Monday, 27 June 2011

Oh! That British Bloke ...

Apparently it's not obvious. But I've merged my old blogs into one entity : Oh! That British Bloke ...

So, music, hifi or cycling ... it's all there ...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Convergence : 20100609

A while ago I separated my cycling from my Life And The Universe blog. This proved a little ambitious and Life And The Universe suffered.
So having found out how to combine the blogs I've put everything together under one banner; Oh! That British Bloke ... Everything that was on either VeloStage or PhonoStage is now here. They've been consigned to posterity ...
One or two transparent graphics haven't made the transition so well, but generally it looks pretty good for a lash-up.
So ... onwards ...

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

PFW : Griggstown Grinder : 2010608

Here it is ... this evening's Grind. Lovely weather ... a bit breezy to begin with, but otherwise very nice.

Good company, good ride ... thanks, Diane, as ever.

Monday, 7 June 2010

PFW : Etra Lake to New Egypt 20100606

This is becoming a regular ride, but no matter, it's pretty, it's quiet and uses charming back-roads.

This ride did become a bit of a yomp though. It was very hot. The car said 36C/97F when we got back to Etra Lake and I drank over 100fl.oz of liquid in four hours ... and that was not enough ... anyway ...

Thanks to Gary ... as usual ...

Friday, 4 June 2010

Changing Gear

There is nothing as likely to bring a customer back to the bike store as a problem with their bicycle gears.

Most modern bicycles use variations of a design called the dérailleur; literally, the de-railer, a device which forces the chain from one cog to the next in a very unsophisticated and crude manner. In engineering terms, it really shouldn't work ... but it does.

Modern dérailleurs use all manner of tooth profiles and chain design to enable this to happen as smoothly as possible. But, just as changing gear on a manual gearbox car needs finesse and understanding of the principles involved, compared to say, an automatic gearbox, changing gear using dérailleurs on a bicycle requires a degree of involvement from the rider, more than just pushing the button and crunching on regardless.

Some modern bikes have up to 30 possible gear combinations - 3 at the front X 10 at the rear - but not all permutations are useful either because some combinations of front and rear cogs produce gear ratios which are very close to another or even identical, or are mechanically compromised. More about that later ...

Changing Gear:

The principle of the dérailleur depends on the chain moving forward through the gear change, so when changing gear, continue to pedal forward. However, it's really helpful to the change if pressure is taken off the pedals so that for the duration of the procedure the feet just spin until you sense the gear has changed and take up the effort again.

There are occasions when this isn't possible, but just assessing your gear changing needs ahead of the point where you have to change helps. This particularly applies when you're changing up to a higher gear, for example, on a hill, or changing to an easier gear just before coming to a halt.

People often ask, "How do I know what gear I'm in." The fact is, you don't really need to know as long as you feel comfortable and can maintain a good pedal cadence and the drive sounds quiet. But there are some gear combinations to avoid.


The diagram shows the top view of a typical set up. I've indicated the chain line from the extremes of the chainwheel to the cassette. Although exaggerated, it demonstrates the degree of deformation the chain has to cope with in those gears. This tends to cause the chain to track badly, run noisily and the dérailleur mechanisms to have to contend with excessive chain wrap, extension and tension.

In practice, restrict your gear choices as in the diagram above; large chainwheel to outer selection of sprockets, small chainwheel to inner sprockets.

This picture illustrates a rear mechanism coping with chain wrap. This would be more excessive with a triple-chainset.

Modern gear indexing systems control the movement of the dérailleur, often to a tolerance of 0.1mm, less than 1/100th inch. One of the prime reasons for gears to go out of adjustment is cable stretch, particularly with new cables, so if you've recently bought a new bike, or installed a new cable, return to your LBS to have the adjustment done if you can't do it yourself.

Another frequent cause of poor shifting can be a bent dérailleur hanger, the component which connects the rear mechanism to the frame. If you suspect your hanger is bent you will need to visit your LBS where they will have an alignment device which can check and adjust the hanger. The hanger will need to be adjusted in three planes so it's not really a job you can do at home.

But adjustment can be affected by using excessive force, either through the gear changer or through the pedals while changing gear causing elements of the drive to distort or just go out of line, so learn to coordinate your changing/pedaling skills as outlined above.

A well adjusted gear mechanism will produce easy and smooth changes. However, it does need some input in terms of timing, sensitivity and skill from you, the rider.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

PFW : Etra Lake to Clarksburg 20100530

This Sunday's outing from Etra Lake to Clarksburg, NJ.

Beautiful day ... nice ride ... thanks to all particpants.

Bike route 516547 - powered by Bikemap 

Temporarily back to is giving me problems at the moment. Besides, it's not possible to edit the route using, so I used to erase my little excursion up Windsor Road ...

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Tour de Cure : my first Century

On Saturday, June 19, I will be taking part in the annual Tour de Cure, a ride in support of diabetes research, from Brielle Park on the Jersey Shore.
This will be my first ever Century ride, that is one hundred miles.
At the moment the route is unknown, but given it's on the shore hills won't be too much of a consideration, although headwinds might be.
I'm in a team; Old Cranks, which currently consists of Gary and myself, fools that we are ... Anyhow, assuming we survive, our secondary aim is to raise money for diabetes research.
I hope Gary doesn't mind me mentioning that he suffers from diabetes so for him it's a tribute to how this disease can be managed.
For me, my brother Martin has had type 1 since he was a teenager and I want this ride to be for him.
So please consider contributing to my aim of raising $175 for diabetes research, and giving me a reason to keep going when I reach milepost 80 ;-)
Please click here if you want to contribute. Thanks.


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© 2010 Alan E Hill