Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I have had some issues riding recently due to tree fell and brush. So i decided to purchase a trail tool i can take along. It ain't small, and it ain't dainty.

Cat's Cradle?

P-Phone is heading outside now with increasing confidence. She has found 2 other cats to play with and, well, if we dont let her outside she mews despite being wrapped in a t shirt. What are we to do? cat flaps? a ladder from the kitchen window?

Who knows....

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Anyone clever with metal work?

Picture belongs to vertigo cycles. See more on the flickr page, or the web page.

Now then....lets just say you machined off the angled surface on the bottom of a king top cap, and found a dinky conical washer like that gold one. Presto - ahead style king set.

Anybody any thoughts on how to do this?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Jeff Jones

Better go have a look. It's so much more than the frames.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

BB gun

Cycling News has some more ammo.


For my edification.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


In the back of my mind there is a vague notion to try and utilise bigger bottom bracket bearings. I dont think there is much need to go into why, as there are clear and obvious benefits. In addition, an internal system would be nice in terms of longevity (the outboards are ok, but not the most moisture resistant). Coupled with light weight and high stiffness and bobs your uncle.

Here is a thought...

Look closely. That is an ebb equipped cannondale 29 er frame built for commuting...with a cannondale si crank and bb30. The ebb was machined to accept the press in bearings. Not bad eh? read about it here...which is where i lifted the pic from. The only downside i can find to trying it out is the cost of those cranks - around £500. But, with fsa, truvativ and others bringing bb30 cranks to the market (including it is rumoured shimano dura ace ones) there should be more choice soon.

Some interesting threads have also surfaced looking at fitting bb30 cranks to normal shelled bikes. Seems like a lot of fuss, and some of the benefits are lost, but interesting nonetheless.

mtbr thread

weight weeneis thread

Wheels and cog keep on turning.

New cog on its way to be mounted to the dmr revolver on the rear of the road rat. We'll see what its like...The front wheel finally fully seized, so a new wheel hurriedly built yesterday and the bike is back in action. The old ceramic open pro i used is nice and round, but the brakes now judder like a bugger....might throw some proper ceramic pads on there.

The cog is from london fixie, though tomi cog is making the same sorto thing stateside.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Recovery day.

Dehydrated from days and days and days of riding.

I have a headache.

So bacon sanger with maria dolores habanero and bbq sauce. Hoocha, endorfins, headache-be-gone...


Short version: it was good. everything worked. I am pooped.
Long version.

Saturday morning saw me prepping the bike and myself, which seemed to take forever. I guess a lot of this is because i have zero experience with it. As such i need to go by what other people have done and add my own tuppence worth of thoughts and then go seat of the pants.

I decided that i wanted to take everything i would need to be comfortable, rather than go minimalist. I will try to remember a complete kit list, as when i have been researching all this i found others write ups invaluable.

I am super happy with the way the bike went. A couple of school boy errors (such as not tightening up the front cargo net adequately, leading to some early wear on the tubes of the front rack) were the only negative. The bike handles really well loaded: it gains speed with almost frightening acceleration downhill, but the brakes are easily adequate, the ride remains comfortable and secure. Nothing is too flexible, and there are no additional annoying noises or quirks of the seating position for loaded riding. All in all - fit for purpose.

The kit. Well, this is a realisation of a 5 year + collection of stuff, knowledge and experience. It all started in earnest when my parents gave me a supreme sleeping bag as a present. The marmot helium is sub 1kg, and is easily a 3 season bag. It is pertex, light and water sortofresistant, has down filling a 3/4 zip and a cinch down hood. It packs very small for its loft. This, i would say, is one of the primary pieces of kit if you are going to be sleeping out overnight. I have used this down to minus 6 centigrade with the addition of wool longs, in high winds, with zero issues. On saturday night i woke too warm despite a crystal clear night and near frost. Awesome.

The other piece of kit which i bought early was the north face mountain marathon tent. It is now a little out of date, and although it packs small at 48*12 cm, it is relatively heavy at 1.6kg, without footprint. However, it is roomy, comfortable, robust and has a vestibule.

Newer fabrics including SiNy have superseded it in some ways, but my recent interest in bivi sacks and other lightweight tents has been put to one side. After all, if you look at pics of the bike loaded, it is the only thing on the rear rack.

Other kit notes: 3/4 mid thickness thermarest, in a waterproof superlight stuff sack. With the sleeping bag on the front of the bike. The seat pack is a tire bag by jandd. It has my spares and tools.
m3 and m4 bolts for the rack
one spare spacer (i made these myself) for the struts of the racks
a chain link and a quick link (ultegra and sachs 8 spd respectively)
a wtb 29er tube - the most durable in my experience
a park mini tool wrap set including an (exchanged) folding chain tool, which is much more rigid for high pressure riveted chains
a mt1 mini tool
a 8,9,10mm spanner and a bottle opener
a double set of quick patches
a tyre boot
3 zip ties of different thickness
a set of brake pads
2 tyre levers
some tape

It also houses my full size crank brothers pump, which i feel works well despite it being crank brothers. Beautiful looking stuff...but...

All in all with the racks, the bike and all this kit comes to 17kg, or 37.4 lbs. Quite a lot, to be honest, but it was never an issue riding technical, steep trails, or climbs on a 34:20.

In addition i am not sure where i would save weight. Each thing i have is not the lightest, but in order to lighten up i would need to readdress the compromise between function, comfort and weight.

The Wingnut is a tough light pack and holds a 3 litre bladder. I decided to take 3 bottles and the 3 litre as i was intending on using a fairly well trodden loop. As such, there are a lot of newbies hiking the WHW for example and, lets just say, these folk dont always know where to pee or poo in order to keep water contamination to a minimum. Also it was an exercise in what *could* be done not a perfect minimal approach as mentioned.

So in the wingnut, msr stove, with cannister. I made this choice as they burn more consistently, with less mess and less cleaning required and cannisters are always going to be available where i will go. If i start going to the himalaya, well, ill buy a fuel burning stove. I also am lucky enough to have the msr ti kettle, mug and a snow peak ti spork. All light and functional. Together with an msr coffee filter, that was all i really needed. A nalgene full of ground coffee (jumpa jaya beans, dark roasted) and 3 porridge sachets, 2 clif bars, one clif blok, 3 jelly bellys and 2 super noodles. I used most of the food, and all of the water, and was never wanting. I also had a hip flask of dalwhinnie, and a leatherman, tea-tree soap in a tiny nalgene, 10 sheets of tp, my ipod shuffle, a camera, a moleskin notebook, and pen in the side pockets. I also decided to pack some wool longs (from icebreaker, including a full weight top) just in case. I used em. A pearl izumi vapor jacket (as no snow was forecast) rounded out the main compartment. Oh, a buff. 5kg total.

I wore swobo roscos over pearl shorts, a patagonia thick capalene top and pearl brushed polyester top. Thin fox gloves and my lid.

Thats it.

Anything i should have taken? A bowl. Thin wool gloves for sitting around, and perhaps oversock type things for camping. My thought are those shoe cover things..not sure.

I dont know how far i went, though the loop was essentially the mangrunt backwards - with conic hill proving a bugger, as ever. I slept well until artillery started sounding off at 1.30 am, and will be out again as soon as i can fit it in.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Coincidences seemed to be the theme tonight.

It started after another hectic day at work. People off, cover, lots to do, drug clinic blah blah. And i was tired. Tiiiiiiiiiiiiired. The riding and everything i think have finally settled in the legs. Heavily. So.

Trina is off to belfast for the week end. Its nice to see your wife every now and again, so we went out for tea, to a well established haunt in glasgow, the stravaigan. We were eating (rather good) food, when i noticed a cars r coffins sticker stuck to a lamp post right outside. Not usual in the uk, but it made us smile.... we are amongst you, society, oh yes we are.

Smarting as i was from losing an entire callous after a blood blister exploded doing kettlebells this evening, it was still an eye opener to be asked by a bloke at the bar with full on alopecia what the beard was all about. Little did he know that i was a telly savalas player, and that i also knew that telly didnt have alopecia! ha!

Anyway, we talked and parted ways both a little wiser and a little more confused. I need to go to bed.

Who loves ya baby?

Sub 24.

So theres not much time, you want to do a longer ride, and in order to do so you need to stay out after nightfall...

See S240 courtesy of adventure cycling...

2 miles.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Aaron Teasdale is a good, informative writer. Dispensing with the mystique, he explains what it takes to do bike-camping, thru-biking, mtb touring, whatever you want to call it.

Using his article for adventure cycling, i have put together an overnight kit, which with the addition of access to a shop to restock food, and perhaps gas, would become a several day plus bike camping kit. The bike doesnt weigh too much and rolls well. technical stuff probably wouldnt be the forte, but it would be doable. So - success? maybe/maybe not...tell you after the week end.

Meanwhile i was a sweaty mess last night at Andy cathcart's study. A drop to 212 watts average with a slight decrease in speed to average 33.4kph but - crucially or not! - a max speed of 57.9kph. If i can find the extra 2.1kph i get a case of beer. Woop!

Maybe i shouldnt be such a drunkard...(nabbed from hurl over at bikesatan).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Making hay.

Family Bacon were here for the week end. As ever a tip top time had, with chat, food, wine, science and boys...ace! Rode with biff this am, and failed to connect with chopless dave. Thats the beauty of mobile phones when they are immobile...ah well! Then snuck out for a later ride as well. The trails are in world class condition: something is creaking on the left hand down stroke of the pedals, i think its the pedal itself.

Off to bed early....exhausted, fresh aired and happy...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Alpine advice.

So i have just been in alpine getting some new gloves. For some odd reason, i seem to be liking less palm padding these days. Also stocked up the jelly belly pile.

They recounted a story of a tyre exploding off the rim with a burst bead a few weeks ago. Sealant everywhere...and also a foobared rim. Went home and checked my front rim, and sure enough a wiggle is plain to see. Gah!


The image is sso's. Check his photos...Monday and tuesday had me on the computrainer being poked and prodded whilst doing the 64km time trial. I upped the speed, to 33.4 kph average and upped the power output to 217 watts average. This was relatively maintainable. It seemed my lactate and heart rate stayed pretty stable and i recovered pretty swiftly. Infact the tuesday saw the same average speed, albeit with a few extra watts required (220 average). Seems my lactate actually decreased for lap 2 and 3 of the 4 laps, only rising slightly by the end. From what i can make out this means i can maintain a pretty good constant effort without increasing fatigue due to lactate build up. Its odd doing this with a single gear. Last night i was one of three linked up to the computers. The other guys put out a higher average for the first 2-3 laps by a good way, only fatiguing slightly as time went on. The speed gained (about an average of 2.5 kph) came with a disproportionate increase in wattage. Seems the ability to keep pushing a gear on the flats (which i cant do) is both a good and bad thing...i dont think i finish too far behind overall. Interesting.

My peak wattage i have consciously tried to limit, as this seems to lead to a exponential increase in muscle fatigue. Makes sense. Andy cathcart, the study 'boss' has put a crate of beer down if i make 60kph on the far 57.1 kph. I reckon i am going to have to pulverize myself to get over 60....we'll see.


It is not often that i will admit im a bit of a skin and hair product snob. I cant tell you when this started, but it wasnt until a long time after douglas coupland wrote shampoo planet. I have always been blessed with the skin of a red head. As in, sun, midge, dryness, and anything remotely high on the detergent scale have caused me to blister, itch and swell. Perhaps this was the reason i started looking after my skin.

The prime reason is sun damage. I burn like a crème brulee. I also exercise outside in the sun for prolonged periods of time. In addition to this, and to make things more difficult i abhor feeling 'slimey' with greasy products. Recently i discovered P20. This stuff binds to the epidermis, after the alcohol solvent evaporates. Protection is constant, therefore better than something with a higher factor that needs reapplication. Recommended for the summer months. When they come. They will come....

The other thing i like to do, like this morning, is have a really good face ablution session. When you are feeling a little muzzy and crap, a zingy shave, exfoliation and moisturising can do wonders. This morning, kiehl's close shaver squadron provided the strategic razor lubrication, clinique gave a fine, not too abrasive dead skin removal and we went back to kiehl's for the facial fuel. I know it sounds not too manly, but with a couple of espressos i feel ready to take on the world now.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Very loud noise. Indeed.

So i wanted to change the tyres on the pink bike. I might want to ride it tomorrow, and the mythosII are not terribly good in corners. Whipped the front off pretty easily. With only 1 tyre lever actually, which is good for a tubeless compatible rim, and then fitted the Bontrager with none. That should have rung alarm bells. I suspect the wrestling match i had with it the first time around had maybe damaged the bead, because as i pumped it up, to 60psi in order to seat the bead, then detached the track pump head, the bead split and the tyre and tube exploded in my hand. Cue bruised fingers swelling second by second, and stunned bloke standing in the bike room with hands over ringing ears. Warning...

Time trial test 2.

So, time trial 2. 46:17 in place. *Much* better. Much less bouncing on the saddle. 1:58:00 for the 64.35km route, average power output 205 watts, max 903, Hr around 135+ the whole time, with about 1300 calories burned.

Next up comes the 2 back to bak tests where i will be given different electrolyte replacement and comparison made with the week afters recovery and time difference.

All good.

Wool delivery boy today, then some serious fettling and fussing tomorrow. I made new spacers for the rear OMM rack and i am much happier with them. They are now parallel through the braces to the frame and i have used semi spherical washers and spacers to allow for suspected micro-movement whilst bouncing around. I also ordered a new stock of high quality SS allen key bolts so i can carry spares on more loaded and biggger rides.

I need to get all the kit i would ride witth out and have a look at it. The jandd bags arrived, for the handlebars and under saddle. Perfect sizes...Ok, over for now.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


So, peter verdone has put together another bike, utilising a modular head tube (for an internal bearing headset), which is interesting, but not as cool in my estimation as the 92 mm shelled bb to accept the dura ace press in bearings. Image from his site. Very, very clean...


Marty sent me a link to an interview with craig maclean. Worth a read. As part of the sprint squad he puts in 2 -3 2000 watt efforts as a training session. Oh.

Obviously, that is a specialized thing - you cant tip over the top of that 2000 watt hill and then roll on for a century (at least, i dont think you can).

I am going to run a larger gear (46:18, or 46:17) for the next session. The maximum climb is 5% so its not a major strain, but i'd be interested to know what power i can put out then continue to do so for the next four 16 ish kms.

Does a wheel count as a circle?