BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘Cycling’

#365daysofbiking Springtime:

November 30th – I wondered how long it would be before this set of Rockshox forks suffered the notorious ‘sticky lockout’ problem. A year, they’ve been fine, the control on my bars reliably allowing be to make the suspension solid on road, then active on rough terrain at the flick of a lever.

Usually, it’s as simple as a corroded cable. Not this time. The damper gate appears to be failing.

Spares on order, and for now, a spring and a cable tie to assist the mechanism over it’s reluctance.

This must be the fourth iteration of these forks, all excellent on the whole, but all suffering lockout issues.

Time for a redesign, SRAM…

#365daysofbiking Still amazed:

November 9th -One thing I never take for granted is my biking technology. From disc brakes to LED lights to tough tires, things are very much better in the saddle these days than the four decades or so ago I started to ride a bike.

One thing that would have blown my mind even in the 1990s is the current GPS bike computer technology available to me. I ride down darkened lanes, with the soft glow of a device on my bars indicating my position on a scrolling Ordnance Survey map. Overlaid on this are street names, and I get warnings of sharp bends and hazards. 

Of course, I know these lanes like the back of my hand, but when off-piste, it’s a godsend. If anyone had shown the young me this device, it would have blown my tiny mind.

Old hands scorn the modern technology, but not really is a wonderful thing.

#365daysofbiking The dark side:

November 2nd – Returning that evening, drained after a heavy, stressful week, I hit the canal.

Riding the canal towpaths after dark requires a couple of things – nerves of steel and a good front light. 

The nerves are necessary to spot the familiar hazards of the towpath in unfamiliar lighting conditions – ducks, geese, foxes, cats etc, as well as deep potholes, bumps, wooden trail edge boards and paver edges. It’s also challenging to predict sudden curves in the path you navigate automatically in daylight.

I can also be a bit… lonely.

But I love the mental challenge and peace of it.

#365daysofbiking Leaf it out:

October 16th – Time for an important warning to cyclists and motorcyclists alike – watch out for the fallen leaves at the moment. They’re very slippery indeed.

These innocuous piles of autumnal debris gradually get reduced under wheels to a slimy, soapy, wheel-steeling goop which will make you skid and catch you out when you least expect it to. Add to that rainwater, spilled diesel and other slippery stuff and the recipe is for a tumble.

In my experience the councils are pretty good at controlling the problem, but it’s an impossible task.

So watch where you’re riding and be careful out there!            

365daysofbiking Ladies, please:

October 8th – This is a post that will hopefully confine us to a mild winter.

After suffering a spill in November last year on ice while riding summer tyres, I’m taking no chances this year and have the ice studs on now as we’ve already had a couple of heavy frosts, and I’m, getting too old for the falling off lark.

My rubber of choice for the cold months is Schwalbe Active Winter 30mm which has a good tread and several hundred tungsten carbide studs that bite into black ice and keep me upright.

They are a little noisy, and although not slow, not the nippiest tyres in the world.

Now I’ve fitted them, expect it to be warm throughout the winter…

#365daysofbiking Welcome to The Suck:

September 20th – It started with a bang: The Suck, the gradually darkening, menacing and psychologically hard commuting journeys from now until Christmas began today with a twilight, torrential rain soaked journey from Darlaston to home. 

Drenched in spray, nearly left hooked twice, perpetually on guard for bad driving this was the worst journey I’ve had in years.

At one point I just stopped and took refuge in a bus shelter to calm down. The sheer hard work of concentrating and being aware enough to survive in this conditions is a gargantuan effort.

But I made it home, and as I once again get used to this, it’ll be less of a trial.

Winter sucks you down.

August 8th – The rain came in Redditch just as I boarded the train back, and I thought it was probably in for the afternoon. I was however wrong, it seems to have been a narrow band of rain that passed the conurbation, and it approached me once more as I rode back from Shenstone. It caught me in the lanes.

The rain was sweet, warm and enjoyable when it came, following skies that would surely have won an Oscar for best supporting performance. 

What wasn’t so great however was that one more, with insufficient rain to wash it away, the roads became greasy, slippery and soppy with the road debris and wash down.

It pains me to say it but we need heavy and prolonged rain to clear this away.

July 16th – In the bike shed at Telford, something that worries and irritates me.

So many companies sell seat post mounting rear lights and reflectors, which seem like a good idea.

Until the rider wears a jacket that overhangs the saddle. Or uses a carrier.

I’m surprised this issue never, ever seems to have been addressed.

January 30th – It’s on the way back up. As my lungs clear, my on-bike performance is improving; my average speed over the same commute journey has gained 1.7mph in a week.

It’s still not up to it’s usual 13-14mph, but I’m getting there.

I’m also really liking the Velo utility for the Garmin Edge 1030 on IQ – it gives some great speed tools in one nicely laid out large data field.