One thing is certain about cycling in the UK, at some point (or most of the time) you will end up riding in the rain. Sometimes you get caught out, but most of the time you just go out in the rain because otherwise you just wouldn’t get out! Today’s ride was one of the latter.
In the same way that its often said that Eskimos have an abundance of words for snow, the same can probably be said about the British description of rain. So I can tell you that it was spitting as we met, this then developed into a prominent mizzle, before intensifying and becoming a drizzle, until further intensification turned it into a deluge and the eventual development of a downpour.
You would have thought that our damp home training ground would make British cyclists the best in the world when it comes to riding in the rain, compared to our continental counterparts training in nothing but the Mediterranean sun! But images of Bradley Wiggins suffering in this years Giro show that it can get the better of even the best out there!
Our route took us out towards the Durham Dales, with chattering teeth and hairy descents included in generous proportions. A quick tea stop at a friends to warm up, then the final push back into town as the drains reached their limits and spilled into the road.
Finally, remember that if in doubt refer to rule #9.
One of the most prominent features of the Northumberland scenery is known as the Whin Sill. This is an igneous intrusion, meaning that motlen rock was injected into rock which already existed, mostly following the preexisting weaknesses in the older rock.
In the case of the photo above the headland is made of the harder Whin Sill (dolerite), compared to the sedimentary rocks around it. This contrast in resistance to the elements has resulted in the sediments being eroded much quicker, and the formation of the bay that we observe today!
Two rear derailleurs have been sent through the rear wheel on this bike. The second took with it the threads on the inside of the dropout, rendering it unable to support a rear derailleur anymore. The solution: go fixie.
The hub I have invested in a ‘flip-flop hub’ so the option is there to bail out onto a singlespeed freewheel if I decide that the hills of Durham are too much for a fixie.
Unusually for a job of this kind the conversion went without major problems, even getting chain tension with semi-vertical dropouts worked out ok! The only hassle was that the new rims are thicker and the presta valve was barely long enough! I’ve opted for a 17t rear sproket but this can always be changed.
Chainline on fixed/singlespeed bikes is I’m told crucial. If its wrong the chain will endlessly come off and in the worst case (brakeless fixie) the chain will prematurely brake and you will loose any ability to stop the bike! For this reason I have (for now) kept the albeit crap brakes on it.