October is coming to an end, the 5pm darkness will arrive next week…
Speed Run – 39.6 MPH Top Speed – So I finished putting together my winter bike during this week. I’ve built up a late 80’s / early 90’s British Eagle with a nice selection of old parts. I was taking it out for a test ride and decided to see how fast I could go down Hopwas Hill even with the mudguards. That top speed would get you points / fine in a car…
You’re Not That Mini – With the potholes in my path the overtake just felt a bit close / rushed… even though it probably doesn’t look it on camera.
Left It Late – Looks like it was a 3 way stand off up until that lad decided to pull out…just before I got there. Left it quite late there lad.
Keep On Riding – I hope I’m still riding when I’m this gents age. Keep those legs spinning! I wouldn’t personally choose to ride an old shopper on the road though without a lid… To slow for my liking.
Behind The Scenes – If you haven’t already seen it, check out my review of the See Sense V2 lights. https://youtu.be/dr9yR6gnSlQ They’re some decent lights. Purely for “warning” though, they’d be no good for actually lighting a dark road so you can safely see.
The Mating Call Of A Wild BMW Driver – “Wahey, Sound Man, it looks good” or at least I think that’s what I hear. I was on Grandpa’s bike…and that’s one good looking bike!
IDGAF – Yehhhh…. Lights turn to green so that means pedestrians cross right? #swag #yolo #myhaircutwasdowntoabet
Unresponsive? – BX59KKA – Sign is switched to green, vehicles in front move off but the lorry is still sat there. Why? Yup you’ve guessed it, the guy is on his phone. The camera never sees things as well as your eyes but as he drove off he still had the phone in his hands.
Thanks to Ryan Little again for providing the free music
Stay tuned for the next episode where someone actually hits me with their car…
Experimenting with the saturation / brightness / contrast. Hope it’s not too extreme.
Not much riding this week either! Don’t remember a reason why. Hmm
Nice & Polite – Sometimes this junction is a nightmare to get out of so it really helps when someone adds a few seconds to their journey and creates a gap for me. It’s appreciated.
Must Get In Front – Seriously this week (or the few days I did ride) seemed to attract those that just had to get in front. This BMW was a prime example. I can quite easily keep up with traffic down this road, especially in “rush hour”. They didn’t get far. The traffic was stopped a couple of hundred meters down the road and I rode right by.
Red Means Stop – Hotly debated topic when it comes to the anti cycling brigade and cyclists! Not sure what was going on with the vehicle opposite. It was a red light for them but you see them accelerate forward pretty sharply before coming to an even sharper stop. Then of course the ped crosses with his light on red as ours are changing. No biggy but I think it gave him a shock.
I Don’t Have A Choice – This is a fairly steep hill and with the mini stopped up ahead I wanted to keep the momentum going… only… I could hear the Audi accelerating up the road rushing to get passed and when I did the shoulder check I saw they weren’t going to stop the overtake.
Lane Sharing – I think this is another example of MGIF but it didn’t pay off. Initially I don’t position myself central because of the road surface but they would never have made it in front before the junction…
Look For The Bus – Because this van didn’t… Had to get in front of me quickly on a tight section and well, ending up braking sharply to squeeze by the bus.
Did He Look? – He was looking as I entered the island but definitely didn’t check where I was before entering it himself, from the wrong side of the road… Hmmm, no helmet either.
It’ll Be Dark Soon – I had some nice sunsets to ride home to this week. Autumn can be pretty grim at times but the colours on a sunny day make up for it. Soon the evening commute in the dark will begin… great.
It seems these videos are gaining popularity. Thanks to all those that watch and leave a like / comment. Some of the clips in this edit were posted on social media after the incidents… some of the comments were quite interestng!
Dangerous Overtake – I’m lit up well. I wear high vis and I have two of the best front lights on the market. This was one of the videos posted on social media and while most supported me (and the tractor driver who also commented) some still had time to blame me (for being on the road etc) and the tractor (for also…being on the road). The driver didn’t come forward, no surprise there, and my cameras didn’t quite catch the reg because of the fog. After the driver got that close to me, they almost hit the tractor cutting back in. Some of the worst driving I’ve seen in a long time.
So Close – CV08 PWO – Here I am, riding along and I saw the van approaching. It’s ok, he’ll stop… I thought. I don’t think he saw me. If I’d have been a second slower, I would have been sent flying. I didn’t actually realise how close he’d come until I got home and checked the rear camera out. Scary!
Elderly Driver – This was a bit of a “facepalm” moment. Waiting for the red light I watched in disbelief as this elderly driver seemed to miss the roadworks until they were very close and then realise and adjust.
My Heart Stopped – This was another clip that was posted on social media, mainly because there have been complaints about this road being dangerous. Personally, I don’t believe any road is dangerous, instead it’s the driving, as witnessed here. The driver clearly sees me and gives me loads of space but has failed to pay any attention to the cyclist coming the other way. I saw the cyclist coming down before the driver pulled out and when they did, I was just waiting for an accident.
Check Your Blindspots – Glen’ll Fix I.T. – BK14 RVL – Don’t just pull out on my like that! I’m clearly visible.
Chancer – What more is there to say? This person just decided ti chance the gap in front of me. It paid off but it was close.
Plan Ahead – See the lorry waiting to turn right, and the hill coming up, and knowing the road, the narrowing road beyond the bridge. Well it would be a lot easier to just take a few seconds out and allow the lorry to pass instead of making them wait and chance the overtake.
The Silent Follower – I had no idea this lad was following me until we had to move out to go around the two cars. Watching it back he had a bit of a panic brake as he checked it was clear and realised I’d slowed for a split second to make sure I was clipped in.
It’s Always A Race – After I knew he was there I had to make the gap. Always. I’m the same if I see someone in the distance. I have to catch up!
Nevermind The Crossing – What, 50 meters down the road, maybe not even that?! A lovely safe crossing that will stop the traffic so you can cross safely. Instead, you chance it on the road and try and intimidate me. Nice try, I guessed it was coming.
Popularity +1: As before, just take a second to let someone out. They’ll look kindly on cyclist in the future.. hopefully.
Kids Messing About: This was the third video that went on social media. Mixed reaction really. Kids just having fun and nobody was hurt to blaming the parents and to how stupid the girls were. Of course some said I should have stopped, and maybe I should have, I didn’t really know what was behind me though and a sudden stop to move the cone could have ended in me being rear ended. Still the fact remains, while we do get into mischief as kids, running into the road to put a cone in front of traffic is pretty stupid.
Ride To The Wall Filming – Check out a couple of my previous videos for the raw video filmed on my “proper” camera. Ride To The Wall is a charity event, for bikers, to ride to the National Memorial Arboretum to pay their respects to the fallen, and those still serving in the armed forces. I decided this year to film it from the the start but also managed to catch up and ride along side them for a while. I’ll join them on a motorbike one day.
Rev Bomb – This is just something that amused me. I think he was trying to intimidate the cyclist. Little does he know I love my cars too and knew what was going to happen 😉
Music by Ryan Little / Track called I’m Sorry
Knee brace on, lets see how long it lasts.
High Five – Because we’re a friendly bunch.
I See An Opportunity – A small uphill section is coming up so the chance to get a tow off the bus was welcome. Unfortunately the knee didn’t like it and started screaming at me when I hit 30mph or so.
Wave Him By – I see no point in holding the bus up. If I carry on riding in front, the bus struggles to get by and traffic gets held up. If I stop and let him by everything flows a bit easier. Common sense. Bus driver said thanks too.
Could Go Faster – Speed “trap” on a 30mph road. Not bad.
Playing Chicken Or Stupid? – Both I think. Some kids just want to show off to their mates. I’m not exactly one to back down though 😉
This Is My Lane Micra – My lane positioning was definitely encouraging the driver to pull up along side (I would normally try and get central) but still, most hold back. Seems like my legs have better acceleration this time.
He Waved Me By – At the junction before he’d taken a really, really wide route to provide room up the inside but I didn’t really fancy getting squished. Around the corner I stopped behind in traffic and he moved right over and I didn’t really see any point in going forward but he waved me through so… thanks!
Scrape The Pipes – Listen and watch for the lean.
Smooth Filtering – It’s nice when you get a good line like this that I can ride straight down the middle. I did notice that one lady was texting away on her phone after editing this video though… Not the first and won’t be the last.
Shitty Cyclist – Slow and cautious when filtering but feels it’s fine to ignore the lights changing and just after a red light shows. My wording at the end describes my feelings towards him.
Music by Ryan Little
I don’t know how the injury happened but these next few videos are going to be short as I wasn’t riding much over this period. I developed a knee injury (maybe a strain?) but I ignored it and carried on riding. It got worse… And hurt. So I had to take it easy for a few weeks. It feels good now though *touch wood*
In this episode:
Rake Rage – Riding down a road that get quite quite busy, especially with those on two wheels so finding a rake in the middle of the road was quite strange. I wonder how many people just drove right by.
I’d Be The Same – I really, really want to work towards getting a motorbike and a licence. Sunny days, two wheels and some nice fast roads. Sounds like fun.
Well Someone Wasn’t Happy – I think it was the car coming the other way that didn’t appreciate the overtake of the Civic. It didn’t seem overly wild, but it isn’t the best place to overtake.
False Start – This made me laugh. Seeing the Clio in the back of the BMW would have been even funnier. Obviously not paying attention.
Instant One Finger Salute – AD58 UBB – I can clearly see the car approaching the round about before I cross that exit so they can clearly see the island is not clear for them to pull out… Or so you’d think. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the car cross the line and I genuinely thought I was going to get hit. They slammed on the anchors and I instantly gave them the middle finger salute.
Sorry? Thanks? I Didn’t Mind – So I’m not entirely sure the message behind the light flash but I generally take it to mean sorry or thanks. They did pull across my path but there was time to react. No harm done.
One Day In A British Summer – The morning was glorious! Shorts and T Shirt, warm, dry and sunny. By the time I left work it was like another world. Soaked!
Theme Park Traffic – At certain times in the morning, when the park opens in the Summer months the local roads just get so clogged with traffic. Both directions just get filled with slow moving traffic. Luckily for me I can zip right through on two wheels!
Backing track by Ryan Little
The dark nights are here and I wanted to upgrade my bike lights. My main light source comes from a Hope Vision LED light. It’s brilliant. Super bright to light up the way but it does drain the 4 AA batteries quite quickly when on full power! I’ve used that along side a set of cheap Cat Eye lights, and last winter I tried out a SMART 2.0 rear light. The SMART light didn’t even last the winter before it started to malfunction (wouldn’t light properly and wouldn’t turn off) and the Cat Eyes that have served me well for years finally started to dim down. They weren’t going to last another winter so I started the search for a new set, something I could invest in.
The word cheap often means you have to buy two, three or four units so I went straight to the most expensive light sets. Those were too expensive so instead I looked around the £80 mark and saw these See Sense lights. They came in three levels: Standard, Intense and Elite. I watched the promotional videos and ordered a set of the standard lights. They sounded great.
Here’s a short video from my perspective.
Powering on and off is simple.
Fitting to the bike is simple. Once you find the right spot (the rear of the case is angled so you can chose which side to direct the light) it really is just a case of wrapping the elastic strap around and securing on the fitting. On my modern roadie I mount the front light on my handlebars due to the head tube being quite big. On my older steel bikes I tend to mount the front on the head tube. The rear light fits nicely to any stem (or seat tube) and I’ve even managed to fit it to a pannier rack.
Battery life seems good! There is a sequence of lights that flash on powering down that give an indication to the battery life left but I find them quite hard to judge so every few days I pop the lights on charge and I’ve not run out of charge just yet. (I tend to cycle 2 hours a day – I think they could easily last me the working week, although that might be stretched with the dark nights approaching).
Riding with them. I like them. Whether it’s a placebo effect or not… I’m unsure but I do feel like I’m seen more, especially when I’m filtering. I really do like the fast flash response to slowing down / car headlights to give that extra bit of warning to whoever may be following you or in front – that’s a great feature and it works well for going through dark spots (tunnels, bridges etc) too.
Two things I will warn about. The first is these lights are not designed to light your way home on a dark, unlit road. I rode through a patch where several street lights were out and there was virtually zero light thrown on to the road in front to show any nasties. (That’s where my Hope light will come in). The second is the glare. These lights, even the standard ones are bright! I’ve tried to show them to the best of my cameras ability but I still think they are a lot brighter. Get the angle right (if mounted on handlebars) or you will be dazzled by the light flashing away!
Would I recommend them? Yes, definitely. Sure you could buy several sets of cheaper lights but the reactive nature of these lights, the technology in them and the brightness really won me over.
Note: This video isn’t sponsored. I bought these lights with my own, hard earned cash. I just know this video should be useful to a few people.
Note 2: I’m set to take delivery of a set of the new RevoLights around Christmas time so expect a video on those too!
Not uploaded one of these in a while. I’ve been a little distracted… Sorry!
Fixed Gear Fail – I’m 95% sure this incident ruined my fixed gear. I’m not sure how the wheel dislodged so violently; I didn’t hit a pot hole. After repairing it at the roadside and carrying on my journey the bike felt “different” and when I got to my destination I checked it over and found there was a definite lean to the rear wheel… I think the rear triangles are bent…
The Squeeze – It always seems to be this particular island. I don’t understand why some people feel the need to cut in so close when I’m taking my line and there’s a second empty lane. They didn’t get far. I followed them all the way down the road until they pulled over in a car wash….
More Observation Required – Not from me… from this person who, for some reason, decided to pull out and block off the exit.
Cyclist Wanker – Seriously, this guy, again. I get the cycle rage, I really do. Firstly he’s flying down the path and if someone had stepped out of one of the drives without looking…. well it would have hurt! Then to jump onto the road and squeeze passed… I just think this guy is a dick.
Water Hazard – Just your casual burst water main!
Wet Drain Covers – I almost stacked it here! It was raining, obviously, I was soaked, my brakes were near useless and I wanted to overtake but after checking and seeing the car I thought I’d let them go by first. What I didn’t see was the drain cover… My front wheel hit it and slipped out but somehow I didn’t go down.
At Least He Gave Me Space – Well, that’s it really. I was expecting to get squeezed out there but no. Impressed.
Queue Ahead, Failed Overtake – I laughed. It’s not hard to miss a line of cars queuing but they totally mis judged everything and had to pull back in behind.
– Everyone loves a slow mo classic –
Sneaky Biker – I didn’t even hear him filter up next to me! The first I knew was when I suddenly heard the bike accelerate. Ninja!
Another GoPro – I thought I was the only one around here!
Shit Hit The Fan – Clickbait / Troll 😛
Soundtrack by Ryan Little
Track “Thank you For Playing (God Speed)”
*typical evil genius laugh* It lives. IT LIVESSSSSS!!
Doesn’t she look nice! It hasn’t been an easy ride, and it’s probably cost me around £300 for everything but I would stand by this build and say it’s better quality than a brand new £300 bike! From a battered, patched up and seized bike (minus the wheels) to a wet weather / winter ride using quality parts. I’m pleased!
I left the last post explaining how I’d made a mistake with the forks. I’d forgot to check the length of the threaded portion and when I went to install them I quickly discovered the problem. My freshly powder coated Reynolds forks were virtually no use. I contacted Mercian but their response wasn’t too promising. Instead of adding mroe thread with a die they were suggesting a process of removing the old steerer tube, welding/brazing in a new tube of the correct length and then repainting the forks – sounds pricey! I started looking about for dies so I could attempt the cutting myself and found one in China but before I clicked the submit order button I decided to try someone else. The fabrication company that we use at work were my next port of call. I popped down for a chat, explained what I wanted and I was offered a few alternatives. They could use a die to cut more thread in, but there wasn’t a guarantee it would work because they had no way of telling if the tube had been hardened. Alternatively they suggested using a lathe but the layout of the forks made that a logistical nightmare. The last option was to bore out the threads on the upper bearing race. It made sense but I wasn’t quite convinced it would fit well enough.
Luckily eBay came to my rescue and I found a pair of beautiful yellow Columbus forks in exactly the right size – for only £15! Cheap, but there was a reason for that… they had a stem (cut off) seized into the steerer tube. I fancied my chances so bought them. My plan of attack was simple:
– Penetration spray
– Filing flats into the exposed stem to grip with an adjustable spanner
– A little “persuasion” from both side with my trusty hammer
– Fire and ice cycles
The plan may have been simple but reality wasn’t. Days passed as I tried each method daily but the stem wouldn’t move! My last resort was the selection of drill bits at work. A stem made of an aluminium alloy should be fairly easy to drill through so it should be a quick process, right? Well yeh, it was. I initially drilled down the centre with a 17mm drill bit which ultimately created a lot of heat but the stem was still stuck. I followed that through VERY carefully with a 21mm bit. The tube itself has a diameter of 22.2mm so I was really looking out for the side walls, trying not to damage then. Millimeter by millimeter I at the stem away until I thought I was hallucinating. As I looked into the tube I could have sworn part of the old stem had been on the right as I’d started drilling, now, at this point, it was on the right. I tried to drill again and this time the portion ended up at the top. IT WAS FREE! A light tap from the underside and it dropped right out. No damage to the forks at all!
That evening I rushed home and got the rest of the bike put together. I swapped out the crown race on the forks and fitted them first (I need to get a couple of silver spacers to match the headset) and then fitted the NOS replacement 3TTT stem and the original bars. On went the brake levers and I adjusted everything to my riding position before fitting the new brake cables and taping them in place on the bars. I’ve chosen to use some yellow cloth bar tape for a more “vintage” look but I’ve double wrapped the bars for more comfort. The only thing I want to change now is the grubby white brake hoods…
Everything is now tightened down and adjusted. She’s ready for her maiden voyage. I’m looking forward to it (I’ve also treated myself to some Shimano R260 Carbon Shoes 😉 )
Circa 1990 British Eagle
Reynolds CR-MO Frame
Shimano 600 (Ultegra) Groupset
Shimano Exage Brake Levers
Campagnolo Khamsin 700C Wheelset
Michelin Krylion Carbon Tyres
3TTT Record 84 Stem & Forma Bars
Look “Delta” type pedals (unsure of exact model)
Soffatti Leather Saddle
A lot of riding but an uneventful week! It’s the summer holidays so the roads are a lot quieter when I ride (which is awesome!) so there is a lot less drama!
Trying To Hit / Scare Me – BF60 VOY – The traffic behind was stopped for a red light, as was the traffic in front so after letting the Audi out, the Hyundai waved me across. Unfortunately the Corsa managed to squeeze passed at that precise moment but instead of being all grown up about the situation the driver decided to accelerate hard towards me, stopping just before hitting my rear wheel. The sound of the engine accelerating and I believe some tyre squeal is heard in the original video.
Right Turn / No Right Of Way – I have NO idea what this driver thought they were doing. As the lights turn green they just decided to cut across the oncoming traffic to make the turn instead of waiting. Fortunately both the first and second oncoming car were making a left turn but both gave the driver a blast of the horn.
Dog Wants To Play – I’m assuming play anyway as the tail was wagging!
Calf Cramp – The pain! Out of nowhere, the pain! I had to roll a good way down the road before I could pedal again 😦
I Like Her! – She was awesome. You can see I look back to check what the traffic is like before indicating and moving across but this lady has obviously seen that and held back to give me space even before I indicated. Brilliant.
Any Chance To Draft – If I see a lorry, I see a chance of easy, fast cycling. Lorries and buses are slow at accelerating and provide a good cover so get behind one and it’s fairly easy to do 30mph up a fair gradient.
Vans Are Good Too – The tall ones like this provide some good cover but van drivers generally accelerate a bit quicker so it’s harder to catch and maintain the draft. I held back and waited for the amber light before pedaling hard to get in the draft and it worked.
Bare Roads – Mid road works and the top surface had been stripped leaving all the drain covers and service covers raised. The bad thing was not all had been marked and they were pretty tall so it was causing everyone to swerve and avoid them.
THAT Cyclist – Remember, from the “Bloody Cyclists” video? Well here he is riding up the wrong side of a busy 40mph road. He should either be following the same route I take or riding on the path behind the bushes. This idiot makes up his own rules though and feels it’s ok to ride up that road the wrong way before crossing over to the right side obstructing all the traffic.
Wise Words – He’s right you know, there are a lot (or at least it seems) of idiot drivers but you need to make yourself seen! Wear bright clothing even in the day and don’t go out in the dark without high viz or lights. I’ve just bought a set of See.Sense lights and while they’re not in everyones price range they definitely make sure people see you! They’re expensive but worth the investment. I’ll do a video on them shortly.
Song by Ryan Little
Track is Brag On You
That’s a fine looking Harley you have there Sir – What a bike. Gave the nod of appreciation, got one back. Score.
The Call Of A Taxi Driver – I didn’t expect the taxi to do a full loop of the island but I still wasn’t anywhere near to cutting him up. Still, I heard something shouted from the car. Can’t quite make out what though.
Trying To Block Me? – I find these people amusing. If he did actually look in his mirror and saw me, he was purposely riding the line down the centre of the road. I could have gone up the inside but I could just imagine him swerving over to block me. I only had to wait a few seconds for the road to clear before continuing…and he was still stuck in traffic.
See Me Indicating? – I checked behind (so I didn’t get my arm knocked off), indicated and luckily checked again because this driver just decided to come flying passed anyway.
This Actually Made Me Jump – Compared to other traffic, buses can be deceptively quite. It surprised me when they made the overtake, fairly close to me… and then I laughed when they continued to move over for the fresh air in front of me….
Van Cutting Corner – BJ58 EXD – The road had recently been “resurfaced” (which actually means throw down some tar and lots of loose stone and vehicles will do the rest) so there was lots of loose gravel. When I made that turn I thought I’d taken an un-natural line and hit the gravel but wasn’t entirely sure why until I looked back at the footage and saw the van was partially on the wrong side of the road.
Failing To Give Way – DN10 CKK – This boiled my blood. I was out on the Scorpio, finishing a test ride, making my way around this island when this absolute dickwad completely ignored my presence and missed me by inches. I think they did see me at the last second as a hand shot up in the window but they didn’t show any sign of remorse. A collision with that vehicle, at that speed could have killed me…
Slowly Pulls Out – I can do the speed limit down this road (30mph) but I need to keep my momentum going over this part so when this driver pulled out in front of me and then near enough stopped to make the next turn I wasn’t happy.
Audi Stereotype – So at this island it’s quite simply, right lane to go right, and left to go left. Most people want to go right so you end up having to wait for a small amount of second. Typical Audi driver doesn’t want to wait though and uses the left lane to cut out the wait and cut up anyone using the correct lane. What makes it even more laughable is they had forgot to secure the boot so it had popped open and they just carried on driving…
Braking For A Clear Island – Or should I saw braking particularly hard for a clear island. WHY?!
Smoked Out – I’d filtered passed most of the traffic and ended up behind this van. It wasn’t safe to try and make a pass so I sat behind me and as the traffic moved he booted it and I got a face full of smoke. He had to slow meters up the road though and pulled to the side to let me by with a big grin on his face. I took it as a joke, whether it was intended that way, who knows.
Polite – It can be a right nightmare to get out this junction sometimes but someone actually slowed traffic for me and allowed me out. How nice!
Watch For Cars Emerging – You might know they’re there but more often than not, they haven’t seen you.
Drafting Challenge – This road is a 40mph that goes into a 30mph. It was late evening with barely any traffic and when the bus stopped in front of me at the lights I knew I had a chance to steal a KOM. I’m not sure how well Strava reads speed because overlaying it on the video shows some fluctuation where there isn’t any but I definitely kept up with the bus. Unfortunately someone slow pulled out in front of the bus half way down the road and dropped it’s speed and I only placed 5th overall. I think the whole top 10 have been drafting for that leaderboard!
Music by Ryan Little