tour de insolit, prince alfred park


if you know there is a little cadel evans in you – there is a great training ground at sydney festival this summer to prep you for the tour de france.

the tour de insolit (parlez francais ‘unusual’) course is located in prince alfred park, parramatta.


there is a spirited commentator and a full crowd of locals so you know how it feels to perform under pressure. this is no private spin class.

the course is a race so choose your opponent and your bike – your classic australian colours, green or gold. the green bike is the outer track so i feel gold has the advantage.

be prepare to take it from 0 to 100 in an avg. of 60 seconds thigh burn (the longest 60s of your life) to win the course.


the little model bikes have magnets on the bottom and travel on the metal lines that make the course. the faster you pedal, the currents from your bike push them faster.  here’s a little demo.

red bike vs. black bike.

conclusion: red bike won, she also won over the people.

x red bike



bamboo bike

talking about the bike fashionz, bamboo bikes are now an organic alternative to your steel fixie. recently holidaying in hoian, vietnam, i came across this couple in the old town.

IMG_9326if your luggage and domestic customs allows, you can take it home for US $345  (7,245,000 dong). this price is probably negotiable as well if you’re a skilled haggler.


the joints are welded and look quite rock solid. IMG_9333if unable to fit into your suitcase, alibaba can ship* you a bamboo bike frame (US $ 120 – 170) from danang for you to diy. *no idea how alibaba shipping works.

we rode in and out of hoian old town, the beach and the local burbs on bikes we hired from the hotel. tourists would love to fly around on bamboo – someone to pick up as a local business.

x red bike

boom boom bike. speakers attempt 3


so apparently, this is rolling around on the streets of sydney and sadly, my bum is not on it.

intel ran an innovation comp and another girl won. it’s true, i didn’t enter this but i still feel quite rejected as this incredible boom box bike is a better attempt than my homemade bike sound system.

though happy with the tunes quality of my turtleshell, the bike speaker market has changed since my first self made experiment. commercial players like dr. dre and a new update from outdoor tech makes cruisers much more likeable to drivers with their loud street beats.

outdoor tech buckshot 

similar bluetooth hook up to turtleshell. as all products on the site are described, this is ‘rugged’.



79 dollars. boom.

dr. dre the pill

Beats1 this is emily ratajkowski selling the pill. so many metaphors, don’t confuse it with a poem. 


pills, pills, pills. rhymes with bills, bills, bills. how many bills? 50 bucks.

both are strapped on with silicone bands. let me know if you’ve popped any of these two similar looking devices, very different sounds on the move?

x red bike

gear up girl prizes on prizes.

theredbike gang are the winners of the most referrals in the gear up girl ride second year in a row! all we do is win.
gear up girl prize loot. interesting loot this year: the major prize is lyrca again, a limited edition designed helmet by crafty school kids, a bicycle nsw membership and free entry to next years 2015 ride.

fancy helmet. woe is me, my head is too big for these stars!

the size of this crown is s/xs. there is an adjuster wheel on the back. if anyone with a littler head is keen on this fun gear, shout out to me on the blog and bam! it’s yours. actually, i’ll trade you for this lazer creation:

lazer light

lyrca for grabs too. size m.

x red bike

bmx restoration.

so winter is here and shorter days mean shorter rides.

the obvious solution to this is to buy two secondhand bmx bikes and restore them to their original street cred glory.

do we know how to restore bikes? no. / do we even know how to take a bike apart and put it together again? no. / do i know anything about bmx bikes? no. / do i know anything about real bikes apart from adjusting the seat on my cruiser? no.

but in the digital world of youtube, my dreams will come true.

we scored these from gumtree for 60 AU dollars each. one haro and one mongoose.

they are covered with scratches and the seats are fluffing out. the back brake has been disabled, in it’s place is the backward peddle locking system.

the mongoose


the haro 


do you recognise what models these are? if so, please enlighten me.

black bike and i are yet to choose who gets what, though the haro does rate higher on the bmx hierarchy.

we plan to take them apart. spray paint them. some new tyres. oil them. make new leather seats. add grip handles. some real tlc – just for a winter hobby.

x red bike

thirroul > wollongong

it was just time to leave sydney city, so we did.

we’re keen to do the sydney to gong ride in november so this was an easy aperitif. we biked from thirroul down the coastline to wollongong, felt the winter breeze, so returned by train.


the ark booty bike rack ($160) and buzz converter bar ($30) were bought from bike barn. took a while to set up and didn’t feel completely stable on the back- quite nerve-racking. it’s a strap on with 3 bike slots.

the bike rack is a pickle to put together. it’s meant fit 3 bikes but with two big-boned cruisers on the back, there is only enough distance in between for a sausage. the rack weights 5.5 kgs with a 45kg load rating.

quick tip is to keep the cylinder foam from the packaging and keep it on the bar of the rack that latches on to the hood because without it, it will most likely leave a scratch.  put the cylinder foam around your pedals too.

red bike is a step through so we added the bar. the seat had to be extended for the bar to only just fit.

they need to start building bike racks that are customised for step through cruisers too, free from the bar. recognise us minority bikes !

red rocks, does not lead to lighthousenote that the stone jetty above doesn’t lead to the lighthouse. it was too grainy for our cruisers to ride on so we pushed them to the end and climbed some huge red rocks. do it, it’s worth it.

don’t be sidetracked by the cute dogs and good-looking walkers, once you’re distracted by the passing pet catalogue you’ll never finish this track. too many dogs.

not far from anywherethe best thing about this track is that you can take breaks anywhere and be guaranteed that it will be gorgeous. mountains tick, water tick, dogs tick.

there was a hilly start but most of the ride is smooth and the path clear. there is a small section on road, though you’ll be on a green cycleway that quickly takes you back to coast.


it did remind me of the botany bay route to cronulla, but this was a refreshing change, far away from the city, you can almost see yourself as a corn kid.

we’ll be back to go from thirroul to kiama.


company: black bike.

estimated distance: 16.5 kms, real distance: 20 km

estimated time:  59 mins, real time: 3 h 30 mins (bummed on staircases and rocks)

x red bike

night light, rhodes > bicentennial park after dark

when you buy something, you will buy other somethings to go with that something.  so organically, I’ve become a bike accessory hoarder.

modest collection: 2 bike locks, front and back LED lights, a swedish handmade bell, rayncape, lycra suit, turtle shell bike speakers, a broken outdoor tech speaker bike mount, a pair of broken DIY portable speakers, cyclometer, isotonic energy sports gel.

I haven’t used all of these yet but we were keen for a night ride. it’s a struggle to find well lit off road cycleways so we chose rhodes promenade and bicentennial park for familiarity.

night ride

our front LED lights are moon mask 5 ($40.54 AU), swayed by CHOICE magazine. Our backlights are different, I have the knog blinder ($41.72 AU) and black bike uses the knog skink ($20.85 AU). we purchased these at

all these lights are rechargeable using USB. knogs are a bit over priced. my blinder feels at least 5 times brighter than the skink but because of its intricate design, it’s difficult to press the buttons and they tend to get stuck under the rubber. visibility, it wins over but usability, the skink is easier and feels more durable.

knog blinder

along the promenade it’s wonderful, once you enter the park, it’s a different ball game. pitch black. the moon mask 5 made it rideable and gives out impress light for such a tiny device but it was a struggle to see more than 6 m in front.

we were going to go down the bird watch path but chickened out big time. silverwater prison is just around the bushes. we value life.

the track’s lighting is fragmented and though freeing to ride in darkness until it gets creepy, we craved a longer route – suggestions?


a quick shout out to the handyman boys at blackman’s and papillionaire for all the top service and doing it with loads of charm.

deets (unplanned ride):

company: black bike needed another pair of pants.

actual distance: 9.2 km

x red bike