Bloody Weather

Weather Map

I don’t much mind riding in the rain, its a refreshing change. But it can be miserable as pleasurable. Large cars and trucks throwing filthy water in all directions, hidden holes in puddles and low visibility.

The Monsoon type weather we’ve been having here recently has rather dampened my riding. My chain is currently dry lubed, which means any long distance in much more than a light rain will see me squeak along the road, and a noisy bike to me at least, is incredibly irritating.

But ride I must, so its out with the overshoes, and long sleeved jerseys and off.

Wish me luck.

Multi tools

I’ve amassed a small collection of multi tools over a few years. They are definitely something you want on every ride, just like a spare tube. Don’t skip MP when buying a multitool. It could very well be the difference of walking home, or riding home.

Park Tool IB-2

by far, my favourite, and comes on nearly every ride, is the Park Tool IB-2

It has almost every tool I’d need for simple roadside help. It’s simple, well thought out and the tools have a decent length. Very light and small. However, the tools can get discoloured quite quickly, but it has no effect apart from being unpleasing on the eye. It’s also very easy to break down, clean and lubricate. If you do break it down, be sure to apply a small amount of threadlock to the bolts, there is a tendency for it to loosen over time.

  • 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex wrenches
  • T25 Torx® compatible driver
  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Dimensions: 75mm x 40mm x 18mm (2.87″ x 1.57″ x 0.71″)
  • Weight: 108g (3.8 ounces)

Lezyne RAP-21

Moving up in the tool stakes, this tool has a few more options, but larger, heavier and bulky.

It also has a bonus of a easy to use CO2 head. I find the flap for the chain tool flaps around, and the tools are a little short, as well as the small Allen keys are 90 degree angles on the head.

  • Hex 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm
  • Torx T25, T30
  • Phillips and flat head screwdriver
  • Chain Breaker: (9/10/11 speed)
  • Spoke Wrenches: Mavic Mtv, 3.22, 3.45
  • Tire Lever with open end 10mm wrench
  • Bottle Opener with open End 8mm wrench and disk brake wedge
  • Presta/Schrader Co2 Inflator

Quite the impressive list of tools. The finish of the tools is corrosion proof, and a high quality finish.
But, it’s not really a tool I carry often. Mostly due to the bulk. If I’m on a long ride, with a larger saddle bag, I might consider it, but it often plays second fiddle to the IB-2. The CO2 inflators, is always in my saddle bag, as it’s small, and a lot easier to use than the other inflators I have to hand.

Topeak Alien-II

This thing is an absolute monster. Virtually every tool you could need. But it’s seriously heavy and bulky.

Well, maybe not every tool, but each tool is strong and well constructed out of steel. I don’t think I’ve ever really had this out on many rides, it’s sat in my toolbox for a quite some time.

And the second most used tool I have at my disposal

Topeak Mini 20 Pro Multi Tool

I like this one, and it’s often found in my jersey pocket. It’s light, flat, and a good selection of tools.

Allen Wrenches
  • 2/2-L/2.5/3 (2 each) 4/5/6/8/10mm
  • T10/T25
  • 14g/15g/ Mavic M7
  • Shimano Compatible Chain Tool
  • Cast CrMo Steel chain hook
  • Stainless Steel Wire Tire Levers
  • Super Hard Anodized* (*The metal tire lever is designed for durability and for emergency use only)
  • #2 Phillips/ Flat Head
  • Hardened Steel/ with Spoke Holder
  • Chain Pin Breaker

All the tools are made from aluminium, and the body is steel. The tools are a little on the short side, but easily useable.

Easy to have in a jersey pocket, or saddlepack for when you need it, and the most common sizes of Allen keys for when you need them.

But whatever multitool you choose, don’t just let it sit there. You need to make sure it’s clean, rust free and the tools lubricated. Everyonce in a while, clean out any grit or crud and give it a drip of dry chain lube in the joints.

Wheels.. They go round.

Well, mostly they do. I use a set of Fulcrum Quattro, they are now a few years old but plenty of life left in them. But they did need a bit of TLC the other day. I couldn’t be bothered to change the bearings so I swapped them over temporarily for a set of Mavic Aksiums that I have hanging around the garage.

Look 566 2012 Mavic Aksium Wheelset

The Aksiums, are in all honesty, a cheap set of wheels and it shows in their performance. They are heavy and slow. The other thing I’d noticed, was their breaking distance is longer than the Quattro.

On the second ride with the magics, my average speed was much lower, and I had a lot more effort going into maintaining speed. Then the noise started. The constant eek eek noise from the free hub. Drove me insane.

So they have been removed, and the free hub bearings replaced in the Quattro, cycling nirvana restored.

Disaster Strikes!

I was well and truly blessed by mechanicals on my latest ride. I barley got 4 miles, in the pouring rain, and felt a thumping from the rear wheel. OK, I think that may be a puncture. Yup. The tyre was getting softer by the second.

So a push to the nearest bench, and a repair put in place. But, it was’nt to be. My CO2 cannister leaked out, and it was the only one I was carting around. So, removed the chuck from the valve, and the curse of the Continental inner tube struck. The whole valve assembly had come off in the chuck.

Ah well, cue a phone call for a delivery of CO2 Cannisters, so I could try again. Managed to get the valve core out the chuck, and put it back in as tight as I could. Trying the second cannister, it too leaked. The valve also came out again, and this time, I couldn’t get it out the chuck. Loaded the bike into the back of the car, and sheepishly got a lift home.

Back at home, I applied Locktite to the valve core and tightened it stupid tight. No way that’s coming out again. Lesson learned, always tighten Continental tubes well before they are needed.

Inflated the tyre, and then I saw it. A gash, deep into the tyre. Thats a write off then. It was impossible to see until the tyre was inflated to pressure.

Time to start looking at tyres. The Rubino Pro tyres I had been using, are good general tyres, not fast, but pretty sure footed and grippy. I looked at Vittoria Corsa, and ruled them out by the reviews I read about them being delicate and fast wearing. I finally settled on the Michelin Pro4 Service Course. Never used Michelin tyres, and I was happy with the reviews I’d read. So looking forward to trying them.

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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A road, that’s not a road

I was messing around with komoot the other day, and noticed a continuous road, from Brearton, exiting near staveley. So I thought I’d explore and see if it was passable on a road bike.

The answer was a certain no. I’d never actually been down the Brearton road, so riding down through a wonderful village, the road turns into a single track just after the church.

Riding down the track, it turns into very short stretch of rough road before ending in a gate to a field, where it continues across to the staveley road.

It was a nice little bit of single track to ride, be nicer if it actually went somewhere though 😉