Whose idea was this anyway?

Mine unfortunately!

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This chainring was even more caked up that this originally!

A couple of years ago, if not longer, my dad was having a bit of a sort out under the sheds at the farm and had put his old Raleigh Traveller on the junk heap with the intention of getting rid. He’d been given it by a neighbour years ago when I was a little girl – maybe 7 or 8? I remember it simply as I’ve quite a good memory and remember bike rides around local parts and him buying new whitewall tyres and a new saddle for it from the local bike shop – not that he was much of a cyclist himself. At all. Anyway, it got to the point where, even for quite a short lass, I used to take it and potter around on it as it was a lot easier to ride than my old hybrid. For sentimental reasons and also for the fact that I cannot bare seeing bikes go to waste – well, classics like this, being scrapped, I vowed to save it.

So it sat, back under the sheds. Then it moved. To outside of the shed. Where it has stood for the last year or two, within sight of the kitchen at home. Looking sorry for itself – it has spend the past decade neglected, unloved and gradually gathering more and more dust and muck. Until today.

With covid-19 still doing the rounds and showing no signs of abating, today has been the day where I have started to pull the bike apart with not really much idea of what I am doing. I will reiterate now that my mechanical knowledge of bicycles is little and that when it comes to actually pulling a bike to pieces – well. Virgin territory right there. On my regular bikes that I actually use, I’ve only just, in the last year, got comfortable with taking off and changing cassettes – through necessity with turbo trainer and new wheels.

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With the chain guard off so I can clean it and see what I’m dealing with – and surprised at how little wear there is!

First things first though, washing the bike seemed like a good idea – just to see what I’m dealing with (apart from a lot of rust). The sheer amount of muck though on that bike was (and to an extent still is) pretty epic – but the grease and oil had done a pretty good job of preserving some of the chrome work on the hub and chainring – so far, not too bad. Washing it down and scrapping what mud and crud I could first without taking anything off the bike was useful and I was able to start looking properly at how things fit together. From a starting point of taking things off – I was actually starting to enjoy figuring out what to do first that was within my capabilities – although with a little elbow grease/brut force from my Dad managed to make a start.

What have I done this afternoon then? Well, managed to convince myself that this might actually be an achievable project despite my lack of knowledge – and that I might actually be able to rope a few people I know in who are happy browsing/searching the internet for parts etc (I haven’t asked him – I know he’ll probably read this and realise who I’m talking about!). I have also taken off the chain guard so I could get to the front chainring to check it over and clean it. I have, with the help of my dad, taken the kickstand off and the back wheel – unhooking the dynamo (which still works if the light at the front is anything to go by!) and taken off the back light, as well as give it a proper wash. I’ve kept relevant bits together and taken photos to help in the putting it back together stage but I think I need to make a mini to do list for jobs that need doing and research needed in terms of fixing and getting things re-chromed etc!

If nothing else, it will give me something to tinker with rather than looking at screens or bemoaning lack of training/days out! No doubt this will cost me more than the bike is actually worth but seeing as I’m emotionally attached to this bike – I think it’ll be worth it!

The mystery of the Phantom Phaeton

I have been getting some ribbing from some mates about the actual existence of my TT bike that I bought for an absolute bargain in April. Admittedly it was a bit deserved. This beauty of a speed machine has been sat in the garage doing noting but looking pretty since I bought it because I knew I needed to get a fit done.

Getting a fit on my TT bike has not been at the top of my priorities but then my mate sent me the details of a local coach who did bike fits for £65 – too good a price to pass over.

So with that, decision was made and I booked an appointment.

I wish I had done it sooner! Or rather known about Mark sooner. Really great service and even looked at my cleats.

Far more thorough than fits I’ve had done elsewhere.

Firstly – a good chat! My plans/aims with the bike – or what would I predominately be doing with said bike (does make a difference), my current fitness, my flexibility, height, weight, stats, length of inner leg etc, followed by taking all the bike measurements as it stood. Oh and sorting out the position of the cleats on my shoes. They were well out!

Then came attaching sticky reflective dots for the camera to pick up when filming me cycle. That was the first part.

The second part consisted of then tweaking measurements, positions, stem length and height and saddle. Essentially bringing everything in – my initial concern was that the frame would be too big for me (its a small Ridley Phaeton T) but no issues.

And this is exactly WHY I haven’t ridden it until I had a fit. What a difference and far more stable/comfortable position. I really cannot fault my experience – and I have all the details of my fit and measurements and a new saddle to test as well as a stem to try out. So I need to go ride it now – this I am VERY excited about.

When I got home – I did go do a quick spin around the block. With more practice and training I reckon I could really nail some decent speed in the next year or two.

I am beginning to wonder if I am becoming a cyclist who swims rather than a triathlete or a swimmer who cycles…. Not that it matters!

Look at the shinny shinny!

Several months ago – I bought some new wheels. These were bought with the money I was given for Christmas with the sole intention of buying wheels. The Family just didn’t get it. I picked them up, brought them home, smiled a lot and gazed at them lovingly, knowing it would be a while before I actually got round to trying them out.

That day was today.

It’s been like New Bike Day all over again!

I ordered the tyres to come next day, ordered tools needed to take the cassette off my turbo to put on my wheels and the inners to go with the deeper rims and waited. The knock on the door was earlier than expected but I knew instantly what it was. The joy!

The tyres and inner tubes were taken out of the packaging and unwrapped. The tyre leavers came out and so to did the bike front and Operation Sort Out the Wheels began.

As it wasn’t that long since I changed the tyres on the Spesh, I did this relatively quickly.

I even managed to fit the cassette. Wonders will never cease.

Feeling smug and over the moon, I then tried fitting the new wheels to my bike. Well. The new wheels are wider rimmed that my old ones and there were a few issues – which, thanks to a mate, got sorted (along with bringing in my bike leaves).

Oh MY!

So after the bit of tweaking and a cuppa at said mates, the breaks were sorted and my leaves brought in, I went home for tea, only to head straight out again to try my usually 15.5mile loop and do some segment hunting.

Naturally I had to wait until after tea – but it was worth it. First ride of the year on the new wheels. First ride in shorts. First ride in a short sleeved jersey.

What a difference. I knew wheels would have a difference but I headed out and knew I was just generally faster. I could feel it. Turns out that the wheels really do make a solid difference to performance (I knew they would but wasn’t sure how much). It felt like I was flying down some roads – genuinely quite surprised at how much difference I noticed. Unlike the ex’s wheels – it didn’t feel as stiff as I was expecting but marginally more responsive. I felt more confident as a rider. I averaged 17.7mph over the ride – but did not top 10 any segments – even though I felt I was pretty close on Long Lane!

So worth the investment? Yes yes and yes again. She also looks absolutely beautiful! The decision not to go with tan wall tyres was completely the right one too. It even got shared on LaRidley’s instagram video!

But don’t take my word for it – I’m sure you’ll agree – she’s a beaut!

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The Stealth Ninja – My absolute pride and joy! Ridley Liz 105.