Winter Bike waffles

As winter approaches I always find it very interesting how people often discuss on the various cycling forums how they need a specific bike for winter use .

Some of these discussions centre around people buying brand new bikes that have mudguard mounting points front and rear , others want the option of having wider tyres fitted whereas others want disc brakes, the list goes on and on .


To me the idea of a winter bike is no different to any other retro road bike I ride throughout the year apart from being able to fit full length guards front and rear to help me try and keep as dry as possible when it’s raining  whilst I am out riding . Whilst my old faithful Marin Bear Valley is up to the job of doing the daily commutes, it would not be my first choice of bike for doing a few more miles on , mainly down to the gearing fitted which normally means I end up with my legs doing a silly cadence speed without actually obtaining a good average mph figure .

 Marin Bear Valley

Over the last few years I have tended to keep one bike with guards fitted front and rear at all times. Last years machine was the blue Soen’s road bike and the year before it the Pollard specialite. The current bike this year is the blue R.E.W. Reynolds machine which seems to be relishing the job of being ridden in all conditions .


Some people tend to look at cyclo cross bikes as the answer for their winter commuting bikes and I must admit on paper they do look ideal , i.e. large clearances so wider tyres can be fitted and they are normally geared somewhere between a road bike and a mountain bike and a lot of the newer ones are being supplied with disc brakes for good all round braking performance and other ones are often fitted with cantilever or vee brakes due to extra clearance required for wider tyres .


A lot of people also tend to replace their road bikes half way through the season for the latest models and retain their previous bike for when the winter comes round, then adapt it as best as possible for winter use by fitting clip on guards like sks race blades. Other people go and buy an older style steel bike just to do their winter commuting on and then sell it on once the winter months have gone thus saving their Sunday best bike for the dry weather as much as possible,  we can all get caught mid ride by a rain shower that appears out of the blue .

 Ridley xbow

At the moment I have no intention of selling the blue R.E.W , as it was always earmarked to be my winter commuter , waiting in the wings I have a slightly scruffy Raleigh type 8806 frameset that was originally sold as a winter training frame . My intention for this is to build it up as a cheap single speed bike that would be ideal in the winter months ahead as there are less moving components to go wrong or get affected by the winter weather .


So if anybody fancies a project act quick as once the Lee Cooper “Bromwich” is finished I will be starting on the build process with most of the parts left over from the sale of my Aende time trial frame that I had built in single speed mode .

 Raleigh Type 8806

Enjoy your winter riding.

To Clip Or Not ????

After a lovely long weekend in North Wales I came home on Monday and screwed some Wellgo cleats into the sole of my current pair of cycling shoes and swapped my pedals for a pair of Shimano spd clip in ones on my current winter road bike the blue R.E.W Reynolds .

 Blue R.E.W Reynolds

I am sure a few people will say “so what” , to me this was quite a moment in my cycling life as many years ago I swore that these were made by the devil and best left in the parts bin after a couple of clipless falls at the time .

I have had two pairs of cycling shoes fail on me after less than six months use due mainly to the cleat securing plate being torn out of its home in the base of the shoes as the cover plate kept getting caught on the base of standard flat pedals . Okay you could argue that as both pairs were only cheaper brands i.e. Crane (Aldi) and Muddyfox (Sports soccer) what can you expect .


Another reason I swapped to cleats was to make it possible to wear over shoes as it is very difficult to wear them using conventional pedals and toe cages . So I am looking forward to being able to keep my feet warm and dry whilst cycling through the winter months in the UK .


So far this week I have managed a whole 25 miles using the clipless pedals and all has gone well with no instances to report , I noticed on one 13 mile ride that my average speed was in the later area of 16 mph rather than the mid 14 mph’s I normally see how much of this was down to the conditions or the use of clipless pedals I don’t know but it certainly felt nice and positive .


The release adjustment is set to a really low level whilst I get use to clipping in and out as time passes I might just tweak the adjustment screw a bit tighter but so far so good and yes I  know its early days and miles .

A second pair of pedals have been ordered and on arrival will be fitted to the Peugeot I am currently clocking test miles on before it goes up for sale . I have quite a few pairs of Look clip in pedals that I thought about using but this would mean changing from MTB style cycle shoes to road shoes and then walking like a penguin every time I wear them which always makes me laugh when I see other cyclist’s walking around in their road shoes equipped with cleats of whatever make and style .

Ian May

Some purists say you can’t fit modern style clip in pedals on older style bikes where rat trap pedals and shiny steel cages with Alfredo Binda leather straps should only be fitted , and normally that is what my bikes are fitted with now and have been for the last 10+ years .

Dura ace pedals

I am looking forward to many happy miles and hours of cycling using clipless pedals and the benefits they produce , so will keep you posted

Giant Speeder lite

Which Bike to Choose

I am lucky enough to have a choice of bikes to ride at any one time , and I don’t just mean a choice between road and mountain bikes . At this moment of time I have a choice from 9 road bikes and 1 mountain bike oh and there is also the tandem .

 Marin Bear Valley

It makes a nice change to have such a variety of choice, normally I only have a couple to choose from but the last few weeks have seen a couple of projects reach completion .


Listed below is my selection of road bikes, not in any specific order, just the way they came in to my mind.

First up is a rather nice W Pollard Speciallite single speed bike. This is a fantastic bike to ride and own , I have no real idea of its age but I would guess the frame is from the 70’s but I could be way out. At some point in its previous life it was modernized to take allen key style brake calipers . I have owned this bike for approaching 3 years and always enjoy riding it .

 Single speed Pollard

Next up is a rather special Ian May badged bike that has aero profile tubing that in honesty looks more like somebody used a vice to squeeze the tubing a bit . As the frame has no IMC prefixed frame number I can only presume it was not made by Ian May himself . It’s another bike that has been in my stable for a few years and one that does not get as much use as others , I would estimate it has covered about 150 miles in 2015 so far .

 Ian May

The third bike is a 1980’s Claud Butler Sierra with a bit of a twist to it in the shape of carbon handle bars , stem and tubular and sprint style wheels help to shave a bit of weight off it . It uses Reynolds 501 throughout its frame and forks . This is a nice bike to ride and has only been around for about 2 or 3 months and in that time has had lots of new components fitted i.e. Tubs , Brake cables , drive chain and 7 speed rear screw on block . Asking £145 .

 Claud Butler Sierra

Next up is a Tony Butterworth badged road bike built round a tange tubed frameset that had sat unused for a number of years before being built up a couple of years ago by its previous owner as his audax bike.  For whatever reason it didn’t see a lot of use under his ownership . It’s a nice mixture of older style steel frameset with more modern running gear that all adds up to a very capable bike . Asking £275 .


The fifth bike is a nice original late 1970’s or early 1980’s R.E.W Reynolds road bike that has loads of patina and character , apart from some 700c wheels and my Selle smp saddle the bike is still running the same period parts it was first fitted with , i.e. 10 speed non indexed gearing , Bluemells and Wienmann center pull calipers . These R.E.W bikes are really good fun to ride with the added bonus of being quite few and far between .Asking £125.

 Blue R.E.W Reynolds

And then what must be the most modern bike in my  stable at the moment, a 2009/10 Ridley Crossbow road bike, it is also the largest bike in my collection at 62cm !! This is also the only alloy framed bike I have, it also boasts carbon forks . The gearing is a mixture of shimano mechanisms and crankset operated via campagnolo sti units . Although this should be way too big for me I can actually get quite comfy on it especially now that I have flipped the steeply raked stem around . The frame has seen little use during its life and would make a great road bike for somebody over 6ft tall . Asking £325 .

 Ridley crossbow

Next up is the “Pretty boy “ of my stable a late 80’s Dave Hinde road bike finished in an attractive ( to some ie me) mix of purple and an almost pink colour with a Columbus Slx frame with nice chromed front forks and drive side lower stay . Full ultrega gearing and brake’s with Shimano 105 tricolour hubs laced to Mavic anodized rims . This is another great bike to ride that also stands out from the crowd . Asking £350 .

 Dave Hinde

Number 8 is a blue Ian May built road bike that actually has an IMC prefixed frame number so is one of a few Ian May built bikes . I have no idea what tubing is used as its not the lightest bike in the world but by far not the heaviest either . I bought this as a frameset and built it using parts I had in the garage . It’s a shade on the small side for me but with the long stem on it I am comfortable enough . Some people say there were less than 100 Ian May built bikes whilst he was in business , there doesn’t seem to be any records to back this claim up but I have knowledge of 5 other Ian May badged bikes and only this one has an IMC prefixed frame number .

 Ian May

Lastly but not least is the latest arrival in the Racing Bike Biggs682 stable, it is a 2000 model year Peugeot Performance bike with Columbus aelle tubing and Shimano running gear . The bike came with the original Hutchinson tyres on and doesn’t look or ride like it has had a lot of use at all . Myself and loads of other cyclist’s like Peugeot bikes as the older models make excellent commuting and or general hack bikes and most of us have owned or ridden a Peugeot at some time in our cycling life .

 Peugoet Performance

So as you can see there is a wide ranging choice of bikes to use.

Friday evening waffle with steel content

This morning’s pre work ride saw the Giant Peloton complete its 100 mile test period , so it will be up for sale soon . The next bike in line for testing and evaluation is a 2000 model year Peugeot Performance road bike that was recently added to my collection . The initial ride up and down the cul de sac only showed that the brakes needed adjusting so once the cables were adjusted and tyres inflated it was ready for some gentle commuting miles before hitting the tarmac .


It looks totally original in specification apart from a few subtle changes , the Shimano flight deck sti units and mechanism’s feel nice and smooth in operation which is always a good sign . It’s a 54cm sized frame, slightly smaller than I normally ride,  so it will be interesting to see how I get on comfort wise . As long as it comes through todays 8 miles of commuting without needing loads of work doing I shall be swapping the saddle over for one of my Selle smp lite 209 that I always try to use .


This is the newest Peugeot I have had and it will be interesting to see how it compares with older models that I have used before. They have always been capable commuting and general use bikes that are happy to just trundle along in a nice relaxed manner . The last few bikes I have been using have all been sti equipped rather than down tube shifters , and to be honest I am getting to like the feel of them now but I do miss the having to tickle the lever now and again to obtain the ideal position .

 Peugoet 531 pro

The silver paintwork and contrasting decals have stood up to the test of time well with just a few small storage related marks as to be expected on a bike that is 15 years old after all .The frame is made with Columbus Aelle grade tubing and straight cro mo. steel forks so should be fairly light in weight with a nice positive feel to it .


It looks like the original Shimano sora brake calipers have been replaced by a pair of Shimano 105  “Champagne” units that seem to provide more than adequate braking on the few times I have applied the brakes so far . It looks like the wheels are the original semi aero style Rigida units and I wouldn’t be surprised if the tyres are still the original ones either and surprisingly they show little sign of any sidewall cracking and shape loss . I will be treating the Vittoria tyres with some respect for the first few miles just in case any signs of age become apparent during use . It is also fitted with a nice looking Miche headset that feels like it could do some fresh grease .


As long as today’s commute goes well the bike should see a few more gentle miles over the weekend and then hopefully a full week of use next week . I need to transfer the lights across from the Giant so I can be seen and also so I can see the road ahead . Hopefully this bike will be my “Smile a mile” bike for the week ahead .

This should be an ideal commuting machine that will hopefully be at home on the open road clocking up many a mile in the future once I have completed some testing miles .

Harry Quinn Frameset with issue please read

For Sale

Harry Quinn frame set Q2297 with issues .


please note the bottom bracket bearing cups/carriers for what i believe a Campagnola Ultra Torque crank set ARE BONDED INTO PLACE rather than screwed as per normal !!! I am led to understand this was done due to the threads being to weak to screw them in .quinn2hq6

This was done prior to me getting the frame so i have no idea how weak the threads are . I have no idea if these cups are removable by some way or another .

Frame is a 22 1/4″ or 56.5cm from centre to centre up the seat tube and 22 3/4″ or 57.5cm along the the top tube ctc and has a standover height of 32 ” or 81cm on 700c wheels as per pics.


Frame was powder coated aprox 18 months ago in a bright white colour and gold lug lining and has stood up well although there are some areas where it has darkened and other defects are visable but it it presentable for sure . Frame and frks have been modified to take later type allen key calipers . 1 x set of bottle cage mounts , mudguard eyes front & rear .Centre pull cable guide on rear stays which are wrap over and flattened near seat tube , rear drp out has been set at 128mm ish .Takes a 27.2 post and has aprox 65mm brake drop for 700 wheels dia compe brs 202 fit fine .


Please note only supplied as a frame set ie forks incl with a black stronglight head set and bonded in bottom bracket cups . NO WHEELS NO CALIPERS NO FR & RR MECHANISMS NO CABLES NO SEAT PINCH BOLT .

Asking for £75 shipped to a uk std post code or £60 collected from Wellingborough nn8 postcode

Cake Shop Stop Ramblings

How many of us choose coffee over tea at the cake stop?


But despite its prevalence, many of us probably aren’t familiar with the workings of the global industry that grows and processes the 8.3 million tons of coffee consumed worldwide each year. In this speech, I’m going to walk you through the processes involved in getting coffee to the consumer: Growing, Processing, and Roasting.

textured background: brown roasted coffee beans macro closeup

textured background: brown roasted coffee beans macro closeup

Coffee starts off on a fruit-bearing tree that produces coffee cherries. These cherries appear much like cherries that we are familiar with, though they have only a thin layer of pulp around a large pit, which will become our coffee beans. Like the fruit we are familiar with, they come in two principle varieties: Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica coffee accounts for roughly ⅔ of global coffee production. It is generally preferred to Robusta because of its lower bitterness and generally more pleasant, delicate flavors. Robusta, on the other hand, is much bolder, more bitter, and about 50% higher in caffeine. Both varieties are grown in high-altitude regions throughout the world, with coffee from different regions having distinct character from the others.

South America accounts for nearly half of global coffee production, and grows Arabica almost exclusively. Coffees from South America tend to have earthy, nutty, or chocolately flavors, and are often what we think of when we think of good, basic coffee. Central American coffees, despite being close geographically, tend to have lighter flavors, especially floral and fruity notes.


Across the Atlantic, many African countries produce roughly even amounts of Arabica and Robusta coffee, with Robusta grown in the west and Arabica in the east. These Arabica coffees are especially prized for the bright berry flavors that can be brought out of them when roasted and brewed correctly. The final major growing region is southeast Asia. This production is biased much more towards Robusta coffee, especially in Vietnam. Asian coffees often have character similar to south american coffees, but can also have more diverse earthy flavors and aromas similar to tobacco and leather.

Once the coffee is grown and harvested, the fruits must be processed to remove the beans and clean the coffee. The two principle methods for processing are dry and wet processing. Dry processing involves crushing the cherries, then spreading them out to dry and ferment in the sun. The fermentation process breaks down the cherry pulp and makes it much easier to remove from the seed. In wet climates where drying the cherries in the sun is not practical, cherries are crushed and rinsed with large amounts of water to remove the pulp. In both cases, the coffee is then screened for size, sorted to remove bad beans, then dried out to reduce water content in preparation for shipment and roasting.

Roasting is the final step in coffee production before it is ready to be brewed. Along with having a major impact on flavor, it is necessary in order to weaken the very hard green coffee bean and allow its flavor compounds and oils to be extracted.

coffe roast

Roasting is primarily done via either forced air convection or radiative heating. In both cases, the beans are very aggressively heated, generally reaching over 300 degrees Fahrenheit in a few minutes. Radiative heating is more common in large commercial applications, and uses heating elements located next to a perforated drum, which spins to agitate the beans and ensure even roasting. In forced air convection, roasting is achieved by forcing hot air through an agitated bed of coffee beans. In either case, the increase in temperature is carefully controlled to meet the roaster’s target. Along with smaller influences on the finished coffee’s flavor, roasting too fast or too slow can result in coffee that doesn’t grind, brew, or drink well.

Once the coffee reaches about 300 degrees, the beans will begin to make popping noises, called first crack, as the oils inside sublimate and fracture the bean. While this doesn’t cause the beans to break apart, it does make them much more porous, and signals that the beans can be considered finished, if a light roast is desired. Often the roasting continues past this point, to 400 degrees or more. As roasting continues, the beans develop more roasted flavors and lose some of the more delicate flavor compounds that indicate their origins. They will also begin popping a second time, which is called second crack, as the beans fracture internally even more. Roasting can continue up to nearly 500 Fahrenheit to acheive an Italian roast, after which the beans will begin to smoke and burn from the intense heat.

R.E.W Reynolds

After the beans have reached their desired roast level, they are quickly cooled off to stop the roasting process, then allowed to rest for several hours to several days to allow them to release built-up carbon dioxide. Once roasting is finished, the beans are often ground, packaged, and sent to stores.
This process of growing, processing, and roasting coffee is continually carried out around the world, with new crops being harvested, processed, and roasted throughout the year. Thanks to these efforts, people throughout the world have an affordable and delicious drink to help energize them throughout the day for the miles ahead  .


Whilst i would love to claim that the cakes pictured were cooked by me they were cooked by my partner Nicola .

Giant Peloton Rambles

For some strange reason a lot of the Giant Pelotons or Speeders from the 1980’s you see for sale in the UK have the above issue and I have found two currently for sale on ebay with seized seat posts . The normal alloy seat post in a steel tube suffers from a chemical reaction. This can hopefully be avoided by regularly removing the post and re inserting after a clean and an application of some grease or whatever you favour to stop this happening .


This is the third Giant I have owned over the years and have always found them to be great machines that are readily available at a reasonable cost on the second hand market . They are normally fairly well equipped with mid-range Shimano exage equipment and Wolber alloy rims and Giant’s own branded handlebars , seat post and quill stem .

At some point in its previous life this machine has had the downtube levers replaced by Shimano Sora 3 x 7 sti units along with a matching Shimano Sora double crankset , these have not deterred from the bikes overhaul performance or enjoyment at all and if anything are a worthwhile modification .


The frame is made from good old cro mo 4130 tubing so nothing really fantastic but a lot better than good old gas pipe used on many other frames of the same period. From what I understand the later 7400 and 8400 series Pelotons are alloy framed bikes but so far I have never managed to own one .

I have covered a total of 32 miles on this to date and I can honestly say it is an excellent ride, the only slight issues are trying to find the ideal sweet spot on the front mechanism to avoid chain rub and the brakes are very poor which I am hoping will be sorted by a change of pads .

As can be clearly seen it is finished in a rather plain and almost boring colour scheme compared to the variety of schemes and colours a lot of these come in . The first one of these I owned was a mixture of yellow , white and pink in colour and to me looked absolutely fantastic but not everybody agreed , but then we are all different .

 Giant Speeder lite

This needs very little work doing to it apart from a clean to remove all the sprayed up dirt from riding in damp conditions and then a clean and re grease of the headset and some new brake pads fitting as all the cable looks to be in good shape as do the tyres .

R.E.W Reynolds the 4th

Earlier in the week I wrote a blog about how I had finally got the blue R.E.W Reynolds ready for doing some miles on , well the new 700 x 28c Continental tyres arrived yesterday and were duly fitted last night as the set of tyres already fitted were rather past their sell by date .

 Blue r.e.w TYRES

I also pulled up some of the slack in the brakes to take some of the excess free play in the brake levers away and adjusted the position of the actual levers on the bars for a more comfy riding position . This Is the third R.E.W I have owned and ridden in the last few months and the fourth one I have owned in total .

My main attraction on the R.E.W’s is the fact that it’s the most local  bike shop to me that actually made and sold its own frames and complete bikes although I believe that the vast majority were sold as just frames and the new owners built them up themselves for some unknown reason .

I have found them all to be very nice bikes to ride and are very rewarding as they seem to roll along quite nicely and certainly soak up the miles without too much effort being felt by the lucky rider or owner . This latest one of mine has the same positive feel to it and when you turn the handlebars to point it around the approaching corner it actually gives you a very confident feeling that the bike is going to obey this instruction .

 Blue R.E.W Reynolds

All of the R.E.W’s I have owned apart from the small coppery coloured one have had rather more patina than I would normally like but hey these bikes are over 30 years of age and we all carry a few battle scars , so it is only to be expected . This one came with a lot of rust coming through the original pale blue paintwork, but I have gently rubbed it with some soft wire wool and then applied some T-Cut restoring paste to the paintwork which has taken quite a bit of the rust away so with a few more applications of both it will hopefully look better .

 R.E.W Reynolds

The original rusty steel 27” wheels have been replaced by a set of nice alloy 700 wheels which have helped reduce the overall weight of the bike a bit . The only other change has seen the fitment of my Selle SMP lite 209 saddle instead of the original Selle Italia suede one which had gone a bit bubbly in appearance .

 R.E.W Rim

The white Bluemels guards are in remarkable condition with just a small split near the front flap fixture and I just need to give them a good clean to try and remove some of the in ground dirt that a quick wet wipe didn’t remove .

 Bluemels Guard

For the time being I am leaving it as a 10 speed bike as I don’t really feel it needs any extra gears to play with as the original rear block has enough spread of gears for the routes I travel . The only other work I intend or would like to do is to fit some dual action calipers instead of the centre pull calipers currently fitted , and to add some bar tape once I have the brake levers in the most comfy position for me .

Blue R.E.W Reynolds

I am hoping to keep this bike as my winter road bike , so it will have to get use to some of the normal British weather elements i.e. rain , sleet and yet more rain .