Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bike component entropy.

Dammit. You'd think what with owning a few bikes i'd be able to keep one of them in working order. Not so much!...

After a stunning ride on friday in the Trossachs, i decided to pull the tubeless system i had been trying to use. I'm not a massive fan of nasty chemicals, so for a while i had resisted using the ammonia based sealants. Instead, i have been using Effetto Mariposa cafe latex with some ground up PVC and stuff in it to act as clotting/matting agent. For the most part it has worked well, though i have still punctured (which at times has been pretty exciting - at this years 10 at Kirroughtree, where a blow out due to a split side wall nearly spat me off the trail).

However, i had been getting fed up with surfing all over the trail due to the panaracer and maxxis tyres i had been using clogging up as we came into winter. So it was time to slot on a pair of Conti Mountain Kings. But it was clear that sealing them was going to be an issue due to porous sidewalls. Nevertheless, a touch of superglue here and some judicious shoogling there got em good to go.

Until half an hour into the ride, when the rear tyre lost pressure. Then again on the homeward bound end, the front lost pressure several times and required a tube (fortunately i had 2 with me). Yes i could fouter around with it a bit longer, or use a different sealant, but i decided to just stick a tube in there. New technology 1, old technology 2.

So i got home and washed out the tyres, talc'ed it all up and slotted in some mid thickness 26" tubes and pumped 'em up. While doing so, i was holding the spokes and BAM! one of the nipples shattered across the 'shoulder' section. Normally with aluminium nipples this is a sign that the spoke is too short: not supporting the full length of the threaded section of the nipple. But on inspection the spokes were the correct length and all was otherwise well. No corrosion found, alignment good. Hmm...

So i replaced the nipple, trued the wheel up and BAM! another went. I know a lot of folk have negative opinions of aluminium nipples, but having used them for many years now in all sorts of conditions i have never had any problems. Indeed, a certain wheel fanatyk, whose opinion i hold in high regard, would back this faith up.

Anyways, with another potential ride on the horizon, and no other working off road bike, i needed to rebuild the wheel quick sharp to get it in order. No worries! i tend to keep an array of spokes and nipples kicking around, so i rebuilt it with dt comps (it did have supercomps - i wonder whether the narrower gauge spoke or perhaps the stan's non eyeletted rim with the massive distance between flanges on that wheel were partly to blame?) and prolock brass nips. Gaining some weight, but also longevity. Old technology 3, new technology 1.

When i popped it back on the bike i realised something was up wit the fork. It looked like the bike was straining at the leash. On closer inspection i had no available travel - it was essentially locked out. I had noticed that the spring rate was increased on the last ride, but put it down to the cold weather. Clearly this wasnt the reason!....The negative spring chamber had lost all pressure. The valve core was tight and i could see no other reason for this. On pumping it up, it drained in minutes. Hmm!...

I then emptied both +ve and -ve chambers and again pumped it up...still no benefit. Ok, i think, maybe there is a micro leak in the i let the +ve chamber out, pump up the -ve chamber and dribble some water over the valve. No bubbles, but POP! out comes the stanchion seal and wiper. Thats not right is it? I reckon it is an internal seal, something Rebas have a bit of a rep for, so the fork needs to go to a professional for a look-see.

So. After all this i'm thinking i need a simple bike to act as a back up. A singlespeed, basic components, you know the drill....except i have 3 and they are all in need of work to get 'em rideable....Dammit! New technology 1, old technology 1.

Are my bikes seeking solace in entropy? You just cant win can you...

Friday, November 26, 2010

So sweet...

In the hills today. Unbelievable light, views and the trail wasnt bad either.

I also spotted an extension i need to take sometime soon....but back to the ladies and some well deserved nachos and a beer or two. Yo.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


So, i've been here for 37 years. With the birth of Daisy, my birthday snuck up on me quietly. Really, what better present could you have than a loving family? It gave me a big smile to read all the well wishes, facebook messages and read all the ace cards i was sent. THANK YOU! Before you all burst into tears, grab the nearest significant other and hug, i'm going to offer you wednesdays cocktail: the Dark and Stormy.

Now i'm a sucker for carribean rhum, so Chairman's for me. Lime, squidged, lots of ice and what ever ginger beer (i like fever tree). It is ever so easy. Mix all the above in the desired quantities. Recommendation from me? 1/3 rhum, rest ice and ginger beer. Drink. Ahhhhhhh!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Who's scamming whom?

(Get the Objective Pronoun: so Stephen Fry).

Anyway, i picked up a Tummy Tub today. A Tummy Tub is a revolutionary new bath designed in Norway (unless you have kids, you will probably never know how much stuff that seems sensible and useful is designed in Scandinavia) for infants, that allows them to sit in the foetal position in water and reduces the risk of them inhaling it. All good. But it is a bucket, no?

Go on! enlarge that bugger! tell me if you think that is a bucket?

So: scam? maybe not so much. It is rounded internally and on the rim and is very secure. It also has a rubber ring to prevent slippage, and it is a pretty cheap, even compared to buckets.

Compare and contrast to this:

Again,clicky to make biggy. What you see there is a whole mess of ti tubing, alloy drilled and un-drilled washers and ti bolt 'upgrades' to an already stupidly expensive disc brake. Do i need it? nope. Is the cost/performance/weight gain even vaguely worthwhile? debatable.

Was i scammed? or just stupid? Hmm! good question!

But i think you'll agree the whole is pretty sweet (well, *nearly* whole!).

Friday, November 19, 2010


I hoover relevant information. Always have. Maybe not relative to others, but if it could or does make a difference to me, in it goes.

When i was a student, my brah Chris taught me a valuable lesson. On returning home from the pub one night, instead of picking up a poke of chips, or a 'bab, he made us a fantastic bitter green leaf, bacon and tomato salad, with bread and a red wine vinegar/dijon mustard dressing. You need to look after yourself. It may take an extra 5 or 10 minutes, but if you need food put some decent fuel in - you will reap the rewards!

Take this evo for example. Up at the hospital until 9. Bathed the grommet, got her dry skin olive-oiled and wrapped her up in a sleep suit, then got a few bits and bobs sorted out for trina and headed home. Aware she will have a busy night, whereas i'm heading home to a quiet time. It would be easy to just eat some crap, or pick up a pizza, and click on the interweb or watch a movie. But sometimes you need to make the effort to cook proper, wholesome food for yourself - even if it is *just* you alone.

So it was, i rubbed some chicken thigh fillets in salt & pepper and olive oil. Got them to room temp. Meanwhile, mixed a pot of corn and baked beans and popped them in the microwave. While they vibrated themselves hot, i fried up some red pepper and green onions. In a bowl i whisked up some molasses, chipotle, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard and horseraddish and a dash of olive oil. Combined all the latter and chopped up some romaine leaves. When the thighs were golden on the griddle, i let them sit and dug out some commercial bbq sauce. Sit down: pop beer and eat. Awesome. Spoiling yourself and fuelling yourself at the same time works wonders for the soul.


It will be a few days until Daisy and Trina get home. Several reasons, none major. Its super fun seeing the little changes that occur even in the space of 24 hours: i suspect that will be the way of things for a while, eh? And as you may guess, she is going to have plenty of choice in the clothing department when she does get out and about...

Its odd going up to hospital and then home, sorting stuff out, then back up. Its odd not to be at work and its now been a week since i did any exercise. But thats fine...i'll break out the K-bells today and maybe get a bit of skip-rope to burn off some calories.

Although i havent been out much on the bike, VC Moulin have been hitting the podiums left right and centre. All good!...i hope to don the colours soon, and get a bit of competitive blood pumping.

Another DVD hit the post box recently and i'm sure it will keep things ticking over until i get muddy again - the cyclocross meeting.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Epic from the sofa...

I havent watched a snowboard vid since terje hakonsen. I reckon this one might be worth a view...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Today, at 3.45pm, our daughter Daisy Grace Meredith, somewhat reluctantly, made her way into the bright, shiny world. She promptly fell asleep after an oh-so brief spell dazzling grandparents and taking a tot of milk.

I'm breathless. Speechless. Happy beyond anything i could ever explain.

Trina is amazing I've finally been kicked out of the ward. Here. We. Go.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Try not to repost.

There is enough internet without repetition. But this made me laugh enough to ignore that rule...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Carbon fibre.

Lets just say you dint your carbon fibre frame. Game over? Not so quick! there are companies that will repair carbon fibre frames for you. One of these companies is Ruckus Components. But repair isnt the only thing going on....

The picture is from Ruckus Components flickr. It shows a 15 tooth lower jockey wheel. Take a deep breath and read the link posted on that photo. I've seen a few of these larger jockey wheels kicking about and had wondered about the proposed benefits. They are championed by Berner, All i could find was deepest, darkest germanic weight weenie stuff, or the odd mention on cycling news, so i hadnt really worked out what they were all about. But it would seem to make even *more* sense for bikes used in the dirt. Pretty interesting...carbon fibre caged saint mech with 15 tooth lower jockey? Maybe...

pic from cycling news

Tooled up.

Sometimes, it isn't the more complex, expensive or unusual tools that give you the most pleasure. Sometimes, its the simple lines, agreeable heft and good fit of a quality ring spanner.

This 7mm open and ring, 15 degree offset spanner by Britool will allow me to remove the bleed nipples, if i desire to do so, on the new xtr brakes. It turns out i dodn't have a 7mm spanner in the tool box - at least 3 8mm's but no 7mm. There you go.

And yes, about those xtr brakes...i'll colect some words together very shortly but suffice to say, Shimano havent just rebadged and utilised bold new graphics here. No, sir.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Admittedly not far all...

Pic is from bikedaily, which i would check out on a daily basis.

The point? thats the first belt drive piece that has me actually seriously considering getting involved. I rode with a guy called Ollie in rotorua - a very strong rider, just back from the Annapurna trail. He has a lot of miles on one and has had zero slip or breakage issues. Is it better than a chain? i dont really think so....the weight lost by the belt is gained in the parts. Also the clearance is reduced by the necessity of the bigger ring AND you need a splittable frame. But this part is pretty sweet looking...

Saturday, November 06, 2010


Here we are. Remember, remembered the 5th of November but there were no baby fireworks. To be honest, didnt expect any, most often first babies will go over term....

In other news, spent today fitting the M988 shimano xtr brakes to the jones....i also stripped off the 5 speeds and put it back to being a singlespeed. It was ace riding singlespeed in Rotorua again: i hadnt ridden the uni-cog in a while. It felt really good, so i'm happy to get the jones sorted. A new bike will fill in the (9 or 10 speed) geared race bike 'hole' that is left. More on that soon.

I decided to do a bit of tuning, replacing steel bolts with ti and aluminium drilled washers. Sweet as. The only problem is i seem to have sprung a leak between the hose and the banjo fixing nut, which seems to be factory fitted, so i might need to delay a first ride until i get that sorted. Dayum, these are nice brakes though....

Monday, November 01, 2010


Sometimes, sometimes i think about ditching the car. Yes, its convenient. But yesterday i spent 3 hours pulling bits out the engine compartment to un-bung some drain holes, that by a weird design issue mean the back of the car floods with water when it rains. Not only that but where the water collects (back near-side passenger footwell) is where the computer unit is that controls all the electrics of the car. Course it is! where else would you put it out of harms way? And yes, the central locking is screwed....Sheesh!

Word is, if its corroded, thats a £700+labour fix. Back under the carpets today to try and pull out the CCU and take it from there....