Thursday, 28 June 2012

Mileage to date and a bit of a disaster

Last week was a much shorter one than usual owing to my staying in a hotel all week.  However, I managed to clock up a few miles as mentioned earlier.  This week I'm back on the cycle commute but on my hybrid and not the Dahon.

On Monday morning, I set off as usual but felt my rear brakes rubbing slightly as though the wheel was out of true.  I couldn't figure out why until, about a mile and a half from home at the bottom of a hill, I braked and heard a "ping" from my back wheel.  Stopping to investigate the matter revealed this:

Broken spoke(n) - not one, but two!
Well I had a little bit of time in hand and didn't think it was wise to proceed all the way to work on a damaged back wheel.  I turned around, limped home and grabbed my hybrid out of the garage.  It's going to be at least the weekend before I can get it to the bike shop, although it's due a service and so needed to go in anyway. 

Therefore, the mileage tally on my Dahon stands as follows:

Week 15 - 34.5 miles
Week 16 - 3 miles

Total to date - 998 miles!!!

So tantalisingly close to the 1,000 mile mark but that's not going to happen for a week or so.  Shame.

However, having the "luxury" of 21 gears at my disposal has allowed me a little leeway to experiment.  I have a long-held plan to build a single-speed, fixed gear road bike.  I love the simplicity of a fixie and one or two sites I've seen recently have featured riders doing really long tours/randonee on such machines.  Rugged, simple and capable. 

So last night I tried to find one gear ratio that worked pretty well for all situations.  Such a gear needs to :
  • Be comfortable for pressing along at reasonable speed on the flat
  • Be low enough (but still have something to "push" against) when climbing hills
  • Enable me to spin down hills without running my legs round at a crazy cadence
And I found one.  It works out to about 65 gear inches but bearing in mind I was fully laden with a heavy rucksack, a slightly higher gear should also do the trick nicely.  I have a Shimano crank-set to fit to the fixie project and so by using its 39T chainring and fitting a 16T rear sprocket (commonly available)  I'll hit my perfect ratio pretty much dead on.  Happy times. 

I have an old but barely used early 80's Raleigh donor bike in the garage just waiting for a new wheelset and fixed gearing.  Maybe a summer project if I can free up a bit of spare cash!

1 comment:

  1. I hae some doubts about the robustness of their rear wheels, having broken six or seven already. You should order some spokes now and keep a reserve in the spares box.
    Did you take the bike for the free service after two or three weeks' usage ?