We touched on the notion of the gravel bike in the last issue; in essence, it looks like a road bike with fatter tyres. The differences are more marked than that, of course, but it’s a pretty good summation.

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I’ve been lucky enough to have ridden at Tathra a few times now, and every single time is as good as the first/

It’s so good, in fact, it’s become a replacement for the Mont 24-Hour race for some buddies and I.

We’ve done the Mont for quite a few years now, and some years have been awesome fun. The last couple haven’t been so awesome for one reason and another, though – in fact, the best lap of the race has been the Friday practice, where we’re all riding together.

So last year, we booked a very nice room at the Tathra Beach House, headed to Tathra, and had ourselves a blast.

This year saw just two of front up – but it didn’t matter. Four rides over two and a half days in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet was pure bliss.

Here’s a little vid I put together as I find my way around some new vid editing software. I missed a few shots – guess we’ll have to go back.

 

 

 

When I was a young guy living in Sydney, I was walking through the Bondi Junction mall when I happened upon a guy with a bike. He was offering me $100 if I could ride said bike 10 metres or so, and it would only cost me $5 to try.

Now, I was riding A LOT back then – racing most weekends, riding every afternoon in Centennial Park, doing trials… this seemed like money for jam.

I couldn’t even get one metre. And it cost me $20 – in 1992 or so, mind – to figure this out. See, the bike was built so that when you turned the bars one way, the wheel would go the opposite.

I’ve been riding bikes since I was five years old – but I’ve only ever learned to use one rudimentary set of inputs. Check this video out for an interesting insight into the neural pathways we build for ourselves.

Cheers Bike Rumor for the memory jog!

 

So I’ve been thinking… maybe I should get back into reviewing mountain bike parts again.

I dunno – might be just my ego talking, but I’ll be buggered if I can find anywhere a source of good quality, objective reviews for modern bike parts. Weights. Comparison. Verifiable analysis. Objectivity. Someone who knows what the hell they’re talking about.

Sure, I’m already doing reviews on stuff for AG Outdoor and for Bike. I’m thinking, though, I’m still buying a lot of stuff, and there’s no better way to ensure that I’m not in it for the freebies, is there?

The main issue is that my dance card is pretty chockers… but hey. You only live once, right?

So if any of the three people who pay even the slightest bit of blind attention are key, let me know what you reckon. I’ll kick off with some pretty pics of a new stem I bought the other day, just to ease back into it.

Oh, and say hello to the new Ol’ Crank office dog, Poppy. She’s cute, sure, but my God she’s annoying.

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So, I’m two weeks into the Great Cycle Challenge. I’m trying to log 1500km over the month of October to help the cause, and I’m kind of not really that close to the halfway mark yet. That’s okay, because some friends are going to help get me over the line.

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My kilometres aren’t that important, though. Not tomorrow, at least.

You the old saying that the only way to double your money is to fold it in half? Not tomorrow.
Thanks to the event’s key sponsors Ridley, JacksonTeece and Lahey Constructions, ANY online donation made to ANY rider at ANY time tomorrow will be doubled and added to my personal fundraising total. DOUBLED.

Some of you were kind enough to sponsor the cause last year – if you haven’t already, will you kick the tin again in 2015? 

Click HERE to go straight to my page. All donations over $2 are tax-deductable.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my note. If you want to help raise money for kid’s cancer research, tomorrow is the day.

So, eight days down, and I’ve just gotten up way early to get a brace of work out of the way to go hit the roads again to add to my Great Cycle Challenge tally. It’s not quite as big a number as I’d hoped it’d be at this stage, but I’m not totally unhappy with it.

There have been a few distractions along the way, not least young Max’s NSW State BMX Championships campaign last weekend. For a young bloke who was fighting leukaemia just seven years ago, to look at him last weekend you would never know that he’d been ill even a day in his life.

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I had a tiny crash during my second ride – you can check out my routes here – taking a bit of skin off one knee. As I jammed a Band-Aid over the cut, I remember thinking ‘yeah, this will hurt a little when I take it off.’ Then I remembered Max’s central line… as a kid on an intensive regimen of chemotherapy, the docs deemed it necessary to fit Max with a  central vascular access device, or central line, to make it easier to administer chemo and other medications. Essentially, surgeons plumbed a pipeline directly into one of the large veins running out of his heart, via his chest.

While the installation of the line meant that docs didn’t have to tap a catheter into Max every time they needed to give him medication, managing the line itself was a full time job. Not only did the lines need to remain clear and infection-free, but Maxy now had a rather large hole in his chest that needed to be dressed weekly.

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Changing the dressing quickly became the most distressing part of the week. Max has never liked Band-Aids; now we were asking him to sit still while we changed a Band-Aid the size of a postcard once a week. He didn’t like it… not one little bit. He screamed and kicked and cried, but we had to keep doing it. We would dilute the adhesive, change the material and distract him every way we knew how – but it always sucked.

In the most twisted of ironies, a new product called Tegaderm became available in the last few months of Max’s treatment, making dressing changing a non-event…

The Challenge has been coming for quite a while, and we all knew that, and we could all prepare our bikes, our bodies and our schedules to suit it. When Max was diagnosed with leukaemia, we barely had time to pack a bag and pick a hospital. Cancer targets us all indiscriminately, whether you’re ready or not. It’s just a matter of one step forward, no matter what comes up.

When you sponsor me, you support vital research into finding cures for kid’s cancers. Pediatric oncology is not supported by the Big Drug companies, so research funding is a mix of charity and (diminishing) government grants. The Great Cycle Challenge has already raised over $2 million in two years, and it can do better than that. Click here to sponsor me. And thanks.

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G’day,

Tomorrow, I’m starting the 2014 Great Cycle Challenge, to do my bit to raise much-needed research funds to fight kids’ cancer.

My aim this year is to cover 1500km over the next 31 days, and I’m hoping to raise over $1500. I’ll be blogging about it, too, on theolcrank.com

So why am I doing this? Because cancer is the single biggest killer of children from disease in Australia. 

Every week, 12 families get the most awful news they’ll ever hear – that their child has cancer. And three kids die of cancer. Every. Single. Week.

Cancer turns up completely unannounced. It gives you no time to prepare, no time to respond. Getting up and riding my bike, no matter the weather, is absolutely nothing compared to the constant pain, suffering and anxiety that these kids – and their families – face every single day.

And the battle with this godawful disease goes on for months and years at a time.

I should know – we’ve been through it, and we’ll deal with the fall-out for a long time to come.

Without continual research and treatment developments that are always going on in the world on paediatric oncology, our life story would be a lot different.

Our kids should be living life, not fighting for it.

So that’s why I intend to ride 1500km over the next month, in the midst of my normal family and work life.

But I really, really need your help. Please, sponsor me to support my challenge and to help our kids. Don’t worry – I’m kicking the tin, too.

To make a donation, simply view my page by clicking on the link below:

www.greatcyclechallenge.com.au/Riders/theolcrank

All funds raised will support the Children’s Medical Research Institute to continue its work to develop treatments and find a cure for childhood cancers. And everything over two bucks is tax-deductible. The national tally already stands at $800,000!

Thanks for your support. Keep an eye on the blog, too – I’ll make it entertaining. If I can!

Cheers and thanks,

Robbo

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