My Winter Commute

June 19, 2009

Just thought that I would share my daily commute with you guys.  Each day I travel on my bicycle from Como, to Claremont, around the river and up stirling highway.

Although not a long commute of only 13km  it is the perfect route to add extra distance due to the cycle paths that are available near where I live.

Here it is in maps and pictures.

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My street

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Canning Highway

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Bridge over freeway to bike track

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The Swan River

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The Freeway Bicycle Track

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Our fair city of Perth

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The Narrows Bridge

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The Swan Brewery

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Boat House on the Swan

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Stirling Highway

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I really do feel so lucky to live here in perth these pictures are from a winter commute.  Who would live anywhere else.

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New Shoes

June 18, 2009

Those who know me will also know how tight I am with my cycling gear.  I totally run things down until they are worn out to the point of falling apart.  Completely stupid for someone that rides every day of the week.  This time its shoes.

My old Shimano shoes were wrecked holes in the front, cleats worn to the point of not being able to remove them as the bolts had even worn down so I couldn’t get a key in to release them.  Not good.

In comes my new purchase, Shimano RD86 road shoes.  Their a bit bright for my liking but also pretty cool at the same time.  Bought from TBE Stirling Highway for $170 including a free tube.

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These shoes are a SPD-SL shoe, taking the Shimano Road cleats so a system that I have been using for some time and find good for keeping your foot still during cycling.  The shoes are also well padded and offer god support in all the right places.  The three strap system also keeps your foot snugly and can easily be adjusted on the move.  The first strap is a ratchet type one and then 2 velcro straps complete the system.

What really stands out during the first week of use is the comfort level.  They are just so comfy.  Either these are the best shoes I have ever had for cycling, or my other ones were just total crap.

I have only had these around a week so about 250 km or so completed thus far and if they continue to offer this level of stiffness whilst peddalling and comfort whilst riding I made the right choice.

I will report back with updates as progress happens

SURLY LHT – ORDERED

June 12, 2009

OK so I went ahead and ordered the bike.  I eventually got it from Bikeforce in South Perth, just a few hundred meters from home so really convenient for servicing and other stuff I need.

Why did I buy from Bikeforce?  Well I can tell you now. FIrstly they had the best price of anyone in Perth a$1900 for the stock bike. I also added Schwalbe Marathon plus tires, Topeak rear rack and full front and rear fenders.  Total price all up $2160.

Taking price aside for a moment as well.  I had the pleasure of dealing with Mick down at the store, a tourer himself.  He really understood what I was looking for, offered advice on possible uprades and changes to the bike that might benefit me not just now but in years to come.  This was all done without the “sales type” pressure I encountered in other places.

He also explained to me the level of service they offer throughout the life of the bicycle as well.  Not just the usual degreasing etc but things specific to the type of cycling and bicycle that you purchase.  So for example how to change a spoke etc.  When fitting racks not using the standard bolts that come included but using top quality after market bolts all included in the setup process.

I walked away feeling very confident that I had made the right purchase decision dealing with Mick and the right choice in getting the Surly LHT.

Pictures and first ride report to come over the next week or so when it arrives in store.

Time to make some room in the bike shed for my new Surly so I have decided that its time to sell my Kona Paddywagon these are great single speed or fixed gear bicycles.

This is the 08 model purchased new from Bike Now in Melbourne last July for $1000. It is completely stock and had travelled only around 200km so a great bargain for someone looking to get into a simple single speed bike.

Here are the specs

Specifications:
Frame sizes C49cm, C52cm, C54cm, C56cm, C58cm, C60cm
Frame tubing Dedacciai COM 12.5 Butted Cromoly
Rear Shock
Fork Kona Retro Road
Headset TH
Crankarms FSA Vero
Chainrings 42T
B/B RPM BB-7420
Pedals
Chain KMC Z-50
Freewheel Dicta 16T Freewheel/Fixed 16T
F/D
R/D
Shifters
Handlebar Kona Aluminum Road OS
Stem Kona Track OS
Grips Kona Cork Tape
Brakes Tektro R538
Brake Levers Tektro R200A
Front Hub Formula
Rear Hub Formula
Spokes DT Stainless 14g
Tires Continental Ultrasport 700 x 28c
Rims Sun MZ-14
Saddle WTB Rocket V Comp
Seatpost Kona Thumb
Seat Clamp Kona Clamp
Color Grey

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email me at craigdurkee at gmail dot com for more details or to make an offer

Ok.  So its time to replace the touring bike.  The Kona Sutra which went it’s own way late last year needs replacing.  Easy I hear you say.  Well not really.  When I purchased the Kona last year I was tossing up between that and the Surly Long Haul Trucker which as the time was a$1500.

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So I made a quick call to some local dealers here in Perth to find out what the availability was and what it was likely to cost me.  After making some enquiries I found out it was going to cost me a dam sight more than I first thought.  This is largely down to the World Economic Crisis, fair enough.  A would imagine most of the current stock would have been purchased when the $ was very week, hence the inflated price.

Here’s were it gets strange though.  Trying to get a firm RRP on this product is proving very difficult.  I have had a number of prices quoted me as RRP and none of which I’m sorry to say I believe from WA retailers.

Brunswick Street Cycles in Melbourne who are a great supplier of touring bikes and equipment tell me the bike’s RRP is $1999, WA retailers quote anything from $2100 to $2500, what am I to believe.

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Another quick call to BSC meant a firm price of $1800 which includes shipping to WA or anywhere else in Asuatralia for that matter.  The next best price so far in WA was $2200 from Churchill Cycles in Booragoon.  The guys there seem really together and knowledgeable, they will fit the bike, service it for a year and generally be there for me with my new purchase, something BSC can’t do as they are not local.

The question that I now face is do I save the $400 and buy from Melbourne or spend the extra and get it locally where I know I will get better support.  Its a real tough one.  As I have been drafting this post I have had a call from Martin at The Bicyle Entrepreneur telling me that they can do it for $2000, another dilemma.

So my question to you guys is do I spend the extra and get it locally or take the risk with purchasing it interstate.  Your comments please :-

interface

Having used a Crumpler messenger bag for the last 2 years I felt it time that I got something a bit more suitable for the things I carry on a daily basis.  The Crumpler (pic here)is an awesome bag, don’t get me wrong.  Its just, well, very basic.  With 1 large compartment and 3 small ones, none of which zip up I was starting to worry about things falling out, getting wet or just breaking from lack of protection.  

Although I don’t carry a laptop with me usually to work I wanted something that would hold and keep safe a few specific things.  digital camera, work notes, iPod and Blackberry.  At the moment they are just swishing about in the Crumpler, not good.

In comes a real bargain that I picked up at a local store for just a$27.50 Caribee Interface laptop backpack.  It is awesome with so many pockets and sections all suitable for the things I need (want) to carry on a daily basis.  Firstly I will start with the build quality, it really is very well put together with strong zippers and very good quality stitching.  

Being a bicycle commuter which rides all weather, even in torrential rain the quality of the fabric is also am important choice.  Luckily or unluckily however you think about it we have had a few bad rainy days here in Perth recently which proved an ideal testing ground for the bag.  The bag kept my gear dry and safe during the storms which was a big relief, also pleasing was the quick drying time the bag offered when it did get wet.

I can know keep my iPod plus sync cable, Digital Camera and Blackberry in individual pockets within the bag, meaning that they do not knock against each other causing scratches and scrapes, another big plus.  My clothes for the day also fit with no issues what so ever, as does my lunch which is usually kept in a standard ice cream container come lunchbox , this really is a big bag.  

As mentioned I do not carry a laptop at the moment relying on a desktop computer at work which is good as to keep the weight down for my commuting, however should that ever change and I need to carry a laptop I could easily fit that in along with everything else that I need for my daily routine.

I highly recommend this bag, especially at the price I paid 😉 

Pro’s

  • Lots of room
  • Great quality build
  • Cost
  • Comfort 

Cons

  • Heavy

Here are the specs of the backpack:-

  • Contoured shoulder straps
  • Padded hip belt with lumbar support
  • Main compartment padded laptop sleeve fits up to a 17″ screen laptop
  • Multiple utility pockets
  • Internal sleeve pockets for cords, discs and accessories
  • Padded CD pocket and cord port
  • Organiser panel
  • Key clip
  • Lockable zips
  • Haul loop
  • Sternum strap
  • Action Back Extreme Back System