16 February 2019

Tour de Tasmania Day 0 - Before and After

After a perfect overnight night flight from Haneda Airport (emergency exit row window seat in economy class, leg-room, totally exhausted and already fed upon boarding, 5.5 hours sleep then just enough time to see BlacKkKlansman!) a half-day layover in Sydney (coffee on the veranda at Luke and Hisae Nottage's house overlooking a small valley, body surfing, lunch and a beer at Wanda Beach/Cronulla Beach), I arrived in Hobart late Friday evening.
I checked into my hipster no-frills lodgings at The Alabama Hotel (cheap, view of brick wall outside window, shared bathroom, no luggage storage permitted even though I return in 10 days for another 2-night stay,  ... but comfy bed, quiet, trendy furniture in the lounge, they "love art!" and are highly ranked on all the online services, and hey, it is "high season" so they don't need to do any more).
Cronulla Beach - Sydney southern suburbs
Last night I tried to assemble Voyage, Voyage, but the bolt that secures the headset cap to the internal expander plug was stuck into the upper part of the expander plug assembly, so that when I unscrewed the bolt, the entire top part of the pressure plug came out, and the lower part (a kind of nut) dropped down the inside of the fork crown. I managed to take out and disassemble the pressure plug but did not have a pliers that would give me a decent grip to undo the stuck bolt and allow reinstallation (sorry if that is gobbledygook for most of you).  So in the end I just waited for the morning to get a tool.

Of course, the millenial proprietor at the front desk said that they did not have a pair of pliers anywhere in the hotel. (I guess they outsource 100% of the maintenance, or they just stiff-arm guest requests? Well, for the price of A$100 a night (US$75) I cannot really expect more.) 

I took the stuck bicycle part with me to breakfast, and at the coffee place around the corner -- not one of those fancy coffee places all over this country and, now, the world, but a basic "lunch stop" run by South Asian immigrants -- they were so incredibly nice when I ordered that I just asked "could I borrow a pair of pliers for a few seconds?"  The older member of the crew (Dad?) went in back and brought out a large, beautiful pair of pliers, perfect size to grip the outer edge of the part and hold it firm so I could use my allen/hex wrench to get the bolt unstuck in 5 seconds. As they say in the musical Hamilton, "Immigrants -- They get the job done!" (Quite similar to my experience in other countries, memorably France.)

Voyage, Voyage now has wireless electronic shifting SRAM Etap -- NO SHIFTER CABLES. This makes it a joy to assemble and disassemble, and very easy to just take off the rear derailleur and store safely during transit. Now, if only it will work reliably for the entire event ... Fingers crossed.

09 February 2019

Clever, very Clever

Crossing the Hawthorne Bridge (by foot!) 
In Portland to see family, I visited Clever Cycles yesterday. I like this shop because it is not the "same old" gear one finds most places. They feature cargo bikes ... which are actually quite common on the bike lanes of Portland.

I have been using the "Rain Legs" rain chaps I got there for about 5 years, and wanted to get another pair. This time, instead of black with reflective tabs, I got a reflective pair -- almost as reflective as the Proviz clothing that David Marx/RGT distributes in Japan.

Just how reflective are they? Let's try a flash photo:

Anyway, without a bicycle I walked a long way, and enjoyed Powell Books. But I really need a bike to enjoy Portland!