Archive | June, 2012

A Day in Conwy

29 Jun

I am visiting North Wales for a few days for work so I have been out and about on the bike.  I am staying in a great B&B in Conwy which is a really nice little town.

Today I rode from Conwy over to Abergele along Route 5, its a great route running along the sea front and only has a few hills along the way.

Route 5 in North Wales

On the way back I travelled through Llandudno which is a Victorian seaside town, it is only recently that it has been permitted for cyclist to use the promenade.

Rainbow in the distance

Llandudno Promenade

The wind picked up after I had crossed over Llandudno and there was a Kite Surfer out on water.  Soon afterwards the path disappeared in the sand and I ended up having to get off and push for a short distance.

Troll in the sand

Crossing the bridge over to Conwy from Llandudno provides great views of the Castle built in the 13 Century. On the bridge someone on a Surly Long Haul Trucker stopped to admire the Troll.

I then cycled into the town for a well earn’t pint and bag of chips on the quayside. On my way back to the B&B I cycled past the castle walls, at the top of the hill there was a tall turret with a viewing platform on the top, I had to climb it. I cycled around and soon found the entrance, you can walk around the castle wall which is over 1.25 kilometres long. At the top the were great views of the town and estuary.

Lost Helmet

28 Jun


I got on 4 trains today, Penarth to Cardiff, Cardiff to Bristol, Bristol to Birmingham, Birmingham to Conwy.  On the Bristol to Birmingham train I left my helmet on the luggage rack, a hardly used, perfect condition Giro Zen Helmet which was a present from Kate.

I have called 3 stations so far and no one has it.  I have another 1 hour 45 minutes until Conwy, hopefully I won’t forget the Troll.

Cycloc Review

27 Jun

Now we no longer have a shed storing bikes has become a problem, so I decided that the Cycloc would be a good solution and after 6 months they are all still firmly bolted to the wall!

We have 3 bikes on the wall in the hallway

The Cyclocs were attached to the wall using 3 plaster wall plugs each with a 10mm diameter apart from the one above the door which has 12 mm plugs; well you don’t want a bike landing on your head when you slam the door!

Charge hanging on the Cycloc

They are easy enough to lift off each morning before we leave the flat with the exception of the one above the door which requires a tall step ladder.  Originally a Trek 1200 Road bike lived there which was easy to move but that has been replaced with a Surly Trucker which isn’t as light weight.

In the living room we keep Kates Audax bike above the door, its only been used a few times so it rarely comes down, fitting this one was a bit more challenging as the walls are Victorian lath and plaster.  I drilled holes right through the wall and cut bolts to fit.

Bolts to go through the lath and plaster wall

A picture is required in the hallway to hide the nuts!

The Tifosi which lives above the living room door

The only problem with the Cycloc so far has been the rubber parts which occasionally fall off but otherwise they have been great.  The Cycloc’s mounted to the wall with raw plugs have need tightening occasionally, I fitted the extension piece to the holder designed for wider bars and this makes it more hassle to tighten the holders as you have to use a socket set to remove the Cycloc.  I have had to do this once in six months to two of the racks but they get used every day.

Surly Troll Update

26 Jun

The Surly Troll had been without a front mudguard since I bought it 10 months ago.  It had a simple crud catcher on the down tube which has been great whilst storing the bike in the hallway as the front wheel can be removed and the bars twisted but it didn’t offer the same amount of protection as a full length mudguard.

P1000314 (Large)

click the picture to read the latest Surly Troll post.

Originally I fitted a Tubus Tara Lowrider rack to the front of the Troll but the forks are slightly too wide for the rack.  This meant the bow had to be opened up which caused it to be off centre over the wheel.  After 8 months I finally got around to replacing it with a Tubus Duo rack which meant I could attached the front SKS mudguard to match the rear.  The Tubus Tara rack is now on my Surly Disc Trucker which you can read about here.

Fitting the Tubus Duo still came with problems, the Troll claims to be versatile which it certainly is with disc mounts, brake bosses, rack mounts and mudguard mounts but with disc brakes fitted it causes problems when a front rack and also mudguards are fitted.  Attaching the mudguard stays directly to the Tubus Duo removes one of these problems but the rack needed to be fitted first which had to be done by adding an extra washer on the lower mount to stop it touching the Avid BB7 Disc brake.

The fork axle to crown length on the Troll is big at 453mm as the frame is designed so it can be run with a suspension fork, mounting the mudguard directly to the crown mount meant the mudguard was a few inches away from the tyre and looked ridiculous so I made a simple extended bracket from some aluminium I bought from a hardware store.  With this made the mudguard could be fitted and the stays cut to the right length.

Fitting everything around the front disc proved challenging

Front view of the mudguard

This shows the bracket made to fit the mudguard. After the photo was taken the stays were adjusted to centre the mudguard over the wheel.  Everything looks off centre from this shot!

The mudguards are the widest SKS do at 65mm wide.  The only problem now is storing the Troll in the hallway with the front wheel off!

The troll is now going to need a new home

Race Day

9 Jun


Late for the race, no stove, no mug, no coffee. This team is going nowhere.

First Trip of the Year: Day 1

1 Jun

Well it was overdue by a long time, although I have had only a handful of days off the bike this year and I have managed to fit in a few Audax rides including two 200 km I haven’t had one touring trip yet! Ed and I started off from Penarth, not on the bikes but on the train to Merthyr Tydfil.  A short while later we were leaving the town behind and heading up the Taff Trail.

The route from Merthyr Tydfil followed an old railway for part of the way.

The route mainly followed an old railway line to Pontsticill Reservoir where it turned off into a woodland with a gravel track.  Whilst we enjoyed the trip through the woods with a crossing over a wooden bridge and a fast decent the track would probably be best missed by cyclists on road bikes, our 1.75″ Continental Travel Contact tyres were great.

Route 8 through a woodland section

Troll on a bridge

First gravel track of the day

With a mixture of quiet roads, a few hills and a great track around the back of Pen yr Fan we found ourselves in Brecon where we stopped for lunch. A couple of hours later and after covering 59 miles we arrived at our destination; White House Camping in Builth Wells.  The owner was a great guy and gave us the perfect pitch in a quiet spot overlooking the river, very biker friendly!

Camp for the night

After unloading the bikes and  pitching the tent I realised the cones on my Alfine Hub were extremely loose!  The Alfine hub is bolted to the frame and rarely comes off, I removed the wheel but realised I had removed the cassette tool from my bags before we left, I normally carry the cassette tool for Kates bike and had never thought I would need it to remove the disc on the hub to get to the cones.  I was able to tighten them with my finger tips and bolt the wheel back on the bike, a bike shop stop would be needed tomorrow.

We had a good view from the tent

Problems dealt with we went off to the pub.

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