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.

New Parts Day

The replacement parts for my single speed arrived. New chainring and cranks.

That’s obviously a job for the weekend, along with installing the new brake callipers that are sat waiting to be installed. First impressions of the new crank are good, it’s quite light, and stiff and looks good.

So, time will tell how it works out of course. I got round to fitting the new callipers, however, the front cut down on the available space for the mudguards. I had to cut the front off the guard, so it ends just behind the Caliper. Only time will tell what difference this makes, but it has the added benefit of stopping the rubbing that no amount of tweaking cured.

Shouldn’t be a issue, as the spray back should be caught by the rear part due to tyre rotation.



A Pootle Around

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.

A simple route

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.

See.Sense Ace

So I’ve had the New Ace lights for awhile now, and have been using them on both day and night rides.

They are designed for commuters, their power output is low, however it’s noticeable, not quite as retina searing bright as the Icon+, but they get the job done.

Ace Rear

But, there are issues. First off was battery life. Initially, it sucked. They would run out of juice just sitting there on the desk, meaning a charge every day. A firmware update went a long way to curing this, unless you are an Android user. The companion app took months to arrive from see.sense, they blamed the exit of their developer, and farmed it out to an external company. A release was made, but it lacked almost all the features, and was pretty much only able to turn the lights on an off. So if you wanted to update the firmware, you needed an iOS device, or at the very least a mate with an iOS device..

Now, in the latest Kickstarter news letter, they’ve stated an in-house android developer will soon be starting, so hopefully we shall have a passable android app soon(ish).

Other than the poor development and battery life issues, they really are quite a good set of lights for commuting with.

The mounting options for the lights are first class, you get a multitude of mounts as standard: including a seat-post mount, aero seat-post mount, and bag clip, which I use to mount to the back of my jacket as I’ve two rears, so one on the seat post, and one on my back. There have been reports of lights falling out of the cradle, but I assume this is due to not being clipped in correctly. My lights seem to be in solid when clipped in correctly. See.Sense, to my horror lobbed a poor innocent bike off a roof, and the lights stayed on, that was the icon2, however it uses the same mounting system.

The ACE lights feature the same intelligence of the previous lights, with a little more processing power. They can track changes in movement, g-force, and ambient lighting; tailoring the light output to the conditions and surroundings: for example, on a quiet road the light lets out just a gentle pulse, but if a car’s headlights are detected then the light lets out a sudden burst to increase awareness.

The reactivity both noticeably improves road presence, compared to a regular mid-power flasher. My only continued niggle with the reactive element of the See.Sense lights is that the sudden bursts of light from the front light can be a little distracting. This is because the light is designed to have good side visibility, which unfortunately includes the upper side too – upwards towards your eyes, should you have it mounted horizontal on the bars. To be fair, my favourite daytime lights also have this issue, the Exposure Trace. A sliver of electrical tape however remedies this.

The Smartphone integration allows you to tailor the output of the light to further improve battery life. It also allows you to use the movement sensor as a theft alert. Both useful features, if they ever get the android app to release.

Sunday Funday

Went out for a quick spin on the bike, not to far as I was time limited. On the cycle path down to ripley, there was the normal glut of dog walkers, joggers and families out enjoying the traffic free route for a day out.

Kids where veering all over the path, going different directions from what their parents told them too, randomly stopping. Did this annoy me? Nope. It’s great to see the cycle way being used how it should be, smiles on people’s faces, happy kids trundling along. I’d rather deal with that, than some of the certified nut jobs behind the wheel of two tonnes of potential death.

And too think, the county council want to run a bypass right through the middle of it.

MucOff Bio Grease

I’d previously written about mucoff BioGrease, and I wasn’t impressed at the time. I’ve decided to give it a bit more of a chance. Previously I’d used it in the wheels, and it went south pretty quick.

This may of been due to the high spin speeds on the hub, the BioGrease is more designed for low rpm high sheer, such as headsets and bottom brackets. So, from here on, threads and headsets will be slathered in BioGrease, and the wheel rebuilds will be the stinky, incredibly tacky blue, which works well in high revolutions applications. So let’s see how it handles the dry summer months.

But don’t forget, any grease is better than no grease, use what you have on hand, and enjoy the maintenance of your bikes as much as riding them. After all, your bike gives you a lot, give it something back!