Saturday, 18 January 2020

Wow, that was cold

sunrise mountain bike

I left the house and walked across the heavily frosted grass to the garage. It was definitely the coldest day of winter so far. At least it meant no rain.

This time of year; it's either mild and raining, or cold and dry. Dry is always better, the thermal socks I got from the grand kids for Christmas helped to ensure I didn't get too cold.

The roads were treacherous in places, a bend looked slippery so I slowed my approach. With no skill on my part I stayed upright, both wheels slid away from me but found grip before I fell.

I turned for home early, the further I went into the countryside the more dangerous the roads felt.

And then just as I started the last short climb to home the gears locked up. I couldn't change down from top. I had to get off and push the bike.

Took it to Ross's; was told Shimano shifters never break, must need greasing. Went back later, it's broken.

Obviously I can't ride my newer bike tomorrow so I've had to pump up the tyres on the Carrera.

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A Giant upgrade

giant defy vision wheels

My Giant Defy 3 needed some upgrades. It’s a fairly light road bike. But the brakes were very poor so the Shimano Tiagra’s improved safety.

It now has new wheels, Vision 35’s. They are lighter than the originals, more aerodynamic and should improve the braking.

I thought aero wasn't going to be a big factor for me; I don't travel very fast. At just 10 mph though, aerodynamic drag uses half the power you produce. To double that speed, you need to produce eight time more power. My average speed is around 14 - 16 mph, maybe I can improve that a little. The biggest generator of air resistance is me, but the bike contributes about 30 percent. These new wheels will help to reduce it a little. There are plenty of hills where I live, being lighter will help with climbing.

I want to do more longer rides this year, like Caterham to Canterbury, and better my Waller Hill climb time.

I think I might be starting to take this cycling lark a bit seriously?

It's becoming a bit more than just a way to keep fit and socialise. Almost any bike will allow me to do both. Crucially though, going faster will mean I can go further in the same time; part of the motivation is getting to new places. Hopefully this will help me increase the number of rides I do in a year.

My bike has much upgrade potential; how far will I go? I don't think much further; increased performance costs money. Colin Chapman of Lotus said to go faster, add lightness. I could lose a few pounds now that Christmas is over. There are still chocolates and cake in the house though, I can't throw them away can I? Once they are gone, I'll try to slim down.

Clipless pedals would definitely be a step too far; I know that's controversial. I just think the extra efficiency isn't worth the clippy-cloppy shoes and awkward walk.

As I wrote this, it occurred to me; I might have a summer/good weather bike.
I never bought into the winter bike, one that you didn't mind being assaulted by the dirt and harsh weather. My bikes have to survive anything I throw at them.
But now it looks too nice to ride at this time of year. The mountain bike will have to cope.

When I got the bike back from Ross Cycles, it had been cleaned; which was nice. I really will have to keep it that way.

Take a look at the Ross Cycles website, I took the photos for it.

I'll need better weather to explore the improvements, which is a shame. I have started planning the rides. Ditchling Beacon and Leith Hill are on my to-do list.


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