Monthly Archives: April 2012

Code name: Bluebell – the build #cycling

Here is the final photo of Thunder (Thorn Raven Tour), I didn’t even go to the effort of cleaning it:

The plan:
Move all components over to Bluebell (Thorn Raven Sport Tour)
Use new headset spacers because Thunder doesn’t have enough
Use new crank bolts because I can
Replace non allen bolts with allen bolts (e.g. mudguard bolts)
Clean and grease every bolt thread except crank bolts
Clean and grease v-brakes because they are old and need some TLC
Try and retain as much of the original filth on the other components and wheels as possible

Starting midday I could see the clock was against me, I first disconnected the Rohloff bayonet connectors incase there was trouble there, then I pulled the cables through and lined up Bluebell for a photo:

I really dislike the Rohloff transfer, I think it’s the yellow “look at me” colour, so I taped that up, the blue tape doesn’t match as I’d have liked:

So I was ready to begin, I undid the rear brake cable so all the cables going through the braze-ons were out. I was going to start with the rear brake, but I thought I’d quickly move the seat post first. Eert errr… it was stuck solid. I took the hammer and helped it out:

Nice and rusty!
A quick and gentle rub with some sandpaper sorted that out:

I fitted the seat post and then the rear brake. The rear brake was a bit fiddly to take apart, but once I’d done one side the other was easy. Next I removed the chain and cranks, gave the chain a good clean (nothing worse than a gritty chain) and put them to one side. I then incorrectly fitted the headset and handlebars, more on that later. Then the front brake, what a nightmare, the least said about that the better, needless to say it took a lot of fiddling to get it back together and working properly. Since it is now rearwards facing I had to swap brake blocks left to right. I’d run out of time and needed another day to get it finished, so I stopped before it got too late, I took the following day off work rather than driving in and depriving the wife of the car.

The following day I fitted the front mudguard, some adjustment was needed as it was now sitting a lot closer to the tyre, stuck the front wheel on and here we go:

I then realised where I’d gone wrong with the headset, it did seem odd that I had two thin headset spacers left over, I had bought the right amount hadn’t I? Well, I’d missed the bottom washer (seal, erm, whatever you call it) and I had two in the top. So I redid that and it felt better and all the spacers I thought I needed fitted as planned. It wasn’t that much of a mistake, Thunder actually only had one washer anyway.
Going back to the rear again I removed the wheel and set about trying to remove the mudguard, the bolt was so badly corroded it sheared off, doh!

The mudguard woes didn’t end there, the bolt holes didn’t line up:

I attached with a cable tie then taped the frame thinking that would protect rubbing, then I decided to trim the mudguard too:

I changed my mind about this, decided I needed a new hole, so I drilled one and fitted it:

Great, mudguards fitted, but I still wasn’t happy with the front one, it was very close to the headset, so I filed off a fraction of a millimetre just to set my mind at rest. I fitted the rear wheel and most things were done now, just the cranks, chain and a bit of cabling and tweaking I thought. It turns out the bottom brackets I had didn’t fit with my cranks as they weren’t long enough! Thunder had a Shimano BB-UN53 68 BC 1.37 x 24 MM110, Bluebell had the same sized Shimano BB-UN54:

Both these fitted Thunder:


But when fitted on Bluebell there wasn’t enough room for the LHS crank to turn. Fear not, that wretched Nexus bike was about to be useful again:

Muhahahaaa! I did check my cycle spreadsheet to find out what size I bought for it 3 years ago, so I was 99% confident it would fit. Comparing:

The bottom bracket was thankfully long enough! A Shimano BB-UN54 68 BC 1.37 x 24 XL118.



Next I fitted the chain, but it was two links two long, Bluebell having the bigger frame too!

Just goes to show the Thorn Raven Sport Tour has a tighter rear.
The final touch before tweaking and a test ride was the speedo (another thing taken off the Nexus), oh, aero spokes, doh! Fortunately the magnet fits really close to the hub:

I’ve no idea what the settings should be, but I know how far my commute is, so I can tweak those over the coming week or so.
Final (pre tweaks) pictures:


Some tweaks and then a fast 2 mile spring around the local estates to test Bluebell out, tomorrow she’s got to earn her money 🙂

See also Code name: Bluebell – The first ride

Should minicabs use bus lanes? #cycling #cars

You may have heard or read about a taxi firm against cyclists BBC: Addison Lee cab firm boss in cyclist comments row
But now it seems he’s been properly informed and has backtracked on a lot of his comments, hopefully support for cycling and cyclists will continue and we will hear less about this sort of thing in future, but the worrying thing is the man in the street actually thinks that way too, if only I had a penny for everyone who thinks ill of cyclists!

The latest is BBC: Should minicabs use bus lanes?

He says something like “Cyclists should undergo a cycling proficiency test”, but I’m not going to check it properly.
Anyway, yes agreed, so should pedestrians undergo a proficiency test. Drivers should be retested annually too. Great, I’m in, there’d be 99.9% of cyclists still on the road, 50% of pedestrians and 1% of drivers!

See you on a bike then pal!

Again, really, this damn average speed target #cycling

This morning I loosely attempted the Tim record again, I left late, the weather was lovely, sun, warm, “perfect, I’ve missed the rain” I thought.
The traffic was a bit heavy in places around the schools, but nothing that really held me up that much. I checked my speedo 2 miles from work and I was at 16.98 MPH average, one more hill and then the final sprint to the office. At the foot of the hill, gusting towards me, came the wind and a rain shower, gutted, average speed kept dropping and dropping down, from which there was no recovering. So close again, but finishing on 16.94.

Now to throw the bloody cycle computer in the bin…

New Tim record that wasn’t to be, gutted! #cycling

This morning I had a gusty tail wind and a real drive to get to work quickly as the rain wasn’t fun.
I knew I was going well, I felt strong and pushed hard.
13 miles in my speedo stopped working, it doesn’t like rain on the sensor for some reason, anyway, I had a look and my average speed was 17.48 MPH, well on track for the Tim record, gutted!
All I could go on was my estimated time of leaving and arriving, 1hr 6 minutes to do 18.5 miles, that’s 16.8 MPH, if you include stopping occasionally at lights and junctions then that’s bound to be over 17MPH rolling average.

Maybe next time.
See also New Tim record

Code name: Bluebell, the preliminary analysis #cycling

On Sunday I was able to spend an hour or two on bike stuff.

I checked the bayonet connectors… they aren’t that old, 12 months maybe, so I was hopeful that they hadn’t seized up in the winter salt. You see the problem with them is the grub screws are Stainless Steel and the body is Aluminium. Much like my Stainless Steel spokes and Aluminium Torque Nipples, throw in a winter of road gritting and surface water and you end up with a fused thread. Apparently grease helps, so I grease them whenever I replace them, only time will tell how effective it is. Anyway they aren’t fused this time and they will be OK to remove when I get to that stage.

Next up I roughly figured out what headset spacers I needed to order, I needed twice as many as I have on my Thorn Raven Tour. I decided plain alloy silver colour wouldn’t match the headset or anything really, so I opted to pay more and get the black. Rather than mixing colours I ordered enough for the forks and will keep the old ones as spares. Yes, I probably should cut the forks down, but I like the idea of being able to adjust the handlebar height to sit up and beg at a later date, I can always move spacers but can’t ever attach the piece of steerer back on!

See also Code name: Bluebell

BBC: ‘No cycling leadership’ from state, Jon Snow tells MPs #cycling

Very politician like sentences BBC: ‘No cycling leadership’ from state, Jon Snow tells MPs
“He said the government was very keen to promote to cycling but improvements were the responsibility of local authorities.”
The government will promote whatever keeps people happy/votes, but in this case it sounds like they are slopey shouldering this one onto local authorities who won’t be given the money from the big pot, this is a shame.

New Tim record #cycling

Monday is the day for an attempt on the commute to work speed record, but I generally take it easy so I can last out the week.
This morning I didn’t even try to break any record, it just happened, I averaged 16.96MPH on my commute into work. I arrived at work feeling a bit hot and bothered, glanced down at my cycle computer and realised I must have been hammering it the last 5 miles 🙂
This is the quickest I’ve managed it since I de-electrified my bike, 17MPH is the barrier I’m trying to break as that was a normal fast commute when I used the Heinzmann kit.

I hope to break this on the first ride on codename: bluebell, but it’ll be a while before she’s ready to be abused.

Cycle safely and have fun!