Aug 012018
 

Four years ago a ‘driver’ crashed into me and my bicycle, rather than slow down marginally and avoid me. That decision slowed him down a great deal, he had to deal with a battered and bloody version of me for a while, then he had to deal with his insurance company and the courts and eventually the headache of a fine and points.

Which on the whole is not a lot compared to me.

In the last four years I’ve had…..

  • Three surgeries to fix my broken collarbone
  • Mostly recovered from many bruises and lacerations – although I have some scars
  • Gone through a lot of Physical Therapy
  • Not regained full use of my shoulder
  • Spent a lot of money on pain killers

Currently my shoulder is aching, I know that a nice hot shower and some ibuprofen will fix it, but that is not the point, my other shoulder does not hurt.

I have restricted mobility in my shoulder.

I went to see the medical examiner today, this should be my final visit.

We are in court in November, unless the drivers’ insurance company decided to try and settle it out of court and make us a really good offer.

It has been a very long road. The journey to compensation is probably nearing the end, but the pain and suffering will probably continue for a very long time.

 Posted by at 8:00 pm
Mar 182018
 
Raleigh_record_spec

1983 Brochure scan (Mark 1)

Back in 1981, my mother and I persuaded my father that a brand new Raleigh Record Sprint would be a much better purchase at £161, than all of the other bicycles priced around the £80 mark in Roy Woods bicycle store.

£161 in 1981 was a lot of money, it is something like £450 in 2018.

For the money though I got a beautiful gloss black bicycle with exotic gold components and new-to-the market Reynolds 501 tubing. Compared to every other bicycle I had ever owned, it was fast and light and the ride quality was sublime.

The black and gold colour scheme echoed the JPS lotus cars of the previous decade, it oozed cool and Raleigh new it too.

Over the next few years despite being able to legally drive cars and ride motorbikes, I still managed to put a lot of miles on it. When I moved to my flat it became my primary transport for a while.

I have memories of riding to see friends on it, taking my cat to the vets on it and riding many many miles for pleasure.

That bike was a very early one, it had Campagnolo gears, safety brake levers and toe straps, it was lovely.

I eventually sold it, but for many years, I have looked for one to replace it.

In the last three years or so I have bid on a great number of them on eBay, usually they are way worn and in need of a lot of TLC, which is good, because this is what I am good at.

I dreamed about getting an old one, preferably a mark1, just like my original and then undertaking a ‘restomod’ on it.

This is where you take an old bicycle and keep little more than the frame, replacing the forks with Carbon blades, the 12 speed with a 2×11 setup and the wheels with something super light. Obviously the brakes would be swapped with modern ones and the pedals would be clipless LOOK or SPD jobs.

The problem is that the old Mark1 frames are virtually all in terrible condition, yet they still command a premium price.

The Mark2 was introduced in 1984 (I believe), it stuck with the 501 tubing, but with a twist, the Mark2 had ‘aero’ tubing. The frame was also slightly lighter. The decals are different too.

Thinking about this, I decided that finding a decent Mark2 frame would give me a good base, I could restomod it to my hearts content an maybe backdate the frame decals.

A week ago a Mark2 ‘barn find’ popped up on eBay. The seller had mispelled many words, it was advertised as a ‘Rayleigh Rekkord’. The photos showed what looked like a nice condition Record Sprint that had apparently not been touched in 30 years. I popped in a cheeky bid.

Amazingly I won it – there was one other bidder, had there been no other bidder I would have paid £30. As it was, the shipping was almost 1/3 of the total cost.  Continue reading “Raleigh Record Sprint” »

Nov 162016
 

img_3780If you are not aware of PlanetX bikes, then you are probably not into bicycles and you should probably skip this blog entry entirely. If on the other hand you are aware of them, then I probably do not need to tell you much about the company, because you probably already know.

I’ve been riding mountain bikes for a long time, probably 15 years or so, the last mountain bike I had was a home-brew bike that was literally made out of discounted parts from local bike shops and the internet. It had a 2×10 Shimano XT drivetrain and very high end, but previous year components. It was fast and fun to ride. It was also a 26’er, which in modern terms means that it was archaic and not worth bothering with. I disagreed.

Earlier in the year PlanetX had a sale – again if you know them, this is absolutely nothing new, they are always selling something cheaply. I took advantage of the cycle-to-work scheme and snagged a 45650B with pretty much every option maxed-out within the limits of the scheme. The pre-sale price was something over £2000, talking off the VAT and making the payments pre-tax I will end up paying way under £1000.

The name 45650B comes from the bikes ability to run 4, 5 or 6 inches of front travel and 650B wheels 4-5-650B, get-it ?

http://www.planetx.co.uk/c/q/bikes/mountain-bikes/45650b

Configuring it was hilarious, ‘would sir like a dropper seat-post’, oh, yes please ! Would Sir like the upgraded brakes ? Obviously, and the ? check, check, check, check, double-check. The only things I did not upgrade were the saddle and the handlebars. Honestly I probably should have done, but I wanted to ride it before I committed to changing the touch points.

In hindsight, the saddle is terrible and the bars are a tad wide for me. The bars are an easy fix, the saddle less so.

So, what did I get for my money then ?

A steel framed, hard-core trail monster ! Continue reading “Bike review – On-One 45650B” »

 Posted by at 3:23 pm
May 252016
 

As regular readers will know, on August 1st 2014, an errant driver in a Toyota Aygo hit me while I was riding my bicycle.

The crash was pretty brutal, I broke my collarbone.

The break was a bad one, three surgeries later I am still not fixed.

Today I was seen by the medical assessor who will create the report for the insurance company that will be looking to settle my compensation claim.

This is the final opinion, it has been close to two years, it is time to put this to bed once and for all.  Continue reading “Crash – the last update ?” »

 Posted by at 6:32 pm
Sep 222015
 
Yes, I look ridiculous, that is the idea

Yes, I look ridiculous, that is the idea

Last year I was unable to take part in the Tweed ride due to circumstances beyond my control.

This year I decided that I would do it one way or another. I was so determined that I started to look for tweed in January !

Initially I wanted to get a delivery bike, something old, maybe a butchers’ bike or similar. Back in April 2015 the only ones that I could find were very expensive and looked terrible. I realised at this point that whatever I got would require a lot of work.

So, I decided to build something.

Deciding to build a bike was the easy part, deciding what to build was a completely different thing all together.

I took a look at the photos from previous years and it seemed that many people barely bothered about the bike, there were people on mountain bikes and retro styled new bikes. One bike that seriously caught my eye was a Pashley Guvnor. Certainly a beautiful bike, but at £900 it was way out of my price range.  Continue reading “The Tweed Ride bike 2015” »

Aug 012015
 

A year ago I broke my collarbone.

Between then and now an awful lot of things have happened.

Initially the doctors thought I did not need surgery, but within a week I was suddenly recovering from having a operation to put a plate and six screws in place to hold the broken bones together.

Not long after this I started physiotherapy, but it was excruciatingly painful, so I got a second opinion, my new doctor recognised that I needed a second surgery to replace a the overly long screws and to see if he could get any more movement into my shoulder. Continue reading “One Year” »

 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Jul 202015
 

Number and medal This year I rode the London to Southend charity ride in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

I raised a little over £300 for the charity and I had ‘fun’.

At a little before 6AM I arrived at the train station, not long after that, they allowed everyone in and we all crammed ourselves onto the ‘specially laid on’ train. I am not good at estimating numbers, there were perhaps a couple of hundred people with a bicycle each.

The train was due to leave at 06:20. At 06:19, they announced that the train was not going to leave as there was a signalling fault and perhaps we should take the City-2-City train from the other station. Much swearing happened.  Continue reading “London to Southend bicycle ride report.” »

May 142015
 

CrossBridAs any regular reader will know, I love cycling. I also love events that are almost entirely nonsensical. This year I want to do two events. The first is the London to Southend ride. This is a decently long ride raising money for the British Heart Foundation.

The second is silly. The second is called a ‘Tweed Ride’, the idea is simple, dig out your ancient bicycle and your finest tweed and ride your bicycle around the town and eventually stop off for a pot of tea and some cream cakes.

Given that my single-speed is looking a tad worse for wear and I am less fit than usual having spent the last seven months suffering from the result of my crash, I needed to do something about the ‘suitable bicycle’ situation for both rides.

The first issue is that my single-speed is not really very comfortable for me at the moment, it is way too ‘racy’ and my shoulder hurts too much if I ride it for a long time. I realised that I needed to either make it more comfortable, or get something more suitable.  Continue reading “The CrossBrid and the Tweed Bike” »

 Posted by at 3:49 am
Mar 112015
 

2015-03-02 13.53.37This update is a tad late, because it has been ten days since seven-month anniversary of my crash.

Quite a lot has happened in the last month, previously I noted that I went through a third surgery, this time to remove the plate and screws as they were giving me a lot of pain and limiting my movement rather badly. This surgery went very well and apart from some minor complications, I am pretty happy with the outcome.

The last week has seen two physical therapy sessions with Steve Oakley at the Spire Health centre. in the first one he massaged my shoulder to the point of pain, then lifted my arm towards vertical (from lying down), this was extremely painful, but very promising as I had not been able to move my arm that far since the crash.

Steve gave me a set of exercises to do daily, so each time I have made tea, I have worked through the exercises. Each day I have found that I can move a little more before the pain really is too much.  Continue reading “Month Seven – Yet another update !” »

 Posted by at 3:40 am
Feb 232015
 

I finally managed to get out on my bike. IMG_1817

On Saturday I dressed up extra warm and rode down to the seafront, then along towards the garrison and then back, up-hill, against the wind, all the way back.

Despite clipping a camera to my helmet, I did not get any useable footage at all – the mount slipped, so everything was at a strange angle.

It was great, but scary, to be back on the road. I was very nervous to start with, the first kilometre or so was pretty nerve jangling, but once I calmed down, things were not too bad. I am still obviously very nervous around the traffic and I tried to keep to the bike paths as much as possible.

So, my shoulder…… Continue reading “First Ride !” »