Sunday, November 22, 2009

All The Other Bands.

Tomorrow night:

Suburban Rhythm.

The theme for the race on Saturday was “Bogan’s Day Out,” and I’d been dressed accordingly for about an hour before Nik Cee rolled up to my house. We made some last minute preparations and headed down to Pony Bikes, flannies flapping in the breeze and thongs caught in our toestraps. Drivers seemed more wary of us than usual.

When we arrived there were some folks there already. Eventually, with the skies turning greyer by the minute, the number of riders grew to 46, including a considerable number of out of towners, bogans in full costume, noobs riding their first alleycat, and a representative from the VIS on his BT (who later decided not to ride, possibly because I told him I’d tell his coach).

After the chaos of registration riders were told to park their bikes at the Capel Street end of the alley, then taken up the other end for their briefing. A number of riders had parked their bikes assuming a quick dash out Capel Street into the city, and were sorely disappointed when informed that they would have to leave via the other exit. Sucks to be them!

The first checkpoint, where riders received their manifests, was Gate 4 at the MCG, which was once the closest entrance to the infamous Bay 13. This was the first of many bogan landmarks riders were asked to visit. Once they had their manifests riders were asked to visit, in no particular order, the following locations:

The Tote Hotel, where they were told to collect a Beer Coaster for a Bogan Beer and deliver it to the finish at Pony Bikes.

Carlton United Breweries, where they were asked to fill out a Centrelink form. McKenny at this checkpoint lived out his dole officer revenge fantasies and was very particular with his forms.

The Astor Cinema, which isn’t really a bogan landmark, but most riders went straight here from the CUB, and as such were forced to do a “Chap Lap” of Chapel Street, which, on a Saturday night, is as important to bogans as breathing. And at the Astor they had to yell out a bogan insult. Poor Blakey at this Checkpoint copped it pretty hard, but made up for it by demanding the manager of the Astor hand over his manifest before going inside.

Pit Lane at the Albert Park, where they were asked to do a skid. Apparently the Corporate Games were also taking place at this checkpoint, which made the traffic interesting.

Spearmint Rhino Men’s Club in King Street, where they were asked to sing a bogan song (Khe Sahn was a popular choice here – and most people, despite hipster moustaches, colourmatched fixies and homemade tattoos, still knew the words).

The Church opposite Swanston Maccas, where they were given temporary Southern Cross tattoos. Nik and I were a bit concerned about this checkpoint due to the constant presence of real bogans, but other than a hug from a crazy bearded lady, Casey and Magda at this checkpoint did just fine.

The first riders started trickling in about an hour and twenty minutes after being sent on their way. Cranky Sundays mainstay Chaz (aka Chamazing, Chaztastic, Viva Chaz Vegas) came home first and was slightly bewildered to discover this was the case. His buddy Jason followed his wheel all the way into second place, his blonde mullet resplendent in the southerly breeze. Brisbane rider Gypsy had been advised to chase Jay and Coopz around town, in order to not get lost, and managed to do this and more, claiming first out-of-towner and third overall (relegating Jay and Coopz to a bunch finish!). Teagan came in about sixteenth overall and claimed first girl, followed by Sara from Sydney and the ever-irrepressible Megz, who also claimed best stack. She didn’t stack at all, but a bout of food poisoning the week previous had left her stomach slightly unsettled, and she was given this prize for vomiting on a car. First noob went to Scott, who swore he’d be back for more, and DFL went to Caff, who was very excited about her almost new, only slightly soiled Australian Cycling Team cap.

Best outfit was hotly contested, with a number of mullets, cut off denim jackets, Frenzal Rhomb T-shirts, footy jumpers and Australian Flags decorating the peleton. Eventually, however, the prize went to Max, who rocked up to the start with his own southern cross tattoo, a blacked out tooth, a well-worn wifebeater and the matching Collingwood beanie and scarf set, but by the end of the race had somehow also accumulated a Taco Bill Sombrero, a cask of goon and some poor woman’s actual dole form. I guess she won’t be getting her payment this week.

All prize winners were told to pick one item from a large selection of swag, with podium finishers also rewarded with some cold hard cash. The exceptions to this rule were 1st overall, who was given a B43 wheelset from Velocity, and DFL, who received the aforementioned cap from the bottom of Nik’s cupboard. When the prizes went down to about 10th overall Nik and I started throwing stuff out into the crowd. Special thanks here should go to Coffee Supreme, who wrapped up their prizes in Hessian bags so they looked like Coffee. Nik threw them into the receptive audience, where they were later revealed to be some sweet swag from Charge, including a saddle and some forks. Tricky!

Special thanks should also go to the rain for holding out until we’d finished; Sasha from Pony Bikes for hosting and giving so much to her adopted city in such a short time – Sydney’s loss has been our gain; Ilana from the Bike Film Festival for arranging a bunch of the prizes, organizing a bunch of the shenanigans that took place at Pony that day, co-ordinating the volunteers and generally running around being efficient; Velocity for the wheelset; Gypsy from Brisbane for bringing down swag from Brisbane Outdoor Gear and Gear Brisbane, which are two different shops, duh; Spray Ya Bike for an appropriate Best Outfit prize; Coffee Benny Tatts from Genovese Coffee for being extremely generous with the caffeine; Jona Gunn at Coffee Supreme for being tricky; Natasha at Crumpler for always, always supporting the scene; Knog for doing the same, even if Mike told Facebook he was going to ride and then didn’t; Jamie from Skin Grows Back for making the best courier gear around and always being willing to share it with muppets putting on alleycats; The Freedom Machine for giving Sasha jerseys that she didn’t want; Coopers for (vegan!) Beer; DJ Hired Hands for block rocking beats; Adam O2 for doing the flyer and generally bringing the hype; Tara Jayne for printing, late night laminating anal-retentiveness and not calling me from the toilet ever again; Nik Cee for being the nicest guy in the world and finally walking away from an alleycat without winning anything; all the folks who did checkpoints, especially those who had to ride a long way to theirs; all the riders who rocked up, bust their guts blasting through traffic on a Saturday arvo, and rolled back into Pony with huge smiles on their faces; and, finally, everyone else who came down, hung out, talked shit and generally made the day as fun as hell.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Million Bucks.

This weekend:

Saturday 21st November

Ring of Fire Party @ Pony Bikes

Bogan's Day Out Alleycat - 1.30 (ten bucks to enter - bring a pen, bag and lock!)
Roller Race of Terror - 4.30
Bunnyhop Comp - sometime after that
Footdown (the people's favourite) - throughout the evening.

Pony Bikes is at 87 Capel St, West Melbourne.

Look for the signs / Follow the ruckus.

All Bikes Welcome / All Riders Welcome / All Hecklers Especially Welcome.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'll Never Be A Rock And Roll Star.

I have been informed, by reliable sources, that Mark Renshaw googled me. Sometimes I think that this whole 'cyclist of the year' thing has jumped the shark, but really, it just keeps getting funnier.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

La La La La La La La La La Means I Love You.

Conversation with Lincoln the Barista at Ray's this morning:

Brendan: I'll have two strong soy lattes, thanks. With two sugars in each.
Lincoln: Ok, sure. But are these both for you?
Brendan: Yes.
Lincoln: Oh, dude, I'm sorry.

And that nicely sums up the last - and the next - few weeks.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stop Rewinding This.


Please vote again for your people's choice cyclist of the year:

There’s Nothing Quite As Harmful As The Slow Moving Day.

When you start cycling you do a cost-benefit analysis, either consciously or sub-consciously. You weigh up the positives - increased fitness, healthy competition, camaraderie, fun – against the negatives – the financial cost, unhealthy competition, braggadocio, shaving rash in places it shouldn’t ever occur, chafing. Eventually you decide that it’s worth it.

And it is worth it. I’d never suggest otherwise. But there are probably some further negatives you’ve neglected to factor in. It’s only when they become pressing that you realize that you’ve overlooked them. And this weekend just gone they’ve become pressing, if not for me, then definitely for folks who I hold in high regard.

The first of these is crashes, which are common. But even though they are common, it’s important not to factor them in to your analysis. This may seem counterintuitive, as they certainly represent a gigantic flashing minus sign, but the minute you start recognizing crashing as a factor is the minute you become a very average racer. You have to ride smart, sure, and safe too – I’ll be the first one to rip you to shreds if you ride dangerously – but if you’re worrying about crashing all the time then you’re not worrying about going fast, getting through traffic or around that next corner – all the stuff that makes cycling fun.

This being said, when crashes happen they tear the guts out of every cyclist everywhere. Every one of us has crashed at some point, and we all know the pain of gravel rash, bruises, broken bones. Some of us know the pain of paralysis, intensive care units, death of loved ones. When you hear of someone you know suffering your heart goes out to them, and next time you get on the bike you hope that today won’t be the day it happens to you.

The second of these are the cops. This is a tad more controversial, but hey, if you ride alleycats cops are a problem. Such as on Friday night, when Campbell was forced to hide in a carpark for a good fifteen minutes until the cops gave up on finding him – in his Halloween outfit. Which was an extremely skimpy bikini. Or last night, when Pip found himself in the cells for four hours thanks to a party that got out of hand. I don’t think you should factor in the cops either, but rather ride like they’re not there at all. Occasionally you get fined (twice in the last month, in my case), occasionally you spend a night in prison.

So, in light of the series of totally shit incidents that have tipped the scales a little more to the negative side, I’m getting interactive. A while back Liam had a crack at explaining why we ride alleycats, but I’m going to broaden the topic a little bit and ask you, reader, why you ride. Don’t make it too long, because my attention span is short. Leave your response in the comments section. Best one wins a prize. I swear this time the prize exists.