Monday, October 30, 2006

Chris Cross

First cross race of the season for me yesterday. Mugdock Park. My Mum tells me it was a seat of Graham of Monteith (my Tartan ) so it was clearly important to do the ancestors well.

As such we had the Telly Savalas Overalls on, (Chris went for a couple of years later in the TSPC wardrobe with Gillette Advert 70's Sportswear tm) did 10 spins (standing with arms above head looking at hands) on the start line and after the dizziness settled hit the course dead f'n last.

We raged, we stormed, we careered. Through the mud, over roots and up walls. Results soon, but it was worth it for the beer hand ups alone.

See more on Singlespeedwidow's flickr, and check out Rose...*just* as sweet as mummy and daddy.


So the Stern report is almost done. Interesting to see if anything changes from this one. Howard Stern is a King Poobah economist. In essence, his report looks at whether it is *economically* viable to reduce global atmospheric pollution. The answer (will be) a resounding yes if the journalists who have seen the summarised pre-release are correct. In short it would cost 1% GDP of he UK to stop a catastrophic change equivalent to a great depression, or a world war. This is suggested to be equivalent to a drop in GDP of over 20%.

So what do you think will happen? posturing and waffle? or some actual action ?
The Government have appointed Al Gore, hot on the heals of An inconvenient Truth, as an advisor. Difficult to draw conclusions here, as Ol' Al may well be posturing to further a future political stand, and Gordon Brown may well be doing the same...

Time will tell. But it must be noted time cannot be turned back. Choices taken now will affect the future, our children and the life sustaining properties of this planet.

Time to think carefully then.

Friday, October 27, 2006

No kon

Spent an hour last night re-cabling the RoShamBo to get it ready for cross. I tried originally to clean and re-use the original nokons, that have been on there since errrr, well last April. No go. Still crappy performance.

So a new lot went on...I'll admit it is a pain in the arse putting nokon together, and getting it right, but once on it really is good stuff. You might also notice that despite good, wet, muddy and gritty Scottish weather, they last for a while too...

Next, mount up the 37c twister tyres and pump up to 290 psi...First cross of the season for me is Sunday at Mugdock. The TSPC will be in effect...paint us white, give us beer hand ups, and get ready to spin...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

La buena vida

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh Negra Modelo with lime...takes me back to La Buena Vida... just polished off some excellent pico de gallo (my wife makes a mean salsa), soft flour tortillas with a juicy, griddled that off with some sport peppers and I'm there...

Back in black


Been away, in London. Seeing a man about a head. Well, two men actually.

What was broken is fixed, and that means more. More fun, more time, more riding, more working, more home improvements. Just more.

What else? Went for a ride with Biff as he passed through Edinburgh this morning. It started in the dark, involved slipping and sliding over and around rocks and roots in the dark and wet. It ended with one of the funniest bike related moments of my life. Ever, so much so that I am not going to mention it here, just yet...we'll see where it all goes.

What I will say is I need to true up my front wheel, fix a puncture, wash my breeks and remember that size, sometimes is everything. Or call it volume, whatever.

What else? 26" town bike I think has seen it's day. Investigating this and this...We'll see, but do they have to be that short? Of course they will be stripped bare and modified to make a fast simple, light and singlespeed townie (judicious use of a file may be required...) for use and abuse over winter...any thoughts?

If anyone is interested in a '94 tange concept prestige kona, 18" painted and stickered proper in british racing green (with slightly annoying rear drops...more info on request) or a super dooper dahon vitesse folder stickered up something rotten, lemme know...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Where does one stop

For North Korea? who knows. I was disappointed to hear about the nuclear testing, even if it may have been a false alarm if the initial blast didn't start the chain reaction. Personally i just think it is yet another bad sign for the human race. Another nail in the coffin.

On a brighter note, as part of my learning process for the new bike, I put some information together about the outboard bearing cranks. Blackspire are making replacement rings for xtr m960 cranks. Got to be good compared to the crap that's on there when you buy them. They come as singlespeed or geared. Magic.

Next. It can also be argued that the current crop of outboard bearing cranks have less than durable bearings and seals. Peter Verdone, who seems to be really pretty bright at this sort of thing, paints a bleak picture. It is interesting and it does make me wonder if Race Face are throwing bad money after terrible money with the x type bottom brackets (lets face it, isis was a debacle). Shimano don't come out much better, *but* Phil Wood to the rescue! A new tool to fit their new bearings and as ever, the tool is worth owning just for the classic Phil attention to detail and beautiful shineyness. I will be investing when the time comes.

Lastly, fitting correctly is important with *any* bicycle component. So when you are tensioning the bearings on m960, consider using the Park Tool BBT-9. This has a fitting for a torque wrench in order to do it properly. See the Park website for details. I feel you can never do yourself a disservice if you invest in decent tools.


Congratulations to singlespeeder Team Dicky on becoming the singlespeed worlds 24 hour racing champ. Rock on.

Soon, once thoughts gathered and scatter brain has settled: riding a Jones one; riding a TiF; other randomness.

And if you haven't already get yourself the OuTcAsT interbike sheet...

Monday, October 09, 2006


My new bike is a tractor. All 'roll over stuff, and faster than you'd expect'. Got it together this morning and popped out for a 5 hour shake down...saddle comfy and now horizontal (oops!), disc brakes scrubbed in, reach perfect (71.7cm if you want to know), bar angle magic, bottom bracket rotated for a good position over the pedals (way further back than you might guess). Go.

First impressions:
a) disc brakes rawk.
b) wide rims rawk.
c) good ti frames (utilising the properties of the metal) rawk.
d) the tractor likes to fly. jumpin' and pumpin' off everything. Stoorie Brae acted as a the initial site of riding (as ever) and I felt 100% comfortable hitting all the slidey, rocky, steep and nasty stuff straight away.
e) the steering geometry is noticeably different from the RoShamBo. Better I think. It feels lighter to steer, and not in any way slow, but it is very obvious the front wheel is further out in front of me.
f) I don't know how If did it, but this bike rips around tight turns. Especially obvious when there is a tree at the apex you are trying to miss...Reminiscent of Biff's Jones. There must be something more to this...hmm.
g) *Comfort* over the distance. It wasn't a massive ride today, but zero feeling of being vibrated by the trail, which in places was pretty buzzy and rocky.

So, yes I like it. A lot. I suspect this may well be the best realisation of everything I have learned, ridden and asked about so far. And rightly so! it has been a pretty decent investment both financially and in terms of effort and time!

So: stoked. Big rides and races and everything. Bring it on. The tractor is good to go.

See here for more.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Aviemore cross country

Pictures, courtesy of trina, of the Aviemore SXC race and some others...showcasing everything that is beautiful. Oh, and me in a doorway. The new Jones moded xtr m960's are on the IF. should get a shake down ride manana. More pics then. Meanwhile, clicky for biggee...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Photo credit

The credit for the Moots and the Eriksen photo is twentynineinches
who I think have done some really nice photos if you like the 29"er thing....def-o worth a look..

In terms of those bikes, I am particularly interested in the Eriksen uses headset top caps to clamp the rails, so I'm thinking it must use some sort of sideways binding mechanism on the rails...hmmmmmmmm.

Out with the old, in with the new...

Monday, October 02, 2006

..trina breaks out the big gun






Better pics to follow....

More routing

Well, today led to a little more fettling of the brake cable routing. It might seem pedantic but I am very keen that the brakes work well. Really, really well. See, if they don't, I'll be wondering why I didn't get hydraulic brakes. There are 3 reasons. One: Paul Price. Two: I don't fancy ripping a hydraulic hose asunder in the Highlands. Three: ease of work for me. So, you can see, there is a lot 'riding' (bwahahahahahahaha!) on the brakes working well and for a long time.

Anyways, today was for the Nokon sections. I had not quite decided on how I was going to route the cable past the seat tube. Initially I went right, then I went left. The latter is better in every way. I used a combination of small and large segments of Nokon cable with 2 sections I can split on the top tube for lubing (if you have never used Boeshield, find some and use, frequently, for your cable brakes). The front brake goes from Nokon with shrink wrap next to the lever (to prevent kinking, which I have had on the RoShamBo a fair amount, to the stage that the inner has split now) then a run of Nokon to another section shrink wrapped immediately prior to an Avis link pipe onto the Full Metal Jacket. This is kept in place by the funny loop the FMJ comes with and I used a Snap On tube bender to achieve a curve so that the FMJ can directly go to the Avid BB7 caliper. I revised the curve after reviewing the pics I have collected of Jeff Jones built bikes (I am not too proud to admit I keep an archive of these pics for just such occasions....bloody OCD). It feels like there is no cable friction whatsoever.

The rear is more complicated. Again a shrink wrapped Nokon section, then free, then shrink wrapped again to prevent head tube scuffing. Then I used an alloy cable stop so I didn't have to run outer along the top tube. All I had to do was pop out the inner guide tube they were sold with and run the Nokon inner straight through. This was repeated at the rear, then I initially routed around the right side of the seat tube, but changed to the left to get a smoother line.

The join between the last section of FMJ, which has a 3d bend in it to run straight to the caliper, was done twice. Again the initial shrink wrap used the Avid supplied adhesive stuff which proved too stiff and led to a sharp cable bend. I used the shrink wrap (throughout) I obtained from Maplins (7mm, shrinks to half that minimum at 125degrees c....I used a hairdryer) and got a much better line.

I was pleased by the whole all I have to do is square away the rhythmical rubbing on the rear disc and wait for the cranks...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tube bender

So I managed to get the discs on (only getting a wee spot of grease on the rotor and pads ... sheesh, thank goodness for iso-propyl alcohol). I got the steerer of the Pace forks cut, and filed and a star fangled nut fitted and then using the king headset spacers, arrived at a good handlebar height.

From there it was all about the 3/16" stainless steel tubes and a tube bender. Photos will follow, but I currently have a nice run with one bend directly to the front caliper, awaiting the Nokon top section from brake lever. The rear was a bit more complex. There are 2 guides for hose on the left seatstay, so i had to employ an s bend at the bottom to route directly into the caliper and then a very slight bend at the top (at 90 degrees, to follow the angle of the seatstay as it moves toward the seat tube). This will then accept a small Nokon section from the rearward cable stop on the top tube, with cable and the Nokon liner until i use another Nokon loop at the front to the rear brake lever.

It should (a-ha-ha) all look neat and tidy and work powerfully and be relatively impervious to dirt ingress. Should be. I *may* have made the bends a bit tight, and as such the brakes *may* be a little stiff. Fingers crossed.

The only bit I'm pretty sure I am not happy with is the top section of the rear brakes s bend. It is a little angular, not smooth, gentle and radiused like I wanted. May alter it, we'll see.