Tuesday, 10 January 2012

My new bike...

... is dirty.

I do not intend cleaning it, for it is for riding and not washing.

Funny how they only look new the first 10 minutes of riding eh.

Odd how many people scrub theirs to death - can't imagine a larger waste of time.  

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Winter prep

Not being a dramatist but it's getting slippy out there now.  If it goes like last year then this will be bad for general 'getting about' with any dignity. Penguin walking through town is never that elegant.

We have fitted our winter ice tyres for commuting now such is our optimism about the weather!  Hitting an icy patch and ending up on the floor is not the best fun to be had on a bike so these magical studded treads should help alleviate any broken collar bone potential we hope.

On this note, if you are going to be out riding in the cold, do yourself a favour and get some MW81 boots from Mr Shimano.  Surely one of the best products they have ever made - warm and cosy feet in even the most evil of weathers.

Back to tyres - they are basically a sure fire way of still being able to ride your bike when the snow and ice conspire against you. Where cars can't go, you can - both on the road and off. We have some really nice Spike Claw's from Continental for the Mountain Bike people like us out there so you can keep on the trails. Obviously if the snow is up to your knees then it will be hard going regardless of the tyre you have but when its crunchy and low and icy you can keep on the trails.

I have fitted Marathon Winter models to my Salsa commuter road bike - the noise they make is quite good fun.  Like riding on grit or even bubble wrap as someone described it.  I will be reporting on their efficacy and how many adventures I have with them over the winter months.  Kind of looking forward to it now oddly - think it helps when you think you are prepared for things to be sub-optimal. It gives a clarity of thought and confidence.

Anyway.  Winter tyre time - set about it!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Nut cracking

New helmets arrived today - The POC Trabec.

This is good news cause I have broken 2 in the past few years and was looking for a new MTB helmet so this will be the one for me until next time I hit the deck.

Road helmets are a little chilly sometimes on cold hillsides and even colder when standing at red lights on the commute so this will solve those problems too.

Colour choice is always a hard one but these only come in black right now so that will do! Don't have to think about it.

Must try not to hit the deck again...

Going to give it it's 1st test ride tonight so will report back on fit and sweatiness ratios.

EDIT: 8/12/11

Fantastic fit on these - actually hard to remember you have a helmet on.  Really liking the fact my glasses don't get interfered with either so that's a massive bonus being a speccy 4 eyes.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

New Bikes and how cool they are (or not).

Last week I got myself into a bike I said I wouldn't get into. It is an Ibis Mojo HD140.

I was reluctant to get one as they are a lot of money but also, I was hoping to ride a hardtail to keep maintenance costs down. Sadly, the hardtail thing didn't work out for me and my lazy riding style.

It was kind of inevitable, whenever I talk myself out of doing something it ends up actually happening anyway regardless. Sort of a 'matter of time' thing I suppose.

What can I say about it? Well actually I don't want to say much about the bike at all. I will tell you what it has on it though seeing as some like to geek out over that sort of thing,
It is kitted with a Cane Creek Angleset to knock the head angle out 1degree, it has a new fancy golden painted Fox RP23 on the back bouncy bits, 2x10 drivetrain that is a mix of SRAM X7 up front and Shimano XT out the back (it's what I had), a set of Rock Shox Revelation 140mm forks, Joplin, Crank Brothers bars and saddle too and also a nice set of Ibis hubbed wheels using Stan's Flow rims and UST Nobby Nic tyres.

That's that dealt with.

So why did I go for a new bike and this one in particular?
I want to do a broad mix of riding in the future, from your usual Sunday trip to GT along to more out there adventures in the highlands with a large saddle pack and supplies for a weekend.
It is light enough and pedals well enough to make sure I shouldn't have to carry it, and it's beyond capable on the way down the hill afterwards. Solid enough to take a general bit of messing about and careless slinging in the garage, it can handle being bundled into and out of vans and being treated reasonably roughly.

Also, it has the added benefit of looking AMAZING in bright urine coloured yellow after taking a Berocca or similar vitamin tablet.

New bikes are better for inspiration to ride, especially after injury. They kind of prompt you into making some changes about what you want to do in your limited fun time.

This weekend sees the Annual Pilgrimage to Laggan for a Autumn colour ride in the highlands.  Should be a lot of fun and gladly it's not going to be about the bike, it's going to be about going out with friends in the hills and having a good time. The new bike makes this happen but it isn't about the bike. That's quite liberating.  Kind of like a new chapter of breaking away from kit for kits sake and enjoying the new adventures new bikes can allow you to partake in.  Make sense?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Gloves. The mystical art of....

You will be pleased and no doubt re-assured that as socially amazing as we are and awesomely hunky as we are, we still like to take time to try out things that come in to the store that are new.

I am trying out a new set of gloves we sell as an experiment to see what they are like over the whole season of winter.  Gloves, second to my helmet, are the most important bit of riding kit and i tend not to scrimp on them, my leather Giro gloves are testament to this and the fact they make me look like I just stepped out of Neverland is an extra bonus.

Being a profuse sweater I suffer from very wet hands when riding. I can't tell you how annoying this is. Wet insides to your gloves are so irritating it is unreal. Waterproof gloves seem to exacerbate the issue as they are designed to keep water out but they also have the amazing by product of keeping water (sweat) IN!

So last night I decided to pick the humble sub£40 waterproof glove from PRO and start riding it.

I will use them every day and every weekend that I go riding and might even use them for running when not on the bike and still needing some protection.

Initial impressions: http://www.thebikechain.co.uk/PRO-X-Pert-Glove-M-201110140603/
1. They are not too chunky (ace!)
2. They are warm
3. They are quite movable so I felt all the controls were usable on the bars
4. They are a lot of glove for the money
5. They don't offer a huge amount of hand grip but in reality they actually work well...
6. Sizing is odd. I am a textbook medium and these are an XL that fit me.

Keep checking here for updates - if there is no update, assume all is good in gloveworld.

UPDATE - 17/11/11
Gloves are performing well. Not too sweaty and they are warm.
One small thing I need to fix on the bike though that I have noticed... because the gloves are of a reasonable size it means that when riding with drop levers you may need to keep on top of lever throw if using cantilever brakes.  The habit of tucking fingers behind the brake levers is something  I need to stop!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

How much is too much?

Now the nights and indeed mornings that look like nights are getting darker and darker it is time to arm up in the annual LED light wars that is taking place on a highway near you.

It's a constant battle to know how much light you need on the bike and it depends on loads of factors like, where you are riding, how dangerous the driving skills or lack of are in your area, do you need to see or just be seen... and of course there is the eternal worry of how other cyclists will perceive you.

Occassionally to mix up the route to work a bit, I take the canal or the woods or Edinburghs cyclepaths to get to the shop.  The only time trouble comes my way because of lights seems to be on one of these non road routes.  Shouts of 'you'll blind someone' or 'dip your lights' seem to resound in my ears when I take one of these off road routes.

So. I decide just to go on the road.  People cannot be heard shouting at you cause they are in a lump of glass and metal! Bingo.

This week I thought it would be a great idea to really tool up and popped on 2 NiteRider Stingers.  I also decided it would be an amazing idea to attach my spare (in case of emergency) Petzl Zipka to the seatpost just below the Mighty B17 Arse Cushion on my bike.   Stupid idea ahoy.  The Petzl jumped around daft and decided that 1 of the Stingers would be better off on the Lauriston Place tarmac than on my bike. Clatter, bash, bang CRUNCH as the taxi behind me finished off the Stinger. 

That left one course of action, Cherry Bomb.  This beast was engaged and pressed into action along with a Mako 5 front light.

Now I know how amazing a Cherry Bomb is but the Mako 5 is a new entity so I had my usual 'it's just another front light' hat on.  BOOM! what a monster. 2 AA batteries give off a light that is quite something and makes you wonder how efficient LED's must be getting to squeeze so much light out of something that is so cheap as a power source. (presuming you buy your AA cells at the local Pound Shop).  The Cree LED's really pump it out there. 

I mounted the Mako on the right hand side drop of my road bars and angled it down such that it was facing head on to traffic but slightly down so I could monitor Edinburgh's amazing complex and bedazzling collection of potholes and 'Bus Wounds' as I call them that live on the surface of the roads.

A great beam pattern greeted me and I went on my way a happy boy.

Next time I am taking it off road more as the unlit section I tried wasn't that long so more trialling needs to be done. But so far I am impressed.

Get armed with some bright lights people - they don't cost a lot and you really shouldn't leave it to chance like many of the people you see meandering around without illumination. It could just make you a pile safer than before.

More news soon!