WELCOME! I've been cycling through the Southeast Valleys of Wales since 2010 and I can't say (or show) enough about the place. I just love it. So if you've got the interest and would like to spend some time... sit back and let me show you some of the fabulous places I've discovered.

Monday, 21 March 2016

55 FOR 55 EVENT - DAY 16 
Shhh... Spring is Coming

WEDNESDAY, 16 MARCH - It was a wonderful warm and sunny day... not the warmest, but the clearest blue sky. Dare I say it's beginning to feel like Spring?

First topic to I need to discuss: bike maintenance. Along with my personal well-being, the second most common question I get is; "How's your bike holding up?" And the good news is that she's holding up marvelously!

A few things to note; I spent the better part of February getting the bike tuned up and tested for the ride. You may first notice that I've replaced the handlebar bag with a Carradice rear saddle bag (Awesome!). I've dropped the front and rear Tubus racks and added a small top-tube bag.

Also... and more significantly, I've replaced the Shimano Tiagra "brifter" style handlebar levers. Yes, I did that! And I ain't going back.

These are the legendary TRP Brake Levers and Shimano Dura Ace 9-speed bar-end shifters! WooHoo! If you've never used them, they are simply fantastic. They are each designed to do one job and do that one job perfectly. If you've ever used them... you know.

What you cannot see from the photo are the tyres and brake blocks which I changed in mid-February. I'm hoping to get through March (approximately 3,000 miles) before I need to change the tyres. I'll change the brake blocks as soon as needed depending on how much I ride in the rain.

What tyres you ask? Continental Touring Plus (700 x 32c) Wire bead. My longstanding favourites. They can really take a bashing, have super grip, and ride well over a myriad of road conditions.

What brake blocks? I've been using Clark's Triple Compound (72mm) Cartridge/inserts for a couple of years now. They are pretty soft and can get chewed up when I ride in a lot of rain, but they are soooo grippy! I love 'em. PLUS, they don't wear on the rims as much as some of the harder and more-narrow pads. I highly recommend them.

Why not disc brakes? Don't get me started on that topic. You can have 'em.

I replaced the chain and rear derailleur jockey wheels in January. I've a replacement chain sitting in the wings along with a set of brake blocks (and tyres...) ready for when I need them.

I clean and re-lube the chain every 3-4 days (150 -200 miles)... measuring and keeping a close check on the "stretch". I clean the rims after every rainy day. Ya just gotta keep the muck off the sides if you want them to last.

Note: Shimano Dynamo front hub... dreamy!

What rims am I using? Oh... they are the sweetest Mavic A719 (36 spoke) touring babies! Some will note that they are a bit heavy... but my gosh, do they glide. Just the smoothest and most stable rims I have ever used. I ain't ever going back.

And lastly, there's my lovely little Burley Nomad. I take her out on the weekends mostly as an attention-seeking publicity stunt. But I love her so. She's been everywhere with me.

My set-up sitting outside the Green Flute... awaiting adventures patiently.

And that's it for now... gotta eat some breakfast and get on the road! Thanks for stopping by.

cheers! ~ cm