30 12 2012

The number 3 is quite interesting. As ever, see Wikipedia’s entry.

An odd, but welcome, day. In the morning Daisy joined me on the xtra cycle RoShamBo for a trip to feed the ducks, play at Mugdock castle playpark and zip home as the cold rain started to fall.

I took off in the p.m as the rain stopped and tidied up some trails and railed some tight corners in the trees on the Jones. Can’t beat the feeling of full speed in narrow corridors amongst the swaying trees.

Then I needed to pick up some herbs from the supermarket. I pulled the Brooklyn out and nearly flew over the bars after being used to a freewheel for the better part of the day.

Three reasons to ride, three different bikes and three broad grins.

The day reminded me of a Clutch song, Rising Son, from Slow Hole to China. A video is here, but the lyrics tell the tale.

When we go carelessly careening quickly 

screaming all the way

gravity is such a drag

and we will not obey

Carelessly careening quickly

screaming all the way

Gravity is such a drag

now we will have our way”



16 12 2012

A few weeks ago, I built a wheel with a Hope Fatsno hub and a Surly Marge Lite rim. Good combo. I used a few different spoke calculators and did a bit of web research on what I might find with the numbers because I have zero experience of building with wheel components from these brands.

You may remember that my calculations based on the Surly supplied E.R.D (effective rim diameter) were out by about 1mm. Not a lot, but generally, when you build with aluminium nipples, you need to get it spot on, or even err on the side of too long. With an effectively singlewall rim, you need to be exact. The reason: in order to get the best from your alu nips, they need to have spoke threaded into the bulbous, saucer part that sits inside the rim. If you don’t do this, they will eventually fail at the ‘shoulder’ where the saucer part becomes cylindrical.

Ok, so I should have measured the E.R.D. The rims have 12.5mm offset spoke holes to allow builds with symmetrical 170mm O.L.D hubs and 135mm offset hubs. The Fatsno is a 170mm hub and the spoking angle is roughly symmetrical, so it is best to build side-to-side. In other words, when you calculate the spoke length, you need to allow for this offset. Two ways to do this: take 12.5mm away from the right/left-flange distance or make a rough guess at about minus 1-1.5mm in spoke length.

The quoted E.R.D for the Marge Lite rim is 543.5mm, but my feeling is that this *allows* for the offset as when I measured the E.R.D the result was 546.5mm (this was flush to the bottom of the nipple, so that each nipple is ‘full’ of spoke). This would make sense: when I used the DT Swiss spoke calculator, I did not correct for offset and used the quoted 543.5mm E.R.D and out popped 264mm spokes.

So when I went back and plugged the new numbers into freespoke, into which you can add offset measurements, I get exactly what I found I needed in practice.

Interesting in some ways! I should add that the Hope Fatsno hubs and the Marge Lites in particular seem very good quality. There is a lot going on with Surly’s new rims: well worth a look over the simple, singlewall rims from other brands.


10 12 2012

Needs. Not *necessary* but would be good. Useful. Better.

I finally managed to get out for a short ride today. Other than my second track accreditation the other day (which was fantastic fun and led me to believe I have finally thrown off this bug I have been battling with) I haven’t ridden a mountain bike for….well, ages.


After being iced in over the last few days, a fragile but strengthening sun crept into the sky this morning and after completing a few tasks, it was time to see if the trails were still under boiler plate ice. Wherever the sun was able to hit the ground it was fine, but there was still a lot of ice. No matter, it was a joy to be out amongst the trees on a bike.

So what of the requirements? well, good friends have been riding over the last few days on spike tyres (schwalbe, for the record) and were singing the praises of the tungsten carbide studs. So I poked around on the internet and have a set of Nokian extreme 294’s on the way. I’m hopeful they will allow me to be out when otherwise I would be unable.

deep woods

In addition, I have made a fair bit of effort recently to look into the different types of modern man made performance fabrics. I have had great success with moving from a thick softshell vest to a much thinner driclime vest and I have also stopped relying solely on layers of merino. Merino is beautiful to wear, but it does have a habit of holding onto sweat and it is bulky to pack along. In years gone by I swore by Capilene (Patagonia’s base layer material) and have read recently of the fantastic new Regulator 1 ‘waffle’ fleece and the Capilene 4 expedition weight base layers, with complex mixes of varied weave and thickness to achieve maximum warmth, breathability and small size and weight. I’ve been layering the R1 with the aforementioned driclime and Capilene base layers and so far, I would say it is truly excellent. It is strange to come home from a ride, in very cold weather – albeit at less than full intensity – completely dry. Strange and nice. So, more Capilene is on the way.

I took my baby girl swimming today. She has grown an inch or two and was much more confident in the water. Along with her first solo like-a-bike zoom the other day, I can see her horizons marching off into the distance. Awesome!