Saturday, January 28, 2012


Hipstertastic, but I seriously like...

New Neighbours

Funny to live somewhere for 4 years and never see it from the street until now!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

F*ck Yeah Brutalism

Thank you Mr P for putting me onto the excellent 'f*ck yeah brutalism' site. Here's a slightly lesser known Kenzo Tange building- the Yamanashi Broadcasting and Press Center. You've got to love the no holds barred expressionism- it reminds me of the sort of place Tintin would have to go and rescue Snowy from a space shuttle attack, or something...

Monday, January 23, 2012

CNY Tour De Lantau

Kung Hey Fat Choy and all that... Mountain biking and temples- it's the only way.

Steve did emerge from the mist on occasions.

Pierre showing how it's done coming off the Fan Lau plateau.

Lots of impressive statistics- 80km riding, 2000m elevation, 12hrs out of the hoose, 3 degrees at the Buddha etc. But what Chinese New Year ride would be complete without a few men in tracksuits dressed up as a Dragon pulling cabbages from the ceiling?

Tai O

A bit of stilted Tai O action from today's Tour de Lantau.

Circuito XC de Favelas

Brazillian style.... (thanks Paulo)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chris King's Yeti

Following on my my Yo Eddy mtb retro mania post the other day, my retrobike musings took me to a post by  the new mountain biking sister magazine to the excellent Rouleur magazine- Privateer. I'm yet to acquire a copy of the actual magazine (sadly not distributed in HK), but I'm pretty confident it'd be a good read. One feature they have is a factory visit to Chris King. As per my Quality Quadrant post a year or so ago, I'd put Chris King in that small group of top notch component manufacturers still making things to last.

Proof is in the pudding in this instance, as Chris King's personal bike is on the same hubs, headset and bottom bracket installed in 1993. It's a bit sad that if you buy a Yeti now there's no way it'll last 20 years (mine lasted about 1 year before the rear triangle exploded for the first time), but I very much stand by the concept of investing in a good frame and good bearings that will pay off over their lifetime, rather than chi chi lightweight bling. This may be a bit of an extreme case, but it does prove a point. At some point in the future I'll do a post in praise of the company I consider to be the UK equivalent of Chris King- Hope Technologies, but for now, enjoy this taster of the privateer article:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hill Street

A pretty miserable start to the Chinese New Year long weekend here- rain and relative cold. I'm aiming for a riding challenge of 1000m minimum climbing elevation per day for 5 days to pass the time. I kicked this off today with a rather unplanned Tour de HK Island, including a jaunt into town to say hello to the Bike Shop. It's been a long time since I rode down Hill Street, which used to feature on my fixed gear commute when I first moved here, and I think I was always so fearful of trying to stay alive (and keep my speed in check) that I didn't really look up, but today it really did just make me stop (it's nice having 2 brakes) and think 'this is bonkers'. Buildings with fly overs next to your window- that's what the world needs more of!!! Hong Kong urbanism at it's best (so long as you don't have to live in it).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Yo vs. Hard Eddy

Well now here's a bike Mrs bikesandbuildings would never permit in the flat- the new Intense 'Hard Eddy'. It's a shame the marketing guys didn't think the innuendos through a bit more, as otherwise this is one of the few 29er bikes that I actually think looks proportional and elegant. The name did bring back memories from a  classic mountain bike from back in the day when I was poring over purple anodizing in Mountain Biking UK-

Oh yes, the seminal Fat Chance 'Yo Eddy' circa 1994 (image sourced from retrobike). I thought it was quite fun to put these two images side by side. Back in the 90s bikes were photographed against dodgy mottled backgrounds (do school kids still have this background?), whereas now we have concrete. Back in the 90s we had fade paint jobs in lurid colours mixed with anodizing, whereas now we have stealth black. Back in the 90s we had steel made in the USA, whereas now we have carbon made in Asia. Back in the 90s our brakes didn't work, whereas now we have discs to stop on a dime. Back in the 90s we had suspension that didn't do much whereas now we can use a rigid fork with big wheels to gain more compliance than a RockShox..

I could go on, and yes, it is interesting how much has changed in 18 years. I don't think there's much doubt the 'Hard Eddy' is not only more tasteful, but also a faster bike. However, in the unlikely event that I was offered a choice between one of these bikes taken from my name sake I know which one I'd pick. Yo!

Windo Washa

Just a nice bit of Chinese health and safety from an unknown source...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stop and Spin [then get a boat]

It's not often I have a weekend with 2 rides worthy of some blog attention, but this weekend was a bit of an exception. Sunday was a fun bit of Border Exploring on the mountain bikes, whereas Saturday was a great Buddha ride with the legendary cyclocrossing gardener that is Hillary Daniels and her guest from the United States of San Fransico- Chris Johnson.

Chris has just signed for the new Pro Continental Champ Sys team, and was off to training camp in Hainan with them the following day. As a man who has ridden as a climbing domestique for Tour stage winners Chris found Tung Chung road at my threshold keel over in pain pace, well, a nice tempo by which to hold a conversation. I did my best to pretend I could still breathe... Anyhow, a diversion to the Lantau North Shore of Tai O resulted in a very random boat trip to get us un-lost. Not quite as cool as the following video from Chris, but good fun all the same ;-)

A Room for London

This little hoose propped up on the South Bank is a welcome fun addition to the Big Smoke it would seem...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Border Exploring

A fun ride this morning exploring some trails up near Plover Cove.

Some cool jetties featured (no we weren't lost- honest)

Not to mention a bit of singletrack with grave yards and Shenzhen tower blocks for a back drop.

But the definite highlight for me was cresting a hill and seeing the mighty Minsk World through the trees. Strange how you can be so near, yet so far from one of only 2 military theme parks in the world. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

RIP Isi Metzstein

Sad news came in last night of Isi Metzstein's death. He was a very influentual German / Scottish guy at 'the Mac', who though officially retired when I was there, still came in to give 'the Isi & Andy show' every now and again to tell us how it's really done and talk with passion about bricks... Or something. Funny that just a couple of hours before receiving the news I was chatting over a curry with friends whose education paths had crossed very close but never quite touched about Glasgow, 'the Mac' and so on, in arguably the most Scottish pub in Hong Kong- the Chapel. Kind of weird but also very fitting in a way. Some nice words here:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Retro Milk Racing

You'd be hard pushed to find a better 2012 cycling calendar than this edition produced by the Glasgow Wheelers, featuring great images from back in the day of the Scottish Milk Race. There is also an excellent image archive worth a browse. Many thanks to Jamie for putting my calendar in the post!

Opera Hoose

Any trip down under wouldn't be complete without a quick trip to the Sydney Opera Hoose, and without wishing to bore you with lots of holiday photos, here's a quick snap I took from the public deck. It's funny how dated this building seems coming from Asia. Not in it's form or it's massing, which is very still very current, but in the finishes of the landscape and the interior. Asia wasn't really doing Modernism quite so much back in the 70's, when this building was finished and if it is was, then chances are it's been torn down and replaced by now. The 70's thing seems a little alien to me right now when so much of what surrounds me is so 80's (in both looks and spirit) and beyond- perhaps I was the only one in Sydney thinking 'this place needs a re-fit'! No, that this is a truly great building of the modern era is not in doubt. The fact it was actually designed in 1955 is even more remarkable, and the adage "good things come to those who wait" has rarely rung so true given what this building has paid back to Sydney and Australia since. The fact it was 10 years late and 14 times over budget really doesn't matter now. RIP Mr Utzon.