Friday, 29 October 2010

Bike Porn Friday: Achoo and Repair Shop Special


Now there's something to sneeze at, a triple-butted, heat-treated steel croissant, fresh from the oven.

And although it's a winter run-around, NCR conquering hard-working machine, Dr Matt wanted to keep some of the paintwork protected from the elements, and in particular the industrial-strength locks required to live and work in London's famous London. The answer? Bike Cover protective vinyl, the sort of thing that you cover your smartphone with, to protect it from embrocation while looking at embrocation-vendor's 'apps' (programs). Matt's Condor Achoo now resembles some pipes covered in bubble wrap, rather than a French pastry. C'est la vie.

Meanwhile, if you are also in the mood for a second-hand croissant, and don't fancy supporting the virulent circuit of theft that operates on or ebay, then try our new pals at Going Going Bike. They clearly have good taste in photography, as well as in écriture.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

La Tristesse Endura [updated]

For some time, the Trois V have been thinking about an expedition of some kind; an adventure, even. After reconnoitering East Anglia, two of the club ruled out a Humber-based excursion on the sensible grounds of not enjoying headwinds. Brittany or Normandy were crossed off, as were the Cotswolds. This only left Wales, and our old enemy (no, not that one): National Cycle Network route 4.

This required kit. An alloy seatpost for Dr Matt. A canvas saddle bag for the same. A canvas saddle bag for Jon, who discovered that the last one that might fit had been sold to Dr Matt, and so reverted to an Ortlieb saddle bag. Some inner tubes. Some maps. And some train tickets. And with that, the interpedid Trois V headed west on an early train from Paddington (once Jon had arrived after dodging a London bus).

While we enjoyed our coffee and the view of rain-soaked countryside, the first intimations of the style and tone of the journey arrived. The train would not stop at our starting point, Bath, since the locals had stolen some copper from the signals, and we were being diverted. Fine; we saved 30km or so. Bristol would do as a departure.

However, its status as a Cycle City was rather lacking, although the denizens were keen to point out in a passive agressive burr what they regarded as our transgressions (one-way street, cycling on the pavement to avoid their road works). We had our first tumble, a swearing competition, and feebly muttered 'Flotsnoo' from Dr Matt. Eventually, we worked our way out of Brizzle, to find ourselves stood in a field, near some hulks, beside the M5, surrounded by cowshit (despite the 'No Shit, Thank You' sign), in the drizzle, with a puncture. And a tyre ('tire') that refused to be removed or replaced. Thank you Continental (or Mavic). This said, it was a truly spectacular metal pin that nipped Jon's inner tube.

Onwards. To the bridge. Over; and our first unvieling of the flag (Colgate University (formerly Madison University and Hamilton Literary & Theological Institution) on Welsh soil. And we discover our new anthem: 'Colgate! [crash!!] Alma Mater [ccrrasshhh]!'.

Next installment: Annie's pub.

Trois V!


Friday, 22 October 2010

Bike Porn Friday: The Key (Pocket) to Success!

Much discussion has taken place, both on this site and during club rides, about keys, the pockets in which one keeps them, and the dangers and experiences and expenses of losing them, whether they belong to you, your loved ones, or indeed, anyone else. On my short ride on Thursday morning (my first time out on the bike since the Welsh Tour, about which we have yet to write a single post), I debuted the "key pocket" on my new 3/4 length cycling shorts, which I bought at the annual sale of a well-known London cycle clothing (and, apparently, "embrocation", whatever the hell that is) company:

The "key" element (try the veal!) of this pocket is that it has a zipper, which means that even if you need to make a hectic emergency "comfort" stop, the chances of your keys landing in the same place as your waste, or in a hedge nearby, are minimal, at most.


Play us into the weekend, Doug:

Friday, 15 October 2010

Bike Porn Friday: Size Matters

Mine goes from 36.4 inches to 111.5, Dr Doug's (aka Voxpops) goes from 35.7 inches to 109.5, and Dr Matt's goes from 30.8 inches to a measly 101.1 inches.

'Poor Dr Matt', you might be thinking.

You also might be thinking 'what on earth is he on about?'

Well dear reader (I am assuming our readership has dwindled due to our pathetic lack of posts and failure (as yet) to relate tale of our Welsh adventures), I was ill this week, and spent some of the time on the sofa refreshing my memory on the subject of bicycle gears.

My mind had been troubling as to how the two Doctors had managed to leap, gazelle-like, up the Welsh alps, whilst I wheezed and walked my way up like a rhino.

Partly (mostly) the answer is that they are much fitter and thinner than me, but partly, at least in the case of Dr Matt, it was down to what he was packing at the back.

Of his bike.

In terms of gears.

Bicycle gears are often measured in inches, with the inches standing for the diameter of the direct-drive wheel you would need to have to give the same distance of travel for one revolution of the pedals. Or, slighty more simply,think of a penny farthing, with the cranks attached to the big wheel at the front and the wheel turns at the same speed as the cranks. The gear inches measurement tells you, for any gear your bicycle happens to be in, how big a front wheel it would have to have were it magically transformed into a penny farthing. The bigger the size of the wheel, the harder it is to pedal.

You calculate gear inches like this:

Gear inches = Diameter of drive wheel in inches × number of teeth in front chainring / number of teeth in rear cog.

Or you do what I did and turn to the late, great, Sheldon Brown and use his completely marvellous online calculator.

But anyway, as you'll see from the measurements at the top of the page, Dr Matt's smallest gear (i.e. when the chain is on his small chainring and biggest cog, giving him the greatest possible mechanical advantage) is a walloping 6 inches of diameter smaller than mine, meaning he goes up hills faster for the same amount of effort. His tyres are narrower too (as are Doug's) which makes a small difference.

I always said that six inches was significant.




Friday, 8 October 2010

Bike Porn Friday: Smiles!

It's been a long week. Trois V have left some of the knees, hands and parts of chain across National Cycle Route 4. We are still licking our wounds, and preparing our postmodern, multiple narrated accounts, while getting through a very busy week (Dr Matt has been drawn out of his bookish comfort zone to find out what .NET WPF webbrowser class, .js and .apsx means, for example)

So, in the meantime, a variant on Bike Porn Friday: Friday smiles

Flotsnoo! Trois V!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Bike Porn Friday: Born in the USA!

The TroisV is riding to someplace called "Fishguard" this weekend, but last week I was in the nation of my birth, and riding on borrowed bikes:

One of those is a Trek somethingsomething cross bike. It has situpandbeg handlebars and also shocks; I'd never ridden a bike with shocks before, and didn't realize that I was doing so until about halfway through my ride (which after a night of lots of rain, made the bike very dirty). The other one is a Bridgestone Trailblazer mountain bike. It squeaks. Both of these bikes belong to my father (hi, Dad!). Here they are, gazing at Lake Michigan, which t-shirts will tell you, is unsalted:

Sing it, Boss: