Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Swings and roundabouts

The Auckland Anniversary weekend started with promise, when Dave from Wellington opted to Buy it Now, relieving me of my long-neglected GT I-Drive.
This was possibly my full allocation of good fortune for the holiday:

My plan to fit Mafac Top 63 centrepulls to the Hurlow foundered when I discovered that the brakes don't have enough reach, even though the bizarre sliding whatchamacallit appears to have plenty of adjustment left. It is possible to get the brake shoes lined up with the rims, however the lefthand anchor point for the straddle wire fouls the arc of the front brake arm. I think that swapping to 27" rims might solve the problem, but that's not an option.
Despite buying new bushes, and spending a few hours polishing, this is but a minor irritation, unlike the next calamity which really pissed me off.....

The seat tube on my Holdsworth Whirlwind cracked. I was intending to restore the frame this year, so I guess its a good thing that it happened now, and not after I had spent hundreds on nickel plating and new paint.
The frame is repairable, so I may yet grind out the old tube and braze in a new.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Brave words

Received today by email, from one of the Retro Ride regulars:

Hi Dave,
I should be able to attend all of the rides this year as my new year's resolution is to avoid all illness and injury. I shall laugh in the face of the common cold and walk away from train crashes with no more than a scratch.
The wife putting her foot down is another matter, I shall try to laugh in her face, and see if I can walk away with no more than a scratch.

Name withheld

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Velo Swap

Summerofcycling.com is running a Velo Swap at Orewa on February 24th, in conjunction with the Seaview Classic Criterium.
Gates open to the public at 8am, vendor setup is from 6.00am - 7.30am. All vendors must pre-register and pre-pay.
More details and entry forms HERE on the Summer of Cycling website.


My Vittorias, polished up for today's Retro Ride.

Unfortunately a test ride showed that the cleat adjustment would have crippled me in only a few kilometres, so I swallowed my pride and went clipless.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Italian mystery frame

This frame, seen above in my delux spraying facility, has been on the inventory for nearly 18 months without much action. I decided to make it presentable and use it as a road fixie instead of the Holdsworth which is in dire need of refurbishment.

Except for lack of an Italian thread bottom bracket for TA Cyclotouriste cranks it could be rideable by the end of the week. Now that the summer weather has packed up, I have already polished up a set of Universal 61 calipers, and the weird Nitor seatpost that came with the frame.

Despite an appeal to the collective wisdom of the CR List, I don't know anything about this frame, except that it is Italian, probably mid-50s to mid-60s.
A number of Italian brands of the period used a similar seatlug, including Frejus, Olmo, Torpado, Galmozzi, & Girardengo but the headlugs don't match any of these.
If I don't get a positive ID soonish, I'm going to call it Esposito.

More details and photos are at my Wooljersey album.

Please email if you have any thoughts as to the identity of this frame.

Thanks to Robert S Broderick for the Nitor seatpost image, which I stole from his excellent gallery of catalog scans on Wooljersey.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The CBAD chronicles- remake/remodel

One of the symptoms of chronic CBAD is when you start seeing your existing bikes as a source of parts for other projects.

This is no big deal if you only cannibalise your own fleet, but once you start coveting widgets belonging to your Significant Other you are living dangerously.

The situation became critical recently when I took the Zeus seatpost off Donna's road bike as part of the ongoing pimp-my-Hurlow program.

There was nothing wrong with the original clamp that came on the Ideale No.90 alliage legere saddle, but a recent saddle swap on my Holdsworth Whirlwind had liberated a set of Zeus-for-Ideale saddle clamps that cost too much to leave unused.
These also fit Campagnolo Nuovo Record posts, but, nah, it wouldn't be the same.

Luckily, ebay provided a NOS Campagnolo Gran Sport post for Donna's bike before my stuff got put out on the front porch.

The Hurlow didn't just get a gratuitous seatpost upgrade- the 12cm Fiamme stem, though a thing of beauty, was just too short, so I swapped it and the Ambrosio bars for a 13.5cm TTT Record stem and a pair of Fiamme London bars.
Taking some care, I even managed to reuse the bar tape.

The crusty looking Mafac Racer brakes got a polish and a set of Matthauser brake shoes.

The seatpost that started all the trouble. I outbid a Japanese collector for the Ideale seat clamps, which should have made me realise that I'm not totally rational about this bike collecting thing.
Thanks to Robert S Broderick for the Zeus catalog page.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Tried and liked in '07

Nitto Noodle bars- though not unreservedly.
I like to angle the drops a little for a more natural wrist angle, but doing so on the Noodles puts the ramps at an uncomfortably flat angle. I guess this really makes me a Dream bar customer (right).
Nitto bar photos from www.rivbike.com

Brooks Swallow
For years, Brooks saddles had such short rails that I was unable to get my preferred rearward seat position on any frame with a seat tube steeper than 72 degrees.
Furthermore, their sportier offerings such as the Pro and the Swift lacked saddlebag loops.
In 2006, Brooks introduced a ti-railed Swallow that met both criteria, but was too expensive for anything except your very best bike. Despite the outrageous price, I got one for my Ritchey since it was the only solution for my ergonomic and bag-carrying requirements.
The new steel-railed Swallow Classic which I saw at Interbike this year has long rails too, so there is a glimmer of hope that Brooks will eventually fit longer rails to the rest of the range.
Photo: 2007 Swallow Classic with long rails (left); original Swallow restored by Tony Colegrave (right)

Lycra-free commuting
After years of commuting dressed for the increasingly-unlikely after work training ride, I started commuting in my modified Nzo 307s or knickers from MUSA or Bicycle Fixation, worn over NZo Cruiseliners.

I have had these for a couple of years, as well as a pair of the excellent El Fito knickers, but only recently I realised that the Duos are the most comfortable shorts I have ever worn. The first pair that I bought seemed fairly short, but the pair I bought late in '07 are, lengthwise, more like a normal cycling short. www.ibexwear.com
Despite my my irritation at Rapha's lack of pre-Christmas communication, these are by far the best gloves I have ever had. Most road mitts annoy me, with sloppy fit, lumpy and inappropriate padding and poor grip on some types of bar tape.
Rapha recommends that you order their mitts a size small, because the leather will stretch to fit your hand, which it has mine. The 2mm padding, apparently made from a high tech material used in British Army sniper's gloves, is imperceptible in a good way; and the leather palms grip both Fi'zi:k microtex or cotton bar tape securely.

Carradice Camper Longflap saddlebag- holds everything you could possibly need for faux-Jobstian credit card touring.
When I went to Italy in 2006, I took a Carradice Nelson Longflap, plus a Rivendell Hobo bag, and they were barely big enough. This year the Camper carried the same load with room to spare.
If you are wondering what to put in in it, take a look at Jobst Brandt's Packing List.

Given that I'm deeply implicated in the distribution of Ritchey products in New Zealand, you're welcome to take this with a grain of salt, but my extensively modified Breakaway has completely relegated my other 'modern' road bike to a dusty corner in the back of the shed.
I can't wait to get my Breakaway fixed/singlespeed frame in a couple of months.