Sunday, 29 December 2013

Happy New Year from 3speedtouringinjapan

139 by premopies

Hi Everybody

First up I'd would like to thank you all for following my blog this year and your comments. This year I re discovered the joys of cycle touring again after a long break, in the past I have done a couple of 3000 km long distance tours but for many years due to work commits my touring dreams were put on hold. But this year I was able to  get out often for overnight trips and a 5 day tour into Fukushima and back that was fantastic, one of the best short distance tours I have ever done. This year I have also started bike packing using bags that attach directly to the frame rather than racks etc. Personally now I prefer the bike packing style as it makes you think more about what you really need to carry on extended trips etc.  As many of you will notice I now do all of my cycling on a single speed 29 inch MTB rather than my Fathers 1947 Humber sports which is now on display at a local bicycle theme cafe . I still love vintage bicycles and 3 speeds but for the type of cycling I now do the single speed MTB is perfect.

What does next year hold ? - well over this winter I am planning to change to a slighter bigger frame as I currently ride a 16 inch frame and have found a nice 17 inch frame that will suit me better plus I can fit a larger frame bag which will allow me to carry more water for long distance tours.  My cycling companion Brian has also caught the single speed MTB bug and we have both decided to enter the  single speed MTB Japan open  which will be held in late Oct and for the first time this event will be held on this side of Japan with the course being located in the famous ski resort town of Hukuba,  so maybe a bike packing trip to the race and back could be in order ! Both of us have also decided to take part in 1100km The Great Southern Brevet which is held close to my home town in the South Island of New Zealand in 2015 , so I will be spending a lot of time next year bikepacking.

Finally I would like to wish you and all your family a very Happy New Year
& safe cycling.

Keep your chain lubed !
Don Speden

139, a photo by premopies on Flickr.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Winter protection !

Well as the sunny days have ended and the single digit temps have arrived it's time to think about preparing your bicycle for winter if you intend to ride everyday. Winter of course brings lots of rain, snow and riding on the city roads means your bicycle will get covered in grit and salt which are not for good for your bicycle at all. While changing to a better set of tyres with added grip or studs if you live in an area with a lot of ice , it also pays to take of the main allen bolts out and give them a wipe with a rag and then apply a fresh coat of grease to stop the bolts seizing up or rusting over the winter. A regular wipe down with a rag will help matters and try to keep your bike clean if you can. A weekly clean and chain lube over winter is a good idea if you cycle daily to prevent parts from wearing out.

One point that is often overlooked on a bicycle is the top of the seat tube were the seat clamp or binder bolt holds the seat post in position, here is also a split in the top of the seat tube that allows you to compress the seat clamp. Over winter this point fills up with water, grit and salt sprayed up off the back wheel  while in motion.

So how to stop grit getting down your crack ?

Protect yourself with a seat post condom - no don't rush off to your bedroom and grab a multi ribbed colorful condom although once cut to size it would certainly work I'm sure. Most likely you will have an old bicycle tube laying around, if not ask the local bicycle shop for an old 700 x 28c tube and cut a 50mm section off it and then turn it inside out, give it a clean. Remove your seat post & now is also a good time to wipe it down and apply fresh grease to the seat tube. Now with your freshly cut 50mm section of bicycle tube stretch it over and down on the top of the seat tube below the clamp. Now re insert your freshly greased seat post, set it to the correct height. And now you can pull up the post condom and cover the area that needs protection. Once the warm rays of spring arrive you can just cut it off or leave it on there for all year long protection.