Friday, December 29, 2006

James Brown

There will never be another. Rest in peace.

The devil is in the details

And although she may wear Prada, she prolly weilds a set of vernier gauges too.

I went to change the aluminium blocks that hold the rails of the saddle and allow rotational adjustment on my Moots seatpin today. See, the rear sections had distorted around the saddle rails and I had wondered if I had, y'know, over torqued the bugger.

After that tense, breath held moment of forcing open the top clamp area, I pushed in 2 similar clamps I had left over from an old Control Tech seat pin and which I had decided were the same thing.

Hah! Nope, one was, the other was not...see it seems the top half and the bottom half on the moots are not the same. One has a chamfered edge, the other not, one is narrower than the other also. The 2 from the control tech seatpin were both non-chamfered edge, and thus the overall diameter of the barrel thus formed holding the rails was greater than the originals. So, I sent another quiet 10minutes changing them back again.

Oh well.

Just a few things that have been going through my head recently

1) Dignity: Leaving rubbish around. Claiming you are something you are not. Stepping on others on the way up. Politicians lying. Only seeing what is right in front of your eyes, not the milieu it is part of. Poisoning our children's world. A lack of dignity in all.

2) Time: Too little of it spent with family, friends, self. Ignoring the personal development time known in Zen as 'mindfulness'. The seepage of time as your goals edge further away and deadlines creep closer.

3) Happiness: Is not directly correlated to money. Seemingly this has been proven by studies in the UK showing the National Wealth has more than doubled, yet people are less happy. Is the distribution even vaguely fair? Does gaining wealth beyond a certain point lead to an emptying of the soul? See point 1.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Winter coat

Despite the best intentions, I was always going to don the winter coat as the weather turns nasty and the food and alcohol began to pile up around my ears.

I niggling voice is asking me just what I want to do with next season. Do I want to race? If so what? And if so, how hard? Should I (gasp) train?

Lots of questions and as yet no answers. However, I did invest in some new running shoes. It was one of those afternoons and I just needed to run, but the only shoes I have are trail runners and they rip my ankles to shreds on the roads. So I popped by a running shop called Achilles Heel and got the full intro to running shoes and then tried out a few with the friendly, non pressurising staff. Got me a pair of Asics with an extra squishey sole. I am fortunate (I think) to have non pronating, wide feet so I don't tend to tip over. I am still unclear if this is the case when under the influence.

Anyways, put an hour of tarmac pounding into them and whaddayaknow? they are pretty soft and forgiving. Definitely a step up...(ha ha!)

The thing that I found out whilst embarking on the early season running was that my non generic ipod mp3 thing (made by sony) needs some way to attach to my person that does not utilise the finger and hair elastic method. This is not confidence inspiring and can lead to an mp3 player nasal passage interface if one is not careful. Fortunately, Santa was listening and I am the proud owner of a wee clippity thing which will attach said black box of rock to my chest.

In the past 48 hours I have slept 25 hours. It seems cooking crimbo tea is just too much for a softy like me, and I couldn't cope with the chef's specials all afternoon as I chopped and whisked. So more early nights and looking forward to hogmanay.

What are your plans for the coming 12 months?

Monday, December 18, 2006


So we are cooking for crimbo this year. Me and trina and david (trina's bro). We decided on roast beef, as lets face it turkey is always a little dry and disappointing. Red meat also goes better with red wine, and that is the only thing that will save me from a Bloody Mary induced coma, so that is it.

It's been a steep learning curve tho'. We have never roasted anything but chicken and assorted fowl, so beef was a shocker. How hot? how long? how prepare? and how do you time the tatties and veggies.

I sort of felt that because of my chromosome arrangement I would have an innate ability to cook meat by roasting. I s'pose it should be the dowry with willies on shouldn't it? but having studied the usual texts I am faced with trial and error. Today's effort was passable. Not rare enough, too little oil on the bits and bobs in the roasting tray, but the Madeira gravy was good, if a little short on fat.

So: we are almost there, with no more practice runs and a 3kg block of Scotland's finest rolled sirloin to go...

Wish me luck.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Too much, too much

Several things:

Calderfest this last week end. Huge fun, huge riding, huge laughing, huge smiles.

I feel sure the tales will be spun for some time to come...

See flickr for photos: these borrowed from Makinster and Philipdiprose1974

If you happen to be finishing off a wheel (like, say, my DT rim to DT hub....) and find there is a flat spot in the rim when you have got to the end of radial truing, I found this can be alleviated. Use a 2cm or so doweling and run it perpendicular between the spokes - stand on it, then pull with all your might upwards. At the point you feel you are about to pop out a hernia, you may have a round rim again, like the DT turned out.

Shaggy is a double world champion adventure racer after this week end. Check his blog. I'm sure he'll update when he wakes up. In the meantime, hardcore brah.

Calderfest also saw the first Skull and Cross bikes.

No rules, no entry just horrific weather, super hard course and a few very stalwart gentlemen.

Hardcore indeed.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

S S W C 2 0 0 7

As you may well know, I am one of 3 who are organising sswc2007.

So, we put up a wee flag in the corner of the internet and called it our own.


More as soon as it happens.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Building another wheel. I found the front wheel I was using on my Seven road/cross/road thing was, lets say, less than smooth. the bearings were gubbed, and the axle was bent. Yep, bent. Anyone bent a front axle recently? weird. It was a deore hub, so no great loss.

I decided to build a lighter/better wheel for replacing it, and thanks to dave at Alpine Bikes, I picked up a DT RR 1.1 single eyelet front rim, and a DT 340 road front hub. Together with comp spokes and steel nips this should be a long lasting tough wheel.

The rim has been interesting to build with. I haven't built many wheels that have had anything other than mavic rims and there does seem to be differences in building 'experience'. How this translates into feel whilst riding and or durability I have yet to see.

So far the salsa delgado disc are holding up well, and the 29mm width is so good, allowing super floatation and low pressure. They were pretty malleable to build with which was quite nice, as they didn't seem to spring out of true when approaching final tweaks. The DT, somewhere inbetween I'd say.

I do have a dream wheel in me somewhere, and that is a DT 190 ceramic centreloc front with comps to a delgado with alloy nips. I know I can do it, and make it strong, but the consequences of screwing it up would be pretty har$h...


Speedgoat is a shop in PA, USA. They have exceptional stock and excellent knowledge. They do a top website too, with a good blog-read-thing.

I am going to copy and paste one of their entries here, as it made me laugh out loud. I hope that isn't interwebrude, and I would encourage one and all to check it out every now and then...

Q: Number one, on a scale from one to ten how likely would you say it would be to taco this wheel? I ruined my front wheel on my Unit 29 3 days after getting it, and I want to get a new wheelset that I won`t have to worry about. I`ll take some added weight to get a set that is bomb-proof. I don`t really do anything too crazy, but I will be doing stairs and two-foot drops. Also, are the inside of the rims drilled or not? i.e.I want them to be tubeless ready. Thanks for the help.

A: The first part of your question would be completely ridiculous even if you had included your weight and all the other pertinent information necessary to begin to help you with this, but, as you haven`t included any of that information, and it`s very late at night as I`m answering this, I`m going to go ahead and fill in some details and then attempt to answer it.

For the sake of argument, assume these variables:

The "it" in your sentence is Lemmy from Motorhead, who weighs (for the sake of this example) 92.08 kilograms.

If Lemmy, traveling at a velocity of 34.4kph toward an elevation with an overall height of 4.8 meters consisting of steps with tread measurements of 30cm each and numbering in total five, were to be riding your Unit (not bloody likely Lemmy`d be on another guy`s unit, but you know, hypothetically here) equipped with Industry 9 All Mountain single-speed wheels purchased at Speedgoat, and built by a guy named Steve at Industry 9 on a Tuesday with high humidity and consisting of a rigid bicycle frame and fork manufactured of a steel-based alloy consisting of 0.31% carbon, 0.6% manganese, 0.9% chromium, 0.2% molybdenum, 0.04% phosphorus, 0.04% sulfur, and 0.3% silicon and welded with appropriate rod, not exceeding recommended temperatures, wearing an 859g fur costume depicting the character "Ren" from the Ren & Stimpy cartoon show and the 294g habit of a nun as protective headgear, were to impact said elevation in a body position that placed 43.4% of his weight forward of the bicycle`s bottom-bracket shell, and 56.6% of his weight behind the center of the bicycle`s bottom-bracket shell, I would estimate that the answer, using your system of 1-10, would be 6.

Obviously, though, the details matter.

Seriously, you are in danger of becoming lost in a wilderness somewhere between Mountain Bike Action and reality, and we must act quickly to save you! First, you need to experiment with tubeless setups about as much as you need to try snorkeling with that Kona. There is no consistently reliable tubeless system for 29er use (so, no, the i9 wheels aren`t made for tubeless) and conversions are strictly for the 145lb racer geek riding in a well groomed area--preferably indoors (see previous blogs about this). You do not appear to be said scrawny racer-boy, have roached at least one wheel already (albeit a factory-built wheel that wasn`t very strong), and do not want to experiment with lower air pressures. Did you know you can pinch flat your tire with no tubes in it? How about ripping it right off the rim when cornering? Then there`s the delirious joy of the burp, when a rock, impact, or just a corner rolls the edge of your tire just enough to send a delicate spray of liquid latex into the face of the guy behind you (not the bad part yet) and instantly drop your tire pressure down to a rock-crawly 5psi (the bad part).

So stick with tubes for now, and, if durability is your primary goal, get some Chris King hubs laced with 14/15 spokes and brass nipples (not alloy), 3-cross all around, to Sun Rhyno Lite 36-hole rims. You can build them in our Wheelbuilder.

That`s durable. But please also type "industry 9" into our blog`s search and you`ll see that I`m using these i9s on my rigid 29er single, and they kick ass. Ample rock garden use, and I`m 205lbs. Do I think you`ll bust them? I have absolutely no idea what you`re capable of, but are the i9s solid wheels based on what we can tell so far? Yep.


On Monday I cycled to Edinburgh and then back to Glasgow, on my trusty road rat. For the most part I used the National Cycling Network route 75. I have had a mixed time with the Sustrans routes. They make for interesting rides for the most part, and offer a good guide for long distance commuting (I had a *big* timbuk 2 of stuff to take with me and bring back) but they are exasperating sometimes too.

I lost the route a total of 5 times. Of these, I was able to re-find the route 3 times. Unfortunately, when it really mattered, after 9+ hours of riding with a heavy bag, on a 48:18 into the teeth of a very strong headwind (the weather was 'challenging' on Monday to say the least: the reason I had not run to the hills...) and I had been riding (with no lights as I had forgotten them) for 4 hours in total darkness.

It was very pleasant riding past Hillend Loch with a full moon, and then as I came into Airdrie, bam, the route came out onto a road in a new development of housing and it just disappeared. Obviously I didn't want to do the last 15+ miles on busy dual carriageways, in the heavy rain, with a gusting strong headwind and a heavy bag and no lights, so I spent 30mins looking for the route. I went down every side street and did several laps of the area looking for where it restarted. Nope.


Of course, if I had a route guide it might have helped. But I'm not stupid, its should have been slightly more obvious where it went. Ach well...

11 hours on the bike: 120+ miles with the first 60 taking 3.5 hours and the rest, well, the rest. Yep, it was a strong wind.