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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:33 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:03 pm
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Location: held captive by baby haggis in a cave in Scotland
Looks very smart mate!
Look forward to hearing about, and reading, the ride report. Intrigued ;)

Jamie


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:58 pm
Posts: 778
Location: Highlands, Scotland
Jamiedyer wrote:
Looks very smart mate!
Look forward to hearing about, and reading, the ride report. Intrigued ;)

Jamie

Thanks. I'm going to improve it a wee bit more.

I went looking for the flash wheels I had on it originally but then I remembered they went on AJ's Pompino 5 years ago, so I think after this ride the poor thing deserves some pretty wheels.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:58 pm
Posts: 778
Location: Highlands, Scotland
A quick fiddle with the bike and a couple of minor changes and it was ready for the fray. The weather didn't look promising but I told my wife I was going be it hell or high water. Little did I know.

I woke too early at 4am, checked the forecast and it was worse and decided to give it a miss and went back to bed.

However around 6 the dog decided she wanted out to establish another doggy doo pyramid in the backyard and conveyed this to me by sticking her snout in my ear. Checked the weather, still not good, but tried another forecast and decided that was better, so I decided I'd use their weather instead of the Met Office's.

At the last moment I ignored my cycling clothes and put on a pair of long trousers and a long sleeved shirt. Highlanders will know why this may be a good thing,

I was as well prepared as a 1930's chap should be, so it was no bother when the rain started far enough from home for me to not simply turn back. Just slipped on my cycling cape - the only really breathable cycling attire.

Once the rain started, the gear changes started becoming imprecise. Not a problem I usually have with my 3 speed, but at this stage nothing major.

Near the 2 hour mark I took a wee stop for munch and contemplation of the mountains (cunningly hid by the mist and more rain heading my way). I always like to stop on this stretch. It seems a shame to go cycling and not stop to enjoy what you're riding through.

Image

The road slopes up more hereabouts, nothing major, but my gearchanger got sloppy after more rain. Something had obviously moved, but nothing was obvious.

I stopped atLoch Glascarnoch to readjust it back to the mark. My Gaelic is rusty, but if the name doesn't translate into Million Midgies from Hell Lake, then something is wrong. Within seconds my cycling cape was black with the little bloodsuckers. Boy, was I glad at my last minute wardrobe change before setting off - the only exposed skin was my face and the top of my heid through the helmet. It was a tad hard to concentrate on fine adjustment.

Image

I didn't hang around. I'm sure I left there half a pint of blood lighter and it was on to the next stop which fortunately was windy. One day I'll wander down to that wee bothy to check it out as a possible doss for the night.

Image

There was a cracking descent down Braemore and then I reached the other side of Scotland's coast at Inverlael at the head of Loch Broom.

Image

The next section was tough, not because it's overly steep but because I'd lost low gear. That meant I was pushing a 65 inch gear - about where I gear a SS road bike.

I stopped in Ullapool for an early lunch and to fix the problem. After a close examination it appeared to be the cable stop slipping under the lubricating qualities of the rain. Wrong as it turned out, but I was able to adjust the cable so everything worked - which is just as well because there's some horrible steep bits from Ullapool to Ledmore.

Halfway up the first climb, no bottom gear again, followed shortly thereafter by the normal gear, ie I was stuck in top which was barely manageable.

I decided to press on anyway - I've done the loop on a singlespeed trackbike at that ratio, but I was 13 years younger, and it was hard work then. I figured if I could get to Ledmore I could "easily" manage the bit to the other coast.

Oxygen stop after some hard work - looking towards Ardmair and Beinn Mhor na Coigich and even more weather coming in.

Image


Wester Ross is a lumpy place.

Image



At last, Ledmore Junction in sight. Should I swing left, nip up the road a wee bit and drop in on Jamie? Nah, decided to head back to the other coast.

Image

As expected the next bit was doable. The weather improved and I was able to get back normal gear by adjusting, but not bottom.

I envied the advanced technology on this modern singlespeed. The ultimate single speed hooligan's mount.

Image


The phone box of doom. Always end up having to stop here for some reason or another. This time it was because I was back to being stuck in high gear and no adjustment available.

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I stopped in Bonar Bridge and bought some adjustable spanners from the shop (they didn't have 8mm spanners) and was able to tighten up the cable so everything worked. Frabjous joy, especially as the next hill was the Struie.

However, and there's been a lot of howevers in this tale, by the time i reached the Struie I was down to the 2 top gears.

Decision time. The easy way home, or do the Struie? A ride without climbs is no fun, and after all that way it would be daft to miss out the Struie which strikes fear into the unfit or heavily laden.

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Halfway up the Struie. I lost Normal again so it was just top gear. It's bloody hard work in top gear. However after some faffage here I got back normal.

Image


And after 120 miles, most of which were unnecessarily hard, crossing several mountain ranges, here I was with a downhill all the way home.
Image

By the way, did I mention the rain.

Just in case, here's a few words to sprinkle through the above:
rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, and not to mention RAIN! RAIN! RAIN! RAIN!

'Twas a successful ride, I got both the hell and the high water. :)

BTW the problem appears to have been the teflon coating on the gear cable. It only slipped when it was raining, and the little clamp on the Sturmey-Archer cable wasn't able to hold it against the pressure when it was lubricated with water. I've now rigged up something more robust, so here's hoping... (Never had a problem like that one before).

Oh, and the good news is I can safely say I have got my legs back. Just need to work on my breathing now. :)


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:30 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:34 pm
Posts: 13803
Location: Fife in Scotland
I enjoyed that Brian :)


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:12 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:58 pm
Posts: 778
Location: Highlands, Scotland
RobMac wrote:
I enjoyed that Brian :)

Sadist. :)

BTW a bit more detail on why I had the problem.

The cable I used was some super duper slick thing intended for a derailleur. It was also thinner than a normal gear cable. Derailleurs have pretty good clamps so it is unlikely to present problems there. However if you are having constant slippage problems with your derailleur, check you're not using a super duper skinny slick cable. :)

The Sturmey-Archer clamp is perfectly adequate for use with its own cables, and I have never had a problem with one slipping before. Unfortunately the clamp is a delicate wee thing with an alloy bolt which deforms elastically when you try to do it up hard enough to contain a super duper slick skinny cable, hence the problem.

It was my own fault, I shouldn't have used a derailleur part... :)

The Sturmey-Archer 3 speed has a default position of top gear, so if you do get slip, it's the lower gears you lose first. This was deliberate design to prevent you being inconvenienced by cable breakages (common back then). However it's a trifle inconvenient if that happens in the mountains.

The first job on the bike after manufacturing a new bulletproof clamp was to lower the default gearing. The bike is supposed to be my gentleman's tourer not a speed iron.

Today it's getting another ride to make sure there's no damage to the hub.


Last edited by epicyclo on Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:25 am 
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Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 4:57 pm
Posts: 1667
Hey - where the fook did all the trees go (you guys cut everything down over the eons!) ... ??


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:33 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:58 pm
Posts: 778
Location: Highlands, Scotland
k-rod wrote:
Hey - where the fook did all the trees go (you guys cut everything down over the eons!) ... ??

Nah, the effing midges carried them away... :)

Up this far it's all tundra. Nowhere for me to sling my hammock.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:16 am 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:03 pm
Posts: 6010
Location: held captive by baby haggis in a cave in Scotland
Hey Brian, that is a huge effort on that loop. I don't think most people will appreciate the distance let alone the climbs like the Struie.
Great effort, well done.
You look like you have got the good summer weather as there is patches in the rain clouds ;)

Jamie

Another view from half way up the Struie :) from a fortnight back :)
ImageDSCN4202 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:01 am 
MacRetro rider
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Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:12 pm
Posts: 811
Location: Renfrew , UK
Epic ride Brian under trying conditions. Way beyond my capability :cry:


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:17 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:58 pm
Posts: 778
Location: Highlands, Scotland
Jamiedyer wrote:
...You look like you have got the good summer weather as there is patches in the rain clouds...

Like you, my camera only gets pulled out when it's dry enough. :)


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