Thursday, 9 May 2013

Week 15 It's all about the bike

Not much ridin' but plenty of Buildin'

The focus this week without a doubt had to be completing my homebrew "Randonneur" road bike in time to exhibit it on the Downland Cycles stand at Bespoked the handbuilt bike show

Starting to look like a finished bike, i got the cable outers on the bars and the Specialized Bar Phat on and all wrapped with Spesh bar tape.
I had previously discovered that the rear brake cable outer wasn't long enough to reach the rear disc brake cable so after ringing round all the local bike shops i was pleased to discover that Mountain Trax had the Shimano SLR cable outer i needed.
Regarding cables, i have been through much deliberation over this often overlooked component. Originally my research had convince me that Gore sealed cables were the way to go, the choice of cyclocross racers for well protected accurate and consistent braking and shifting. Alas as usual this would not be a "No brainer" GORE have decided to pull out of the cable market and as such, supply is limited, so lots of price checking meant the only places still selling them were quite pricey. This would have meant an investment of around £80, for cables!!!!
I read more reviews and found that Shimano SLR cables were praised by all who used them, this is what was supplied with my drive train components, so very quickly the "no brainer" which was apparent to me was use the SLR cables i already had at no further expense.
Outers fitted, it became apparent that the inner rear brake cable wasn't long enough Doh!

Lunchtime ringing around for the right brake cable yielded some interesting information......relatively...if you get your bike serviced by a shop and need a cable change, don't expect cables befitting of your high end dura-ace or campag. All the bike shops i tried all use average cables. I wanted Shimano SLR as the inners are coated in PTFE making the action smoother and no need to lube. This was not to be and in the short term an Aztec cable was purchased only to find some days later that i had a Goodridge PTFE coated one in my toolbox Doh! again.
despite my brake cable whinging this was essentially final build day, cables fitted, chain on, gears indexed. Woo Hoo it's rideable.
I set everything up basically according to the bike fit numbers and spent much time observing my creation for the remainder of the evening.
One last finishing touch would be to add some nice stainless steel screws to all exposed bosses, these would be purchased local to my work and assembled prior to going to the show.

Respite from the new build cam in the form of a trip to the newly re-opened Swinley Forest, this time with a slightly different mix of reprobates.
Steve, bless him, hadn't been out on his bike much of late and did start to struggle as were the rest of us, we were just better at hiding it, managed to complete virtually the whole of the blue and red, just missing out a bit of the red at the end to get back at a sensible time.
IT was just as cool as the previous week and will be repeated many times over I'm sure.
Dave the tart, much to the admiration of Steve had a portable pressure washer, i looked on, partly in disgust and partly in envy.

photo shoot required of my new bike in advance of the bike show. Took it to Dorney common, by my house to get some nice images to shamelessly post on facebook.

Off to Bespoked
Straight from work, everything loaded the night before, excited and anxious, no idea what to expect.
I thought i would be there in time for the press opening but i got it all mixed up and was there for the main opening. Wheeled my bike in through the trade entrance and installed my steed.
It looked pretty insignificant, lined up with other course examples, hardly noticeable despite it's bright orange livery, no matter, i had arrived and all was set for an inspirational and immersive weekend.

After a night at a local hotel and a hearty breakfast is was game on for lots of chatting and promoting.
So many people were so complementary of my bike, most surprised that it was made on the course, which gave further inspiration to those considering following the same path.
My plan had been to go home on the Saturday but i was loving it so much i decided to stay with family on the Saturday night and go back for more on the Sunday. It wasn't just the many compliments that made me want to continue, i was loving the atmosphere, talking non stop bikes and not having to apologise for it. Being able to expel my passion to the many that wanted to listen.
I would have a little wander every couple of hours to try and take in the other stands in some detail, photographing details for future inspiration.

Sunday followed the same format as Saturday and I loved it, right through to kicking out time, i had been there for every minute that it was opened.
My last comment for the week will be to mention my favourite bike,there were some real corkers and my other favourites were all amongst the lesser known builders but the can be only one true favourite and here it is.

OK, it's a rubbish picture, i have many detailed ones of it, The attention to detail was exquisite, the colour matching to the leather grips and saddle was amazingly accurate, i could go on and on. and on.......

Target for the week: 0 (rest week)
Total distance achieved: 22.2K

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