Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Argyle Til I Die

A new Plymouth Argyle football forum I've found. It has a section for people living abroad too here.

I just hope they can scrabble out of the doldrums soon ...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Google Chrome : Issues ... fixed?

Well, it's been possible to fix the below issues to some extent; from Dashboard>Settings>>> opt for new editor.

This works to some extent in that it is possible to attach a URL to the image, but it throws up alignment issues with the graphic. So for the moment I'm sticking to FireFox and the old BlogSpot editor to compile these articles.

The music streaming issue has been more successful, by adding the italicised script into the embedded routine:

<embed autostart="false" loop="false" src="" type="audio/mpeg" height="16" width="220"></embed>


Still blogging on Phonostage ...

Google Chrome : Issues?

Recently I've started using Google Chrome as my browser. Generally I find it very good, but I have found a few issues with it.

The most general problem is that, occasionally, pages will not load and the screen stays blank with no reported error. Even a reload doesn't fix this.

However, I am finding a more specific problem using this blogspot editor with Chrome; it doesn't seem possible to compile a graphic link like the Chrome image to the left, instead just substituting the graphic url for the page url.

So, I've reverted to FireFox when compiling the blog.

I can't find any reference to this anywhere ...

Chrome/Blogspot editor throws up this code:

<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href=""><img style="float:left; margin:0 10px 10px 0;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 150px; height: 150px;" src="" border="0" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5418398169417496130" /></a>

Firefox/Blogspot editor:

<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href=""><img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 150px; height: 150px;" src="" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5418396991957047698" border="0" /></a>

And I've just noticed another issue; FireFox obeys the autostart="false" command on the music streamer at the top rh of this page ... Chrome just starts regardless ...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Found; a home for my hifi

So far so good. I'll go through the components individually a bit later on.

It's distinctly British looking; small stand-mounted speakers - Quad 11L2s - and components tuned to the European ear, although manufactured by Marantz.

Most stuff has been brought in from the UK, suitcase by suitcase and powered through a 110v>220v converter.

The turntable, a Pro-Ject Classic Cherry, has had a new 110v/60Hz motor fitted by me. It awaits an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge and accurate alignment and adjustments.

I'm also playing with a powered sub-woofer - hidden behind the tables, but this is from a home cinema system and is not very musical. I'd like to try again with a kit I built in the UK which gave seamless results.

If you look carefully, you can also see a Cambridge DacMagic with a USB cable stretching out to my laptop ... This is giving very interesting and encouraging results ... hifi from a computer. More soon ...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Okay ... so I didn't try that hard ...

... but I am back ...

Big developments on the computer/digital interface front and my hifi has found a home.

More soon ...

Seduced by FaceBook

It's okay ... I'm coming back ...

Back with the bike stuff soon.

Monday, October 05, 2009

RoadID : Know who you are ...

A cyclist's nightmare; being involved in a serious incident and no-one knowing who you are ...

Well, RoadID is a bracelet which contains basic contact information which can be used in an emergency. There are more sophisticated options which convey more detailed medical details, if, for example, you're diabetic or have another health issue, but paramedic/casualty department friends of mine tell me they don't have time to review this sort of stuff and do all the tests anyway ...

However, it's reassuring to know that in the event, someone can be contacted to come and get you.

Of course, your name and contact information can be stuck in your helmet or under your saddle but this may help you and your family/friends feel a little better.

Incidentally, RoadID are very possessive of their logo, etc, to the point where I almost didn't blog this ... however, on balance it's a very useful item.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Kingston - Ringoes : 4:10:2009

Nice PFW ride this morning from Kingston, NJ.

The early morning was misty, but promising, and we weren't let down as it metamorphosed into a very nice day.

I certainly felt a lot better than my last Sunday ride. I could have done it all again ... yes ... really!!!

Basic stats:

Distance : 43.6 miles / 70.2km
Climb : 1,607ft / 409m

Thanks to John - ride leader.

Bike route 330312 - powered by Bikemap

PS: Try running your cursor over the route profile and follow the bike route ...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Saris Bones RS Car Rack

Fed up with tying up all those straps on your bicycle car rack? Don't want/have a tow hitch/bar?

Then this, admittedly, rather expensive as trunk/boot racks go, is the one for you.

The Saris Bones RS Car Rack uses two steel straps to attach the rack to the car. These are tensioned by two locking ratchet devices and ensure that the rack is very securely indeed without all those webbing straps floating and waving about in the wind.

This means that mounting and dismounting the rack is quite a quick and simple operation as well as making the device less attractive to casual thieves. The unit also looks a lot tidier than your average trunk/boot mounted bike rack.

The rack is adaptable to trunks/boots and the rear doors of mini-vans/MPVs and can carry up to three bicycles. There is a stabilising device to make sure that bikes don't swing about although the odd bungee here and there helps keep everything tidy.

The mounting system also means that the rack doesn't stand on your rear bumper/fender so the door/lid can still be opened, although not with bikes on the rack.

It's not often you'll get asked about your bike rack, but this rack never fails to arouse interest.

Saris also produce a version which can double up as a bike stand in your garage and other more conventional car racks.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rocky Hilly : 22miles/1000ft

I was just looking for as many hills as I could get in 20 miles. Close to 1000ft / 300m of climbing.

So I rode this route this afternoon:

Bike route 321352 - powered by Bikemap

If you go to the and run your cursor over the route profile a marker runs over the route. It's a lollipop pattern so it's not immediately obvious what the course is.

I'm going to do this once a week for as long as I can through the autumn/winter. I'm checking progress using GarminConnect. No ... it will not be public ;-)

I'll include a more detailed description later.

Tour de France : Remi Gaillard

C'mon ... don't tell me you haven't daydreamed this on some long, long climb.

Incidently, can anyone tell me why it isn't the Tour du France?

Thanks to Steve Rowley and Gabriel Romeau ...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hillsborough, NJ: Velodrome proposals

From the Velodrome of Hillsborough website:

The Velodrome at Hillsborough is a proposal to bring the great sport of track cycling to the greatest township in New Jersey. The former GSA Depot, a 370 acre tract of land in Hillsborough, Somerset County, New Jersey is destined to become a municipal and county park. Placing a Velodrome in the park would enhance the status of the county, the township, and the residents by providing a place where many sports can be showcased besides bicycling ... read more

There is a consultation meeting in the township in the next few days. It might be useful if local cyclists and supporters could make the meeting. More information ... here

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bib Shorts: the lowdown ...

CastelliOne of the biggest steps any new, serious bike rider makes is wearing spandex/lycra cycling shorts which look okay so long as you stay on the bike, but are more challenging for most of us off the bike.

Convincing riders to take the next step, bib shorts, is even more difficult. But bib shorts are in another league of comfort and support and well worth the extra expense, and a small amount of inconvenience.

The main consideration, when buying bib shorts is the quality of the fabric and the "chamois".

Less expensive shorts use less stretchy material and, usually, several panels in the construction. More expensive shorts use stretchier fabric and fewer panels and the most expensive use the best lycra and several panels. Watch for the quality of the elastic on legs which in the best shorts, maintains a consistent elasticity as it stretches, rather than becoming tighter as it expands.

PBKIt's been many years since a chamois really was chamois. The newest synthetic chamoises are a marvel of textile and composite construction with variable thickness and resistance cossetting your posterior interface.

I've have three pairs of bib shorts; Castelli Trofeo, PBK RL1000X and Gore Xenons. All are very good and very comfortable with the Castellis feeling as if they're not there and the Gores having a very perceptible feeling of compression. The PBKs are somewhere in between.

The bibs mean the shorts do not ride up or down and maintain a high degree of comfort over a long ride.

GoreThere are disadvantages. Maybe it's just me, but the minute I've put on all my gear ready for a ride I will inevitably need to visit the loo ...

Which brings me on to the topic of women and bibs. Women do come into the bike shop and ask for bibs having heard how comfortable they are. There are significant problems with bib shorts for women, firstly anatomically in the chest area and secondly, popping behind a hedge on a long bike ride involves considerable disrobing you might not want to consider ... know what I'm saying ladies?

However, women's bib shorts do exist. You decide.

But for males the best comfort option is the bib short. Don't mess about, go all the way when it comes to bike shorts.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Here is a new - for me - GPS mapping website:

I'm currently using with some success, but some of the more practical aspects of the site are more difficult, particularly editing routes ... and having to pay for printouts is particularly irksome, especially when you've paid hundreds of bucks for a Garmin and another hundred for a US street map. In addition, MapMyRide appears to claim all the rights for stuff you upload to the site, but leaves liabilities with the uploader ...

Anyway, that doesn't stop it being a useful site. My main problem with it is route editing.

Well, step in

Bike route 313982 - powered by Bikemap

It seems to be German and in many respects more basic than MapMyRide in that there are no forums, but route editing is much easier, the map appears rather more pleasant and there is some rudimentary support for map printing, although I can't find provision for route sheets. Also the interface only supports .gpx rather than the .tcx the Garmin produces so you have to convert files. I've found this online converter here.

Anyhow, let's see how I get on with this one.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday in Neshanic : PFW Ride 20090913

A fairly hilly 51 miles this one. Thanks to Ken Leon, ride leader, and Steve Rowley who dragged me into the wind ... thanks again.

Aaron and I thought that discretion was the better part of valour when it came to the final climb so we scooted around. I got leg cramps for the first time on a bike ride. I thought I drank a lot, but might have been dehydrated before I started. Great ride tho'. Thanks to all participants.

*PS: there's a bit of a detour due to a missed turning at Three Bridges, but MapMyRide is quite hard to edit ... unless I'm missing something.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Winter Drawers On ... v2.00

Just caught sight of two interesting bike lights from Princeton Tec which seem to take bicycle lighting to the next step.

The Swerve: the latest super-bright LEDs have taken rear lights into new realms of brilliance and conspicuity. The Swerve has two red 0.5w LEDs, one beamed through a diffuser to enable a wide spread of light and the other an intense focused beam. One of the switched modes alternates between the two LEDs and produces a curiously eye-catching effect similar to spotting an emergency services light down the road.

I ran the light against my current favourite rear light, the Blackburn Mars 3.0 and in all modes the Swerve was more conspicuous against the Blackburn's already good performance. The Swerve's flashing mode was particularly effective. However, the Swerve costs almost twice as much as the Blackburn but on a dark, rainy night with a hockey-mom with half a team in the back of the Windrush speeding up behind you you might be grateful for the Swerve's extra whoomph!

$29.99 : 2xAAA alkaline batteries, 70hours claimed. Handle bar, seat post, seat stay and fork mounts are included. Built-in clip allows for attachment to your helmet, pack or messenger bag.

EOS Bike : LEDs have transformed bicycle lighting in the last few years, but left cyclists with two choices when it comes to bicycle front lights ... okay ... maybe three ... low-powered, self-contained handle-bar lights ($15-$40ish) or expensive, high-powered, high-tech lithium battery powered units at about $1.00/lumen so that a 200 lumen unit is going to set you back about $200.

The less expensive lights are good for conspicuity, but do little, if anything to light the road/track ahead. The high-tech solution is incredible ... but seriously expensive.

The EOS Bike light is the first LED front light I've seen which puts the basic handlebar mounted light into the serious lighting class. Okay, it's one of the most expensive, but not much else compares to it in this section of the market.

The light claims 50 lumens which pretty much corresponds to the $1.00/lumen formula, so doesn't approach the brightness of the higher-priced rechargeable units, but it hits well above its class in comparison to any other regular, battery-powered bicycle headlight.

It has four modes; high-, medium-, low-power and a slow flash. All modes are highly conspicuous and the high-power mode will light your way at moderate speed on the road.

$44.99 : 3xAAA alkaline/lithium batteries, run-time variable according to mode. Includes helmet, handle bar and headlamp attachments.

Available from Halter's Cycles or your local LBS.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The IntraWeb - some of my favourite links

Returning to VeloStage after a few days away in Hawai'i trekking across lava fields and standing on the top of volcanoes ...

Here are a couple of cycling related links I like:

copenhagencyclechic: the sartorialist on two wheels - The Guardian. Ordinary people doing ordinary things; shopping, picking up kids from school, going to work ... on bikes.

The Guardian Bike Blog: Hey ... it's the Guardian ... erudite stuff about bikes.

Equally useful, the Guardian Bike Podcast. Aim your podcast client here. I use MediaMonkey.

MapMyRide: plot or find routes in your area. Works well with Garmin GPS devices.

Discussion forums: Bike Forums; London Fixed Gear and Single Speed;;

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Griggstown Grind : 25.08.2009

The evenings are drawing in already, and that means an end to this season's Griggstown Grind.

The PFW Griggstown Grind is a regular Tuesday evening ride around the hills surrounding Belle Mead, NJ. More often or not we venture into the Sourlands or the hills bordering Rocky Hill.

Just tough enough ...

Thanks to Diane for getting it together every week in the summer.

Maybe there'll be something completely different for regulars in the fall ...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Winter Drawers On ...

Well, it will all too soon be autumn, or the more prosaic, fall, that season of mellow fruitfulness. And even now the evenings draw in to the point where evening rides are cut short by sunset before 8.00pm/20.00hrs.

The eastern seaboard of the US lacks western Europe's more northern latitude and double summer time which means late summer rides can run way past 9.00pm/21.00hrs.

So we're already looking at lighting and conspicuity aids just to see and be seen on NJ roads.

During the spring and summer I use a red Knog Frog wrapped around my seatpost. It's tiny, it's light and it has cool. Most of all it gives a decent rear light when under tree cover and in those last few minutes riding home as daylight fails.

Recently I've also taken to using a Blackburn Flea front light to give some degree of conspicuity from the front ... not that that is a guaranteed effect here in NJ ... But it's very bright and charges from a USB port ... neat *.

Lately, it's been a bit too dark for the Knog Frog so I've dug out my Blackburn Mars 3.0 which casts a PTSD inducing strobe to the rear of the bike. Just how any driver could miss this blitz is beyond me. I trust this will remain to be the case ...

Finally, for a reasonably priced light which causes car drivers coming the other way to flash you hoping you're going to dip your headlight, I use a MTE SSC P7-C on my handlebars with two available for off-road trails - guaranteed to fry any chipmunks which get in the beam.

The lights are clamped to the handlebars using Fenix Bike Flashlight Mounts for regular diameter bars.

UseTwoFish Lock-Blocks for larger diameter handlebars.

* RTFMS!!! The Blackburn Flea:
How many people have bought this device and found that it will only work for about 10 seconds? Okay ... maybe it's only me who is stoopid. However, when you buy a Flea it is set in demonstration mode. To activate, keep the ON switch pressed until the light goes out - about 10 seconds - then the unit will work properly. Simple, huh?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's Sunday ... It must be Cranbury

Check out this morning's club ride from Cranbury, NJ, though the delights of the central New Jersey countryside - plus a slight detour.

Thanks to Cliff who led the ride and the rest ... they know who they are ...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Griggstown Grind : 18.08.2009

It seems rare this year that we can actually ride the Griggstown Grinder without it raining or being washed out from the start. Well, this Tuesday's ride stayed dry and with one of the biggest turnouts of the year.

There were three major climbs; Coppermine Road, Herrontown Road and Cherry Hill Road.

Next week; season finale.

Thanks to Diane, ride leader.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Stuff : Shimano Carbon Tubeless Wheelset

They say an ounce off your wheels is worth a pound off your bike.

My Giant OCR c2 came with an adequate wheelset; Mavic Aksiums. But it was a revelation when I had a chance to try a set of Shimano carbon wheels. So come my birthday - thank you Linda - I was lucky enough to get a set of the latest Shimano Dura Ace tubeless carbon wheels.

I've combined them with Hutchinson Intensive tubeless tyres and very nice they are too.

In a nutshell, this combination makes for a very smooth, responsive ride. Road vibration/shock is noticeably less and the wheels seem to accelerate with the least effort. They put your cycling ability up a grade.

Of course, there may be problems. The tyres seem durable and are treated with sealant, but I've yet to see what happens in the event of a puncture. Hopefully I'll never find out, but this is the real world ...

More later ...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Stuff : Garmin 605

Over the past few months I've been able to make a number of nice upgrades/improvements which have helped me enjoy cycling more and more.

One of the problems I had here was going out on club rides, going to really pretty and interesting places and then, when Linda asked if I had a nice time, I would invariably say yes, and how beautiful it was and how New Jersey is quite nice really, and then Linda would say, " ... and where did you go?" ...

No idea.

Now, a very few years ago, if anyone had said that we would be using Global Positioning System devices on our bicycles, I might have said, "Oh, really???", in a state of incredulity. Like, who needs that?

Nevertheless, that day is here and it's turned out to be a good one for my cycling.

I chose the Garmin 605. There is a more sophisticated version, the Garmin 705, with heart-rate monitor, cadence and a couple of other facilities, but I really didn't want the training aids. As long as I can eventually get up a hill and cycle 60+ miles at a stretch I'm just glad to be alive. I'm not aiming to get a medal at London 2012.

I use the Garmin on two tasks; to record individual bike rides and to plan and way-mark new routes.

I use a website called to record and plan routes, either by uploading completed journeys or compiling new journeys and downloading route data to the Garmin and using it to give directions en route.

There are a number of settings which enable you to view various information such as speed, trip, duration, etc, as well as display a map of where you are. If using the Garmin as a route planner, it gives directions - Turn right onto ThisOrThat Road in 200ft - as well as a highlighted map. And I've only recently noticed this, but the screen automatically zooms according to how much detail the route requires; a five mile stretch to the next route node and you see 5 miles of road on the screen. Approaching a complicated series of turns and the screen zooms in ... neat.

All in all it's a great addition to the enjoyment of cycling for me.

Just one gripe; it seems rather mean of Garmin to expect people who buy a $500+ device to cough up another $100 or so for the detailed North American road map - plus $100/year updates!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Griggstown Grind : 11.08.2009

Just what is it about Tuesday evenings this year?

I suppose distance lends enchantment but I don't recall last year being so full of torrential rainstorms and thunder and lightning.

At least, we set off on this week's Grind without the expectation of bad weather. I had checked and the forecast predicted trouble by 10.00pm, a good hour or two after our usual finish.

It was back into the Sourlands after the usual sprint along Skillman Road.

The first climb is north along Hollow Road. Hollow Road curves up alongside the Rock Brook almost like a Devon country lane, although wide enough for two cars ... they don't know what a narrow road is here. The climb seems moderate enough although with a slight kick a few hundred yards before the junction with Long Hill Road.

Once again the climb towards Lindbergh Hill is easy enough, but by now I've done enough around the Sourlands to know that it will save the best until last, and it does, a final steep section just before the undulating descent along Lindbergh Road towards Ridge Road.

The ride along Ridge Road, crossing the Rileyville Road into Mountain Road makes you realise that in actual fact, New Jersey isn't just the land of The Sopranos and chemical works, but contains many miles of very attractive countryside for cyclists. Bowling along a woodland road doesn't come much better than this.

The problem is with speeding through the woods, is that you don't see the weather moving in, so by the time we'd swooped down Linvale to the Wertsville Road the first drops of rain had crept up on us.

After a hurried meeting in the rain at the bottom of Rileyville Road, we decided it was just as quick to carry on with the original route and press on to the top and return along Ridge back onto Lindbergh and after the obligatory final steep kick a glorious swoop down Long Hill which never surprises me and then down Hollow, which always does.

It always seems the ascent of Hollow is steady enough, but not really taxing, yet the descent seems steeper and longer than the climb. But the sensation sweeping down that valley at 30mph more than repays the effort of getting to the top in the first place.

Well, we made it back without getting too wet. Thanks to Jeff, Steve, Beth, Dave, and special thanks to Diane who compiles and leads these rides every Tuesday evening throughout the summer.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Poor neglected PhonoStage

Hmmm ... six months without a post. I really should try harder.

However, I have started posting more regularly on my cycling blog;

Not much development with the hifi situation either, although I probably have enough stuff collected for a bijou cd/lp/digital playback setup.

Maybe I should start about getting it all together.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Round Valley Lake : 54 miles : 3.08.2009

Well, last Tuesday's Griggstown Grind was a washout. Sunday was a precursor for The Great Flood. But today ... it's lovely. So I headed for Round Valley Lake.

You can see the route here:

Read the notes because there were one or two unpleasant sections - which can be avoided - but didn't spoil a great ride.

I had a blowout again. Fortunately, it was within 10 miles of home. I was drifting down Long Hill Road, towards Hollow Road when I ran through some chunky gravel which had washed out of someone's drive - I assume in yesterday's downpour.

I must have clipped a large piece which flicked out the side of the front wheel. There was a simultaneous bang and the front tyre deflated. Again, fortunately, I was able to stay in a straight line and brought the bike to a reasonably safe stop in the middle of the road.

On checking the tyre the sidewall had been torn, I assume by the stone, causing the tyre to blow.

The problem wasn't so much the puncture - I carry tubes, CO2, etc - but the tyre casing which had a big hole in it.

Okay, here's the Tip for the Day. I folded a $5 dollar bill and fitted it behind the hole in the tyre before inflating the new tube. Hey presto!!! It works. I dare say a £5.00 note or €10 bill would work too. Well, it got me home anyway.

*yes ... I know how to spell tyre!

Friday, July 31, 2009 : Cycling in Central New Jersey

When I moved to central New Jersey it was a relief to find it wasn't, as The Guardian once described it, the Essex of North America, although, admittedly, parts of it resemble a chemical works from BladeRunner.

Fortunately, large parts of the state are very amenable to riding, either on-road or off-.

On-line, mountainbiking is well catered for by, a forum for off-road riders with a lively contributing membership.

Central NJ roadies, meanwhile, do not have a forum for discussion and chat, so I've taken it upon myself to start to give road-riders the chance to have their own on-line discussion board, unaffiliated to any club or organisation.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Okay ... Another Year Older ...

... so I'll resolve to start posting again ... yes, really.

Well, time is relentlessly movin' on and today sees 57 years since I came into this world. What better way than with a bike ride which, now I've just finished it, I realise I should have made 57 miles, but is now cast at 45 plus miles.

Oh well. That's my resolution for next year; a 58 mile bike ride.

That's me, taking a rest in Lambertville, NJ. Do you like the jersey?

Anyway, the weather here has been appalling, but today was nice enough. So I planned a route on, loaded it into the Garmin and pedalled out into the New Jersey countryside, which whilst not quite Devon and Cornwall, is nice enough, believe me.

Hopefully the script above will enable you to see the route. Otherwise go here.

If you have Google Earth you can get a really good look at the countryside. There's a link somewhere on the MapMyRide page so you can do this.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Metric Century ... well, almost ...

Set out on the longest ride of the year so far.

The ride was based on Chris's loop but involved dropping down into Stockton and Lambertville.

As it happened it was the hottest day of the year so far which meant the hill-climbing was exhausting.

When I got home I noticed the odo was showing 62 miles. Had I realised I would have ridden around the block to get to 100km. Oh well ... what's 500m?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

QR Cycle Shorts

One of the benefits of getting around a few bicycle shows is that you get to see the latest stuff.

More and more as bicycle hardware gets about as good as it can get, designers turn their efforts towards the bicycle rider/bicycle - man/machine - interface.

Pedals, computers, GPS, etc., have all seen huge strides, but rarely has the most basic connection between rider and bicycle been developed.

Step forward R-Sole Inc, a newcomer to cyclesport, having previously developed a popular line of hoseline connectors with their innovative seatpin/cycle short QR designed, they claim, to complete the bond between rider and bike.

Studies show that this arrangement enables riders to get 50% more power to the wheels as well as avoid the need for a colonoscopy.

You decide ...

Monday, March 16, 2009

First of the Year

Well, I managed to get out on Saturday ... about 45 miles from Etra Park Lake to New Egypt and back.

All in all, I didn't feel too bad. In fact, pretty good, although I was glad to see the car park at the end. I felt a bit of a fraud. Some riders have done over 1000 miles already this year and are completing 100 miles/day in preparation for a double century ride. I'll be happy with the upcoming 5 Boro Bike Tour ...

Anyway, the bike ran well, very quietly in fact. I like a quiet bike. Most tick and whirr ... mine's nice and quiet ... mmmmm ...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back on the Chain Gang

Last weekend was very mild, so I actually got out on my bike!!!

I did about 30 miles, calling in at Halter's to make them jealous, and generally feeling rather better than I thought I might.

Last evening also saw me attending Princeton FreeWheelers' annual meeting. We heard a presentation from Trenton Boys' and Girls' Club who are starting a bike workshop project. I also bumped into a couple of riders from the Griggstown Grind. We're all looking forward to getting going again.

The coming weekend also seems promising, so I'm going to try a group ride and hope I'm not too embarrassed.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Daylight Saving Time

So, we've sprung forward and we're in summer time.

It means that for a couple of weeks the time difference between EST and GMT is just four hours rather than the usual five and sunset will now be around 7.00EST this evening ... a bit longer and I'll be able to cycle to and from work.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Indianapolis, IN

Here I am, currently in rather grey, but unseasonably mild Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

I flew in yesterday, into Indy's very new and rather nice airport. Nice, that is, in the way any airport could actually be nice ...

I am here for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. I'll be running the show's web presence. You can visit the show's website here, or the daily blog here.

Indianapolis calls itself the Crossroads of America. It may be, but when I initially considered taking the green option and getting a train here it turned out to be rather difficult. Oh well ...

Downtown is marked for me by its fairly original vernacular buildings and shops, rather than its late 19thC/early 20thC institutional buildings and modern corporate architecture.

More later ...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Today, I am, again, mostly listening to ...

I still think internet radio is the best thing since, oh, I dunno, sliced bread, colour tellie, synthetic inserts for cycle shorts ...

Anyway, here are one or two of my favourite internet radio stations:

All of these stations, plus about 14,000 more, are available through your computer or internet radio device. Then there are other radio facilities such as play it again and podcasts. I manage my podcasts using Nimiq. More of that another day ...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Van Dike, Exmouth Road, Devonport

It's funny how things suddenly come to mind. There I was just trolling the depths of the interweb when I came across this word; quintessence.

Quintessence: the fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies; the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form ...

But to me that will never be quintessence. For me Quintessence will always be a bunch of London based Aussies who took on Indian names and kaftans and played a curious blend of Indian classical music and prog rock. Actually, they were rather good, as I recall.

Quintessence were one of the first groups I saw at Plymouth's legendary Van Dike Club in the late '60s. And I do mean legendary ... if not in a literal way ...

The Van Dike was run by the musically based Van Dike family from the old Exmouth Road Chuch Hall in Devonport, originally a separate town from Plymouth.

I used to go frequently with mates from work or Martin, the only other Trot in the village, and thinking back, not only was the roster of emergent groups remarkable, so was the price of entry; three and fourpence to see Mott the Hoople, Deep Purple, Medicine Head (?) ... and six and eightpence to see a posh gig at the Guildhall ... Yes!, The Nice, Jethro Tull ... unbelievable.

And then Martin and I used to walk home from Devonport to Plymstock ... 6-7miles @ 2.00 in the morning ... those were the days ...

Amazingly, I found this repository of old Van Dike programmes here. It's a bit of a trip ... down Memory Lane nowadays, of course ...

Sadly, I had heard that Greg Van Dike had passed away a year or so ago, although I understand he was still involved in music to the end. His children seem to have picked up the banner - in a Lily Allen sort of way ... maybe.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Spring is sprung ...

... the grass is riz. I wonder where the birdies iz.

Well, it's still positively fffrigid here. And, I admit, I am a fair-weather cyclist, but I can't wait for warmer days to come.

I am somewhat jealous of Skillsy, riding brevets in sunny - and presumably warmer - California.

However, now is the time to think about winding up and checking out the bike. I have some rather nice tyres ready to fit and an event to look forward to - the NY 5 Boro Bike Tour.

I think I really am going to try some sort of century this year ... yes, I really am.

In the meantime, stock up on your winter gear at Halter's ... 30% off winter gear and 40% off women's winter clothing. Check it out here.

Liquid Lounge

Welcome to Liquid Lounge ... my own music collection.

You can listen directly to a random selection of music streamed directly from my music server.

You will need a music player which can interpret .pls files. WinAmp, MediaMonkey, Real or iTunes should do it if your player doesn't work. You will end up on my ShoutCast server page and have to click PLAY - I think. It's along the top row of options.

Those of you listening, and I know some listen for hours, please feel free to comment.

Thank You For Contacting Me

Thanks for contacting me. I'll get back to you soon ...

Click here to get back to Phonostage.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


This winter has seen considerably more snow here than last year.

There have been several falls, about 75-100mm, and more nasty, freezing rain.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures to show how pretty it is.