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.
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.
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.
I’m not sure why, but my recent 12 mile ride, was quite possibly the one thing that’s really got me wanting to be back on my bike. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the comfort of the bike, the correct use of the gears, the ease I found it, or maybe it was the look of pure joy on a toddlers face as he sat in front of his father on a mountain bike.
I don’t know what it was, but it’s what cycling does, it makes you forget all your problems and worries. It gives you that feeling of euphoria as the endorphins flood your brain. It’s pure and unaltered fun.
The only part of the ride, that I hate, is the initial run down the A61, it’s a fast road, and some cars don’t give you the room you need. I always feel slightly sick while I’m on the road. But it’s a short run until the right hand turn onto Nidd Lane, and not long till your at the entrance to the very posh Nidd Hall Hotel.
Skirting along the wall of the Hotel grounds, it’s almost a mile of quite easy flat, you’d be hard pressed not to get a 16mph average, before you hit the main downhill section as it dips down a tiny valley. Watch your speed, as there is a tight right hand bend. Then, a short sharp whack up, you should be able to carry a lot of speed up the hill, drop the gears and power up the last bit before the flat and back to the ripley roundabouts. But a warning to everyone. The relatively short but fast downhill you can if you push it hit 40, but that corner forces you to lean hard and be quite close to the centreline. There is also a lot of run off in the corner, which leads to a loose gravel surface that you could easy wipe out on. So care is needed.
Then it’s a gentle push back up the cycle path to home. The cycle path is fantastic. Depending on the time of the day, you’ll see Rabbits, weasels, pheasants and all other random animals. Once I had a barn owl fly right in front of me for a good 4 minuites before it got bored of playing that game and veered off. It was one of those magical moments that just make it special.
As you’ll know, if you read this, I’ve often suffered with pain on the bike. However, that may now be a thing of the past.
I’d made a couple of changes to my position, lowered the saddle until it was clearly too low and moved it back up in increments until it felt just right. I also moved the saddle forward in the rails to compensate for the lowered position. The stem replaced down to 90mm, with a 7 degree rise. I also changed the bars from a 44cm to a 42. The bar is more of a compact than my fizik cyrano bars. The difference was incredible. I felt a hell of a lot more comfortable, my shoulders weren’t bunched up, a bend in my elbows. My knees are a little close to the bar ends, but I can cope with that.
4 miles in, no pain and my wattage was up and cadence had increased. 4 miles back home, and just the regular sore thighs because I’m fat and unfit. But non of that crippling upper thigh pain.
A few more rides just to be sure, but I’m fairly confident that these changes might of worked.
I went out the other day for a ride. Only the second ride for a good few months, and still had the dry lube on. I’d applied squirt lube, and this ride was very wet. I mean it wasn’t just a bit wet, it was properly chucking it down. I’d not had reason to think of the lube during the ride.
Gear shifts where remaining crisp and even, chain noise wasn’t an issue. I’d heard that Squirt was a good lube even in the damp, and this certainly was a wet ride.
Getting home, I dried off the bike, and did the ritual of spraying the derailers with GT-85, and running the chain through a rag to dry it off, the lube had gone a little runny with the rain, but it was still there doing its job.
Squirt really is a great lube and well worth the cost. It is however time to change back to the wet lube now the winter is here…
Night rides give a whole new lease to the normal routes. Familiar roads and lanes have different and often creepy appearance.
But lightened by my trusty Volt 800, the roads lit up, the noises of various animals scurrying around the path edges the only sound.
Busting the light upto 800, more than enough of the path was illuminated for me to feel comfortable riding at 20mph, at least until I came across a deer, which was as surprised to see me as I was it. For a couple of seconds, it just looked at me, not quite sure what todo, before exploding over the fence into the night.
My See.Sense rear icon+ Light however died. Plugged it in to charge, and the charge light came on as normal. When I went back sometime later, the charge light was off, signalling the end of the charge cycle. However, the light would not turn on. Neither could I get it to connect to the companion app on my phone. Eventually the low battery light flashed and it connected to the app, which report zero battery. Plugged it back in, nothing. No charge light, no charge going in. Its dead jim. Contacted see.sense, who have asked for the light back to see what’s happened, so hopefully the reportedly excellent customer service see.sense are known for will sort it out.
Enjoy a good night ride, it certainly can bring back old routes to life.