Sunday, 29 September 2019

Shimano Tiagra 4700

Shimano Tiagra 4700

Back in May I bought a second hand Giant road bike. I have ridden around two hundred miles on it since. A British summer being what it is, these rides included sun, heavy rain and even hailstones. I said it was a vast improvement over my Carrera. But I wasn't impressed with the brakes. The Carrera has Shimano Sora's which aren't brilliant, but were better. I planned to upgrade, and when the bottom bracket bearing started to seize I took the opportunity to have the Shimano Tiagra 4700 fitted whilst the bike was in for the warranty repair.

I was watching the tour of Britain and during the pre start section an expert and ex racer was explaining the difference between rim and disk brakes; which was better and why. He mentioned disks are more dependable in the wet, could require less pressure to work, and maybe have improved modulation, they could be heavier though and slowed wheel changes. But then he said something that puzzled me; rim brakes were for pros or at least more experienced riders. He said newer riders wouldn't know how to anticipate the delay you get with rim brakes, especially in the wet. So that makes me a pro, I think. Although my mountain bike has twin piston hydraulic calipers and bigger than standard rotors, so I maybe not that much of a pro.

This pic shows the new brakes, it was taken straight after a ride. It's used all year round even in hail and thunderstorms.

What did I think of the upgrade?

The brakes look almost indentical to the originals, but are totaly different. There is no lag, they bite straight away, and are much more powerful with retardation in reserve.

I could modulate the force easily, the original brakes just had to be grabbed as hard a possible to slow down. I'm sure it would be possible to lock the front wheel with the Tiagra's.

When Ross said I'd notice a massive improvement, I was a little sceptical. How wrong I was.

I wonder how much it would add to the price of the bike if they were on there to begin with.


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Thursday, 26 September 2019

Ross Cycles

ross cycles caterham shopfront

A while back Ross at Ross Cycles talked to me about his website. He wanted to personalise it. Emphasise him as the face of the shop.

One of his advantages over bigger establishments is that he is there when you visit. He will do the work on your bike. He'll remember the last time work was done.

You'll likely be dealing with different people every time you visit one of the chain stores, and they may not be as passionate about bikes as Ross.

Sometimes I just go in to talk bikes, or the rides he organises. I wouldn't do that with the chain stores. It's handy that he is only a few minutes walk from my house.

The big companies have left my area. They have moved away to retail parks.

I started to think about what shots would be neeeded. I had also to consider how bright the day would be; Ross wanted a shot of the exterior, I knew the interior would need extra illumination. Hiding the two flashes and bouncing the light off the ceiling worked, after a little experimentation.

There is a section on the website listing the many workshop packages on offer. They all had the same image. I wanted to add variety to the page.

cleaning

adjusting gears

adjusting gears

adjusting gears biked on electric lift

And lastly some close-ups.




Like me, Ross doesn't feel comfortable in front of the camera. For this reason I shot the exterior first, then shots of him working on the bikes. Only when he had relaxed a bit did we do the close-ups.

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Saturday, 14 September 2019

Sigh… there goes another summer, Snoopy!


Chafford arms garden

Last weekend Richard an I cycled 48 miles to Fordcombe and back, for a drink. Well not exactly, we hadn't got together for a long time, so needed to catch up. As is the case with good friends we were soon chatting as if no time had passed.

It was a tough ride, with some challenging hills but Thatchers cider at the Chafford Arms coupled with good food made up for it.

thatchers cider at the chafford arms fordcombe


We arrived a little before it opened, so we had plenty of time to find a table in the big garden.
Once open it filled quickly but the service was speedy and efficient. We were quickly tucking into a tasty lunch. I'm not normally a cider drinking, but I'm glad I choose to be. It was delicious, just what I needed to top up my energy for the ride home.

It had started out a bit chilly, within a few miles the temperature was just right. By the time we sat down for lunch it had become a very pleasant afternoon, just right for a pub lunch in the garden. We talked about what we had both been up to and our plans. Richard is a beekeeper, I'm looking forward to some honey next year; I'll start saving some jars. It's a lot more work than I thought it would be, and if he's not careful they could just fly away. It's now all about building their reserves for the winter, having taken the honey during the summer Richard has to feed them quickly. He'll be wrapping them up soon, to ward off the winter cold.

Today was a solo ride, Matt having returned from his holidays late yesterday. So I took out the road bike. 

The hills felt a little harder than usual, even the flat was tougher that it should be. Am I getting old all of a sudden? Nope; the bottom bracket has started to seize. A quick trip to Ross Cycles to drop off the bike after my shower will have it sorted by next weekend. I took the opportunity to have the brakes upgraded. They have improved a bit since my first ride, but not enough.

This morning was really chilly, I didn't take my jacket off until I was heading home, a real sign of impending winter. It's beautiful now, with better promised for tomorrow. 

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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Bold and bright

court basketball


I have been working hard on my photography, trying new styles and pushing myself with new challenges. Personally I have seen improvement, both in the quality of my work and my confidence.

But it's great when others see it.

I have had a number of photoshoots with Saskia, the last one was a few months ago.

Her mum approached me about a shoot for a designer. (facebook page) She had been asked to recommend a photographer, and Janise suggested me. That was a big boost, and a new challenge.

The theme was sporty so a tennis court was an ideal location; would the weather intervene?



I had hoped for a sunny day feel; but it rained for a short time and was overcast. A typical summer day.

A remote flash added a little punch to the scene.

At one point we had quite a crowd; moving to a different court cured them of their curiosity. I don't usually mind an audience, Saskia is use to it too. But when they stare from a few feet away it can be off-putting.

Janise got involved as well.




We tried to vary the poses and use every inch of the courts.





 Janise noticed one with pink chairs, although faded, they still added to the variety for the pink outfit.



This last outfit was a little less sporty, no-one is going to play tennis in those heels.


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