As well as the race in Milan, it was a pretty busy weekend. The drive down through France and Switzerland, track day at the fabulous Vigorelli Velodrome, riding the city, bike cafes and our fair amount of pizza. It was nice to be able to ride Milan with my son and for him to see all the excitement. We had a great visit to our friends at Cicli Drali, had posh coffee at the Bianchi Cafe and hung out in a bunch of local bike shops like the great Velociclista. Roll on next year.
About 6 months ago we got together with a couple of riders who had never raced before and set the objective to help them start racing with the lofty aim of entering the Red Hook Crit in Milan in October. Well it’s been a journey but we made it and what an experience it has been. It’s been great to help some dreams come true, progress our own and make some friends along the way. Milan was a blast. We were down to one rider for the race but Jamal Benmoussa did himself proud. Thanks to everyone who helped and encouraged us along the way. Now to the excitement of what comes next…
This seems to have happened a bit quickly but due to a few quirks of fate, meeting a few people and a desire to take another step into the unknown we seem to have ended up with a fledgling Fixed Gear Race Team! This road may have already had a few twists and turns in it but we’ve been able to help two brilliant guys get to their first Fixed Gear Crit Race at the Thundercrit3 race at the Olympic Park in London. Fantastic event it was too. Not sure where this journey goes next other than Mr Port Nocturne next weekend:-)
When prepping for our tall bike ride to Bristol, having built the later two out of full cromo donor frames I realised I might be slightly under gunned with my old Raleigh and Viner mix. The excuse of someone expressing an interest in buying it was all I needed to convince me to build another. It also gave me the opportunity to test out building some long forks in preparation for another up coming project. So on the Saturday before the Bespoked show the hammer (angle grinder) dropped and my old On-One Inbred frame went to a higher place. Just about finished in time as the last parts only arrived on the Thursday before we left on the Friday. We did manage to give it a 400 yard test ride Thursday night just as it got dark and packed it for the first time as we left on Friday and it worked out great. I will probably fit a stabiliser bar to the front fork which I ran out of time to complete before the off. Will probably reduce the load on the fork crown as there’s quite a moment on those forks and help once I get the front disc mount sorted too.
For a bit of fun we wanted to ride down to Bespoked 18 on tallbikes. Having built the first one my brother, Pete, and friend Scott ended up with number 2 and 3. To ensure I could keep up number 4 was built in the week before the show. Awesome weather had dried the trail. Bikepacking gear came into it’s own. Started at 7am to make the first 50 miles to meet up with Scott for lunch as he was coming up from deepest Hampshire. Going along the Sustrans route 4 which was just beautiful. 100 miles on the first day put us in Devizes for the night. We then polished off the last 40 into Bristol on Saturday morning whilst picking my son up in Bradford Upon Avon after a stonking breakfast in the Lock Inn Cafe. 4 test rides given on route, one BMX track ridden and a lot of smiles raised. Raising funds for the Mind mental health charity and having a blast along the way. (http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mindthebikebespoked2018)
In one of our less sane moments we thought what better idea than to ride down to the Bespoked bike show this year. To make it slightly more entertaining we thought this was a good opportunity to test out the tall bikes which also meant finishing 3 of them and having them in a fit state to do about 260 miles over the weekend for the return trip from London to Bristol. Seemed like a good idea at the time but as it gets a little closer, well it seems like a long way. To ensure we didn’t think about changing our mind we added the prospect of supporting a good cause into the bargain so will be raising funds for the mental health charity, Mind, through the justgiving link below. Any support anyone wants to offer up will be gratefully received to help such a worthy cause.
When I first built my fat bike, it was an experiment to try one out. I had collected a few bits and picked up a pair of relatively cheap wheel to suit. They happened to have 100mm rims. I ended up fitting 4.0 tyres as that’s what I had.
Although it was great fun, it always had slightly peculiar handling – tram lined like a bugger and was super sensitive to camber on the road and trail. I experimented with a 80mm front (as I picked one up). It seemed a bit better but the back didn’t want lean over. Finally splashed out on some Halo Tundra 80mm rims and fitted to the back to match the width of the front. What a revelation. Handles properly, turns well and dropped about 150 grams. All round an interesting learning process.
It also proved that you could just about fit a 190mm axle in a park tools wheel jig which was a relief!
I’ve made a few custom racks and realised I hadn’t got one on my Brompton. I wanted to create one that would help with wheeling it around as well being able to carry some stuff. Pretty happy with how this turned out.
In preparation for a #TallBikeTour next year we are expanding the flock. We created this double Marin framed mountain tall bike. With half Bear Valley and half Pine Mountain it feels pretty light with all that double butted cromoly loveliness. Managed to add in the beer bottle opener, just in case:-)
Enjoying some nice autumn weather riding before on my copper singlespeed. Fitted some Cinelli bars for the retro look. Really comfortable and look the business.
For a planned tallbike camping trip I wanted to add some luggage capacity so added front and rear stainless racks and some additions to the rear frame to add some extra stuff is needed and add to the patchwork paint job.
Summer was starting to heat up so I wanted to stop commuting with a rucksack. I only ever need one pannier so made this stainless single sided rack for my commuter.
I ended up with a free Sunday afternoon and having watched the TED talk about tall bike bobby I couldn’t resist turning some of the scrap in the shed into something more fun. They seemed to get a mixed reception but it’s got two wheels, looks like a pile of fun and actually rides pretty well.
One of the nice things about making bespoke bikes is can choose the geometry. I decided to go fairly aggressive head angle (for a fat bike) as the last thing I wanted was a barge. It’s steeper than anything else I saw in the market so although it keeps your attention on the descents it’s pretty awesome fun on twisty single track. Trying out a shorter stem, in spite of my natural xc tendencies also seems to help the fun!
The weather was far from snowy but first test ride on my fatty completed. Great over dry sand and pretty darn good fun over anything else. It seems to need a different amount of body movement to turn it at speed but tramped along on the road and flat pretty well. Need to experiment with tyre pressures and some bigger terrain next. Bring it on!
Weather looks a lot better so time to break out the summer commuter. Changed the saddle to a flat carbon one and trying out some flat bars chopped down to drop bar width to sneak through the traffic. Will be best thing about Monday morning.
After having a go on a friends fat bike I was gagging to build one. I’d been collecting the bits for some time and finally got round to finishing it. Most seem to have pretty slack angles. The one I rode seemed like it did to so I decided to go for 70.5 degree head angle. It’s certainly doesn’t seem slow to turn. Can’t wait to get it off road.
I had the chance to make this for my nephew’s son’s 2nd birthday. It’s always tricky judging the sizing when they grow so quickly but this seemed to turn out just right. He liked it so much he almost put his dumper truck down!
Winter on the way so time to mudguard up my commuter. Makes those wet ride so much more bearable. SKS long guards do the business.
Something for the winter! A friend of mine sent me a link to one of these so it seemed to good an opportunity to miss. Bit research and Bob’s your snowman’s uncle – snow bike / ski bike. A few bits to make to complete it and fingers crossed for snow.
Beautiful Autumn ride with my wife on her Tomobike Mixte.
Copper coated fixie Columbus steel frame, carbon seat post, Velowland copper coated carbon seat, lightweight shallow rake steel forks, aero topped carbon bars, 50mm aero rims.
I had the fortune to have a go at the Viking Challenge this year Good excuse for my brother and I to take my cross bikes and 29er for a spin. Very nice day and interesting back to back of the bikes not to mention some stonking cake.
My son has a scooter which is great but could really do with some proper sized wheel and tyres that can deal with average pavement surfaces. So we knocked this up using some old BMX parts. I have to say it’s an absolute hoot to ride. Full bespoke version 2 is already in the planning.
New T-shirt design turned up. This is the simplified version of the truth! The real version would only fit on an XL:-)
Having made one for a steam punk bike I wanted to experiment with a few more styles and so I made some more for some other bikes. They look so cool in the flesh.
It seems that most of the nuts on single speed wheels look ok when new but cut up, rust and look pretty dreadful after w while. As part of a steam punk bike build we were looking to add various amounts of brass components and knocked up these brass wheel nuts and bottle cage bolts. They look soooo much better than the standard steel ones!
I finally got round to finishing the build of my Bamboo framed bike. The weather was looking up so thought it was about time. Of course the forecast is now wazzing down all week. I decided to go 8 speed for ease and, as someone kindly put it, traffic light colour scheme. We’ve got a Bamboo ride out planned in July so must give it a try as soon as the weather clears.
I had the great opportunity to build a balance bike for the grand daughter of a friend of mine. She chose the colour to match the new Tomo Bikes kit (or because it was a pretty colour!). Got some adjustable dropouts which with a bit of filing could make the angle needed for the chain and seat stays. What is a chain stay on a balance bike called? I wanted to go for a sort mixte look as it was for a young lady! Happy riding Amelia.
New project underway to build a steam punk themed bike. Lots of brass and detailed parts still to make. Nice skinny wishbone seats stays.
Brass stem cap with fixing for copper tubing. Not for the weight conscious but looks cool.
29er all finished and ready for it’s first proper ride. Columbus zona tubing. Carbon stem, post and bars. Rigid and 1*10 for now. Got that lovely new bike feel.
Remembering the last dry day out on the cross bike – roll on summer.
Had the pleasure of taking the Triumph bike down to Jack Lilley Triumph in Ashford for some photos. Big thanks to Hugh and boys for the warm welcome. Bagged some pictures with their lovely Triumph Thruxton, 675 and Scrambler.
I stumbled over this on t’internet. Not one of my bikes (it’s built by Motorless City Bike Co in Detroit) but I love it and good coffee. Might have to book a trip to Detroit!
I’ve just been lucky enough to spend the last two evenings with Alex at London Bike Kitchen learning how to build wheels properly. Can’t wait to get some bits together and get building. The winter evenings will never be the same.
Checkout – http://lbk.org.uk/
Nice classic Kona jumper too!