Category: random stuff

The end of an era, the beginning of a new one!

Well, this is I think still going to go out to all of you who follow http://www.crankpunk.com, and I’d like to say a massive thank you to you people for supporting the site, for commenting and for reading.

However, after just about 2 and a half years I decided it was time to shift to a custom-built site that could host all that CrankPunk.com has become, so that I can feature the consulting work, the coaching, the cycle tours and the brand new shop that is on the new site –  worth a look, got some great prices on there! (plug plug)

And I’d tried to stay true to the original crankpunk with its lower case letters on the new site too – the blog is hardly changed and I’ll still be ranting and raving over there about all that is wrong, and right, about this great sport we love so terribly much.

So, thanks folks! I’m working on getting a ‘follow’ button on the new site but it seems that FB and Tw@tter are the way to go these days.

The original cp will remain but wil be titled http://www.crankpunkoriginal.com.

Anyway, onwards and upwards. Cheers and a big kiss to you all!

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Taiwan Local Bike Shop Extraordinaire

Due to the excellent T-Mosaic bike shop having moved location, my default LBS is now the Author Bikes shop about 4km from my house here in Taichung, Taiwan.

This place is massive, and in all honesty I’d be quite happy to live here. They have three levels in the store and another two above, one that holds a meeting room and the top one an apartment. I was told that it was designed along similar lines to the Storck HQ in Europe.

You may not have heard of Author Bikes, they are from the Czech Republic, and have been going for 20 years now, quite popular in Taiwan and their racing team operates out of this store too.

The store has a huge sales area over two floors, and the basement houses a big mechanic area, a gym, a roller room with custom build support/lockers. a club room, power shower and bike cleaning area. A pretty sweet set-up, though how they make their money I have no idea!

A few hastily taken images here for you to get the idea.

 

 

Michael Troy describes the joy of the broken collarbone and learning to become ambidextrous with toilet paper

Like I said before, you get the best headlines on crankpunk! Sarvesh, this one is for you…

Many thanks to my friend Michael Troy for this one. Classic.

Cheers Mike!

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The Clavicle Diaries, by Michael Troy

 

 

T’was the end of a long road season, 2009 to be exact. My coach, good friend and mountain bike nut Mark Fenner suggested for something different to come out and try the dirt. I consider myself a pure roadie, or definitely did back then, but jumped at the idea.

So using my collective resources as a bike mechanic, I borrowed a bike, got cheap shoes and pedals and threw myself at the world of dirt, suspension and knobbly tyres. No experience, hadn’t even done a lap of the course and was standing on the start line. Plenty of road fitness and no off road experience.

Gun goes off, straight up a fire road climb, I’m gunning it and loving it. Red mist descends. It’s a race!

Second into the turn, and oh wait, shit. Cornering. Rear wheel drift, lose surface. What am I supposed to do here! I’m a bit at sea here…

Ah well I’ll go full tilt in the straights and just hit the anchors and go around the corners slower than a granny with a Zimmer frame…

So three quarters of a lap around, maybe 10 minutes in, I’ve been passed by nearly everyone as there were many more corners the straights and I’ve been pin balling off trees and rocks and say to myself “right, time to slow down or you’ll hurt yourself”. So I slowed down, and came a cropper. Went straight over the handlebars through a little dip and laying on the ground with my borrowed bike somehow on top of me I knew straight away I’d done my collar bone.

No strength through the right arm, sore but not excruciating. Straight away in that tell-tale position of my right hand to my left shoulder nursing it. My friend drove me into town, he’s a physio, and has had more broken collar bones himself then fingers on one hand…

Go to the hospital, X-Ray (the most painful part of the ordeal – “Could you please just push your should back against the plate…” Grind, crunch – “Ouch!”). Yes, broken. Nothing too bad apparently according to the X-Ray.

See the orthapedic surgeon, and surgery booked for Monday (it was Saturday). Monday comes around, no sleep, difficult to wash, wipe my arse, or do anything really. Surgery in and out. Easy. Surgeon comes around later, explains that what looked like a simple fracture on the X-ray was instead 6 breaks and 7 pieces of collar bone floating around in my shoulder area.

So 2 inches of titanium and 10 screws are now holding it in position. 4 weeks minimum off the bike, he would prefer 6. No heavy lifting, actually no lifting at all. Sling for 4 weeks. Best to sleep in the sling too he says. Help keep it in place and stop you flapping about he says.

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So now comes the bit where I go stir crazy. No exercise, no bike riding for six weeks!!! Like a caged lion, pacing in his den. Nowhere to go, nothing to do. I drive everyone around me around the twist with my craziness. It was close to turning me to drink. Only thing is back then I didn’t even drink (don’t worry I’ve seen the light now!). So sleep is pretty rubbish. Can never get properly comfortable. I do find out that the surgeons idea of sleeping in a sling is a good idea, I just wish I followed it.

I wake up one night after some bizarre dream with a jolt and am swinging my arm around. Jesus wept! The pain! So 3 weeks go past. I can’t lift any of my university text books, still can’t get enough movement to wipe my arse with my right hand, so I’ve had to learn to be ambidextrous for that and other tasks.

 

High with pain killers, which as a side effect of most of the good ones is constipation, makes me need to strain that bit harder which adds to the pain. Right, I’ve cracked it. 3 weeks, no riding. That’s enough. Let’s get on the trainer. More pain. Trying to lift and move a turbo trainer, then set a bike in. The agony. Sweet baby Jebus…

Finally on the bike, and the boredom! Not winning here at all. Right so 4 weeks (well nearly 4 weeks, more like 3 1/2 , or really just over 3 weeks post surgery), f&ck it. Getting back on the road.

I’ve had my arm out of the sling now a week (and a bit), ok 2 weeks (pharmacists [Michael is one of these] and all health care professionals make terrible patients). I think let’s be pro, so I double wrap my bars, thick and cushy. Get out on the road. Such a bad idea. Such a bad experience.

Every ripple in the road feels like the Forrest of Arenberg and its cobbles. I’m super skittish around traffic, like a wayward mare, for fear of getting knocked off (never have been hit by a car, but the fear was there) and destroying my shoulder (since that plate, with 10 really small screws holding my jigsaw puzzle clavicle together goes right from the tip of my shoulder to my sternum. If I crashed I think my shoulder and it’s structure would be done and dusted!)

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Anyway, so I have zero fitness. Can’t get out of the saddle (oh yeah that hurts too much too). It took ages for some resemblance of strength to return (as much strength as road cyclist can every say they have in their upper body). Range of movement was pretty bad too for a very long time. Lots of stretching kinda helped, my massage therapist gained lots of joy from poking and prodding to help free it up.

I think as a consequence of the plate in the shoulder and connective tissue running over it, it would tighten up and become all gnarly and nasty very quickly. Using ruck-sacks was never a joyful experience with the plate in place. The shoulder strap would rub right across the skin and the scar and the plate. So commuting to work was not enjoyable, the saving grace was that it wasn’t a long ride. Call it what you will. But I cannot clean anymore (with my right arm… and it isn’t something that I particularly want to become ambidextrous in…).

The circular scrubbing motion or vacuum cleaning is awful. So after gaining some resemblance of strength, and movement in the shoulder, (oh and bike fitness), there was always a nagging fear in my mind of crashing again on that right side. There would be nothing there for another plate or any room for my orthopaedic surgeon to fiddle with. So 2 and a bit years after getting the closest that I have come to owing a titanium bike, I went under the knife again, with the same surgeon who got the electric drill going and removed each of the ten screws and my titanium downtube from my shoulder.

Through some more rehab again, thankfully things improved much quicker than the first time around. I could wear ruck-sacks again (once the scar had healed). There wasn’t the grabbing catching sensation when I was moving my arm around like I used to get. Where I could feel it catch half way through a tennis swing, or when bowling a cricket ball. Unfortunately my ability to clean didn’t return (for good or for bad…) and I do actually mean that. It is a really uncomfortable, even slightly painful motion when you have the outward pressure of scrubbing or vacuuming.

My right shoulder sits quite a bit lower then my unbroken left shoulder. I have a really good scar running across my collarbone. They always say ‘Chicks dig scars’ – thank goodness as I make quiet a good patchwork quilt of scars.

I was always scared of returning to the scene of my accident, or really any non-paved riding adventures, but was finally convinced into re-trying the dirt. This time, no racing. Just riding in the forest. Learning to corner, brake (not break). Basically to re-learn to ride a bike. Actually I would consider myself more than a novice these days. Actually, while sick for over a year, mountain biking was a great escape.

At a time when I had zero fitness, I couldn’t pedal fast, and I learnt to go around a corner, had mounds of fun all while not putting much physical strain on my body. Going for a cruisy mountain bike ride is a lot more fun than a 30 minute road ride at 24km/h in boring countryside!

I still do dabble with it. It makes for a good adventure and even recovery ride.

Michael Troy

Michael Troy

Cycling Etiquette: Let down by my fellow roadies!

The back had been playing up again over the weekend so I took Sunday off, but felt better today so I decided to take it for a spin to see how it fared. I headed up into the hills nearby, enjoying the return to the bike and the rather haunting mist that shrouded the valleys.

'Turneresque', I thought, having just watched the excellent Mr. Turner the night before!

‘Turneresque’, I thought, having just watched the excellent Mr. Turner the night before…

I dilly-dallied a bit, poked and a-pottered a tad, and sniffed the odd tree and maybe possibly had a pee here and there, as is my wont, and was just having a fine old time all told, spinning around and messing about with the camera on my phone.

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Taiwan is a stunning place to ride it really is, with fantastic year-round weather. This time of year is my favorite in fact, with perfect riding weather (17 degrees today) just about daily.

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After riding for 45 minutes on the plateau I headed back down the hill to town, and psssssssst – no, I didn’t encounter a seedy dude wearing a trench coat trying to sell me watches, but I did get a flat, front tire. No worries, I didn’t crash and I did have a brand new spare – which wouldn’t inflate. Grrrrr. Something wrong with the valve! Well, ok no problem, I’ve got the old puncture kit…. ah, yes, the one with all the patches dried up and useless. Great.

I realised I’d have to just walk down the steep bits and on the corners and drift down the straights, unless a biker came down or up the hill, a real possibility seeing as I was on one of the most popular hills in the area. Not more than a  minute after thinking that, a guy whizzed by me on a road bike, all kitted up, obviously someone who’d have a spare tube or a repair kit.

Did he stop? Did he balls! I shouted after him once, twice, but still he never looked back. As he rounded the bend I shouted ‘YOU F%&$@R!’ definitely loud enough for him to hear because I saw him turning around as he slipped out of sight round the bend. A pox on his head, be damned him!

Honestly, how could you see a fellow roadie walking his bike on a damp descent, a good 5km from the nearest town of any note, and not wonder if he or she had a problem? I always slow down and ask people if they are OK even if I see them only fixing a flat, just in case. It’s just common courtesy, right?

Well, apparently not.

As I was still cursing the guy and his bike in my head, another guy flew past me! He didn’t even get a hopeful ‘Hey!‘ from me, just a mouthful of curses that’d make a sailor blush. I was spitting feathers. The absolute arse.

Finally after a good 25 minutes of walking, slipping and drifting on far too expensive carbon rims (sorry Blk Tec), I came to a 7-11. They had, as many 7s here do, a pump for all to use, and, amazingly, a tool kit too!

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Brilliant! Surely it’d have a puncture kit in it!

Well, it had some weird stuff in it but a puncture kit? Erm, no.

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And that’s why I’ll never ride a Merida.

And I’ll STILL stop next time I see someone by the side of the road. Why? Cos you should. It could be you some day.

Just don’t stop if it’s a fat bloke in a pink Giro jersey or a skinny arsed munter in a BMC kit….

 

The world’s first 3-D printed bike goes SNAP…

These are coming, they must be, there will be some freaky time ahead when you buy a plan from Pinarello or whoever and then print your bike in your office. But, judging by this amusing video, not quite yet.

Here some students from Carleton University do a first time ever! test-ride of their plastic bike, or rather, they don’t. Still, kudos to them for suffering through the shutter clicks as the assembled media hone in on their acute embarrassment.

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They might have suspected something like this would happen though – here’s a quote from one of the lads after the press conference:

“Once we had attached wheels and a seat, we were ready to sit on the final product to see if it could withstand the weight of a person,” he said. “Ignoring the known weaknesses, like the part where the printer had run out of plastic and not finished the print or the one with a small crack, we decided to go for it.”

Crank on regardless fellas…

Harry Kramer, the Bearded Wonder Kid

Sweet little video here about an old boy ‘doing a Sagan’ (no not pinching a backside but doing wheelies).

The commentator pulls out some deadly jokes, such as: “The only thing Harry said he can’t balance is his wife’s bank account.”

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Harry’s looks a bit mad to be fair, but then, aren’t we all?

Best line of the lot is: “Harry said he’d rather be up there any day, than sitting in an easy-chair listening to his arteries harden.”

Crank on Harry.

Bike music

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This is pretty good, a tune made entirely from bike noises. This is a tune called Bespoken by Johhnrandom, a guy who males music from everyday things and has a particular love for the humble bike.

The first video shows how he made the music, the second is a video someone made featuring the whole track.

crankpunk’s first proper bike features on GCN

Well it’s not actually my bike, it’s Stephen Roche’s, but it is exactly the same, down to the groupset and even the saddle, that I had when I was 17 – my first proper, proper bike. Every penny of pocket money I had went into this machine. That I sold it for 400 quid to my mate’s little brother a few years after i quit cycling at 18 breaks my heart even now, but there you have it.

I’ll never forgive myself.

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Ain’t she a beauty? And after you’ve watched the video you can read my article on Old Bikes vs. New, and on why Stephen let me down.

 

 

Balls Out: naked cyclist fined for not wearing a helmet

 

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well, this certainly brings new meaning to that phrase.

wonder if he was on the rivet?

ah the pedantry of The Law. some dude in New Zealand is caught under the influence of alcohol and naked, whilst riding a bike. and is charge not with indecent exposure but with riding without a helmet.

reminds me of the English couple having sex on a packed train whilst all the other passengers pretend nothing is happening. when the couple had finished their tryst and lit up cigarettes, however, a gent looks over and says ‘Excuse me, but this is a no smoking car.’

reminded me also of the Swedish guy who was caught having sex with a bike. he punctures the tyre than er, takes care of himself. i told this story to a bike buddy of mine last week and he didn’t believe me. here is the video evidence:

back to the naked NZ guy. not sure if didn’t get busted for indecency on the grounds that the cops just couldn’t be bothered or if it was just too cold for the biker to actually offend anyone:

‘Timaru police Senior Sergeant Randel Tikitiki told Stuff.co.nz that the man was not charged for indecent exposure because that would “depend on what could be seen.”‘

hmm!