In these interesting times, small things become exciting. Probably because we have the time to focus on individual ideas without a heap of other thoughts whizzing around in the head jostling for “head of queue”.
Well, that might explain this post – little things pleasing an empty mind! Or, in a time of lockdown finding things to do.
I posted on the Melbourne Brompton Club’s site about cycling my Brompton around here and the picture above, included in that post, caused some comment. Yes, it is cold enough in Tasmania to pull out the winter jumpers. This one was knitted by Cher – a lovely neighbour who enjoys knitting. It’s very comfortable and the colour matches my Grey Brompton.
Fitting in a ride.
On Tuesday the next few days were forecast as being cold, windy and wet. However the weather on Tuesday was going to be OK early and the bad stuff would kick off towards evening – so we decided to take a self-isolating, distancing ride to Carrick and back.
It was a windy ride especially on the last leg into Carrick. As we turned right and headed into town I had an interesting and embarrassing experience. As I passed the sign advising we were entering Carrick, I swallowed a fly which stuck close to where my tonsils would be if I had any!! All the usual happenings happened. Coughing, spluttering and generating excess bodily fluids out of eyes, nose and throat. Gasping and coughing while looking like you’re on your last legs as you make your way past the pub, service station and small shop is not an ideal thing during a time of covid-19. People, happy in their own splendid isolation, look askance at any coughing or sneezing person. Someone busy doing much, much more is a person to be frowned upon and avoided at all costs!! Drinking water helped for a few seconds and then the reaction kicked in again but this time with an added flow of water coming down the nose.
It was just dying down as I reached the little park by the facilities block (which was open) and I was able to clean myself up before Colin arrived. He might have held back pretending he didn’t know me or keeping out of the blast zone!
The ride out had been tiring. Not a lot of riding recently, a few hills and into a strong wind makes for tired legs. In all fairness the ride home should be with the wind – and it was.
Colin said it would be OK if I upped the power and found out how long it would take to get back if I really pushed it. That was good of him (or was he remembering my fly-swallowing performance earlier) but I only did so for shortish stretches of road – then I backed off, tooled gently along taking in the countryside and waited. In actual fact the trip out had burned through quite a bit of battery storage even though I hadn’t ridden much faster than Colin for most of the way. So, while enjoying the occasional ride in the 20s (kph) I was a bit wary of ‘giving it some wellie’ all the way home.
Not sure what they were doing but it left a single lane width to get past.
I just hope the truck that lays gravel on the verge now stays away. Too much loose gravel gets dragged onto the road surface by vehicles that put their inside wheels into it.
Two thoughts came out of the ride and, with nothing else to compete apart from organising to have our annual flu vaccine, the thoughts caused action.
Thought Number 1.
The rear mudguard (fender) does not attach to the frame. It has two sets of arms that hold it in place but from the nearest arm to the front is a long distance for an untethered guard. This allows the lightweight plastic unit to vibrate in the wind. I have long wondered if a conveniently placed hole in the frame was a threaded hole. if so, could it be used to install a bracket to hold onto the guard and stop it flapping?
Now was the time to give it a go. I had the time. The weather was not good. Colin supplied a number of brackets and some leather all of which could be used to do the job.
BUT. To find out if the hole was threaded it proved necessary to remove the rear wheel. To remove the rear wheel it was necessary to find out how the cables to the Nuvinci work. Thus a simple task grows, explaining why I have been putting it off. Of course, I should know how to remove the rear wheel in case there is a puncture along the road. Some people make it the first thing they do on getting a new bike. They look at it and get onto Google and then tear it apart and put it back together so they can cycle off in full knowledge of what to do at puncture time. That’s not me!! Surely it can’t be that hard.
There followed a removal of Nuvinci cables, undoing of wheel nuts and a lot of wiggling around to get the wheel out, disconnected from the chain. The space is tight and a seemingly endless number of things prevented the wheel from coming out. Eventually it did. The wheel weight was a surprise. I suppose it shouldn’t have been as everything written about the Nuvinci hub gear system comments on the weight. It’s not until you actually feel it that it sinks in though – if you are me.
After cleaning up the rear end and the hole I found it did, indeed have a thread. I grabbed the bicycle bits box and uncovered several bolts that looked promising. Along the way I found a very suitable bracket that was left over from some rack fitting operation on, I think, my old Dahon Speed TR. The mudguard was removed, a hole drilled, the bits fitted together for a dry run and then installed satisfactorily. All that remained was to put the wheel back in and connect up the Nuvinci.
Two calming cups of tea later (and a biscuit) this was done. Like all such operations another arm and hand would be very useful. Will we evolve to this configuration I wonder. To connect the Nuvinci cables I ended up resorting to a download of the owners manual, pulling the two incorrectly fitted cables out (silly), starting again and putting the cables back in correctly.
End result? Sweet gear change. Non vibrating mudguard. Knowledge for rear wheel removal stored in head.
Thought Number 2.
(Oh no! Not more.)
As I rode back from Carrick I was watching carefully at what cadence the controller decided how much power to supply to the motor. At every selectable power level (1-9) the amount of power supplied is dictated by the cadence. Low cadence = max power for the selected level. As you spin more, less power is supplied until you get to the point where no power is coming from the electrics – you are supplying all power. With the 46 tooth chainring I feel the balance is wrong for me in power levels 3 to 5. It just doesn’t fit with my preferred cadence.
I decided to order a 52 tooth chainring in the hope of getting something closer to my fit. Plus I would be able to spin to better speeds on slight downgrades or along the flats with wind behind.
Imagine then my surprise when finding, at the bottom of the bicycle bits box, a 52 tooth Bafang chainring! You may recall how I recently tried to fit one only to find I had mounted a 44 tooth jobbie instead. At that time I thought I had given the 52 to Phil. Well, obviously I hadn’t!
So, that afternoon I changed the rings over. I now have a 52 tooth chainring without needing to buy one. Early testing indicates it may overcome some of my issues. Hill climbing will be another matter but Phil is still working on a dual chain ring assembly for Bluey. Phil has been ill so I am not pushing for this. Worst comes to worst I can always swap out the 52 for something smaller when I know a big hill climbing day is coming up.
And now for something completely different :
As already reported, the weather hasn’t been nice. But one still, cool evening we sat out in front of the Ozpig watching Wattle Birds playing around in next-door’s silver birches. The Ozpig was burning wood collected on various cycle rides – thus a valid link to this blog.
The above are Little Wattlebirds. Also flying around that evening were the larger Yellow Wattlebirds. We were honoured to be able to sit being warmed by the stove watching these birds go about their business. They were a bit peeved though as they really like to get into our birdbaths. With us sitting there and Oscar occasionally barking, they couldn’t!
Hopefully there will be more riding next week. Who knows – perhaps some of the covid-19 restrictions will be lifted too. There is talk about it. Will it happen?