Thursday, 13 November 2014

Resurrection

From the murky depths of the garage the sounds of hammering and sawing and the occasional swearword could be heard, deep into the night Professor Frank N Farter (me) slaved away until one morning the silence in the lane was shattered with a cry that sent shivers down the post mans spine…

"IT'S ALIVE!"

Last easter I had intended on taking my Trek Crossrip touring, sadly a broken spoke put that idea firmly back in the bin where it came from and the On One was pressed into service, since that night the Trek has sat in the back of the garage in kit form, well until now anyway.
With being out of full time work right now I have had time to get a few of the little jobs done, the bike being one of them. I had to order in a couple of parts to re assemble it and replace the broken spoke which I have now done, despite everything being bagged up things still went missing, I am not sure how but I am certain they will turn up sooner or later.

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The question now is what do I do with it?

This I have been mulling over for a little while now, the original idea was to sell it to offset what I spent on the Troll frame but now that I have built it I am almost tempted to keep it and sell the On One, I want to keep them all really but both bikes are not quite what I am after, something must go.
It took a ride this morning to make my mind up, it was a shitty wet ride in strong winds and to be fair the Trek performed very well, in fact with the weight I have lost recently it was a better fit, I could even ride it in a lower position than I used too. It was as I trundled along that it came to me…

This isn't me.

And I was right, don't get me wrong, I enjoy riding on the road but on a road bike, no. From here I have had a good think about were I am heading in the evolution of my cycling, the Troll is staying, it is no good trying to pry it from my cold dead hands because I will get all zombie on you I like it that much; so what am I getting at? Both the Trek and On One are going, I am going for a third option providing I can get enough money from the sale of the bikes and provided I can get some part time/full time work, a lot of if's, it may be that I need to sell my Nikon camera equipment off as well, hell I don't use it, I tend to pick up my compact these days.
Given that I will be racing next year I want to replace my On One with another bike, the Surly Karate Monkey. A steel 29'er and a versatile frame, kit it out with a Shimano Deore 2x10 transmission and disc's and build a set of wheels up, I have rims ready to go and I would just need some finishing kit, it will be perfect for the endurance races next year and it can be equipped as a semi fat bike as well using 29+ wheels and tires.

It is very much food for thought and largely depends on a few things happening like work and getting the Sam to agree to the idea as well, at least working in the bike shop of a weekend I get some staff discount which will help not to mention access to the frame prep tools as well.
This winter is going to be a tough one, I have much work to do to make this happen and I will.

More later.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

These levels, not so level.

I must admit, one thing that worried me was that Somerset would be too flat; it turns out that my concerns were not warranted as we are closer to the Quantocks than I first thought.

On our first weekend up here I signed up for a demo day for Whyte Bikes as a way to try new bikes and to see what the local trails had to offer as it was only 10 mins drive from the house; my ride for the afternoon was a 2015 Whyte T130 and I will say I am impressed on how well it rode, the suspension worked well and coped well with my large stature, given more time to tweak the ride would have made it perfect, I am not sure I would buy one but I know that I would consider it.

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Two extremes of weather.

The trails themselves were really good, a nice mix of moorland trail and technical riding, much of the Quantocks consists of permissive bridal way so the trail options are almost unlimited, The trail head is only 5 miles from the house, not bad you say? Well there is 800ft of climbing to get to it so bring your climbing legs, I am hoping to get some time up there to really start exploring the trails soon.


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The view from the trail head, check out the elevation gain.

With this year drawing to an end I am starting to think about next year already, Jim and I have settled on two races to do next year, we are racing at 24/12 at Newnham Park in the 12 hour pairs race and the Brighton Big Dog again in the pairs category once again and the year after I am thinking of 24 hour pairs /solo, time will tell.
For now preparations have begun and I am working out both on and off the bike, with the first of two moves behind us we have started to get our diet back in order again and the weight has started to come off, I just need to start putting miles in on the bike and get some dirt time this spring to keep the skills honed.

Well that is all for now, there will be another entry real soon as I resurrect the Trek from the dead and start to hammer my legs, plus some more news about my new job in a local bike shop.



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.

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

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Powering my way up one of the climbs.

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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.

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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.

Si

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The old rear tire after 1000 miles.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Si.