Never underestimate the power of one wheel drive!


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Monday, 18 January 2010

Mind that ho..........!

One downside to the recent snow filled fun has been the effect the snow and ice has had on the road surfaces. Roads the country over are falling apart now, with potholes of varying sizes, from putting green cup size up to Grand Canyon scale behemoths.

These potholes can be sneaky buggers, hiding at the bottom of innocent looking puddles or lurking in the shadows cast by bike or following car lights. One of the things we try to teach when taking bike patrol courses is that puddles should be avoided when riding for just this reason. Hitting a big pothole at speed can really ruin your wheel, if not your whole day.

In fact, potholes caused a couple of moments of consternation on my commute in this morning. Today was the first day back on Stig, my fixed wheel road bike after relying on Jeeves whilst dealing with the snow. I found myself trying to set up to bunny hop or ‘soften up’ on the pedals and handlebars to ride over a pothole. Cue the “You dumb idiot, you’re riding a fixed” bouncy on the pedals and rapid unplanned deceleration moment.

I’ll get used to fixed eventually!

Anyway, returning to the potholes, if you have problems in your area visit to report it. They will make sure the right council is notified.

Ride safe folks.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snow poblem...

As I write, I am preparing to get changed and ride home. 10 and a smidge miles and the white stuff is still falling from the sky. Yay!

Last night I did the same thing. When I started the ride, all the roads had a good coating of snow. I was on Stig and his 700 X 23 road tyres were able to cut through the snow and get grip on the road beneath. The ride was great, the snow had that sound deadening quality that makes me feel like I'm riding through the inside of a quilt. What little traffic that as on the road took it easy and gave me loads of room when passing- if it could go fast enough to pass that is. The ride was pretty much incident free, just a few loose moments as I negotiated the odd wide compacted wheel track. 50 minutes of glorious fun. The only problem was getting the snow out of the vents in my helmet.

The ride into work today was on my utility bike, a 1990’s 7 speed steel framed nil suspension MTB. I have decided to call him Jeeves as he is my ‘Bike that does’. Anyway, the main roads were slush covered with the side roads either slush, compacted snow or a combination of both. Once again the ride was incident free. This time however, the motorised traffic was a tad faster than last night. As they overtook, sometimes they did so with one set of wheels in the thick slush line- cue slush explosion from under the car/ truck etc. I managed to avoid getting coated. 47 minutes of having a blast.

Unlike a couple of folk I know, I don’t own a Surly Pugsley. One day maybe……

Never underestimate the effectiveness of one wheel drive.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Well, Stigs transformation is complete-

The next images are of the conversion that I did-

42 tooth chainring moved to the outside of the spider

with flat spots filed onto washers to space out the now too long chainring bolts

The business end

and a none too shabby chain line considering I did no spacing of sprocket, chainring, bottom bracket etc.

My first ride of 2010 was aboard Stig. I'd never ridden a fixed before so limited myself to a loop of slightly over 13 miles which took in flat, slight ascending, more pronounced ascending (last 100 yards of Marlow Hill in High Wycombe) and some descending.

A few things became evident-
1) Riding fixed certainly requires better anticipation than a freewheel bike.
2) With the current set up, 23.5 mph is the max comfortable descending speed.
3) Trying to freewheel when riding a fixed is an ‘odd’ experience.

The anticipation relates to many things, arriving at traffic lights as they change to green to allow a good launch, unweighting the saddle at the right point in the pedal stroke when negotiating speed bumps etc.

The descending speed cadence at 23.5 mph was as fast as I could comfortably maintain. Faster had me bouncing in the saddle. I thought this odd as hooning along a flat at 24.5 mph was not uncomfortable in that way- just lung and muscle busting.

This fixed lark could be habit forming.

More reports as I get the miles in.

Happy New Year folks.