Sunday, 26 December 2010

Snow tyres

The Schwalbe Snow Stud tyre. Now on my shopping list for the Surly Long Haul Trucker project.

Boxing Day Morning

Boxing day, crisp, cold and bright. Too good to miss the chance of a quick bike ride and a few photos. Neck warmer, skull cap, gloves and neoprene overshoes helped to keep the cold at bay.
I headed for the Peak District.
Looking through a millstone at the side of the road.
A wind swept tree reminded me why progress was slow.
I was at the side of the road fumbling with my camera when I realised I wasn't the only one daft enough to be out on sub-zero boxing day.
And then I saw some more!
Another cyclist. Here the road became incredibly icy as I gained height. Confidence in my smooth Continental City Contact tyres was becoming shaky at this point! I left the front brake well alone - squeezing the back brake on this type of surface (when riding in a straight line!) can give you valuable feedback on how much grip there is. Maybe studded tyres for the next icy ride?
Big sky and a beautifully bleak frozen wilderness.
A group of runners meeting at the roadside and heading onto the moors. They must be mad!
Some thick ice at the roadside gave me a good incentive not to ride too close to the kerb. Wide road positioning meant that extra traffic awareness was called for.
A frozen mill pond. Uphill with a headwind. Minus 10. Lovely and fresh.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Stripped and naked

Here's my Bob Jackson, ready to be boxed and shipped after I sold it on ebay.

My local bike shop gave me a frame box which fit like a glove and held the frame securely and perfectly still.

There was a cardboard tube which fitted through the bottom bracket shell and kept the frame suspended in the box acting like a shock absorber.

Plenty of bubble wrap finished the job off and ensured a comfortable trip to Australia.

My ebay buyer asked me if I would drop the frame off at his parent's house so they could arrange shipping. It turned out that they lived about 10 minutes from my old house in York - so this was easy for me - what's the chances of that happening?

He contacted me some time later to say the frame had arrived safely. He was born in Leeds (as was the frame) and had ridden a Bob Jackson as a teenager in his first time trial, so this was a bit of nostalgia for him.

It was a lovely steel frame (Reynolds 631) and performed beautifully. But these days I'm looking for a little bit more comfort. Looking forward to reporting on the Surly Long Haul Trucker

I hope you're happy in your new life, Bob.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Goodbye Bob Jackson

I'm increasingly enjoying riding my cheap n cheerful Kona Smoke with its lovely steel frame and huge fat slick tyres that absorb the worst that Sheffield's roads can throw at it. So much so that lack of use has seen my Bob Jackson Olympus road bike stripped down and the frame is now with its new owner in Australia (courtesy of ebay).

Before the Bob Jackson went to start its new life in the southern hemisphere I conducted a little experiment where I did the same ride on two consecutive days, first on the road bike with its skinny 700 x 23 tyres, and then on the relatively heavy Kona with flat bars and a fairly upright riding position.

The ride I chose was a hilly route from south west Sheffield into the Peak District. A very steep climb up Winnats Pass in Castleton was followed by a steep fast and twisting descent back down into Edale and a long pull back out of Hathersage to the Fox House and back home. A distance of about 40 miles in total.

I'm not going to attempt a complicated analysis of the difference between two completely different types of bike. However, what I can say is that (for me) the advantages of a softer ride, more upright position and what I percieve to be stronger stopping power of V brakes over the road bike's Tiagra brakeset went a long way to offset the weight disadvantage.

The fact that day one saw me with my head down trying to keep progress as swift as possible with day two being an altogether more relaxed affair with plenty of stops to take photos and sample cornish pasties from a shop in Hope means that an objective comparison of speeds can't be made. However, for smiles per hour the flat bar Kona came out way above my roadie.

I will, no doubt, replace the road bike when I get a renewed urge to punish myself with time trials or some such nonesense. For now the Kona is my daily ride and has been upgraded with Deore gears, brakes and hollowtech bottom bracket.

Peggy loves the snow

Just starting

I've started my new blog during a spell of particularly snowy / icy weather here in Sheffield which has severely curtailed my cycling activities (and my freelence work as a cycle trainer in schools). I took this photo of our local train station as I gave up on the car and trudged through the snow to buy milk and bread.

Loads of stuff planned for the coming months as the weather improves, including the Coast to Coast and a 100 mile tandem ride early in the new year.

I will also document the progress of my forthcoming bike build on here. The plan is for a Surly Long Haul Trucker to be put together before spring time, so I will post photos of progress on this project.