Archive for the ‘commute’ Category

Busted chainring

Definitely one for the broken archives.

This happened back in February. It actually all started in December last year, when I needed to change the dinged chainring (I feel the irony too) on my hack bike, and discovered that the bolts were simply turning in their washers as opposed to unscrewing normally. Out came the drill – wired from my kitchen, out of the window, through my neighbour’s garden, to my work bench. Four hours of heavy hand-tooling later, I succeeded in dismantling the bastard.

The saga continued when I replaced the drilled-out bolts with fresh ones, but didn’t tighten them up properly. 3 days of commuting later, I was pulling away from the lights at the Atkins Road crossroads, and my pedal stroke turned to butter. Looking down, I could see that the force of my downstroke had warped the chainring into the shape of a crisp. Cue an emergency call to Jas, who drove out to rescue me.

I’m now on my third chainring, but so far so normal.

Shirt Shuttle road-tested

I finally tried out my new Shirt Shuttle on the ride to work this morning. The shirt – a casual Friday option – went from ironing board to shuttle, and arrived in central London in very good nick.

West Norwood commute

Here’s my new commute route:


View West Norwood – work in a larger map

So – 8.35 miles, 40 minutes each way on average. It’s a tougher ride in than my former one – not just because it’s 3 miles longer, but because there’s more traffic, more traffic lights, more exhaust, and more other cyclists on the road. There are more tricky bits where you need to be in the right lane, or you need to take a particular bike path – or you’re toast, basically. There’s no final stretch up Dartmouth Park Hill to finish you off, but on the way home the route between Acre Lane and Thornlaw Road does gradually climb and it can be as hard as you want it to be. 4 days of 80 mins per day can deaden your legs at this stage in the season as well, especially on 6-7 hours of sleep per night.

Day off tomorrow.

Commuting: dawn of a new era

Image022

Box fresh: the Edinburgh Bicycle Revolution Courier Race.

I have a new hack. Soak it up.

For the last 5 or so years of living in London, I’ve got by on a motley crew of unreliable commute bikes, piecing together old broken frames with hand-me-down componentry and bottom-dollar bits. I’ve only ever ridden nice, smooth bikes on the weekend. No longer.

I bought the Edinburgh Bicycle Revolution Courier Race in a hurry following the sudden demise of the Ballistic. Slightly gutting was today’s realisation that had I waited 2 days I could have cashed in on the EB sale, saving £50 (15% off). F@*K.

Anyhow, I’ve now ridden the bike home. First impressions:

  • it’s heavy (frankly)
  • pretty wishy-washy steering BUT
  • it’s sturdy
  • it’s fast
  • the brakes are solid
  • it fits

The steering issue is probably more to do with my having ridden a bike with bent forks for 18 months, and I’ll get used to it over time. I’ve now fitted mudguards, SPDs and light mounts – bring on the autumn!

Now it’s broken

No explanation needed. This was the end of the gradual disintegration that began back in June. Check out some close-ups.

Snow sucks

This weather is busting me up. My bike’s still dirty from the Ashdown, my commute hack’s dying on its legs, all I want to do is ride in the sun.