Thursday, December 27, 2007

The fatwa is rescinded

If you have been honing your machete to a razor edge or turning you dad's old deer hunting ammo into dumdums, save them for the revolution, because my Rapha order arrived today.

I'm still frowning upon them slightly, due to their non-functional order tracking webpage and their inability to answer emails; but the parcel was mailed one day after I placed the order, so the fact that it got here too late for Christmas is solely down to the postal service.

Rapha are one of the most interesting brands to come on the scene in the last few years, and I hope that they can get their systems sorted in future.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bad Rapha

After the worst e-commerce experience that I have ever had, I'm calling a fatwa on Rapha Racing Ltd, the English purveyors of upmarket cycle kit.

Rapha guarantees that they will ship standard delivery orders with 48 hours and a maximum ten day shipping time. They also claim 'Rapha makes buying online a risk free and painless process, wherever you are' which must be intentionally ironic.

I placed an order with them on 6/12, for a Fixed. track top and a couple of pairs of Grand Tour gloves, for which they speedily debited my credit card. As of today, according to the 'order history' on their website the order is still 'awaiting shipping'.

In the last fortnight I have sent seven emails to Rapha inquiring whether the order has, in fact, shipped, and if not when it will do so.
I received a reply to the third, wherein one Laura Etherington wrote "Apologies for not replying earlier. I’m looking into this and will be in touch shortly."
Since then, not a word.

I would like to think that this is down to some glitch in Rapha's email system, however they have not responded to three voicemail messages either.

UPDATE: go here for the more or less happy ending.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I thought that I had a done good job of reconfiguring my Ritchey Breakaway (here with a Schmidt Dynohub for the Summer Solstice Ride) from 19lb race-ready travel bike into an all weather commuter and credit card tourer, but CTB has blown me into the weeds with this quick and dirty touring bike conversion of his EMC.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Some goodness from the Blogosphere

These will be old hat to dedicated internet sifters, but deserve a mention regardless:

Dylan's new bike by Curt Goodrich, would be the perfect fast road bike if it had mudguard eyelets, but maybe Dylan already has a rain bike.

Every 21st century household needs a town bike like this one by Ira Ryan.

At Cyclofiend, there is almost nothing to quibble about (except the wrongly positioned flint catchers) on Tom Truong's Della Santa fixie. This is perhaps the best fixed gear road bike that I have seen on the interweb.

Wellingtonian Steve Dorrington's Bob Jackson is damn cool too. The frame came from the same Christchurch bikeshop as Donna's Bob Jackson frame

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Another one that got away

This 1952 Gillott frame, which was on ebay a couple of weeks ago, would have looked good in my collection, but a Japanese collector got up in the middle of the night to add it to his.
I wasn't heartbroken, since I already have a lifetime's worth of projects in my shed, but this frame has an interesting feature that sets it apart.
At first glance this looks like a lugged Fleur de Lis frame like my '69 Gillott, but the seat cluster tells a different story.
Instead of using a lug, a fleur de lis patterned sleeve is brazed to the end of the top tube, which is then fillet brazed to the seattube.
The headlugs are made in the same way, with an obvious fillet when compared to the lugged Fleur de Lis models on the Classic Lightweights UK Readers Bikes page.
Lugged frames also have cutouts in the head lugs.
This style of building was used by a number of English builders during the 40's and 50's, notably Paris Cycles, and Claud Butler who called the process 'bilamination'.
Later, Tom Ritchey used the same process on some of his top-end MTB and road frames as in this photo from the Bob Brown Cycles blog.
Photos: Alexander von Tutschek, ebay auction #260182570977

Monday, December 03, 2007

Doing things the hard way.

A couple of weekends back I decided to swap the Cinelli model 64 bars on my Gillott for a pair of deep drop model 66s, and while I was at it, replace the gold anodised Univesal brake levers with the ones that originally came with the bike. This should have been an easy Sunday evening job, until I decided that it was also a great idea to strip the anodising from the Cinelli 1a stem that I planned to use.
There is plenty of information on the internet about how to strip anodising easily with common household chemicals which I didn't have on hand, so it made perfect sense to do it with some strips of 120 grit emery tape. I got the anodising off in under 30 minutes, but rubbing out the marks left by the 120 grit took a couple of hours, using 280, 400 and then 800 grit wet & dry, before finishing it off on the polisher.
I'm pretty happy with the result, but next time I'll go to the supermarket and get me some industrial strength oven cleaner.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pre-Taupo fettling

Though I'm not doing Round Taupo on Saturday, there has been plenty of pre-Taupo action in the shed this week.
On Wednesday Chris Money brought his Salsa Casseroll for a tune up, and to fit a pair 700 x 30 Gran Bois Cypres tyres, which will decrease rolling resistance and increase his comfort.

Last night, Kate Mullarkey came by, washed her Fondriest and borrowed my race wheels for the womens criterium on Saturday morning.
This bit of grass will not need mowing again after being soaked with three years accumulation of toxic bike mung.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

'True Adventures' goes Global

This blog is now available at the iBOB Metablog Aggregator, a collection of 'bicycling-related blogs, some of which belong to iBOB members.'

The iBOB Metablog is the third thing I look at every morning, after Fixed Gear Gallery and Cyclofiend's Bicycle Photo galleries. Like most things in the blogosphere, quality is variable, but there's plenty of good stuff to keep you from being productive first thing in the working day.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The pleasurable misspending of a Saturday

Went forth with CT-B, intending to tool over the Hunua Gorge and back to town by Sky High Road, but renegotiated the route once we were underway.

Climbed up Sky High Road from the Clevedon side, then headed south through Hunua to view some real estate that CT-B desires, then back to civilisation via Ararimu.

Stopped at the bottom of Pratts Rd to see the Te Maketu waterfall that is hidden in the bush behind the old cemetary, thence to Drury where I inhaled a steak & cheese pie, and CT-B knocked off a huge & greasy chicken leg.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Classic Road Racer Rally 2007

From the ever-excellent My Cycle Touring with Toei website, a report on the Classic Road Racer Rally 2007 in Yamato-Kogen.
Without understanding a word of the text, this looks like a great day out- a few like-minded geezers get together with a collection of stunning vintage bikes, go for a ride, and if the photos are in chronological order, stop twice for food.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Unrequited CBAD

Last week I got overexcited about this Ron Cooper that was on ebay, but not as excited as ebayer paradigmshiftingrev, who is now the proud owner.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Butter Chicken and other delights

Patch the failed pig dog did not get any of these fine bacon & egg sandwiches that Chris Money made for Ross Corlett and me after we rode the BCL on Saturday morning.
The plan was for me to get the train to Newmarket, but track maintenance there meant I had to get off at Sylvia Park and meet Ross & Chris at Royal Oak.
Once we got going, Ross cranked along like a small, masochistic locomotive, while Chris tried to cough up a lung which gave me an excuse not to attempt to match Ross' pace on the hills.

In the PM, we used a large carpenter's square to establish that Sam Money had outgrown his road bike.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More Interbike photos

Italian saddle maker F'izi:k was giving away gelato at the Dirt Demo.

A Bilenky touring bike with S&S couplers...

.. and a Bilenky carrier bike on the Rohloff booth.

Dahon Tournado is a light touring bike using Ritchey Breakaway couplings.

More Sycip town bikes

Some out of focus Pashley Moultons

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Steel, seen at Interbike '07

This Ritchey Breakaway singlespeed/fixed gear frame is a new model for 2008.
Geometry is similar to the Breakaway road frame but with a higher bottom bracket for fixed gear pedal clearance.
I think there will be one of these in my fleet before too long.

Something similar from Kirk Pacenti. This was used as a showcase for Cane Creek's range of fixed gear wheels.
A demountable fixie could be the ideal non-touring travel bike, but these deep section carbon wheels might not be ideal for urban pothole dodging.

Rawlands Cycles 650b bikes with Pacenti's new fork crown, and (right) the Pacenti 650b aka 27.5" Neo Moto MTB tyre.

Makino road fixed gear on the Euro-Asia stand.
Eura-Asia always has some high-end Japanese steel goodness on display.
They also had some new leather saddles from Gilles Berthoud.

The Tom Ritchey designed Coffee Bike for Project Rwanda. You can see it in action in this video.

This Pegoretti Luigino was on the Brooks stand. I have never seen a Luigino with these Prugnat lugs before.

For 2008 Brooks is introducing a messenger bag, plus a more affordable, steel railed version of my favourite saddle, the Swallow.

This stunning town bike from Northern Californian geniuses Sycip was on the Shimano stand promoting their Alfine group.

Rigi bicycle stolen from Invercargill $500 reward offered.

Some bad news from Wayne Davidson in Invercargill:

"My much loved Rigi has been stolen from Invercargill NZ on the 29/30September 2007. Sometime between 5pm and 5am my car was broken into and the bicycle was stolen. "

If you have any information, email Wayne, or phone him, at home
03 2172918 or mobile 027 3695222

RIGI SS 57cm road bicycle.
FRAME - 57cm SS painted white.
HEADSET - Campagnolo SR.
SEATPOST - Campagnolo NR with SR Black anno side supports & OMAS black alloynut/bolt. BINDER BOLT - OMAS black alloy.
SEAT - Concor black seude.
STEM - 3ttt silver 120mm 2002.
BARS - 3ttt
BRAKES - Modolo Masterpro ti black with sintered shoes.
BOTTOM BRACKET - O.M.A.S Ti. Alloy lockrings.
CRANKSET - Galli 52x42 with OMAS alloy chainring bolts.
PEDALS - Galli SC Road.
TOECLIPS - Black alloy Galli.
STRAPS - Alfredo Binda Super EXTRA.
CLUSTER - Everest alloy 6 speed 13-21.
CHAIN - Regina America Superleggera.
HUBS - O.M.A.S Ti small flange - 36H.
RIMS - Nisi Stretto Corsa tubular - 36.
SPOKES - SS Semi Aero, radial front and x3 rear.
DRINKBOTTLE CAGE - Ale black alloy.

Velo Rendezvous 7

Though I went to Interbike in Las Vegas, I could not make it to Velo Rendezvous in Pasadena last weekend.
Fortunately, some highlights are already on YouTube:
For those of you whose corporate servers won't permit YouTube, here are photos from Christine O'Callahan and Tam Pham.
Tam has also posted a video that might slide through some corporate moral filters.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Delving into Flickr

For years I have stored photos on a couple Yahoo albums, but recently Yahoo have migrated all my photos over to Flickr, which turns out to be no bad thing. While Yahoo albums were discrete entities, Flickr is more of an interconnected community. Users can 'pool' photos into groups, like the Steel Bike Gallery, the 650b Bicycles pool, or the Classic Lightweight Bicycles pool. And one for Dan Rosser, the Mercian owners pool.

Flickr is also searcheable. After only a few minutes of rainy day delving, I present a cornucopia of links for your websurfing pleasure:

A stunning 1979 W.B. Hurlow racing frame
Bob Freitas' Hurlow seen at the 2007 Marin Century
A series of photos showing legendary English framebuilder Ron Cooper at work.
For baggage fetishists, there's the Carradice Club
The Bicycle Head Badge pool

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Monte Paschi Eroica Pro race

From Cycling News last Tuesday:

"Le strade bianche of Siena that have become popular amongst cycling enthusiasts will now play host to the top pros. The Monte Paschi Eroica, presented yesterday in Milano by RCS Sport, will be the first time for professionals to race over the white gravel roads. The 180 kilometre race it is held on October 9.
The race, starting in Gaiole in Chianti and ending in Siena, will include seven sectors, 70 kilometres of 'sterrati' ('gravel roads') inspired by races like Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde van Vlaanderen."

The full article, with a map and course profile, is here.

The race will finish in Sienna's town square, more famous as the venue of the crazy Il Palio horse race. The organisers must be betting that there will be no bunch finish, because the cobbled streets of Sienna are too narrow and winding for a peleton at full speed.

Monday, September 10, 2007


That's Compulsive Bicycle Acquisition Disorder, and I've got it.
So has Matt Seaton who wrote in 'Two Wheels' of an addiction that requires 'a degree of subterfuge in hiding one's compulsive bike acquisition habit from one's family that only alcoholics and serial adulterers would recognise.'

I'm lucky that my Spousal Unit prefers an ever increasing inventory of old bikes to finding whiskey bottles or teenage mistresses in the wardrobe, but some CBAD sufferers are not so lucky. On occasion I have provided discreet storage and other laundering facilities to friends who have added to their collections without spousal sanction.

Yesterday I was uncharacteristically restrained, deciding not to bid on this 1972 Frejus frame, although I have wanted one ever since I sold my first one in 1979. I don't think this indicates that I am getting my problem under control- there were too many potential logistical hurdles extracting it from the United States.

More on Mr Gami's Toei

It looks like I posted only a few hours before Mr Gami updated his website regarding his new Toei Sportif- steel frame from Kaisei 8630 tubing, a carbon-free Campagnolo Centaur drivetrain, mudguards over fast clincher tyres, even an alternative steel fork with a rack to support a handlebar bag.
It's spookily close to my dream road bike, though I would not last long on that razor blade of a saddle.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tantalising Toei

Sifting through Mr Gami's website, I find this photo of a modern Toei Sportif bike with a caption which Babelfish renders as:
'スポルティーフ which order has been done almost got near to completion. The fact that it goes to receiving is the pleasure.'
Some more Babelisms about the bike here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Leather fetish

This week I had a small ebay splurge, stocking up on TA bottom brackets & crankarms, but the item I really wanted eluded me. Despite already owning 4 Ideale leather saddles, I'm still hankering for a cutaway, aluminium rail Model 90, but lack the financial recklessness necessary to acquire one.
This beauty sold for US$311.69, which is nothing like top dollar- in 2005 this Ideale Model 57 went for US$2175, according to the Classic Rendezvous Market Highs page.

The buyer, ebayer tdan4th, must have the world's largest collection of Brooks and Ideale saddles. Check out his ebay feedback- 21 saddles since 14th June, which makes my recent acquisition of only two non-cutaway Model 90s seem almost rational.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Despite fine weather and a shed full of functional bicycles, I mostly stayed indoors last weekend. I had plans of building up some wheels for CT-B's Holdsworth, but a glitch in my spoke calculator spreadsheet put paid to that. Fortunately Rick Woodward's OSH non-compliant polisher was more reliable, and I got a nice shine on the Fiamme Sport 71 rims and Campagnolo Nuovo Tipo hubs without losing any fingers.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Experiments with Evapo-Rust

Rust may be the biggest problem when you are trying to preserve an old bike in original but patina'd condition. Most rust removers are acidic, and incompatible with old paint and chrome, not to mention skin. Evapo-Rust removes rust by selective chelation, without damaging surrounding paint or plating, and is non-toxic.
My first experiments were with rusty chrome plated parts- a set of Zeus Competicion chain wheel fixing bolts, and a Cinelli steel track stem. I soaked the parts in Evapo-Rust for 24 hours. As you can see, it did not miraculously restore the chrome, but it has left the surface free of rust. The black residue is carbon and will wipe or wirebrush off.
To prevent re-rusting, all you need to do is wipe the surface with Evapo-Rust after it has been rinsed off.

My next experiment is to remove the rust from the chainstay's of CTB's Holdsworth, by wrapping Evapo-Rust soaked rags around the stays, and covering them with Glad Wrap to prevent evaporation. I'll post the 'after' photos later this weekend.