Thursday, 17 December 2009

100th post....not bike related

Getting my bass groove back on with a Peavey, Marshall and Line6 :)

Even got a spot in a band and have nailed 99 Red Balloons amongst others....great fun and in the warm and dry.



Alex

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Not much to report. Check out these two though...

http://www.84kmbivvychallenge.co.uk/ - looks like a fun trip :)

http://www.lookwhatwefound.co.uk/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4 - what I eat on events like that ^ one :)

SSP

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Back from Scotland....soul reset and ready to go



Having spent a week riding great trails with friends, eating too much and drinking more I am back in the riding groove. My fitness made a last minute return and my handling skills were bored of kicking about in the attic so they made the 5hr trip north too. Its nice overtaking the full-sus boys on a rigid singlespeed with flat pedals.

The pedals were great, especially when the 10mm pins turned up from Ebay on Tuesday morning. The TNF Hedgehog shoes were grippy on and off the bike and did not look too odd in the pub :) I noticed no real problems climbing and none descending once I got the hang of having my heels down (like riding a horse...not that I have for years) Only down side is that the lovely Ox Blood red paint is coming off...oh well.

Pedal pins are available from these guys
(you will need M4 for DMRs) and in 8 or 10mm depending how deep the tread on your shoes are.

Time for tea and cake.

Alex

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Disapointment...and a pick-me-up

Against the advice of my wife I listened to Muse's new single. Not good compared with their previous stuff.

Luckily YouTube has a fine range of songs from The Haunted :)

99 live

Gets the Peter Dolving seal of approval.


Alex

Friday, 4 September 2009

NEW TOYS....sorry for shouting :)

My Epic bags turned up today so I quickly packed them with the bivvi kit and slapped them on the bike for a quick test. In the bags is my complete kit except food and fuel bottle. To be fair I will probably have a camelbak with waterproofs, 1st aid kit, arm and leg warmers, buff, cap and sunglasses in it so that will pretty much empty the front pocket on the bar bag (just leaving the tools, tube and pump in there)

The rear bag fits a huge ammount in and is a triumph of fabric engineering. In there is a folded and rolled 3/4 sleeping mat, cooking kit, wash kit, trousers, long sleeve top, cycling shorts and jersey, wind proof and over trousers. Again a few of the light items might make their way to the camelbak or for summer touring I might loose some of it (if I can garantee the weather!)

New on the bike is the Hope / DT front wheel to match the back...sweeet.

Off to fettle some more.

Alex




Thursday, 3 September 2009

Things I never thought I would say...

Why is there a crocodile on the roof?



Solitude 29er for sale

Two in one day eh? What are the chances of that.

A bacon sandwich is a dead pig being cuddled by two slices of bread.

goodnight.

Alex

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Avid and Maverick on Ebay...

Need to ship them out so the Avid Juicy 7's and the Maverick SC32 / DT Wheel are on Ebay for silly money!

Avid Juicy 7's

Maverick SC32


WTB Stem

Happy bidding!

I will be out and about this next week and have planned some S24HON rides, double nice if my stuff from Eric at Epic Designes arrives :)

Alex

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Photo update

Went out on the rejuvanated Blackbuck today. Only a short ride over Leckhampton to try and bed in the new pads in the Avid BB7s and check that Thomson stem and post were sat correctly. The WTB Rocket saddle was pretty nice considering it is pretty skinny compared to the Speed saddle on the Solly.

I did a 1st attempt on the Jones wrapping method and it turned out pretty well although I have an idea to tweak it.

Also pictured is the new Ti Stove...light and boils pretty fast. I hope to use it next week on a couple of trips.

Alex






Saturday, 15 August 2009

Another break in service

Just back from Scotland (sans bikes for once) although I seem to have come back with two bottles of single malt, some great memories and photos.

Now that I am back I am trying to get my riding mojo back in prep for the week off I have in September and still no plans for. I know that Eric is shipping my seat bag and handlebar set up next week so at least I will have a way of carrying stuff...somewhere.

I have fitted the rigid forks back on the Blackbuck to give them another go with the beefy WTB Stout rescued from Becca's bike. It will be interesting to compare it to the Maverick SC-32's...I expect it to be rougher but much faster handling. We'll see. The impetus for this was the lovely thread on MTBR.com with the Don McClung bikes on it.

Another thing I am trying are flat pedals for more sedate riding and road stuff. The idea of just taking some Vans Old Skools on tour appeals as with size 12's spare shoes take a lot of room in the bag. We'll have to see how sucessful this is as I do enjoy being clipped in on technical stuff. For road I have no concerns so stay tuned for the results.

Right, which whisky to try now...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Tour Divide Fixie...done!

Major props to Deanna Adams who has just completed the Tour Divide (2,745miles) on her beater fixie (46:17 and 35c tyres!) in a time of 31days 5hours and change.

Well done :)

Alex

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Clear out....

Some lovely stuff I have on flea bay at the moment and ending on the 14/7/09.

Brooks Swift Ti £51 so far...
Surly 20t 3/32" fixed sprocket £4.99...

Salsa 135mm x 40deg stem £9.99....

ACS Claws 20t freewheel £4.99 and no bids so far...

25.4mm > 31.8mm handlebar shims £4.99 (£20 new!)


One thing I am selling that I can't sell on Ebay is my Leatherman Supertool. This has to be 10years old but is in great condition. Some burnishing of the handles and the serrated blade has a couple of nicks in it. It has had lots of use but now sits in the drawer as I am now desk based. Other than that is is 100% spot on and ready for antother decade of use. Comes with leather belt pouch (also in great nick) and all for £30GBP including first class recorded post with in the UK. Over 18s only please :)



Email me at singlespeedpunk at gmail dot com. Payment via Paypal or bank transfer.

Alex

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Progress backwards

I am simplifying stuff, parring away the edges. Minimal stove set-up thanks to Backpackinglight and bags on their way from Eric and the 6speed singlespeed finished.

36:17 and 34:19 freewheel, 34 or 36 :18 fixed. All with minimal (or no in case of freewheel ratios) brake fettling. Still not really a geared bike but should piss off the singlespeed purists. Good.

Found this on Kent's blog announcing that he will be at the TD next year:

If I stray away too far from you, don't go and try to find me.
It doesn't mean I don't love you,
it doesn't mean I won't come back and stay beside you.
It only means I need a little time
To follow that unbroken line
To a place where the wild things grow
To a place where I used to always go.


Nice.

Stuff for sale on Ebay including Surly track cog, ACS freewheel, Brooks Swift Ti, handlebar shims and a Salsa stem. Link here.

Alex

Monday, 29 June 2009

TD - now a film for all the blue dot junkies

Only three short clips so far but it looks really nice and the "Codes in the Clouds" track on the first one sounds great (check them out on MySpace)

Teaser Mike Dion from Ride The Divide on Vimeo.



Teaser Matthew Lee from Ride The Divide on Vimeo.



Teaser Mary Metcalf from Ride The Divide on Vimeo.



Nothing else to report at the moment...only posting to annoy Miketually :)

Alex

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Welsh Ride Thing.....part done

I might get round to a full "race rpeort" but for not I will say that I bagged 6 of the 11 (10 plus a bonus one) check points despite arriving an hour and a half late with a splitting headache. The push over the boggy moorland was not a whole heap of fun but I made reasonable time considering. Bugged out of No7 as it was all pretty waterlogged. Cut down to the A44 and bivvied in a lovely bit of pine forest. Super sunny both days and I was back at 11:30 am on Sunday having covered 94km.

The bivvi kit and packing were pretty much spot on although I did pack the matches and water treatment tabs in the wrong bag that lead to a couple of horrible moments. Oh and I burnt the porridge to the bottom of the Ti mug and I can't get it off! Might try sandpaper now...

BIG thanks to Stuart and his wife for organising the event and providing cups of tea and bothy locations :) forestfreeride.com for training and guides in Mid Wales.

Alex

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Plans, plans, plans.....

97km, 3500m of ascent, 10 checkpoints and quite a few "where the f*** am I" moments :)

So do I race it or take it easy?



Alex

Thursday, 7 May 2009

OK I know its been a while

But I have not been slouching. Started a new job, ridden the HoNC 100km on the Solitude fixie with 40c tyres and toasted my knees in the process, fitted and fettled a pair of Maverick SC32's on the BlackBuck (best forks ever) and lots of other stuff.

Next event up is the Welsh Ride Thing at the end of the month. I have the kit list down and packed and the food sorted. All up weight is 26lbs including all the food for 3 days and 2L of water. Weight with out food / water is @15lbs so none too shoddy. Distribution is similar to the Get em Dai Ride but with the new Camelbak Octane 8 taking the spare clothes, wet weather kit and camera (as well as water) This pack is really nice as the hip belt is a good width and has side pockets. This takes some of the weight off the shoulders and makes it a little more bearable. I have used it on all day rides on the BlackBuck (including all the tools, spares and first aid kit in...1kg for it all!) with no issues.

The photo of me geeking out over weights is taken in the new SolitudeCycles Bike Research Lab (or our cellar) which has had light, power and insulation added. The junk has been cleared and a tool board and vise added. I also treadted my self to a drill, new screwdrivers and socket set...living the life!

I have the maps marked up and a route planned. I hope to download it on the GPS tonight if I have time. 10 checkpoints in a big loop should make it an interesting ride, I have one night at a Bothy that i have good info on (see the earlier aborted trip to mid-wales for a bothy night) and the other is in a pine forest over looking a lake (and one of the check points...if you have the grid ref!) I will be sure to post lots of pictures and do a write up when I get back.

The Mav's on the BlackBuck have been a revalation, while the longer legs and less off-set have slowed the steering down a bit it has helped the over all stability and the 95mm of travel has helped on the bumpy fast trails. I have just fitted a WTB Stout to the front end as the WeirWolf and ExiWolf were slipping out under hard cornering...and I am no superstar on a bike! I hope that this super grippy (if a little heavy) tyre will keep the front end planted. All up weight of the bike is approaching 30lbs which has made some people flinch but its front and rear suspension (CaneCreek post remember) and a heavy-ish steel frame with big wheels, slime tubes, big bendy bars and modorate kit. It ride fine and the only time I notice it is lifing it on to the car.

Non bike stuff included a trip up to Birmingham to see Snuff and NoFX play the O2 Academy. It was a really good gig with two great old school punk bands playing a greatest hits from their extensive back catalogue.

Over and out.

Alex


Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Riding and sunshine

Both have been in short supply until recently. Sunday saw a 77km ride to practice for HoNC in a few weeks time. All went well until I bonked and my knees started playing up after about 50km. Powergrips are not for me :( Back to the SBC shoes and Time ATAC's all the way.

Tuesday night ride was around the FoD and finished up with a trip down DogSoldiers in the pitch dark..spooky! Becca will need some new rechargeable AA's for the 24hr race as my old ones are starting to get a memory / limited capacity. I took the BlackBuck as having a freewheel helped with the recovery although after 30km my knees protested anyway.

I now have a pair of Maverick SC32 forks to fit to the BlackBuck, not sure how they will affect the geometry as they are 50mm taller and 12mm less rake. I have just fitted the 29er kit, topped up the oil on the spring side and built a wheel to suit...quite a busy lunch hour! I hope to get them fitted tonight depending on what chores need doing as I was busy all Tuesday and its Mothers day this Sunday and the family are coming round!

The SC32's look to be the fork fettlers dream as they are easy to work on and have lots to change. Short of setting the air pressure and adding the oil to stop bottoming out I have not changed anything ...yet! Shim stack, oil cartridge pressure and negative spring might all come in for fettling until they are set just right for me.

Pictures once I get it sorted.

Alex

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Long.......pause.......

Yeah, sorry for that. I would say that I had nothing to report but that would be a lie. In the last 2 weeks I have:

1) Been really ill...you don't want any more info!
2) Seen my (useless) Doctor (see point 1)...never again
3) Visited IceBike trade show and listened to a seminar by Jay Townley...that guy talks lots of sense.
4) Got a new job...not involving bikes!
5) Given my notice at my current job
6) Did the silly fixie thing of trapping my finger in the drivechain while cleaing it!
7) Not written anything on my blog :)

Pretty tame stuff compared to Jill and Geoff who had to scratch the Iditarod race after frostbite / knee problems...get well soon guys. Shaggy John is well on his way into that race and was 3rd to the first check point at 57miles! Go John!

Becca has signed up for the Mountain Mayhem 24h in Solo Singlespeed Womens class...her first ever 24hr and I'm playing pit-bitch / moral support / mechanic / chef.... Currently trying out a new SBC Sonoma Ladies saddle, as her old Terry Gella Bella and Madison L21 were knackered, in advance of the HoNC 100km a month away.

I have signed up for the "Welsh Ride Thing" which is a GDR-alike over 3days in mid-Wales (ok, so pretty tame!) I am currently trying to plan what I really need and what can stay at home as I will be hitting some big hills and walking quite a bit. I have fitted some flat pedals and Powergrips to the Solitude so I can wear my SBC Taho shoes (sans cleats) as they are easier to walk in and don't look too odd in the pub! Its a little odd and quite hard getting your feet in them while pedaling but with a little more practice I will get my 2nd foot in with out kicking the pedal of having it kick me!

Top tip: Mule Bars, particularly the Liquorice and fennel seed one....Yum!

Alex

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Nothing Tuesday....

Pretty quiet day today. I took the BB out for a walk over Leckhampton hill, a ride is too strong a word for it. Good to get the heart rate up and have a think. Despite the 20t cog some of the snow was too deep / slusshy underneath to ride much and the brakes are still making a horrible noise! Time to hit MTBR for some ideas on how to solve it!

Some photos to finish, including Becca's new tool roll from Minx-Girl.

Alex


Tool roll


View over 'Nam


Clouds clearing


Snowy gully push

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Snow fun being ill

Well today I was recovered enough from my nasty throat infection / falling over illness that I could get out on the bike and enjoy some of the snow. Having spent two days unable to stand up for long, let along ride / work / do anything constructive I was glad to get out. The weather was not too bad and despite the deep snow and frequent off's I stayed warm and happy. The new SealSkinz waterproof and warm socks certainle helped. They are much improved on the c2000 versions that were two old walking socks with a thick carrier bag between them :) Toasty feet all day and room for some thin merino socks if its really cold / wet.

Bike de jour was the BlackBuck with new SBC Ergo Grips, I have seen people run them with the Ergon grips but as a) we didn't have any in stock and b) the SBC ones are 1/4 of the price I thought I would give them a go. Despite not having the angle 100% spot on they really helped on the bumpy downhills, or at least the down hills I didn't have to pedal down to keep moving! I have tweaked the angle (and that of the brake levers) so it should be spot on now. I also fitted the Salsa seat clamp from the Solitude as the cheap QR on the BB was not holding the post even with out the Carradice bag! The bolt-on collar seems to hold it a lot better and I compared the WTB post to the Cane Creek, Titec and BBB posts we have in the house and they are all the same diameter (give or take a little!) so its not the post. Fingers crossed this stops the slipping.

Other things that needed sorting was taking the 1/8" bearing out my rear hub...when I find that joker they are for it! Tightening the front wheel cones a tad. Stopping the brakes rubbing / squeeling was another taks undertaken while listening to Scotland loose to Wales in the 6nations :( I think I need a little copper slip on the backs of the pads and check the frame and forks with the disc mount facing tool although the Avid brakes should take care of that with the spherical washer mounting system.

I have to say the more I ride the BB the more I like it. Its quite different from the Solly which was designed with "regular" v2.0 29er geometry (72/72deg, 470mm x 47mm fork and 300mm BB height) I dropped the EBB to the lower position which lets me run the saddle a bit lower and makes me feel a lot more "in the bike" which for messing about on and keeping up with people like Sheldon makes sense. I guess I will keep tweaking things as I go along but as it is I am amazed with how fun it is and how well it fits.

While I was off I did manage to watch the film I had on rental. "Gandhi" is an amazing film that should be on the sylabus of every school and be show on TV a bit more. So much we could learn from a simple man and his ways.

A few photos to finish.

Alex

Nasty weather moving in

That did hit the camera!

Pushing throught the deep snow on the common

No kick stand needed!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Bothy Bother...

Last weekend saw me take a rare Saturday off and travel up to mid-Wales for a long day ride and over night stay in a Bothy Sheldon had found (somehow!) We started form Rayader and rode up over the hills, through quite a few bogs and streams before heading back into town after 21miles and 5hours of riding. Despite a pasty and hot chocolate Becca was still feeling too cold to spend a night in a Bothy (and the stream crossing and 2km ride to get to it in wet clothing) so we had a pub meal and headed home.

The BlackBuck performed really well as an all day bike and the descending performance was great although the Carradice Glentress seatpost bag kept making the post slip on the bumpy stuff so I need to find another way of carrying my kit...possibly a Wingnut Gear backpack... I have re-greased the front hub and replaced the bearings as the sealing on it was not up to the normal Shimano standards and after 4 rides they were full of dirt and rough as a badgers arse :(

Despite taking the camera I only took 4 photos and 2 of them were crap...ah well.

Alex

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Blackbuck NOT for sale...too late suckers

Info here...but no longer applies.

Pics below....closest you will get.

Alex.







****ing b*****d!

1.36 : 1 midmarket rate today, my guess is that HSBC are offering around 1.32 : 1 on tourist money :(

Oh and Northern Rock; we know our fixed rate has come to an end, stop sending us the letter telling us this! Save some £ and pass on the interest rate cut instead!

...and breathe.

Alex

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Damn that pesky £ : $ rate

1.39 mid market rate at the moment, which is 0.01 less than the rate HSBC were offering last week, they are now down to 1.36. Why is that important? Well the entry for the Spiti race needs to be paid in US$ and I live in the UK. Race entry (even with my repeat offender / press discount) is £1200 (or slightly more than I earn in a really good month) Add to that the air fare, spending money and some of the kit I need to buy and its £2k for 8 days racing.

Now I know it will be an amazing experience and I will love it, what I struggle with is the fact that I always said if I went back to India I would do it at my pace and do some sight seeing / relaxing inbetween the racing. £1200 will pay for a plane ticket, spending money AND anything else I need to tour India for a month, figure in the £2k and that covers the mortgage and bills while I am away if I can't get it as paid holiday.

Factor in other things like wanting some bedroom furniture (like a wardrobe to hang my stuff in) and a DVD player that works, your know, once in a while and it all looks a bit skewed.

Guess what I'm saying is that unless the £ gains against the $ I will have to look at pulling the plug and either taking a solo tour in India or just take a ferry to Europe or stay in the UK and pray for good weather.

Sorry for the downer of a post but things need evaluating :)

Alex

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Stuff for sale...

Stuff for sale....email singlespeedpunk AT gmail DOT com for dibbs / payment options.
















Titec stem, 110mm x 6deg x 1-1/8" and 25.4 bar. Used once and a little long for my frame. £15
















Scott Multi tool. £10















Scott seat bag, plastic clips and velcro strap. £7






























Polaris jacket, medium, waterproof and breathable. Hood included. Works great but the elastic neck, waist and hem draw cords have lost their elasticity. £15































Huge Kirkland bumbag, @15l (possibly more) adjustable hip belt and stabilisation straps, padded back, 2 main pockets, compression straps. £10















Karrimor bum bag, main compartment plus two bottle pockets. £8















Original Cool Tool, some surface rust on allen keys but works fine. £10















27.2 x 400mm BBB seatpost, twin bolt head. Some slight marking on lower part. £10
















34.9dia sealt collar, allen bolt. £5


Photos and prices. All prices include postage to UK main land. Email for other destinations.

Alex

January lull....

Not much happening at the moment. The beard experiment is over as it failed to get past the "scruffy git" stage. Riding has been ok but uninspiring. Currently cleaning out the spares box so look out for some stuff on Singletrackworld soon (seach for singlespeedpunk)

Other than that not much to report.

Alex

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Beard and training

Well the first "Turbo trainer Tuesday" is over. When I finally got the DVD to work due to the scratches on it the film (Hannibal Rising) was pretty good and kept me ammused for 2hours of spinning.

My beard is progressing in the normal way, ie patchy and not joind-up. I might have to shave some bits so people know its intentional and I'm not just homeless.

Good news on the Spiti race is that the price of BA flights has come down, bad news is that new work commitments might scupper the whole thing. I am awaiting confirmation that its all ok so until then I am carrying on as if I am definately going. I had a chance to chat to Dhananjay on Gmail Chat and clear up some stuff about the race but mainly catch up on whats happening on the Indian Subcontinant, specifically Shimal.

Not much to report so thats it.

Alex
























Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy new year, etc..

Yep, '09 is upon us already. I hope this intangible change on the calender puts the crap weather and sickness behind us. I so need to get out on the bike more! I did manage a 55km ride on Tuesday with the Ashton club (of which I am now a member...at last!) I rode from home to Kilkenny up on the Cotswolds and met up for a 21mile ride that turned into an epic slog with 5 puncture stops and numerouse faffing stops in the cold weather. I was pretty well dressed for the cold except the SBC Deflect "windproof" gloves are not and I had neglected to buy any liner gloves so I resorted to sticking my hands in my armpits during the many stops to keep them warm. I now have a pair of liner gloves that should make them suitable for -5deg use.














With the light fading I headed back down the hill to home and a hot shower. On arriving home I found a package from Charlie the Bike Monger containing a 20t Surly cog, Salsa seat clamp and beefy KMC Z610 chain (the 3/32" version of the Z710 most people know and love) Later that night we descended mob-handed on to a curry house in Evesham for some food served buy the bussiest waiter ever (he was the only guy there!) all washed down with beer and scrumpy.

The bike worked well with the CX tyres in the mud and was a lot faster on the road there and back. I did try out the cork tape / mouse mat / cotton tape bar wrap and found it too small a diameter for my long fingers and that I got a painful ulnar nerve...not great. The 42c treads at 60PSI won't have helped but still worrying. So this morning I trimmed the tape below the brake lever and re-fitted the Oury grips which I know work well for 8hrs+ on rigid forks and skinny tyres :)


















The CC Thudbuster ST was great, it took the edge off the rought trail and enabled me to stay seated over frozen hoof-churned trails with out getting the saddle inserted anywhere! Definately worth the £ and weight, not sure about the ribbing I got for it though! It does look odd but the amazing performance makes up for it. 10/10 for that one then. Only other change in the seating is the swap of the WTB SST saddle onto the Solitude. I had forgotten how great they were until I used one on the BlackBuck build. The Brooks will stay packed away until the weather improves or I forget to change it!














The first day of the new year was spent fettling the bike and starting the STW January Beard Contest. I have no chance of winning but wonder what sort of face mat I will grow in four weeks...not much is my prediction but we'll see. I fitted the 20t Surly track cog, KMC Z610 chain and Salsa clamp to the bike and finished it off with Michelin AT tyres and a few CtBM stickers (except the "Chicks dig singlespeeders" ones the wife objected to!) I now have 36:18 and 34:20 available with no brake faffing and 36:20 / 34:18 if I want to adjust the brake pads a little. All I need to finish it is a Phil Wood Lock Ring from Will at Hubjub as I have lost my Miche one and Phil use an odd size (compared to Dura Ace / everyone else)

1st January 2009 - No beard














Becca has signed up for the Hell of the North Cotswolds this year with plans of doing the 100km route so we will have to dig out the old routes and try some 50 and 75km trips prior to early April so she does not die halfway round! Good training for me as well as the "Tuesday Film and Turbo" sessions. Which reminds me I need to sign up to Lovefilm to get one for next week.

Best do that now.

Alex