Airport Express troubles

No, the Apple one, not an actual airport.

I have one of these…..

1403012745331It is really handy when you are travelling and they have free wifi, but only on the cable. If you use the hotel wifi, it costs. With this you have a small device that creates a wifi network for you to use. Pretty cool.

Another cool trick is that it also has a stereo 3.5mm socket. If it is on the same network as another Apple device, such as an iMac or an iPhone, you can connect a stereo through the 3.5mm and the Airport will let you use the stereo as an Airplay receiver.

In Queanbeyan I had it set up with an olde stereo and it was pretty cool. When I moved back to Sydney I didn’t get around to setting up the stereo until a few weeks ago. Then I plugged in the Airport and …

Well nothing.

I have been trouble shooting ever since. I can create a new wifi network with the device, but I cannot get it to join my home wifi. I don’t have ethernet close to where I have the olde stereo setup so that isn’t an option.

I have tried resetting it and returning it to factory options. Each time, I can connect to it and manage it. I can create its own wifi network, but not join the existing one. I even tried it when there was no security on the home network (that was a nervous half hour!).

No luck yet. No ideas left either. I’m just repeating my steps hoping something different will happen (isn’t the a definition of crazy/stupid somewhere!).

Assignments 1 & 1

Just in time, well I suppose I actually had most of the day left, but I’ve submitted the first two assignments, one for each of my subjects.

Not entirely happy with the effort I have put into them, but I am finding it tough to juggle work, family, exercise and study. Work even sent me on a course the last week as well, which got somewhat in the way.

Hmm, actually maybe I can figure a way to study on the train when I ride my bike to work…

I am sort of regretting getting the non-GSM iPad, as it does limit me as I have to link through my phone to read online. Perhaps I’ll get another one…. HA! no money for that.

But now the assignment is done, I need to get back on track with the readings….

Commuting so far

The cycle commuting has been working pretty well. Its a steady 1hour 45min commute, which means leaving pretty early to start work by 0730. In this mild autumn, it isn’t too bad, but I’m not sure what it will be like in winter.

Still I’m no stranger to getting out in the weather….

I would like to start riding home as well though. The 30mins on the train is so boring! But I will still limit myself to twice a week at the moment. With that, and some serious gym work (including once a week with a trainer) I’m steadily improving my fitness and health. Since last November I’ve lost about 15kg and my waist has gone from somewhere north of 113cm to under 100!

For the commute I’ve gone and bought a rack and bag for the rear. This takes all the weight of my shoulders (exactly the same as riding long distance on the motorbike). I have a small pouch on my waist where I keep my music and ID cards. Works well.

Still the days are getting shorter so here I am, only a few minutes from work after the morning ride, and the sun is only just rising.

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Week 2… argh…

Week 2 of my study. And I feel like I’m behind already. I’m still finishing off some of the reading and questions from last week and it’s Tuesday morning of the second week.

Mostly it is proving more difficult than I thought to make time to study. Obviously at work I can’t just sit there all day reading textbooks and at home I do want to spend time with my family. Right now it’s 5am and I’ve been up since 4am catching up and trying to get on track for this week.

I did notice that part of the activity this week seems to be something to do with WordPress…. I think I have that covered.

Enough procrastinating….. ergh

 

First Commute

Wednesday I decided would be the best day to try commuting on the bicycle for the first time. I got everything set the night before and bright and early – 0550, I rolled out of the driveway headed for the station, about 12km away.

First impressions – the days are getting shorter and at this time I’m going to need lights to see as well as lights to attract attention (which I did have). It was cool (perhaps about 17C) and I wonder how it would be in winter…

But lots of cycle paths to follow almost the whole way to the station so actually really safe.

I arrived at the station, probably a few minutes after an earlier train departed (I was well ahead of schedule) and about 30mins before the train I planned was due out. Feeling good so far, I decided to ride on and see how it went.

I arrived at the other end of my train journey about 5mins after the train would have arrived. So I covered in about an hour what the train would have taken 30mins. Not too bad.

The last couple of kms to work was pretty tough though as I didn’t have much energy left (must eat breakfast next time!) and 2hours and 40km later I arrived at the office, tired but impressed.

So there’s the next tip – eat first. Also there were a few less cycle paths on this leg.

The day was a hot one, bitting 38C before it was home time. I decided to ride as intended all the way home.

It was really hot, there was more traffic and more wind. It was tough and when I was several kms away from any station, it was too late to realise I should have trained it.

Mrs called about every 30mins or so to check on me – she was understandably concerned but I was actually going ok. Slower than the morning, but ok.

And I was certainly slower. Stopped several times for a rest, and just a slower pace (avg 15kmh, not 20kmh I had done in the morning) meant that it took over 2.5hours.

More tips – hot days, train halfway home, ride the last 12km until I’m more used to it. If its cooler, maybe you can ride the whole way.

Oh, and I must find a new inner sole to replace the one I lost a while back in one of my shoes.

Overall, nearly 75km in one day. Almost 5hours of riding. And a good recovery.

Things to fix/improve

  • lights for the morning (sorted)
  • new inner sole (sorted)
  • eat breakfast first (and maybe freeze a water??)
  • don’t be stubborn and use the train if its really hot
  • armband or something to hold my Opal card and ID card (to get into work)

Oh, and my Opal card has arrived.

 

N+1-1 (+1)

Okay, that complicated looking formula is about bicycles. I’ve decided to do some commuting on a pushbike. Not every day, at least not at first – it is 40km each way – so not really something I can just hit up without any practice. My initial plan is to ride to a nearby train station, take the take to work, then ride from the station to work. On the way home, when I don’t need to rush as much, I ride all the way.

Then as I get better and have a better idea of what it’s like, the route and timings I can ride both ways. I’ve also signed up for an Opal card, the electronic card recently introduced for buses/trains etc here in Sydney, as that lets me take the bike for free on the train. (In peak periods, you normally have to pay for the bike). The train shouldn’t be too busy as once again, I am headed the opposite way to most traffic.

But the heavy Boulder I have (along with the Trance) is not really suited to this task. I needed a road bike.

I’ve just picked up this

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It’s a Giant Cross City 1 Disc. Basically a road bike, with flat bars and disc brakes. Also has carbon forks and I think the seat post too.

So that’s N+1. But to fit it into the garage, I needed to get rid of on other bike…. sorry Boulder, the decision between a hard tail $500 bike or a dual suspension $2000 bike was pretty easy. Sold it in less than a day, so N-1. (where N is the number of bicycles you have, apparently N+1 is the optimum number of bicycles – sounds like a great rule for motorcycles too)

The (+1) is that I also bought a larger 24″ bike, without coaster brakes for my eldest, so that the little one can move up to the other 20″ bike from her little toddler bike. Miss 8 gets 7 speed and no coaster brakes, and Miss 6 now has 3 speeds. It’s amazing how far the two girls have come – they only learned to ride about 10 days ago.

Expecting the worst

My commute home has a long stretch where they are making the two way road into a dual lane divided road (and they’ll probably reduce the speed limit). Most of it is done now, and its pretty sweet, with several lights for me to filter through.

The patch where it’s not complete has become a bottleneck though, and even though I’m heading the opposite way to most commuters, the traffic can back up a bit (though nothing like what the people headed the other way have to deal with).

Last night I was coming up to this part when another rider caught and then passed me. He caught up to the cars ahead and sat quite close behind, much less than my several bike lengths. Just as he did, the cars in front had some random (I couldn’t see why) reason to slow a lot, quite suddenly. But there was a moment that he had to brake hard as well, as I slowed. I had a heart in mouth moment that I was about to see him run into the back of the cars. It was pretty close, with him swerving towards the other lane as well.

The cars slowed like this a couple of times, as the other rider continued to sit off the back of the last car.

Expecting the worst at any moment I was slowly increasing my gap to this lot.

At this point the road became dual lane for a short period. The cars at the back who had also been frustrated at whatever the car in front had been doing, shot out into the new lane and along with the bike were racing for the merge.

Initially I did too.

But very quickly I could see that the bike was going to be stuck in the middle of a bunch of cars trying to merge before they hit some concrete walls and if I continued as I was going I would be in the middle of that too. I back off several car lengths to let them all sort it out.

One car almost merged right on top of the bike, he gave a wave, the usual SMIDSY.

It was extremely close from my POV, and looking at it, that car drove through where I would likely been riding too. Still expecting the worst.

It all cleared up shortly after, but I was astounded that the other rider continued to ride on the rear bumper of the cars, even after two near misses in less than a kilometre.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised…. the Nike shoes he wore looked expensive, but matched nicely with the red Ducati 999s….

We don’t like it when cars tailgate us…. why do some of us do it to them??

Putty Day

Mrs has the day off for a change and wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself. So I went for a ride. I headed up the Putty with another rider who had not been up that way before.

The weather was cloudy, but clearing however the cool night and perhaps some early morning rain had made the road damp around Colo. This was a little concerning, but soon after it was clear that it was just localised and with the cloud expected to clear, it would be dry later.

Grey Gums for breakfast, and a warning from someone southbound about cops further north and we’re back on the road. No real surprise that cops would be about, sunny day, Sunday and no double demerits – I actually expected more bikes around than I saw.

I was keen to get right up to 10-mile Putty so my friend could see the best part. If only it wasn’t nearly 2 hours to get there. We did make it, but I really didn’t have time to cut some laps which was a shame. It was also clear that I’d met yet another rider who was faster than me – I think every rider I’ve ever met rides faster than I do. 

We fuelled at Broke and repeated the trip down the Putty. The cop was again spotted, with a fellow rider pulled over this time.

We had Comms between us the whole time, his Sena linking into one of the phone channels of my ScalaRider. Worked fine, but I was unable to listen to music or I think take other calls (no reception on Putty anyway so who cares). 

I am more encouraged about doing a track day as well, perhaps I’ll work something out to tag along the next time he goes.

Chasing the Old Man

  Been a week since we got back to Australia from NZ. It was a great trip and I got two MTB rides with my dad. I was very impressed with the trails around Rotorua, they were fast, fun, smooth and extensive. Busy as well, but it was the school holidays so I guess that was to be expected. 

Dad lives close enough that after a couple of km we were at the base of the trails. From here, both times, it was of course…. UP.

And up in NZ is a lot different to up in Australia, where we have small rises and they get called mountains. In NZ they actually have mountains and so the small rises and large hills are just that, small rises and large hills. And so Dad has spent pretty much every day for the past ten or more years riding these trails, and up these hills. 

No sweat for him, but his poor Aussie son (and previously his poor Aussie son-in-law) had to walk parts of the up. But we were rewarded with some pretty cool trails. A couple of the more well known are probably “Mad if ya don’t” and “B Rude not 2”. 

I had to struggle along on his “other” bike – a carbon framed Santa Cruz Solo, while he struggled ahead on the Bronson, also carbon framed.

Honestly, it was only a couple of times when I actually had to lift the bike that I felt the lack of mass.

I went as fast as I was confident to ride, and was pretty scared most of the way down really. I checked out Dad’s usual times for those runs and he was holding back about 25-50% on most runs. Oh dear, I have a lot of catching up to do…

  

The Dusodoro

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A giant farm bike is sometimes how I feel riding this bike. I think that might be because I’ve not ridden any motards and very few naked bikes. 

While in NZ I will be taking every chance to ride this Aprillia Dusodoro 1200. Have done about 150km so far and it’s been good – it’s not the bike I would buy but it’s a good ride. 

The first time I chopped the throttle in first gear I almost bumped the handlebars and then opening the throttle I almost flew off the bike. The big v-twin has plenty of go. Manoeuvrability is excellent with the high position, wide bars (not clip ons) and vision is great too. It’s a big dirt bike seat so likely not so comfy long distance. 

But with a fuel tank of something like 14L it hasn’t got the range to spend too long before a break. And this is probably the main limitation of the bike if you’re going to be roaming about on it. 

  
  
Where any bike is better than no bike this is a pretty good bike to be “stuck” with. Not a bike that would suit me or what I ride (I’d almost need to refuel it every other day on the commute) but an interesting ride.