Seals on the Move

Seals on the Move

I think I never really got into how WordPress worked… I’ve been blogging since about 2005/2006, and it was always on Blogger. I think I gave WordPress a few attempts, but it was only really with Butternut Biking that I persisted! In the end, the stupid hand injury put a stop to my biking, and so I stopped blogging here.

I ended up getting more into my running and started a blog where I wasn’t constrained by my choice of activity. I’m back on the bike now, and I think my hands have settled. While they definitely aren’t 100%, there hasn’t been any noticeable pain since late August – but I need to keep stretching my fingers!

So come visit me at Seals on the Move! 🙂

Long time, no post!

I haven’t been on my bike all year – I overstrained the tendons in my fingers (thanks uni!) early in the year and now find it difficult to hold things for extended periods. I find I need to just drop my hands and do nothing sometimes… which is a bit difficult to do if I need to hold handlebars. So I haven’t been riding.

The hands issue also means that EVERYTHING takes longer. I’ve found I struggle to finish sifting almond meal and icing sugar, I doubt I could probably knead things properly, and generally have less time to cook! I’m hoping to be back to normal in a month or two. I can’t wait to have ironed clothes and linen again!

San Francisco

I was recently in San Francisco for a conference, and spent an extra week in the city playing tourist. The weather was lovely on the Monday of my extra week, so I rented a bike and explored a bit of the city on two wheels.

First stop: about 5km into my ride and I had to pull over in order to adjust the height of the seat.

My first stop was about 5km into my ride and I had to pull over in order to adjust the height of the seat.

My destination: the Golden Gate Bridge (rental bike in foreground on right).

Lots of people about enjoying the gorgeous day

Even though I bought a map with bike routes, it was fairly easy to figure out how to get to the Golden Gate bridge.

At the start of the crossing

Sharing the path with lots of other users wasn’t a problem. No anger between any users – such a welcome relief compared to attitudes in Sydney!

Sausalito – a cute and quiet little town, but there’s no avoiding the hills wherever you go in San Francisco!

The only real coffee I had while in San Francisco. These guys even gave my latte art! And it’s not that the teaspoon is small in that photo – there was a lot of coffee in my double!

I was already fed up with my rental bike on flat surfaces (how I missed my Merida Speeder that day) so I opted to take the ferry back into town instead of climbing up the hill to cross the bridge back.

But the ferry turned out to be a fantastic little ride – passing by Alcatraz and getting nice views of the city and the Bay Bridge!

Pffft! Garmin

Look, I love most of my Garmin gear – I love the heart rate monitor, I love my little foot pod (for running) and I love the little contraption near my bike’s rear wheel that logs distance and cadence. When working properly. You see, the way that it logs cadence and distance are my two little magnets that are fixed to the pedal crank and to the spokes of the rear wheel. So you need the magnet. The rear wheel magnet is fine – it’s tightened onto the spoke with a nut-and-screw-style setup – the magnet is the “screw” and a little piece of plastic is the “nut”.

It’s the crank magnet I’ve had problems with. All you are provided with are stickers and cable ties. You stick the magnet onto the inside of the crank and then tighten it with the cable tie on the outside of the magnet. It’s a shit system. The cable tie easily slips off, and the sticker doesn’t hold. I ordered a replacement crank magnet online (which comes with the spoke magnet), and after thoroughly cleaning the crank, tried again. A few weeks later I lost the magnet again. Bah! I don’t really want to build a stock-pile of spoke magnets… so I just gave up.

Well, at least the Garmin-supplied cable ties are good

Now that my bike’s rideable again, I started looking into the matter again. Garmin themselves weren’t helpful, just telling me to keep purchasing the replacement set. Then I found a random review on Wiggle about how I wasn’t the only one with crank magnet problems and that they solved theirs with the help of a Cateye magnet.

Well guess who turned up in the post a few days later?!?!

A cable tie through a plastic cap that covers the magnet – genius! Simple, too.

And yes, he works perfectly well with the Garmin. If you’re making other purchases, then go for Wiggle or ProBikeKit (both have free postage if you spend over 80 pounds, and the magnet is about 3 pounds). If you just need the magnet, I used a seller on Ebay located in Australia. At about $10 (incl. postage), it cost less than the Garmin pair of replacement magnets, and thus was still a bargain in my opinion. Particularly as I don’t expect to have to purchase it again. (Of course, if you’re purchasing other stuff on PBK or Wiggle and meet free shipping, spend the $3-$4 there).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

… or office – my bike! I finally got it down to a shop (one near uni that I hadn’t used before) and they fixed it on the spot – despite Spring Cycle on a few days later (an excuse that one shop once gave to me when I was trying to book it in for a service).

I missed having my bike next to me all day!

This means that it’s been 12 months since the last service, but I’ve replaced the chain in that period, and the shop I used this time gave the gear cables a good adjustment. I had just checked and tweaked the brakes the night before, so I was happy that they were happy with them too (as they checked the brakes but made no adjustments). The next piece of major work on the bike will be the handlebars, as I seem to be enjoying having them lower. It’s also been a while since I last had a long ride, so we’ll see how I feel about them, and if I want to go lower again (and if I want to make it permanent!)

I’m still seeking a better small baggage combination for the bike. I finally have my saddle bag sitting up higher on the stem so that my taillight is well above the rear rack (the light falls off from the loop on the bag) – but I don’t like the tri-bag I have on the front. I like having it to store keys, my phone and lip balm during commutes (money too during rides), but my uni keys are substantial due to the presence of an ID card and my preference for using a lanyard – so getting them out of the bag is a careful affair as I don’t want everything else out of the bag! Also, if I have a fall, things tend to fall out. Sadly, I know this from experience!

So, it’s not that I intend to fall, but shit happens sometimes. And I don’t want to be scrambling for things in the middle of a busy road when it does. I’m thinking about the Timbuk2 Goody Box, but I think I need to see it in real life as the reviews online vary substantially. They do justify my attitude to my on-bike storage – I’m clearly not the only one in search of perfection!

Where’s the biking?

Here it is.

My bike and its crooked rear derailleur.

Hence the lack of biking. The derailleur shouldn’t be anywhere as close to the spokes as it is now. I mean to fix the problem, but the furthest I got the night I was going to fix it was flipping the bike over and looking at the damage. I then realised I left my bike tools in the car and so my bike stayed upside down that night. It’s still upside down. It’s been about four weeks (possibly more).

Oh, while I try to minimise PhD talk, it has been keeping me busy lately – hence the lack of posts for a short while… and an upside down bike.

Fasted riding

My bike riding essentials (tools and tubes already on the bike!)

I don’t know what’s wrong with my body – I get hungry on rides and unless I refuel, my legs turn to serious jelly. One of the girls I ride with manages well without breakfast – another struggles in the same way I do. So it has to be (at least partly) conditioning. Last weekend was the start of my conditioning as I went on my first “fast” ride, where I didn’t have breakfast before the ride. It was a good ride to try it on as we had a newcomer to the group who I decided to sit with so that I wouldn’t push myself too hard! I took some muesli bars with me on the ride and boy did I need them! But at least I was able to ride the first 30 km or so to Manly with my lovely fellow riders quite comfortably.

Welcome FR70

The FR70 clearly has a more flexible strap than the FR60!

My FR60 met an unfortunate end – one that even DC Rainmaker’s FR60 had met. The strap tore. I still don’t understand how this could happen, but happen it did.  At least I’m not alone in doing this. However, the unit was only 4 months old! It was actually a replacement unit for my original FR60, which had internal fog occurring after about 10 months, so the second FR60 was out of warranty.

I was initially going to buy another FR60 to replace it, but when I read that the FR70 had a better wrist-strap I happily paid the extra $29 for the newer model. Also, I could really only get the FR60 cheap in lilac, and I struggled to bring myself to do it. The FR70 wrist-strap saved me from lilac. I actually had the option of repairing the wrist strap on my FR60, but at a cost of about 65% of the new FR70, it didn’t seem economical. Especially given that my tear was not a one-off.

The FR60/FR70 cannot be purchased without a heart-rate monitor, of which I already have one. It was a downside to purchasing another FR60/FR70, but at least the FR70 comes with the newer heart-rate monitor. I tinkered with the idea of getting a GPS enabled watch, but after doing the research found that the only one I really liked was the Forerunner 610 – the 910XT was nice in terms of functionality, but not so nice style-wise. It’s a bit of a tank. Style is why I went for the slightly larger men’s model of the FR70 – I wasn’t particularly keen on the pink or the swirls of the women’s model. The FR70 is a more discreet watch than the Forerunner 610, although it doesn’t look as clean (the 610 has a touchscreen, which removes the need for lots of buttons).

When I thought that the main reason why I would want GPS, I decided it was for when I cycled. Looking at the Edge 500 and Edge 800, I thought that I’d be far happier with that on my bike than I would be with the 610. So I ended up with the FR70.

Yes, they’re all Garmin as I already have the foot pod and bike sensors that are compatible with Garmin and the ANT+ system.

Back to it

Blue Group start for the City2Surf

A few weeks ago I decided that completing this year’s City2Surf would mark the end of the little voice in my head saying, “You really ought to go out for a run.” Between finding running increasingly boring and the occurrence of the Olympic Games, I really didn’t get much running done. I did squeeze in a few short rides, although some should have been runs…

Turns out I ran 1 min faster than last year, making the run a PB. Not an impressive PB, but still my best.  That little “run-guilt” voice shouldn’t pop into my head in future rides now. 🙂 And with the Olympic Games over, I have no excuses in getting back onto the road and into the gym – aside from being a bit sore from today’s run (actually the run just made some other niggles I had noticed while riding obvious, so time to see the physio again).

Renewed attitude, new blog. Hello!