Stupid Strava

So, I rode a route I hadn’t ridden in quite a while yesterday, and was interested to see my timings.

On one segment, I was beating my previous time by about 10 seconds, until the end of the segment, where the time ahead started to drift back down. And much to my surprise, I finished at exactly the same time as the previous PB. But when I looked on Strava, the times, where exact for each of my efforts over the years. What are the chances of that?

7 Minutes and 38 seconds, and its the slight uphill at the end of the segment that kills it for me. So, I need to try harder!

Using the compare tool on the segment page, I’m able too see I was faster all the way down to the base of the hill, then that gap really started to close in on me, before the lead just went.

I’ll keep trying the segment, and now I’m loosing more weight, I’m sure given time and effort I’ll be able to pull it back down to under my current PB.

The Single speed bike is badly unwell. A few spokes started to come loose, and pinging while riding, which also kicked the wheel out of true. Like a proper idiot, I tightened the spokes without thinking, and of course made the wheel a damn sight worse than it was. These are horrible wheels that came stock with the bike, and with a non removable freewheel. So instead of wasting time and effort on properly truing the wheels, I just decided to replace them and be done with it. A quick trip over to Santa Fixie, and a wheelset was ordered. Nothing special, but better and lighter than what I have. Maybe one day, I’ll buy a wheel truing stand, but I don’t have much, or any need for it apart from these cheap Chinese wheels. But I might save them for learning how to true and wheel build, which to me at least, is a dark art.

Caps and headwear

I’ve not really worn a proper cycling cap on my rides. When it’s been cold, I’ve been known to wear a beanie, or my favourite item of clothing, a buff when out. The cycling cap, made popular by the riders of the late 80’s and 90’s, now seen worn by trendy hipsters, has a veritable place in the world of cycling.

But for some bizarre reason, I recently decided on impulse to purchase a couple of caps. So, adding to my collection of cycling apparel, we will see just how useful a cap will be. I can see the peak helping in that horrible driving wind driven rain I often find myself in, as well as the low sun, and as someone who is challenged in the head covering, avoiding that dreaded badgers head look of suntan through the vents.

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The Joys of single speed..

So, for the first time, in quite awhile I took the singlespeed out for a short blast. Mostly to get out the house for awhile.

And, I must say, I bloody enjoyed the short ride. Despite my initial disappointing outlook with the bike, I’m starting to really love it for the short, utility rides. It kind of takes me back to riding as a child.

The fun of the singlespeed, no gears to worry about, just your legs and a simple drive chain.The whole bike just made me smile riding it, it was nice to shed the road bike kit, not worry about the cycle computer whinging of average speed. To just enjoy the bike, and that’s, ultimately all it boils down too.

The new DMR pedals I had installed, worked brilliantly, my feet where never going to slip, given the pins where digging right into my shoes, and the size of the pedals are pretty much perfect. I felt comfortable getting out of the saddle to put power down, and get the bike upto a decent speed.

The day after, I went a bit further on it, basically down the cycle path to ripley and back, a good 8 miles. The bike was hard work, but not unmanageable, and again, enjoyed every minute of it. Every lump, every uphill. I guess it’ll make me stronger at any rate.

Single Speed Pedals

Cheap as Chips

Tired of these shitty pedals that came with my single speed, so a quick trip over to Wiggle, and I purchased a set of DMR V12’s.

I don’t need anything special, but for the money, the DMR pedals are ideal. Large platform, grippy and long lasting. That’s all I need, and no doubt the pedals will likely outlast this bike. We shall see what they are like when I take the bike off for a trip to town on Wednesd

Rock ‘n’ Roll

Sometime ago I wrote about trying Rock ‘n’ Roll Gold lube. I did try it, and its an odd lube to use. Its advertised as a cleaner as much as a lubricant. When using it, I found it didn’t last as long as my favourite dry Lube, Squirt.

You literally douse the chain at the cassette with this stuff, you don’t skimp with it, really soak the chain. Once you get over the strong petroleum smell, you run the chain backwards, while wiping. The solvents in the lube penetrate the links in the chain, causing any muck to raise up and get wiped off.

Keep doing this until you have a clean chain. Then reapply to get the lubricant in. Its a long winded job. The instructions do say it will remove other lubes, but I would still suggest a full clean and degrease before application. No doubt it will remove lubes from the same manufacturer, however more stubborn lubes will need a full clean.

The formulation goes deep down into the chain and traps any dirt. Then, with the energy of the chain freewheeling backwards, the dirt and grit floats to the surface so you can wipe it all off, leaving a new and clean application of lube inside the chain, where it’s needed. The lube down inside the chain creates a protective membrane to seal out dirt and moisture from the moving parts of the chain. As well as holding in place the best lube on the planet, for longer chain life, super smooth shifting and pedaling.

http://www.rocklube.com/about-us.html

But, once I was happy the chain was at least lubricated I went out on a ride. To me at least, the chain was noisy, and the lube didn’t last that long. Perhaps with more applications and time it’ll prove its self a bit better.

You never know, I might give it another chance when I clean off the drive chain next time and see what happens.

Clicky Click

On the last few rides I noticed a click, a metallic click that only happened when I was out of the saddle. So, out on the road, I made sure that the cable ends where not clicking or catching on my shoes, they weren’t.

The noise sounded like it was from the rear of the bike. Don’t let this fool you though, bike noises can travel through the frame and be somewhere else completely.

I knew however, the likely cause was the chainring bolts, as I’d recently replaced the chainrings.

So, tightening this bolt up to the recommended torque of 7nm, and noise stopped.

However if you don’t know what is causing the noise, just work methodically, push and pull things like your cranks, ensure bolts are done up to torque, and greased, check for play in bearings. Spin cranks backwards while looking for jumps in the rear derailleur, You’ll find it eventually.

Ovals..


In my last post, I said how I was wanting to try oval chain rings. Well, due to good fortune, I’ve come by some.

Absolute Black Chainrings

So, I stripped down the chainrings, threw out the knackered shimano bolts, and installed the new rings, with a helping of anti seize paste on both parts of the bolt. Just watch out for this stuff, a tiny spot on the fingers, and your finding spots of it all over for months. It’s really tenacious stuff.

Fitting them onto the bike, it’s noticeable just how odd they appear. They where easy to install however. I hadn’t changed the gearing, sticking with the same 50/34 the bikes always had. Installation meant I had to move the front derailleur up, to account for the greater height of the large ring. The official installations have instructions to fanny about with the limit screws. I didn’t have to touch those. I raised the derailleur, ensured the cage was parallel with the ring and then set the cable tension, ensuring the gaps were correct.

Testing the shifting, it was absolutely fine, didn’t drop or over shift, and each change happened as expected.

The first few rides, I never really felt any difference in the pedals, but a few rides, I started to notice a couple of things. Firstly, I was riding higher in the cassette (smaller cogs) because my cadence had shot up, to get my favoured RPM, I’d had to start using gears well up the cassette. This meant that I’ve also started to use the larger chainring a lot more than I ever have.

“Our Oval chainrings work because a rider does not produce power evenly through a pedal stroke; they maximize the part of the stroke where power is produced and minimize resistance where it isn’t. Oval rings make the spin cycle a lot smoother and are easier on legs while climbing. Believe it (or not), but a round chainring doesn’t transfer torque to your rear wheel as smoothly as an Oval one. You will actually feel your stroke to be more “round” with an Oval shape than with a round chainring.”

absoluteBLACK

Secondly, I was rotating the cranks easier, and for longer. I found it a lot easier to just keep going. Coasting was down and out. This may be down to the fact it feels smoother, less forced as that “Dead Zone” is overcome with the oval.

Graph showing values after oval chainrings installed.

You can see in the graph above, cadence is constant, speed and power are levelling out. It just seems easier to keep going. When sprinting, the power just seems more urgent, and direct.

Don’t get me wrong, these chainrings are not going to change you into Bradley Wiggins overnight, but they do, clearly make a difference, to me at least. I’d recommend, if you need to change worn chainrings, give them a try and see if they are for you. One of the drawbacks, I’ve noticed a few people looking, and noticing this weird wobbling thing. 😏