Thursday, 29 January 2015

Touring Fesival

Im ill at the moment, it started out with a feeling tired, turned into a cough then cracking chest sore throat ears etc..  yep Man Flu, more deadly than Ebola.  According to the doctor I made the classic mistake of thinking I could work through it and sapped my bodys vital fighting it off reserves which made me much worse, I guess I am just not as young as I used to be.

The doc has ordered me home and put me on antibiotics etc..  I have suplemented that with ibruprofen and otravine (a miracle medicine).  So having slept most of the day I am now wide awake having read through some wireless survey reports for work and various other work related stuff my mind wondered over to cycling and I began looking at some touring blogs, I had a quick look at the following blog:

Tom's Bike Trip

What caught my eye was an advert for a cycle touring festival on the may Bank Holiday from the 1st to the 3rd.  Check out the wordpress sight here:

Cycle Touring Festival

It is a weekend focussed on those interested in cycle touring with advice on bikes, speakers etc.. even an open mic.. 

I am going to visit as it is aparently the first such touring focussed event, anyhow it's an excuse for a cycle and a camp so im up for it.  All I have to do now is coerce one of my unwilling (dupes/friends/victims) tick most applicable, into going with me so I won't be Billy no mates..

Now I have a cunning plan to ride the 130 miles there which fully laden is doable, but I don't know what kind of state I will be in when I get there.   So.... I am thinking of either setting off on the Thursday night from my house cycling till I fancy sleeping, and completing the remaining the next day, or...  catch a train on friday morning to Stoke on Trent or Congleton and then do a much more manageable 80 miles..  I am undecided... then I can spend the Friday night/Sat & either cycle or catch the train home sunday?

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Koga Atalanta Handlebars & Bontrager Wrap with Bike Ribbon inserts

A while back I had decided to search for a multiposition handlebar that was straight at the ends to give me a similar feel to bar ends.  After some searching I came across the Koga Atalanta bars and I fitted them this weekend, some photos below.

You can see them here with my gear selectors/brakes and ergon grips fitted etc.

Side on you may apreciate they are a little wider than
others which gives me a more comfortable grip.

I wanted as much firm cushioning as possible to
give me the same feeling as I got with Phat Tape on my BB handlebars
so I fitted a set of Bike Ribbon inserts.

Side view with the orange bontrager wrap.

Checking out the fit with all the kit on.  Note the double section
where you can mount accessories that is very well thought out.

Final adjustments.  Again not clear in the photo but they have
cleverly put a litle notch behind the top bar so you can secure
bar bags as if directly to the stem! Very well thought out.

It's not easy to see from here, however the fitting for the Ortlieb bag is still a bit tight despite Koga saying generous space for bar bags.  Additionally the bag gets in the way of the camera.  My solution is I am going to fit a 2nd stem below the first so I will let you know how I get on with that!

Overall I am extreemely happy, unfortunately my rear wheel is being returned to Chain Reaction so I will have to wait for it to come back before I can do a road test and final adjustments.  I may be able to get the 2nd stem fitted beforehand.

To answer Tim's questions:

Weight is just 1040 grams, they feel heavier and more solid than my old BBB ones which were good.
diameter varies around the bar but centre diameter for mounting is standard 25mm so fits normal stems you don't need a koga specific one.
 What I do like is the individually adjustable wings which I will write more about they mean each side is independantly adjustable.
with regards to my previous comment about the tight fit of the bar bag, I have bought an extender for the bag bracket ortlieb and it sits fine now.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Lemmings - Bike Horns - Pedestrians & Responses

In 1958 a disney documentary called the White Wilderness aparently filmed the mass suicide of Lemmings jumping into the sea, which spawned the whole myth of suicidal lemmings.  In fact the filmakers staged the suicide by forcing the poor little blighters into the sea...  The myth was so strong that it has  outlived the documentary in peoples memories and even spawned a popular series of computer games.

LOOK!  I am not depressed
So what has this got to do with pedestrians or bike horns??  Read on!!  Anyone who has had to ride their bike along a high street or canal path will recognise the following pedestrian/Lemming types:

TYPE 1 - Living in a dreamworld or on my mobile phone

This type of pedestrian is simply not paying attention to the world around them typically stepping straight out onto a road because they haven't heard a car engine, I wonder what will happen to these people when cars are mainly electric...

TYPE 2 - I am looking at you but I don't care

These are the most annoying type for me, they look straight at you and then step out anyway somehow believeing they have more right of way than anyone else and you should brake as soon as you see any pedestrian (You can usually find the about 10 ft away from a zebra crossing).

TYPE 3 - Simply arrogant

These ones literally step out in front and slow down on purpose to force you to brake, then  fire a string of expletives... usually young males or lycra wearing chavettes.

Pedestiran Responses:  It is kind of funny that I find the rudenes of responses seem to be follow a gausian curve that starts off getting ruder above 8 yrs old peaking around at around the age of 55 then getting streadily nice  again (based on my own experiences).  There are some regional variations with city hotspots and very protective mothers who strangely only become protoctive the minute their offspring walk in front of a bike, up until then they seem strangely unconcerned with them or what danger they may be in....

To Bell or Not to Bell:

Let me start by informing/reminding that having a bell on your bike is not a legal requirment - despite what an experienced cycling friend believes vehemently and several pedestrian lawyers have informed me (the latest who also stated that bikes aren't allowed on canal paths)???

I used to ride without a bell prefering a heartfelt "Good Morning" or "Excuse me" however I often got mumbled "get a bell" or other comments.  After a lecture by a fellow cyclist I put a bell back on and this was even less effective, people just seemed to ignore them..   My solution was to fit a 120db bike horn so far it has had a 100 percent success rate in alerting people and has a similarly wonderful effect on aggressive dogs.

I still prefer to give a hearty "good morning" but if I get no response a blast on the horn does the job, that's my solution.

For those disbelievers out there think of all of the comments you hear about cyclists, drivers etc.. should pay more attention well so should pedestrians!

Some Humor to End it All (just the blog im not planning to ride off a cliff  - ALA Lemming)

And here's some stock answers for various insults thrown my way by pedestrians (I am thinking of getting these made onto a card to hand out) Please don't read if you have no sense of humour or easily shocked:

  1. Yes I do pay road tax
    1.  two lots actually - Car and Motorbike
    2. There is no such thing as Road Tax it was abolished in 1937 - the tax you pay on your vehicle is for emmisions not for the roads - we all pay for the roads (go on argue your way out of that one)
  2. Yes I am a good driver - I passed my advanced motorbike riding (Im not perfect but I do my best)
  3. No I am not blind just because I didn't anticipate you stepping in front of me
  4. No I don't think all cyclists are right, it's a case by case basis... if you are wrong you are wrong whatever the vehicle even if its your own two feet.
  5. No my mother didn't do any of the things you are referring too (she is , she was an angel and scowling at you from Heaven) YES YOU!
  6. Yes I have made mistakes plenty of them, but I try to admit them and not follow them with a threat or string of expletives.
  7. Yes I do have a life - fairly varied 
  8. No im not a virgin
  9. No I am not gay but I am pretty sure that wouldn't have anything to do with my cycling or why I occasionaly wear Lycra.  
    1. Response to female:  No but after 5 min in your company I am seeing the positives.
    2. Response to male: No but I have a single mate I am sure you would be just his type if your lonely.
  10. My bike is allowed on a train, look I have a ticket and everything
  11. No I am not trying to kill you, if I was I promise you wouldn't hear me coming and my weapon of choice would not be a bike.
  12.  Start what, my bike doesn't have an engine why would I want to start anything... ohhh start on you.. do you have an engine???
  13. !$!$!anker - yes as often as possible, but always in private and never on my bike (well almost never)
  14. Yes I do think im funny but only in an ameteur way I am not a comedian or anything.
  15. Of course my bike has brakes, discs actually very good at stopping me when I have at least as much time as it takes my synapses to recieve an impulse from my brain.
  16. Yes I do have a brain - I can read, count and everyfink
  17. No im not allowed on pavements permanently (that's to road users) who politely ask me to get off the roads.
  18. ^%$^&%$astard - How did you know??? Yes I was born out of wedlock, still it never held me back and they didn't send mom to the mental asylum so it's all good really.
  19. *(&^*(&uck off - as soon as you move out of the way sweetie.
  20. How much room do I need? 
    1. To a male:  Not as much as your ego
    2. To a female: Not as much as your fat.... (insert appendage of choice) special note this has even more effect on thin women - watch they will often check out their behinds to make sure they haven't suddenly grown since putting on a size 7 pair of leopord skin lycras.
  21. No I don't need to get a real vehicle, I own two of them a car and a motorbike.. the bicycle I am on is not a real vehicle it's invisible same one the hair bears used to ride.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Around The Wrekin 2nd January 2015

A change of pace today, I went for a walk over the Wrekin with Mark and Khyle.  We trundled over the wrekin hill walking to the end of the woods and doubling back through the forest and the road across the estate on trails a fun time for the first trip of 2015

At the summit

Add caption

Mark & Khyle

Looking back over the Wreking Summit

Catching Khyle as he crested the hill

Mark looking relaxed and at home

A Disused Firing Range
Mark worked out what it was, my best guess was a loom lol

Info board at the car park

Another one fooled at the Lydiate Ash Roundabout roadside cafe

On a recent visit to my sisters with Khyle I had occasion to repay a kindness.  On a previous trip out I was cycling past the roadside cafe between Rubery and the Lydiate Ash roundabout along the dual cabbageway I stopped for a coffee and discovered I had forgotten my money, the guy very kindly did me a coffee anyway and I promised when I was next past I would pay for the coffee.

The route to my sisters in Malvern took me past the cafe so I pulled in for a coffee and an early morning bacon sandwich with Khyle, I reminded the owner of his previous kindness and he said someithing which didn't make much sense:  "is the lady still there?"  I thought he was referring to a lady on the previous trip and as people do I simply smiled...

Whilst he was doing the sandwiches and coffee I took the opportunity to walk over to a sign that borders the woods at the back to see what the woods were called, I hadn't realised they were a nature reserve.

When I got back Khyle was wandering towards a bench where there was a lady bent over with a child in a pram - this was -1 temprature but I could see that this was obviously a dummy the pose was stiff and they both had frost on them even from that distance.

The owner had asked Khyle to take her a beer over ... He had fallen for a trick the owner pulls on many customers..   I asked Khyle hadn't he even thought what was she doing out in this temp with a baby?  He replied "I thought she looked depressed"...  I couldn't stop laughing..  The owner told him not to feel too bad as he wasn't the first one fooled this morning (aparently a sport that breaks the boredome for the owner".. 

Khyle however had the last laugh as he opened the beer and drank it saying he could happily  drink another if he wanted him to go back..

If you are passing by there some time be WARNED the old lady is not real, however if you fancy relieving the owner of a free beer it may be worth it!