Slaughtering Goats & ebike tariff
The notification that specific e-bike imports into Australia must pay a 5 percent surcharge took the nation’s bicycle industry by surprise. And no wonder. The official notification, issued Feb. 14, was buried at the bottom of the last page of a 14-page government document — underneath new tariff considerations for tools used in the slaughter of goats.
The tariff will mean a price increase on e-bikes made in Taiwan, Europe and India. Countries with existing free-trade agreements with Australia — China, Cambodia, Indonesia and the U.S. — would be exempt from the additional tax.
An unknown company has also filed a request to slap the 5 percent tariff on regular bicycle imports, including frames and framesets, but it has yet to take effect.
Bont Cycling launches new road shoe with innovative closure design
Bont Cycling’s new Helix road shoe has a new cable closure system that wraps around the shoe, through the carbon chassis and back around the other side of the upper. The system uses a single BOA dial for closure and adjustment.
“The system, in combination with an overlapping upper, allows for more adjustment and volume control. The continuous wiring spreads the load for a secure hold without localized pressure points,” the company said.
“The cable integration system has allowed us to keep the weight low, while adding even more to the concept of custom fit. Working with BOA and taking the wire completely around the shoe, we are able to ultimately fine-tune the fit and control the volume adjustment.”
The Helix also features Bont’s unidirectional monocoque carbon sole, a TPU ventilated toe protector, and a lightweight Durolite upper and tongue. The upper is designed to be anti-stretch so the fit does not change over time.
Stelvio comes to Adelaide
I saw the ad on the back of the latest SA Life saying the new Alfa Stelvio was now available and ready for a test drive, so up i popped to the local Alfa dealership to see if they would allow little ol’ me to take it for a drive. Alas no, the marketing people had jumped the gun and the Stelvio wasn’t due for another 3 weeks.
But that was 3 weeks ago, so I popped around last Saturday and took the Stelvio for a test drive – up the old Mt Barker Road, around devils elbow, up past the Eagle on the Hill, left up towards Mt Lofty Summit Road, with a little detour up Blackburn Drive, which is a steep prick of a road that was in last years dirty dozen (#adamisajerk), across to Greenhill road and back down to the showroom.
The drive had Mrs Wednesday in the back, with unfortunately, but understandable, one of the salesman sitting in the front seat. But Long was good. He was the new salesman in charge wigth Gordon over in Melbourne at the GP because of Alfas return after 30 years to Formula 1 as the new engine supplier for the Sauber team.
Mrs Wednesday decided to come along at the last minute, which was a little concern because whenever we have driven on the hills previously I’m told to slow down, and the Alfa test drive wasn’t going to be an occasion to slow down.
The Stelvio is a sports car masquerading as an SUV, thankfully, because the thought of a sports marquee succumbing to the financial temptations of the rampant SUV segment was a little disturbing.
“The first SUV by Alfa Romeo draws inspiration from the legendary Stelvio Pass. A road with over 75 hairpin bends that is widely seen as the greatest driving road in the world”
We drove the new petrol Stelvio first edition, a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 148kW/330Nm. The Stelvio is an all-wheel drive car with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Some stuff off the interwebby thing:
- 8-Speaker Sound System
- 8 Airbags
- Blind Spot Monitoring
- Dual Zone Climate Control
- Rear Back-Up Camera with Dynamic Gridlines
- Lane Departure Warning
- Front Seats with Electrical Adjustment
- Passive Entry
- 35W Bi-Xenon Headlamps
- Android Auto
- AlfaTM DNA Drive Mode System
- Autonomous Emergency Braking
- Cruise Control
- Front & Rear Parking Sensors
- Hill Descent Control
- Leather Upholstered Seats
- Leather Steering Wheel
- Rear View Mirror Autodimming
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
- 7-Inch Colour Instrument Cluster
- Apple CarPlay
In addition to the above, the First edition includes:
- Exclusive 19” First Edition wheels
- 14 Speaker 900W Harman Kardon Premium Audio System
- Privacy Glass – Rear Side and Rear Windows
- Sport Steering Wheel
- Front and Rear Frequency Selective Damping Suspension by KONI®
- Aluminium Sports Pedals
- Gloss Black Side Window Surround
- Panoramic Sunroof
- Ambient Interior Lighting
- Sports Leather front seats with heating function
- Heated Steering Wheel
- Aluminium Interior Trim
- Red Brake Calipers
- Gloss Black Painted Roof Bar
OK, by now, after 4 years or so of writing this blog, you’ve probably realised I’m no Jeremy Clarkson, so I’m just going to say the following.
Coming over from an 8 year old Subaru Forester, which has a 4 speed automatic, driving the 8 speed auto Stelvio was always, always going to be a massive step up. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Forester is a very good workhorse, it’s been very reliable and has served the Wednesdays very well. It’s gotten me to 3 Peaks twice, through the fabulous Flinders Ranges and around the streets of Adelaide with nary a problem. But, it does tend to roll like a pregnant whale in our hills, and it does go searching for a gear on the South Eastern Freeway.
So, when given the opportunity to take a sports marquee up through the Adelaide hills, albeit on a short brief test drive, it is good. On the sweeping bends up heading up towards Mt Lofty, the body roll is tightly controlled providing a stable platform to enjoy the ride. The grip is plentiful and response from the twin turbo engine bay, with only a tiny delay before the turbo kick in, is quite stunning. For an SUV, its packs a decent punch, the change up and down through the gears is silky smooth, and Mrs Wednesday in the back there wasn’t complaining about any body roll and sea sickness like symptoms like she would have in the back of the Subaru. Of note is the Carbon Fibre drive shaft – doesn’t mean much to me other than the fact it therefore has something in common with my bike. The internal seating is very comfortable, with excellent thigh support to hold you in place as you take on the sweeping bends, and the front seats have small seat extensions to provide support for the longer legged species.
The Q4 all wheel drive system sends 100% of the engine’s power to the rear wheels in normal conditions, but will split the power 50/50 between the front and rear axles when things get a little slippery.
Outside, the styling is classical Italian flair, all the curves are in the right place and a sweeping roofline. The new larger triangle-centered Alfa grill on the front clearly marks it as something special. From the front quarter view, the lines are stunning. Unfortunately it is hard to make the back of an SVU sexy, but Alfa have produced something a little better than its competitors.
So, all up, it was an enjoyable car to drive and would be something that I would love to have in the garage. Even Mrs Wednesday was happy with it and suggested as we crossed Glen Osmond road walking back to the Forester, that if I mentioned that if I wanted that car, she would struggle to say no. That’s a ringing endorsement in anyone’s books.
Get in now to Solitaire
A week ago, in a country town far far away from Adelaide…..
It is a morning of great expectation. In excess of 200 cyclists of all varieties, striking out from Mt Torrens Oval, nervously looking in the sky for signs of the great winds that were forecast to hit later that morning, remembering the gale force winds that howled down on and through the brave cyclists the last time Gravelaide struck out from Mt Torrens.
During the first stages of the battle, where the cyclists headed South before looping around North before dropping down on the Murray Plains, the threat of what was to beset them was ever present, a cross wind hear, a tail wind there, all the time knowing full well the benefits of the howling winds would eventually turn nasty.
There would be no secret weapons to overcome the evil winds, it would take gritted teeth and mindful determination to turn the corner around 60 kms into the ride and head straight back into the beasts teeth.
Hats off to the three Gravelaide Amigos – Graeme, Russel and Peter, who have put such a lot of time and effort into delivering an absolutely awesome gravel route, again. I knew the gravel roads East of the Mt Lofty Ranges were superb, but these guys have introduced me to gravel roads I would never have found by myself, and have given me inspiration to strike out further from my traditional bitumen roads in the Adelaide hills, much as I love them, but there is just so much more out there to discover. look, those who know me know I am not an evangelist, but let me just say this – Do yourself a favour, make your +1 bike a gravel bike, and get out and explore. Apart from the stunning vistas and the many varied road surfaces you will discover, the road traffic is far far FAR less than what you would encounter on the bitumen roads. Don’t quote me, but I can only recall around 10 cars passing me, in either direction, over the 5 1/2 hours to complete the 102km ride. That to me is such a great, stress free ride. Almost zero aggravation to me and the drivers. Brilliant.
Just have a look at the photos below, taken from a GoPro on the front of my bike during the ride. How could you not get excited about Gravel roads.
Video of the Week
What else but Gravelaide3
Its a long video that has been stitched together from 10-20 seconds bursts taken at various points around the 102km route.
Do yourself a favour, grab a cold one, bring it up on your smart tv, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Then jump onto Facebook, like/follow Gravelaide Facebook site, and make sure you get yourself a ticket to the next Gravelaide.
Kangaroo Creek Dam
You will have noticed the works being undertaken at Kangaroo Creek Dam. The works being managed by SA Water will make sure it complies with ANCOLD (Australian National Committee on Large Dams) standards. The upgrade will widen the spillway, raise the wall and strengthen the wall. These upgrades will help manage major floods and also increase the dam’s ability to withstand earthquakes. The works are due to finish by the end of 2019
The dam is has been slowly drained over summer, and is now effectively empty, at less than 1% capacity.
This means some of the old roads and bridges are now exposed.
Rock to strengthen the walls is be being removed from the other side of the dam, it’d be a shame to see these gravel roads disappear once the works are completed.
Thinking differently about bike fit
This week we have a second instalment from Dave Moen, Musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapist at FORM Physiotherapy, Adelaide
This article is an invitation to think differently. It might take a bit of effort to hear it all clearly, but the argument offers a massive upside if you take the time to read it well. To find out more, visit www.tamethebeast.org. Or if you’re a sceptical science mind, look at The Lancet’s recent series on back pain.
- To understand comfortable cycling it is important to understand comfort and cycling
- Comfort is a feeling. Cycling, as I mean it here, is the human mechanics of the task
- It is possible to have terrible mechanics and still feel comfortable. But you can’t have comfortable cycling if you’re feeling uncomfortable
- For me, a bike fit is comfortable when my awareness of the bike disappears. For you it might be a feeling that things are in their right place, or an absence of pain.
Our feeling system, i.e. the collective anatomy that makes us feel sensory stuff, does not give us a true readout of tissue signals – there’s simply too much information coming in to surface it all. Instead, the system prioritises sensory information based on perceived importance. Important information is felt, and the other stuff disappears into the background.
If I tell you that while cycling your left knee rolls in and looks a bit off, your feeling system will become more interested in your left leg and effectively turn up the volume on that part. If there’s a good reason to do so your feeling system can even make a feeling – let’s say pain – without anything happening in the tissues. The feeling system is part of a wider protective system that aims to re-direct your attention and encourage you to take protective action against perceived threat.
How this relates to cycling.
1. If you feel that your bike fit is off you are likely to feel uncomfortable, irrespective of the biomechanical correctness of the fit
2. Focusing on small details can reduce comfort by making you more sensitive to small details
3. Aim to get your fit right and then forget about it, or review it at pre-planned intervals. I am confident that we can achieve this for you, but you can probably get it quite close using info from the web
4. Use strength training to make your body more robust and functional (read the previous post) so that you can better deal with the demands of the sport.
Good luck! Be in touch if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
till next week