’tis the season to be jolly, and all that

Quick update on my Carry Freedom at year’s end…

… but who needs a sleigh to deliver presents?

The Carry Freedom Xmas gift express is in town!


I realised I haven’t posted for some time on my trailer. It’s still going strong, although I broke another velcro strap (which has put the annual running cost up to about £5).

While I no longer bother tracking the mileage, I reckon I’ve saved around £75 more in car running costs than I’ve spent on the trailer + trailer maintenance.

See also

  • Absolutely loads of articles about my Y-Frame trailer adventures elsewhere on the site.
  • At the time of writing, Chain Reaction Cycles are selling both large and small Y-Frame trailers at a discount

Bombproof new audax wheelset

I’ve just finished putting the last touches on my new audax wheelset, which will be seeing some heavy action in 2013…

SON Archetype w/ Shutter Precision dynamo… very nice!

I’ve just finished putting the last touches on my new audax wheelset, which I hope will be seeing some heavy action in 2013.

Based around the SON Archetype rim, Shutter Precision SP8 dynamo and a Novatec lightweight rear hub, laced 32h 3-cross with Sapim Lasers, the total weight for the finished wheels is just 1930g. Not bad when you consider it’s saving me around 300g of LiPo batteries on the longer rides… effectively a 1630g wheelset!

I should probably also offset the substantial cost of new batteries I won’t be buying against the cost of the parts (totalling £300.77). I sourced the hubs separately, but got rims and spokes from DCR Wheels in the UK, a pleasure to deal with 🙂


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Dynamo Hub Weight

Just how much of a weight penalty do you pay with a hub dynamo? Not (necessarily) much at all…

Hard currency illustrates illumination information

I’m building a new dynamo wheel and thought it would be interesting to compare the weight with the Li-Po battery LEDs I used previously.

Based on the Shutter Precision PV8 hub (not the light weight SV8 version), I expected the dynamo setup to be quite a bit heavier, but in fact the weight difference was just 25g.

On the lights themselves, the IQ Cyo is about 30g heavier than the Ay-Ups, but the RSP Astrum is 30g heavier than the Toplight Line Plus rear light, making that a wash.

dynamo_weight2 (1)

Let’s throw in 10g for the tail-light wire and you get 35g – roughly the weight of five 2p coins. If you wouldn’t throw away that much change after a commercial control or cafe stop, you probably shouldn’t try to justify a battery setup on weight grounds alone 😛

(Yes, it’s true that there are many other reasons why you might prefer batteries – I used them exclusively myself, until recently).

Of course, the battery pictured is only just enough battery for one summer night. In reality I took two on all long brevets, which tips the scales in the dynamo’s favour by a cool 100g…

dynamo_weight1 (1)

This doesn’t touch on the two real issues that split dynamo / battery use: drag (which is now the subject of a dedicated article on hub dynamo friction) and efficacy, but I wanted to take a few minutes to illustrate that what many percieve to be a significant downside of dynamo use just isn’t…

Even Wiggle are getting in on the hub dynamo action: get yours here.

Nazca Quetzal : two’s company

Nazca have produced a remarkable bike in the Quetzal, combining fantastic features and build quality with critically acclaimed handling.

Stunning design, smooth and confidence-inspiring ride

Ingenious tandem will fold, split or adjust to any situation

There are few recumbents in the world and fewer tandems, so there really aren’t many recumbent tandems! With their latest model, Dutch manufacturer Nazca are taking this niche head on and seem to have struck gold at the first try…


The Quetzal oozes quality and is clearly a labour of love, from its impeccable manners to design highlights like the dual rear shocks and the ingenious stoker BB (which slides on the triangulated main frame member):


It can easily be ridden solo but the ride comes into its own when laden as intended – the Quetzal is a very solid and confidence-inspiring bike, vital when you are responsible for another person as well as luggage for two!

Photo courtesy uberuce

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Studded bike tyres: so very now

Wised-up commuters are getting around quite happily – almost as if there’s no snow at all, in fact…

or, “why Schwalbe’s Marathon Winter is for you”

Winter 2012-13 is playing her opening gambit.

As Britons writhe in the grip of this first blast of icy weather, a small band of wised-up commuters are getting around quite happily – almost as if nothing’s going on at all, in fact.


The secret? Studded tyres – ordinary bike rubber with carbide tipped spikes that provide grip in all conditions – from dry tarmac to frozen lakes. Next time you’re gingerly walking across a frozen patch and another rider flies past, you know what the ‘rice crispies’ sound their bike is making is all about 🙂

Speaking for myself, I’m pretty sure I can finish my 15-20 minute Edinburgh commute before some of the neighbours manage to defrost their cars, completely unhindered by the frozen mess of Edinburgh’s roads and paths.

Obligatory video:

Local bike shop The Bike Chain (Canonmills, just off NEPN) have a couple of the more likely candidates on offer, although I hear stock is flying off the shelves like hot cakes: see the next section for online links.

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Let it snow, x3

Have to admit, I’m stoked about riding through another winter. There’s nothing like the feeling of being able to ignore the worst the weather can throw at you – no chance of being cut off, stranded, skidding into a crowd of school kids…

Gearing up with Marathon Winter studded tyres

I decided to swap my Schwalbe Kojaks for studded Schwalbe Marathon Winter tyres this weekend following a few days of bitter cold which froze standing water on my commute solid.


Continue reading “Let it snow, x3”