Thursday, 28 January 2010

Bits n Bobs

Got some new bits for Bens bike under development today at Wilkinsons - a really cheap shop that seems to sell practically anything.
Drinks bottle cage £1.63
Front brake cable £0.00
Rear brake cable £1.04
Front mud guard £2.17
Rear mudguard £4.99
From the receipt it looks like they didnt charge me for one of the brake cables. The mudguards are the mountain bike type; rear fixes onto the seat post and the front clips around the bottom bar. I only went in there for the bottle cage as it suddenly occured to me that it would be a prudent idea to drill the holes for it before I finish the spraying in case of chips and scratches, but the other items were too good an opportunity to pass by.
I'll post some pics of the frame so far this weekend.
I also noticed they have front and rear lights, inner tubes and tyres in there also which may come in handy in the latter stages of the project. Miles cheaper than Halfords anyway because I bought a front and read mudguard pack from Halfords a few weeks ago at £14.00.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Free on-line Mountain Bike Magazine

Thats right. Issue 3 is out now and you can browse all 155 odd pages of it online, with movies and hotlinks inside it, plus you can also see the previous issues.
Enter your details to register if you like it and you can get the issue emailed to you free every 2 months.
There isnt much you get for free these days, but this looks like a good idea to me and from what Ive seen of issue 3 so far, its quality stuff. Good to watch on your lappy on the train, plane or even while you should be working :)

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Bike Part Problem

Throwing this out there in case anyone can assist me.

I'm about ready to respray Ben's new frame but before I do I wanted to get some cable "clips" for the frame. To explain; the frame itself has no eyes on it for routing the brake or gear cables from front to rear. It looks like it never had any either, which is unusual afaik.
Normally I'd expect to see one or two at each end of the crossbar, and a couple on the rear of the frame, as well as a "stop" one for when the cable ends at the gear/rear wheel hub. But nothings there and no signs of anything having been used.

I popped to the local specialist bike shop and they told me they'd never heard of them being retro fitted to a frame - always coming pre-welded on. Now I'm certain I've seen a blog by someone somewhere where they bought these to fit by drilling the frame and screwing them in, but damned if I can find it nor can I see anything in Google to fit their description.
Obviously being a complete cake-head, I dont actually know what they're called, and I guess I could use plastic cable ties but they just look a bit unsightly and wouldnt hold the cables away from the frame which could result in rattling noises.

So can anyone track them down or at least tell me what they're called?

Murder on My Cycle Route

Before I get to the story, my apologies for generalising here, but I always have the feeling that life in the USA is fraught with gun battles, murder, muggings, and various other nefarious goings on. This is probably wholly untrue and simply my imagination from watching too much T.V. So I was going to start with an apology to any Americans reading if this story didn't seem to be an unusual event.
I wasn't really shocked to hear that someone had been killed in Reading this week, as it does happen occasionally. However this morning on local radio I heard it was an 18 year old woman, murdered, stabbed, and her body was found on a path next to the River Kennet in Whitley. On reading the local news site it transpires that it was on my favoured bike route where I do a circuit of Green Park (you can see my photos of this route in previous posts).

I cycle right under the above underpass which the main road passes over. Indeed I have even taken Ben on this route a couple of times also. Its stunning to think that something so ghastly has happened virtually on my doorstep.
The underpass has a rather steep path either side of the tunnel, and its always been a great place to get some speed up but despite it being only short is quite dark underneath even in daylight and there has always been a little bit of me which thought "nasty" people may be sheltering there. To be honest this helps somewhat in my need for speed through this bit.

Fortunately due to the inclement weather we've been having over the past month or so I haven't taken this route on any cycling rides. I would consider another route too from now on.
Apparently the police have arrested a 19 year old man in connection with the murder and if he's responsible I hope he gets life. My thoughts go out to Asha's family & friends. Its a terrible thing to happen - to end someones life for no reason whatsoever other than your own evil.
Here's the story

Monday, 11 January 2010

Interesting Cycle Blogs

In an attempt to while away the boredom brought on by the freezing temperatures, snow, ice and generally inclement weather for sensible people to cycle in, I have been trolling the internet for things to keep my mind "cycling orientated".
The Guardian Newspaper
I came across this interesting blog page from The Guardian newspaper devoted to cycling. Not only is it a blog, but it also hosts a podcast which you can listen to on-line or download to your iPod / media player. Its only updated monthly but seems to be well done so far.
Bicycle Tutor
Check out this site! Video tutorials on practically anything you need to know on assembling, maintaining, adjusting and cleaning your wheeled pride and joy. Definitely a bookmark "keeper" in any cyclists web browser.
Both of those sites have links to other cycling related sites, which in get my drift?
One of the sites which I really wanted to link here I cant find now. Ive no idea where it was or came from but it showed two fantastic video's of an event which takes place in Denmark every year where loads of people in what look like bikes with "bullet shaped" covering shells cycle a long route. As the country has a massive cycle path network this is all done in relative safety, but these futuristic looking bikes (trikes really I suppose) are amazing.
By the way, did you know that in Copenhagen a third of the people there cycle to work, school or University? There are about 217 miles of cycle route around the city, and cyclists have priority over cars and pedestrians at any major junction or traffic lights! They also apparently have a different kind of cycle on the Continent. The most common bike there uses enclosed gears and chain so reducing the need for maintenance caused by dirt. When you consider how grotty exposed deraileur's and chains get, just this somewhat minor difference must be quite a good thing to have.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Long Time - No Post

Been a while since I last updated, pretty much because nothing has really been happening...well except for Christmas (belated merry x-mas all) and welcoming in the New Year (belated happy New Year all).

Today I finished rubbing down the old paint on Ben's bike frame and forks. All those finnicky little areas where the welds and joints are were a pain and rubbing out the surface rust took time. I'll probably give it a going over with some fine wet-and-dry paper before the first coat of primer though. Problem is it's so cold outside I can't spray it properly, and my wife would go ape if I did it indoors. Maybe I'll have a go on the forks and see how the cold affects the finish.

Ben's decided on a mix of red and white for the top coat so looking at some of the bikes in the local shop gave me an idea of a nice split between the two colours.

I bought a front and rear mudguard in the sales, the idea was to use them for my bike but I may keep them to use with his bike - another part I don't need to concern myself about and they look cool. For x-mas he got a trip computer so I will also fit that to his new handlebars when I get it all finished.

Talking of x-mas I got some neat cycling stuff. Firstly I got a 365 page book of cycling and walking circuits throughout the UK. Obviously a lot of them are way too far to travel to but theres some decent ones locally and a lot within driving distance which will be nice when the weather warms up, which brings me to the second - and probably best prezzie which was a bike carrier for the car.

Following Christmas day it rained for a few days and was freezing, but a couple of days ago I managed to try the carrier out on the back of the car and was pleased and a bit relieved that it fits perfectly and is as solid as a rock. I can see some great cycling adventures coming up for us with this present. No longer are we restricted to how far we can cycle from the front door, but we can go out for the day to far away places and ride with packed lunches and do what real men do in the woods and stuff - which I am reliably informed by Ben is to go for a poo and wipe with leaves!

As for my own cycling, well I havent been out on my bike all holiday. I'm gutted! Its been quite busy really and the days have flown by. I'm sure I have put on weight but have not weighed myself recently. Having said that, with the exception of x-mas dinner, I've managed to eat healthily and not overdo it.

So thats it for now - another update in a weeks time, hopefully with more interesting stuff to relate.