Random Geekage

Quick bike ride

and a shakedown of a new commuter setup. Since switching to the TAD Fast Pack EDC, I've had to commute with my pack on my back which makes for a moist time. My former GR1 setup could be hung on the pannier rack with a little modification but I can't replicate that with the Fast Pack.

Pig Monkey posted about Rok straps earlier so I picked up a pair and went for a quick ride with my usual commuter loadout strapped to the rack. Some minor movement but otherwise pretty solid.

Drivetrain Refresh

I've not been the best custodian of my bike. I don't tend to do massive amounts of miles so maintenance tends to get neglected. Sadly, this is showing in the drivetrain. The chain was slack and the cassette was filthy and looks worn so I figured I would replace them both. Considering that costs less than a tank of petrol for the car it's almost doable as a yearly service.

It was easy to remove the lockring and cassette with the suitable tools and I took the opportunity to remove the "dork disc" that stops your chain falling off the high gear if your limit screw is set wrong.

I've added a reminder to my todo list on a regular basis to encourage me to be a bit better with my preventative maintenance.

$ task add project:fixmakeready due:May recur:60days wait:due-2days Check bike chain wear

Brake maintenance was well overdue.

I'm not the best at bicycle maintenance and repair but needs must. My front brake has been squealing on and off. Compounded with my lack of finesse at adjusting the caliper lead to one pad being a lot more worn than the other.

The rears are fine for now but they are on the todo list for completion in a few months.

I'm trying to use the bike more, lessen my dependence on the grid.

Had a delivery arrive at a collection point and figured I would have a go at cycling out and back. The box was bigger than expected but I had just enough slack in the bungee cords to get it secure.

Cycling early in the morning is the best.

Much like running there is a distinct lack of vehicles, people and general noise which makes for a very pleasant ride.

2 hour blast out to Bathgate. Got the first train back home with about 10 seconds to spare.

The bikes I have had in my life have always had flat bars. Until now.

I decided to swap my Jones H-Bar to drops in an effort to improve fitness and aero, maybe shave a few seconds off my commute time. The overall width of the bike has dropped quite significantly which will improve manoeuvrability and make getting it down the hall at 04:30 much less of a hassle.

Backpack Pannier

Cycling to work is undeniably a good thing. Sweat on the other hand, is not. My commute is 7.5 miles, a lot of which is uphill. Riding a bike with a backpack full of stuff makes me sweat quite badly and my work doesn't have any sort of showering facilities. Couple that with being required to wear a shirt and tie and you have a recipe for disaster.

My bike has a pannier rack on it so the natural idea is to put a pannier bag or two on. This however would mean transferring stuff between the pannier bag(s) and my EDC backpack irritatingly often and means having extra kit about the place.

The solution then is to put the backpack itself on the bike. A few options were brainstormed. Ratchet straps were tried but ended up being more hassle than they are worth. Using a Greyman Tactical RIP-M panel was attempted but unsatisfactory. What is needed is a way of hooking the backpack straps to the rack.

Way back in the day, I got a Kifaru Paratarp with the peg and pole kit. The kit has basically been retired, got better pegs and hiking poles for that purpose but I kept the poles around for future use. I attached one of the pole segments (basically a bit of aluminium pipe) to the rack with a couple of hose clamps and used a couple pieces of kydex from a previous project to space it out. Hook the straps over the pipe and tighten them down and the bag is securely attached to the bike. Doesn't move an inch.

The major downside to this approach is at low speeds (namely moving off and manoeuvring on foot) the bike is biased to one side which is interesting getting it down the hall at 04:30. At regular cruising speed I don't notice a thing.

My commute to work by bike is fairly tame.

The way back however, gets a touch scary at times. Especially the bit with 20 or so meters of unprotected pavement next to a dual carriageway with 40 ton artics barreling towards you at 60+ mph.

Been commuting for 3 out of 4 shifts on the bike this week.

It would have been 4 for 4 but tonight is night shift, no way am I cycling home 7.5 miles after being awake for 24 hours. My ebike makes the commute much easier and a lot more fun. Aside from nearly running into an idiot who pulled out on me. And having to do a ninja landing after my front wheel hit an edging stone at the wrong angle.

Checking over my bike found that the rear tyre was pretty flat.

Given that I have already replaced the inner tube last week I thought an investigation was in order. Cue inner tube in sink of water with resulting bubbles. A detailed look at the inside of the tyre revealed the culprit.

Time to patch this tube too.

While scoping out a secondary route to work

I made a slight wrong turn. While my bicycle may be competent on most terrain, it does have a bit of trouble going through unforeseen mud pits, causing me to stop and flail to avoid falling.

Been off the bike for far too long.

Went to cash a cheque and found myself very unconfident at riding, especially in traffic. Doesn't help that the main road to go anywhere is a dual carriageway, nor does the lack of cycle-friendly paths around here, nor the lack of good places to lock up to.

Excuses I know. Need to make an effort to cycle more and become less dependent on refined dinosaurs.

Since moving to Coatbridge I haven't been out on my bike.

This of course, is unacceptable. So I had a quick look on Google Maps for some low traffic routes and found a way onto NCN 75. Fun wee blast along the canal.

One of the great things

about having a 110 Defender hardtop is the ability to stick a bicycle in the back and have it be completely protected from the elements, as well as not having to partially disassemble it to get it in.

Semi Skim

Not full fat, not skim.

Semi skim.

Not been on the bike for months.

Shocking behaviour, I know. Needs to change. Went up to the co-op for some salad for dinner in an attempt to arrest the dependence on the Land Rover. Legs are burning, throat is raw. Only a 2km trip. Caught a midge in the eye too. Must get better.

Loch Leven by Bicycle

Rule 10 is in effect

Not those rules, these rules. Pushed a bit harder on my commute to and from work today and got my quickest times yet. Getting less crap at this bike thing.

Date: Tagged with bicycle

New bike hardware.

Got a rear pannier (which will act as a mudguard), front mudguard and a decent pump.

Bike is looking sexy. Plus I can cycle in the rain without getting my arse soaked by water thrown up by the rear wheel.

Reading TFM does work.

Fixed my bike. At least it shifts between all 3 ranges now, albeit with some delay at times. No chain rub though which was the reason for the faffing. Time to get my cycling on!

Home safely on the bike.

No breaks, no one ran me over. Still no Bikeyface though.

Also need to adjust my brakes, the levers are a bit flappy.

Made it to work on the bike without dying.

Helmet also fits in my backpack. Great success!

Dreading the ride home though. Bloody hill.

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