Year to date update

Well it’s June 2016 already and we are fast approaching the half way point in the year , so I thought I would add up all my monthly miles so far and see how I am doing against my yearly target of 4000 miles .

At the end of May 2016 I have recorded a total of 1717 miles which gives me a monthly average of 343 miles with an all time high of 551 recorded in the month of May 2016 . All these miles have been done on steel framed bikes without a touch of alloy or carbon in sight , some have been done on a single speed bike whilst others have been done on a bike equipped with a 4 speed sturmey archer rear hub and the remainder have been done on various multi speed bikes .


Raleigh Roadster

Most of these miles have been completed on early morning rides either on a Saturday or Sunday whilst the vast majority of people are still tucked up in bed asleep . On average about 35 miles per week are covered going back and forwards to work via the local cycle paths . Most of my leisure rides are around the 30 mile length as I try not be out for more than 2 hours at a time so as not to eat in to family time .


Harry Quinn

 I am trying to build up to a 50 mile sunrise or sunset ride which is obviously going to take longer than my normal 2 hour riding time , I have almost finalised my route for this ride, I just have a couple of small changes and trials to do first . Once this route is finalised I will do a test ride to make sure it’s enjoyable and has the right feel to it .


From memory the following bikes have been used to cover these miles , mid 90’s Marin Bear Valley , 1950’S Raleigh Roadster , 1984 Wester Ross , 90’s Ian May , 60’s Harry Quinn , 90’s Dawes Galaxy Tour and a Lee Cooper that is only a couple of years old . So as you can see a real mixture of bikes but all steel framed . In the nest week or two a 80’s Peugoet 531 Super Competition will start doing some test miles along with a tidy Tony Butterworth road bike as I try to ensure all of my bikes get used rather than just being garage queens.


During some of these rides the following Gearbest products have been used


My Cycling Bucket List

How many of us have a bucket list ?

I keep thinking how I ought to have one just for my cycling activities , so here is my first go at what would be on there .

To complete a 50 mile ride that takes in either the sunrise or sunset

To own a nice original 50’s or 60’s road bike that can be used rather than just for looking at

R.E.W Reynolds

To do more of my own fettling and be less reliant on my local bike shop

R.E.W Reynolds bb1

To try and do on average 330 miles a month that will take me close to 4000 mile a year target

To do at least 2 rides of over 3 miles in total with my partner on our tandem per month

To keep supplying good quality retro road bikes to fellow cyclist’s


Wester Ross

To continue my search for nice Coventry and Merseyside built bikes that can join my ever expanding collection

lee Cooper

To have a new steel frame built to order for myself

To cycle in a foreign country

To compete in at least 1 sportive using a retro bike

To help and encourage others to use a bike for commuting on

So as you can see there is enough on there to be getting on with for the time being , but the most important thing is to keep on enjoying my tinkering and cycling activities on retro road bikes .

Cycling Buddies

So do all of your cycling buddies match your image ?


There are certain cyclists who will only ride with a group of other like minded and equipped  cyclists . And these normally all ride individual bikes that a lot of people earn in a working week or two .

B H Stevlo

I see quite a few of these groups when I am out and about and the vast majority of them are all wearing the same colour and style cycling tops and jackets .


These groups are not keen on outsiders joining who don’t follow suit but then would you want to join up with them ?

I often feel like turning up for one of these rides on one of my old retro steel bikes just for the shear fun of it and to see the look on their faces .


Raleigh Roadster

I am more than happy cycling either by myself or with somebody else , and what they are wearing or riding does not worry me in the least , as long as they are happy that’s all that matters . As the way I see it no matter what you ride or wear it’s not going to make a huge difference to your cycling .


It’s strange but the last few rides I have done have been in the company of a very like minded person, it’s quite spooky but we even have very similar bikes and wear similar clothing .


What do you think makes the world go around ?

I know a lot of people think it’s money.


Others might think that it’s love.


But as many cyclists know its the humble old pedal that makes our world go around .


Raleigh Roadster

It could be the far from elegant rubber blocked affair to the supremely elegant Shimano Dura Ace pedal from late in the last century . We all have our own favourites and styles, some of us clip in, some strap on and some just plonk their feet onto them .


Dura Ace

It was only about a year ago that I started to use mountain bike style spd’s rather than the toe clips with Alfredo Binda leather straps and coloured buttons .


GUB GC-008

The last two weeks have seen me using a set of GUB GC-008 platform pedals supplied by GearBest . At first I thought these were for use on the trails rather than anything else . So when I was asked to try a pair I thought why not , so once they arrived safely via a fully tracked DHL delivery service I fitted them to my daily commuting machine an early 90’s Marin Bear Valley that has been with me since new .

It was only a few weeks ago that I overhauled the original Wellgo pedals and fitted some new nylon straps to the plastic cages all of which have covered many a mile . As expected it was just a case of removing the old ones and applying some fresh grease on the threads of the GUB units and making sure I fitted the clearly marked left and right units to the correct side crank arm .


I quite liked the look of the titanium grey coloured pedals and  I should think the red or black ones would look equally at home and do the same job. The first thing I noticed were the 6 small upright studs on each side that were there to help your chosen footwear stay on the pedals no matter what . The fit and finish was as to be expected ie  very good with a nice good quality look and feel to them .


gub gc-008

The true test was how they performed when riding so the next day off we went on my daily cycle path commute which involves bouncing off the foot path at short notice due to wandering dogs , school children and other cyclists to say the least , the first thing I noticed was that my chosen footwear that day were glued to the pedals with no slip at all .


Two week later and I am still impressed with them, the appearance is still as new with no sign of wear and tear showing yet despite being ridden in all weathers .It was my initial plan to try these on a road bike rather than my trusty old commuter , maybe in a few weeks I will try them for a couple of rides on a road bike but for the moment I am well impressed with them .


GUB GC-008

Gear best offer quite a few different pedals so it’s well worth having a look at the company’s website the next time you are after some pedals .

This link should take you to the GUB GC-008 Pedals whilst this one should take you to the range they offer .

Action Camera’s

A few months ago I purchased a Garmin Virb action camera . And I must admit at times I nearly sent it straight back to the retailer I got it from as I really struggled with it at first .


Garmin virb

Now a few months down the line I feel it’s only fair to do a review on what I think to it and offer advise to those who are looking to purchase a similar action camera as others are available although I have not used them .


The first mistake I made was to run the camera on the underside of the the handlebars to keep it out of the way , but what I didn’t realise was that this would mean all my recordings would be filmed upside down , so when you play it back you either have to turn your monitor upside down or stand on your head to watch it the right way around . So to get round this I bought one of the universal mounts like this on the below link to GearBest’s site one  and then with the Garmin mount hey presto .


Garmin Virb

Once this was fitted I no longer had to do headstands just so I could rewatch my recordings . One of my other mistakes was to not realise that you need a memory card as well so one of those was purchased. So if you are working on a budget don’t forget to add enough to cover a mount kit and a memory card .


Ian May

There are loads of makes to choose from , the most popular ones seem to be Garmin and GoPro but just a quick look on Chinese firm GearBest’s web site shows there are loads more that are suitable with prices ranging from £35 to over £150 , so almost anyone should be able to find one that fits their budget . See link to the section offered .

B H Stevlo

I also think when using an action camera to record your cycling activities one looking forward and another looking behind you would not go amiss , and at the price GearBest charge its certainly do-able on a budget .


Raleigh Roadster Part 2

Just had my first ride on the Raleigh Roadster after picking it up today from my Local Bike Shop where it’s had some fresh grease on all the bearings along with a rear hub strip to sort out the lack of drive in 1st and 4th since swapping the bar and stem combo over .

Raleigh Roadster

It seems that my left-side ballcup is one of the earlier fingered type and it’s quite common for some of the fingers to break off and rattle around inside . The bike shop found 5 pieces of fingers broken off, these have been removed and all the innards have been cleaned and checked then the whole lot was re assembled and adjusted correctly and hey presto I have 4 hub gears and 2 rear mechanism operated gears again .

Raleigh Roadster


Raleigh Roadster

We presume at some point some more finger bits will break off as it’s a fairly common failure on these Fm hubs but until then normal service is resumed . The only piece of advice I was given by the senior mechanic was to avoid bouncing off kerbs and to try not to pedal with lots of load , ie change gear earlier and spin away .
He also reported that it looked like all the bearings had been regularly serviced as they were all in excellent condition and more than likely were the original ones as was the bottom bracket spindle , which is not bad considering the bike dates from 1952 .

Raleigh Roadster

Before going for my ride test I swapped the original Brooks leather saddle for a slightly newer Wrights version which I have had lying around for a while just waiting for the right bike to come along .
The eagle eyed of you will also notice that all the black insulation tape that was wrapped around the various cables attaching them to the frame have been replaced with proper metal clips , which I think helps to give the bike a tidier appearance .

Raleigh Roadster

The three mile ride went well without any issues , so the next test is a gentle six mile loop that I know and use for testing bikes out after having any work done on them .

RockBros Tour de France Summer Weight Cycling Jacket

A couple of weeks ago I thought I had better start looking for a lighter weight cycling jacket as my normal one is more of a winter weight one . I made a short list of requirements ie to some degree shower resistant , some reflective piping , at least a rear pouch and if possible either a chest or front waist pocket .


Ian May

The next bit was to start looking at jackets and to see what was out there and what prices they were so I could work out my budget , I have tried both Altura and Endura winter jackets and both have left me disappointed so those two makes were crossed of the the list before it had even been compiled. Next off the list was Madison as my current winter jacket is one of theirs and again I am not impressed due to a lot of the reflective wording and other detail having all fell off  .

Imagine my surprise when I was approached by Chinese company GearBest to pick some items that I would be happy to do some reviews on , I looked at the huge range of products they offer and thought to myself why not see what they do in the way of Lightweight Cycling Jackets , sure enough they had a few options which fitted the bill . On closer comparison I decided that I liked the look of the Rockbros “ Tour De France “ Summer weight jacket for one reason or another .


Rockbros tour de france

Once I placed my order to GearBest I was told that it was in stock and would be despatched quite shortly , sure enough the next working day I had an automated text that the parcel was en route via DHL this message also included a tracking number so I could check on its progress as it made its way across from China . Two working days later I had another text stating the parcel was due to be delivered within the next 24 hours , and sure enough it was delivered the following day before lunch time so all in all it only took about the same time as a second class letter does in the UK via the post office .

Once the parcel was opened I could see that it had been well packaged to protect it in transit . It’s always nice to see a product that doesn’t really need any packaging being well packed as it gives me confidence that the people packing the parcel are taking some pride in their job and know what they are doing .


Rockbros Tour de France

On initial inspection I am extremely happy with the quality of the Rockbros “Tour de France” jacket and it certainly feels nice when on , the fit feels good . The first ride was done in nice sunny conditions with just a polo style shirt underneath, it felt warm enough , the return journey a couple of hours later was done with a sweat shirt over the polo shirt and although only 10 minutes long I didn’t feel overly warm and the jacket still felt right in terms of fit .

The zip is one that can be undone from around the waist once done up , which is a handy option I hadn’t thought about before but it allows you to open as much of the lower section as you want to for extra ventilation , whilst we are talking zips this one seems to work okay and has a good feel to it . The stitching to attach the zip to the jacket looks neat and strong . The zip on the rear pouch and two side pockets are a bit smaller but again they all feel and look of similar quality in operation .


Rockbros Tour de france

The cut of the jacket is more a “Race” fit  than a touring style one, this is mainly shown in the lack of a longer back section to cover your backside when riding without guards when the roads are damp , and the sleeves lack the slightly curved cut which some other jackets have . Both the cuffs and waist are slightly elasticated and the neck seems to be cut slightly higher than normal . The back vent goes across the whole width of the jacket to provide good ventilation and hopefully to avoid the boil in the bag situation .


Rockbros Tour de France

There is some reflective piping along the seams and a thick reflective band across the back just below the rear vent , there is none of the reflective paneling or wording that many other jackets have which in my finding don’t normally last six months before they fall off . I will be using this jacket mainly on my leisure rides so should see a fair bit of use and it will be interesting to see how it fairs .

More details and specification of the jacket can be found by clicking on the