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

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Touring bike test time


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


Bike Building Film Project

a blog from my film site on my new bike build – will put film up once completed

precious productions

Filming in progress – first bit this morning.

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Filming with the congenial gent Carl of BikeLove glasgow – go there if you need anything done. Great prices and Brilliant Service

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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

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.


Great mounting system
Roomy for a small bag


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.

800 Lumens
Ride duration
Dynamo Hub


Touring Bike Build #3: Gears and Steers and a bit of SS rack

A miserable day out there and so I cycle in my mind with some more purchases for the Touring Bike.

Panniers arrived – Axiom they look great but review once they get used
Mercian Frame (reynolds 631) fork and Seatpost on their way
Brooks Saddle B17 Champion – I have a spare

So groupset.

Decided on a triple as i am sure those lower gear inches will come in handy once i see some hills. Ribble have a decent deal on so ordered a Shimano 105 triple in Silver

Also a rear Stainless Steel rack.

Groupset and Rack
Groupset and Rack

Then there is steering.

Nitto Rando-2

  • Nitto Rando B135 Bar and a quill stem -Classic randonneur touring style, also great for cyclocross and dirt drop riding
  • Bar slopes upward from the center to the corners, the drops are splayed outward
  • A randonneur is a participant in a randonnée or brevet – a long-distance ride that passes through check-points within a specified time limits. It is not a race, but a test of endurance with distances of 200-1000 km
  • All Nitto bars are measured center to center
  • 120mm drop
  • 105mm reach

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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