Category Archives: silly ideas

How many TLDs is too many?

So I got my usual daily email from $registrar today, telling me that my world is going to change and I just have to, have to, buy a new domain name from them for the today’s brave new TLD. Today’s must-have TLD is .website, and yesterday’s was probably .ninja. I’m offended on behalf of Samurai, because I wasn’t offered a .samurai domain.

Today’s must-have TLD is .website.

I enclose below a snippet from the email. I think it speaks for itself:


A morbid fascination caused me to click the link provided. I was given a list of 236 different TLDs, ranging in price from $8.98 for .uk (which, by the way, I can’t actually buy), all the way through to a princely $3059.99 for .healthcare.  I was surprised that .dental was so affordable, at a mere $59.99.

Here’s the list I was offered (click for the gory detail):


I have a few keyman.* domains already, purchased over the years before we managed to acquire our blue label  It’d be nice to fill out the collection. So how much for the full set? Well, the full set of “New Domains” offered by one particular registrar, anyway. Today only, the full set will cost just $26,761.45. That’s doesn’t include most of those two letter country domains, .la and .io and .tv.

Today only, the full set will cost just $26,761.45.

My view is that every TLD issued now increases the value of  I can’t see any way that the average small company is going to be blowing $25K a year on maintaining a set of worthless domains, just to prevent squatters or even to maintain a registered trademark. Some very large companies might find it worthwhile to register, e.g. But me? Nup. I’m not renewing some of my unused lower value domains, and you’re welcome to them.

The gold rush is over people.

Everything you (thought you) knew about Internet password security is wrong

Time and time again, we see calls from security experts for complex passwords.   Make sure your password includes lower case letters, upper case letters (how xenoglossophobic!), numerals, punctuation, star signs, and emoji.  It must be no less than 23 characters long and not use the same character twice.  Change your password every 60 days, every 30 days, every half hour.  Don’t use the same password again this year, or next year, or for the next 6 galactic years.  Never write your password down.  Especially not on a post-it on your monitor.  Or under your keyboard.

The Golden Password Rules

And it’s all wrong.  There are just two rules you need to remember, as an Internet password user:

  1. Never use the same password in two places.  Like, if you have a Yahoo account and a Google account, don’t let them share the same password.  They’d be offended if they knew you did anyway.
  2. Make sure your password isn’t “guessable”, like your pet’s name, or your middle name.  Or anyone’s middle name.  Or “password”.  Or anything like that.  But “correct horse battery staple” is probably ok, or it was until xkcd published that cartoon.

It’s all wrong because all that complexity jazz is just part of an arms race in the brute force or dictionary attack password cracking game.

Say what? So a brute force attack is, in its simplest form, a computer — or hundreds of computers — trying everything single password combination they can think of, against your puny little password. And trust me when I say a computer can think of more passwords than you can. Have you ever played Scrabble against a computer?

Brute force attacks on Internet passwords are only effective on well designed sites when that site has already been compromised.  At which point who cares if they know your password to that site (because rule 1, remember): they also know everything else that site has recorded about you.  And anyway you can just change that password.  No problem (for you; the site owners have a big problem).

Now, if you are unlucky enough to be targeted, then complex passwords are not going to save you, because the attackers will find another way to get your data without needing to brute force your Google Apps password.  We’ve seen this demonstrated time and time again.  And if you are not being targeted, then you can only be a victim of random, drive-by style password attacks.  And if you followed rule 2, then random, drive-by style password attacks still won’t get you, because the site owner has followed basic security principles to prevent this.  And if the site owner has not followed basic security principles, then you are stuffed anyway, and password complexity still doesn’t matter.

In fact, complex passwords and cycling regimes actually hurt password security.  The first thing that happens is that users, forced to change passwords regularly, can no longer remember any passwords.  So they start to use easier to guess passwords.  And eventually, their passwords all end up being some variation of “password123!”.

The Bearers of Responsibility

The people who really have to do the hard yards are the security experts, software developers, and the site owners.  They are the keepers of the password databases and bear a heavy burden for the rest of us.  Some suggestions, by no means comprehensive, for this to-be-pitied crew:

  1. Thwart dictionary attacks on Internet-facing password entry.  That is, throttle connection attempts, delay for 15 seconds after 10 attempts, require 2nd level authentication after failed attempts, that kind of thing.  These solutions are well documented.
  2. Control access to your password database (duh).  Remember, in the good ol’ days of Unix, password were stored in /etc/passwd, which was world readable and so the enterprising young hacker could just copy the file and try and crack it in their own good time elsewhere.  So keep other people’s dirty paws off your (hashed) password database.
  3. Don’t ever display passwords in plain text.  No “here is your password” emails.  Not even for registration.  That has to be a one time token.  Your password database is hashed, right?  Not ROT13?
  4. Notify a user if someone tries to access their account multiple times.  Give them the power to fret and stress.
  5. If your site gets hacked, tell your users as soon as you possibly can, and reset your password database.  Mind you, they’ll just have to change their password for your site because they’ve been following rule 1 above, right?  Oh, and don’t be too ashamed to tell anyone.  It happens to all the best site owners and there’s nothing worse than covering it up.

The Flaw in My Rant

Still, my rant has a problem.  It’s to do with Rule 1:  A separate password for every site.  But just how many sites do I have accounts for?  Right now?  402 sites.


How do I manage that?  How can I remember passwords for 402 sites?  I can’t!  So I put them into a database, of course.  Managed by a password app such as KeePass or 1Password or Password Safe. Ironically, as soon as I use a password manager, I no longer have to make up passwords, and they actually end up being random strings of letters, numbers and symbols. Which keeps those old-fashioned password nazis happy too.

Personally, I keep a few high-value passwords out of the password database (think Internet Banking) and memorise them instead.

Of course, my password safe itself has just a single password to be cracked.  And because I (the naive end user) store this database on my computer, it’s probably easy enough to steal once I click on that dodgy link on that site…  At which point, our black hat password cracker can roll out their full armada of brute force password cracking flying robots to get into my password database.  So perhaps you still need that complex password to secure your password database?

What do you think?

Note: Roger Grimes stole my thunder.

The farce of security challenge questions (yes, ANZ, I’m talking about you!)

My bank has decided that I have to have some security challenge questions, and gave me a fixed set of questions to add answers to.

They had some simple instructions: “Keep them secret and don’t disclose them to anyone.  Don’t write down or record them anywhere.”  And added a little threat as icing on the cake: “If you don’t follow these instructions, you may be liable for any loss arising from an unauthorised transaction.”

Security Questions 1 Security Questions 2 Security Questions 3If I actually attempt to give honest answers to the questions, any determined and reasonably intelligent hacker could find the answers to all the questions that I actually know the answer to, within a minute or two, online, tops.

So what if I opt to use 1-Password or another password management tool to generate secure and random “password” style answers to these questions?  These would not be readily memorisable and so I’d have to save them in the tool.  But according to their little threat, I can’t do that!  That’s called recording the answers to the questions and I could be liable if an unauthorised transfer occurs.

The real problem with questions like this is that too much of this information is recorded online, already.  It adds a layer of complexity to the security model, without actually improving security much, if at all.

Then another question arises.  If an acquaintance does happen to ask me where I got married, am I now liable to ANZ if I tell them?  It sounds ridiculous but lawyers be lawyers.  Mind you, given that I have no way of not agreeing to the terms, perhaps it’s unenforceable.  The whole thing is really badly thought out.

Update 9:46am: Blizzard and insecurity questions: My father’s middle name is vR2Ut1VNj is a really good read for more detail!

Hobart Dirty Dozen ride

This is just a small note that my post about the Hobart Dirty Dozen — a kinda epic ride up a bunch of Hobart’s steepest hills with my mates Dan and Iain — has been kindly published on The Climbing Cyclist’s blog.

Climbing Brent St

If you want to see just the relevant climbs for the Dirty Dozen on the Strava ride, drag the link “Show only the Hobart Dirty Dozen Climbs” to your bookmarks toolbar, then click the bookmark when you are on the Dirty Dozen Strava ride page:

Show only the Hobart Dirty Dozen Climbs

Lycra-clad lane hoggers and a lack of common sense

So another complaint about cyclists in a letter to The Mercury today struck me as particularly bizarre.  Not sure who is lacking common sense in this scenario.  So, read the letter:

The thing is, do you know Bowen Bridge?  Here’s a lovely photo of Bowen Bridge with what is a typical amount of traffic on it:

Bowen Bridge – photo by Wiki_Ian (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Bowen Bridge is a wide, straight bridge with great visibility, four lanes, virtually no traffic, and frequently strong cross winds.  There is absolutely no difficulty with changing lanes to pass a cyclist or two on this bridge, and certainly no danger in doing so!  And conversely, there is not enough room to pass safely without changing lanes: attempting to do this is both stupid and dangerous.  It’s not about proving a point, A. Garvey!

There really is no viable alternative for cyclists crossing the river at this point — the single side path on the bridge is rubbish filled and is difficult to access.

Now, there are plenty of roads that the letter writer could have picked on where riding double-file can be an issue, for instance, East Derwent Highway between this very bridge and Risdon Vale. I really am at a loss to understand why the letter writer picked this example!

The Opperman Gran Fondo

I nearly wasn’t going to write about this ride, but in the end figured I’d jot something down!  The Opperman Gran Fondo was a 160km loop starting and finishing in Launceston, with 300 riders signing up for the day.  The day before the ride, I drove up in the afternoon, beautiful weather, warm, sunny, fantastic. But in the middle of the night it start to rain, and it didn’t stop for the whole ride.

At 160km, it’s the longest non-stop ride I’ve done.  I’ve done longer rides but I’ve always had a break half way.  In this ride, the only stops were to fix a saddle that came loose (Barry’s saddle) and a pause at the top of the hill climb to regroup.  My group (Geoff, Barry, Rob, ‘Skull’ and I, and a couple of others whose names escape me now) started at 8:30 with the ‘fast’ bunch, with the boys from Genesys leading us out for the first 25km.  After 25km, the Orange Army had had enough (or perhaps they had better things to do), and they stopped, while we continued to slog on through the rain.  It was good to ride in a decent sized bunch.  We hit a dirt section which took us under Batman Bridge; I somehow managed to get covered in mud splatters from that; Richie Porte rode past looking rather cleaner than I did…

Just outside Beaconsfield, Barry’s saddle came loose.  Geoff, ‘Skull’ and I all stopped to assist, and fortunately I had a multitool which had the right sized allan key to tighten it up.  But by the time we got the saddle sorted the bunch was long gone.  We rode hard to try and catch up, none of us really aware that the hill climb was just ahead!  We hit the hill climb just a little tired from our game of catch-up, but Geoff in particular rode magnificently (finishing 11th in the timed climb) and I was pleased with my effort coming in 30 seconds behind him at 14th place.

After the saddle issue, we had not managed to get back to the front group, and rode in a smaller bunch from the top of the climb, about 10 riders in all.  For some time we had Richie Porte and his girlfriend Tiffany Cromwell riding along with us (Richie had a number on his bike but Tiffany seemed not to have one).  After they turned, and sometime after Birralee we caught a glimpse of a bunch ahead of us, and inevitably the pace picked up a bit to try to catch them.  This was a bit of a mistake because it smashed the group into pieces, and it took us the next 25km to regroup and recover!  The bunch ahead of us turned out to be the lead bunch, and they’d shelled quite a few riders and were only about 10 strong themselves.

Just outside Perth, the route went through what the organisers had described as some road works.  It wasn’t road works — there wasn’t even a road.  It was just mud through construction site where the road had been washed away in a flood earlier in the year.  It was a mess.  However we managed to survive without punctures (unlike some unhappy souls).  Then we caught the lead bunch just after this, surprising me greatly! 

After Evandale, we rode a series of painful rolling hills, which again split up the bunch.  About 10 riders rode off the front on the first climb, and I didn’t see them again.  The last 20km were a hard slog, and I can’t say I enjoyed them very much…  Riding through Launceston it was frustrating to have to stop at multiple traffic lights when all I wanted to do was finish.  But it was very good to roll over the finish line.

After my debacles in running out of food in long rides, this time I was prepared with lots of food and managed to keep eating for most of the ride.  I find it surprisingly difficult to make myself get out some food and eat it; even though I know I need to eat something, I can get some food out of my pocket, but then I’ll hang onto it for several kilometres before I finally pop it into my mouth!  I probably should have had a gel or some other food for the last 20km — it would have helped.

At several points during the ride, I really questioned why I was doing this: do I have something to prove?  The riding conditions weren’t pleasant and it was hard work and not a whole lot of fun for much of the route.  And the only person who really cares about my results is myself!  Nevertheless, I was very happy with my result of 5:26:44, 12th overall, about 6 minutes behind the 1st place rider (who was 4 minutes ahead of the 2nd place rider).  Geoff again was a powerhouse, finishing 5th or 6th overall in the lead bunch.

The two abreast rule: when is it safe for cars to pass cyclists?

One of the most contentious Tasmanian road rules regarding cyclists is the Two Abreast Rule (quote here from VicRoads):

Bike riders must not ride more than two abreast (two bike riders riding next to each other) unless overtaking. Bike riders riding two abreast must not ride more than 1.5 metres apart.

Whenever this rule is mentioned, you’ll typically also get some free advice:

When riding two abreast please consider other road users and, if necessary, change to single file to allow motor vehicles to overtake safely.

So, my question today is, when is it safe for motor vehicles to overtake? I’m going to look at this in the context of Bonnet Hill in Hobart. Channel Highway on Bonnet Hill is a narrow, 60km/h semi-rural road connecting Hobart and Kingston. It is a minor road, and most traffic uses the 100km/h Southern Outlet. There are no overtaking sections on Bonnet Hill.  It is one of the most-used bicycle routes in Hobart.

In terms of my measurements, here are the basics.  Bonnet Hill is fairly typical of Tasmanian rural roads — in fact it is wider than many roads around Hobart.

Lane width 3m (total roadway 6m)
Typical bicycle width 0.45m
Typical car width 1.75m
Recommended distance from edge of road for cyclist (to tyre) 0.5m
Recommended minimum distance between car and cyclist when passing 1m (urban)/1.5m (rural)
Typical distance between double file cyclists 0.5m (max 1.5m)

When a car driver wishes to pass a cyclist on this road, can they do this both legally and safely?  Let’s look at this graphically.  In this hand-crafted image I have even moved the car closer than recommended for a rural road: only 1 metre from the cyclists who are riding single file.

Is it safe and legal to pass?  The measurements shown are in metres

Well that’s pretty clear. Either the driver has to illegally cross over the double line, or they have to pass at an unsafe distance. Personally, I’d prefer that they pass safely!

This clearly also illustrates that regardless of the legality, on a road such as Channel Highway over Bonnet Hill, it is never safe to pass if there is oncoming traffic.  A minimum of a metre is so important.

Why is a metre important?  Here are several reasons:

  1. A cyclist may be forced to negotiate around debris or damaged road surfaces, especially if they are riding close to the edge of the road.  This means you cannot be sure they’ll take a perfectly straight line while you pass them.
  2. With cross or gusty winds, a cyclist may be abruptly blown sideways with little or no notice.
  3. If you pass too close, the wind of your passing will blow the cyclist about and may even suck them into your vehicle.
  4. Driving past at speed will startle the cyclist and that may cause them to crash.  Consider: if you pass a cyclist riding at 20km/h at 100km/h (as one motorist recently admitted doing), that is equivalent to being overtaken on the Midlands Highway by a car doing 190km/h.  Do you think perhaps you would not be expecting that?  How much time do you think you’d have to become aware of a vehicle approaching from behind at that sort of speed differential?

The next diagram illustrates again why there is not enough space to pass bicycles when there is oncoming traffic. As I have shown, even if the cyclists move onto the very edge of the road, there is insufficient space between the car and the cyclists.

Oncoming traffic: is it safe to pass?  No: that’s considerably less than a metre between the car and the bikes.

OK, so consider what happens if you do try to pass when an oncoming car is approaching, and you run out of space.  What will you do?  That’s right, you’ll instinctively swerve to avoid the oncoming car, and the loser is the cyclist.

Overtaking when there isn’t room.  Hitting the poor cyclist is the likely outcome.

Finally, let’s look at the double file situation.  Here we have two cyclists riding 50cm apart, in the recommended position on the road.  The car is giving the cyclists 1m of space.  Again, this is technically illegal, but it is safe for the cyclists.  The situation for the driver is no different: they must still ensure there is no oncoming traffic.

Safely (but illegally) passing double file cyclists.  The car is only 1m further right.

So, in the end whether the cyclists are single file or double file, the driver always needs cross into the oncoming traffic lane in order to safely pass, at least on typical Tasmanian rural roads.  Also note that you can actually pass double file cyclists in a shorter time than when the cyclists are riding single file!

And to finish off, I wonder if a common sense clause in the road rules could be a help in resolving the conflict between drivers and cyclists on these low-traffic Tasmanian rural roads?  Something like:

When passing slow moving bicycles, horses, or farm vehicles the vehicle is permitted to cross a solid centre line if and only if there is no oncoming traffic and the driver can clearly see that it is safe to do so.

Hobart Bike Infrastructure – Kingston On-Road Cycle Lanes

After receiving quite a few positive comments, online and offline, about my previous blog post on the Taroona cycle lanes, I thought I might explore some of the cycling infrastructure in Kingston.  I have focused on the on-road cycle lanes, but Kingston also has a bike path or two that are good recreational routes, especially for families, and more are under construction.

I would describe the quality of bicycle lanes in Kingston as good, and the newer lanes in the centre of town are of high quality. The Kingborough Council also has the distinction of being the first council in Tasmania to install a bike lane, on the Channel Highway.  The Kingborough Council is also in the process of reconstructing roads in the town centre, which I believe will include bicycle lanes.

If I was to pick one problem with the Kingborough bicycle infrastructure, it is that most of the lanes end abruptly on very busy roads or roundabouts.  This problem is certainly not unique to Kingston — I saw the same issue many times in Melbourne, for instance.

On with the tour!  The map below shows the approximate locations of the photos.  In most photos I will pick on an issue, quite unfairly of course.  The on-road bike lanes are also marked in blue.

1. Church St.  Minor.  Bike lane markings are worn, as cars frequently cross into the lane.

This is a typical problem with bicycle infrastructure everywhere — the lane markings tend to be driven on, and not just by larger vehicles that have somewhat of a reason.  Of course, as the markings get less distinct, the problem is exacerbated.  This particular lane is reasonably wide, in a 40 zone, and hence is quite safe, apart from the very steep descent to Beach Rd immediately ahead.  The parking spots are not highly used and so dooring is not a huge risk (but always be aware!)

2. Beach Rd.  Moderate.  A beautiful bike lane that abruptly ends as the road narrows.

Again, the lane markings are very worn, but what I wanted to pull out here is how the bicycle lane ends and leaves the cyclist in the middle of a very busy section of road.  This is a very popular route for cyclists through to Kingston Beach, and it is disappointing that the lanes which start so well do not continue on at least through to the traffic lights 100m down the road.

3.  Good  Beach Rd / Church St Intersection: Clear and safe bicycle lane

On the opposite side of the road, this intersection has a clearly marked bike lane.  It is wide, clean, and smooth.  Great!  For extra points (or to get an ‘excellent’ rating), paint the bike lane green.

4.  Minor  Church St: this up-hill lane has worn markings and is very steep (15%)

The lane in this picture has worn lane markings, and is not sign posted.  The street is also very steep, which would deter some riders.

5.  Moderate  Beach Rd: Again a situation where the bike lane ends in a busy intersection.

This bike lane ends at a busy 4 way traffic light.  There is no provision for bicycle storage boxes in the intersection.  You’ll also note the roadworks signage encroaching right into the middle of the lane.  Roadworks signage obstructing bike lanes is a common problem in Hobart — this forces the cyclist to merge into the traffic lane.

6.  Minor  Channel Highway: Good but isolated bicycle lane

This bike lane is wide, with sufficient room to negotiate around parked cars; beware of dooring of course. This section of road is also posted at 40km/h, which means that although it is busy, there is a much lower risk of serious accidents.  The only real problem is that this section of lane does not extend all the way back through the town centre.

7.  Moderate  Channel Highway. No provision for cyclists in the roundabout

All three major roads entering this roundabout have cycle lanes in both directions.  That’s fantastic.  But there’s no provision for cyclists at the roundabout, and hence some confusion from drivers who are not sure where the bicycles are going.

8.  Good  Channel Highway. Nice clear section of cycle lane

The image above shows a section of Channel Highway south of the town centre.  Clear, clean and smooth bike lanes in both directions!  But…

9.  Not so good  Channel Highway. The lane ends abruptly on a busy road

Just 100m further south, this is one area that really needs some work.  The roundabout just ahead is extremely busy, is not flat, and you see a lot of rapid entries and exits by car drivers.  It’s not a great place to be cycling through.  But unfortunately this cycle lane just ends here, with no direction for the poor rider.  If you look closely at the base of the light pole, you can see an underpass.  That’s where you should be heading (unless, like me, you are silly enough to just ride through the roundabout…) — but there’s no clear way for you to get there.

10.  Serious  This roundabout is the focal point of nearly all traffic south of the town centre

Here’s a picture of the roundabout I was just talking about.  No provision for cyclists on the roundabout.  But if you look closely, you can see the underpass.  But again, there is no clarity on how cyclists get from the end of the cycle lane to the underpass.

11. Underpass #1 through the roundabout

12. Underpass #2 through the roundabout

13.  Far side of the roundabout, exiting to Summerleas Rd

I think most safe bicycle access through this roundabout could be resolved quite easily.  The only difficult route really is Summerleas – Channel Highway (Southbound).  Even that can be solved with signage and directions.

The image above shows how the cycle infrastructure could be easily improved at the roundabout:

  1. Add a clearly marked bicycle and pedestrian crossing on Westside Circle, with railings on each side of the road.  To the west, this joins the existing off-road cycleway.
  2. Add a clearly marked bicycle and pedestrian crossing on Channel Highway, with railings on each side and in the centre of the road.  On the north side of the road, construct an off-road two-way cycle path to the entrance of the underpass.
  3. Widen and tidy up the exit of the underpass, and construct a ramp heading south for bicycle access.
  4. Extend the cycle path, possibly off-road, on Channel Highway south through the small service road, and signpost clearly the route.
  5. Add access to the new ramp down to the underpass from the Channel Highway.

For the ideal solution, you would construct an underpass from the centre of the roundabout under the south-western side for the best bicycle and pedestrian access in all directions.

14.  Good  Bike lane heading south on Channel Highway

This section of bike lane is on an extremely busy road.  It is in reasonable condition, and was actually the first bike lane constructed in Tasmania, as far as I know.  However, some clearer markings at intersections would be worthwhile, and as you can see from the picture above, there’s not a whole lot of room for larger vehicles.

15.  Serious  Channel Highway, heading south Bike lane is far too narrow and not clear

Along this stretch of road, the bike lane needs some attention. The dirt in the lane has narrowed it significantly, and this makes it the worst kind of bike lane: drivers expect you to ride in it, but there is not enough room to do so safely.

Overall, Kingborough is certainly heading in the right direction in terms of the scope of its bicycle infrastructure.  I haven’t touched on the off-road cycle paths, but these are also becoming significantly more extensive.  I’d love to see some of the disconnection issues above resolved — my biggest gripe with cycle infrastructure all over Australia is that it is all so disconnected.  I leave you with a picture of how this feels to a cyclist.

Cape Town’s abandoned freeway, started many years ago and never finished.

Wet and windy

Joey was off at a birth, and so the girls and I were stuck at home on a wild and windy Saturday morning in the middle of winter. It was raining and blowing a gale, but actually not too cold… At least 7 or 8 degrees.

So, perfect weather for a family bike ride, right? I pulled out the trusty “family bike” and the bike trailer, which we hadn’t used for some time. The girls were thrilled! I took the opportunity to swap off the flat pedals and put on some SPDs from my defunct road bike. Pulled on all my winter gear, rugged up the girls, put the lights on, and off we rode.

Got 1km from home and realised that we’d left the girls’ helmets behind! Groan. Funny how one can ride such a long way but turning around and going home is so hard. Still, it didn’t take long so no real harm done 🙂

We rode carefully down the long descent into town, the girls nice and dry, me not so much. First stop, bike shop to pick up a spare part for my roadie. Then the coffee shop.

Jam Packed is a great place to stop and have a coffee — especially if you are on a bike. The atrium has plenty of space to park a bike or 20 and being a big dry open space the smelly, wet bike clothes hopefully don’t bother other patrons as much as in some other coffee shops!

Coffee and mango juice done, it’s time to head off to the library, where we stayed and read books until it closed (unfortunately rather early, 2pm).

The picture shows us parking the bike at the library. We couldn’t help ourselves and borrowed a few books, which we wrapped up well in plastic bags in the boot of the trailer.

Then it was off to Salamanca Fruit Market for lunch stuff. Hannah and I went for sushi, and Beth had a roll. Now for the trek home.

It was still blowing a gale, but the rain had eased for a bit. Riding up Macquarie St, we were heading straight into a block headwind, a real gale! I was struggling along as we hit the real hill past the Cascade Brewery. I read later that wind gusts were up to 80 km/h!

I used the toe-on-the-chain technique to drop the chain onto the smallest chainring. I really must fix that front derailleur sometime soon. We slogged away until we reach the bridge, where I was quite happy to pause for an emergency loo stop for the girls!

The remainder of the ride up the hill with 60kg of trailer doing its best to drag me back down again was definitely the slowest I’ve ever climbed Strickland Ave, by a long way! Fortunately we were sheltered somewhat from the wind by the curves of the hill.

We even got a tailwind along Chimney Pot Hill Rd but as we turned into Ridgeway we were hit by the full force of the gale and we came nearly to a complete halt! I was grinding along in bottom gear, on the flat mind you, out of the saddle, crouched over my bike like a Tour de France contender, face contorted as I forced my way against the fury of the wind — and rain — and into our driveway. The girls jumped out of the trailer and bolted for the shelter of the house while I struggled to open the door to put the bike and trailer away. I let go of the trailer for a second to brace the door against the wind and had to chase it half way down the driveway. Finally I dragged it into the basement, let the door slam in the wind and heaved a sigh of relief! Home!

The next morning my legs feel like I’ve just ridden a serious race…  And Strava has awarded me a 5th place in the climb “Hydro to Strickland” — because I’ve never ridden that route before, and because there were only 4 other riders who have ridden that route!