Monthly Archives: May 2012

Why Rohloff? #cycling

Someone asked (well, kind of), so I thought I’d mention some of the reasons for wanting, owning and never getting rid of a Rohloff Speedhub.

Here’s what it’s like inside:
(Image source

Gearing is quoted as 526% ratio, something like a 27 geared deraileur setup I expect.
Single chainring, no deraileurs at all, single rear (reversible) sprocket, single shifter and a shorter stronger chain always running in a straight line, you have to be impressed.

Indexing in the hub is wonderful, the only adjusting I’ve had to do is cable tension when installing a new cable i.e. the cable length, once done there isn’t any more tuning to ever have to do. I remember once trying to setup a deraileur, never again, no thanks. I also remember countless times a deraileur setup failing to change down under tension of a hill, again no thanks. The phrase “crashing gears” is one I am also no longer familiar with and I would like to keep it that way.

Most hub gears require the cable to be under tension, the Rohloff doesn’t, the cables are slack, so no cable stretch either. The key part here is there are two cables, twist one way you pull up a gear, twist the other then you are pulling the other cable and you go down a gear. Grab as many gears as you like while stationary and cycle away in the right gear, no rotation required as you have with other gears, you are always in the right gear! They come in QR or solid axle, most others are solid axle only.

Here’s an earlier post to balance the books: My Rohloff thoughts one year on – nearly perfect, but not quite

Right, now I’ve blogged this I will never have to go on about the Rohloff again will I? OK, maybe I will.

May sun takes affect

A retrospective post about how the garden looked on 26th May.

The leeks remain unchanged, still looking like blades of grass and starting to be overtaken by grass and weeds. I’m a bit fearful of weeding them, I’m sure to pull out a lot of them in the process, so I’m going to leave them alone but as a result I’m not very hopeful of a worthwhile crop either. Mental note: next year plant in seed trays and then transplant when larger, that’ll give them a head start above the weeds.

The broccoli seedlings are starting to make themselves known and showing above the weeds:

Since this photo was taken I have weeded this area and the broccoli seedlings are looking healthy, I have lost a few, but still plenty to give a good crop.

The runner beans are climbing nicely:

The jam jar on the right is my beer trap for the slugs, they just keep coming.

And the potatoes have rocketed up:

And they’ve got even bigger since, the recent rain will aid them further.

Onions aren’t developing much, so nothing to report there.

Onto fruit, not a huge development, strawbs look plentiful, raspberries not showing as fruit just yet, but the biggest development is the Damson tree, we have fruit:

Ah, in this photo you can also see where I planted a few spare seed potatoes in the soil pile, they are growing well there too.

I’m planning on growing some lettuce too, I might be taking on too much, but I’m sure I’ll cope.

The garden is recovering from Mr Badger

After investing lots of time in the garden this year I was looking forward to eating the produce starting late summer. A couple of weeks ago Mr Badger came through, trampled lots of my onions, seedlings and young runner bean plants.

I felt pretty down about it and couldn’t bring myself to blog about it either, so I didn’t mention it. I took my mind off it by finally getting my spuds planted and now I can see them breaking the surface already, that cheered me up.

Thankfully Mr Badger has not been back since and the garden is showing signs of recovery.
Most of the onions he trampled are a bit lopsided, but seem OK.
Some seedlings haven’t recovered, but I’ve got plenty anyway.
I had a few spare runner bean infants growing in the door-less greenhouse that I have since transplanted to replace those that didn’t make it, the tally there is now back up to 10 plants with the hope of 5 surviving.

Wilkinsons have their fruit bushes half price at the moment, last weekend I took a gamble on a red grape, I’m not a huge fan, but at £2, if it grows it will be wonderful I’m sure and worth a punt at that price. I’ve potted it in the greenhouse and I’m hoping it will catch up.

I cut the grass last weekend, it needs cutting again, seems like the nice weather we had has started things going.

Delighted with Bluebell #cycling

After riding my Thorn Raven Sport Tour (a.k.a. Bluebell) for a few weeks now, I’m still really happy with my upgrade, delighted in fact.
Yes, I could do with a few new parts here and there and the rear wheel needs some TLC, but it’s flying along and it’s comfortable too.
The performance is noticeably better than Thunder (Thorn Raven Tour) as my average speeds are showing.

The Tim record has been SMASHED! #cycling


What started as a gentle (10 to 15MPH tailwind assisted) Friday evening ride home from work turned into what felt like what I expect a training session feels like. To start with I could feel I was enjoying the ride, it felt quick, but nothing extra special. It turns out the tailwind was the cause, anyway… at the 8 mile mark, I glanced at my speedo, ooowww, 17.2MPH, nice, if I give some I could beat the record, the decision was made, go for it!
I pushed hard, attacked the hills and give it as best I could.
By the 12 mile mark I was up to 17.5MPH, yes, the record would be mine, just keep pushing hard to put this one in the bag I thought. I continued on, pushing harder as I thought the last couple of miles would be slower, by the 15 mile mark I glanced down once more, 17.8MPH, hey, I’m not looking at the ODO again am I? Nope, that really was my average, oh, what the hell, let’s keep going and see what I can get up to.
Sure, the last mile was slower, but I held on for 18.0MPH!

The amusing part was it was up to 18.1MPH until I stopped on the driveway, it ticked down to 18.0 on the last wheel turn!
So my bluebell far exceeded my 17MPH target, now I’ve got my new record of 18.0MPH I’ll put that to rest and won’t be going all out like that for the forseeable future. Naturally the tailwind assisted, but I’m not letting that detract from my record 🙂

The previous record:
New Tim record

Previous attempts using Thunder:
New Tim record that wasn’t to be, gutted!
Again, really, this damn average speed target

Here’s looking forward to computers doing the driving

Way to go google…. Google gets Nevada driving licence for self-drive car
Here’s looking forward to computers doing the driving.

Commuting to work Aus style? #cycling

An ex-colleague of mine moved out to Australia and has been part driving part cycling to work in the city (Brisbane, Queensland). He sent me a youtube video of the facilities he uses:

He said he pays $500 for 6 months which works out cheaper than the train fare costs. He also said “You need an electronic key to get in. There a CCTV cameras everywhere. They haven’t had a single bike stolen… most people (including me) don’t even lock the bike up”

I’m not aware of any such businesses in the UK, are you?

This is a good idea for cities, rather than having to add cycling facilities to every office at great expense, you have a central place nearby that is fully kitted out. Of course, paying a fair sum every year wouldn’t appeal to me, but then this does look a lot more posh than I’d go for. Of course cycling around doesn’t have to be and isn’t just for poor people, often car drivers look down on cyclists thinking they can’t afford a car, on the contrary, most cyclists ride bicycles that cost more than your heap of junk Fiesta or choose not to spend their hard earned money paying for that HP car you “own”.

CCTV and security guarded compound, yes, I’d pay a little for that. Full luxury showers, lockers etc, not sure, these sorts of luxuries make it seem like cycling is a hardship to endure and these facilities make it bearable. I don’t endure, I enjoy! Give me rain and snow any day over a traffic jam car journey at rush hour.
Maybe it’s a bit of an overkill for the likes of me and I’ll just stick to getting changed in a toilet cubicle.

Here’s looking forward to somewhere safe to keep my Bluebell.