It has been so long since I posted here I am shame-faced. Worse, we have not been out on our Thorns since we returned from our tour of Spain and Portugal in October 2014. But, hayho, cycling is a part of life and sometimes life gets on top of you. No point in beating up on yourself – learn and move on. Show yourself some compassion. 🙂
So, when I came to check the bikes over before setting out on our first day trip, needless to say there were some mechanical matters that needed attention. In order to box them for the flight home I had needed to remove the headsets and turn the handlebars through 90 degrees. Once reassembled it was clear all was not well as on both bikes the headsets showed way too much play and the forks seemed loose under braking.
Now this turned out to be an easy fix, but it was anything but while I was labouring away in my complete ignorance of headsets and their operation. The more I adjusted, the less success I had: all sorts of fears began to rear up in my head – each involving a more expensive repair that the one before. Who came to my help? Well, Jacqui of course! Have you tried YouTube she asked? Of course – silly stressed me had lost touch with my watchword – if not YouTube the Google will know what to do.
So it proved to be. I was lucky enough to come across “Wheelie Pete” and his YouTube channels. His bicycle repair videos are a delight: not only do you learn what to do, but also why you need to do it.
I watched his headset adjustment video a couple of times and headed to the bikes knowing what to look for, what to do and how to test that all was well after the adjustments. Brilliant tutorials – clear, comprehensive, well-paced and delivered with an easy to listen to voice. Perfect! Needless to say, I checked out some of his other offerings and subscribed on the spot.
Here is the headset video I used:
Needless to say, after the job was done, I strutted my stuff for the rest of the day. Man fixes Machine: machine works properly. Cue the sound of fists beating on chest!
With the wind and rain lashing against the window as I type, I guess I can be excused doing more surfing than cycling at the moment. In this spirit these two young Australians – the flying cyclists – caught my attention.
This video shows their honeymoon trip on a Bike Friday tandem on the Leh-Manali Highway over some of the world’s highest passes. It makes for great viewing. A true case of ‘ in sickness and in health and through triumph and disaster’. 🙂
I warn you – let this into your head and you may never get it out! My thanks to Oregon Expat for putting me onto this via his excellent WordPress blog. It brightened up an otherwise wet and windy day here in Northern Scotland.
We have thought about taking up trail or mountain biking a few times, especially over the winter months, but somehow it has never happened. One big dampener was coming across a mountain biker with a horribly dislocated knee on a forest walk one day. It was many years ago now, but the image of that knee still haunts me. Perhaps it’s time to get over this, however.
If ever I do, this video from Filme von Draussen will surely prove to have been one catalyst: it’s a true inspiration and beautifully shot and edited. Well worth a watch and great to see people at their best, even if you are not one for the mountains. Maybe I’ll make up a set of cycling resolutions for the coming year – now there’s a thought!
I suspect it is never going to make anyone a fortune, but I have got to say that I love the bicymple and the thinking that goes into it. Too many people take things too seriously these days and this looks like a nice corrective. Good luck to her and all who venture forth on her.
I confess I was pretty dismayed when I read of the Mayor of Liverpool’s decision to pilot the abandonment of bus and cycle lanes in the city.
My gut feeling was that this was a backward step and further evidence of the pro-car, so-called populist politics we are coming to expect these days.
So I was pretty relieved later in the same week to come across The Traffic Commissioner for New York’s account of their recent experiment that firmly pointed in the opposite direction. In recent years and months they have set out to ‘re-imagine and re-invent’ their streets as shared resources for people, cycles, busses and cars – with great success. In summary, they have:
used paint and temporary materials to create 50 pedestrian plazas
converted 26 car lanes into open squares
built 57 miles of speedy bus lanes
created 350 miles of bike lanes
introduced 50 miles of new parking protected cycle lanes
provided 6000 rental bikes which now see 35000 average users each day who have cycled 7 million miles between them since the introduction.
seen a 49% increase in retail sales along bike lanes
seen a 50% decrease in cycle and pedestrian injuries
seen a 170% increase in economic activity in the areas concerned.
So I started out pretty depressed, but ended up impressed and even a little optimistic. If New York, capital city of ‘the bottom line’ can manage this, then surely any city can? Unless, perhaps, you are Liverpool and managed by dinosaurs pointing the city backwards to the future?
I came across this very nice little video (it’s only just over 6 minutes long) by David Kroodsma and Lindsey Fransen made during their recent trip down through Eastern Europe. I like the way they have told the story of their trip through these 10 ‘tips’ that they want to recommend. To be honest, they are more like ideas or beliefs that they hold about cycle touring than tips exactly, but they are none the worse for that. It’s a very sweet little video with a nice sound track and some warm and funny moments.