16 Sep 2013

16th September 2013

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Monday 16th 52F, 11C, windy, heavy showers. The forecast is not nice at all. With rain or showers all week. The strong winds only add to the misery. It's weird but my painful shoulder actually feels better after trimming a tree with an extended pole tool. I was having to lift my arms above my head which had been absolute agony for some time. I was also working on another project which involved some heavy lifting. Perhaps the rotation and unaccustomed exercise has helped?

My hip is now just an occasional ache when I move awkwardly but often hurts more when I lie down. The pain varies considerably when I'm riding my trike. I really must contact the physiotherapy clinic to see what they suggest might help. A doctor's recommendation reduces their charges so it might be well worthwhile to have expert advice. The doctor thought I had greatly reduced freedom of the right hip joint. I haven't had the results of the blood tests and have an ultrasound scan of my shoulder later in the week.

Inspired by Chris Horner's climbing style I was riding out of the saddle as often as possible over the last few days. I still haven't worked out why it is so painful when it is not really much different from walking. Though it does place more of the load on the front part of the feet where walking emphasises the heel. My wife complains that I don't walk enough these days. While I think I walked enough for several lifetimes when I was younger. I never run and don't even know if I can any more. I worry about overloading my knees or even injuring myself. Which might/would put a stop to the cycling at least in the short term. Once the habit is broken I might lose the drive to go out.

The Sony Action Cam fixed on the Sony Action Cam handlebar clamp is totally unfit for purpose unless you enjoy a continuous, loud, dull roar. Careful examination of the camera in its case suggests that the camera is supported by little rubber tabs. Except at the bottom where it rests directly on a thin plastic moulding resting on the bottom of the hard plastic shell of the waterproof case. I'm wondering if it is possible to float the camera more efficiently so that it is completely clear of the case with only rubber in contact with the camera. This would involve the removal of the black plastic moulding and substituting thin rubber foam.

The waterproofing is of little interest (to me) provided I avoid heavy rain. So carefully perforating the case for better external sound pick-up might be worth trying. Wind noise is the obvious drawback on a moving object like a bike or trike. So making holes in the front cover is very unlikely to be particularly helpful. Even the addition of some soft filtering material is unlikely to reduce the roar of the wind and may preferentially reduce the desired ambient sounds.

The camera clamp and mini tripod have arrived. You'd almost think the clamp was made for the Sony. Though I might want to use a rubber band around the free end for belt and braces security where there was any risk to the camera. The bottom bar clicks to adjust the length while the top clamp is spring loaded. About £15 equivalent online for both clamp and tripod including postage.

I'm also wondering about the ridiculous amount of flaring when the lens catches the sun. This may be a negative feature of the waterproof case as well. Hopefully the tripod clamp will turn up soon and I can experiment with the bare camera to eliminate the case from the equation. Perhaps adding felt tabs over the naked microphone ports in the front to dampen wind noise. I hope you will forgive the endless description of the problems I'm having with this camera. I'd hoped to become a vlogger to add interest to my blogs. The Aldi Medion action camera videos were so dark as to be worthless. I'd hoped for much better from the Sony in anything less than very bright sunshine.

A short ride between, during and after showers. Luckily I had my overshoes on because the roads were more puddle than tarmac. 8 miles. I might go out again if it clears up as promised. Not today.

Watching the world's elite cyclists all climbing Honister Pass at 10 rpm cadence was most amusing. The triumph of style over function rears its ugly head yet again. With every wannabe 'weekend warrior' following exactly the same blind alley in stone age cycle equipment specs like their heroes. Not too ashamed to look like beginners. Too proud to add an inner chainring. Just imagine what all those sprinters could do with a lower gear instead of constantly falling off the back on every climb.

And in breaking news: A team of local amateur archaeologists is disappointed that a cloudburst has finally washed away what was thought to be medieval glass lying on a cycle path in a local village. "It had been lying there for so long that it had thickened at the bottom just like you find in medieval buildings," said a disappointed blonde spokesperson, who asked not to be named. "We were working hard to raise funds to bring in specialists from the local council with brooms and shovels. We hoped to train them to gather the remaining shards from the debris moraine lying outside a local junior school. But the chance is gone! The cloudburst washed it all into that bottomless pothole right outside the school entrance. We just don't have the funds to organise a serious cave dive to those depths."

Tuesday 17th 48F, 9C, very windy, cloudy. Rain or showers forecast all day.  My ISP has increased the speed of my optical fibre broadband connection to 50/50Mbits/sec. My free antivirus takes a huge chunk off the upload speed. Wireless just makes it all (much) worse even with the router right beside the USB stick. Another rest day doing other things. I don't even enjoy watching other people riding in the rain let alone doing it myself.

Wednesday 18th 51-58F, 11-14C,  just a breeze, sunny, cool. The promised rain did not arrive. Gloves with fingers today. Rode the Higgins for a change. Problems with the chain slipping in most gears. Odd because I'd fitted a new chain and new middle chainwheel. Need to get it up on the work stand to have a proper look. 15 miles.

Putting the Higgins on the workstand later only improved the indexing slightly. Without riding it I could not tell whether the chain would still jump. I ran a tap through to clean the threaded cable adjuster hole in the Tiagra rear changer and tried alternative cable dressing without improvement. There is still an indexing error of slightly excessive changer movement regardless of cable tension. I'm using Campag Ergo 10 levers with Shimano 9 speed. I'll see how it rides tomorrow and check for chain stretch too.

The difference with the Trykit is mainly down to the Higgins' greater weight, unexpected twitchiness in a straight line and narrower track. It doesn't have the frame stiffness to resist pedalling of the oversize, stainless steel Trykit tubing. I managed to lift the inside wheel a few times on the narrower Higgins but was still cruising at 20 mph in fairly still conditions. Slower on the return with a massive bag full of shopping.


The bottom bracket and pedal bearings are much freer on the Higgins than on the Trykit. Which is odd considering that the Higgins has the cheapest Shimano SPD 520 pedals. They spin completely freely for quite a long time. The much more expensive 780 SPDs on the Trykit hardly spin at all. Which is the complete reverse of expectations.

The Bottom bracket set on the Trykit is a Shimano square axle type. The Higgins has a fairly cheap MTB Shimano Hollowtech II chainset. The Trykit rear axle is also much stiffer in turning. The Higgins rear wheels can be left spinning on the workstand while I do something else and I come back to find them still spinning. The Trykit's stop fairly quickly and won't roll slowly to their balance point like the Higgins. Unlike the Higgins, the Trykit is non-adjustable. The bearings are located by circlips in machined grooves. The only possible variation would be to re-machine the axle shoulders. Or adjust the thickness of the central spacer in the Trykit 2WD freehub for a little more end play.

Despite the apparent extra friction the Trykit feels a lot more fun to ride. Giving a real sense of urgency completely lacking in the "leaden" Higgins. I wonder whether the much higher mileage on the Higgins explains the stiffer bearings on the Trykit? The Trykit has only 4500 miles on it since I started riding it in the second week of March. The Higgins (with Trykit 2WD fitted) has travelled several times that distance with the components mentioned above. Though the axle journal bearings are smaller on the Higgins trike with the smaller Higgins fit hubs. The Trykit has oversize Trykit fit hubs. I might try spinning the axles without the 2WD freehub sitting in the centre. Just to see if more end play has any effect. I can also check the bearings and axles individually for freedom of rotation.


There are a lot of bits in a Trykit 2WD trike axle. These are Trykit's hollow axles. The four large, axle support, journal bearings each have some seal drag. Though they felt much the same as each other when turned by hand. I suppose a racer or time trialist might want to experiment with alternative bearing seals or none at all. Thereby giving up some longevity and reliability for the sake of slightly reduced friction. The bearings would be exchanged as often as the competitive type is willing to part with the necessary funds for new replacements. The tourist will be more grateful for the protection offered by the standard rubber seals.

Tyre drag may easily dwarf bearing friction. A roll down test in still air on a hill would be useful to test any changes. The run could be timed or distance travelled measured if a suitably flat run out or even a rise is available. Why such data for every popular tyre, over a range of pressures and loads, is not freely available I have no idea. But then, much of the billion dollar cycling industry is amateur beyond words when it comes down to actual science. Even the top pro teams can't provide their riders with suitable clothing for changeable weather! How amateur is that? They spend thousands on reducing bike drag by a minute fraction and then they ride along for a hundred miles with their coat tails flapping in their self-made breeze!

I am often surprised how difficult it is for me to keep up with a cyclist free-wheeling downhill. They are sitting bolt upright without moving a muscle. While I am pedalling like hell, nose on the stem, completely breathless and being left far behind! Surely having three tyres doesn't make that much difference? The weight is spread over three rather than two treads so the difference in drag should surely be reduced a fraction.

The journal bearings in the Trykit 2WD freehub are usually neutral with regards to friction provided one keeps pedalling. They merely support and centre the freehub on the inner ends of the axles. The hexagons on the axle ends are driven by the pawl carriers. These hollow axles do feel much lighter than solid axles. Note the 6 pairs of pawls to each axle drive. By sharing the drive loads over so many pawls and matching ratchet teeth in the freehub they are likely to easily outlast the owner. The journal bearings provide almost hermetic sealing for the pawls.


Thursday 19th 52F, 11C, sunny, dry. I have just been to the hospital to have my shoulder ultrasound scanned and x-rayed. Just as I was returning from the terminal, with my valid patient parking ticket, I noticed a private parking warden coming out from behind my car. I assumed she was just patrolling. Only later, when I came out of the hospital, did I realise she had left a parking ticket for 510DKK in the short time it had taken me to reach the ticket machine! I have entered a formal complaint with the company and will await their response.

Went out on the Higgins again. Chain still jumping in most gears. I shall have to dig deeper. Surely it can't be every sprocket worn out on the cassette? The chain measuring tool said the chain was still far too new to show any stretch. I have the usual safe wrap on the largest sprocket and largest chainwheel. The jockey pulley cage seems as springy as usual. The body adjusting screw is relaxed to provide maximum wrap with minimum pulley to sprocket clearance. It's certainly not the indexing causing the skipping. Only 10 miles.

Closer examination with my stronger reading glasses suggests that I need a new 9 speed cassette. The teeth were viably rounded over. I'm a martyr to lack of accommodation. (Optically speaking)  Thanks to cycling (and blogging) I no longer need a distance prescription in daylight but need two different strengths of reading glasses!

Friday 20th 50F, 10C, completely still, grey overcast. Any early showers are supposed to clear. Trykit still in pieces so went out on the Higgins again. Still struggling with the jumping chain. Bought a new 9 speed cassette and head bearing set.  I just hope the headset isn't too tall to fit the poor old Higgins forks and head tube. 19 miles.

I finally bought some more engine cleaner so I could clean the Trykit's cassette, jockey pulleys, chain and chainwheels properly. It said to leave it on for 5 minutes before washing off but I'm going to leave it overnight. I've been using a "dry" chain lubricant with suspended Teflon and it seems to build up and go black where there isn't any direct contact.

Even after dismantling the cassette, half an hour of scrubbing away with a toothbrush still hasn't completely cleaned the hardened residue from the sprockets. More frequent chain cleaning would obviously help but I only remember it when I'm out. By the time I return I've gone blank again. I ought to have a fixed rota but I'm too lazy and forgetful to stick to it. I'd much rather be riding than cleaning. Should have it all back together again tomorrow morning. I've been busy re-polishing the stainless steel frame with Scotch Brite again. If only the Higgins was that easy.

Saturday 21st 50-58F, 10-14C, quite still, light showers and sunny periods. I started reassembling the Trykit, had everything laid out outside, when it started raining. Everything had to go back in the shed for five minutes. Then it stopped raining for the rest of the day. I spent another hour dismantling and cleaning off more grime on the drive train.

Even when I had cleaned the chain several times in a tray with engine cleaner it was still filthy. So I ran it several times through the chain cleaning machine on the trike. Which sprayed more filth filth all over the newly spotless frame! Half an hour running the chain through a series of rags finally cleaned off most of the filth. I can't remember how much I paid for this 10sp  chain but I don't think it was cheap enough to simply discard. Not without making an effort to clean it. Back to the grindstone.... Finished!

Spent the rest of the day on a rare outing in the car. 150 miles sightseeing? Crackers! There was a lot of road and bridge repair work going on along our route going both ways. With long stretches of very low speed limits between concrete bollards. We were constantly being overtaken left right and centre as I refused to exceed the marked speed limits. Several cars overtook long convoys of slow moving traffic at 80mph plus!  Their need for speed is always far greater than our right to survival. A triking rest day today. Isn't it typical? No wind today. Gusting to 17m/s tomorrow.(37mph!) Bøøger!

This Siemens wind turbine was larger and slower turning than those usually found on mainland Fyn. One of a group of three on the West coast of Langeland as we picnicked on Danish pastries and teabag tea.  We watched as a huge flock of gulls moved restlessly between and around the moving blades as a tractor trundled steadily back and forth. We saw one gull time it badly and tumble for a moment or two. Though no carcasses were visible on the smooth, bare soil as we drove back from the beach by way of the very narrow track. 

Sunday 22nd 54F, 12C, breezy, sun fighting with high clouds. Trees already swaying. Rode to Odense then back by another route on the Trykit. A strong headwind coming back. It drizzled once. Lots of cyclists out training. A few waved. Gears indexing needs attention but otherwise the Trykit was okay. Glad to be back on it after riding the Higgins for a couple of days. I'm going to try a double chainwheel front changer on the Trykit to see if I can overcome the useless changing on the Ultegra triple front changer. I just need  to find a double changer which fits my oversize seat tube.  My box full of old changers are all old fashioned seat  tube sizes. The GripGrab Dr.Gel gloves were so horribly sweaty in the mid 50sF that I had severe problems taking them off and worse problems getting them back on again. They'll only have to be used below 50F. I bought these for spring and autumn. To replace my collection of £5 supermarket cycling gloves. 37 miles.

Pm. I cleaned, filed, sanded then coated the bottom of the Higgins steerer tube with Chemical Metal. It supposed to harden within 10 minutes but there is no point in rushing ahead when tomorrow will do. The bearing seat has been missing since purchase on eBay. It was coated with what looked like Araldite but it had worn away through use. The bottom race has been sloppy and wore rapidly as I recycled by remaining collection of head bearings. With each change of bearings it soon became impossible to take up the slack.

I finally decided to do something about it when it became dangerous on the last ride. It became so stiff to steer that I was in real danger of going under any passing lorry. I was literally zigzagging along a main road. Unfortunately my lathe isn't big enough to swing a pair of forks. The drop-outs hit the bed. (so to speak) So I shall just have to file and sand the bottom race seating to a nice tight fit on the bottom race and hope my Higgins steering troubles are over.


Click on any image for an enlargement. 

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