26 May 2014

26th May 2014

Monday 26th, 64-68F, 18-20C, sunny and almost still. No walk so far but at least I have been busy. One of the Shimano M520 SPD pedals is too rusted up to allow tension adjustment. My cleats have been pulling out when the gear indexing on the Higgins goes wrong and the pedals suddenly jump. I keep adjusting the indexing on the rear changer but it just won't behave properly in all gears with the Campag Ergo levers in charge.

I presume Shimano considers all their SPD pedals as cosmetically disposable. The finish and materials cannot cope with rain and road salt. Perhaps people are expected to clean and lubricate their pedals after every winter ride? The tiny, very shallow and rusted, hex socket of the adjustment screws are incapable of taking any real torque from the hex key. While the pressed steel body of the pedals and the tension springs rapidly deteriorate to a rusty mess. The chrome plating is very short lived so the initial cosmetic appearance is rapidly forgotten. You'd think that stainless steel would be the material of choice here. Being so tough SS could be made much thinner and lighter with no loss of strength. Perhaps they don't have access to SS in Malaysia? Perhaps Shimano simply deem their pedals as disposable in the gravy train, "performance" accessories market?  

Interestingly(?) the M520 pedals have always spun incredibly freely. Give them a flick with a finger tip and they just go on spinning for ages. While the more expensive M780 have always been too stiff to spin more than a turn or two with finger pressure. I suppose it could be that the seals are more efficient but have much higher drag on the M780s. So much for paying more for higher quality!

My Higgins [Trykit 2WD] rear axles and wheel spins very freely. They go on for several minutes with a good spin. The wheels will even rock back and forth to try and balance the valves as the come to a stop. Even pressing back against the double freewheel ratchets. These axles use oversize journal bearings with rubbers seals.

However, the Trykit wheels stop very quickly when spun. Again the rubber seals on the [even larger] journal bearings are likely to be responsible.

There is probably little need for the inner seals where they face into the sealed axle housings. Only the exposed seals need to keep the bearings clean, dry and lubricated. I'm not sure whether it is safe to try and remove a single journal bearing seal from one side.  I remember Chris Hewitt saying the cup and cone trikes will leave journal bearing trikes behind on a descent. He was right! I have asked Geoff Booker to look at the freedom of my axles while he has my R931 trike back at his workshop for repair.

Lubricating the seal lips nearest the axle with light oil makes no discernible difference to their drag. Nor does time and many thousands of miles polish the inner race to reduce seal drag. There has been no change from new. Perhaps metal seals would be better than rubber as far as drag is concerned? I remember skateboarders used to swap the supplied, cheapo, rubber/plastic sealed bearings for metal sealed examples. That was probably over 30 years ago and I expect the practice is still the norm.

Journal bearing, seal drag might explain why many other cyclists can just freewheel away from me downhill. While I am literally turning myself inside out trying to keep up! It certainly isn't tyre drag which is slowing me down as my nose causes condensation on the handlebar stem. I run narrow, slick 700 x 25C HPs at 85-90PSI. Yet I am still dropped on descents by freewheeling pensioners on upright roadster bikes. Fitted with balloon tyres, with deep treads and voluminous mudguards. While they are wearing huge, flapping, polyester, winter jackets! No criticism of pensioners intended. I qualify as one myself. I even seem to wear almost as much polyester as they do. Except that mine is garishly coloured and doesn't flap!

Left late to shop. Three hours to do 22 miles including visiting 8 shops and two libraries. Forgot to take water and was parched. Seemed to be going better today despite the headwind. With improved cadence on the Higgins "beam engine." I might just fit the 160mm crank triple from the Trykit while I wait for its return.

Tuesday 27th 58-64F, 15-18C, windy and bright. I had followed the track right until the end of the woods and then was baulked by a drainage ditch. Having become completely disorientated in new surroundings I eventually found my way back to the main road thanks to the traffic noise. I hate walking along this busy road. Which is frequented by mammoth, East European lorries using their car GPS to take short cuts along completely unsuitable roads.

Why should I have to walk defensively because the road is dominated by the registered blind, drunks, psychopaths, drug abusers and social inadequates? 5 miles of mostly overgrown forest tracks and vast marshy fields with very long grass, wild flowers, reeds, Marsh marigolds and nettles. Plus two miles of busy road. I disturbed a small deer almost at my feet in the dense undergrowth. I'm not sure who was more surprised! Quite a few hares along the way too.

I went out on the trike after lunch in to a strong crosswind. It felt more like a headwind. The 160mm crank chainset has transformed the Higgins. It even improved the indexing.

The sea of yellow is now an ocean of tangled seed pods.

A great load of heavy shopping and I still overtook a young chap on a long uphill drag. I also fitted a water bottle cage while I was at it this morning and was able to take frequent swigs.  It clouded over and become even more windy on the way back. 15 miles. Tilting the B17 saddle slightly nose up has stopped me sliding forwards. It isn't necessary on the Trykit because of the different geometry but I am more stretched out on the Higgins.  

Wednesday 28th 48-54F, 9-12C, blowing a gale, overcast. 20 degrees (F) cooler than a couple of days ago! It's enough to make my eyes water. And did. Enjoyed a quiet walk to watch hares racing around. The daft things were so engrossed in playing tag that they came quite close to where I was standing. Not sure how riding in this wind could be considered constructive or even sensible. In fact t wasn't too bad when I set off before lunch. 14 miles wrapped up as if it were (almost) a winter's day. Despite another heavy load of shopping I even detoured up a long hill just for the fun of it. My endurance, when climbing out of the saddle, is increasing steadily. Just as my quads are growing in sympathy. Odd, considering that my knees were hurting earlier in the ride. I'll have to check the saddle height.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

No comments:

Post a Comment