Weekending 08 May 2011

Monday:  A bit late getting out  had me do another trip around the Wirral for just short of 50 miles. Fairly steady with one incident going down Thurstaton cutting.  I’m doing close to 40mph when a little old lady in a Micra draws alongside me and doesn’t pass. I’m forced to brake to let her get ahead rather than become statistic number 82.  The head wind had me down to 9 mph at stages.
Called in at Screwfix on the way home in the off chance that they were open on a Bank Holiday and they were, until 6pm with no customers for a couple of hours.

Tuesday: Took a trip up to Vita in the afternoon where the last stages of the Vita Due  Sportive were getting posted.  Starts at Ness Gardens through Cheshire. A bit like the Steve Cummings training ride in reverse. Avoids Oil Sites Road though. 85 miles on 19 th June
http://www.vitacycles.co.uk/vita_due_sportive

Wednesday: Work

Thursday:  Aldi Summer Cycling Offers are back. Cycling mitts at £3.49 are still one of the best bargains around. I’ll probably end up getting a pair to compare with the previous pair.
If you opt for the toolkit and bag, throw away the tyre levers  as the plastic is too soft and won’t get a tyre off the rim.
The Cape is good value at £9.99 as it stows itself into the rear pocket.
More later.

Friday: Work
Saturday: Work, Last day then 4 off. Downloaded an OSM map and started using that. Updated the Edge 800 Dummies guide. Also
http://www.opencyclemap.org/
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Map_On_Garmin/Download
Sunday: Ride Day. Well it would of if things went to plan. Delayed ride to a downpour so set about other things with the Giro coming up on Eurosport.
Get a phone call from Val that the Polo is loosing water again, not good as this is the second time in 2 days. Watch Giro then take the car out for a shakedown.
The good news is that it’s not engine related, the bad news is that is the heater matrix or the joint on it. It’s just about the most inacessable job on the car, caught just in time but it needs sorting before it escalates.
Email is down and there could be a problem with the domain until Paul has a word.
Signed up for another year with WordPress hosting the blog.

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Weekending 12 Sep 2010

Not been near the bike since the Eureka ride.  Bit the bullet about the new shower and had some luck by getting 9 sq/m of tiles to match the bathroom.
Not much luck with the final window to replace though, the firm I bought them from has gone to the wall. The landlord has a letter on the door and a lot of the cars and vans have notices plastered all over them about to get reclaimed.
With a bit of luck I’ll get to see the finish of the first stage of the Tour of Britain at Blackpool on Saturday.
The site has been quoted on the Aldi cycling  offers for a review I did on the Winter Cycling Gloves.  A lot of this is about Aldi upsetting the cycle industry by discounting their bread and butter. You NEVER see a review  of any Aldi kit in the Cycling press.
Hurt my back  on Saturday which is ruling out a ride of any description. Just goes to show how powerful a drug Ibruprofen is.
The new roof leaked during Saturdays downpour, right over where the new shower is going.  Better now than later when it’s all in place and tiled.

Aldi Winter Cycle Clothing 17 Sep 2009

Aldi are having their Winter Cycling Clothing on offer this Thursday 17 Sep 2009.

http://www.aldi.co.uk/uk/html/offers/offers_week38Thursday09.htm?WT.z_src=main

Just what you need if it’s your first winter season.  In the past you had to be first through the door to make sure you got the right size.

If the sizing isn’t to your liking when you get home to try it on properly you have 28 days to take it back.

Really good quality for the price and improves every year. Prices are a bit up due to the poor exchange rate.  I probably don’t need anything this year but it’s an opportunity to go through the wardrobe and see what worked and what didn’t last year.

Aldi Winter Cycling Offers

Time to be first in the queue  this Thursday if your interested in winter cycling.
I’ve rode in Aldi winter gear for the last two years and it just gets better each year. They have raised the bar for winter cycle clothing. The value is unbeleivable.
This week also includes some cycle shoes for £20.
Winter gloves are the same as last year and good for a couple of degrees above zero.

http://www.aldi.co.uk/uk/html/offers/58_7174.htm

Like all cycling clothing fit is everything, you’ve a month to take it back. A refund is offered but if your not quick you are unlikely to get a replacement.

You’ll find double layers on the front for wind and water resistance. Reflective 3M piping too as it is now dark at 7 pm and the clocks haven’t gone back yet.

The cap and overshoes for £6.99 now come in shoe sizes but you need to check the fit around the ankle. Last year they were a bit loose. Looks like they have addressed the problem this year.

Some of the trousers had footstraps some didn’t, if you have waterproof socks these need to under the strap to stop water running in. It’s hard to notice these things in a scrum to get the size you want.

I’m not about to fill my boots this year as I still have some stuff unworn from last year.
The £8 waterproof overtrousers are at least as good as match for the cheapest (£30) Altura overtrouser I have.

With any fluorescent jacket you don’t want to be getting it dirty by riding with no mudguards.

Fill your boots, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Bought a Jacket and a pair of trousers this year. The prices have crept up a bit but thats inflation for you. Improvements to the jacket are a zipped chest pocket and zipps on the cuffs so fit is improved and the arms are longer.

Aldi Winter Cycling Gloves

I gave the gloves their first try out in anger yesterday and was really pleased with them.
Somebody at Aldi has beem doing their homework as these gloves are excellent.
It\’s the small thing that you notice when you actually use them.

The glove is pre formed to the shape of  the hand i.e the fingers are slightly curved for a start. The cuff of the glove goes along to watch level on the wrist so if they were tucked under a jacket water wouldn’t run inside the glove. Water proof to boot. I haven’t tested this yet but it\’s bound to happen. 

It wasn\’t particulary cold yesterday but it was windy and my hands felt fine all day. Two of the Northenders were also wearing them too.There is also a piece of re-enforcment between the thumb and index finger that is absolutley superb for riding on the hoods.
I’ve had mitts where you can gett a bit of chaffing on the side of the palm that rests on the hood.

Scotchlite detailing built in as well so you can be seen by motorists. Runny nose wipe too. All for the grand sum of £2.99. I’ve paid 10 times that for gloves in the past and still haven\’t got the ideal pair. Sealskinz are too cold but are waterproof. The Madison ones are too short in the cuff so water runs down into the glove. You just can’t win with some things.

I’ll post a picture when I can get around to it.

I bought two pairs and wish I had bought a third as I’m always looking for the other glove when I want to rush out.
I bought Cycling weekly on the way home as they are reviewing winter clothing. Gore Vulcano gloves  get a 10 out of 10 and these cost £39.99 and aren’t even waterproof.
For £99.99 you can have the  Assos System 123 gloves and no I\’m not joking about the price. This is serious money  and for what I can gather isn\’t waterproof either. 
10 Nov 07 I\’m out on a ride with the NorthEnd  and a chap whose name I don\’t know mentions the Aldi Winter Cycling gloves on the ride. He has a pair too, he has a problem that he is too tall and skinny to fit into the normal sizes.
I’ve a similar problem with the medium  sizes just a tad too short for a perfect fit. Jacket is fine.
That\’s two rides with two unsolicited comments. The gloves feel fine throughout the ride. The cuff is long enough to be tucked under the Aldi winter cycling jacket. That means there are no rain running down into the glove issues.

 

Aldi Winter Cycling Clothing

It’s that time of year again, the nights are drawing in and even sunny days require more than just a short sleeved top.

Aldi are doing their Winter Cycling Clothing offer this Thurday 27 September.

http://www.aldi.co.uk/

This clothing saw me through my first winter season of cycling. All of it is excellent value and quality. I made multiple purchases last year and a lot of it is still unused with the tags on as I dropped a couple of sizes over the year.  It’s quite generously sized and Aldi offer a 30 day return policy. The only problem is that if your looking to exchange it then there is likely to be nothing left. It sells out VERY fast.

For a comparison I paid £30 for a pair of Altura waterproof overtrousers, Aldi have theirs for £7.99. The other garments all offer the same great value. There is no skimping on the quality either. If your looking to kit yourself out for the winter then this is the chance to do it at bargain prices.

My motto last year was to buy two of everything as one was going to be in the wash and I’ll be doing the same this year too as last years stuff is too big on me. I just hope there is enough length in the medium sized garments. Be there for when the doors open as it’s a bit of a bunfight on offer day.

Turned up early and was first in the queue, saw Dave in the queue and bumped in to a few regulars from the Eureka. I ended up spending over £100 on the hit and some of it is even better than last year I would say.  I’ll do a seperate review of the jacket as I can see this being one of my favourite tops this year.

The trolley got filled with:
3 long sleeved jerseys in blue
2 jackets full zip one blue one black.
2 bibpants, one with stirrups one without.
1 pair pants,
1 waterproof fluorescent jacket
1 waterproof overtrousers
2 pair waterproof winter gloves one black, one blue/black
1 overshoes with cap

All the above is a medium size and fits me well. The gloves at £2.99 are going up against the Sealskinz at ten times the price. They are long in the cuff and easily cover the end of the sleeves of the jacket or jersey. A lot of thought has gone into some of the items with really good detailing.

No glasses and there was a problem with the lights too. I’ve got no excuses now for not going out this winter but after last year I won’t be looking for any.

I am still getting visitors looking at the post I did on Crane Sports Technical Ski gloves that I tried last year so this years stuff should prove just as popular.
More when I’ve tried the stuff in anger.
I’m not putting the Discovery Channel stuff away just yet and I can see the day I end up freezing by wanting to still be a fashion victim. 

03 Oct 07 Tried the Overshoes and cap on for size. The design of the overshoe,s has changed this year with the zip on the side of the shoe. There is one shortcoming with the ones I have, the ankle top is too loose. I bought the 10/11 size to make sure it fitted over the shoe but you’d need ankle like tree trunks for this sizing. There shouldn’t be a problem with the zip this year and the material has changed with a more stretchy panel on the inside. 

Nike Lance II Discovery Shoe

The whole of the retail cycling shopping world seems to be against stocking stuff like this so when Mr Butler knocks £60 off the price I thought I would give them a go.
As it’s Discovery Channels last year of sponsor ship the stuff isn’t going to be around too long and with Lance off the bike the link is getting a little stretched.

I can see why women have an obsession about designer shoes like Jimmy Choo,s or Manolo,s after wearing these for a ride. They look a million dollars in my eyes and once you see them peddaling away it becomes quite hypnotic.

I’ve been riding around in a low end Shimmano road shoe that cost between £40-60 depending on where you buy. I’ve spent the last year on them riding a couple of thousand miles through thick and thin and hadn’t really given them much thought.

These normally retail for £160 so I thought £100 was a bargain, I still think £100 is a lot for a pair of shoes by the way and someone has to pay for all those Sidi ads on Eurosport.

My initial reaction was one of mild dissapointment when I put them on the scales (everything gets weighed these days). 2g heavier than the Shimmano shoes. This is despite having a carbon fibre sole with the stickers telling you as much. The fit is close, but not tight. It is a more narrower fit than the Shimmano shoe.

Anyway  the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Yesterday was a superb morning for a ride and an excellent opportunity to baptise the shoes. The thing that struck me immeadiatley was that once clipped in to the Keo,s was that you don’t realise your clipped in. There is no sensation of a pedal being under your foot.

The load is spread across all of the shoe and you are unaware of the contact point. You peddal and thats it, it’s just a circular motion. Even when climbing out of the saddle you are not aware of the peddal. This gives rise to that hypnotic feeling that I mentioned before, you see your input but don’t feel it ,all you see is your feet turning over.

You hear the term “Dancing on the peddals” well now I know what they mean, you could dance up the hills on these and not know it. I was really, really impressed by how these shoes felt and performed. They look good too. There is no way you could try these on in a shop and relate to how it feels when your out on the bike.

You’ve only three contact points on a bike and it now looks like I have all three sorted.

DSCF3112.jpg

Update: I get dropped on a Northend ride as I wasn’t carrying enough liquid. That and they tend not to stop. I ended up calling in Aldi in Mold for a Litre of fresh Orange juice. As I’m clip clopping around the store to the checkout a little girl with her parents says “Nice shoes”. The bonus was I get let in in front of their trolley load of stuff. Makes my day after loosing touch with the others.

Link

Crane Sports Cycling Gloves

I ended up buying two pairs of these fingerless gloves in the latest Aldi offers the other week. Now for £2.99 these are excellent value. They feature gel inserts on the palm with an extended section on the lower wrist. This just covers the wrist joint so should offer some protection in a spill.
The thumb has a soft outer suitable for wiping your nose when the need arises.
Nothing much more to say about them other that I paid £10-15 for an Altura pair with a very simillar construction.
Looking around, every other cyclist seems to be using these gloves now the weather is looking up.
I’ve also ended up with a shirt and a jacket too. One thing I didn’t know is that you have 30 days to take it back if it doesn’t fit, which is a great help. Not that there will be anything left that does fit you if you don’t act pretty quickly.

One thing I didn’t realise is the reflective striping built in to the cloves. Thanks to Graham and Margaret for pointing it out. Thats if the motorist that knocks you down has his lights on. It’s supposed to be really effective when you give hand signals.

SealSkinz Socks

I’ve been using SealSkinz Socks now for a couple of months now and I can’t recommend the them highly enough.

WWW.Sealskinz.com

They feature a porelle membrane with a merino wool inner. The ones I have feature a blue band around the top. I can’t remember having cold or wet feet since I’ve been using them. Coupled with overshoes my feet have been really snug.
I had wanted a pair of the gloves but everywhere I tried didn’t have my size. It’s a tossup between the Ultra Grip Glove and the Technical Mountain Bike Glove.
I’ve been using a pair from Madison and although they say waterproof on the glove I have my doubts.

Back to the socks, part of my problem is that I haven’t fitted the Raceblade front guard to the Trek. The chainset and hence my feet pick up everthing thrown up  from the front wheel. The chain is getting cleaned and lubed every week as the lube is getting washed off from the spray. As the Crane Sport winter tights go over the sock nothing has got in yet.  Highly recommended.

Bike damage.

The bike is virtualy unmarked, the Brookes saddle has a small scuff but nothing you couldn’t pick up by leaning it against a wall. The chain has been swapped as it was worn out along with the cassette. It was 13-26 it is now 11-28 some of the steepest stuff can be hard work especially on the Toy at 12-25.

I ended up paying the best part of £20 for a genuine shimmano 8 speed chain. I thought I had been ripped off but thats the recommended price for a genuine chain.
On one of the rides out, I looked at the amount of muck the chain of Mikes bike was picking up. We were both riding without mudguards and his chain was picking up a constant stream of water from the front wheel. The water that was picked up by the chain was being flung off by the first jockey wheel of of the derailiure.

I’ve been using a wax lubricant for most of the year but this has been pretty useless for the last couple of months. This year I’ve had enough problems with chains for me to take a special interest in them. I’ve a tale about a broken motorcycle chain thats worth a whole category in this blog by itself. It took a bit longer to measure and set up than I had reckoned on so no session on the trainer.

The lefthand STI hood cover got scuffed for some reason, all my damage is down the righthand side. Thinking about it, the front wheel has probably tucked in and the next point of contact is the left lever. The rear mudguard is cracked but not broken and thats about it. I’ve come off a fair bit worse, apart from the physical injuries I’m not going out without a new helmet on my head. Mine wasn’t a top of the range models just one up from the bottom of the pile. A similar one is about £25 but others are less. You can get a similar one that meets all the impact standards for under £20. The same standards that the top of the range ones have to meet.

The Altura Hi Viz jacket has cleaned up well after 3 washes. The Aldi Winter cycling pants had slight damage to the knee but nothing compare to my knee. The hats a wright-off but all in all a small price to pay.

Still on the subject of helmets, there is little difference between a sub £20 one and a top of the range £100 one. They are all an expanded foam construction with an outer plastic shell. The top of the range Giro ones had carbon fibre parts, whether it was part of the construction or flash detailing wasn’t clear. Giro and Bell are the same company I have learnt so the market now looks a bit distorted.