Saturday, 23 June 2012

Cycling Heaven

Filming from a bike - Part 2

This short film was taken on the downhill run between Llandudno and Camps Bay just after sunrise. I mounted my Canon Legria video camera on my handlebars using a Joby Gorilla Pod - not as steady as a helmet-mounted GoPro, but hey, the best camera is the one you have on you, right? 

Franz Ferdinand provides the background music and hopefully, maybe, if I'm lucky, you will get a glimpse into how awesome cycling in Cape Town can be! 

Saturday, 9 June 2012


Proof that there's no place like Cape Town for an afternoon ride

A Bike With Infinite Gears

An innovation 520 years in the making

Testing the Novara Gotham: A Bike With Infinite Gears | Popular Science:

Today I stumbled upon the article above, which is worth a read if you like bikes, gadgets and history! 

I've been following the progress of this awesome development since it first went online in 2007. The back-story is too good to be true: Leonardo da Vinci himself designs the perfect belt/chain-driven transmission system, but sadly (for the entire post-renaissance history of the planet) fails to build it... 

Jump 500 years later and a far-sighted US inventor / realtor (Estate Agent in SA-speak) casts his eye on the design and asks, "What if?". The result - the marvel of an infinitely adjustable gearing system for bikes (and soon, other vehicles) as demonstrated below.

This is as close to real-life sci-fi I think we'll ever get. It reminds us that that as a species, we aren't getting smarter as the centuries roll on... We are only developing more and more materials to manipulate, and ever more complicated tools to assist with the manipulation. Imagine what ol' Leonardo could have done had he lived today. Conversely, imagine how many Leonardo's are out there with no access to the kit they need to make their inventions a reality? 

Enough rambling - back to the bike... I can't wait to see versions of this transmission become mainstream. Not because I dislike gears in any way. Quite the contrary - I think I'll favour gears on a bike as they are the best way to set pace and provide a tangible "comfort zone" to jump in and out of on a training ride. 

Rather, I think this is the kind of development that will hopefully get more people on bikes, riding greater distances with fewer reasons to want to stop. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Moonlight Mass Cape Town - review

How cool was that?

So, last night, after a hearty dinner at Andiamo's at the Cape Quarter, I took the ol' Giant TCR to Green Point to participate in the Moonlight Mass. I had heard and read about this increasingly popular event, and was very keen to give it a try. The balmy weather didn't exactly discourage me from staying indoors, either! 

Not me
As I rolled up Somerset Road towards the starting point, I could feel the excitement building. Everywhere, people on bikes of all descriptions were making their way to the start. 

After a brief stop at Hudsons to meet up with a friend we found ourselves under the turning circle near the stadium and ready to go! 

The reports say that there were well over 900 people on the ride, and I can easily believe it. It was awesome seeing bikes of all shapes and sizes being put to use on such a good cause. What cause, you ask? Your guess is as good as mine, but whatever message we were trying to make, I have no doubt that we made it.

Still not me

Seeing the throng of illuminated bikes and their friendly riders slowly snaking along the flat route was a real pleasure. Highlights for me included the look on the Sea Point promenade Security Guard's face when he saw a unicycle rider (Pure joy). And no-one can claim not to have enjoyed rolling down Long Street in a chain of solidarity as revelers and party-goers practically hung off the balconies to wave and take photos of the scene.

The ride ended at Greenmarket Square where the awesome Puma funk bike was won by a lucky participant. The way the crowd reacted to the announcement of each consecutive number was a hoot - the number of cheering voices growing smaller with each digit (and replaced with laughter and finally a VERY loud cheer for the winner).

Seeing the success of these events and their almost inevitable growth, one can't help but feel that the future of cycling in Cape Town really is in good hands. Well done to the organisers and thanks to those behind the scenes who made the ride the success it was. As I said to my mate while rolling down the fan walk, Everyone in Cape Town who owns a bike should attend this event - it is impossible not to enjoy! 

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Moonlight Mass Cape Town

Moonlight Mass - 4 June 2012

Monday 4 June 2012 will see the next Moonlight mass taking place in Cape Town. The event sees a "mass" (hence the name) of riders meeting up under the Green Point traffic circle on the night a full moon (eureka!), to socialise and ride their bikes through town.

The event apparently started off small but, as with most things awesome, has gone viral and last year saw over 250 participants. All expectations are that this month's ride will boast an even bigger turnout. I think it's a great idea, even though I (like many others) am not really sure what the idea is all about...

I will be participating on Monday, and look forward to the experience. I also look forward to spotting as many Hipsters as possible. They always seem to put a smile on my face. It's not that I find Hipsters intrinsically funny, but because of this awesome parody of the hipster-way that I read at Hayibo.

Photo courtesy of

I once saw an ad on TV in which a bunch of people rode neon, glowing bikes through a city at night. The effect of the glowing paint, in stark contrast to the harsh orange streetlights, was very pleasing on the eye. Here's hoping we'll see some of that on Monday! 

Night bike pic from Instructables

And, here's hoping that the moonlight mass goes from strength to strength and ultimately achieves its purpose, whatever that may be...