Category Archives: Training Rides

Sand, Surf & Sun

After last week’s exploration that ended in a Ferry ride, Betty and I decided to continue with the holiday theme.  “How, about the beach?” I asked.  “Absolutely,” Betty’s immediate reply.  This presented a slight dilemma as the route to the West Coast beaches requires the ascent of a hill or two, something that Our Rider and MT try to avoid.  Fortunately helped us misinform the riders by showing the distance as 55km with a mere 430 metres of climbing, with a manageable gradient of around 5% (give or take).

Betty and I met at our usual place at the usual time and started the slog out on the false flat into a wind. “At least we will have a tail wind home,” I observed to Betty. “Yes, and no rain today,” Betty joyfully replied.

We started up the first climb with my Garmin showing a gradient of 9.8%, occasionally when it dropped to 6.3% it seemed almost easy.  Yes by doing something more difficult, it makes what you did before seem easier.  On reaching the top Our Rider declared, “I don’t remember it being that long.”  Oh how time fades memory.  “I think coca-cola at the beach will be on today’s menu,” MT, ever mindful of her cafe responsibility, commented.

We then entered one of the most pleasurable phases of the ride: a lovely descent followed by undulating country roads, where our ears strained to hear nothing as we rode in companionable silence.  We were starting to wonder when we would arrive at the beach and a little anxious if there would be a cafe there to refuel the riders, then we saw it:

"Surf's Up" - Photo by MT

The had been very little traffic and yet when we stopped to purvey this sign a convoy of at least ten vehicles drove by.  A little bit further down the road, we discovered their purpose.  The vehicles were full of trampers out for a Saturday meander, a bit like Betty and I really.  Except why walk when you can ride?

Slightly anxious Our Rider approached the parking area, concerned that the much promised cafe may not actually exist or be open.  Fortunately this was alleviated when a converted caravan with food, chairs and tables appeared.

Two coca-colas, one double espresso and a chocolate brownie would hopefully provide the ideal mix of sugar and caffeine to ensure the success of the return journey.  While relaxing the clouds dissipated and the sun appeared.  There are few things sweeter than feeling the warmth of the sun on my frame.  Betty’s Garmin told her it was 30 degrees!

"Sand beneath our tyres"

After a quick look beyond the sand dunes to confirm that the surf was there it was time to return, via a slightly different route to avoid the very steep climb, that we had enjoyed riding down.

"Sand, Surf & Sun"

The route involved a climb that mapmyride had listed at around 4%.  More like 8% reaching 10%.  Still as I said before, “by doing something harder, it makes what you did before easier.”  The coca-cola and coffee were definitely working as it should, with Our Rider and MT successfully powering us up the hill and then the next one.  From then on it was a reverse false flat with a tail wind (as predicted) except for the cross winds, all the way home.  “Yee Hah!

With 65km ridden, 750 metres climbed and gradients reaching 10%, we certainly proved that lies and Betty and I enjoyed a laugh at our deception.   When we heard Our Rider and MT cheerfully chat about riding the Buttered Chicken on our next date we both did a bunnyhop in delight.  We were most proud  that over the past months we have cajoled Our Rider and MT into making such fine progress and reminisced of  the time where we spent more time outside the cafe waiting than riding.  We knew they would!


Labyrinth Hunt – Part Three

After noticing a change in TVF, and in particular her change in attitude towards Betty and I, after she had been on two labyrinth hunts, I decided it was time to experience these labyrinths for myself.  I sent a message to Betty, who has some experience in labyrinth hunting and a rendezvous was arranged to coincide with Our Rider’s birthday celebrations.  However we were thwarted by a series of text messages between Madame Trainer and Our Rider.  Something to do with torrential rain, which resulted in the two meeting at a cafe without us bicycles.  Unacceptable!

Fortunately the outing was merely postponed and last weekend the day dawned with marginally less wetness in the air.  We were joined by the pesky Lynskey.  The mission for the day was to hunt the labyrinth, which Our Rider claimed, rather vaguely, to know  location, and to find the cafe that was somewhere on or just off the Green Route  that had mismatching cutlery borrowed from the neighbours, excellent home baked goodies and perhaps possibly called “Little something or other.”  With such exact instructions we were confident in locating this eating establishment.

Given Our Rider’s expanding girth I was pleased that we were riding the long way to the Labyrinth rather than catching the ferry there and back.  Our Rider had devised a route and it soon became apparent that the acquisition of a Garmin 800 Edge has not eliminated her tendency towards scenic diversion.  She had observed a cycle way on the map that followed the harbour.  After a few interesting turns we made it to the so called cycle way.  Let’s just say TVF was more suited to the terrain than I.  The three bicycles mutinied and an alternate route was found, which lead us to a formerly very dodgy (traffic wise) bridge, which is now far safer by the addition of a cycle way alongside the bridge separate from motor vehicles.

"Resting, after crossing the now safe bridge."

Not long after crossing the bridge we stopped, wondering what way to go (this was uncharted territory you must understand).  Fortunately another bicycle came along and pointed us in the direction that did not involve scenic diversions.

After repetitive periods of getting wet, drying out and getting wet again we eventually made it to the start of the Green Route, which TVF has ridden and has yet to tell you about.  There the cafe hunt started in earnest.  Madame Trainer has outstanding cafe sniffing out ability…. sniff sniff sniff she went, shake of head and on we continued.

We meandered and weaved thorough parks, followed the mangrove coastline, past a cemetery (sorry no photo)  and across long narrow bridges, which fortunately had sides to prevent us falling into the water below, given the cross winds!

Mangrove and water crossing

Still no sign of the elusive cafe.  A little further on Our Rider declared we were at the park where the Labyrinth lives.  “I wonder where it is,” she pondered while perusing the conveniently placed map board.  “There it is,” cried MT, as she pointed to a glade about 10 metres away!

This labyrinth was made of shells and bricks and I was slightly concerned that I may spring a leak as I dutifully walked the labyrinth.  On completion Betty and I spent a moment in contemplation.  The pesky Lynskey was sulking in the background.

Joined in contemplation

Yes you have noticed the change in Betty’s appearance haven’t you.  Pink bar tape discarded, replaced with black.  Fortunately she still retains her girly girl tendencies.

With coffee cravings overwhelming Madame Trainer it became essential to find the cafe.  So we diverted from the green route and took up the cafe hunt in earnest.  “Sniff, sniff, sniff.  No“.  Across the road, “sniff sniff sniff perfecto.”  The Vauxhall it was (no “little” in its name at all). The riders replaced the calories burned (and possibly a few more) with delicious hot chocolate, excellent coffee and fabulous sweet treats, while us bicycles waited outside.

"Waiting outside - again with pesky Lynskey attempting a move on Betty"

While waiting outside we noticed that the sun came out.  For some reason we were ridden the short way home, via the ferry.  It seemed as if we were on holiday.

Enjoying a change under tyre.

I am uncertain as whether the labyrinth hunt resulted in any great revelation or life changing experience for me.  Still one never knows, these things can move in mysterious ways.  As always exploration is great fun and in addition to this I do believe we achieved our mission.  We found the labyrinth and the cafe.

Loo Art

Like TVF I have entered holiday riding mode.  Yesterday while riding a regular loop Our Rider made a wee stop where we noticed this…

Loo Art

Yes for security reasons I always accompany Our Rider to the bathroom, which is often a discreetly placed bush.  However on this occasion we were indoors and I was able to enjoy art while I waited.

Ever since my date with Betty to the cemetery I have become rather fascinated with these places of rest.  As my ride continued I saw a spot that I have often ridden past.  I decided to stop and peruse the tombstones.  I was stunned to see how many people die young.  Mind you there were others that had a grand innings lasting many many years.  Unfortunately this particular cemetery will shortly be turned into a lawn cemetery and memorials such as this will cease to exist.

"Grave Art"

TVF’s most recent post suggests that she may have had an epiphany about my relationship with Betty.  As we share the one rider, it simply is not possible for TVF and I to date.  Still I always look forward to her return as she excitedly tells me about her adventures with such childlike wonder, it is almost infectious.  She is a sweetheart with her big chunky tyres.

Catching Up

No folks nothing really bad has happened to me, just my muse has been busy on other matters, well that is not true either.  Still here I am back again.  Several months ago a change occurred in our garage.  A rather nice man came and picked up The Falcon and put him in his car.  The Falcon has not been seen since, although I do believe he was promised a life of fun and adventure, which is fitting for a bicycle named after a famous explorer.  So does this mean that Biggest Fan’s sortie into the world of two wheels was short lived?

You will recall our conversation about 29ers after Biggest Fan and Our Rider’s return from a holiday in Wanaka.  While my life was saved due to Our Rider’s diminutive stature, the same can not be said for The Falcon.

Shortly after The Falcon’s departure Biggest Fan drove home, opened the truck and removed a monster of a bicycle with huge wheels.  In my opinion the bicycle is not as handsome as The Falcon.  Do you concur ?

The Black Monster

The only bling on this bicycle are the red nipples

Red Nipples to match Biggest Fan's hair

This bicycle as yet has no name.  I consider that Frankenstein could be appropriate.  Mind you as he will be my riding companion I may have to reconsider.  Biggest Fan is very happy with the big wheels, he can go faster and I have to spin my heart out to keep up.

Jimmy & Choo, Jan’s racing wheels, had quite an outing a couple of weeks ago.  They took Diva and Goddess all the way around Coromandel, almost 200km with 2000 metres of climbing. That is the longest Jimmy & Choo have ever ridden in one stint.  Jan is extremely jealous.

Speaking of Jan, he and Betty are solidifying their relationship with regular rides and have progressed to spending more time on the road than in the cafe.  I was rather perturbed and considered that they may be going steady, although after today’s date I’m not so sure.  Betty took Jan to the cemetery.  I repeat the Cemetery!  You know the place where dead people live.  At least it was daylight.  I really am uncertain as to what to make of that, as is Jan.  Actually I think Jan is understanding what it is like for me, to have another bicycle not returning one’s ardour.  Betty is either a bit loose or a very friendly bicycle as today, after the cemetery visit, she snuggled up to a titanium Lynskey who had joined them on the ride.  Leaving Jan all alone outside the cafe.

My disappointment with Jan’s infatuation with Betty was slightly mitigated when the Kennett Brothers new Mountain Bike Guide arrived with the snail mail and a peek in Our Rider’s mail box revealed upcoming adventures.  She better take me!

Retro Riding

Hello its Jan writing – Our Rider seems to have deserted Eddy, Diva & Co or perhaps they have deserted her.  Betty has taken their place.  Betty does have some attributes, which I find appealing.  Primarily, she is almost as attractive as me and we certainly making a stunning matching couple in black, silver and magenta as we perform our promenade.  I live in eternal hope that our rider will improve both her fitness and power to weight one day and I again can enjoy the thrills of speed and the peleton.

This morning Betty arrived dressed to impress in a fine gold watch !  Yes while  most bicycles prefer the latest Garmin, to Betty looks are more important.  Her rider (Madame Trainer abbreviated to MT hereinafter) claimed that her Polar had died that morning.  However, I suspect other motives on Betty’s behalf.  I am sure you will find her accessory fetching.  Particularly when it is nearly an antique (20 years old) and befitting of a retro steel bicycle.

Retro Bicycle complete with retro gold watch.

Our Rider and MT have an interesting and yet mutually agreeable  riding decision strategy.  We arrive at the ubiquitous corner and conversation ensues eventually turning to the day’s route :  “What cafe  shall we end up at” much discussion then   “How long shall we ride for?“…. “hmm a bit over one hour“…. “OK“…. “Hills?” “nah” and then we set off.

I was somewhat perturbed when MT declared the first slight increase in gradient up as a hill and from then on the two declared today’s ride to be a hill ride.  Yeah right.  Still let us allow them their delusions.

With today’s theme being ‘Retro’ we were fortunate to meet another bicycle, a fully retro single speed with brakes and a  leather Brooks seat,  ridden by Betty’s creator (well assembler).  Now while that was all very impressive, it was the rider’s shoes that tickled my Hudz.

More Retro - Shoes This Time

After such excitement it was time to seek refuge in a cosy cafe, although we did have the 18% gradient hill to contend with, or so I thought.  Our Rider skirted around it taking a shorter less steep option.

While snuggling up to Betty outside cosy cafe I did glance at her Gold Watch and noted that more time elapsed during our wait than time ridden and that’s OK, it allows Betty and I plenty of time to plot and devise a devious cunning plan to ensure our rider’s spend more time riding us than inside the cafe!

In preparing today’s enticing edition I found this photo on Our Rider’s phone.   I am wondering if this will be my fate.

Retro Wine

Fortunately my favourite time of the year is upon us , the wonderful month of July.  Tonight I will assume my place in the lounge and with imagination I will be reliving those glorious days of circumnavigating France and rewriting the past, where I am the victor not that damnded Yank!

Allez  Fabian, Allez Thor, Allez Julian, Oh and Andy too.  As for you Alberto no eating the meat!

My Worst Fear Came True

On Saturday 29 January 2011 Jan insisted that Our Rider give him an extra special spa treatment.  When I asked him why he said “No reason“.  I asked “Have you got a race coming up“.  With a look of wistful longing he sadly replied “No“.  After offering kind words of consolation I then became suspicious as to his intentions.

His desire to spruce himself up could only be for one of two reasons;

He is gay, which is possible given his magenta stripes and curiosity with Felicia the transvestite, although such a story line would not suit my blog; or the other option, heaven help her if it  is true, he has a date with that bicycle Betty Leeds.

Well Our Rider took Jan out the next day and I sulked and sulked and sulked some more just for good measure.  I knew he was not going out with Diva, who I like very much primarily because she dates Eddy.  I fully acquainted myself with that green-eyed monster called jealously and had wonderful  fantasies of all the terrible things I would do to Betty if my suspicions were true. (Of course I would never fulfil those acts I would never treat another bicycle in such a manner).   The Falcon was quite concerned with my behaviour.  Despite his best attempts I was inconsolable.

After a few hours Jan returned.  I hid my seething mass of anger and asked where he went.  “Just around the waterfront.” he replied.  “Who with?” I asked.  “Oh just some other bikes” and would not respond any further.

I was determined to get to the truth.  I imagined that I was Sherlock Holmes and in doing so came up with the idea of examining Our Rider’s mobile phone gallery.  And what do you think I found….

My Worst Fear Came True

….photographic evidence of Jan out with Betty.  Sure she looks sleek and sharp in her little black dress with her pink (not magenta) handle bar tape, is Jan really that shallow ?

I think this traumatic experience was the reason for my writer’s block.  However I am slightly recovered now as Jan has not had another date with that Betty Leeds, so maybe she did not steal his heart from me.  Do you think Jan will ever return my adulation ?


The weekend before last Jan suggested that I take Our Rider out to the forest to ride some gravel.  As I am always wanting to attain Jan’s approval I hastily agreed.  At the forest gates we were warned that poison had been laid, perhaps in an attempt to eradicate the population of possums.

Poisoning the Outdoors

The aroma that greeted us at the top of the forest was clear evidence that the poison was effective on some creature much larger than a possum.  We did not explore to see what species had met its fate !

I also received sad news that Super Hero has lost his baby.  Felicia found it a tough week.  Although it is also possible that Super Hero successfully gave birth in secret to a healthy baby Super Hero, who was immediately whisked off to Super Hero training school.

Eddy’s rider Darling had a brief hospital visit to have his rods removed and while recovering well he is no longer the six million dollar man.  There is hope for Diva and Jan on the hills yet.