Monday, 16 November 2015

Winter plans all awry........

Firstly, apologies for not posting earlier, basically I was in Portugal knocking back Super Bock and then when I returned to Belfast, the weather has been so good up until now, I've been riding rather than blogging!

Anyhow, as they say in the trailers for Game of Thrones, winter is coming, although at the minute it must be coming by Yodel, it's so late, and being the sort of preparation nut that I am, I had winter plans done and dusted well before the end of October, I was going to retire the Surly over the winter and ride my Genesis Day One Disc on days when there was no snow or ice, and on those days I would be riding my Vitus Vee-29 with a set of Marathon Winter studded tyres on it. Simples! But as usual, it hasn't worked out like that, firstly there is the Genesis........

I bought the Day One in summer, and at first, I loved it, sure it was a bit heavy and is a bit less CX orientated than previous incarnations, but it rode smoothly enough, and even with 35mm tyres and being a bit hefty, I managed to set a couple of Strava PB's on it. Then, after about 100 miles, things started going a bit pear shaped. The front brake started juddering, badly, which unusal for me as I'm not really the sort of person who is hard on brakes, most of my brake wear is from me trailing the rear brakes on downhills, so the front seemingly having turned into a Pringle, was a bit puzzling. I checked the disc for warp with a dial gauge and it was fine, a quick google brought to my attention that the brakes, which are TRP spyres, are known for juddering and a quick dab of copper grease on the back cured it, so a dab later it was. For a while. The judder came back, not as badly, but bad, I dumped the pads, even thought they didn't seem contaminated, cleaned the disc with brake cleaner, put some new pads in and voila, great braking, especially when the pads got a bit of heat in them. A few weeks later, I was coming back to work via Oxford St in Belfast, which is a slight downhill, I was spinning out so was probably travelling north of 20mph, when the lights ahead changed to red, no worries, I had loads of confidence in the brakes, so I braked and was rewarded with the usual retardation for about half a second before the bike stopped slowing down, I didn't have time to wonder why the front felt normal but just didn't work, so I grabbed a handful of rear and half skidded through the red into the junction, my guardian angel was on form that day as for once, there wasn't any traffic crossing the junction.

Underpants surprisingly unfilled, I rode to the side of the road and checked the bike, sure enough the pads were gripping the disc, except the wheel still turned. I walked the bike to work and dropped the wheel out. This is what I found.

The brake disc is mounted on a threaded ring which screws onto the hub rather like a freewheel screws on a rear hub, except this one has been unable to take the strain and has demolished its thread, leaving me brakeless on the front. Needless to say, I was NOT happy, I emailed the seller and they advised me to take it to an LBS, it worked out a lot cheaper to get a new wheel built with the ever reliable Shimano XT hub. Even so, for a Singlespeed bike costing the best part of 650 quid to be made of such crap components, pisses me off big time.

Secondly, winter seems to have buggered off somewhere else. Last night, it was 15 Celsius in Belfast, this time 4 years ago, you couldn't walk up the hill to my shed as it was solid ice an inch thick. It hasn't even rained that much, sure there has been the odd downpour, but in general it has been more like spring than autumn time. I can live with that, but it means that like an animal wanting to hibernate, I'm getting confused as to what the weather is, do I wear that extra layer or not? Do I arrive at work freezing or will I end up like a boil in the bag cod and parsley sauce? Should I take the bike with no mudguards? Why is it warmer at 10pm than 2pm? All questions that I have to think about before setting out.

Of course all this good weather has an up side, night rides are pleasant when it's mild and the darkness seems almost comforting without a chill, less sinister bogey man, more black labrador.

Anyway, long may it continue as it keeps the aches and pains at bay for a bit!

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