Monday, August 27, 2012

Sheung Shui'ing

A nice shot or two from this weekend's inaugural Hong Kong Mountain Bike Festival. Organised solely through facebook, I was amazed at the support given to this event- around 200 riders at the Sheung Shui MX Club, all keen to beat themselves up in the extreme heat and clamour for the endless lucky dip prize drawer.  

I had a good race (thankfully it was only 40 minutes) moving my way up from around 8th place on the first climb to 2nd by the finish. It got very confusing to know if you were overtaking or lapping on such a short course, but all good fun and a pleasant surprise to find out such a result at the finish. Kudos to Mr Leeper for finishing 2nd in his Cat also. I realised that is the first MTB race I've done in over a year, and the first on my Turner- proof there is a little more life left in the old dog, and 26" wheels still go round.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Hill

In just over a week's time, I'll be back in Edinburgh for the first time since leaving back in December '07. As a bit of a contrast to my last post on the view from a burnt tree in Kowloon, I thought I'd dig up some old photos from another city with a pretty solid hill (OK, it's a volcano) in the middle. Granted I should be using the Peak to compare with Arthur's Seat, but a hill above buildings is pretty much where the similarities with Hong Kong end. Looking at these old photos again, I'm struck by not just the beauty, but how clear the air (and how freaking cold) it looks! It also reminds me of an Irish comedian I saw at the Festival:

"Edinburgh's an amazing place, but I've been trying to work out where all the poor people are. THEY'RE BEHIND THE HILL"

No such luck in Hong Kong- the South Side isn't far off the Peak in real estate prices. A parking space in Stanley should be worth more than a 4 bed in Niddrie. Anyhow, I'm looking forward to going back, even if the prospect of lugging furniture in and out of sheds / safe stores is not so appealing as walking up volcanos.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kowloon Tree

Missing some leaves. I think this means it is hot.

Single Speeding

I know I'm due for a proper write up of my Colossi CX Max, but here's a sneek peek of the single speed set up using a freecycled Corima rim built on an eBay special Royce hub with BMX 18 tooth sprocket and hack-sawed XTR 960 cranks.. I'll be the first to admit this rather unusual set up has had one or two teething problems, but I'm almost there now, and have since been rewarded with some new PBs on my commuting climb times. And yea, there's just something quite right about steel bikes with one gear.

Friday, August 17, 2012


I've been rather enjoying my Neutra monograph of late, and the Kaufmann house is of course the show stopper. I'd never realised it was curated by the same client as Falling Water. Yours for only $16 million it seems.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

HK Man Cave Mk.II

I might have a little way to go to reach The Ultimate Man Cave, but I'm getting a little closer. This weekend was a good weekend for me to get the bike room sorted a bit tighter.

I'm quite a stickler for keeping my nuts and bolts nice and tidy (ahem), but the bigger job of getting my bikes off the floor a little and arrange the random bits of furniture has taken a little time. Not least because getting a hole drilled in these walls has proved just about impossible.

And so I had to improvise a little. Using some sawn off benches turned on their side, adapted with some shelf brackets and a few bits of wood cut / glued / sawn into the right shapes, I managed to get the track bike up and high with a few wheels on the side- stable enough that even the most adventurous cat won't be able to dislodge. Happily, this also provided a nice little spot for that crucial man cave component- some workshop tunes.

Every man needs a vice. And I have two. Someday I'll look to upgrade to a nice full blown workshop affair, but in the meantime these are very handy.

And yea, this is the best workbench I'm ever likely to have here in Hong Kong. I remember one of the hardest things about moving here was going back to just the basics tool wise, and the frustration of always relying on bike shops for stuff I knew I could fix myself with the right tools. And working on the floor, rather than with a bench. But slowly, surely, I've built up a decent collection once more. Sure, I'm missing a headset press, but it's not bad. Happily, the friends dining table turned work bench has now acquired the hue of WD40 and Finish Line, which somehow makes a man cave seem that bit more genuine.

A man cave should adapt and evolve- just like a man's bike collection.  I'm also not sure if it should ever really be 'planned'. Every action should have a reaction- be that making room for the a stablemate, or re-arranging the boxes on the shelf to store more Campagnolo.

But at some point it is nice to take stock and reflect on things a little. 3 months into our new flat, I feel this set up is pretty much sorted, and pleasingly, I've done it with freecycled wood, the odd old bit of furniture and a bit of graft here and there to saw sh*t up. I won't have this man cave forever, but with each set up you learn a little and bring it forward to your next man cave. Until, one day, you have the Ultimate. Which might just look very different to how you originally envisage. And then you probably move house, and start it all again anyway.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Whoever designed the London 2012 logo clearly needs to be shot. But where committee designed graphic naffness has failed, the UK has still found ways to show the world it can do sh*t the Chinese really can't, like dance music. Here, The Chemical Brothers have picked up where Kraftwerk left off and delivered with this awesome video celebrating all things track and cycling, that played before each event. Somewhat sadly, the graphic animation in this case IS done by the Chinese- Crystal.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Inside the Pringle

Even the Daily Mail thinks it's the bee's knees. While the Guardian lets you spin 360. And best of all are the Brit trackies riding the Pringle who kill every French / Ozzie / German / Trinidad & Tobasco rider who stands in their way!

Friday, August 3, 2012


The world could do with some more Olympic cauldron experts- step forward Constantino Manias. Stepping up the artistic tree a little, Thomas Picklewickle did not disappoint for Danny Boy.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

In a Yellow or Gold Cup?

"I don’t know how I cope with what comes next but vodka-tonic helps."