Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Got to get my mojo working ?

It's been nearly three weeks since I've done a proper ride and I'm feeling like I've lost my mojo let alone that it's just not working. My riding seems to take a pattern, it's all or nothing ! Peaks & troughs ! Mountains & valleys ! It's not that I don't ride my bike at all it's just that I don't get any proper riding in on my local trails.

Having no specific goals such as a racing schedule doesn't help much, and it's all too easy to get knocked out my groove when I'm in one of my purple patches. So I needed some kind of a plan, and the plan I have hatched came about after watching a tv program about the US Marines, and how with training, killing can become second nature. Your probably now thinking whats killing got to do with bike riding ? Stick with me ! In the program the drill instructors claimed that killing can become second nature after just 21 days of training ! In fact any activity will become second nature if done for at least 21 days straight !

So there it is that's my cunning little plan.

Now 21 days of biking is not a big challenge by any stretch so I will be aiming to increase each previous weeks mileage. This was the week I was planning on starting my little challenge, but low and behold and just my luck the touch screen on my phone has decided it's had enough, and as gone on the blink. So I can't use my tracker app to chart my progress which pretty much means that my plan is scuppered for the time being until I get the LCD replaced. I suppose it gives me a little time to find my riding mojo so I can hit the ground running as soon as my phone is sorted !

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Want it Wednesday-English Cycles Custom Bikes

Apologies first for being a day late for this weeks instalment of  Want It Wednesday (better late than never) which takes place every other Wednesday and is an idea from Jez Andrews-Following the Chainline.blogspot.com for like minded cycle bloggers to get together and share all their bike related wants and desires.

My "want it" for this week is a custom made bike.

There are lot of custom builders out there at the moment making bikes what can only be described as works of art.  One company that really caught my eye about a year ago and have been lusting after ever since is called English Cycles made by a guy called Paul English over in the US. The bikes are beautiful with lovely understated clean lines. I would probably sell one of my organs just to own one of these.

Here are two of my faves.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Pompino Update ! FSA Carbon Pro Compact !

My Pompino sscx project had stalled a bit lately, but I'm determined to see the bike looking something like the picture I've got in my head and not let stuff get in the way and then for it to just fizzle out.  So this week I managed to buy a new crank, I wanted it to be carbon but a full carbon piece is just out of the question as I'm on a budget so the next best thing is a carbon wrap.

I managed to get an FSA Carbon Compact for £110. I'm not over the moon with it as I'm pretty sure it's a OEM product but for the money I can't really complain,  but I'm guessing that it will look pretty battered in no time as the carbon wrap layer is more like a thin layer of paint ! Eh oh....

All I need now to finish off the drive train is a SS chain ring, chain,chain guard.chain ring bolts and a freewheel sprocket. At the moment I'm running a 44 tooth front and a 20 tooth sprocket in the rear but as the new crank is a compact with a 110 bcd I'm going to fit a 39 tooth chain ring and a 18 tooth sprocket which will give me a slightly lower gear, I could fit a smaller chain ring but from reading different article's on gear ratio's I think 39 tooth is the best option. After spending a few hours searching the net it seems that there's not much of a choice for 39t 5 bolt 110 bcd SS chain rings, I would of liked to have used an aluminium Homebrewed Components ring from over in the US which are really nice looking rings but there seems to be a problem with delivery times as some people are having to wait 6 months or more, so I will probably use a steel Surly ring which will be very hard wearing.

I have found a great little company in the US that makes Chain guard/Bash rings of all shapes, size's and colours called BBG and they'r a steal at $20 including p&p.

I would love to have a White Industries ENO freewheel but for the time being it will have to be a bog standard Shimano piece finished off with a hollow pin/plate YBN lightweight BMX chain.

Next on the list after finishing the drive train is a Chris King headset, Easton ea90 90mm 0 rise stem in white and then the wheels which I talked about in last weeks Want it Wednesday article.

Slowly getting there !

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Want It Wednesday - Rolf Prima SSCX wheels

Just like many a cyclist I've got a wanted/needed bike's/bike parts list that's long enough that if I was to have to wright it down I would need to use a toilet roll !

So when Jez Andrews - Following The Chainline got in touch to ask if I would like to join in with his Want it Wednesday  I thought why not, and also,  I thought listing some of the item's on my ever expanding list might just give me a bit more of an incentive to actually get round to purchasing some of the planned wants I had for my little pompino project that as stalled a bit of late.

Currently sitting at the top of my want it list are these lovely and distinctive Rolf Prima Single Speed CX.  Wheel choice for SSCX usually means custom hand built which is totally fine,  but as far as I know these are the only dedicated wheelset available and meant for race day really, so for me this makes them a pretty rare and desirable thing to lust for !

The wheels are built using the legendary White Industries Eno hub.  There's an Eccentric version for converting vertical drop out frames to single speed without the use of a chain tensioner.  They also come in either tubular & clincher with the clincher weighing a few grams heavier than the tubular at 1560kg and costing around £700.  The 16 twin bladed spokes F&R makes them really distinctive and bling tastic and you can even pimp them up with the Prima Plus Program that will match the decals to the colour of your bike.

I have a bit of a dilemma though, is my pompino worthy of such bling and can I do  them justice ? It would mean the wheels costing more then the rest of the bike put together, but as we know a bike is as only good as it's wheels.

So,  more realistically I will probably have to go for my second choice on my want it list,  which is a custom build (see I told you I don't have a problem going custom) by Goldtec/Betd using there track hubs which hard working and in the know London bike messengers swear by, topped off with Stans Alpha's and laced with Sapim DB spokes for around the £400 mark,  or if my funds are a bit low I might just use Mavic Open Pro rims instead which drops the price to around £300, but I would prefer tubless Stans set up. I still want the Rolf's though !

Another reason to go for the custom option is I live less than 10 mins from the Goldtec shop !

Warning-Bike lust can seriously harm your bank balance !

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Sky throw down the gauntlet !

Today's first mountain stage was a bit special if your a British cycling fan. It was always going to be where the real race started after a week of carnage in the Tour de France side show of a sprint competition, but to see a British team tear the race apart to put Brad in yellow and Froome take the stage win and the climbers Polka Dot jersey was history in the making. The look on Cadel Evans face said it all, a look of inevitability,  he made the effort to take the stage but he had no choice and fair play to him, but Brad never even got out of his saddle  and still kept Evans wheel . Evans and his team BMC are going to have regroup quickly now because he's looking very isolated but on today's showing you wonder how and the race looks virtually over for the rest of the contenders already. It doesn't get much better than 4 riders in the the top 15 on the stage and 3 riders in the top 10 in the GC. Can Sky defend the yellow all the way to Paris when were not quite halfway yet ? There's still a lot of racing yet but after today's showing Sky have shown the race is already won and only theirs to lose and if they play there cards right could have a 1-2 on the podium in Paris.

I've been thinking about what  impact a British win in the Tour would have to the popularity in cycling in the UK and I think it all depends on how well we do in the Olympics.  If Cavendish wins the Gold and we do as well as we have been doing on the track in previous years then excuse the pun but the "sky's the limit" and it really could be the start of a golden age in cycling as is often spouted. There has definitely been a renascence in the last ten years or so but that has been global not just here in the UK, but if all goes to plan and if your a British cycling fan we really could be on the verge of a  truly  historic time and to be able to experience it first hand will be a dream come true for all British cycling fans.

Come on Brad & Team Sky

Oh the English Summer

It seems like the weather is the hot topic in the UK at the moment which is no surprise with all the flooding, it seems like were getting a month's rain in 24hrs every few days.

When i took the photo above we had just had the warmest driest March since records began and there were drought warnings being issued for most of the south east and midlands regions of England. You felt that summer was almost here and after a run of dull and miserable summers we were going to be in for a good one, after all law of averages says we were due one right ! Think again. The thing with our weather is you never really no quite what you are going to get from summers like the one we're having to mild and dry winters. I get pretty envious sometimes of the parts of the world that when summer comes you know that it's going to be hot and when winter comes you know it's going to snow and be cold.  Simple !

 Never mind there's always next year...

Friday, 6 July 2012

Frankie goes to Stoke

Riding my bike is taking a back seat for a few days as I'm dog sitting my sisters dog Frankie. He is a lovely Staffordshire Bull Terrier who is adorable, very playful, a bit naughty but not in the slightest bit vicious as Staffy's are portayed. He can look a bit intimidating to some though especially if their not dog lovers or have little dogs with them,  but i've found that their dogs are more likely to go for frankie than him go for them. He is a bit of a babe magnate too as he draws a lot of smiles from people especially women which is always nice.

So weather permitting the next few days i'll be getting in a few miles walking which will be a nice change and I'll be trying to get some good photo's of Frankie getting up to some mischief, which with frankie usually involve's water as he loves swimming and a lot of mud wallowing and there's no shortage of that round here at the moment.

Frankie loves to chase rabbits but is useless at catching them until this unfortunate little bunny jumped up right in front of him, but after he had bit it, and killed the poor thing, he then just seemed to panic and didn't know what to do so he just kept barking at it as if to say, why aren't you playing with me no more. Bless him.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Sky in yellow already-sort of

When I saw that team Sky were wearing yellow helmets today I wasn't sure if it was a statement of intent, just Sky paying homage to Le tour or they probably think that a Sky rider will be in yellow for most of the Tour that they just issued the whole team with one, but alas it's just a new introduction for this Tour that the best team wears the yellow helmet, in the past yellow caps were worn.
Sparticus wins the prologue no news there really. Brads kept the 10 seconds on Cadel Evans he won yesterday after today's stage so all in all a good start for Sky, Boasen Hagen melted at the end of today's stage though to let Peter Sagen take the win from Cancellara who led for the other two, but once Sagen had got his wheel I think Sparticus must of known it was curtains for himself. Great finish to stage one !