Ding Ding!

I don’t use a bell, I just don’t like the way they look on the bike and find them to be impersonal and demanding to people. I do ride cycle paths, often busy ones. But I prefer the verbal “Excuse me, coming past on your right/left” I find more people just step to the side with a thank you as I pass. Whereas with a bell, they stop dead and turn around to look.

Occasionally I get “you need a bell” or some other banal comment as I pass.

However, now I’m getting annoyed with people, I have bought a “Knog Oi” bell. Which is the only answer to not having an ugly dum bell on the bars, the Knog basically hides it self away, to be used as and when required. Its the best solution I can find.

Light up!

It’s that time if year again. Time to dig out the lights, although some say you should always run lights. And there has been times I’ve not noticed a cyclist due to having a backdrop of dark.. Or dappled light.

So you get your lights out the cupboard, find a charging lead and hope their still holding a charge. Mine where, but the volt 300 just dos’nt really cut it for me now. I’ve got a Garmin varia system as well, but tend not to use it since switching over to the wahoo elemnt.

So off to buy a new front light. But as is always the case with me, I came back with two. I stayed with cateye, and decided on VOLT 800 for my main light, which I rely on too see, and a swanky set of See.Sense icon+ lights for my too be seen lights.

One thing I really like about the volt is a double click no longer sets the light to epileptic inducing strobe, instead it switches the output to high mode. This is much more sensible. The high mode is great for the unlit cycle paths, even the medium setting of 400 lumens will do on them, but it’s good to have the 800 lumens setting to fall back on.

These see.sense lights are something special, they have a certain level of intelligence being able to sense light and motion. So brighten in dark areas or car headlights, junctions and slowing down. They are my permanent lights, now the days are shorter and more gloomy. They pack one hell of a punch in the output. Some might say they are stupidly bright, but brighter the better too be seen in the day light.

My lighting system now features two front lights, a flashing light and a solid on the front, and a flashing and solid light on the back.

Back Pain

On my recent rides, I’ve been suffering with a bad lower back. It tends to come on gradually after 10-12 miles. I tried everything from seatpost, seat height and angle to stem and handlebars. Nothing helped.

But recently I bought a new pair of shoes. A rather punchy pair of Sidi Kaos.

And what you know, backpain gone. Not even a twinge. To make really sure, the next ride I did in my old shoes and the backpain was back in an instant.

I’m not sure exactly what the issue was, but different shoes cured it.

I tried a few different shoes before the sidi, but all just didn’t work for me.

Fizik R5b had the cleat mounts really, and I mean stupidly forward. There was just no way I could get the cleats central.

Giro shoes I tried, but they where all incredibly narrow.

The Sidi are snug, but very very comfortable for me. Initially I had pain in my right-foot due to foot roll. However fitting superfeet black and two specialized wedges sorted that out. So generally very happy with the Sidi just got to get a long ride into them yet, they’ve only done 40 miles so far.

Speedplay

I’m an avid user of speedplay. However, I’m now Considuring going back to SPD-SL because they have discontinued the origional zero cleat and only now supplying the walkable cleat. And I hate that cleat.

While the new walkable cleats do solve many of the issues reported with the origional cleats, they bring their own drawbacks. All of which I despise.

I’ll stick with speedplay for awhile longer, see how it goes but I might have to start practicing the old poke and clip.. 🙂

Never stop learning

ConfusedHeadscratchSo, on today’s ride, I had an issue with gear changes. The rear Derailleur would not shift down from one particular cog. So it was onto the repair stand when I got home.

I looked at the rear Derailleur, looked fine and moving fine. The hangar looked straight and true. So the process of elimination was almost complete and I moved on to cabling. I shifted to the highest gear and made some slack in the cable system. The rear housing looked fine, cleaned it off and applied some oil to the cable.

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” — Arthur Conan Doyle

The bike still did it. Would not shift down over the second highest cog. Thinking I’d checked almost everything, and it was down to a cable tension issue I was considering ripping out the whole system and re cabling. But before that I thought I’d just try adjusting the barrel adjuster at the top of the down tube. Low and behold, the bike shifted fine after slacking that off slightly. So with no cable tension, I removed the cable from the adjuster, and there was a shed load of grit in there. It must of been thrown up by the front wheel during a rather wet ride I had a couple of days back.

Sprayed a good helping of GT85 in the adjuster, oiled it over and reassembled. It was shifting like a dream again.

So the whole moral of the story, is one of trouble shooting the system, work backwards, don’t head down blind alleys and you’ll get there.

Jockey On

I’ve not had much luck with after market jockey wheels. I tried the BBB ceramics pictured, but they would have a tendency for riding over the chain on the lower jockey wheel requiring a back pedal to reset. 

This might however of been due to the derailleur hanger being out of line, I don’t know. The stock jockeys seem to have a range of float, so they arnt really affected by hangar alignment in a great way. 

But now, as my stock jockeys are considerably worn, it’s time to replace them. So I’m revisiting the alloy jockeys. 

Only time will tell if a straight derailleur hangar solved the chain mesh issue. 

More Maintenance headaches. 

Been quite a maintenance heavy week. I decided to change the cassette and chain, and after changing out the chain there was a terrible metallic scraping noise from the front derailleur.

I could not see where it was scraping on the derailleur, so I changed the cabling, reset the derailleur. Still the scraping. Looking at the inner chainring, there was a slight deformity to some of the teeth. Nothing major, but it was enough to keep hold of the chain on each rotation.

So, decided to replace the inner ring, as it had done nearly 3k, but finding one was harder than I thought. These things where rarer than hens teeth, Everyone was out of stock. However chain reaction sent an email the next day, they had four in Stock that day. I grabbed one while they had them, they where all sold by the end of the day…

Dismantled the drive chain, full clean and fitted the ring. All good. Bolts snugged down and ready to go.

Bike rides silently again. Back to the pleasures of silent running!

But getting used to a 12-25 cassette again..