1 Jan 2014

January 1st 2014


Happy New Year!
I hope you like the new format.

Wednesday 1st 39F, 4C, breezy at times, heavy overcast, early rain drying up to a few puddles. As is my habit I went for a ride on my trike. Saw a couple of riders out training and we exchanged seasons greetings on the fly. Several cars passed with mountain bikes attached to rear racks. Presumably heading for a New Year competition somewhere.  The laced B17 saddle is still pleasingly comfortable. I really wish I had tried this sooner.

A nearly all-white woodpecker crossed my path and landed on a tree right beside the road. Presumably a Lesser spotted rather than the big chaps [Great spotted] we often see in our garden. A buzzard passed low overhead but I don't think it saw me as potential lunch.

I ran a rag over the Trykit to clean off the slight accumulation of  winter crap. Thanks to the excellent Crud front mudguard and Reynolds R931, stainless steel frame, cleaning is now only rarely required. It seems obvious, but a front mudguard is beneficial in so many different ways. Of course it keeps one's feet dry but it also offers the ability to cross puddles and run-off without a qualm. This freedom should not be underestimated in traffic. Where one does not wish to swerve nor brake hard with nowhere to go. The long and slender Crud has proved an excellent purchase.

A 'normal' mudguard rattles, catches the wind and is usually rather heavy thanks to the metal stays. Tempting one to either leave it off permanently. Or to remove it again at the earliest opportunity when fitted. Which leaves one open to a drenching in unpredictable weather. Not so with the Crud RR Mk2. It has become such a desirable feature that I had quite forgotten its presence. The avoidance of the crust of road filth underneath the down tube and bottom bracket makes it even more worthwhile. With billions of slugs dying on the roads each year the muck was often difficult to remove without mechanical aid. On a painted, steel frame this inevitably removed the finish and vital rust protection. Not to mention the crap which adhered to the gear cables. 16 miles.

Thursday 2nd 39F, 4C, breezy and overcast with rain expected all morning. It never stopped raining all day. As there was no pressure to go out I took a rest day. SJS Cycles tell me they have sent another Shiftmate. This one actually registered on Royal Mail track and trace!

Friday 3rd 40F, 4C, overcast, breezy. Windy with rain forecast after lunch. An hour's walk in a stiff wind but it stayed dry. Then a heavy shopping trip for 17 miles. It tipped down in wind blown sheets on the way home. Fortunately I had worn the Aldi jacket and my overshoes in anticipation.

Saturday 4th 42F, 6C, windy, overcast but dry. Walked for an hour and a half through soggy fields and woods. Rain is forecast for later so I'd better not hang about if I'm to avoid it. It didn't rain. I saw a surprising number of birds of prey today.  The rear gear changer cable broke 10 miles from home! I whipped out my trusty old Mechano screwdriver to adjust the Ultegra Hi screw. Though I only  managed to get the chain onto the 3rd smallest cog when it was screwed right in. Still not a lot of fun in such a high gear on a hilly route into a headwind. 20 miles.

Replacing the cable was easy enough provided the small gear change lever had been pressed repeatedly to put the lever mechanism in top gear. (I had already moved the chain onto the top gear sprocket) The old cable was badly frayed where it had broken about 2" from the nipple. This would put the damage at the lever cable exit where it joins the outer on the bars. Without removing several layers of handlebar tape I wasn't going to be able to examine this area properly. The outer fits in a deep hole in the lever body anyway.

The Campag outer sleeve, (longitudinal) core wires were also rusted (?) off at an angle where the outer fits into the down tube adjuster. I snipped the end off straight with the cable cutters before threading the new inner cable through. Oiling the adjuster sockets regularly may help since water collects here as it runs down the cables. A small puddle was still sitting in the adjuster body socket from yesterday's rain.

I need to find a neat way of tidying up the long length of spare computer able. I have it wrapped loosely around the brake and gear cables and it looks very scruffy and amateur. I didn't have any luck with a wireless bike computer and the cadence models are very silly money. I removed the Cateye Cadence head and discovered a white mess in the shoe and on the back of the computer. It looked like bird shit but how would it get there? I kept getting intermittent readings so had recently polished the contacts with a clean cloth. It wasn't visible dirty last time. All very odd.

I found a 3W rechargeable diode headlamp very useful for working on the trike in the semi-darkness of the shed. It would make a very decent front light for the trike provided the weight of the battery pack wasn't a hindrance. Though the manufacturer says it is not officially approved for cycle use. Presumably they mean that it hasn't been examined by the regulating authorities and given a pass. I can't see how the broad spread of light would be a serious disadvantage in visibility on the road. Though the lamp body could take a simple collar to narrow down the floodlight beam if necessary. A bit of PVC plumbing tube would probably do.

Sunday 5th 39F, 4C, overcast, calm. Rain promised for late morning. I have to reach a shop about ten miles away which has a 10am opening time. So the Aldi jacket may come in handy again. I'd better check the gears with the trike up on the work stand before leaving. No time for a proper walk and it is still quite dark now at 8.30am. I was allowed early coffee and rolls after checking the gears and then trundled off at about 9.30.

It was spitting with rain most of the way there and gradually increased to steady rain after the shops. As I was already wet but not particularly uncomfortable I detoured for a more hilly route back to the last village shop. By which time I was really quite wet but not particularly bothered. I'd forgotten my Aldi jacket and could feel my winter jacket leaking cold at the shoulder seams. Even one of my Dintex gloves began to feel a bit damp inside but it may have been because of inserting a wet hand. 26 soggy miles. The sun came out just after I put the trike away and headed indoors. It is brightening up nicely now!

Click on any picture for an enlargement.

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