Monthly Archives: April 2016

Go faster wheels from TheHappyCog

This week has been a great test of my go faster wheels from TheHappyCog. In fact of course these are not just Go Faster wheels they are also:

  • Go more serviceable wheels (thanks to the Hope Pro4 rear hub which is beautifully easy to service)
  • Go lighter wheels (0.5kg saving)
  • Go better lit wheels (thanks to the Schmidt Son28 dynamo powering a B&M Luxos IQ2 front Light)
  • Go fewer punctures (at least in theory due to tubeless Schwalbe Pro-One tyres)
  • Go noisier wheels (the Hope Pro4 freewheel lives upto their reputation for loud freewheeling)

So on Monday I rode 64 miles to Cliff College in Derbyshire (just north of Chatsworth House) for a meeting which finished at 4pm on Tuesday when I rode home again. I carried just under 12kg of luggage in 2 Ortlieb Classic panniers.

Going there it was:

  • 64.0 miles
  • 4:50:12 Moving Time
  • 4,232ft of climbing

Coming back:

  • 64.1 miles
  • 4:28:58 Moving Time
  • 3,589ft of climbing

On the way there I had to walk one section just before Birchover (about 20% and wet+gravel). Coming home I went around Stanton in-Peak to avoid a 25% climb.

I kept being surprised at how fast I was going (8 personal records going and 38 coming home). That despite quite a large part of the route being new to me (on the other hand quite a lot I have only ridden once before making the PR’s easy to get).

One that stands out is a 1.1 mile segment between Barrow-on-Soar and Sileby. According to Strava I have now ridden this 8 times. This time I knocked 10 seconds off my best time despite it coming 60 miles into a ride carrying 12kg of panniers.

I’m not anywhere near my fittest (been focusing on losing weight and not done many miles this year). I am a bit lighter than my last best time (but much less than 12kg of luggage lighter). The key differences are

  • the wheels with their “deep”ish aero section rims and rotating weight saving
  • the tyres (28mm Schwalbe Pro-One instead of 32mm Durano Plus)
  • lower stem so that I am a bit more aero

I can’t quantify the saving due to each of these, however, 2 out of the 3 are related to the new wheels 🙂


Another work cycle tour: Syston to Cliff College

This is my route for tomorrow (and in reverse on Tuesday) as I have 24 hours of training to be a Methodist Superintendent Minister (and yes I have heard all the jokes already):

102.68 km route with 1,565 m of climbing. Check it out!

Source: Syston to Cliff College – VeloViewer

That is 64 miles and 5,100 feet of climbing in old money 😉

I’ll be on my renewed Whyte Suffolk, hopefully having packed very light (for me). The weather forecast is good which is extra icing on the cake. I went to Cliff for a conference in September but due to various circumstances I got a lift halfway there although I did ride all the way home. I have since tuned the route a little, with hopefully some quieter roads by skirting Derby differently. Going on my Whyte rather than my Bike for Life does mean travelling lighter but it should also save a fair bit of time.

There are some big/steep climbs on this route but also some gorgeous views and very quiet roads.

These rides will also be significant as, if all goes well, they will mean me achieving an Eddington number of 60 (riding 60 miles on 60 different days) which I just failed to complete by the end of 2015.


Entered my first official Audax ride

So on Saturday 7th May I have entered my first “official”, “proper” Audax ride. I’ll be doing the Four Rivers Ride which is 215km riding west from Wem in Shropshire. The route looks like it includes a different route up to Bwlch y Groes the highest pass in North Wales from the one I rode up during my sabbatical, doubt it is any easier 😉

Still from there it is all downhill for the last 50km or so 🙂

The time requirement means averaging over 9.5mph including all stops which with all the climbing and my current fitness is going to be “interesting”.


A proper test of massive bike upgrades

Yesterday I wrote about the upgrades to my Whyte Suffolk. I decided I needed to test them so, as I had an evening free, I went for a nice ride. In the end I tested a slight modification of the route for the Syston Sportive that we are running on 30th April (entries still open at £31 supporting our Youth Cafe and Community Hub).

It was a glorious ride 🙂 51 miles on empty roads, including a number of really tiny roads that I’ve not used before. Highly recommended.

[Ride id=532163531]

Summary of the changes to the bike.

Wheels from TheHappyCog

Oh Wow! Awesome! Fantastic! All I hoped for and more. They are fast! I absolutely love them. The bike feels much faster with these. Given that it was a 51 mile ride with 2,400 feet of climbing, late at night so no stops for food (and my feet were getting very cold) I was impressed with my average speed of 14.4mph – especially given my previous longest ride this year has been under 30 miles.

I also set 12 Strava Personal Records which tends to indicate the speed is a step up.

B&M Luxos IQ2 front Light

Fast wheels require good lighting and this coupled with the Schmidt SON 28 dynamo is the best front light I have ever used. I managed over 41 mph in pitch dark on an unknown road without any worries. Subjectively this is like riding with a car headlight.

Not only is it brilliant at lighting the road ahead and to the sides on full beam but it also has a dipped beam option (I tend to use that around town) and the best side visibility I’ve ever had.

All that with zero dazzle for the rider, daylight LED running lights and no batteries. Plus the option (untested by me at the moment) of USB charging for your Garmin or phone or whatever.

Hope Pro 4 rear hub.

I love the contrast between an absolutely silent ride until you freewheel at which point you worry that you might wake everyone up for miles around.

The hub functions beautifully but then you expect that from new products. What should really stand out is the long term reliability, easy maintenance and flexibility (support for multiple axle and freehub standards), which is completely different from the other hubs I have ever used.

SRAM Rival Hydraulic Brakes and 22 speed gears

The braking is completely transformed. Exactly what I was hoping for. Very precise, controllable and powerful. Plus I really like the high front to the hoods which give a very secure feeling. Easier to bleed than the Hope brakes that I have on my Bike for Life (although their 4 pot design gives even more powerful braking which is significant when touring with a heavy load).

The gears also work well. I really like the “double tap” change (which really means: Light Tap for smaller cog and Medium Push for a larger cog). Having the brake lever only move in one direction also feels more secure. They are very easy to setup.

TorTec Ultralite Rear Rack with Carradice CarraDura Rack Bag

This combination works well for rides where you want some tools (but need have 2 water bottles so can’t use a water bottle tool carrier), clothing, lock etc. ie for me pretty much all long rides. The bag also acts as a bit of a rear mudguard.

20160401_132710And finally a 50 mile ride late at night is a great way to help meet your weight target for the next day 😉 Not to mention the goal to cycle a minimum of 50 miles a week!


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