Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Ricci Project

Our eldest son acquired an old steel frames Ricci road bike off my brother a few years ago. It's quite a nice lightweight bike - although the frame is a bit rusty and creaky. The bike is probably from the 1980s imported from a bike shop in Redruth, Cornwall by a friend of my brother. It has a Campagnolo C Record groupset, however the bolts connecting the 2 chainwheels had worked loose and my son cycled on it and bent one of the chainwheels. As he's working in Vietnam at the moment I thought I'd fix it for him. So I managed to find a new Campag Centaur chainset on the internet for £52. The C Record one was 51/39 (I think) whereas the new one is 53/39 - designed for 10 gears, rather than the Ricci's 6.
My local bike shop said they'd fit it for £20, but advised that a new chain would be a good idea as the existing one was worn and may not be big enough. Of course that meant that a new freewheel was a good idea and as 14-24 cog sets aren't made anymore they replaced it with a 6 speed 14-28 cog one. So the bike now is better both up and down hills with an improved range: 1.4 to 3.8 ratios* instead of 1.6 to 3.6. (But not as good as my road bike - 1.2 to 4.0). The gearing is spaced apart more, but only for the lower cogs, so it shouldn't make much difference to cadence.

I was hoping to take the bike for a decent ride today but I can't manage to lower the saddle as the stem has welded itself to the frame! I went for a quick spin on it last night though and it's pretty smooth. I might have another go at lowering it now I've lubricated the area, but don't want to break anything.
* Based on

Monday, 26 March 2012

Iain Rennie 75 mile Charity Ride

I met up with Ellen from Lejog to do the 75 mile ride for the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home charity yesterday, and raised £185. It was a great day - a little cool to start off with when we met at 8.15 am BST at Aylesbury, but it soon warmed up and by lunchtime it was t-shirt weather at around 20 deg C and sunny with little or no wind - perfect. We took our time - partly as Ellen was on antibiotics because of a throat infection, and partly as we're lazy (12.4 mph average). We set off out of Aylesbury heading south west towards Princes Risborough, but then found ourselves at a junction heading north with a sign for Aylesbury to the right. We'd missed a signpost and somehow done a complete u-turn! Anyway it only added an extra 3 miles.
The route was pretty hilly - a tour of the Chilterns roughly between Stokenchurch and Berkhamsted going across the N-S valleys. We had to walk up a couple of the hills, as did most others. We were back by about 4pm to recieve our medals at the rather deserted finishing post.
As I'd cycled every day to work last week, and did a short ride on Sat my total for the week was 165 miles. Today I'm having a day off cycling - just a lunchtime swim to loosen up, possibly. I've also brought my son's Ricci steel framed road bike in for repair so needed to drive in anyway.

Here's the route

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Chiltern Spring Populaire 100 km Audax

I did this ride today in warm sunshine with the trees and hedgerows starting to blossom. The start was 9 am near Gt Missenden just a 15 min drive, then we cycled near to High Wycombe, nr Stoner Park, then to the Benson cafe on the Thames. From there we went via Thame to Waddesdon for another cafe stop, where I had lunch. Part of the route was through Waddendon Manor and Eythorpe Park (inc Eythorpe Lodge left) on roads closed to cars. I made it back to the start by 2:45. A great day. I started off in long overtrousers and three layers on top, but ended in shorts, t shirt and jersey.

Cycled 113 miles this week, inc 3 commutes.

Friday, 9 March 2012

What to wear?

I find it difficult to judge what to wear on a bike trip when the weather is neither really cold or hot. I either seem to sweat away in a waterproof or get chilled by wind blowing through me if I don't wear one. When I'm on my hybrid I can just pack things away in my pannier, but on my road bike I have to check the forecast and plan ahead. I've recently bought a packable Endura Photon waterproof breathable jacket (pictured), which is small, light but a bit sweaty. It can easily pack into a back pocket though. I've also got a warm cycling jersey, but wearing both would be too hot. My other alternative is a heavier softshell waterproof with underarm vents (belonging to my wife), which feels comfy most weathers. Then there's my rather rubbery waterproof, which is good in the cold.

I've also just invested in a pair of lighter weight gloves, as it's too warm now for my lined waterproof ones, and a bit too cold for fingerless. My feet seem ok without overshoes on now, unless it rains, although I've seen a few people wearing them this week. So just 2 pairs of socks do the trick, and I can always take a pair off. I feel like Goldilocks!