24 Nov 2014

24th November 2014 Lazy Lezyne Road Drive

Monday 24th 45F, 7C, breezy, heavy overcast. Rain possible all day. The wind has finally gone round to the SW instead of the continuous easterlies of the past months. So now we get the grey/black smoke from yet another neighbour's chimney. Many homes in Denmark probably suffer worse air quality than even the Chinese communist mafia bosses can offer. The fact that both countries rely on coal fired power stations speaks volumes. Had a pleasant walk in bright sunshine. The horizon was sharp for the first time in what seems like months.

The ride went much worse. Not a happy bunny at all! I punctured a Continental 4000Shite 9 miles from home. Then discovered the POS Lezyne alloy mini pump could not be made to work. The damned flexible hose was irrevocably jammed in the body! With no way to get any purchase on the ridiculously narrow knurled fitting it would not budge without access to a pair of pliers. Without a pump I could not change the inner tube. So I limped the 9 miles home on a flat rear tyre.

Once safely home I discovered that the 48 LED panel light I had bought for the hall was covered in scratches. An obvious returned goods item that had not even been checked before placing it back on sale.

So now I shall have to order a new set of Schwalbe Durano tyres in 700 x 25C and grease the Lezyne POS hose fitting. The only, mildly positive aspect of the whole charade was that I had not removed the tyre and punctured inner tube before discovering the POS Lezyne POS mini-pump wasn't functional without extra tools. The puncture was quite slow at first so I had hoped to just re-inflate to get home.

The Lezyne 'Road Drive' pump is a design disaster waiting to happen. Note the closeness of the knurled fitting to the pump head and the badly corroded thread. It took considerable effort [with a good pair of pliers] to free this corroded thread! Just so I could remove the flexible hose. No human finger pressure could have undone it. Those who own this pump should check now for easy removal of the hose. Just in case you face the same problem as I did miles from home. I smeared the thread with silicone grease to ensure easy removal next time. The pump has been fitted to its Lezyne seat tube clamp for many months without being exercised.  I have only rarely used the Lezyne pump thanks to an almost complete lack of punctures using Schwalbe Durano tyres. 

Changing an inner tube when the tyres are all sopping wet and plastered in tiny flints does not bode well for long term air-tightness. One's hands are immediately covered in "sharp sand." Which is instantly transferred to the brand new inner tube.

That's 2 punctures with the Continental 4000Shite in just over a fortnight. Never [ever] again!! 19 miles.

Tuesday 25th 34F, 1C, still and cloudless. It should be a bright, dry and quiet day. Ideal for a ride? Except that I really can't trust the Continental tyres and will have to wait for online delivery from Germany. Danish bike shops haven't heard of any other tyre width than 23mm. I know this because I have "done the rounds" several times before giving up and ordering online. Besides, most Danish sites only list the Durano Plus. It took literally ages just to find the lighter 25mm Durano Performance in 25mm. I wouldn't have minded trying 28mm for the winter but can't fit one on the front due to clearance problems with the mudguard.

Even the 25mm is a constant and noisy drag as soon as the tyre picks up any grit or mud. Which is very commonplace on rural roads where farming is practiced. The mudguard usually clears quickly but I can't lift it any higher. Even when it hasn't rained the mudguard saves my cycling shoes from getting wet from the frequently, dew-wetted roads. Had I know all of this I would have asked for more clearance on the forks when ordering the Trykit. Not Geoff Booker's fault at all. I had delusions I would only use the Trykit on dry, still, sunny days. The Higgins 'Ultralite' would continue to be my workhorse. I still had delusions back then of tearing around the countryside, on much longer rides, like a race fit teenager.

While I am certainly much faster than most "ordinary" cyclists my age is inevitably taking its toll. Living in a constantly windy region can be a serious hindrance to greater distances. Not just through exhaustion but the time required to cover the required miles at an inevitably, lower speed into a headwind. Once my average speed falls much below 10mph it can take all day to reach my intended goals and return safely.

I removed the inner tube and found no puncture while submerged in water. The 'Continental' valve core had fallen out as I unscrewed the locking tip. So initially I thought I was looking "only" at a loose valve. Having carefully checked the tyre for flints and thorns I replaced the same inner tube. It seemed to be holding the 90psi until I checked after ten minutes and found it had lost some pressure. I submerged the wheel rim in water and discovered a fine stream of bubbles issuing from the side wall of the tyre. So there was a small puncture AND a loose valve core. The inner tube had to come out, checked the tyre again and then fitted a new inner tube. I'm waiting to see if this one holds pressure before taking advantage of the unusually fine weather.

Rode to Middelfart by what passes for the coast road. Though views of the sea are often distant. Came back by inland main roads and then country lanes. The POS Cateye Cadence computer packed up repeatedly. It obviously hasn't had its contact pins polished enough this week. The Ventus GPS logger died half way back due to its old-aged lithium battery.

Finally splashed out and bought a pair of Northwave Celsius GTX MTB cycling boots for the winter. Overshoes don't keep the rainwater out of normal [well ventilated] MTB shoes so my socks often get wet. Even the wind can feel cold through the MTB shoe soles too. The boots are much better sealed and have a Goretex membrane beneath what looks like normal ventilation mesh. Some quick snaps show the general idea. A smooth, tough outer shoe houses an internal padded sock. One with eyelets and a tensioning lace and buckle. 50 miles.

Wednesday 26th 41F, 5C, grey, cool and windy. Went to buy some genuine Shimano SPD cleats and some spare inner tubes from the nearest bike shop. 21 miles. Fitted the new shoe cleats to my new MTB boots before going out to try them. Dark grey and increasingly windy later. The new NorthWave MTB boots feel very comfortable but I may have overdone the sizing slightly. I went up a size from my Northwave MTB shoes to allow winter socks. Or even two pairs of socks in really cold weather. I wore a medium weight smooth pair of socks and could feel a little slop when climbing and sprinting out of the saddle. Though this was without much effort being put into the boot's own, inner "sock" tension lace. A couple of large flaps provide plenty of Velcro adhesion to the outer and closing off direct access to wheel spray. I have yet to prove them in wet weather.

Given their purpose they should be fine when I need the extra warmth of doubled socks. It seems strange now that I used to go out regularly in very light trainers in temperatures below -10C. My toes and fingers often used to ache viciously from the bitter cold. It took me several years to discover suitably flexible "scooterists" gloves. Even then it wasn't easy to find gloves without protective the usual motorcyclist's knuckle pads. I found the so-called "winter gloves" by the big names in cycling apparel are simply crap much below 40F. By far the worst were SealSkinz! Horrible things at a ridiculously inflated price. Despite generous sizing I couldn't get them back on after stopping in rain. Now imagine riding home for m miles without gloves in bitterly cold and wet conditions. Lethal crap!

Unfortunately my favourite scooter gloves have now been discontinued so I can't recommend them to interested parties. I have two pairs and they seem to wash and last really well. Browsing in a motorcycle shop may turn up something similar. Just remember that you need considerable flexibility and feel to be able to change gear and brake safely. Don't undersize for cold weather gloves. You also need to be able to get them on and off easily when they mat get warm and damp. Another 10 miles for 31 today.

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