My cycling has been linked to various caravan trips for the past few years. The Brompton travelled really well in the back of the car and on the road. We have now sold the caravan and purchased a tent! At our age most people sell their van and get a bigger one but, for various reasons, we haven’t used the van much over the past 2 years and decided to let it go. This will also allow us to consider the purchase of a small car to replace the ageing X-Trail now we don’t need a tow vehicle.
I still like the concept of driving somewhere further afield, camping and cycling in the area for a few days. So, friend John had a 4 person tent plus extras he bought a couple of years ago but has never used – we did a deal.
The next day Sue and I had a practise Oztent RV4 (see above picture) set up in the garden. Crikey, we knew it would be heavy – and it is (23 kilos) and, boy, was the tent hard to get back in its 2 metre long bag afterwards!! Yep, it is said to be a “3 minute tent” and it did take only a few minutes to get it out and up but rather more to squeeze it back in that bag. This will be fun. Won’t it.
There will, no doubt, be more on this subject as the summer wears on. Hopefully all good.
Last week I pumped up the air shock on the Bike E and took it for a 15k ride along Wilmore’s Lane and then down to the boat ramp.
It hasn’t been the same since! The 20 year old shock decided it had had enough and deflated. Now under acceleration the pogo effect was intense and the suspension unit was bottoming out over the slightest bump.
There is a replacement seal kit that can be purchased from a couple of places in the US but a number of people on the Bike E Riders group (Facebook) advise a specific, slightly longer coil shock can be used to replace it. I found a supplier of the DNM shock in Victoria, ordered and it arrived 3 days later. Total cost was cheaper than the postage of the replacement seal kit from the US. Will it fit? Will it work?
it took an afternoon, a few cups of tea, a well directed precision lump hammer and the tongue poking out in exactly the right spot to remove the bolts holding the AD-5. They were rather rusted in.
Offering up the new shock showed a few changes needed to be made to get the lower mounting point right. Just as the Bike E Riders pages warned.
That took an overnight think to work out how to accurately cut down the aluminium bush and tough plastic/nylon (?) spacers to fit. Next morning, armed with ideas, I cut the bush using a skip tooth blade on the scroll saw. Brilliant. Just minor filing after to get it right and in it popped. A bit more scroll sawing and the spacers were right too – the shock was mounted at the bottom. The top fitting was OK – it just needed a couple of washers as extra spacers and in that went too. First ride = 👍🏽 except the cables running through the frame are now very noisy -no doubt due to all the movement related to the shock replacement or the slightly different angle of operation or even the huge cobweb I pulled out. That’s the next job – to stop the cable rattle.
To test the shock I took it on an interesting little ride.
Instead of heading out of Longford via Illawarra Road I took the walking trail by the South Esk under the highway and railway down to the Mill Dam. This picnic area has a bumpy, lumpy gravel road servicing it. I took Bike E along it. The suspension worked OK but the lumps and the small front wheel were an interesting mix.
Just before we come out onto a tarmac road paralleling the Illawarra Road we hit this cattle grid.
This is not one to ride across. I did a few years back on my Vivente with 700c wheels. It must be done with teeth clenched or you may smash some with the vibrations !!
After the grid comes a very nice quiet piece of road, flat and just right for listening to Bike E noises. There was the standard “cable tapping” from inside the tubular body. There was the seat creaking. That was all. Actually the seat had ridden back while we traversed the dirt and I was really stretching; I stopped and fixed. Still couldn’t work out why the seat is creaking. One rattle had gone due to me taking the stand off.
And so onto Bishopsbourne Road. A bit more traffic here but generally not an issue. The road climbs up away from the river. Initially gently and then more of a hill after a few kilometres. Climbing the steeper bits I was pleased to find my leg muscles were working out how to propel the bike upwards spinning rather than slogging. I could feel bits and pieces being used differently to how they work together on the trike. After a while muscles unused to action began to complain a bit. Yes, this is what happened last time I did this ride. I guess it will be 6 weeks or so until they all start to work as a unit in this different seating position.
Down the Wilmore’s Lane hills yet again. I tackled the downhills carefully. When I rode this bike 2 year ago, fast downhills were a bit dodgy. The front wheel had loose, rusted and worn bearings while the suspension needed air in it. When I got those things fixed the bike descended well. Today I was pleased to find it was going to be OK with the new shock.
So, Bike E tracking well. Now to recharge the trike battery and go for a longer ride.
Colin and I intended to put in a decent trike ride on Wednesday. The skies looked bad though so we just pottered around Longford and visited Ernesto’s for a coffee. One stretch of road was heavily gravelled and we rode it into quite a breeze. A bit tricky on Bike E but when ‘back on the black’ we had a sense of achievement.
On Thursday I took an early trike ride out to Bishopsbourne for exercise and to get the ks up. In the sunny early light at one point I had half a dozen Galahs flying along – just above me. Their pink colourings showed up nicely in the sunlight.
I checked progress with Ride with GPS after this ride. Look. Just broke through 4,000 kilometres for the year. Is it possible to get to 4,500 by 31st Dec?
Finally – Change for Ken
Lastly for this week – on a rainy Saturday I visited a cycle enthusiast in Launceston. Ken had been looking for a Giant Revive for several years. This week he found one on Gumtree and asked me to take a look at it for him.
It was like walking into a cycling wonderland! The couple who were selling have many bikes and hundreds of bike bits. They also make bikes out of almost anything going.
While we chatted, I mentioned I was looking for different handlebars for the Bike E and before I knew it Stuart had dug out a couple for me to look at. One looked good so he gave it to me. How nice was that? The start of another thread for this blog!
Ken drove up on Sunday and we both went along t0 pick up the Revive. Another long bike chat ensued. I think Colin and I will have to ride over there and check out the collection further!
Strangely I didn’t get a picture of Ken’s new Revive so, that’s it for now.
Til next time …………..