Thursday, 24 February 2011

Sydney again

Just missed the train and waited 2 hours for the next one. I was damp. It was cold and windy. I returned to Sydney hoping to collect my front wheel and be gone again. Alas, this was not to be. Still waiting. How long does changing bearings on a Schmitt hub take?
Had a day of shivering in the park. Weather is cool and showery. Not the weather to have a cold wash in, or dry clothes. I need to do both.
Ate some Fava beans. Probably not a good seller with the name they have on the tin.
Slept in the park last night in my tent. Was okay. Not as good as out of Sydney, but better than the bench with security guards at midnight Was up and packed up by 5:30 to avoid the morning joggers and dog walkers. A spot to return to.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Escape the City!

The city just seemed too crowded. The press of people too much. So after being frozen in indecision on Thursday morning, I packed up and headed out of town that afternoon. Been camping in the bush for the three nights and will do a few more before moving on.
Happiness is my tent in the bush with me in it:)
The bike has been going good. I found that I needed to put the tent at least on the front rack to give some weight to the front climbing hills. Other wise all is as I expected.
About the Troll: I'm running 165mm road cranks, because I like the shorter strokes. It also improves pedal ground clearance that little bit.
Back has a Rohloff hub, laced to Rigina (spelling) rims with black spokes. I'd probably to for silver spokes next time. They seemed to be thicker and don't rust. The hub gear gives easy positive changing all the time. I know you can change under load, but I tend to ease up and then change. I like the neat chain line, the low maintanence, no derailer hanging down and solid build of the wheel. Solid build because there is no dish needed. Also the cogs can both be turned around doubling their life.
Tires are 26x2.00 Schwelbe Marathon Tour Plus, wraped up in Planet Bike Zefal mud guards. These guards are old and I haven't seen them in the shop in a long time. I think they are the best, as the clips that hold the guards in place can disengage easily. This is useful on the front wheel on bush tracks when a branch gets caught in the spokes. The clips pop open allowing the wheel to turn. The branch usually clears the forks, but certainly the mudguard doesn't scrunch up into the fork. A few minutes restores it all to as good as new. There is heaps of clearance at the front fork for fatter tires. The rear is another story. I could go to larger tires if I put the wheel further back in the rear dropouts. Since I'm running 2.00 tires, and have the wheel almost all the way forward, there isn't a huge amount of space left. About 2.5 cm more and the tire would hit the rear stay brace behind the seat. The is a bit more clearance at the bottom chain stay brace. The Tubus Cosmo rack has heaps of clearance, and isn't the limiting factor for tire size.
I can get measurements if people want of the spaces. I know that there is some info on the web on the Surly site about how large a tire can be placed. I think its 2.75 if you have the wheel right back in the dropouts.
I'm presently running Shimano hydraulic disk brakes, but might change them to mechanical disks sometime. Since I want a front rack with a platform, the hoses from the brakes exit the levers at a bad angle, and want to project forward. A change of levers would fix this. But also the rear brake caliper bleed point is right were my foot will knock the cap of all the time. Previously I made a cover to stop this. My hoses on the brakes are too long still and I'm not sure I'm going to get a nice neat line of the hoses at the front. Sticking out as they do, they are a concern for snagging them. Least with mechanical brakes, I can easily fix up a new cable. I don't carry spare hose and brake fluid. Something to think more about.
I've used the Tubus Cosmo rack on the front also. I might cut the rack down a bit - where the platform bars slope upwards. When I had the spring to stop the front wheel flopping, the rack didn't hit the frame. The cable tie holding the spring broke, the wheel will flop around until the rack hits the frame. Either I make a better mount for the spring, or shorten the rack so it doesn't hit the frame. The front wheel floping also stresses the hydraulic hoses and gear cables. I feel the gear cables will survive that better, where as I'm not feeling so good about the hydraulic hoses being twisted so much.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Getting a good nights sleep

This is the view from my breakfast spot. No, its not where I slept. Though I'll need to find a new spot for tonight. Got woken up about midnight by the security guards wanting to see identification and know what I was doing. I thought that was obvious - sleeping! Reckon I might not get away with it there again tonight.
Apart from the midnight wake up, a good nights sleep was had. Even found a spot to charge my phone. Now if they just had free wifi it would be almost perfect. (Perfect would be no security guards waking you up, and free wifi.)
Worryingly, the tooth is hurting more than yesterday. I'm wondering if this is just all the pain killers draining out of my system. Still on antibiotics, another few days left of that course. Will see how the pain develops today if at all, and go see the regular dentist again for an appointment to pull it out. Well, still wavering on root canal or pull out. More leaning to pull it out. Both have consequences and risk factors.
Still feels like too much gear on the bike, even though I ditched stuff and got lighter stuff. Though, putting the tent on the back rack with the panniers and water isn't as bad as I thought for front wheel lift. Thinking about a basket on the platform on the front rack. Would be a handy place to drop the shopping, and commonly used items for the day.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Loaded Troll on the road in Sydney

I'd been staying with friends. It was terribly nice of them, but decided today, time to move on. Because of unresolved tooth issues, and waiting for front wheel bearing replacement, I need to stay about Sydney for a bit. Options on the tooth are extract it or root canal and crown.
While thinking about that, did lots on the bike. A rear Tubus Cosmo rack can be mounted as a front rack. This is great as it has a platform and is light; about 700gms.
Made up a bracket to mount the light above the front rack load. Need to get the wheel back to see how good this works.
Some photos of the bike when I stopped in the park for a repack.
Surly isn't as rigid as the Yuba. First ride fully loaded was almost like a piece of noodle - cooked, not raw. But this turned out to be the load not firmly fastened. With everything tied down good, it still has some flex, but handles fine.
Now to sort out somewhere to sleep.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Dental Pain!!!

Just what is the evolutionary advantage to having pain receptors in your teeth?
I survived the weekend. But it wasn't easy, or something I'd like to do again. I was sitting at the door to the dentists this morning before 8am waiting to see if I could get for an apointment. I was contemplating using pliers myself. The pain was agonyising. No matter how much I told myself pain isn't real, breath, think of something else - it didn't work. Drugs helped I think, but not enough. What did people do before Dentists and pain medication? (I suspect the pliers).
Forget about worrying which tooth it was, I wanted them all out. Nothing so drastic yet, the suspect from last week did have a crack in it.
At the moment, the pain continues, but wether nerve death, drugs or plain exhaustion its a bit less than the weekends levels. I'm told that it continue to go down now and in a couple of days not hurt at all.
I can't wait.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Hebie Stabilizer

Todays problems:
Broken spoke on rear wheel. Not had this in years. Hoping it is just a weak spoke.
Hebie Stabilizer fell apart - well more so than it had before. There was a cosmetic bit of plastic tubing that covered the spring and attachment points - that fell off before the first photo was taken. This time the spring fell off when the clamp became loose.
The stablizer keeps the front wheel pointing forward when you lean your bike against a post, or put the bike on a center stand. For me, it also stops the front light I have mounted at the top of the fork, being bashed against the frame. I had one on the Yuba, till my spring broke. (I got a spring from the hardware store. Yuba sell a spring, that is probably way better suited than the one I used.) The Yuba has a drilled mounting point on the down tube. The Hebie uses a "one size fits all" clamp. It was good while it worked. It looks like the strap that goes around the down tube slipped when the plastic coating softened. I know we have had some hot weather here lately, but was it that hot?
I removed it as there didn't seem to be much point keeping it on. Looking at how the clamp works, I'm not impressed. Its also marked the paint:(
At this time I wouldn't recommend buying a Hebie Stabilizer.
Later I found the spring! That was a bit of luck. So have it on with a cable tie for now. And I cable tied one end of the spring on so that it cannot fall off and get lost again. The cable tie will not be a long term solution. If I keep this, then I'll be looking for a better clamp. Means I'll be making my own up. If I do that, I'd go to all stainless steel or aluminium fittings so they don't rust.
I'll wait until I have my front rack fitted, because then I'll be moving the light to another location. Stopping the light getting hit was my main reason for fitting the stabilizer. On the Yuba I had a piece of water pipe around the light to protect it. The light is plastic - repeated hits on the frame would not be good for its long term health. I like my light, so am looking out for it. I keep a sock on it during the day to reduce UV exposure also.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Lunch and more

Was heading back to where I'm staying, via some of the dumpsters I've visited in the past. Being away, places have shut down and of course new places have opened. Its not the best area, but sometimes you get lucky. Today was one of those days.
Ended up with 9 loaves of bread, and some buns. Cause I wasn't going to eat that much so spent most of the afternoon finding people to give bread to. Was looking for people begging, or in need. Some beggers didn't want food, only money. Gave away all that I didn't want in the end.
Wasn't actually looking for food though. Was looking for some stainless steel to make a bracket for my front rack. I'm going to mount a rear Tubus Cosmo rack on the front. My plan needs a small U shaped bracket. I want this to be stainless steel. Didn't find any this time. I did pick up a handful of milling and lathe bits from one skip outside a house in the suburbs. Going to find someone to give them to tomorrow.
Also gathered up some clothes and dropped them in to one of the church charity bins.
Feeling happy with the day. Nothing like digging around in bins, and giving stuff away.

Tooth ache, Wheel bearings and Bicycle Computers

Tooth is still sore. Specialist thinks it might get better, or might not. But to come back in another month, unless it heals or hurts more. Arrrgggh... $220 for "extended consultation" (maybe 15 minutes all up), x-ray, and "Pulp vitality test" (Bite down on this - does that hurt?)
If it gets worse, it root canal treatment - that will be about $2000. Ouch. It it stops hurting, then all would be good for a while. Needless to say, I'm keen on it settling down.
Front wheel bearings in the Schmitt hub are gone. Was trying to think how many km they have done, but apart from the 7000 odd touring, they did service for a couple of years before that, when I didn't have a bike computer. To get them changed is going to take a week. A place down Melbourne does them. Luckily for me, I was loaned a spare front wheel that I can use to ride about on in the mean time. So getting the bearings changed now.
Dropped the bike computer and broke the button off. I can still change it with a small twig, and found the button. Going to try and glue it up,
What else can fail/break?
Been doing some more tidying up on the Troll. Yesterdays effort was a small guard to stop my heel swipping off the caliper bleed cover. Next time I need a new caliper, I'll look at where the bleeder exits. Not something you think of normally.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Tooth Ache :(

My planed date to leave Sydney is up in the air again. Saturday morning a tooth started aching. By Sunday it was clear that it wasn't going to get better on its own. Luckily yesterday I was able to see a dentist. Unfortunately, its not clear which of two teeth is the problem. One hurts on pressing, the other doesn't respond to hot/cold feelings.
More pain and off to see a specialist today.
Is there a bright side to this? Maybe. Its probably better to have this happen in Sydney than out in the country where the dental services are fewer and further apart.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Rear view mirror

I used to think mirrors were not needed on bicycles. Shamefully, I used to heap scorn on anyone who suggested using a mirror. Why would you want a mirror when you can turn your head and see behind you?
As so often is the case, after trying a mirror, I now wouldn't be without one.
The mirror lets you see at a glance if there is anything coming behind. It doesn't replace turning your head and looking behind, but it sure does help let you know what is happening behind at times when you can't turn your head.
Sure you can often hear there is a car or truck coming. But not always. Depending on the wind, you get no warning at all. Also, while you might hear the first car or truck, if there are several, you will not be able to tell if there is one or more from the sound. As the first is going past, and your concentrating on avoiding potholes, or rough edges, a quick glance in the mirror lets you know how many more.
I use a handle bar mirror, rather than a helmet mounted one, cause I didn't like the way the helmet mounted mirrors create a blind spot. But other people swear that helmet ones are best. What ever works for you - try them both. Get a mirror and discover how useful it is in leting you know what is going on behind.

Schwalbe Tires

Was talking with a future cycle tourer this morning, and we were going through bike bits. Whats good and what isn't. He was tossing up what light weigh folding tire to take as a spare for his year long trip. Luckily he had already found the best brand: Schwalbe.
Schwalbe are the only tires I use. I came across them originally by chance, but now don't use anything else. Why? Simple. No flats. Well maybe not no flats ever, but darn close to that. Before Schwalbe tires, I was fast at fixing punctures. The quick stop, get tools, tire lever off the bit of tire where the puncture was, pull out the tube a bit, file tire, glue, press out the thorn/glass/nail from tire, patch on glue, press, push tire in tube, tire on rim, pump, tools back in the bag, wipe hands and cycle on. I was fast from lots of practice with cheap tires.
One day, after a bad run of flats, I asked my local bike shop if there were any better tires for punctures. Result was Schwalbe tires. That was years ago when I was still riding to work. I still fixed flats - on other peoples bikes. But commuting, I didn't have another puncture. And there were times when I rode over so much glass, that I was cringing just waiting for the tire to deflate. It never did.
Now touring, I've managed to puncture a couple of times. I like riding on dirt roads, and camping in the bush. Often I'll ride off the road, across the drain and into a paddock. Sometimes the tires are furry with thorns and prickles. Maybe this got me once. Don't know. I had one puncture that I don't know the cause of late last year. I suspect barbed wire. My other puncture was from running over a tent peg on the road. It rattled around in the spokes and frame, and then jamed into the tire. Granted the tire was worn, and maybe should have been changed hundreds of km sooner, I don't think anything would have stood up to that tent peg.
Currently with over 7000km touring I'm very happy to be running Schwalbe tires. I like to spend my time riding, not fixing flats.
And the light weight spare folding tire? What I do is just take another full tire. There isn't much weight savings on a folding tire. The folding tire isn't going to be the same as what your using each day. Even if you just use it to "get you to the nearest town" - the next town may not have the tire you want (or any tires!). So just carry a spare of what tire you use. And of course, use Schwalbe tires

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Surly Troll

The new love of my life. Lusted after a Surly 1x1 for years, but the new Troll is a way better watch for me.
Picked her up yesterday afternoon. Twas a late night after that.