Monday, April 26, 2010

Sometimes I dont know why I bother...

this time I'm moving to tumblr...

it's more idiot-proof than wordpress! and I'm an idiot.

New addy is:

last move evah........ maybe

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mapping the Route

I've started to map the route. I did this in a few stages, firstly looking at spots where family are, secondly looking at spots where awesome things are (UNESCO world heritage sites for example), and thirdly by looking at flickr and looking at other awesome looking places.

Then I tried to see how whatroute could take me through all these awesome places without doubling the distance. Here is a link to my effort so far (it is incomplete as of posting). It has so many markers that you have to click across at the bottom to actually see all the points (and the route). So far it goes from Rome to about Besancon in South East France.

You may also note that it goes over about twice as many Alps as is really necessary... this is entirely because I want to go to Chur, to see this awesome railway:

Big thanks also to Andrew Sykes whose research and planning formed the basis of my route!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Exustar Stelvio Shoes Review

First Impressions

The first thing that struck me about these shoes was the build quality. They are solid shoes, thick, rigid leather, quality stitching and a very inflexible and thick sole (I think it has a metal plate in it). This is all good (at least for riding).

On the Bike:

The rigid sole is great for riding. I tend to ride pretty hard, I get out of the saddle a lot and trash the pedals – these shoes stood up to the punishment admirably. It is, however, important to make sure that you lace them up well (tightly). Furthermore, it is very important to tuck the drive-side laces into the shoe to ensure they do not get caught in the mechanisms! I am strongly considering cutting the laces shorter, they are quite long and are a hazard near the front cogs.

I have worn these in wet weather and they are surprisingly water resistant. I have not tried them in incredibly hot weather.

Off the Bike:

These are most certainly not walking or running shoes, they are cycling shoes that ‘can’ be walked in. The rigid sole is not great on un-ever surfaces, and I would hate to think about walking in these on slippery rock surfaces. Having said that, these are in a totally different league to my sidi’s (with the giant cleats out the bottom) which are practically un-walkable over distances exceeding 100m.

The cleats I have used (Time ATAC) sit within the sole, however, they do occasionally knock the floor when walking. I would not recommend running around polished wooden floors with these on!


I bought these online without trying a pair on first (thanks to there being NO distribution in Australia). I have numerous pairs of shoes, ranging from 43 to 44.

My Sidi shoes are 43 and fit perfectly (if a bit touchy on the width). I have fairly broad, short feet too. I decided to play it safe and get 44’s and I’m glad I did. The fit on these shoes is not very accommodating for broad feet. The width is perfect for me in the 44 but I have a spare 1-2cm of space in the toes (not ideal). These shoes are also quite tall, though correct lacing should fix this – if not – an inner sole!

I expect the leather to soften a bit with wear, and the fit could improve with time. I will update this post after 6months or so to see how they go.

Recommended use:

These shoes look normal, that is their key benefit. They are competent riding shoes with good walkability off the bike (for cycling shoes) but their real bonus is that they remove the need for a second pair of shoes. You could easily wear these shoes to the pub, to a mates place, social occasion or casual workplace and no one will notice.

If you are after a pair of cycling shoes just for cycling, there are better and cheaper options out there. If, however, you want a pair of incognito cycling shoes that don’t ‘clipety clop’ but give you the advantages of cleats, rigid soles and tight fit these are your shoes!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Surly Long Haul Trucker - Nearly finished

I put on the handlebar tape today, and it's looking mighty fine in my very biased opinion!

Monday, June 15, 2009

How To Remove Brake Levers

As with the bar end shifters below, I found this a little fiddly and would have loved some photos before doing it! If you are going to do this, I recommend having an array of Allen keys (long and short) as the space in which you have to turn the bolt is small, and the bolt can be quite tight!

Step 1: Un-clip the Brakes

Step 2: Pull down Brake Lever, Insert Allen Key, Turn anti-clockwise to loosen

Another view:

Step 3: Once loose enough, move brake levers around and off the end of the bar.

This was also quite easy, but a little fiddly loosening the Allen key bolt inside the brake lever. You can actually remove the whole lever from the bracket if you unscrew totally, but it is probably just as easy to loosen it enough, and it should slide around the bar (I had to loosen it a lot more than I anticipated as the bar is a bit thicker at the ends and round the bends).

Hope this helps!

How To: Remove Bar End Shifters

So I wanted to change over the handlebars from the stock Surly LHT ones to the Nitto Noodle bars - having never done this before I went searching on the internet. I found the advice of Michael Gagnon on the Surly Google forum very helpful but really wanted some pictures to go with it.

I didn't find any, but I have taken some pictures of my successful removal and replacing of the bar end shifters - to help anyone else out there like me who loves photos.

Step 1: Remove Bar Tape

Step 2
: Move Both Shifters to the Downward position

Step 3: Undo the Screw on the Shifter

Step 4: Remove the Shift Lever

Step 5: Loosen the Expanding Allen Bolt Inside the Bar (TURN CLOCK-WISE TO LOOSEN!!)

Step 6: Pull out the whole Mechanism

So... it's really quite easy and understandable that no one has bothered putting up step-by-step photos before!