Sunday, 28 September 2014

Final Countdown

Well time is almost upon us and the date for the move is approaching very rapidly; the work on the house has progressed pretty well so far but as always there is much still to do and as such time to spend on the bike has been limited to my commute. This weekend I moved another step closer to my dream of working in a bike shop, I had an informal chat with the manager of one of the local shops in Taunton, I feel it went pretty well and I will be spending an afternoon / morning working in the shop to see how I might fit in within the staff and more important if there is a role for me, so fingers crossed.

Last month Jim (my brother) and I rode the Brighton Big Dog and despite a complete lack of preparation and fitness we did pretty well considering managing a might 6 laps in the pairs category coming in 6th from last, hey we take that as a win as it was one more lap that we thought we might manage.


Yours truly on the opening lap, I am faster than I look, no really.


Powering my way up one of the climbs.


Jim brining it home.

Despite some grumbling from legs and backs we really enjoyed the race and are thinking about doing a couple more events next year which will most likely be the Big Dog again and the 24/12 at Newnham, next time we will be in better shape.

Anyone who rides even once a month will notice the fact the weather is changing and Autumn is almost upon us, although it is not as cool as it should be you can see the leaves turning already, part of me is excited by the fact that at my favourite time of year I will be exploring a new place to ride and making a new home with Sam.



Fresh Autumn morn.

Well that is all for now, I am hoping to do an entry on my commute before thursday so fingers crossed and happy trails all.


Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Big Move.

Hello there readers, I hope you are all well and thank you for returning to my little corner of the net.
It has been a little longer than I had hoped since my last post but things here have really been a little mental; the reason?…..We are moving.
In around 9 weeks we are heading up to Somerset from Plymouth, Devon. As much as I am going to miss it here I am really excited about a new adventure and a fresh start.

With the new move comes some choices as well, I have decided enough is enough and we have decided to take a chance at doing the career that I have dreamt of for a few year now and become a  Cycle Mechanic.
To help with this I have booked my Cytech level 1, the two day course will be pretty interesting and will hopefully help me get the foot in the workshop door with one of the many cycle shops in the area or possibly Halfords who have just announced they are hiring 500 Cycling Guru's across the UK; time to polish my CV and get out there.

With all that has been happening cycling has taken a back seat, I have still been able to get out on my commute and the odd Skyride but for now there are greater priorities.
With the Brighton Bigdog race only a few weeks away now I have managed to get some time on the Inbred in preparation for the tough course. The new trail route in Plymbridge route has proven to be a fun alternative to my regular ride into work.


After only a couple of runs I found my confidence improving, although I have never felt truly at home on the Nobby Nic tires, they are light and roll fairly well thats about as interesting as they get.
Meanwhile I have had some fun riding with suspension again, I am not sure I quite like it but there is no doubt it makes things easier, I think at some point I wold like to try a modern full suspension bike as it has been many years since I last gave it a try; technology has come a long way since then and I like to try and keep an open mind.
I think in a few years I would like to look at replacing my On One, possibly with a full suspension but most probably one of Surly's 29+ bikes or a Karate Karate Monkey, I miss my old single speed.


The Troll is now sporting it's new wheels, I have been looking to find a replacement for the now discontinued Sun Singletrack rims. I had been looking at the Velocity Blunt 35 but at £66 a rim it was too much for my budget and I would have to order them from a London store.
Luckily Sun are still making rims and I found a replacement for my old Singletrack rims, the Sun Ringlé MTX31. They actually make this rim in several widths but for the Troll the 31mm was the best choice.


Hubs are provided by Hope, a solid albeit loud hub, I mean it this thing is stupidly loud, I have read that most users fill the free hub with grease to deaden the noise, I feel socially awkward and I feel I must pedal more just to stop disturbing the peace.
The front hub is my birthday present (thank you Sam x) is a SP Dyno hub; I have yet to hook it up to a light but so far it has been great, there is no discernible drag at all, this weekend it gets hooked up to the lights; I am quite looking forward to using it so as you may have guessed, I am hoping for Autumn/Winter.



With the new wheels I took the time to swap my tires around to even out the wear, I have done a little over 1000 miles on them since our Brittany cycle tour last Easter and they are wearing very well, barely scrubbed in is a better description.
I was a little uncertain about picking them originally but they ticked all my boxes, they cope really well on and off road and with a full load it is only when you find mud that they struggle but you will find that of most general purpose tires and given that SJS Cycles has them at £20 (normally £40) each right now with £5 postage they are a bargain, so I bought another set to keep on the shelf.

The old rear tire after 1000 miles.

The old front now on the rear.

Well that is pretty much all for today, I just want to leave you with some of the deer from outside my office, every time I bring the Nikon into work with a long lens they hide away being the camera shy creatures they are, at this time of year they are getting ready for the rutting season and the male deer are now sporting their antlers, I will miss them.


Monday, 16 June 2014

Twenty One Twice Over.

Another weekend and I am another year older 42 to be precise; each year feels shorter than the last, time is certainly fleeting. I was lovely spending time with both families over the weekend, I have eaten so much that it will take a lot of bike time to burn off. Sam made the most awesome birthday cake, it is a full on chocolate attack.


Sam's main birthday gift was my new dynamo hub for the Troll a Shutter Precision PD8 with a 6v 3w output; I will been hooking it up through the same Axa Lux 90 light unit that she is using, it will allow charging on the move and still put out a solid amount of light that with my little exposure light will allow some trail time in the dark on my commutes.


I have considered getting Exposures Revo lamp unit but at 800 lumens it is over kill for road use and to be honest I like the ability to charge stuff on the move, handy when touring.

This past week the weather has been very warm and I have put some extra miles in on the Troll, I am desperately trying to get some dirt time in before the race in August, I am well aware my handling skills are very rusty if not non existent really. As mush as I hate to wish it I could use some mud time. Yeah I said that, I am guessing mother nature will help me out there.



I have finally got he On One ready for full off road work, for the first time in many years I have suspension on the bike, I dug out my old Marzocchi MX Pro forks. The once belonged to my original Inbred, they are a solid 4" of travel of old school suspension that seem to handle my weight just about.



The Inbred now just needs a good servicing and the spokes in the rear wheel re-tensioning before it gets ridden hard again, now if only it was easy to get me back into a useable state, and to help with that I have picked up Tom Danielson's Core Advantage in an effort to help my underdeveloped core and thus make my riding more comfortable.

Well that rounds it out for this entry, I am hoping my new Alpkit frame bag will be here for the next entry and I will have plenty of tales from the trails.


Sunday, 8 June 2014

Rain Dancing.

The weather has not been so pleasant this past week with quite a few really heavy showers, for the first half of the week I was soaked on every ride it was almost impossible to get everything dried out with the humidity as well.
It has been with much relief that my new mudguards have arrived, I have had a bit of a dilemma as to wether or not I should fit them now or wait until autumn; I have enjoyed the bare bones riding of the past week, although not light the Troll has been a lovely bike to ride both on and off road.
But this bike is a working bike it is ridden everyday in every weather, I would be a fool not too. If I lived in a warmer country then I could get away with it but this is England, wet happens.





The Fitting of the mudguards has presented another set of problems in the form of my rear rack and it looks like I am going to have to buy a Surly rear rack to help clear the dropout and the mudguard mount. In the mean time I have fitted my Alpkit Fuel Pod and ordered an Alpkit Possum frame bag.

I have been tempted to use a full main triangle bag but for day to day but I felt it would be over kill for just my tools and emergency gear and keep my Ortleibs for load carrying or pick up and Alpkit Koala for the low load days.

My On One Inbred has been undergoing a transformation as well, from humble mule standing in for the Trek back into faithful trail bike as was originally intended, from storage I am going to dick out the old suspension forks that originally belonged to it's forbear, a set of Marzocchi MX Pro ETA forks, they are heavy but reliable. I want to upgrade the ageing transmission as well and possibly use a 2x10 set up.


Well that is all for now, I have a full week of riding planned leading up to my birthday weekend, fingers crossed I can get some trail time in so for now, thanks for reading.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Fresh Bike, Fresh Attitude.

You might have noticed a change to the blog; I felt it needed a little refresh given how much things are changing here, over the coming months I hope to transform my little blog back to the trail filled feature it once was.

The fun is coming back.

With my Trek Crossrip spending more time in the garage than out on the road of late I was spending time back on the Onone for my daily commute, it even filled in very well for the cycle tour of Brittany this Easter holidays. With the time back on the 26" wheels I decided to sell the Trek and replace it with something more fitting of riding style.

Behold the Surly Troll.


I am still waiting for the new rack and mudguards to arrive but mechanically it is up and running. It has been built up using a nix of Deore and STX, I have tried and succeeded  to stay way from the head down racer approach that it is so easy to fall in to these days, the upright position and swept back bars are nice and comfortable without hindering performance, tonight  on the single track home it flowed pretty well.


Big ass 180mm Front Disc, the maximum size permitted


The much photographed Surly Troll rear drop out pic, I would love at some point to be able to afford a Rohloff hub.



Wheels and tires are pretty industrial with Deore hubs laced up to 32h Sun Singletrack rims; these 31mm wide beauties are shod with Schwalbes 2.2 Marathon Extreme DD tires which so far are proving to be quite capable. These wheels will be changed by autumn/winter with an SP dynamo hub / XT hubs on Velocity's Blunt 35 rims. Not the lightest  combination but more than capable of being toured on and ridden off road even with Surly's Knard 26" rubber.

Well that is all for now, I am charing my little helmet camera ready for some trail action and my commute special.

Troll in the woods