Some say it was a youthful misadventure with west country cider that dulled nerve endings thereby allowing him to ride a bicycle for days on end.. others say his superpower for long distance cycling was a result of eating cake from outer space.. whatever the truth may be no-one can stay in the saddle like Stu.
This year Stu has knocked over two impressive cross country races, the first being the Japanese Odyssey – a 3,200 kilometre ride across the island; and the second being the Indian Pacific Wheel Race – 5,474 kilometre roll across the Australian continent. We here at BnC certainly enjoyed following both races on social media, Instagram told us that Stu stopped at every bar along the way sampling the local brews.
Bottles and Chains rolled out for round one of the Dirt Devils cyclocross series with an eye to populate the ‘singlespeed’ category. …and populate we did, in what was the biggest BnC turnout on home-soil for some time we filled the one gear field making it the largest (and most hotly contested) of the day.
Racing was fast over a flowing and non-technical course. There were a few hazards to be found with both Kiwi and Benny kissing dirt on gravelly corners. Our Laurel was the fastest woman on track with kid protege Callum crossing the line in first place singlespeed.
Big thanks again to Mishmash for running the BBQ and to Blakey for taking some epic photographs. We’ll be back on deck for round two!
Bottles and Chains isn’t dead. It has been quiet, yes.. …but dead? No. In fact, it’s been bubbling away steadily underground like some larva filled subterranean grotto. We’ve been baking up ideas. The first to rise? ‘The Weld Flyer’.
‘The Weld Flyer’ is something Dave Killick (Killer) and I have been dreaming up over the last few years. We envisioned a mid winter gravel event traversing the Southern Forests that would challenge even the toughest riders. What we delivered was exactly that. 85km of unsealed roads with 1800m of climbing that had to be traversed within a 6hr time limit. A tough ask made tougher with snow laying on the highest parts of the course.
Over 40 riders registered for the event, most presented on cyclocross bikes with a sprinkling of mountain bikes and one slim tyre road bike. Most of the field managed to finish within the allotted timeframe, Emma Flukes being the fastest with a time of 4:45hrs. Our boy Tim Stredwick was DFL, finishing outside the timeframe but completing the ride in 6:41hrs. A solid effort from all considering the cold conditions on course.
The second check point is worth noting. Being a Bottles and Chains event we wanted to make the check point memorable.. …so we added a wood fired OzPig stove, couches, banged out punk music on an old set of speakers, cooked hot sausages and presented an esky full of ciders at the top of the final hill. Riders seemed to like this action as all but three stopped for a snag and a cider!
Anyway, there’s a few short words about this years event. We’ll be back again next year with version II of ‘The Weld Flyer’. Keep your eyes to our Facebook page for details. Thanks to event sponsors, Willie Smiths, Huon Bikes, Judbury Community Hall, to our partners Audax Tasmania, and much love for all the Bottles and Chains family who helped make the day memorable.
South of the Huon Valley are untold kilometres of dirt roads, pushed into the wilderness by Forestry Tasmania during the bad old days of the Paul Lennon led State Government. These roads track up mountain-sides and along dark river valleys. Picton, Weld, Plenty… names ingrained to the Tasmanian psyche as the ‘front-line’, the places where Protesters halted the chainsaws. The saws have been silent since December 2013 and the roads are quickly returning to nature. Flooding rivers wash away bridges, culverts collapse leaving holes in the road, saplings push up through the coarse gravel surface. This is no place for a dainty road bike. This is fat tyre country.
I’m a simple guy who likes simple things. No bells, no whistles. I had been looking for a steel, single speed specific, fat tyre dirt road bike to tackle these remote, backcountry roads but was unable to find a bike suitably ‘Spartan’ to my taste. I contacted Seth Rosko, a New York City frame-maker to discuss a custom build. We chewed on a few ideas and came up with a plan. We’d use Columbus steel, canti mounts (with Paul ‘Mini-Motos’ in mind), clearances for a 41c tyre, short rear stays, a low slung bottom bracket, plenty of standover height and a geometry based loosely on one of my favourite bikes. Roll the clock forward twelve months and what we have is what you see above. A single speed dirt road bike.
The new whip is currently winging its way to me. Should have it in hand soon. Will post an update once she is built.
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.
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!