Posted by: audaxing | May 25, 2015

BCM twitter round up

No Bryan Chapman Memorial for me this year so I was following it on twitter

Posted by: audaxing | May 3, 2015

New Light

I’ve recently got a B&M Luxos U generator powered light. It was easy to fit as a replacement to my existing B&M Cyo. First impressions are that it is bright but seems to behave differently to the Cyo. The beam spread seems to alter with speed.
IMG_0116

The beam has a long “throw” than the Cyo and is also wider

The boost button doesn’t seem to do much. I needed squeeze the rear light connector to make it fit tighter on the spade, it kept falling off. This was good in a way as it showed that the green light to indicate the rear light working was ok

I tried out the light on the recent Brevet Cymru 400km event. This was extremely wet with a lot of rain. The light had no problems with this. In real world use in heavy rain in pitch darkness in Wales the beam pattern worked well

Prior to the event I did try out the USB charging and it works on my iphone 4S as specified: once the red light is on the device will slowly charge as long as you are moving

Posted by: audaxing | April 13, 2015

Sunny Elenydd!

I had trouble getting to hall thanks to railway closures, so no photos from me: the phone battery was used up checking timetables

Rain

We were due good but windy weather for the day by the weather men. So perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised to roll off at 6am in moderately heavy rain. After the rain stopped the end of the first easy section was quite relaxing

I got to Shobdon and as usual there was a food queue so I decided not to stop. Filled my bottles, removed a layer or two and continued

Coffee+pie at Builth

By Builth Wells it was coffee time so I stopped at the Drovers tearooms. As I left the tearooms I saw another rider coming up the road. I knew the next bit would be into a headwind so I suggested we team up.

So I rode up the A483 to Beulah with Gordon. It would have been a bit nasty on my own I was glad someone to share a wheel with. The sun came out, it was loverly

Up the staircase

Off the main road and into the lanes. There was a new control at a village hall before the Devil’s Staircase ascent. Which I managed without putting a foot down, always a good sign I feel.
The mountain road was beautiful in the sunshine. Unusually pleasant for this time of year!

After the various climbs of the Tregaron mountain road there is an amazing descent towards Tregaron, then one small climb then it’s Tregaron and my favourite ever control, the bowls club

Loose bolt

After the bowls club the direction of the ride turns around so we were all hopeful to be getting a tail wind down the Elan Valley. But first there were some nasty little ascents to do. On one of them at a snails pace I could hear an odd noise coming out of the bike. Just a metalic “clink” but I couldn’t imagine what it was. I had to stop and have a look. I quickly worked out that the bolt on the Bagman support frame was very loose. Good job I happened to notice, I don’t carry a spare bolt in that size

High speed mountain road

The tailwind was all that could be hoped for. I did the whole mountain road in 90 minutes and arrived in Rhyader feeling a lot fresher than usual at this point.

Night section and finish

More coffee, add some more clothes then off again on the A44 also somewhat tailwind assisted. Gordon came past with a train so I hopped on the back. After turning off the flattish A44 onto the undulating A483 going north my climbing legs seemed to evapourate. I stuck with Gordon and co for a while but in the end they disappeared up a hill and I didn’t see them again until the end. Stuart and his Eliptigo also dropped me on a hill and again I didn’t see him again

Finally there were some horrible urban roundabouts then finished! I had 2 plates of stew, someone gave me a glass of wine and I got to sleep in the hall about midnight

That’s the 300km PBP qualifier done!

Posted by: audaxing | April 5, 2015

Valley of the Rocks revisited

13 hours of Hills

In summary: some fantastic views, some tough ascents, some sun, good company and an amazing big moon in the last few miles in the dark

Hopefully this bit of “practice” will put my legs in the mood for the Elenydd next weekend!

Time to start walking - the hill to Lynton

Time to start walking – the hill to Lynton

It was a long walk

It was a long walk

Sun comes out near Lee Abbey

Sun comes out near Lee Abbey

Picture of riders taking Pictures

Picture of riders taking Pictures

The Glamour of Audax

The Glamour of Audax

Big Moon

Big Moon

Posted by: audaxing | March 13, 2015

Best bike out of hibernation

The best bike was cleaned at the end of last year and hung up in the garage. I knew it had a few problems …

Saddle

Over the winter mildew had grown on the leather saddle. This was easy to clean off. More wax went on the saddle too

A coating of mildew

A coating of mildew

Wheel

I noticed at the end of last year that the freehub bearings were starting to be a bit rough. So I put the wheel into the bike shop (Richard’s Bikes in Exeter) for a service. They sorted it out nicely

Chain

After I cleaned the chain last year I checked it with a gauge. This revealed that cleaning it had been a waste of time! The chain needed changing. I put a new KMC chain on it

Bottom Bracket

So with a new chain, clean saddle and new freehub bearings I took the bike out for a test ride. A problem immediately showed up. When I put any power at all into the frame – even something as minor as accellorating on the flat caused a loud creaking noise from the frame. It had done this last year a little bit but only when really straining such as on a steep climb. As the problem happened all the time when power was supplied and was in the frame I took the bottom bracket apart, cleaned it throughly, packed with grease and reassembled.
IMG_0054

bottom bracket action

bottom bracket action

This seemed to work and the creaking stopped

Hopefully it is all fixed now and ready to do it’s thing!

Posted by: audaxing | March 11, 2015

Sunshine, Hail and a Cracked Frame

I’ve entered another 200km Paris-Brest-Paris qualifier, the “Mad March 200″ from Exeter. So last weekend I started out. Would I get further than last time, when I packed after a few hours?

At the start

In the car park 7:30am

In the car park 7:30am


I actually drove in a car, the 15 miles to the start. I don’t normally do this for events in Exeter but I wasn’t feeling like a power house so I thought I’d miss out on the bonus miles.

Sunny Morning

IMG_0041

IMG_0033

IMG_0026

It was a great morning. But lunchtime we were at the turnaround point in Blue Anchor

Cracked Frame

Around this time I noticed that the welds on my frame had developed some new cracks and were coming undo. I decided to carry on but to ride carefully. So no 40mph descents.

Hailstorm

Just before the Dead Woman’s ditch climb the heavens dumped a load of ice on us
I put on a balaclava and continued. Up the hill. On my broken bike

The route passed our house so I switched bikes to my generally offroad bike for the last 15 miles

Several groups overtook me due to my plodding pace on 2″ tyres

Finished in 11 1/2 hours and I was glad that the car was there to take me home, even if this meant missing out on a pint at the pubbe

But woo hoo! That’s the first Paris-Brest-Paris qualifier done!

Posted by: audaxing | January 4, 2015

200km fail

The “Mr Pickwicks January Sale” ride from Tewkesbury was to be my first Paris-Brest-Paris qualifier. But this was not to be

The plan was to get there promptly and ride as fast as possible, with a group and dodging light showers to finish in 11 hours or so.

After driving 100 miles from Devon in heavy rain, starting 40 minutes late, going back to get my wallet that I’d left in the car I finally left Tewkesbury at about 9am

After 20km in heavy rain I was not warming up. In particular my legs weren’t. A quick reckoning of my ETA for the Arrivee based on current performance seemed to suggest a 9pm finish. I’d checked the weather forecast for the area before and the temperature was due to drop drastically as the sun went down, getting to -1 by 9pm. There was quite a bit of higher ground covered later in the ride too – and higher means wetter and colder. If I couldn’t get warm in the “warmer” day then I’d be in trouble at night. So I packed. I retraced to the start with my GPS track, changed into dry clothes in my car and phoned the organiser

If I’d have had water proof trousers with me and if I’ve have got off at 8am it would have been a different outcome. But to be honest with perfect foresight I wouldn’t have started at all!

Thanks to Mark Rigby the organiser for making the event happen despite his nasty cold

Posted by: audaxing | January 2, 2015

New Year Old Route

I started the New Year the way I like to with a 100 mile ride

I was planning to do the route I always do for New Years Day: over the Blackdown Hills to Taunton, up the A361 almost to Glastonbury, cut across lanes to Bridgwater, through Bridgwater to the A39, past the nuclear power station, Minehead then back home via Dunster, Wheddon Cross and Black Cat on the A396

It was a grey morning but it was great to get up and out all the same

Grey Day for a bike ride

Grey Day for a bike ride

However, just 20km in at Taunton it looked like the planned 100 miles was a bit optimistic. My bikes rear wheel was making nasty rattling noises. When I stopped to check the wheel it had far too much lateral play in the bearings.

Hub repair with rubber solution glue

Hub repair with rubber solution glue


I discovered that the nuts tensioning the bearings were doing the same as last week. They had come loose. I think that at some point in the past I’d left a washer or nut out of the assembly and that it doesn’t now lock tight like it should. To adjust this properly I’d have to remove the cassette and use cone spanners. And I don’t carry an entire workshop with me. But I don’t give up that easy! I used my pliers to tension the hub bearings correctly by applying friction to the burred surface of the nut that had come loose. Once it was ok, I put rubber solution glue around the top of the nut to prevent vibration from shaking it loose again. I was off once more. I checked the wheel at regular intervals and it was fine all the way round

The ride was fairly pleasant until the last 30km. I stopped for a coffee with family in Minehead and then got within a few miles of Tiverton before the rain really came down.

Good day out though!

Posted by: audaxing | December 15, 2014

Three ways to avoid punctures

Punctures are not inevitable! There’s plenty you can do to avoid them. If you spot the broken bottle in time, you can take evasive action. But this article isn’t about that. I’m looking at the measures you can take to make your tyres better able to withstand normal road wear and tear.

Fit indestructible tyres

There are tyres that are really thick and strong and can resist even quite large sharps. Tyres have 3 zones on them, the centre tread that is on the road most of the time, the shoulder that the bike tips onto during cornering and the sidewalls that don’t normally touch the road.

On normal tyres the centre tread is toughest, the shoulder is grippier but maybe not so tough and the sidewalls, as they are supposed to flex, are the thinnest.

From the outside in, the tyre has an outer casing of a rubbery material and this is on a carcass
The internal construction of puncture resistant tyres includes an extra strip of material underneath the centre tread. Additionally, the really resistant ones have reinforced sidewalls and an extra thick outer casing. All this extra stuff means that they are extra heavy. The lack of flexibility in the sidewalls makes them less comfortable. Usually the compound in the outer casing is designed to be hard wearing first and fast or grippy second. So the trade offs in the really puncture proof tyres are quite severe.

An example of this kind of tyre that I’ve used is the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. In 28mm they weigh over 600g compared with less than 300g for a really light weight 28mm like the Schwalbe Ultremo ZX

Ultremo ZX last approx 2500km summer riding (without puncturing) and are incredibly fast and grippy.
Marathon Plus last an incredible 15000km before all the tread is worn off

Use tyres that aren’t worn

After thousands of km, any tyre is worn out. The casing is so worn, you can see the carcass. It’s clear at this point that the tyre is ready to replace. Unfortunately, most tyres start puncturing often long before this. One tactic to employ is to look for small nicks in the tyre and replace it when there are a limited number of these: they show a real world wear metric

Front tyre, not worn

Front tyre, not worn

Nick in back tyre

Nick in back tyre

On my best bike with relatively light Michellin Optimum tyres I replace when 4 or 5 nicks are visible. On heavier tyres it’s more difficult to judge. Some damage to the casing on tyres with more casing material is not a problem so perhaps only counting larger cuts is a good idea

Use sealant

I haven’t tried this final tip! But people who have gone tubeless tell me that it works well for them. Tubeless systems (with no inner tubes) rely on sealant to make them work. And the sealant prevents small sharps from causing much pressure loss

But in summary..

You can try and reduce punctures but you will never entirely eliminate them!

Posted by: audaxing | December 14, 2014

Most popular posts from 2014

1) https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/bikes-on-the-kernow-sw-600/
Pictures of most of the bikes that completed one of the more difficult 600km audax events in the UK. Good for seeing what luggage, lights and wheels experienced riders use
Trek

2) https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/some-long-distance-bikes/
Pictures of a few bikes from the Byran Chapman Memorial 600km audax seen at the overnight stop

3) https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/no-known-fix/
I tried out building up a bike with no freewheel and one gear. It wasn’t a success!

4) https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/how-to-have-a-bad-patch/
Over coming adversity during the the Elenith 300km

5) https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/not-so-smart-with-lights/
Cheap rear lights and how to not deal with them
smart light
6) https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/an-ounce-off-the-wheels/
Trying out Foss tubes

7) https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/happy-feet/
Factors that will ensure that if everything hurts your feet don’t

8) https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/loverly-weekend-in-wales/
This years Bryan Chapman Memorial
approaching cadir idris

9) https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/two-stupid-mistakes-to-avoid-when-wheel-building/
I built a wheel. And was stupid

10) https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/how-to-enter-the-2011-paris-brest-paris-1200km-event/
Updated for the 2015 event

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