Thursday, 10 July 2014

Spindles at the Tour De France

I just had to go to see the Tour in Yorkshire so my brother-in-law and I hatched a plan to cycle from Kirkby Stevens to Muker.  I went up the day before in the rain to by sisters house in Ings, but the next day (Saturday) was warm sunshine.  Before we got to Kirkby Stevens we were seeing bikes heading towards the tour and after getting provisions for the day at Kirkby we turned off onto the B6270 which ascends a 1600ft pass before descending  into Muker.  I've never seem so many bikes go over a 1600ft pass and as the roads were closed they were almost traffic free.  As we got closer there were more yellow bikes, campsites and car parks as evidence of the numbers of people.

The Howgill fells are a stunning part of the country, with quiet roads with the occasional 'arrow' to indicate steep gradients

After arriving into Muker we found a spot on the wall and waited for helicopters to appear which indicated the first rider was about to come through.   But the Tour De France is about advertising

With the advertising safely through the helicopters arrived, then disappeared and re-emerged along with the first rider  

Soon after the Peloton came through

What was really good to see was the number of people to had ridden on bikes to get their spot.  Not only middle aged blokes on new racers but families with their dogs, old and young, shopping bikes, MTBS the list is endless.

Heading Back home

The sides of the road became a temporary bike park

Cycling Shoes you can walk in.

This is one of my pet hates. I've lost count of the number of cycling shoes I have gone through in the last ten years. OK I do a lot of walking in them as well but what tends to happen is that the sole wears through to the air pocket allowing water to get in making my feet wet. This happens within about 2 years and is all the more galling because the uppers are in perfect condition. I think its a technique employed by shoe manufacturers to make the sole so flimsy that buying a new pair within two years is inevitable. 

I've taken my latest pair to several cobblers who scratch their heads and then say no because of the hard sole. I then struck upon the idea that I could glue some old bike tyre to the bottom of the sole thus fixing the problem. And here is the result.

I used a specialist rubber glue and some old 700c tyre. OK it not brilliant and after a couple of weeks the tyre tread had worn through.  Don't get me wrong these Exustar shoes are great but like most cycling shoes they are not designed to be resoled. Next I will try mountain bike shoes.

Anybody know of a good cycling shoe that will stand up to a bit of walking?

Truvative Bottom Bracket acts as Sonar

A few weeks ago my day bike developed a strange intermittent 'ping' noise that emanated from the bottom bracket/ pedals area. The next few days the ping got louder and more annoying so as the good weather had arrived, I dusted off the summer bike and started using that, hoping that ignoring the problem would make it go away.

Sooner or later I needed to use the day bike again as that's the bike set up to take the trailer. By this time the ping had developed into something that was akin to a submarine sonar searching for oncoming traffic. I determined that the ping was created on the down stroke of the left crank. The pedals were good quality Velo Orange which left the bottom bracket as the suspect which was confirmed as the culprit when I changed the pedals and the same noise persisted.

One Chain Reaction purchase later provided a replacement Shimano UN55. When I took the existing Truvative sealed unit Bottom Bracket out I found that the sealed bearing assembly had come apart from the rest of the housing. The rather cheap construction method employed by Truvative is a disappointment since its almost bound to go wrong. The unit had only been in place for about 2 years and I can only assume that the load of pulling a trailer was too great. The Shimano construction is much better since the bearings are an integral part of the housing and not a 'bolt on'.

You can see that the Truvative uses a separate baring whereas the Shimano baring is integral

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