Monthly Archives: August 2011


Off to a meeting in Bristol today. No pedal.


Through Autumn’s Golden Gown…

Trees are now putting on an end of summer, beginning of Autumn show. It’s early too, probably as a result of the very dry early Spring we had.

I finally got my singlespeed commuter as I want it. I bled the brakes, which were in a shocking state, the fluid was very discoloured and full of contaminants. After I’d bled them I replaced the pads with Aztec Sintered brake pads. I went for sintered as they’re a tad longer lasting and can put up with the travails of commuting better than resin pads, although immediate stopping power is down. But my commute is pretty steady and doesn’t require MTB downhill stopping ability.

After the bleed I went to work on the mudguards, during the very wet commute in the other day I decided that the front and rear guards needed extending, the spray off the front was getting my feet wet and the rear didn’t go far enough over the tyre to prevent the dreaded “back splash”.

Here is my solution.

Front splash guard

It’s made quite simply by cutting a plastic bottle to shape, taping it up then self tapping it to the mudguard, Job done!



Cut out bottle

Cut out bottle

Taped up

Taped up

On the bike

On the bike

They seem to be secure enough and seem to be covering the offending areas. I’m not exactly looking forward to the wet weather, but I’m kind of looking forward to testing them out!
I also carried on with the slow and steady job of finishing my Ebay Special. My self built Chinese Carbon framed “best road bike”. It needed some decals. Here’s what I went with.
Red Pin striping

Red Pin striping

Red Pin striping

Red Pin striping

Motivational label!

Motivational label!

I also put on the new tyres, red naturally to match the pin striping. I’m just waiting for the text decals off my mate Daz to finish the bike off properly.
I finished the day with a parade of Brooks Saddles!
Brooks Saddles

Brooks Saddles


This mornings pedal in was dark and quite chilly, like I said Autumn is here.

The Bank Holiday Weekend starts here.

Okey dokey, a good weekend ahead and after a full on week of pedalling, core work and running the great weekend involves that other vitally important bit of training, that of resting!

But first I have a site visit today to get out of the way then sort my bikes out this afternoon, then chill.

Tomorrow is the opening day of the Rugby season, which means me and Dan will be at Bees to watch the first match v Ealing Trailfinders. A team I know nothing about as they were promoted to National 1 at the end of last season. After that me and my mukka Ski will be off to the Dodford Inn to have our usual start of the season coaches meeting to plan our strategy for months ahead. oh, and maybe have a beer or 2! We’ll probably find time to watch a recording of Ireland v England too, not holding out too much hope of England being on the right side of that scoreline.

Sunday is promising to be a bit special. We’re off to Gloucester for this. Looks like it will be brilliant!

As for Monday? Dunno…

Yesterday’s pedal home went ok, that’s my first week of singlespeeding done and as I alluded to before I can certainly feel it in my legs. My final day of week 3 in my running program was done immediatly on arrival at home too. Not to sure what to make of it to be honest, I did feel a bit heavy legged, probably the singlespeeding I guess but I got round ok.

As it’s a full on few days, I’ll be back on Tuesday, so everyone have a great weekend and I’ll see you then, tara a bit!


Wetter than a fishes wet bits…

I may have used that title before, early senility see. Anyway I awoke this morning to a very slight drizzle, ah well crack on, I didn’t bother waterproofing up as it is still pretty warm here in  Birmingham.

The spray off the roads was terrible and when I got on to the canal I realised just how much rain must have fell over night, the towpath was as full of standing water (read one long 3″ deep puddle) as I ever seen it and by the time I came off just by work I was covered in muddy gritty towpath grime. My socks were squelching in my shoes and I was generally blacker than the Ace of Spades.

Added on to this, was a bit of entertainment traffic wise while I was opening up work. The road I work on has a dip in it about 50 yards further along, it had totally flooded, the local Bobbies were turning traffic around and generally causing well meant mayhem. Watching 2 articulated lorries attempting to do U turns in a normal street was brilliant! One nearly got wedged! But I suppose not being able to pass due to a flood or a wedged artic doesn’t really matter, you still can’t pass.

The pedal home yesterday was certainly drier and nowhere near as incident packed but done against a pig of a head wind! As I’m coming to the end of my first week singlespeeding I have to report I can certainly feel the difference in my legs. I haven’t for a while felt any of my commutes in my legs, I’m 4 days in now and my legs have that all to familiar ache which I guess means it’s working me harder. Which also means it must be doing me some good.

The trip home later will be my last pedal this week. I have a site visit tomorrow, but I’ll be doing my upper body and core work out which I also did last night. Those iPhone Apps are sadistic bastards! The press ups are continuing a pace, as are the sit ups, but Holy Mother of God are the planks making me work! Day 3 week 3 of my running program this evening too.

Still working on altering the timings of the food intake too, but the logistics are causing me one or two problems.

Mid week meanderings…

Yesterday’s pedal home along the cut was yet another uneventful occurence. It’s getting difficult to know what to write about my commutes now. They’re all pretty much of a muchness. This morning’s pedal in was done along NCR5 and the canal. Again, absolutely nothing to report other than it was a pleasant start to the day.

Day 2 week 3 of my running program was completed also without incident when I got home.

The only thing of note to occur yesterday was me trying to book a week off work for the beginning of September and finding out we haven’t got enough staff to cover holidays. I’ve got 20 days to get in between now and Christmas, that’ll be interesting!



The pedal home yesterday, via Singlespeed loveliness was ok. As was the pedal in this morning. The canal as always was deserted. Just as I like it.

I did my upper body core work out when I got in and it’s day 2 of week 3 of my running program later on.

Who needs gears?

Well, me actually, but not on my canal commute. Which is why for ease of maintenance and simplicity I finally managed to get my hands on a Genesis IO singlespeed with hydraulic disc brakes. An ideal winter commuter.


It came all MTB’ed up, Continental knobblies, flashy saddle, Tioga flatties and no mudguards. I whacked my Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres on there, my Brooks Saddle, some handy bar ends, Shimano SPDs and with a bit of fettling with brackets, drills, nuts and bolts I got my mudguards on to it. The frame and forks have no mudguard fixtures.

It has a Blackspire 40 tooth front chain ring, and a 16 tooth rear cog and it also came with spare chain rings sized 36 tooth and and 32 tooth. Bit small them for the towpath and roads!


It has a quality Reynolds tubed steel frame which if looked after will last a lifetime and be repairable if it ain’t.

As you may recall I was looking at a 29er for this bike, but having ridden a mates 29er recently I felt they weren’t for me. They just felt too big and “wrong” quite frankly. It rolled well as all 29ers are meant to do, but I guess me being a short arse 26″ is the way to go for me personally. I can see the attraction though.

It just needs new brake pads to be just how I’d like it to be, the Deore brakes are a bit woolly at the moment, I’m guessing the pads have glazed.

As it’s a steel frame, it can be modified for a belt drive which I will be doing down the line some time, also if our house move goes ahead and I haven’t got access to the canal anymore it will be Alfined’d up with the 11 speed hub. There’s bloody great hills between our potential new location and work!

This morning was it’s debut pedal, I was going to go down NCR5 and the canal, but I decided on the Bristol Road and the canal just to test the singlespeeder on some hills. The big one, the climb into Selly Oak was managed just fine out of the saddle, it got my heart rate up a tad, but nothing too bad. It seems the ratios it came with are just fine for me.

I did read a review on these bikes on MBR I think, where the reviewer describes the ride as too hard for comfort. Either he’s jumped straight off a full susser and has forgotten how it was on a rigid MTB back in the day or we’re breeding them soft these days. It’s perfectly fine even on the very uneven towpath I pedal on. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one of these babies to anyone. Hard ride indeed. Pah! I’m looking forward to spending some more time with her!