Monday, 2 May 2022

May 2022

2nd May: It was a double first for me today, it was the first ride with my new Wahoo Elemnt Bolt v2 and the first ride with with my new Stages Ultegra 8000 power meter. I bought the new Bolt because I'm planning a couple of cycling holidays and I wanted a device that could recalculate routes properly, not just show a breadcrumb trail. I bought the power meter because of Zwift. Having power data becomes second nature with Zwift because it is provided by your smart trainer so I wanted it for my 'real life' rides as well.

I did a ride today that I know well but I drew it out in Ride with GPS because I wanted to see how the new Bolt did. It was impressive, even if you're on the metrics screen, rather that the map screen, it pops up at the bottom of the screen and tells you the road name to turn into and the distance so I was very pleased with that. The weather was perfect, grey and overcast with a bit of a breeze so quite a fun ride. I think my post-covid symptoms are starting to fade. The long uphill drag along the East Lancs that I struggled with last ride was a breeze, I shot up it so that's a relief. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, the front tyre I re-taped recently didn't lose a single PSI over three days so I'm calling that a win! 26.0 miles.

14th May: It's bonus month at work so I treated the Strael to something I wanted for ages, a set of aero wheels. I chose a set of Scribe Aero Wide+ 50D, they're even lighter than my Hunt Carbon Aero Disc 30 wheels at 1,449 grams and feature a 50 mm naca profile carbon rim with Pillar Wing 20 aero spokes. The wheels come with rim tape fitted so I transferred my tyres over and, amazingly, fitted them with no tyre levers AND they stayed up perfectly from the moment I fitted them with Muc-Off No Puncture Hassle sealant 😀.

It was a gorgeous sunny day so I set off and did some of my usual routes. The field with the nine ammunition storage building was dry and covered with stubble so I cycled over to take a look and took a pic of my bike. The wheels felt fast and smooth with no twitching at all front wheel despite the breeze which was reassuring. I wasn't feeling massively fit so I didn't stay out for too long so another 20.5 miles.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

The trials and tribulations of tubeless tyres... again.

Well, I had today all planned out. A nice chill in the house followed by a test of my new Wahoo Elemnt Bolt v2 GPS bike computer in the afternoon. How wrong I was. I went to check the bike and found the front tyre completely flat, oh joy 😕. After my initial set up of the new tyres, I had doubts at the back of my mind and luckily ordered a roll of tubeless rim tape from Hunt as a spare so I decided to change the rim tape. Probably because it had been seated for a while, the tyre came off pretty easily with one lever so I took the wheel into the back yard and blasted all the sealant out of the tyre and off the rim with the hosepipe and left them to dry for a bit. I then removed the two wraps of Muc-Off rim tape and attacked the sticky residue the tape left with a microfibre and a bottle of isopropyl alcohol. I soon gave up on this because the residue was extremely persistent.

I decided to do two wraps of the Hunt tape but this time, every time I had stretched six or seven inches of tape onto the rim bed, I massaged the tape into the dip in the centre of the rim bed with a length of 13 mm chromed steel bar I had (I have another if anyone wants it for the cost of postage?). To make sure the tape was seated, I also jammed a wadded up handful of t-shirt into the side of the rim bed behind the hook on each side of the rim and squished it all the way around to make sure the two edges of the tape either side of the central depression were stuck down properly. I then poked a hole in the tape at the valve hole and fitted the valve with some sealant smeared around the rubber cone. The tyre went back on pretty easily and I soon had it seated with my Airshot device. I opened the second bottle of sealant that came with the Muc-Off kit and squeezed half of it into the wheel. I inflated it to 60 PSI and gave the wheel a mad jiggle in every possible direction to disperse the sealant and attached it back to the bike. It's only been half an hour but, touch wood, the tyre still feels rock hard. Hopefully it will still be hard in the morning. Or possibly not 🤷.

Review: Revolubes chain lube.

When I bought my Kickr and started Zwifting, I started looking for a chain lube that was as clean as possible and wouldn't pose a risk to anything that touched it by accident. A bit of Googling brought up a product called Revolube. Revolube isn't a traditional wet lube or new-fangled dry lube, it's a surface friction modifier.

This is what Revolube say about the product, taken from their website:

Our well-developed and proven technology provides you with extraordinary performance under load, ensuring smooth drivetrain operation under any condition by bonding chemically with the chain's material, forming a microscopic, mono-molecular, wear resistant and dry coating, embedded into the chain’s surface.

You apply it by degreasing your chain as thoroughly as possible and using the provided pipette to apply a tiny drip to each link. You then gives your cranks a good spin to work the lube into the links, leave it a while, and run your chain through an old t-shirt to get the outside of the chain as clean and dry as possible. I found the product ideal for Zwifting. The chain runs smoothly and silently while the outside remains clean and dry and isn't a danger to legs or clothing. I re-applied at ~400 miles as a precaution but Revolube say 700 is entirely possible.

I haven't been able to test it in the rain yet but given that calcium sulphonate is added to grease to make it more waterproof, I have very high hopes - a great product!

April 2022.

18th April: Well, after a 2 year break followed by 1,200 miles on Zwift over 6 months, it was time to hit the road again. The Continental Grand Prix GT tyres on the Strael were three years old and fairly worn so I read a few reviews and bought a pair of GoodyearEagleF1 tubeless tyres and a Muc-Off tubeless kit. I removed all the rim tape from my Hunt CAD 30 wheels and applied the Muc-Off rim tape. Getting the tyres on was a massive pain in the arse because the tape covers over the dip in the rim bed leaving nowhere to tuck the beads. I think in future, it would be better to use something rounded to force the tape down into the dip in the bed instead of relying on air pressure to do it. 

Anyhow, I fitted the valves and added a good slug of sealant to each wheel, inflated them and gave each tyre a really good shake around to distribute the sealant. The next day, the rear was flat so I added more sealant and that seemed to do the trick. A few days later, the front one went down. I resolved the issue by adding half a bag of sealant to each wheel. Excessive but it seems to have done the trick, having said that, the front is very low now - tubeless, eh?

 Anyhow I headed out and did a selection of my usual routes. My legs felt fantastic although I felt like I couldn't get enough oxygen which is probably because I had Covid-19 a couple of weeks ago. A surprisingly enjoyable 22.0 miles.

24th April: Well, with my new tubeless tyres topped off again, I headed out again to some of my old favourite routes. It was a bit cooler, and a lot windier, that the last ride so I wore my black long-sleeved decathlon top instead of the jersey I wore last time. After six months on Zwift, I'm still relearning the ropes of riding IRL 😁.

My legs felt pretty good again but I still felt I couldn't get enough oxygen into myself, especially on the long uphill drag along the East Lancs. No doubt a side of having Covid-19 but hopefully it will clear up eventually. A fun ride and nice to see some of my old haunts again. 16.6 miles.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

October 2019.

5th October: After another long spell of rainy days it was overcast and bright today so I took Awesom-O out for a spin expecting a lot of puddles. It was around 12 °C and quite windy so my new B'Twin long sleeved top was finally the correct top for the job.

I don't know why but the two big puddle on the farm path seem to have permanently disappeared but there was a huge puddle on Intake Lane that spanned the whole road so I was very glad I wasn't on the Strael. Anyhow, I did two ups and downs of the farm path and a loop around Barrow Nook to add a bit of distance for a quite enjoyable 19.9 miles.

12th October: After another week of rain it was an absolutely gorgeous day today, largely blue skies and not a lot of wind so I took Awesom-O out for a spin. having said that, the ride nearly didn't happen. I'd barely got 100 yards when the bike started making a weird rubbing noise. I stopped and found the front mudguard was rubbing which was odd because none of the bolts had come loose.

Anyhow, I fixed it by setting the guard slightly away from the tyre and started the ride again. It was the inaugural ride of my new rear light, an Exposure Blaze Mk 3, today. I've had one of each generation of See.sense lights and none of them have been entirely satisfactory so hopefully I'm onto a winner with the Exposure. Anyway, a very pleasant ride indeed and 25.1 miles.

The end (for now).

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

September 2019.

1st September: Apart from a couple of motons, it was a fairly good ride today. My dad's had a leg removed so I had to be free to push him to the pub for lunch at 2 o'clock so I decided to get out for a fairly early ride. Awesom-O's had some minor surgery, a replacement right-hand shifter lever, new inner brake and gear cables and new bar tape, so I was happy to take him out for a late summer spin. It was warmish but extremely windy, heading out and up the track extremely windy - I was struggling to maintain 13 mph at times but coming back down the track was great fun with the wind behind me.

I did two ups and downs of the farm track and headed back through the village. I had a minor close pass from a van on the way out but as I was cycling through the village a woman in a large white car waiting to turn right waited until I was almost on her to pull out in front of me. I don't think she'll forget me bellowing "MORON!!!" through her window as she passed me in a hurry! Anyhow, an early start to September in more way than one and 19.4 miles.

7th September: After a ridiculous amount of rain recently it was a gorgeous early autumn day today so I took the Strael out for a spin. It was fairly warm and sunny without much wind but it's that time of year when you can feel a bit chilly at the start of a ride so I've ordered a cheap long sleeved jersey from B'Twin which I'll review after a couple of rides. There was definitely a bit of the 'autumn's here' in the air because there were lots of cyclists out enjoying the sun while they could. Anyhow, a very pleasant ride and 20.1 more miles.

14th September: After several days of yet more rain it was a gorgeous early autumn day today, warm and sunny and not too windy so the Strael got a run out. I was going to get back to doing the usual three ups and downs of the path but made something of a clothing mistake that rendered that unwise. Being autumn I decided to wear my new B'Twin 500 long sleeved top thinking it was just a light weight jersey. It isn't, the material is quite thick and it's brushed on the inside so I basically ended up melting and ended up cycling with it half unzipped.

Aside from that, I had one of the cutest animal encounters I've ever had. I was heading down a bosky section of the path i call insect alley when I saw a small grey squirrel and two juveniles on the path about eight feet in front of me. They didn't seem remotely concerned with the two young ones clambering over each other playing. I stood still and they all started walking towards me in a line. They eventually all walked right past me and dived back into the trees at the side of the path and disappeared - amazing! Anyhow, another 20.1 miles.

Photo credit: Joel Sartore.

21st September: Well, it hasn't rained for a few days and there's an area of high pressure sitting over the UK at the moment so it was a lovely warm sunny day to take the Strael out for a spin. Beofre I left, I was looking for something in my bike parts tub when I found a set of Shimano replacement SPD cleats. The cleats on my shoes looked pretty worn so I replaced them with the new ones using blue Loctite on the bolts. I started with a lap of the fishing pond at Siding Lane and then headed for the farm track. I was going to do three ups and downs but it was extremely windy so I ended up just doing two before heading home. Apart from nearly being taken out by an elderly man driving a Ford pickup (see the theme again?) it was a very enjoyable ride, the fresh cleats clipped in and out a lot more efficiently which surprised me,  and certainly one of the last chances this year to top up the tan. 20.1 miles.

22nd September: It was even warmer than it was yesterday, 22 °C according to the Wahoo, so the Strael got another spin out today. Once again I was going to do three ups and downs but it was even windier than it was yesterday which was weird. It was like cycling in the summer sun but with a winter wind which was very odd. Anyhow, because of the wind, and the fact I'd wet shaved my head this morning and didn't want to risk burning it, I only did two ups and downs plus a look up Back Lane and back for a rather pleasant 20.3 miles.

Well September ended with another week of heavy rain so I didn't manage to get out again. This meant September goes out with a mere 100.0 miles on the clock. If this is global warming, and I suspect it is, we're screwed. Go Greta!

Saturday, 3 August 2019

August 2019.

2nd August: We've had a bizarre amount of rain for the time of year recently, a small town in the UK, Whaley Bridge, has been evacuated because a dam's been damaged and there are roads washed away in Yorkshire but today was actually quite pleasant. It was semi-overcast and around 22 °C so I took Awesom-O for another spin as I wasn't sure how much standing water would still be around. As it turns out, I could have taken the Strael as it was pretty dry overall. It was a pretty uneventful ride and a nice chance to top off the tan a bit. 25.0 miles.

3rd August: Another overcast warm day today so, knowing it was dry, I took the Strael out for a spin. I obviously wasn't the only person who decided to take advantage of the nice weather. The farmers were out harvesting the wheat and baling the straw and there were other cyclists and people walking on the path. On a side note, I think I've sorted the angle on my new Specialized saddle.

It's now pointing ever so slightly up and it's not perfect but it's liveable with. Anyhow an enjoyable ride and another cool 'wildlife' encounter. There are a couple of Buddleia bushes growing out of the hedge near the house where I found the rabbit a couple of winters ago. I thought I saw something moving and when I went to take a look, they were covered with Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies which was amazing to see. Another 25.0 miles.

Photo credit: Jessica Godfrey.

17th August: The weather this year is proving to be rather odd. We've had tons of rain over the last few days, I've lost count of the number of commutes up the M6 recently where the rain is pouring and everyone's driving through the spray with their headlights on (except for a lot of Ford drivers, obviously). Anyhow, today was overcast but reasonably warm so, anticipating a lot of standing water, I took Awsom-O out for a spin. It was very windy, around 15 mph according to the BBC website, but it was still an enjoyable ride. The wind was in my face heading up the track so at least it would be with me on the way home. Around half way through the ride a lot of the clouds seemed to dissipate and it was actually a gorgeous sunny day and a very enjoyable ride. 25.1 miles.

24th August: Well, after more rain than you'd ever expect to see in August, an area of high pressure has finally moved in and it was hot and sunny today. I took the Strael out to do the usual and ended up having another odd animal encounter. There's an area of hard standing at the end of the farm track that appears to have been created as a caravan park. As I was starting my first 'down', a soaking wet black pug puppy ran under the gate and onto the path. It was extremely friendly and ran straight towards me so I lay the Strael down in the grass and managed to pick it up and hand it back to it's owner who'd walked over. A nice rescue but my gloves stank of wet dog for the rest of the ride and went straight in the wash when I got back. Despite the warmth, 26 °c according to the Wahoo, it was very windy so I decided to cut the ride to two ups and downs and get more, shorter rides in because I've booked next week off work. Anyhow, 19.4 hot and sweaty miles.

25th August: I forgot to write this ride up but I remember that it was warm but overcast and very windy. I went out on the Strael to do the usual but for some reason there cars and tractors all over the place so I did a complete up and down of the path and then did the road to Holt Green and back. A windy ride but satisfying. 21.2 miles.

30th August: The BBC had been threatening 40 mph winds today but my dad challenged me to get out for a ride. It was windy but nowhere near 40 mph so I grabbed the Strael and headed out. I did two ups and downs of the farm path and a lap of the pond at Siding Lane to add a bit of distance on the way home. It wasn't 40 mph the wind but it was extremely windy, at some points going up the track I was either leaning the bike into wind or it was dancing around underneath me. This has been a very weird August for weather, most of it has been more like November so I hope we get an Indian summer! 20.3 miles.

Well I got all togged up on the 31st and headed out at my usual time just as the heavens open. It wasn't a particularly warm day and I was wearing my summer gear so I called her a cigrit and headed back in. Not a great month at 136.0 miles but not too bad given the state of the year so now I'm really hoping for an Indian summer!