Friday, January 30, 2009

New Tyres and Rapha Sample Sale - Part II

So, I've had a week on the new tyres and it's been a week of dry clear days and wet miserable days and this has proven a pretty good trial. They do seem faster, but like always with city riding, unless you go a *lot* faster (or don't stop at lights), it won't make much overall difference.

On Tuesday, which featured "that fine rain that soaks you through" and a resulting layer of slime over the road, I definitely had a few wobbles going round corners a bit fast. Nothing too alarming, but definitely some faster heart-beats and a need to work out what I can and can't do now. The tyres are Armadillos, which are reknowned for their puncture-resistance, so a softer-tyre might be a bit grippier. I'm hoping they'll prove their worth on longer rides when that reduction in friction will add up.

Also - just back from the Rapha sample sale. Nothing too much too tempt me (wrong sizes, wrong items) but a fairly big queue to pay, so obviously someone was tempted. T-shirts were 20 quid, everything else upwards from there.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Tyres and Rapha Sample Sale

My Specialized hybrid currently has some fairly chunky, 700 x 38c, tyres which seem a bit surplus to requirements, given that most days I ride on the not very gnarly Brixton Road (mind you, some of those potholes...).

So I've splashed out and bought some new, narrower, slicks. APPARENTLY, according to the nice man in the bike shop, I don't need 38c width tyres and can actually take them down as narrow as 28c, so that's what I've gone for.

I'll let you know on Monday whether I can actually get them on my rims and whether I go any faster.

And in other news, Rapha have another sample sale coming up next weekend, next door to Condor Cycles. Hopefully I'll make it to this one and can find out whether reduced Rapha is within the price-range of us mortals.

Opening Times are:

Friday 30 January: 12am-8pm
Saturday 31 January: 10am-5pm

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Truing A Wobbly Wheel

Truing a wobbly wheel is one of those bike maintenance tasks that I always thought was some kind of dark-art, that could only be done by the tattooed, big bearded mechanic you always saw lurking in the back of your favourite bike shop. But having watched a video on, I was able to carry it out with reasonably good results.

The video assumes you have a truing stand, but I was able to manage with the bike upside down, so that the wheel could spin, and using the brake pads to gauge how much the wheel was wobbling from side to side. One other thing, I had the tyre off (I was replacing a spoke) which seemed to make it easier to see what was going on.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Warm Head

Seeing as I'm a slaphead, I can't believe I haven't previously owned one of these. I got one as a Christmas present and tried it out for the first time on the ride to work this morning. Needless to say my head was suitably toasty, despite London being "colder than the Antartic" (© the not remotely sensationalist Evening Standard).

Mine is the Pearl Izumi Microsensor Skull Cap for around £14, but I'm sure others work just as well.

Now I just need some winter gloves and I'll be sorted.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Thursday, January 01, 2009

50 Quirky Bike Rides

Some cycling is all about performance, hauling yourself up Leith Hill so that you're ready for your summer trip to Mont Ventoux or Whistler, or to take another minute off your PB. It's the battle between your will-power and abilities, seeing which will give in first.

Another side is more about the journey, the people and places you come across. The remote hill-top cafe in Cumbria, the beatiful viaduct in mid-Devon, the guy with the recumbent you meet at Newcastle Station. I have to admit this is where my heart lies and is very much the emphasis of Rob Ainsley's excellent book "50 Quirky Rides".

It lists 50 rides in the UK that take you to somewhere notable or unusual. If you've ever wanted to go on a ride that features a trip on a ferry, a visit to a cycle maze or over a scary unfenced viaduct, this is the book to satisfy your need. It even tells you how to ride up that optical-illusion road they used to feature on Blue Peter, where you appear to free-wheel up an incline.

The rides themselves are between 5-50km ("many can be done in a lunchtime"), but the introduction suggests you can expand them into a day-long trips (or longer)

The routes themselves are listed on the website, but I'd encourage you to buy the book, so that we can hopefully get
50 Quirky Bike Rides Volume 2.