Sad times! The start and finish of the ol’ Bottles and Chains silo runs, as well as being the location of the opening volleys of many a booze-riddled bike ride or big night out. Knocking back jugs before heading up Mt Wellington, hassling the grommet about his choice of drinks, lazy afternoons shipping pints across to the lawns, not-so-subtly lugging liberated glasses home, and many a rainy afternoon hiding away from the world. Plenty of good memories from Knoppies, can’t shut those down. Thanks old friend.
“Riding in dark clothes at this time of the morning is just asking for it!” – These were the exact words spoken by a work college as she leaned out the window of her car to berate me, the cyclist on her road.
Attired as pictured above, I was riding to work via a quiet, long, straight stretch of country road at 6:30am on a bright, sunny spring morning. I was running two rear red lights, one on my seat post and another on my large light grey messenger bag. I was keeping an ear out for cars and holding a steady line on the left hand side of the left hand lane. Not expecting any problems I was surprised when the first car I’d seen that morning drove up behind me with the horn sounding. The car slowed and the window came down.. “You’re asking for it!” the driver called. I recognised her as she launched into the spiel I mentioned first up. She ended the brief encounter with a “I didn’t see you!” then pressed down the accelerator and drove off.
I was steaming. Classic victim blaming and followed by the old SMIDSY play. When I arrived at work she was there waiting for me. I copped a second round of “You’re asking for it riding a bike at that time of the morning in dark clothes”. I pointed out that it was her responsibility as a licensed motorist to be alert for other road users no matter what their attire. I asked if she’d seen the young girl walking to the bus stop in her dark blue school uniform? Yes? Surprising, no red tail lights there. Nope, she wasn’t budging, I was a cyclist and with my ‘poor life choices’ I was inviting disaster. I doubt her ire would have been raised if I’d been riding my black stallion or chestnut mare to work. Just another motorist with velo-hate.
Bam! The Australian Single Speed Nationals are down the southern end of the big island this year. Aido has staked out a patch of dirt near Woodend in Victoria and inked in Saturday 05 December for the show. All I’ve really heard is that the Holgate Brewhouse is nearby and that they have a killer pale ale on hand. We’re sending a contingent from the #BottlesandChainsRacingDivision over to tackle the event. Plan is to set up a regular week night single speed group ride so that preparations can be made for our Victorian assault! Anyhoo, sign on the dotted like here: https://www.registernow.com.au/mtba/ERegister.aspx?E=2761 …and we’ll see you there!
For years I have fruitlessly been searching for the ever illusive side-hack bicycle. Today a team rider shot me an email with this image attached. I wet my pants a little…
So a few weeks ago some scumbag fucking tip-rats stole a bunch of DH bikes from myself and a few of my flatmates. That sorta thing will generally put a bit of a dent in your day, especially while you sit around stewing about how you’d like to put a little more than a dent in the perpetrator’s skull. Luckily it’ll take a fair bit more than some low life to fuck with the happiness around here, so the boys grabbed their dirt jump bikes and hit the park for a bit of a hardtail shred session. I should make note that I don’t make an appearance in this video, not only because I don’t own a DJ bike, but also because riding one in the bike park is fucking crazy and I’m too useless for that shit.
Gravel grinding may be one of the newer buzz words in the cycling community, but the BnC crew have been smashing out backroad epics for many years. The bikes have slowly become a little more appropriate (less fixed gear track bikes, more dirt road tourers), but the quality of Tassie gravel remains the same. They’re all a bit slack to post anything for the ghosts that lurk this website, but you can rest assured that the backcountry dirt is being well looked after in Tasmania.
(Photo by Mr. Killick – About The Bike)
So things got a bit mixed up and somehow I ended up in Canada. No big deal, it’s pretty sweet over here. It has kinda fucked up the name of my photo blog though, which is definitely a quandary that fits firmly in the ‘first world problems’ category. But anyway, in between fine tuning my forest casual aesthetic and learning how to get the wheels of a bicycle more than 3″ off the ground, I’ve been taking a few photos.
As you know, we here at Bottles and Chains have a tendency towards the analog. Call us old school, luddites, stuck in our ways, or hipsters if you will. Liam has a beard, Ben gets confused by anything with more than two sprockets, and I still refuse to buy a real digital camera. Ok, so it’s more that I can’t afford one. And admittedly, Liam shoots far more film (with far more skill) than me, but now he’s gone all fancy with digital video, so that puts him out of the picture.
Anyway, I’ve taken some photos of bicycle riding, and you can see a few here or you can go over to the completely inappropriately named Roll South and see some more. The choice is yours, and choice can be a luxury at times, so make up your mind already.
If there’s one even at the Queenstown Bike Festival that gets the BnC tick of ‘fuck yeah’ approval, it’s gotta be the 16″ World Championships. Held inside The Find bar, the course is taped onto the slick concrete floor, with beer kegs, wall rides and skinnies keeping things interesting. Chuck in a hoard of drunken bike riders, a beer checkpoint, numerous bottles of mustard and several hundred litres of spilled (and tipped) beer, and the chaos comes swiftly. There’s no friends on race day, and sabotage seems to be priority number one, with most riders crossing the finish line drenched in beer and condiments. Somehow the night escaped without any major bloodshed, despite numerous floor-shaking stacks caused by front wheel wash-outs on the ridiculously slick floor. Several head-first plows into the crowd, numerous superman face plants and the constant risk of copping a 16″ bmx to the shins keeps it pretty interesting in the crowd as well. Points have gotta go to Jimmy who crossed the finish line on his face, bike perched on his back as the crowd dragged him over the line. And a merit award to Jarrah for the inventive use of a keg to spray competitors with a mist of leftover beer. Well done to all the riders who embraced the chaos, and the crew who put their bodies on the line and threw down for best trick.
Photo flogged from Callum.