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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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Big ass 180mm Front Disc, the maximum size permitted

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

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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

Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Roadrat lives!

It has been a busy week and a lot has happened, it is not long now until the cycle tour over to France and the preparations are going pretty well with only a couple of problems to work out, mostly bike related. Next weekend we are planing on having a ride on the bikes carrying a full load and having a familiarity session with the new tent.

The past week has been spent getting Sam's new bike sorted, last weekend was assembling the basics and just getting it rolling.

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We are still waiting for the wheels to be built and in the interim she is using my spare wheels, I am quite looking forward to seeing the dynamo hub in action, I am very impressed so far with the lamp unit, it has variable beam and a USB charging port perfect for both winter commuting and touring with.

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The frame is lovely and the Surly Disc Trucker fork really suits the bike well, my reservation about the frame set is the chain stay mount for mudguards, it seems to be in the wrong place and should be 25mm further away to give clearance for the front mech and easy of fitting for the fenders.

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My poor trek is in the wars, it has suffered another broken spoke and is now off the road until my spare wheels can be readied for action once more, I doubt I will be taking the hand built wheels to France and maybe take a chance with the machine built ones instead.

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In the mean time the Onone has been pressed into service, I have fitted the Trek's rack to it to make it easier to commute with, it may even be used to tour with, we will see.

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One upside with riding the On One to and from work is I can now head off the beaten track so to speak and get a little trail time on during my ride home, a few weeks ago I took ride along the new MTB trails in Plymbridge woods, although not normally my cup of tea I enjoyed it.
I have recently discovered a way of linking my normal route home up with the last part of the cycle trails so now I can take the fun way home more frequently.

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The first time I rode the trails with the panniers on the back I did get some odd looks from one rider, I guess racks and panniers are not common place when riding down swooping single track and riding the berms, I guess I am a little different or at least try to be; the Troll is due to arrive at the end of April, I can see this alternate route home becoming a common fixture on my regular commute in future, I might even shoot some helmet cam in the summer.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

New Bikes and Tour Prep.

This past week has seen quite a turn around in the weather for us, gone is the constant rain and it has been replaced with sun and misty mornings and warm sunny afternoons, I am not sure how long this will last but I put the dry spell to good use and put in a solid week of riding by using the extra time I have in the morning to good use by putting in some 10-11 mile rides on my commute into work.

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New bikes are a big feature of this post and first off is Sam's new bike, we have all the parts now and are just awaiting the wheels to be built before we assemble the rest of the bike; it is based around the Cotic Roadrat 2014 frame set and an almost full Shimano Deore group set and hydraulic disc's.
First impressions of the frame are very impressive indeed and it is a lovely colour, not too dissimilar to Bianchi's Celeste paint scheme. For 2014 the frame has seen some improvements that will make it much more suited to carrying loads when touring, I am quite looking forward to seeing it all built up.

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Last weekend we took a trip up to Swannage to visit Charlie the Bikemonger, probably the best stockist of Surly bikes. I had only intended on it being a research trip to get an impression on size and fit of the Surly Troll. Well it was a lovely day and although he did not have a Troll to let me try he lent me a Surly 1x1 single speed to ride around for a bit which was very kind.
Well to say the least I was very impressed and I ordered one there and then, I have opted for  a size bigger than I would traditionally go for compared to my On-One, partly to give me more space in the frame for bottles and secondly to give me a little more reach on the top tube as the size below felt a little cramped.

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Build wise I am thinking of stripping the STX parts off the Trek and transferring them over to the Troll but I know I can sell it for more if I leave it as island use the 9 speed set up from the On-One to build the Troll up and use the money to help pay for the frame and new wheels plus a set of Avid BB7 mechanical disc's to complete the build out. I will be running two sets of wheels with the Troll, a set for off road and a second set for commuting/touring with an SP Dynamo hub for the winter months.

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The preparations for our tour are going well, al the campsites are booked now as is the ferry over, we are starting to build up some miles in the legs ready, with that in mind we took ride from Bodmin down the Camel Trail to Padstow and back again, simple enough a ride and nothing too taxing but it gave us an opportunity to get used to a tour pace. The equipment is building up, we are almost complete now, the only thing left to pick up is food and the battery packs for the Garmins, we have decided to use Veho Pebble to give us 5000mAh or 5 charges of my Edge 800 and charge the pack off the 3w Shimano dynamo hub as we ride.

Well that is all for now, I have started to ride off road a bit more again which has been enjoyable, I am hoping to get some more pictures or video of the new trails up in Plymbridge for my next post.