Thursday, 25 February 2010

A Single Speed Hacker

After the experience of my last post, riding Sarah's Trek with a moving centre of gravity.  I decided I needed to get myself a 'normal' bike for running around with the family and the like.  So with a budget in mind of about £50 off I went to eBay.

This was the first purchase, a rather 'handsome' no suspension Halfords special circa 2007.

It was described as a good runner.  In reality the drive train was shot, the brakes were no where near the wheels and it had not been cleaned ever!

On the plus side the wheels and tyres are okay and the frame is true and has no dings or dents.  Also the aluminium headset, stem and bar are quite cool in a retro kind of way.  So I made the decision to try and trow together a single speeder that would give me a no fuss cool little cheap as chips run around.

So this week has seen it stripped of all its components and the frame degreased, cleaned up with a stiff brush and wire wool.  All that remains now is for me to talk the father in law in to respraying it for me.  More progress to follow as the build progresses:

Monday, 15 February 2010

Resistance Training.

I have a forthcoming trip out with some mates who are all dirty mountain bikers, I mean that in a nice way they are friends who just happen to like riding their bikes in dirt.

I will be borrowing a bike from one of them and attaching my road pedals, and to ensure that I stand out a mile wearing a big white Giro road helmet.  So the last thing I want to do is get left behind huffing and puffing up a muddy hill.  So for the next 3 weeks there will be training of some sort (nearly) every day.

Todays opportunity came in the form of a cafe ride / resistance training.  Sarah had taken our eldest to a party so Sammy was lashed to the back of her bike and off we went to feed the ducks.

I once had to attach this seat to my old road frame and take him out, it made for an interesting ride with the front wheel permanently off the ground.

No such problem on the Trek.  Having raised the seat up to the limit of the post and filled my jacket pockets with teddy bears we were off.

This bike is surprising, its fast over the ground and handles confidently and quickly, even loaded up in this way.  At first the riding position felt odd but comfortable, by the time we got home my butt was killing me, perhaps I should have swapped the saddle over.

As predicted Sammy was asleep after a couple of miles so I rode straight past the ducks, off down the river and a loop around our local nature reserve and back to the ducks upon his waking.

After much fattening with seed and talking about last nights Chinese New Year dinner of crispy duck pancakes in ear shot of them it was off to Starbucks to warm up with a coffee and a marshmallow lollipop.

By the time we got home almost 12 miles had been covered and I was glad of the triple on a couple of occasions.  Whilst your riding along you cant really tell he is on the back, when you stop gravity seems to have twice the pull of normal and tries its level best to get the bike to the floor!

So another 12 miles in the legs, a week of evening turbo to come and if the weather holds perhaps some local hill repeats, just not with a child for resistance.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

I can't true a wheel myself......but I have at last found a proper Local Bike Shop!

1 Fixed Mavic.  Trued, cleaned, greased and pumped for a fiver!

For the majority of the ride on Sunday there was a tell tale twwwa twwwa twwwa from the front wheel as it kissed the brake pad on every revolution.  A little fettling after not enough internet research made it marginally worse so it was time to get the wheel trued properly.

Now my journey to work happens at 7.30am and all of the cycle shops near where I live open at least 2 hours after that!

Review section: LBS (home)

LBS #1:  Leisure Lakes Nottingham. (that's what they call themselves, in reality they are 8 miles away and closer to Derby, but hey who wants to say they are a sheep!)
A good bike shop that is mostly off road in its stock and specialty.  The road section has a handful of cycles from Trek and Weilier and Specialized.  The staff are friendly and the shop always seems to be packed with customers.  They also have a good selection of accessories and clothes.

My wife recently had a Trek hybrid from them and due to the sloping top tube it could not take the kiddy seat.  Took it back and swapped it for a different one and they didn't even blink!

LBS#2:  Cycle Inn, Beeston, Nottingham.  I tried this shop for the first time when I took delivery of the Planet X frame and fork.  I left it with them to fit the new headset and cut down the carbon steerer tube.  I collected the frame after they had 'fitted' the headset, and took it home.  However after unwrapping it I took it back so they could do it properly.  The headset had been slipped on and the fork crown race not pressed.  Later I discovered that they had used a butter knife to cut the steerer, judging by the state of the top of it.  I found this as I had to adjust the headset myself. - Guess what? That was my last visit to them.

So the task, to find a LBS (work).  Man these are thin on the ground around here.  (J28 M1).  However I do believe I have found one.
Google threw up 'Pro Bikes', Hucknall.  0115 956 1955 (sorry about the wonky photo)

Now this is a nice half an hour round trip from work including 5 minutes chatting whilst your there.  The exterior must be a defense, making the would be shop burglar think it is full of tat.  Inside you find a cracking collection of Pinarello, Kuota and Cinelli and more Fizik saddles and Assos socks than you would ever expect to see in one small shop at the far end of a former Notts mining town.

The chap that owns the place is very friendly, happy to chat and there is certainly no cycle shop snobbery.

So he has trued my Mavic rim whilst I drooled at the Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL's on display.

I tried to buy a Shimano chain pin for my mates bike that I am fixing up for him.  He doesn't do Shimano.  But he doesn't do Campag either so its not an Italian thing.  He says they are both crap and sticks to chain manufacturers who just make chains.  May give that one a go next time I need a chain but for now I'll stick with the Hyperglide.

So a top shop and near my work, if you find yourself in this part of the world and need a cycle shop then I thoroughly recommend long as you don't want an Italian or Japanese chain!

Its carbon and it goes like a stabbed rat.

After two weeks off the bike I was worried that the first rides on my new one ( I say new but the reality is that I have bought a new frame and fork.  All of the components except the bar tape and cables I already owned. ) would be a slow and painful affair.  I had arranged two rides for the weekend, the first an early Saturday morning 22 mile route with Dan, the second a 17 mile route with Greg on the Sunday.  Both routes are the same you just turn for home sooner on the second one.

I had arranged to meet Dan at his house at 7am on Saturday, we both had to be back in time to take kids to swimming lessons and football matches.  Looking at your watch whilst you are riding is no fun, but this we rightly accept in order to sneak off for an hour or so at the weekend.

As it was an early start (6.30am forcing down Weetabix at the weekend is not fun) I decided to get all of my kit out and ready in the kitchen the night before.  Now I had weighed the bike once I had finished the build and was happy with 16lbs (7.25kgs). Adding a saddle bag and a large bottle of PSP22 seemed to make it weigh about a ton!  What a waste of time making all of that weight saving in the frame.

So the alarm woke the whole house and I did my best to sneak off before they all got up.  Dan lives at the bottom of the hill that I live at the top of so the first real go on the bike was a very cold half a mile roll down hill.  It was the first time we had rode together and I led the way as it was my route.  Its nice when you find someone to ride with whose fitness is comparable to your own.  Dan rode a rather nice looking Coppi circa 2005.  He recounted the story of his commuter being stolen from work this week, Sold Secure Locks and CCTV did not stop this thief and said he was enjoying his birthday present from us, The Rider by Tim Krabbe.  It was a good ride and the bike was comfortable, stiff and not particularly light or fast.  I put this down to having a two week cycling hiatus and popped her back in the garage, filthy from the damp gritty roads.

Sunday.  Greg and his tribe came over and from the back of his shiny new Rav4 he ejected a shiny new Raleigh Avanti.  The stabbed rat had the lights removed, the saddle bag was binned (1 new tube, 1 tyre lever, 1 C02 shot and a very small rag in the jacket pocket instead.  I will persevere with this format until it lets me down) the empty bottle cage was removed (thats a massive 22g on its own!) and the full 120psi was returned to the tyres.  Now I am not sure if it was psychological or if I was feeling a bit looser after riding the day before but today the stabbed rat and I felt much quicker.  Hills were dispatched without any fuss and down hills were rapid.  Greg commented that it was like following a greyhound.

Monday.  An evening cleaning a bike in the kitchen.  Man it was filth, now it is pristine.  However the front wheel is out of true and is spending a couple of days with the local Mavic master.  More on that later.

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