Manchester Mini Sportive – Cross Chained Catastrophe

During the first week of April 2017, I got an email from Evans Cycles which was well targeted. I’d fancied doing a longer ride without the hills that Allez Prestwich rides entail. I was delighted that the Trafford store was hosting a 50km sportive through the lanes of Cheshire. I registered before setting off to work and it only cost £10. My spirits were lifted for the rest of the week.

Continue reading “Manchester Mini Sportive – Cross Chained Catastrophe”

First Tasting Of Stealth Juice Bar From Secret Training

Stealth Juice Bar Taste Test for Orange and Pineapple flavoured Cycling Nutrition

I used the final Allez Prestwich CC winter ride to test out a new cycling energy bar. The product is called a Stealth Juice Bar which is sold by Secret Training. Cycle 2 Health had access to a prototype batch of their orange and pineapple bars. This post gives my observations and thoughts after my first taste.

Sunday started with the obligatory porridge for breakfast, but I pushed too hard (182 bpm) on Rainsough Brow. Poor pacing left that porridge sitting heavy and me feeling queasy. That will teach me to set off earlier, so I don’t have to rush to the start of my club rides. Continue reading “First Tasting Of Stealth Juice Bar From Secret Training”

Shimano MTB Cranksets 2017

Shimano Mountain Bike Crankset Trends in 2017 and an introduction to the Hollow tech bottom bracket

The HOLLOWTECH II bottom bracket system has made changing cranksets less complicated. After a brief introduction to this system, I discuss current Shimano MTB crankset options.

HOLLOWTECH II cranksets have the bottom bracket (BB) axle fused to the drive side crankarm. While the non drive side crankarm attaches to a splined region of the axle using pinch bolts. The advantage of this system is that the BB bearings are externally mounted to the frames BB shell. Consequently the BB axle can be a larger diameter, making it stiffer and lighter and replaceable sealed bearing cartridges can be used with some bottom brackets. I use the Hope bottom bracket to avoid the one fault of some HOLLOWTECH II bottom Brackets, premature bearing failure.

Previously other bottom bracket standards such as with Square taper and OCTALINK had separate axle. Consequently, these are called three-piece crankset. Changing your crankset often needed a different bottom bracket axle length to achieve the correct chainline. This process was normally accomplished with a trip to your local bike shop.

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WAKE Flat Pedal Review

WAKE Best Bicyle Y0304 Flat Pedals
WAKE Best Bicycle Y0304 Sealed Bearing Flat Pedals

Does your hybrid bike need a reliable sealed bearing flat pedal that costs under £15? if so then read to the end to see if this might be the one for you. This review is a summary after 6 months use of the Y0304 sealed bearing WAKE flat pedal. These pedal’s brand is ‘WAKE best bicycle’ and throughout the autumn and winter they have not failed me yet. Continue reading “WAKE Flat Pedal Review”

Finding Shimano Specifications

Shimano specifications and component compatibility can be found quickly, if you know how. Cycle 2 Health guides you through four search methods on Shimano’s website. Reading the examples below, should make it clear as to when one search method is better than another. There is even an email competition at the end which will test your understanding and perhaps earn you a little prize. Continue reading “Finding Shimano Specifications”

Best value Shimano cassettes

Shimano HG51 8-speed cassette
Shimano HG51 8-speed cassette

When selecting an 8-speed cassette from Shimano in 2017 we have plenty of choice. This post concentrates on finding the best value Shimano cassette. Best value to me means durable and cheap. There are cycling bargains to be had after Christmas. Why not buy what you will need in the summer when it’s on sale now. Continue reading “Best value Shimano cassettes”

Cassette Compatibility Tutorial

This post looks at replacing an 8-speed cassette to down gear your bike, however, the issues discussed are equally relevant to other speed drivetrains. Down gearing a bike can make cycling up hills easier. Buying a wider range cassette is a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade your bicycle.

If it’s hard to pedal, you’re in the wrong gear.

By the end of this article, you will be able to choose a compatible wide range cassette. If you want me to double check your conclusions, simply leave a comment with specifics. Continue reading “Cassette Compatibility Tutorial”

Improvers’ Plan – Week 4

As you can tell I managed to get out on a longer ride this weekend. The weather was cold, we had a little snow and I had the pleasure of seeing a few fellow cyclists I hadn’t seen since autumn 2016.

My first club ride of 2017 with Allez Prestwich was on Sunday 22nd January 2017. The GPX file is available for download from ridewithgps. The ride’s route was shortened on the day, due to the snow and ice threatening to become an issue. Continue reading “Improvers’ Plan – Week 4”

Improvers’ Plan – Week 3

I have actually been finding it easier to fit in the mid-week rides, relative to the longer rides at the weekend. A flat tyre on Friday evening’s commute meant Saturday involved swapping out tubes and tyres on my rear wheel, and this lead to various other repairs and tinkering. The flat tyre was due to the failure of a glueless patch. A further annoyance was Parcel force not actually doing what I told them. They took the spare parts I needed to my local post office instead of delivering the parcel to my neighbours.

I ended up buying the 27.5 x 1.5 Schwalbe Marathon Plus slick MTB tyres. Initially the ride felt harsher. As they are narrower I have to run them at a  higher pressure but now I don’t notice the difference. Continue reading “Improvers’ Plan – Week 3”

New Years Resolution

Several of the Allez Prestwich (AP) riders have set goals for 2017. I already had the goal to do my first century, but I got carried away and set myself another goal. To cycle 4000 km in 2017. Given I managed over 1000km of recreational rides in 2016 and as most weeks I do 30 km commuting, I felt this goal was manageable but still challenging. I need to average about 77 km each week.

AP’s 2016 retrospective is a good read and makes me want to join them on more rides next year.