Adventure Easter holidays


Made the most of the easter break and a slight break in the weather to head up the road from Glasgow to see my girls who were on holiday at their grans the other side of Perth.

Planned the route on Strava and off I headed taking the touring bike with a load and choosing some hills so that it was also a sort of training session.

heavy does a tour-3halfway up the Crow road – first time I have stopped and taken pics

heavy does a tour-2

Crow road nice surface – good for 75kmph on a good day

Headed over the crow and the route goes NE and the wind was from the NE so wind in the face all day.

Up to Stirling and then up a really steep wee route up the back of the Wallace monument up Sherrifmuir road past the pub that looked so inviting.

heavy does a tour-6

Onwards into the wind and then greeloaning Gleneagles passed the golfers cursing the wind then past Dunning where i stopped to greet the witch ..

heavy does a tour-12heavy does a tour-13

Got a few niggles with the bike – one is brakes that don’t wrap around the fender enough … and a heavy bar bag that means hands off cycling is hard … but on the plus side shelters the hands from the wind and keeps them warmer.

2016-04-13 13.46.14

Screenshot 2016-04-15 11.10.30Sugar then a night at Grannies with the girls.

heavy does a tour-16

and the weather improved for a different route home.

heavy does a tour-27

One road discovered where i was joined by two very pleasant ladies in their 20’s who were practicing for the eTape as well. This road has great ascent and then smooth downhill … try it if you going anywhere near Perth … HERE

heavy does a tour-38

Down to Falkirk and then an easy ride down the canals home – thinking of cake sped me on and I had some easy PR’s on the canal although I think the other time was a 29er into the wind and this time it was behind me.

Screenshot 2016-04-15 12.46.17

mercian to perth-1

250km over 2 days but the highlight was what I saw – heron, buzzards, lots of future mint sauce baby lambs and that witch monument. the highlight seeing my girls who had made bunting and sewn me a special medal …

2016-04-14 08.08.07

 

 

La weekend


Friday decided not to work and packed the pouring bike for a ride – a jolly ramble with camera, lunch, spare clothes etc.

Screenshot 2016-03-21 09.32.53

not the nicest day – and weather was close cold and misty BUT I was on the bike and had a good ride. Does pass up from aberfoyle and at the other side decided not to carry on to Callandar and instead returned along my route ….

2016-03-18 11.59.26

One of my longer rides as i rarely go more that 100km and also on the bike which i weighed on my return at 25kg … ouch. Will need to take this into account when planning my touring. Epsom salt bath on my return.

Sunday – my friend Jim called to suggest an early ride Sunday am. He has limited time now after his wife passed away 6months ago and with the two girls watching Sun morning telly he had a gap of 2 hours … so my him at his place 8:30am on what can only be described as a peach of a day. Over the Crow north I thought my fork had too much play – think the shop didn’t quite tighten it enough … so quick change and back to the top heading South

2016-03-20 09.54.26

my legs felt good so gave it some welly both sides of the crow but still 2 min down on my best times …. 2016-03-20 09.58.39

Jim was just happy at being out. Coming down the other side we are pelting along 50kmh+ when i hear jim shout ‘SHEEEEEEEPPPPP’ … brake hard … these most intelligent animals wait until you are 20ft away before dashing across the road. Past the corner speeding up and I see yet more Wooly Jumpers on suicide missions (actually more kamikaze as we would be killed) so descent is much more sedate than normal.

Screenshot 2016-03-21 09.47.50

 

Screenshot 2016-03-21 09.32.24

Some pics from this week – mountains and a bike ride


ben ledi -1

Up Ben Ledi – warm on the bottom slopes with all the effort

ben ledi -12.jpg

wind sculpted snow

ben ledi -23.jpg

liking the symmetry

ben ledi -25.jpg

below freezing

mhor ride-1.jpg

that would make the perfect weekend cottage …

mhor ride-3-2.jpg

old school OS maps

mhor ride-5.jpg

mhor ride-7.jpg

rob roys grave (maybe)

mhor ride-12-2.jpg

mhor ride-14-2.jpg

picnic

mhor ride-30.jpg

sublime path

mhor ride-32.jpg

A good week despite the weather


Last week the work commitments cleared even if the weather didn’t. Chose to run when the weather was at its worst but then parts of the late week looked peachy if cold.

THURSDAY

Went out for a ride on the beautiful Mercian steel tourer. I have been reading articles about whether it was better to load some of the weight rando style into the front panniers which lowers the CoG (centre of Gravity) opposed to rear. Now the forks on the Mercian have a decent rake and it responds well to the front being loaded.

2016-02-11 11.11.29

For longer tours I would load all 4 but this was a test shake out with medium load for short tours.

 

mercian lomond-5
frost steel and cold hands

 

So off I went on cold 2C morning with frosty canal paths. The bike handled well and I relaxed into the ride – most of the time on the Lynskey road bike I have half my eye on the stats on the GPS and find myself getting uptight when the average speed drops below 27kph. Stopped at loch lomond for a pic of Ben lomond over the water covered in snow …This was far more sedate winding my way up to loch lomond then looping out to Helensburgh.

mercian lomond-6

This was far more sedate winding my way up to loch lomond then looping out to Helensburgh.

Screenshot 2016-02-18 11.29.17

Friday was a short 7.5km run but Saturday was mixed with a break in the weather forecast.

SATURDAY

Munro Bagging and Ben Ledi was in my sights but even on the drive up to Callander it looked like I got the weather a bit wrong.

failed ben ledi-1

A bit too much snow on the hill for no crampons – and visibility was a bit short at the top – and there are too many cases of walkers going missing for me to be a knob about having to do it …. This weekend alone 2 of 3 elderly walkers caught out have died in hospital and a young couple on a valentines trip are feared dead and possibly buried by an avalanche in the Ben Nevis range. So a sedate 12km walk around the woods near the base was good enough for us – still got to blame my better half for the weather as every time she comes with me to climb the weather sets in …

SUNDAY

Back to Glasgow and out for a ride on my other road bike (one neglected could get jealous)

Over the crow road my normal trip / training ride. Again pretty cold but the Rapha Pro Team jacket I bought has been absolutely fantastic this past winter. In fact, when the temp is above 8C, I think it may be too hot to wear.

Rapha-Pro-Team-Jacket-AW14

They are expensive but so far it has been worth every penny. The only missing chink so far are my gloves – have a very wintry Sealskins MTB pair and then the next are more summer long fingered so getting cold hands if I don’t opt for Sealskins…..

Back to the ride – it was one of those rare perfect wintry days.

 

2016-02-14 11.20.47
snow on the Campsies

 

And the Crow road actually had snow and slush all over it once you cleared the car park on the bend. But still I mad a new friend at the top even if they weren’t very chatty.

2016-02-14 12.12.26

Was very peaceful at the top …

2016-02-14 12.13.11

So another ride in and gradually building up the miles – this work business definitely getting in the way of play.

 

Screenshot 2016-02-18 10.58.39
The crow ride as told in pretty colours

 

 

Steel yourself – metal back in fashion for road bikes


I myself am a ti fan but modern steel especially stainless steel (stronger pound for pound than titanium and also has no rust issue) is coming back onto the road scene. People realising that Carbon – especially cheap carbon bikes are a flawed concept and a waste of money.

ROAD.CC

While aluminium enjoyed a brief period as the material of choice for professional road racing bicycles, the same can’t be said for steel; it was the dominant frame material during much of the 20th century for bicycles of all descriptions.

In the world of professional cycle racing, each of Eddy Merckx’s 525 victories was aboard a steel bike, but the last time steel won the Tour de France was in 1994. That was Miguel Indurain, who won his fourth of five Tour titles on a Pinarello bike (but it was reportedly actually built by Dario Pegoretti).

– Is there still a place for steel road bikes in the age of carbon fibre?

You might well think the advance of carbon fibre would have rendered steel obsolete, but that has never happened. Steel is (and always will be) a really good material for building bicycles frames, because it’s light, stiff and durable – your local blacksmith will be able to repair a broken steel frame… just try getting a broken carbon frame easily repaired.

Enigma Elite Frameset - riding 2.jpg

Some cyclists refuse to ride anything but a steel bike, so enchanting is its ride quality. It’s not as widely available as it used to be though, but that is changing as it has become more fashionable in the past few years, with the new wave of bespoke framebuilders choosing to work with steel.

If you want a custom bike, steel is the most versatile and affordable option. Bespoke carbon fibre will cost you a fortune and good luck trying to get a bespoke aluminium frame, leaving steel to become the main choice in the growing bespoke framebuilding sector. Aluminium has now become so cheap to manufacture that you can now get it on bikes costing from as little as £165. 

Steel tube manufacturers, such as Columbus and Reynolds, thankfully haven’t given up on steel, and in fact the opposite has happened, they’ve been investing in new tubesets. The latest steel tubesets, which include the latest stainless offerings, are now lighter and stiffer than anything Eddy Merckx used to race, and a viable alternative to carbon and aluminium.

– Custom built frames: The choice, from steel to carbon

Here then are 15 of the best steel road bikes.

Cinelli XCr Stainless Steel (link is external)£3,128.99 (frameset)

cinelli.jpg

When it comes to iconic bicycle brands, there are few quite as iconic as Cinelli. This is the Italian company’s XCr Stainless Steel frameset, which it describes as the “jewel in its range”. We can see why. Handmade in Italy, the TIG-welded triple butted XCr wonderfulness with laser etched graphics has a claimed frame weight of just 1,420g.

Condor Fratello Disc(link is external) £699 (frameset)

Condor Fratello.jpg

London’s Condor Cycles is both a bike shop and bike brand, and its Fratello touring bike is its most popular model, showing that there is a lot of demand for a sensible steel frame. The frame has been carefully refined over the years, and the latest update is a move to Columbus Spirit tubing with some custom shaping taking inspiration from Condor’s racier Super Acciaio. And it’s available with disc brakes now as well, making it the ideal winter training, Audax or commuting bike.

Review: Condor Fratello Disc

Donhou DSS1 Signature Steel(link is external) road bike £4,385

Donhou Signature Steel.jpg

Tom Donhou is one of the new wave of young framebuilders specialising in steel and his bikes have been well received, with a particular focus on disc brakes that led to the development of the DSS1 Signature Steel. It’s an off-the-shelf bike with a frame made from Reynolds 853 and an Enve carbon fibre fork and tapered head tube.

Review: Donhou DSS1 Signature Steel 

Enigma Elite HSS £1,499(link is external) (frameset)

Enigma Elite.jpg

The modern steel tubesets are a long way from the skinny steel tubes of yesteryear, and the Enigma Elite HSS is a fine example of how good a contemporary steel bike can be. It uses the latest Columbus Spirit HSS triple butted tubeset with a beefy 44mm diameter head tube and combined with a carbon fibre fork, it displays the sort of ride that would make you question all other frame materials.

Review: Enigma Elite HSS 

Genesis Bikes Volare(link is external) 10 £999

volare-10.jpg

Even though Brit brand Genesis Bikes now does carbon fibre, it has partly founded its reputation on fine steel bikes. It’s also responsible for raising awareness of race-ready steel bikes, with its Madison-Genesis team racing the Volare at top level races over the past couple of years. By working with Reynolds, Genesis developed new tubesets to meet the required stiffness and weight of a race frame.

It now produces a range of Volare road bikes and it has ensured that a race-ready steel bike can once again be affordable, with the entry-level 10 costing £999. It uses a Taiwanese made double butted steel tubeset with a 44mm head tube, carbon fork and Shimano Tiagra groupset.

Review: (link is external)Volare(link is external) 40

Holdsworth Professional Italia(link is external) £999.99 (frameset)

holdsworth professional.jpg

Britain used to boast many local independent framebuilders, and Holdsworth used to be one of the most famous names in British cycling and framebuilding. The shop closed down in 2013, after 86 years, but the brand has been resurrected by Planet X and it now offers a range of heritage frames. The Professional Italia is the top-end model and features Columbus SL main tubes and polished XCr stainless steel dropouts.

Independent Fabrication Club Racer(link is external) £1,750 (frameset)

ClubSteel_02-700x460.png

It’s not just British frame builders that are bringing steel back into fashion, there has been a similar increase in popularity over in the US too. Long-running brand IF Bikes, started in 1995 out of the ashes of mountain bike company Fat City Cycles, offers a range of steel road bikes including this Club Racer, a traditional road bike with all the fitments for light touring, making it an ideal winter bike, commuter or Audax choice. It’s available with disc brakes as well.

Kona Roadhouse(link is external) £1,699

roadhouse.jpg

The Roadhouse is Canadian company Kona’s classic steel road bike, with a Reynolds 853 tubeset and thru-axles front and rear – making it one of the only steel road bikes with thru-axles we’ve ever come across. A tapered head tube and carbon fibre fork beefs up front-end stiffness and it’s bang up to date with flat mount disc tabs and, of course, it has mudguard mounts.

Buy it here(link is external)

Mason Resolution(link is external) £1,459 (frameset)

Mason_Cycles1533.jpg

New Brit brand Mason debuted with two frames, and chose Columbus Spirit and Life tubes for its Resolution. There’s nothing much traditional about this bike, with internal cable routing, disc brakes and space for 28mm tyres and mudguards.

Review: Mason Resolution

Mercian Cycles Professional 853 Pro Team(link is external) £1,020

mercian.jpg

Started in 1946, Mercian Cycles is another long-running UK steel framebuilding business that is thriving today, using traditional framebuilding methods and building each frame to order and made-to-measure. Choosing a frame involves using the company’s online frame builder tool, which lets you chose a model, tubeset, geometry and other details you want on your future bike. The Professional (pictured) has been selling since the 1960s, when it used to be a flagship racing bike. It can be built from a choice of Reynolds tubesets including 631, 725 and 853.

Ritchey Ascent £975(link is external) (frame only)

ascent-break-away-frameset.jpg

Legendary bike brand Ritchey Cycles has introduced the new Ascent for 2016. A little bit of history. The Ascent used to be a mountain bike back in the 1980s, but the name has been reintroduced as a do-everything steel touring bike, with space for big tyres and eyelets for all racks and mudguards, perfectly suited to the latest gravel bikes trend. It’s a versatile bike, including the option of taking a 650b wheel with 2.1in tyre (a bit like Cannondale’s Slate).

Ritte Cycles Snob(link is external) £1,999

ritte snob.png

We were impressed with the carbon fibre Ace from US bicycle brand Ritte Cycles, and the company also produces frames in metal, including the Snob. It’s constructed from stainless steel tubing with oversized profile tubes and a tapered head tube, and compact geometry. You can choose between a regular rim brake or disc brake version.

Rourke Framesets (link is external)– Reynolds 631 frameset from £995

rourke.png

Rourke Framesets offer a wide choice of steel bikes with a selection of tubesets available to meet different budgets. The custom frame business is headed up by Brian Rourke who has 25-years of road racing experience, and uses this expertise to provide a full bike fit service, to ensure your new bike fits perfectly. Rourke offers framesets in a choice of flavours, from road race to Audax, and complete bikes built to your exact specification.

Shand Cycles Stoater (link is external)£1,395 (frameset)

Shand Stoater.jpg

Shand Cycles is a Scottish frame manufacturer and produces a number of different models, but the Stoater is its do-everything frame designed to be as versatile as you need it to be. Like the modern crop of cyclocross/gravel bikes, the Stoater has space for wide tyres and the frame is bristling with mudguard and rack mounts.

Review: Shand Stoater

Stoemper Taylor(link is external) £1,899 (frameset)

01-Stoemper Taylor.jpeg

Portland-based Stoemper takes a lot of inspiration from Belgium for its Stoemper Taylor, a frame made from TIG welded True Temper S3 tubing and a classic road bike geometry. The tubes are oversized but not by the same measure as some more modern steel bikes, with a non-tapered head tube providing a classic appearance.

The 5 ferry route – what is all the fuss


Friday morning, I look at the forecast and it looks good for the weekend. I decide to do the 5 ferry challenge and take the touring bike with panniers and spare just in case the scottish fine weather also includes hail, snow, sleet and pouring rain as it is want to do.

Friday evening and a few too many whiskies whilst listening to my new valve amps …. so Saturday 7am blurry eyed I wake and zip into town to get tickets and the 8:30am train from Glasgow to Ardrossan. There is comic con in town so lots of weird and wonderful kids (and kidults) in costume are everywhere.5 ferries bike ride-2 5 ferries bike ride-3

long weekend and on this Saturday morning everyone with a bicycle is getting squeezed onto the Ardrossan ferry for the sailing to the island of Arran. I have done trips to Arran many times and have never seen anything like it. There is carbon and ti bike porn everywhere, skinny tyres and portly riders in a long snake pushing onto the vessel.

5 ferries bike ride-8

5 ferries bike ride-5

5 ferries bike ride-7

Breakfast on the ferry is a custom so despite only cycling 5km so far – I have to partake.

5 ferries bike ride-9 5 ferries bike ride-10

Up the east coast – its 19 miles to Loch Ranza but its slow going as I stop about 5 times to take pics – letting the portly 3 musketeers overtake me 3 times and then i catch up again.

5 ferries bike ride-12

The road throws in one fairly stiff climb before the descent into Lochranza. Quick photo and i just make ferry number two.

5 ferries bike ride-24

5 ferries bike ride-15

We climb and then drop down to work our way up the coast road to Tarbert. It has a busy harbour fringed by tourist shops, cafes and bars we miss this ferry by 3 minutes and see the ferry pulling out so I head back with 2 other roadies to a cafe for soup …

5 ferries bike ride-16 5 ferries bike ride-28

The ferry takes us across Loch Fyne to Portavadie and another climb. There are stiff little grunting climbs, but the views are wonderful.

5 ferries bike ride-31 5 ferries bike ride-33 5 ferries bike ride-34

Over on ferry number four to the small island of Bute for quite an easy section of riding. This is a good thing as my legs are shot. In Rothesay I admire the loos as I have been here a few times on the yacht … but I don’t need to pay to spend the proverbial penny this time …

5 ferries bike ride-36 5 ferries bike ride-38 5 ferries bike ride-39

Boat then train home – a very quick steak then out to the pub with a pal and a perfect excuse for 4 pints

5 ferries bike ride-41

Screenshot 2015-09-27 20.17.05

Peach autumn days


it was one of those magical days. I dropped my car off this morning for its first service and cycled back along the canals on the Brompton …. The sun was out with hardly any clouds so I thought that work could wait and I would head out on the bike. I didn’t fancy a Lycra clad road pelt out on normal routes so I got the Steel Mercian touring bike out and headed for the canals.

  

   
Popped in to friends studio but he was down in London so phoned the gf and met her for lunch at the Beeb

  
Canal loop is nice through older parts on the g with the sport of old – pigeon racing still practiced as evidenced by all the dovecotes. 

  
30 miles all in – nice

Me arse !!!!! – a weekend on the bike


saturday 5am and the alarm goes off – up pick up some others then drive down to to ardrossan to get the 7am ferry to Arran.





Great ride but suffered from lunch onwards as my legs were shot – 120km nice





Today was easier went up to Loch Katrine with the lady for a jaunt down the lake – stop for lunch – then ride back. No Lycra no helmet 





Great day great weekend

The good lady and the new bike


The good lady had her birthday yesterday and it coincided that it was the first day since Saturday that has seen sun.

Saturday she picked up her new bike on cyclescheme – a genesis Tour de Fer touring bike – which has been delayed due to some issues with the fork.

Screenshot 2015-03-11 14.29.39

Was a peachy day – but don’t think I have ever cycled so slowly – she better speed up or she will be touring alone (or still cycling whilst i set up tent, cook dinner, watch a movie and have a wee nap)

But lovely to take in the views and enjoy the sun with a real feel of spring in the air.

M B day-2

The Genesis Tour de Fer is a thing of beauty

M B day-4 M B day-5

My mercian was being shunned by the camera on the Tour’s first run out – but that Reynolds 631 is a beauty too ……

M B day-3

A ride to change my minds focus – a great Saturday


The great ride

So I read on Friday that the Mediterranean blow torch was on its way. Not a result of the Scottish referendum which is another whole blog post which I won’t be writing but rather a band of warm weather that is headed up to the UK from Southern Europe. It is the last blast of an Indian summer and the driest September on record.
So Saturday was a day to hit the pave on the bike. Initially I had planned to take the road bike on the ferry and cycle around Arran which is a great ride but it meant taking up the whole day catching the train down to the ferry at 8:30am and only getting back to glasgow around 5:30pm. So I planned shorter and had a lazy morning in bed and then pulled back the curtains to the torrential rain.

Now here is a plug for an app for the iPhone and iPad called dark sky – it is a paid app but one which I have found to be really accurate. It even tells you where the nearest rain is so you could plan a route according to where the rain is and what direction the wind is blowing.

Well it was 11:15am and although it looked like a monsoon outside it said it was stopping at 11:30am so I got the bike out the cupboard / man shed and got dressed and filled the bidon and bang!!!!! Rain stopped just like that.

I left the flat in blazing sunshine with the rainwater still shining on the roads. I was on my touring bike – it’s hammered stainless mudguards actually being put to work rather that just looking beautiful like they normally are. The plan was to cycle up towards aberfoyle grab some lunch and then head back around 70-80km.

On the bike I was immediately smiling the sun was bright the weather was warmer than I thought and my vest gilet came off and I had to unzip my long sleeve Rapha top nearly to man medallion level to get some airflow. I was cursing that I had packed a full pannier to test the weight distribution of the bike and neglected to pack a short sleeve jersey.

The wind was very light and it seems that every bug and insect in scotland had taken to the air for one last sh*g pre death and I made the conscious decision to stop smiling to avoid having to pick the bugs out of my teeth all night. There was a lot of plant seed being plucked and floating through the air and the light was glorious.

There are so many times when I go out on my faster bike a Lynskey Cooper and a lot of the ride is spent gazing at my HR, cadence average, average speed trying to work out whether there are strava sections worth grabbing or Strava ‘friends’ to overtake on the leaderboard that I sometimes think I am missing the point.

As I neared Aberfoyle there is a section of the national bike network that leads into the town so I turned to go into town and ran smack into a friend who was up in that area for a wedding and who was out for a quick jaunt on his bike with a friend. He is more familiar with the area so i asked him which pub would be good to eat at …. IMG_6334.JPG

He mentioned the one with the best selection of Ales which isn’t the best idea when cycling. But my appetite whetted I went in for a soup some chips (fries) and a cheeky half pint of Ale. I think that Mediterranean diet of drinking at lunchtime had sunk in along with the air blowing north.

IMG_6333.JPG

Aberfoyle is at the bottom of the Dukes Pass a small hill climb that I had never been up on the bike. The climb from the North side is pretty easy. But I went up from the south. I have a triple on the tourer but a compact 32/50 and an 11-28 is adequate with most people coping on a 17/19

Dukes Path ascent from the south according to VeloViewer
Dukes Path ascent from the south according to VeloViewer

It’s 2.5 miles at an average of 4.5% from the North, but quite a bit steeper from the South, average 8.5%

Here are the climb profiles on Ride with GPS….
From South: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2106265
From North: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2106267

IMG_6340.JPG

At the top I took a pic of the sign got to the summit and debated whether to turn around. But the sunshine once again called to me and I headed along the loch to aberfoyle and then on to the road south again to Lake of Monteith and pass the monastery.
Wiki to the rescue – The Lake of Menteith (Scottish Gaelic “Lake of Menteith”), is a loch in Scotland, located on the Carse of Stirling, the flood plain of the upper reaches of the rivers Forth and Teith, upstream of Stirling. Until the early 19th century, the more usual Scottish name of Loch of Menteith was used. On the Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654, it is named as Loch Inche mahumo. The only settlement of any size on the Lake of Menteith is Port of Menteith.

There are a number of small islands in the loch. On the largest, Inchmahome, is Inchmahome Priory, an ancient monastery. The priory served as refuge to Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1547. She was only four years old at the time and stayed for three weeks after the disastrous Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in September of that year.

The Loch is not particularly deep and can freeze over completely in exceptionally cold winters. If the ice becomes thick enough — at least 7 inches (18 cm)— an outdoor curling tournament called The Bonspiel or the Grand Match is held on the loch. The event can attract thousands of curlers despite its rarity. The last Grand Match was held in 1979. The planned 2010 Bonspiel was abandoned on health and safety grounds……..

I stopped here to phone home and say my mobile signal would last but that I would be back about 6:40pm …. Got in put the bike away and went down the road to my gym for a steam and to ease the muscles after those 125km …… What a great day….

Tested bike bits and thoughts.
Brooks saddle B17 – this is from my old brompton and had 500miles on it from Iraq so well worn in and very comfy. Weighty but fine for a touring bike where weight is not the issue.
mercian vincintore 631 Reynolds frame – like the saddle very comfortable.
Nitto rando bars – still not convinced as that are quite narrow at the top and I felt that I was gripping harder that I normally do and my arms were a bit sore that evening. Not sure if it is due to width of handlebars or the fact that the steel front fork carries more vibrations through it compared to the carbon fork on the lynskey.
Continental gatorskins 28mm tyres. Comfy and smooth.

IMG_6343.JPG

The First Ride (or) where did that Nuclear Wind come from


Now before i set off i knew that the forecast was for a strongish wind picking up as the day went on … I didn’t know that 40km/h was going to feel so strong when venturi’d across a moor. Top that with a bike with front handlebar bar and panniers as well as a route with a long incline and we can safely say it was a bit of a slog (but then no rain either)

Started off great and wandered up through Pollock park taking a pic or two at the house.

first touring bike ride-2 first touring bike ride-3

Then out to Eaglesham and then across the moor. My legs were screaming and I had to use the triple chainring on the grandad setting. I was crawling up the road at 10km/h. Past the wind turbines WHITELEE WIND FARM – my there are a LOT of turbines …. then into the relative sanctuary offered by a pine plantation near the end of the moor.

first touring bike ride-4
windfarm – turbine tastic

At the junction where i could have looped up i chose to head back to Glasgow and with the wind on my back and a steady decline I was hitting 40km/h with nearly no effort … and no apparent wind on my face either.

look at the wind roughing up the puddle
look at the wind roughing up the puddle

How much wind …? well listen here

Route is HERE

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 22.20.39

Touring bike test time


20140319-072317.jpg

Wee jolly planned today to test the touring bike – only one problem there is a strong south wester blowing so I am going to head uphill and into the wind first and then return with the wind ( and maybe rain) at my back

20140319-072154.jpg

Touring Bike Build #5: Handlebar bag and a rack bag (just in case)


I was pretty desperate for a rando type leather bag for the new touring build but I wasn’t convinced on the need for a front rack on the bike.

Thus began the search for just a Plane Jane handlebar bag but not one that was saggy like the one i had on my Yuba Mundo (name and shame it was an Altura Orkney) with a wire connection that scraped away at the the bar …. then i found this info on www.pathlesspedalled.com

What led me to the Arkel handlebar bag was primarily its aluminum quick release system. I despise the current “smash a wire” technology employed by every other handlebar bag maker. They are essentially single use and a pain to move from bike to bike. Arkel’s system seems more elegant (and weighs less than a mini front rack) but I could never find a good video of how they actually worked. So I made one.

 won’t go into too much detail (that’s what the vid is for!), but here’s the executive summary.

Pros:

Great mounting system
Roomy for a small bag

Cons:

Straight out of the 70s styling
No rain cover for $120
High position on the handlebar takes getting use to after rack bags

Their words not mine – it is v expensive in the UK – £100 but hey ho feeling flash baby.

and also bought a rack bag – an Ortlieb in yellow. So luggage is all sorted now ……

Touring Bike Build #4: The Frame Arrives and Dynamo Light time


out the box - and slip the handlebars on
out the box – and slip the handlebars on

The frame has arrived and 2 forks although think I might stay colour matched for the moment … Here it is in splendour (though nice Fuji Xpro1 and a 1.4 lens and some LightRoom tweaking)

hand cut lugs
hand cut lugs
named lugs
named lugs

mercian frame details-3mercian frame details-6

Nitto Rando bars
Nitto Rando bars
flayed bars
flayed bars

mercian frame details-4

and then bought a dynamo and light for the tourist setup – will piggyback the tail light off the back. Best thing is it generates full power at lowish speed and once you stop it has a stand light which stays on for 10 minutes – enough time to get a tent up ….

hub and revo light
hub and revo light

BLURB The Revo is an all new concept for Exposure Lights. For the first time Exposure Lights is doing away with batteries and embracing the latest in dynamo developments. New super-efficient dynamo hubs enable the Revo to be used both on and off road.

£199.95
Output: 
800 Lumens
Weight:
110g
Runtime:
Ride duration
Battery:
Dynamo Hub

 

The touring bike build #2 – steel frame


I have bought a secondhand mercian frame to be the base for my new touring build. Getting 2 forks with it – one in silver with higher rake to avoid toe overlap esp when using mudguards.

The frame is constructed from Reynolds 631 tubing because I think it’s great for the touring bike I will be building up, Reynolds have an excellent heritage and this combination of high tensile strength enabling thinner tubes and hence light weight seemed the optimum cost effective approach for me.

Mercian say ‘The actual process of frame building is carried out by a single craftsman.
The individual tubing and components for the frame are then set aside or ordered-in by a frame-builder and boxed ready for the build date. When the frame is ready for building, the frame-builder begins by filing the lugs; with skill and patience the lugs are cut and filed with hand-tools to create the cut-outs and intricate designs which make Mercian frames distinctive and beautiful. The Vincitore lugs are crafted from plain lugs with spearpoints welded to the plain lugs then drilled, cut out and filed by hand for many hours to create the intricate distinctive look that is unique to a Mercian Vincitore Special.
The Reynolds tubes are then carefully mitred and fitted into the lugs and placed against an alignment board where the builder can create the right angles for the frame. The lugs and tubes are fitted together and the frame is pinned to hold securely in position while the frame is brazed in the open hearth. This part of the build process takes years of experience to perfect and has been passed down from frame-builder to frame-builder. The open hearth method of joining the tubes and lugs with a combination of air and natural gas has been used since the 1940’s and reduces the possibility of overheating the tubing, this method is gentler and kinder to the tubes than the quicker frame-jig and oxy-acetylene method often used today, a much higher and direct heat which can be too harsh in the wrong hands.Once heated to correct temperature the brass or silver solder is carefully flowed into the lug/tube joint to secure the tubing in the correct position. Each frame-builder has their own preferred methods of manufacture, but Mercian believe their construction methods are the reasons why their frames have longevity. It also means that if a frame tube is damaged in riding, it is possible to undo the brazing and replace a single tube or tubes without problem, meaning the frame can be repaired rather than buying a new one, giving me many years of pleasure.’

Here is an example of someone’s frame in Reynolds 853

fixed on getting a fixie flip flop


gios fixie

I am trawling eBay at the amount looking for either a fixie or project – here they all are

 

raleigh team
ciocc aluminium
Guerciotti Fixed New and Reduced to £1000
colnago arte (Al & C)
Litespeed tachyon (ti goodness)
Giant Bowery 72
Mercian - lugged steel a smidge too small