Sunday, July 29, 2012

More than I can chew.

A couple of weekends ago, I went to check out Pushies Galore, a Bike Meet here in Brisbane.

There was a bike show with a huge range of bikes from lowriders to fixies to old school BMX bikes. Despite the range of bikes, there was not a single modern bike. Every bike was from the time when craftsmanship and finishing quality was rated more highly than aerodynamics and weight.

What was most interesting was the number of bikes that were hand made in Brisbane. I assumed that it just didn't happen anymore, but there was a variety of hand made bikes. In fact, the winner of the 'Made in BNE' category just happened to be the mechanic from the Fortitude Valley store!

This got me thinking. I would love to build up a nice steel bike; something with class. I checked out some old school frames on eBay, but then it occurred to me... why not just build my own frame?

I found some steel tubing, lugs and all the other bits and pieces. But I made the usual male mistake.... Like assembling furniture from Ikea, I tend to try first, then look at the instructions later. I did some research about frame building and it is a HELL OF A LOT HARDER than I had anticipated. It seems to require some very large and expensive tools as well as some other stuff that I don't even know where to start looking for.

I have a feeling that I have bitten off more than I can chew.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tour de France Hair Styles

I was flicking through the standings on the SBS Tour De France Tracker App on the iPad and I was shocked at the decline in hair styles since the King himself, Mario Cipollini graced the Tour with his flowing locks. Well, the flowing was usually highly restricted by hair product but Mario was the king of style.

A couple of Argos Shimano riders, Koen De Kort and Roy Curvers, look like they are trying to mimic Mario’s greasy style but are failing miserably. But they are just the start of it all...


FDJ-Big Mat have brought their own Justin Bieber look alike in Arthur Vichot...

Robert Kiserlovski looks like he is cutting his hair so his helmet fits better...

Meanwhile, Vladimir Karpets should not be allowed back into the peleton after his previous fails...

After his return from a 2 year suspension for doping, I think I know what Alejandro Valverde was doing. Advanced Hair, Valverde???

Then there is Luis Mardones from Cofidis who is packing a rat's tail...

Despite all of these, I think this guy, although he is not in the Pro Peleton today, tops everyone. SPEED MULLET!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Brews Brothers

In a couple of months, a friend of mine is due to be wed, and needless to say, planning for the event (more importantly, the Buck’s night) has already begun. As part of the preparations, my friend decided to brew his own beer for the evening.

Now this doesn’t mean we were throwing something together in plastic bag-lined garbage bins in someone’s garage.  Brews Brothers is a microbrewery located in Woolloongaba that provides all the equipment and ingredients you need to brew your own beer. A few weeks before you need the beer, you can head in, sample a few brews, choose from their big list of beer recipes and get a batch ready for your event. Then just before you need it, you come back and bottle your home made brew for freshly made beer on the night. So last night, we headed in and prepared a keg of Heffeweizen, a wheat beer.

When you first walk in, you can’t help but notice that Brews Brothers is the ultimate man’s cave. At the entrance there is an old school arcade game and pinball machine. Then there is a television with a documentary about the Heineken Factory playing on repeat whilst tunes are coming from the stereo. The entire room is filled with beer paraphernalia from miniature XXXX men to books about beer history to retro keg refrigerators.  At the back of the room is the beer brewing area and a giant cold room where your beer brews. While you are waiting, there is a bar and a number of tables that are littered with porno magazines for you to peruse. A young lady named Jess helps you make your batch of beer so I couldn’t help but feel a little awkward flicking through the latest People Magazine while I waited.

When I found out that we were brewing beer, I had imagined quite a complicated process involving thermometers and a chemistry lab-like set up. They explained the process to us in about 30 seconds and after understanding pretty much nothing, I was sure we were going to screw it up. It turns out, brewing beer isn’t that difficult.

Once you have selected your brew, you simply get the ingredient card, collect what you need and pretty much dump it into a giant heated vat over the next hour or so. Stir it a few times and then pour it into a plastic keg which goes into the cold room. The cold room looks like some sort of terrorists’ chemical manufacturing plant with barrels of brown liquid and pipes joining them together.

Inside the cold room, there was a huge range of beers from locals that use the facilities to brew and store their own beer to commercial companies that brew some crazy beers like ‘Espresso Stout’  and ‘Chili Ginger Beer’. In about 3-4weeks, we will be heading back to Brews Brothers to check on our brew and pump it into a keg, ready for drinking.