Archive for the ‘fernleigh track’ Category

honest, i slowed down to take a photo ...

honest, i slowed down to take a photo …

You know how it is – you’ve been riding reasonably regularly for a few years and have achieved some modest personal level of cycling fitness. Then while pootling along and enjoying the scenery, suddenly and without warning you are buzzed by a possibly-fully-sponsored  person on a bulgy-framed Carboniferous looking 2 x 11-speed thingy. You’ve probably all had this happen at some stage – even if you ride a similar 22-speed thingy yourself !

hmm, this one could be a sleeper

hmm, this one could be a sleeper …

Well, that sort of startle calls for some strategy, I mean, firstly, are they really the next Vincenzo Nibali  merely cruising along ? Or are they more your level and busting a gut trying to dust you off for an ego trip ? Obviously if they are the former, then if at age 55 like me, and feeling slightly less than superhuman, you are going to be cutting off your proverbial nose to attempt keeping up with them on your recycled 1990s 14-speed “Man of Steel” cro-moly framed bike … phew !

or a sleeper

or this one

Often though, I find the latter cyclists are only about as fit as you are, and for them it’s easy to pass someone else if they are in a sporty mood themselves and have the advantage of surprise. Sort of like doing a little sprint in the middle of a long distance event, or similar to the car drivers that have to tail-gate and pass at all costs – albeit with zero physical effort – and then hold you up, or turn off in front of you.

 you have to weigh things up

you have to weigh these things up

I sometimes ignore it, or I sometimes go through the process of catching up for a distance, if I can, to weigh up their cycling style.

One can pick up a bit from body and bike language, I mean things like – How strong do their legs look ?- Are they swaying from side to side up hills  ? Do they seem to be using the right gear ratios or not ? Is their bike making squeaky noises (teehee).

Or, are they vanishing into the distance in spite of your best efforts ?

Sometimes I even feel like saying something know-it-all, like ” Hey, your seat’s a bit too low, you know ! ” or some such, but then that might be giving away too much of your advantage, hey ?

These are some of the subtle clues as to whether you are able to keep up longer-term. I’m stressing here that this isn’t a race, but merely a dispassionate little head-game, i.e. that you are able to keep up with – and who knows – even have the potential to pass them ?

I mean it’s only a race if they know it is too !

getting away - for now

getting away – for now

It’s more a friendly test of your ability to go the distance, and to me it doesn’t matter if I actually pass them or not ( and if they are not holding me up, I normally don’t try ). It’s simply nice to know you can sometimes still be there after several kilometres of busy riding. That’s my story, anyhow … not cold revenge (lol).

watch out, the old guy is gaining

watch out, the old guy is gaining on you

There are a couple of simple strategies I use to compensate for any lack of physical ability I may have, and by this I mean thinking smarter, not working harder !

Obviously, all this goes out the window if there are pedestrians around – i mean there are enough people criticising irresponsible cyclists already, aren’t there ?

By pacing myself with my breathing going uphill, keeping in a straight line (!), being careful with the right gearing and cadence, staying aerodynamic – especially down long hills, coasting down (while often the other person is pedalling ) to save energy.

Of course, drafting a stranger is bad form and dangerous, unless you consider a couple of bike lengths behind as drafting ! And keeping the bike in good adjustment and lubed – as a good recyclist should – is definitely worth potential Brownie points in the chase.

If you really want to psych someone out you might want to casually ring your bell behind them to alert those pedestrians way up ahead, and nonchalantly say “hi” when you reach them – just to be courteous, of course …

Don’t take all this stuff too seriously folks, as even if I did have a racer’s physical ability, I certainly don’t have the killer instinct – I mean ( in another life ) in the Tour I’m sure I would be promptly hoovered up by the “sag wagon” after stopping to take lots of photos of the glorious scenery (and smelling the alpine flowers) !  I just think it’s fun to test yourself sometimes …  and if you mostly ride on your own like me it’s a great way of improving fitness, if you aren’t into time trialling by yourself.

i kid you not

but could a cat’s eye lie ?

I’m not having myself on here, but after today’s ride, I checked my cycle computer – which I really mostly use for its clock – and it says I maxxed speed at 87.2 km/hr on the Fernleigh Track.

Hmm, I don’t think so ?! ?

the "select" colour looks like "honey" now

the pale “select” colour looks like new “honey” now…

Anyhow, regardless of the outcome of all this, you know you’ve been working hard when the rivets look like new copper, and the leather sweats … Thanks, Mr Brooks.

Happy Cycling !


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A cool wind change has dropped the temperature – now’s my chance to take CW for a longer ride, to Newcastle and back in a morning. I can only do hermit-like bike restoration for so long before I have to get out and about  in the world :

a bush break at whitebridge

a bush break at whitebridge

And some fun in the tunnel on the way in :

exiting hyperspace

exiting hyperspace

Newcastle is full of bikes and riders in holiday mode – the young girl’s step-through was a refurbished classic small 10-speed. Very cool.

the yacht club at wickham - bike central ?

the yacht club at wickham – bike central ?


school holidays means a ride to town - at throsby creek

school holidays means a ride to town – at throsby creek

There’s plenty to see along the harbour : it’s always the same, but different.

the harbour - ever changing

the harbour – ever changing

And I’m getting used to that “flip of the toe clip”, but they can still catch me out. You won’t see me wearing those clipless thingys though – at least I can choose my own shoes with these, not some daggy pseudo-runners.

thanks mr christophe

thanks mr christophe

what-the ?

what-the ?

Can anyone tell me what the above eccentric looking quasi-recumbent bike is ? Spotted leaving the tunnel … it may be home made.

who's that nutcase ?

whose is that nutcase ?

Tunnel’s so bright I gotta wear shades ! But so cool and breezy heading home.

fun in the tunnel

cecil in the tunnel

The Brooks hammered copper rivets do shine up very nicely after a 3-hour bum polishing ! ( Makes note to do that more often ).

home and shiny

home and shiny

The End

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Well, I had a medical appointment in Newcastle, so I made the most of it from an early start :

fernleigh track duckpond

Cool morning with a wind chill …

gazelle in fallen flowers – adamstown

And a ferry ride later ..

stockton cemetery

I haven’t been to this cemetery before, and was the only one here today .

hunter river view

From the Stockton cycle path – one of the ever changing views.

cyclist in tunnel

I never tire of chasing odd “lo-lite” shots in here …

back on fernleigh track – i forgot – it’s school holidays …

All in all, a pleasant day stretching the Gazelle’s legs, as it were.

Ride to remember, or ride to forget – just remember to ride.

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the rain is back …

everything a-wash in a minute !

There must be an old proverb that says “He/she who rides fastest in the rain gets the wettest bum”, or so it seemed, as I was passed by lots of riders with sporty G.T. stripes up their backs today.

I always bless my mudguards on such days, as I tootle merrily along on the wet track…

my trusty speedwell

wetter the better ?


Just as in a car – if you go too fast, you can miss things:

today on the harbour

a picture waiting to be taken …


I am also grateful for hub/coaster brakes in the rain as the spongy rim brakes do their “zero G” thingy. What luxury – on this bike I have both !

Disc brakes ? Too complicated, leave them on cars, thanks…

a rain-foresty fernleigh track 

Anyway rainy+cloudy+sunny days are often great for landscape photography, even if there aren’t many lovely bikes around.

a friendly dude at the beach


three on a misty lens

Is there some kind of message here ?


Today was something of a fluoro safety vest day, and don’t those boring things just spoil good bike photos ? The tunnel, however, always has something to offer …

hand in the air

and a dark ghost who walks in the sodium glare

All pics were taken today.



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Late afternoon “bloggie” photos on Fernleigh track – letting the low-light blur create its own atmosphere, as I am inclined to do:

an invitation to rest

child’s play

daydreaming at speed





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A few recent shots of Fernleigh Track folk :

downhill to adamstown

a head full of light

stopped for a moment

hey !

in pink

who's walking who ?

heading home


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