Yup, I finally got a chance to ride Stuey's bit of black bitumen - I had to take my daughter to Salisbury Nth for a sleepover so I thought that while I was the other side of the black stump, I'd take the opportunity to ride the path (I've been wanting to since they opened it).
So I parked at the Pt Wakefield Rd end - there's a nice cul de sac there with access to the bikeway - and set off.
Head wind, all the way :(
Okay, so it wasn't a strong head wind, but enough to keep you working and seeing I was on the Hillbrick, I couldn't drop down a gear and spin. Needless to say, I got to the gliding club feeling relieved and a bit knocked around - my inner thigh muscles were rather sore at that point, which is one of the things that happens to you when you take a month off cycling because it's too cold and wet.
The return trip should have been easier, seeing the wind was behind me, and so it was ... and boy was I glad because I felt stiff and sore by then. Still, I hit some nice speeds, loped along at moderate speeds, crawled at granny pace (a very, sick, sore granny) and sat along at a fast cruise (low 30's which, with my gearing, is a cadence of 100-110), so you could say I got the full work out. Even held 42km/hr at one point which is a cadence of the spinny side of 130 - reasonable on the flat, I usually need a downhill to do better.
But yeah, I really felt the effects of taking a month off cycling.
The Stuart O'Grady Bikeway itself?
Apart from its location which guarantees you're going to get a head wind going in at least on direction, it's not a bad ride. Sort of flat - there are ups and downs to get you over roads, around intersections and to bypass old bomb dumps. It's probably not the most interesting ride as far as scenery goes but as you get closer to Gawler, there are the old bomb dumps and other ex-military buildings. I'll be doing it again ... one day (hell of a long trip from Happy Valley though).
Oh, and some local reprobates have been bunging stickers along it, the Gawler Steelers or something similar, must be a grid-iron club, couldn't be a respectable cycling club ...
(bung some contact details on the stickers, such as a reference to here, so people can track you down).
The Hillbrick has wormed itself a further 45 kms into my heart.
All I need now is for Cadell to win the time trial tonight :)
Me? Tongue in cheek? Never :)
Sorry boys, you're not like to see me on a Gawler Wheeler's ride - apart from the fact you start too early in the day, I'd have to leave before midnight just to get there in time ... and then I'd have to deal with all you roadie types **pokes out tongue**
But then again, horrible things do happen to innocent groups of cyclists and one day, you may just find that the 'physically embellished' gentleman in the back ground is riding a british racing green, fixed gear, roadster :)
With your speeds on the fixie you could easily ride with the Wheelers when they do the SOGY and you wouldn't be a tail ender
Maybe wait for daylight saving to kick in, though :)
It is a great ride Richard but it can be appreciated more when ridden with a group ;-) You know, like those GW guys ;-) I have ridden it several times Solo and a couple of times with the those who we Southerners never speak their name...... I have enjoyed it every time.
This has exactly all I need to know about the path, I'm just around the corner from one end.
What size gearing do you run on the Hillbrick? I managed Norton Summit on Sunday with a 44x16 setup and my mate had 46x17. I had brakes hooked up on the bike but I didn't touch them once on the descent, luckily I didn't need them because when I reached the bottom I noticed they weren't even hooked up properly. I'm unsure as to how long they've been like that ;)
P.S. Surely rugby club stickers along the bike path aren't a problem.
I run 48x19 for around 66 gear inches. It means I'm pulling a cadence of 90 at about 28/29 km/hr which is a nice speed for running around the city while leaving me room to climb hills ... and descend the rotten things. If you want to ride fixed, you need to learn to spin and while my technique is pretty crappy at the moment, I've spun to 180 quite regularly in the past (riding a geared bike has ruined me I'm afraid).
As far as speed goes, on the flat, I'm no faster on the geared bike than on the fixed gear simply because I lack the strength to push myself any faster - I've no problems spinning and thus having higher gears available doesn't make a lot of difference vs pushing my body through the air. I can maintain 40+ km/hr on both bikes with a steadily rising heart rate (on the flat, down hill is always a different matter). Interestingly, when I went from 48x18 to 48x19, my average speeds around the city went up slightly and my effort went down - spinning is soooooo good for you.
With the brakes, I tend to use them a lot, though not as much as on a bike with a freewheel. Reverse pressures can really muck up your knees so I use the brakes for stopping and the legs for controlling speed - it's a subtle difference that only fixed gear riders will appreciate (brakes are a very blunt tool for controlling speed). What I've yet to develop the courage to do is to let the bike run while coming down Flagstaff Hill - I'm happy enough doing it on the bottom part of Expressway Hill, but Flaggy is a lot longer and a bit steeper and at this point, I'm woosing out and riding the rear brake - this too will change (pause for hysterical laughter).
I've also noticed there isn't much of a speed difference when riding geared or fixed. Obviously I can fly much faster down hills on the road bike but taking off, cornering and slight hills/descents are much smoother and easier on the fixie.
My first time coming down the Veloway was brakeless, that was scary! My commuter now has the brakes for emergencies but the 'high speed fixie' is still brakeless.
I'll have to let you know when we next go for any sort of ride. I'm pretty sure there's a night ride coming up this Thursday, mostly fixed, no definitive route or destination but we keep up the speed. We don't travel far either.
I've also noticed there isn't much of a speed difference when riding geared or fixed
It surprised me at first, but a moment's thought soon explained why - aerodynamics. We are the shape we are and ride the position we ride and, up to a certain point, can only pull a certain speed with the amount of power we are able to generate. The difference between gears and fixed is simply cadence and, as any regular fixed gear rider knows, cadence is a different animal when fixed to riding with gears where you tend to stick to a very narrow cadence range. Fixed gear, by its very nature, forces you to work over a much wider cadence range. Get the gearing on your fixed gear right and, on a flat road, you will be able to hold the same top speed as you can hold on your geared bike - note that I say 'hold', not 'reach', there is a big difference between what you can hold for a km or more vs what you can momentarily hit.
This is just one of the many facets of fixed gear riding that make it so interesting, it truly is a completely different skill set to riding with gears and that is what I love about it.
I was just checking out the rides for this week and there is a group heading South then North on the aforementioned bikeway later on tomorrow. I have the day off and shall probably head along too.
If you're keen then you should help me show off on the ride.
Sadly (?) I have an appointment tomorrow.
Just watching the TdF - these blokes are doing their 41 kms in an hour faster than I did my 45 kms - I thought them last few kms were especially hard.
Nice to have you along on our little path today Lucas.
Today, you met just two SOBr regulars, being myself and Michael Wetherley .
It seems that some of the others have become a bit soft in this cooler weather ;) preferring their cosy warm sofa, to slugging it out in the infernal winds of the SOB.
You will have to meet our GW leader Wilson Devo who is also another Fixi Rider. I reckon you could give him a run for his money !
Yeah the winds are quite a challenge on the path, along with the smells the path carries. It sure is a smooth ride with few diruptions to the speed you can hold with the wind on your side.
I'll be sure to join the Gawler Wheelers when work allows me to, it's always great to meet other fixed gear riders.