’s my first attempt at a video from riding in the Kinglake National Park, about an hour and a half drive from Melbourne. I followed a route described in the brilliant Where to Ride, Melbourne Mountain Biking guide.

It’s pretty amateur, but aiming to improve.


Saying goodbye to old, faithful stuff

Does anyone else feel a little sad when a piece of kit you’ve had for a long time finally falls apart?

I do.

Maybe I’m too sentimental.

But there’s a slight sense of loss when something you’ve had for many years, and have been through many adventures with, is no longer up to the job.

For me recently it’s been a pair of bike shoes, a pair of hiking pants, and a silk sleeping bag liner.

Old bike shoes

Old bike shoes

They don’t sound like much, but when I think of the things I’ve done with them, I’m a little sorry to see them go.

The shoes were my first “proper” bike shoes, and the first ones I used with cleats and SPD pedals.

I remember the first time I used the cleats and fell off my bike as I stopped at a red light in Adelaide and couldn’t get my feet out of them. Embarrassing, but luckily it was early in the morning and there wasn’t any traffic.

Those shoes have also done two Otway Odysseys, adventure races, mountain bike rogaines, the Round the Bay, and thousands of kilometres around the country. Sigh.

The pants were from Mountain Designs and had zip off legs. They’ve carried me through Tasmanian bogs, scratchy scoparia, and scree. They had holes and tears but that never bothered me. Each one had a tale. Unfortunately, putting them on the other day, my toe got caught in one of the holes and created a huge tear. Irreparable. Sigh.

The sleeping bag liner I’d also had for many years and has ensured I slept many a comfy night in my tent or at backpackers’ hostels.  But while on a three-night hike to Tarli Karng in Victoria’s Alpine National Park recently (which I’ll blog about soon), a small tear became bigger and bigger and eventually too big for the liner to be effective anymore. Sigh.

But with the loss of old stuff comes the excitement of new. I’ve now got new and upgraded bike shoes, new pants and sleeping liner. New things for new adventures.

New bike shoes!

New bike shoes!




A cyclist’s lament – Glueless tube patches

Two words – they suck. Well, at least the ones I bought and used recently are.

I thought I’d give them a go after a guy at the local bike shop said they worked. Hah! They didn’t – twice!

I’d used two patches on a tube I got punctures in while riding my mountain bike down the Delatite River trail I’ve written about before. I put that repaired tube into a tire to replace a punctured tube, pumped it up and about an hour later found the tire was flat again. When I checked the tube, one of the patches had split and the puncture hole opened up again.

I replaced that tube with another tube I’d fixed with a glueless patch and pumped it up. About an hour later, I found my tire flat again. There are no words to describe my frustration. I took the tube out and, sure enough, the patch had split.

I decided to cut my losses and put a brand new tube in. I also took the patches off the other tubes and re-patched them with vulcanised patches using glue. Much better.

So, after two attempts, I’ve decided glueless patches, especially the Zefal ones I had, aren’t for me. A friend suggests that I haven’t given them enough of a chance as he says he’s never had problems with them.  But he uses a different brand. Anyway, I’ve learned my lesson and it’s the back to the traditional patches for me.