Archive for November 2009

A breathable cycling jacket

Fed up with the poor breathability of my breathable Montane cycling jacket, I set about finding a waterproof cycling jacket made from a material that really is both waterproof and fully breathable. After some investigation, I opted for the Quito jacket from Páramo Directional Clothing Systems. It's fashioned by former street ladies in South America, […]

Continued »

Better to light a candle than curse the darkness

The weather this winter has been even more dreadful than usual. We've had record rainfall and yesterday Mick Lehane and I headed off with more forecast. On my way to meet him I was nearly knocked off by a young "lady" who just looked straight ahead as she drove in front of me as I […]

Continued »

Cycling on the motorway (or freeway)

British round-the-world cyclist Ken Roberts has been cycling on the motorway, at least along the hard shoulder. This is legal, but not in the UK. It's legal in Bulgaria, which Ken has been crossing this November on his way to Turkey. The alternative was a detour that would cost him a day or more. Allowing […]

Continued »

A hard slog

The weather has been apocalyptic for some time. Had a couple of short cycles on Thurs and Friday, looking at the floods. Saturday was awful and on Sunday I had to go to Kilbeggan in Co.Westmeath where my daughter Lizzie was running in the Irish Cross Country championship. Every Irish lady runner of note was […]

Continued »

Truing a bicycle wheel without a jig

This is a sequel to lacing a bicycle wheel. Truing the wheel turned out to be no more difficult than lacing it. Easy, in other words. The only tool required is a spoke key (illustrated). I'm truing a front wheel. The rear wheel is trickier because of the freewheel and unequal spoke lengths. I don't […]

Continued »

Lashing rain, friends and a new bike

On Saturday, I had planned a ride out to meet friends in Ramsey. I live on the Isle of Man, and in May this year, I joined our Mountain Bike club, the ladies division. But on Saturday, we were not carving out tyre tracks on muddy moorland or lugging our faithful machines over gates and […]

Continued »

Tools I wish I had bought years ago … #1

I have never regretted buying good tools. I have regretted buying bad tools, and I have also regretted not buying tools. Perhaps I need to explain. Recently I have bought one or two tools that have turned out to be excellent for their purpose. They were quite ordinary, easy to find, not expensive, and I […]

Continued »

Lacing a bicycle wheel

I made this today. It took about 50 minutes. Doesn't look right, but it is, so far. It must be the angle of the photo, because I've checked it carefully and it's right. The wheel isn't quite true yet but it's at least correctly laced. On the basis that lacing and truing a cycle wheel […]

Continued »

You've gotta improvise

Got up this morning. Nice day. Torrential rain yesterday, Torr Ential. Hear that Cork is badly flooded. I'm retired. I can do what I want to. I'm going to cycle into town to see the floods. I live 2.7 miles from the centre of Cork. I cycle in by a route which I know will […]

Continued »

The worst month of the year for cycling

November. Not so cold, but grim grey wetness. Not great for riding a bicycle?

Continued »

The front derailleur adjustment trick, the tight tyre trick

The Front Derailleur was invented by Satan. Adjusting it is fiendishly difficult unless you have adjusters higher up along the cables. There is however a fiendish trick. Allowing for the fact that the limit screws are such that you can over-adjust, what you do is adjust the wire so that you over-change, i.e. you can […]

Continued »

Sat Nav gripe

I planned a recent cycle tour using Ordnance Survey Explorer maps and mapmyride.com. However, I didn't have room for all the maps so I just took an AA Northern England (1 inch = 3.2 miles) map. For the most part this was fine, but as I left Castleton it wasn't clear which way I should […]

Continued »

A new road is like a stranger on the phone

The joy of a new road is something unending for cyclists. When you speak to a stranger on the phone, or to someone you know but whom you've never met, you always have some kind of a vague image of them in your head. It's like that when you cycle a new road. What they […]

Continued »

CTC vegan cycling evangelists

Last Sunday in the Campaigning & Public Policy section of the CTC forums someone started a thread titled: "It turns me off." The thread starter (OP) was referring to a Cyclenation Conference he'd been to in Nottingham, where one of the organisers, a Local Authority cycle trainer who'd laid on a vegan lunch, gave a […]

Continued »

Coverdale from Kettlewell to Middleham

One of the delights of cycling in the Dales is that there is such a wide choice of routes in this beautiful part of Yorkshire. I recently completed an unscheduled ride through Coverdale during a day trip from Richmond to Skipton. In cycle touring terms Coverdale is a very short stretch (15 miles) but would […]

Continued »

Cyclists save the day

My friends and I meet every Sunday on the old Bridge outside Jury's hotel on the Western Road in Cork. We've been doing this for 20 years. There we are, three of us, when a funny looking log appears floating down the river. Is it a person, couldn't be. What? God it is, floating on […]

Continued »

Cycling daily (every day)

Nick's earlier Post, cycling is not merely a hobby, is probably true in my case, although I don't particularly mind downgrading my characterisation of this daily activity to 'hobby' whenever I describe it to others. Anyway, whatever I happen to call it, I do it every day of the year. Unless it rains all day […]

Continued »

A chain of events

I used to think that chain repairs were easy; all I needed to carry was a chain tool to extract the odd pin, and a 'quick link' to join the ends together. A few days ago step-daughter Charlotte 'phoned. "I'm half way round Bleasdale and the chain has broken .... " so into the car […]

Continued »

Round-the-world cycling blogs

There may, of course, be many long distance cycle tourists who remain incognito, either because they prefer to or because they can't be bothered carrying a laptop computer to update their blogs. But the ones that do take the trouble to blog about their adventures from faraway places make it possible for mere mortals – […]

Continued »

Position is Everything

Position on a bike is so important. What you get in the shop may or may not suit you. The first thing to realize is that position is affected by fashion. There is a current vogue for low handlebars. Many of the TDF riders have very low bars. Yet if you look at photos from […]

Continued »

Nasty Hills

The worst country I've cycled in for severe hills is England. Though cyclists imagine that the Alps, Pyrenees etc. are much worse, by and large they aren't. Few of the famous long climbs in the TDF exceed 13% and then only in patches. The infamous Col du Tourmalet on the side I did it measures […]

Continued »

Beddgelert Forest cycling map

Rooting around my image files recently, I found a map of the Beddgelert Forest in Snowdonia, North Wales. As I cycle in the forest several times each year with my brother, I know the routes quite well, but the map still comes in useful. The junctions between the various tracks are marked with small timber […]

Continued »

Cycling is not merely a hobby

It is very kind of Patrick to allow me to join in with this endeavour, but I'm afraid that my first post ( and very possibly last post ) is to pick a quarrel with him. In his intro to the blog, Patrick refers to cycling as a 'hobby'. I don't like that. Cycling is […]

Continued »

Tracking your route on Google Maps with a non-GPS enabled mobile phone

Cycle tourists nowadays can track (record) their route on Google Maps using a GPS-enabled mobile phone. Here's was an example on John Talbot's 2009 end-to-end tour in which tracking data was automatically uploaded every 5 minutes whilst he was moving. However, to do a whole day's logging with the phone switched on is battery-intensive and […]

Continued »

Too old to cycle

Kenneth Taylor, from Bolton in Lancashire and 92 next March, has finally thrown in his cycling helmet. Ken was a keen cyclist in his youth and took the activity up again in his 60s when his knees gave way as a result of many years of fell running and climbing all the Scottish Munros (often […]

Continued »

Cycling blog

This is the first post on this new website, a cycling blog that will aim to be of interest to ordinary every-day cyclists and which hopefully will eventually be run by a blogging team of up to seven regular cyclists living in the UK or the Republic of Ireland, who enjoy not only riding a […]

Continued »