Monday, November 27, 2006

S m all

It is amazing how incredibly small things can have a much bigger impact. The butterfly effect? maybe...

Or maybe it is simply because we are all so used to things working well, and therefore being inconspicuous, that when they *don't* work, we sit up and take notice.

Either way.

Went for a ride today. Classic Scottish, high winds, very wet under tyre, rocks, roots, waterfall crossings on small shelves, Loch side beautiful...

Also was riding the indyfab, and (no sniggering now) the front brake wasn't up to scratch. it felt for all the world like there was some contamination in the cables. After the amount of effort I put in to get those cables routed and sealed I was a bit pissed off. Still, I reasoned, there may be a simple and easily remediable solutions. And so there was....

It transpires that the inner cable 'sleeve', which I had cut at an angle in order to thread it through the stainless steel conduit and the Avid BB7 body, was protruding by around half a millimeter out of the tiny rubber 'boot' at the bottom of the cable stop on the BB7 casting.

When I actuated the brake, the rubber slightly compressed and the angular cut meant that the rubber pushed directly against the cable as it slid through the sleeve. the more I pulled the brake lever, the more friction.

So, I trimmed the sleeve to a straight cut, replaced the rubber booty and BAM! brakes are 100% again.

That just goes to show...take care of the pennies and the pounds look after themselves, or something....

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Seven morphed

While I'm about it, this is the current incarnation of my is doing duty at the moment as a cross bike. Singled with a 38:18, and a hotch potch of stuff in order to make 700c wheels work on a 26" frame. It was a custom geometry bike built around an 80mm travel fork, but it works nicely with my Rick Hunter brazed 5 piece 440mm a-c gem of a fork and the ever-so-useful Paul brake combo...quick steering, very fast and excellent power transfer.

Growing a moustache

Recently I sold a 94 Kona kilauea and bought a Cotic Roadrat. The main reason was my growing love of 700c wheels.

Initially, I had a set of flat bars and a long-ish (Steelman) stem on it.

Then I added bar ends, as I am so used to my Jones bars, the 'elbows out' position afforded by flat bars is now uncomfortable.

The Jones bars are far too po$h to use on a town bike, so I picked up some nitto moustache bars.

Here's the results:

Monday, November 20, 2006


One of the difficult things about using Jones bars is attaching a race number to your bars. This may infact be the *only* difficult thing about Jones bars, apart from the fact they ruin you for other bars.
I have been messing about in my 'garage' for a bit. tidying up, throwing rubbish away, sweeping and putting up hundreds of butchers hooks on metal tubing attached to the shelving in there with screw in circular fittings. This allows me to hang up everything I need to and then some. Bags, both Timbuk2 and ruck sacks, tools, dry bags, even stem and handlebar combo's that are waiting to be used again.
Almost immediately I started clearing things up a bit, I found a rear reflector bracket. One of those generic kind you find on 99% of bikes sold these days. It has an adjustable reflector on an 'elbow' and a circular bracket for grappling whatever frame tube is nearest. The bolts are cheesy cross-head and the nuts thin and recessed in hexagonal, err, recesses.
So - I sat there looking at it thinking it really needs to get binned, but something clicked in my head. Maybe, just maybe I could find a good use for it.
I checked things out and found that, yes, with a little strip of rubber inbetween the bracket and the Jones 25.4mm 'middle' tube, I was able to orientate the adjustable elbow section (once I had removed the reflector) in such a way that 2 holes pointed directly forwards.
After replacing the cheesy bolts with decent M5 allen key bolts, and the thin nuts with nylocs, I had a 'bodge' part.
The next stage is to utilise the 2 forward facing holes and some wire to allow a relatively rigid number plate holding structure. It will be light, re-usable and most importantly it will mean I never have to zip-tie a number to my cables and race in fear of it catching the front tyre, rubbing all race or worse getting trapped between the tyre and the fork (and yes, in a strong wind, that did indeed happen to me once).
All good. Finished pictures when it is finished.


The Middle East.
Oil running out.
Ex KGB agents being poisoned with Thalium.
Muslim persecution.
The West's Leaders a laughing stock.
Public Opinion ignored.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dock cross

Just back from Rosyth docks cross race. Great course shimmied around an area of waste ground, car park and green belt. Winding slimey off camber singletrack and 2 steep climbs. Excellent stuff. Its always so good to ride in the least expected places and find it to be gruelling and fun all at the same time.

The race started very fast with a road flat and climb linking us all into the course. Obviously this favoured a geared rider and the Savalas Players were behind a morass of racers. The next section was the technical singletrack, which was obviously a challenge to some as there were men down everywhere. A few bursts of speed had me sitting in 14th or so, with Chris and Jac not far behind. The carpark and waste section ended in a set of steps, that if you timed well, you could just ride the left side of the steps, preventing a dismount and run - far faster.

From here the course climbed to it's highpoint through trees before a winding descent to the car park again. This was obviously a good spot to rev up and pass riders before the singletrack - where it was very difficult to pass. This I managed on a couple of occasions and after a relatively strong mid race (for me) I was up in tenth. I had lost touch with Chris who was suffering on his 32:18 on the relatively flat and fast course. Jac was leading the ladies, despite feeling a little under the weather.

My choice of the Seven with a 38:18 was paying dividends in that I was able to spin fast enough to not get dropped on the road section. Enjoying the swoopy technical stuff, and being au fait with the roots leaves and off camber corners allowed me to sit behind others and pressurise them before quick sprints to gap them. It worked well, and soon enough I was up in 8th.

At this point with around 10 minutes to go I caught the 7th placed rider, and sat on his wheel as he was racing cannily and I could not find the power for a pass. 2 laps whisked by and then the bell. Still I was sat behind and really needed a mistake on his behalf to make the pass, but it was not to be.

At the end there was a little confusion regarding the placings, and I'm still unclear whether I was 7th or 8th. Chris was a little back, but smiling since he had regained his jacket (it was so very very cold) and Jac took the win.

Best heckle goes to stalwart support Player Marty with 'eye of the tiger, bring it home'.

See naegears pics.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

IF update

So how is it going? In short, so far, so good. Several good long rides, in conditions varying from deep mud, to wet sandy grit to moist loam. No mechanical issues (which is nice) and no odd quirks.

The steering is gorgeous. Really, really confidence inspiring in technical situations and at speed. It feels light and maneuverable without being in any way skittish. The ride in general is very forgiving. The Moots post does the job it was meant to and flexes perceptibly, soaking up chatter and bumps. The frame itself is also very compliant in the way that good ti frames seem to be.

The parts are also performing well. The magmaa saddle is the most comfortable I have used. A real find. The stem hasn't slipped (yet), making it considerably less of a pain than the wedge type. The rims do seem flexable. Probably not surprising given the weight and width. But no issues with coming out of true and the softness is probably a virtue given the full rigid chassis.

DT - the best. That's all. The brakes are superb, still light and very responsive with good modulation. With the longer 2 1/2 finger levers on the Paul brakes the system is a quantum improvement over the RoShamBo brakes. The fork. Ah yes, the fork.

I'll tell you no lies: I have never trusted Pace stuff particularly. I think because I have witnessed several of their forks being less than durable. And, of course, there is that old bugbear of the British Engineering thing. But: it rocks. Light, comfortable, excellent tracking and looking good. Time will tell..., but so far I feel misguided at least on the rigid fork.

It is a very, very good bike. As it should be, but I am privileged to have it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Auchentoshan cross

The Auchentoshan cross event came and went this last Sunday. It was wet, it was windy, it was dark and I was liquid burping tequila. The tequila in question was provided the night prior by my very lovely friend G funk savalas. He happens to have a bottle of competition standard, single village tequila. It is beautiful, rich, sipping tequila totally removed from the rubbish used for slamming. Beautiful it may be, but it isn't the best being burped up on a start line all too early having forcibly ejected myself from my kipsack.

Bang! off we go, to the woeful tunes and Jammie Johnson, the ever ruddy MC, and for once I got a so-so start. Chris on his amazing brown humu kona cruiser cross beast, Jac, going for gold, and Dave rocking the full rigid rig were right there too.

We zipped around the super, if muddy, course and the 20m run up was as hard as it ever is. A nice addition to the course was the double gates, a fluid dismount leap and remount style was rewarded.

The rain battered down mid race but relented as we closed, with poor Chris puncturing on his last lap. Odd given the shear girth of his cruiser beast tyres, and more than a pain in the deep mud he rode it in on floppy rubber. Jac snatched the second place, which must leave her well up in the overalls, and Dave whipped in to finish his first cross race in some style.

All good.


Anyone who knows me will know that I love bitter. Bitter beer is the best. IPA is probably my favourite of the style. Created tosurvive the long voyage from Britain to India, IPA has a particularly high concentration of Hops added. This is the preservative for most modern beers (some fruits and other odd things such as heather have been used in the dim and distant past).

Goose Island IPA is new to me, but having enjoyed their Honkers Ale i was definately keen to try it.

Summary: recommended.
Detail: 5.9% ~ relatively strong compare to most UK IPA's but not unsettlingly so.
Colour: deep, rich and pleasing.
Heft: pretty strong in any quantity for a school night or afternoon, perfect evening beer.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Swiped from Kelvin on the other place

Futura 2000: the name conjures beautiful abstract paintings, odd, spikey alien lobster-clawed figures, record covers for Mo Wax, and Maharashi. An excellent fix for the addict.

Mid term

Interesting results in the Mid term's in America. What can it mean? What is in the near future? Does this reprasent the masses voice in any way? or is it just politics?

Who knows: but I know my ears have perked up to the sound of change...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

One of those days

Met my brah chris in Aviemore this morning with a view to checking out some trails I found the other day. The sun was shining as I drove up the road, needing a stout cup of coffee. The clouds were ripping across the sky which was corn flower blue. We met in the Mountain Cafe and indulged in the well brewed joe available there. After a brief natter, we hit the trails - it is all too easy to get too comfortable in the Cafe and disappear the whole day.

I'm not sure I could put a figure to it, but my suspicion is that there are very few really world class days (as in *whole* days) riding in the average riders life. This was definitely one of mine.

Everywhere we looked there were singletrack trails, firm, slightly sandy and covered in pine needles snaking off between the trees. Every one is a peach.

Nestled back in the Mountain Cafe, hoovering more coffee and lamb and mint burgers, I don't think the smile slipped for more than a few seconds...

Blessed days.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A different viewpoint

This is a dude in Aviemore. He can ride a bike...