Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Spinning . . . waiting . . .

Sydney cycling culture is completely different from what I was used to in Geneva. Here there's a hard core of fitness fanatics who took up cycling as part of the triathlon boom in the late 80's. It's noticeable because of the number of time trial type bikes I see on the road. Your triathlon types are ultra competitive to the degree that they're almost upset if you pass them on a climb and heaven forbid if you say "good morning" or "lovely day", they take that as an insult to their personal fitness level that you're able to talk. It's not that people are unfriendly, but in Sydney exercise tends to be a serious business for many and if you're talking you're not pedaling, whereas in Italy if you're NOT talking then you're not enjoying.

The cultural differences are many and in Sydney a lot of riders seem to take pride in dressing in outfits that seemingly don't match or are old and worn. There's clearly a street cred thing going on here that speaks volumes of the Australian psyche regarding people who are seen to try too hard. There's no Italian sense of the ride being an occasion. The difference is what it is, as they say.

I managed to get 30k's under the belt this morning even though I didn't start until 0615.

By 0715 Sydney is buzzing and public transport buses are into their peak hour time table. The bus drivers were pretty good this morning and gave me a wide birth as I rode up Clovelly Road towards Centennial Park. The biggest hazard is the various mum buses (4WD's packed full of kids off to school) that seemed to be highly single minded in their task. The State of New South Wales is introducing a new law that says if you're talking on the speaker on your phone and it's not in one of those suction craddles etc. then it's considered an offense and you get to pay a 300 dollar fine. I really wonder how many people will actually get a ticket for this? Hopefully it acts as some kind of deterrent.

Just for fun check out these bike wheels with special LED lights. I'm not sure I'd put them on my road bike in Sydney, but if I was in Tokyo riding a "fixie" traveling up from Maranouchi via the Ginza to Roppongi I might give it a shot:


The big storm has seen everything battened down along the coast of the US north east. From what I understand the hurricane has been downgraded to a tropical storm.The S&P is trading just below 1400 and the market seems pretty calm. News is light on the ground. As usual in misery there will be money made. This type of events are always a help to Warren Buffet as his insurance arm inevitably raises rates on the back of others misery. The smiling grand father from Omaha Nebraska will as usual side step any controversy and lift a few dollars extra from everyone's pockets after taking some upfront hits on payouts.

The FT carried an interesting piece today on a luxury second hand good stores boom in China. This is a phenomenen that sprung up years ago in Paris and New York as ladies tired of certain articles of clothing and accessories they found willing buyers to relieve them of their seldom used goods. Even in Geneva, a bling-infested city when it came to leather goods there were a number of places in the old town where you could buy or sell your no longer wanted Birkin Bag etc. It's probably more a sign of maturity in the Chinese luxury goods market than one of economic weakness. The traveling Chinese public sees these shops in the west and realises that there is no stigma attached to buying or selling in this manner. I think luxury goods companies should be warned that in my view this signals a clear slowing in the exponential growth we've seen out of the Chinese and attached eastern economies in recent years.

Have fun with exponential growth rates . . .
It doesn't mean any one is going broke, but it does mean a dollar invested in the space might not be worth 4, 6, 8 dollars etc. by the end of the year. Be warned.


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