Archive for April, 2008

Feeling Guilty

I feel a little guilty as I have not cycled as much this month as I have previously.

I have tried to cycle to work as much as possible, although one week I was ill and only managed two days that week going to work on my bike.

I have a cycle ride to Ely in two weeks so I need to step the gear up a bit again, less excuses, I need to be able to do the distance. I will do a better job from now on, that is why this month is a little lacking on the blogging front. I cannot wait for decent weather to start, I can then do more at weekends.

Here’s hoping.


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SPD Pedals

When I bought my new bike it came with toe clips on the pedals, I have been trying to get used to the toes clips for 3 months. One of the straps on the pedals broke on Thursday and I have been thinking of getting a set of new pedals.

I have been looking into what type of pedals to get and a lot of people like SPD (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics) pedals. Basically you have a pedal like the one in the picture and you have special shoes that have cleats on the bottom. The cleats on the shoes lock into the pedals making your pedalling more efficient as essentially your feet are stuck to the pedals. To release them you have to rotate your heal outward and you can then lift your foot off the pedal.

Andy at work recommended Shimano A520 pedals which are SPD pedals. I ordered them and they came with the cleats. After I received them I went to the cycling shop to buy shoes to put the cleats in.

I needed to buy a special spanner to fit the pedals as I didn’t have one that would fit. The pedals are too narrow for you to use an adjustable spanner, as I scratched my pedal stems trying this.

When I received the pedals and spanner, Andy helped me fit them. It is important to use non-ceasing grease to make sure that you can get the cleats out of your shoes and the pedals off again.

Once they were fitted it was a learning curve trying to use them, you have to think in advance of stopping to make sure that you unlock the foot that you will be landing on. I have been assured that eventually you get used to it and it comes naturally.

Since getting the pedals I have only fallen off once, this was because someone in a car tried to knock me off and I had to swerve to avoid them, as I was falling I managed to unlock my foot, but hurt my leg in the process. If you are thinking of getting these, I would think why you would need them. If you are travelling quite a long distance e.g. several miles with very few stops, I would recommend them, however, if you plan on just doing city cycling it would not be advisable as you would have to keep locking and unlocking your feet every few minutes.

You can get pedals that are normal pedals on one side and SPD’s on the other side. I would probably recommend these for most people as you do not need special shoes to use them.

Think carefully before doing it. I would not go back now, but given the choice again I would probably get the double sided pedals instead.

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Sonic Boom Birthday

Last Sunday was my birthday, so on Saturday I went to the cycle shop and bought a track pump with a gage, as my bike tyres seemed to be very low. When I bought the pump I asked the guy that sold me the bike what my bike tyres should be pumped up to. He said that he thinks it is 85psi but it says on the side of the tyre.

I have been told the the more you pump up your tyres the easier it is to ride, and the less effort it takes, so I planned to inflate them as high as possible.

On Sunday I was doing some bike maintenance, I got my bike out of the garage and realised that I had a puncture in the front tyre. Perfect time to try my new pump. Swapped the inner tube with my spare one and I checked the tyre and it said max 85psi, so I thought the guy was right, I pumped it up to just over 80 psi then started to fix the puncture in the other tyre.

I then heard what sounded like a sonic boom, and the front inner tube had exploded with such force that it blew the tyre off the wheel. I wondered if I had inflated the tyre too much. When I removed the inner tube it had a split right down it.

The first puncture was called a snakebite puncture and it is when you get two holes about equal distance apart on your inner tube, this is due to your inner tube hitting your wheel whilst you are riding. the inner tube gets trapped between the wheel rim and a curb or something. I repaired this then but it back on the bike and pumped it up, I learned from the last time and pumped it up to 70psi, this is 15psi off the maximum.

As I was putting away my tools and I heard another sonic boom sound, the other inner tube had exploded. I didn’t want to keep going through inner tubes without a reason, so I drove to work on Monday and took my wheel, two burst inner tubes and the pump with me. I took them back to the shop for an explanation, they tested the pump and said that the gage was 20psi out. So when I thought I was pumping up my tyre to 80psi I was actually pumping it up to 100psi. No wonder it exploded. The said unless you spend a lot on a pump the gage is usually inaccurate and used for a guide. He gave me another pump that he said was about 7 psi out and told me to inflate my tyres to 60psi, which should be enough.

I felt quite nervous pumping up the new tyres and ended up pumping them up to 50psi, on the ride to work this week they seemed slightly lower than I would like them, so I think I will take it up to 60psi.

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