Fashioning an Extremely Long Mud Flap From Society’s Leftovers In A Spirit Of Organic Austerity

Full mudguards are the answer to any number of questions, but particularly the inherently controversial poser: “Which is better, Race blade or crud?”. Thus far, as we have seen, only one person is sufficiently qualified to make that judgement; us lesser secret cyclists lack the skills and aptitude to test things properly.

Full mudguards do, nevertheless, have one minor issue. The gap from the end of the rear guard to the road surface is a yawning chasm that allows a substantial amount of road spray up into the eyes and face of the following rider. The only way to solve this problem is to fit an extended mudflap. It’s a growth cottage industry and there a number of inventive ways to fit a flap.

the 57th mudflap tested by Car Free Days

I opted for a 4 pint milk container. it has just the right blend of rigidity and ‘give’ and is pre-shaped to curve around the back wheel. I expect the other members of base club to thank me for my efforts on tomorrow’s filthy lane ride. I will test for rear wheel spatter and then write a full review of this very expensive piece of ├╝bertech.

Organic Milk Mud Flap. Maybe it might keep the cows away.

As things currently stand i suspect that by Easter I will be a fully fledged member of the Audax fraternity with a dyno-hub front, 28mm tyres and SPD sandals. Party on!

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Preparing for Winter

I spent some time at the weekend switching the hill climb bike into winter mode. Having finally recovered from the ale rave, I’m now ready to start some serious base mileage.

Vigorelli Path/Track
with Carradice Super C

It’s got some lovely touches, apart from being a beautiful steel frame. The mudguard bosses are hidden underneath the chainstay bridge and the front fork, keeping the lines clean with no need to drill the rear brake bridge. The Brooks is extremely comfy. I think i might switch the bars back to a set of cut down bullhorns; the drops look nice but it’s not the best position when you don’t have hoods, the curve is a bit awkward.

The Super C takes everything i need to carry, with quite a bit of room left over. It’s an essential purchase and stops my back from getting sweaty. Saddlebags are one of the most amazing things I have ever used. I stick my things in a tote bag inside the super C so i can hoick the lot out when i get to the other end. We have secure bike parking, which is nice.

The light on the front is a hope vision one. I have had this light for 4 years now. It’s absolutely perfect for the dark lanes. They are seriously cheap at Wiggle at the moment. The back light is a bontrager ember and a smart lunar. The combination of two flashing lights makes me feel a bit more comfortable.

I’ve just about got used to the 68″ gear again, which is nice. I was worried for a bit.

First Ride of the New Year

Firstly, happy new year, i hope last year was good and that this year will be better.

Today I got out and about on the bike to continue the winter base theme. the weather today was supposed to be fairly nice. in the event, it threw everything at us over the space of 45 or so miles; glorious sunshine, hail, wintry sleet and rain.

the central bit of the ride was a long ascent from the a38 at churchill to the top of the mendips. it works out at around 4 miles, with some flat bits and small descents and a height gain of 650ft. it finished at the highest point of the mendips, cresting out at 900ft. it’s a great climb partly because of the length, but also because of the small sections which offer respite. it also takes you up into a secluded and beautiful section of moorland behind Dolebury Warren┬á(an amazing iron age hill fort). there is lots of evidence of prehistoric and neolithic occupation across this stretch of the mendips, including ancient burial mounds, stone circles and curious circular enclosures. it’s fascinating and strangely reassuring to see the physical connections between people and the landscape, stretching forwards across the millenia as a reminder that they once lived and shared this space, if not time.

right at the end we opted to tackle dundry lane. no-one i know likes this climb. it rises steadily before throwing in 3 ramps where it pitches up to around 20%. they are mercifully short. i had better legs today, which was a good thing.

clarken coombe in the driving rain and hail
dundry in savage wind and rain
the briefest of sunny moments
the top of shipham/longbottom
kieran: en forme