Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Wrap Up

As months on the bike go, October turned out to be a pretty good month. Especially considering that I wasn't supposed to be riding!

Being on leave for half of the month is a big help, so much more time for longer rides and the weather has been great.

So analysis of the month is 17 rides for 1003km and 10,855m of climbing. My best monthly effort for some time.

As it happens I was back to the Surgeon this morning for the final review of my foot. All seemed well and I'm quite happy with it, so to celebrate I went out for a ride, aiming for Bald Hill.

The weather was warmish and the late start mean't that I saw a lot of sun but the climb up to Bald Hill was great and according to Strava I posted my best time.

Bald Hill
Special Sunscreen Filter used
The climbing improvement I'm putting down to some weight loss (sitting on about 73kg now down from 84 earlier in the year) and yoga practise. My yoga teacher emphasises the importance of technique and softness of breath and eyes during poses, even when they're physically demanding. I've been carrying that over into my approach on the bike, especially when climbing and trying to maintain a soft posture and relaxed breathing.

I'm now looking forward to the new Audax season, tackling a year round Randonneur award ( a 200km ride or longer every month) as well as a super series

Mileage in Kilometers = 4782

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mountain Biking

The Illawarra will be hosting it's first Dirt Audax series this coming season, and I've made up my mind to participate.

In my youth I was a keen trail rider, exploring many of the dirt tracks around Newcastle on my trusty dragster. On moving to the 'gong I purchased my first (and only) Mountain Bike, an Avanti Montari and explored a few trails and rode the 2004 NSW bike ride before stepping up to a road bike and etc.

So the Montari has been hanging in the shed for a few years now and this last week I've taken it down and dusted it off in order to prepare for the dirt series, the first ride of which is in December.

Earlier in the week I took it on a brief shakedown around the local cycle paths with a kilometer or so of creek side dirt. This morning I was more ambitious and headed off for a climb up the escarpment heading for Brokers Nose.

I really enjoyed this ride as it was a complete adventure for me, I was riding into unkown territory and my MTB skills had yet to be tested.

I set off across the usual cycleways heading for Tarrawana, got a bit lost, but eventually found my way to the old road to the Mine. Ignoring various signs of peril I jumped the gate and commenced the climb upwards on a sealed surface to the old mine workings before jumping another gate and hitting dirt.

From there it was up and down along either wider fire tracks and single track but essentially traversing  a ridge line at about 230 meters. After a while I became increasingly suspicious that I was lost, had missed a turn somehow and the garmin refused to clarify my position or show the tracks I thought should be there.

Time was getting on so I eventually turned back and headed for home, only to find out later that I was only a few hundred meters from the track I wanted that would lead me to the Nose. Not to worry, I'll try again later.

I really enjoyed the ride and despite my MTB rustiness was soon enjoying weight shifting and the rush of descending rock strewn singletrack. Wish I was younger sometimes!

I took some photos too -

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Berrima 200

Earlier in the year I made a BRM comeback on the Berrima 200. It's one of the routes I run here in the Illawarra and is a great days riding  with a number of challenging climbs and great scenery to enjoy from the saddle.

This past Saturday, the ride was due, however prior commitments meant I had to be back early so opted for a quick 100 up to Fitzroy Falls and back.

Apart from me, there were 4 official starters, all down from various parts of Sydney. No surprise there, as the weekend saw the running of Fitz's Classic in Canberra plus the start of the Great Southern Randonee in Victoria, so there was plenty of competition.

Long story short, all 4 starters got away and completed the ride in good time, Chapeau to you all. Me, I enjoyed the ride up to Fitzroy Falls, set a PB on Macquarie Pass and saw 4 Lyre Birds - and thoroughly enjoyed myself on the way back.

As of that ride I've clocked up 830km for October. Not bad considering.

In other news, the Herc restoration is chellating away, the wheels are slowly rotating through their vinegar bath and I've rebuilt the bottom bracket and head set. Am thinking no that a layer of clear coat over the paint and neutralised rust might be in order so will test a section of chain case during the week and see how it turns out.

Mileage in Kilometers = 4606

Monday, October 22, 2012

More Riding and the Herc is stripped down

I enjoyed a couple of relaxed weekend rides.

Went for a 53km quick ride with Ben on Saturday morning, just and out and back to Marshall Mount. The outward leg was a struggle and I wasn't sure if it was fatigue after the kays I'd done during the week, however when we turned back, it was clear that it was the wind. Quite flew back home.

Sunday was day two of the Audax "Robbo Weekend" so I headed up to Robertson at the top of the Escarpment for a 100km ride with the group. It was a mostly sunny ride, though a strong southwesterly that sprung up mid morning made the middle leg from Aylmerton to Berrima a bit tougher. It was lucky we were going with the wind on the last 25kms as it strengthened and became quite gusty.

All in all it was a top morning out on the bike, with lots of birds, a wallaby and various invisible rustles in the hedgerows sighted. Also great to catch up with a few audaxers that I hadn't seen for a while. It is nice to be back on the bike again.

It was time for a rest day today and with that in mind I planned to finish stripping down the Hercules and start cleaning and regreasing.

The work is pretty straightforward. All of the screws and bolts, while a bit rusty in places have come apart without too much effort and before long I had removed everything. Larger parts will get the hand treatment.

I washed and scrubbed grease and other marks off the painted metal parts and gave it a quick and light polish with a light cutting wax. If anything it highlights the various scratches and other damage to the paintwork, but it looks a lot brighter now.



I dropped most of the rusty attachments into a small bucket of vinegar, and the parts are cleaning up quite nicely. Some other parts - such as the dynamo and headlamp I've started polish with Autosol. The dynamo came up really well.

Last job was tackling the wheel hubs. The front wheel was straightforward, lots of really thick old grease but everything was easy. The rear hub with is Hercules B type 4 3 speed was going to be a bit trickier. A bit of research indicates that the Hercules 3 speed is indentical to the Sturmey Archer AW hubs so it was a simple matter of finding a diagram (even a video or two) of how its done, and now the hub and mechanism is stripped out and just waiting for a clean before loading it back in.


The wheel rims need a bit of attention as they are quite rusty and will need some truing as well but there's no great rush.

Having said that tyres and a new Brooks B68 saddle have been ordered and should arrive during the week so it's not out of the question that I could take the Hercules for a ride on the weekend.

More photos can be found on my flickr 

Mileage in Kms = 4385

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hercules Balmoral

Picked up the new roadster today and once I got it home gave it a quick wash and took a few photos.





The plan is to do a functional restoration, strip it down clean, re-grease, polish and de rust (gently), but to leave the bike with it's patina. There's a few odd looking screws and bolts here and there, which I will replace with something more suitable, the big problem will be the brake pads for the Westwood rims and perhaps finding some suitable tyres.

While the saddle is salvageable, (it has an aluminium frame!) I'm planning to get a Brooks B67 and will look at recovering it later. The gear selector seems a bit limp, though there is no tension in the cable so I will be fiddling with that. The 3 speed hub is stamped with the Hercules Brand, though I think it's nearly identical to the Sturmey Archer ones

Interestingly, with the exception of the Headlamp and the dynamo, everything else is badged Hercules. Even the rear reflector!

I'm yet to actually finalise it's age. Unlike the comparable Raleighs, there's very little information about Hercules production runs available so I'm hoping there's someone out there who can give me some idea.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Recovering Nicely

Since last I posted I've covered about 420kms and find the foot is responding well. As is the rest of me. A couple of friends are training for Fitz's Classic, and while I won't be joining them on the day it has been good to tag along on their training rides, or parts of them. On Monday, we rode up Mt Kembla, which was a first for me. It's quite steep in sections and has a long slog along Henry Graham Dr to connect with Mt Keira.

It was a glorious morning and we saw the sunrise, plenty of wildlife and at one point went through cloudbase. After the ride I pottered around and finally got the Frank Paino ready for the road, (Well I cleaned it, tuned the drivetrain and packed some bearings and replaced the rear tyre) and took it out for a shakedown cruise yesterday. I say cruise, but it's such a fast bike! I've not owned a proper racing bike before and after riding one yesterday I can only wonder why.

During the shakedown I stopped at a set of lights with a guy on a tricked our carbon Giant with Di2 and deep rim wheels. He gave me a look and then double takes, "Wow, a Paino, great bikes. Used to hang out at the shop..." Seems a common story. 


Fast, responsive, stiff, yet supple. The thing accelerates like a rocket and I had no problems cruising along the flat at 33kph with little effort. We rode up to Sandon Point and back, stopping occasionally to adjust saddle height or derailleur and I had a maniac grin from the utter pleasure of it.

 I'm yet to replace the bar tape, and I need to find some affordable Campy lever hoods. NOS ones are pretty expensive - around $90, however, Compass Bike have generic hoods for $23 - so they may serve well. will also need  new brake pads as the existing Campy pads are pretty hard and lack grip on the rims. Otherwise, some new cables and housing, and a new cluster and chain are on the list, the existing is worn and was skipping a bit. Will look at some Look pedals as budget allows. Once it's sorted, I'd be interested to try some shorter brevets on it, while the 53, 44 chainring is huge, it climbs really well

In other bike news, I've finally found and purchased a lever brake Roadster. The subject bike is a Hercules Balmoral, complete with oil filled chain case, 3 speed hub and dynamo lights. I will collect it tomorrow but the auction photo made it look like this;

Obviously it will need a bit of work, though it is straight and complete, saddle excepted. I plan to use this bike as my town bike to get from my office to meetings in the other building, about 1km up the road. In the past I have been using the stealth road bike, but it was too large and I was getting tired of chain lube on my suits. Clearly I'll also be lining up for Tweed Rides.

So to today. I threw a long leg and headed further from home than I have been since the operation - not too far - just to Jamberoo, over Mt Terry and back along swamp road to Shellharbour thence to Wollongong. I nice, long, steady, ride of 103km, averaging a shade under 25kph. It felt good and was a lovely day for cycling. Plenty of people out too.

I'm planning to do another 100 on Sunday as part of the Audax Robbo Weekend. The route is from Robertson on the edge of the escapment to Fitzroy Falls, Berrima and back through Bowral and Kangaloon to Robbo. Should be fun.