Saturday, February 27, 2010


As ever, some beautiful...and odd... stuff beginning to come to your screen. I'd recommend a flickr search. From Bohemian cycles flickr, this is an ...interesting... one.

I'm liking the Vanilla cycles/Speedvagen/Pegoretticollabo track bike. Super clean.

(photo credit: blurringthelines)

Check out speedbloggen...

Anothr photo of that from adrianjm.

Track bikes, edge wheels and lilac are in ascendence...

Lots of happy birthdays: Shaggy, jac, darkmarquis and trina...

Saturday, February 20, 2010


The leaving test from the Keirin school is to do a km in no more than 1'15". Gear must not be bigger than 49:15. Thats pretty quick...Might break out the rollers and see if i can get close....then dwell on the fact thats without wind resistance....

Keirin tracks are roughened concrete, so that they are all weather. Thats going to smart a little.

What else? personal comms have suffered in the face of work. Im training to be a trainer. Scary thought eh? Anyway, its been a pretty interesting few days up in Stirling at the coal face. I did a section on ethics teaching. Ethics being the tool with which Moral Philosophy is dissected. Ive been all logical positivist recently. The great human experiment will lead to the right and the wrong becoming apparent, not so much basing things on some old, fuzzy list of moral duties.

Collecting a few bits for the skeletor. I'm liking the campag seat tube collar. It seems that a lot of eat tube clamps focus the force over a small part of the circumference of the tube in order to grab the seat post. The idea of the offset slot and bolt is to create more circumferential spread of force. Important with a sub 1000g aluminium frame in which i will be using a shim and a ti seat post. Probably.

We had a pretty interesting discussion on aluminium nipples for wheel builds between friends recently. Amazing the polarised opinions. I don't use anything else. why would you? Calls of corrosion and splitting have never been apparent in my experience. As an insightful birthday boy (happy birthday marquis of darkness!) pointed out i dont tend to keep the same wheels in use for very long, the longest running set at present is 2 years. But that is on the town bike, that is covered in road salt, gets used 5 days from 7 at least and hasnt been washed in 12+ months. I had a look. No corrosion noticeable and retention of good spoke tension, fwiw. Maybe if my bike lived outside (rather than next to a radiator in a warm house) my experience would be different. As its not, i have no reason not to keep using aluminium nips.

Jeff has a new video up. Check it out. Yes thats his trails from his door. Yes, thats a larry, and yes it works well. I might need to invest.

Parts are being collected for the Vertigo. I am really stoked on how this is going. My only concern is that i wont be rider enough for the bike. We'll see. At present, 120mm reba with tapered steerer up front, maxle to DT 440 dt supercomps Aluminium nips (!!) to stans flow. Headset, details tba. But it will plug into a 44 i.d headtube. Thomson stem, prolly jones bars, though i might use some Groovy's. Moving back, saint crank, 40 tooth e13 ring, with mrp chainguide (thanks to Adams tinkering) and a DT 440 rear with 6 speed 17-34 block, supercomps to flow, with a saint short cage doing shifting duty.

The bike will be stopped by saint hydros - a first toe dipped into the mineral oil bath of hydros for me. ESI grips of course, and xtr pedals. Rubber tbd. Thomson seat post, Selle san marco Zoncolan saddle.

It will rip. Its rider will bleed.

I'm still reading through Robert Fsk's book Pity the Nation (thanks Anja). It is an incredible, mind blowing, harrowing and enlightening read about the history of Lebanon, in particular the 1982 invasion by Israel. Massacres, infightoing, politics at its worst and war crimes. I was 9 when this was firing off. I do pity the nation. Israel, not so much.

Lastly, my sock guy socks arrived. The post office have been insanely incompetent. These socks were ordered to arrive for christmas. They were lost and more sent (thanks sock guy) and after 10 days of harassing the post office they finally delivered them today. Assholes. Good socks tho'.

Still, the sun is shining. I'm joining davechopsoptional for a farewell from Alpine bikes ride tomorrow. All is pretty good.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Bike fit.

I have just bought a new road frame. Yes, i only got the cannondale caad 8 a few months ago, but i knew at the time that it was very much a 'starter' road bike, and that if i liked riding the road, i'd want something perhaps a little tidier.

So a Spooky skeletor is coming my way. Anodised black, size 54 with compact geometry and an aluminium frame. Should be sweet. It's well priced and has garnered good reviews in terms of the ride quality. Initially i'll swap parts over, but there may need to be one or two changes. The tourery triple will be removed: i spend most of the time in the big ring, and no time so far in the granny, so a 53 on a standard double will be welcome. I'm going to use a shimano 105 - it is not high zoot, but it is very much more pleasing on the eye than the truvativ i have at present.

The wheels, at present will be an old dt 340 to dt R1.1, with the rear an as-yet-to be-decided-on build, most likely with the new version of the R1.1 - the R415. At present, the choice is between a DT 340, or a shimano 105 for less cash. We'll see.

The rest is getting swapped over from the cannondale. Maybe a different stem, and most certainly a different seat post. It's a shame that it wont be blacked out, but as time goes by i'll work on it. These are not mine, but they are close to what i'm going to aim for.

A few folk have commented on the fact that my road frame seems small for my 5'11" height. Yes and no. I tried out a few bikes, and different sized frames, prior to getting the canondale. As im getting more used to road riding, my ability to stretch out is improving, and i'm happier with the lower bars. Just took some time to get used to. Initially, i removed the stock anatomic bars in favour of some short reach and drop compact bars. Recently i have moved to a slightly longer stem, in order to get the front rear balance better, and the flats further away for seated climbing. The saddle was initially rammed forward, and i was considering an inline post, but gradually it has come back by about 4mm. The top tube on the spooky is 4mm shorter, and i will prefer the saddle being further back relative to the bottom bracket i think, so this is all good.

But again - its a small frame no?

I had heard about the bike fit system available on the Competitive Cyclist website through some chat on a bike forum. You need to be careful using a bike fit system, as individuals are never entirely equivalent. Fit is best done by either informed trial and error, or by a professional. On a mountain bike, i'm pretty clear about what fits. For road riding, where so much time is spent sat down, fit is both more important and new to me. However, i got to a point with the canondale where i was pretty certain what reach i needed. The other aspects of road riding fit that are particularly important are balance of weight between the wheels and steering weight distribution. Too short a stem or too high bars (or rarely funky geometry of the fork/head angle) can leave the front wheel grasping for traction on fast downhills. A short wheel base with good front centre will help the bikes handling and paying attention to reach and saddle set back will allow the legs and glutes to help the core in keeping the trunk low for wind resistance avoidance. Of course, you also want to avoid a numb wee man if you can.

So: as long as the frame is designed well, and your fit avoids overly pushed back/forward bars and saddle, it should be good.

My Measurements

Inseam 82 cm
Trunk 66 cm
Forearm 34 cm
Arm 60 cm
Thigh 60 cm
Lower Leg 55 cm
Sternal Notch 151 cm
Total Body Height 180 cm

Plugging my measurements into the Competitive Cyclist fit calculator was interesting, as it confirmed what trial and error had suggested to me - despite my height, i will fit best on 54cm top tube skeletor. It also suggests that at least according to some folk, my current ride position is reasonable.

The Competitive Fit

Seat tube range c-c 53.1 - 53.6
Seat tube range c-t 54.7 - 55.2
Top tube length 53.8 - 54.2
Stem Length 10.9 - 11.5
BB-Saddle Position 73.4 - 75.4
Saddle-Handlebar 51.8 - 52.4
Saddle Setback 4.4 - 4.8

The Eddy Fit

Seat tube range c-c 54.3 - 54.8
Seat tube range c-t 55.9 - 56.4
Top tube length 53.8 - 54.2
Stem Length 9.8 - 10.4
BB-Saddle Position 72.6 - 74.6
Saddle-Handlebar 52.6 - 53.2
Saddle Setback 5.6 - 6.0

The French Fit

Seat tube range c-c 56.0 - 56.5
Seat tube range c-t 57.6 - 58.1
Top tube length 55.0 - 55.4
Stem Length 10.0 - 10.6
BB-Saddle Position 70.9 - 72.9
Saddle-Handlebar5 4.3 - 54.9
Saddle Setback 5.1 - 5.5

Here, the Eddy fit (as in Merckx) is a slightly old school fit, higher front end and further back. The French fit is more of a touring type set up - higher again at the bar, and further back.

I suppose i'm probably aiming for a racing type set up for what i want to do on the bike - high output, mid-length rides with lots of climbing.

Once its built up and i've put a few hundred miles on it, we'll see if all that tape measure work paid off.

If you want to give it a bash, the fit calculator is here.

Red Breast.

Where have i been? Well, for starters - in London town visiting Gfunk and Hfunk. We had a top time, mostly food orientated but with a little culture thrown into the mix too. For starters we went to Terroirs, a very fine wine bar/restaurant where the wine is both unusual and beautiful. 100% Malbec was the order of the night, and we were joined by gerardfunk - it was great to see him also.

We made it to Moro, where yet again we enjoyed an amazing meal and fine food.

Next day we mooched at the Tate modern, then enjoyed an amazing stew and much mirth. An attempt at non-eating fun was made when we met the horse and made our way (via a dousing on the wet roads) to the Portrait Gallery to take in some views of some influential people. Yes the ballet dancer was ...

...average, the blood-head a bit strange, but the photography in particular was ace. On the way we did some bike spotting. Odd bikes.

Next stop was Soho for some veggie fun at Mildred's to round out the evening.

After waiting forever, the Van Gogh's letters opened a new view on the prolific painter for me. I particularly liked the sketches he sent in letters to his brother Theo. A shame he ended it all by shooting himself in the chest - a brilliant and dedicated man indeed.

It was good to be back in Glasgow to see the P phone, though the robin we found cowering in the kitchen this morning reinforced the feeling that her hunting prowess is improving. Some how, despite heavy loss of feathers and a few bats around the kitchen as the 'phone was pacified, seemed to leave it only a little the worse for wear, and it flew off after catching its breath on the window sill.

Happy days.