Cycling

My new bike, the carrera subway LTD commuter

I wrote before that I was learning to ride a bike again, and even that I'd started tracking my trips by riding with an n810I did cycle to work a couple of times on Kat's old bike. I even signed up for a bike2work day last week. Unfortunately no sooner had I signed up than disaster struck on my way home.

The peddle came off! And not just 'oh dear it's come unscrewed' but the threads completely sheared off in the crank. So I was faced with a choice, pay to repair the old bike, give up cycling, or buy myself a new bike.

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16062009262

Well I'd been planning to buy a new bike anyway, I just wanted to prove I'd keep at the cycling first. But this forced the issue and so I ordered myself a Carrera subway LTD commuter bike. Fortunately it was 20% off, so at least something good from the accelerated timescale.

It arrived on Tuesday and I had the fun of assembly. I wasn't sure how hard this would be. I turned out to be pretty easy. The bike arrived with the bike frame and backwheel assembled with gears, chains, derailers etc in place. The controls were attached to the handle bars, which just needed to be bolted onto the mount point. The saddle came separate and needed to be inserted in the frame and tightened at the appropriate height.

Peddles needed to be screwed onto cranks and the front wheel needed to be put in place with its quick release mechanism. All pretty simple stuff. The most complicated bit was checking the settings of the disc breaks. Though really nothing that you wouldn't need to be able to do in owning the bike anyway.

The quick release wheel is useful as it means I can hang my bike up as I had been with Kat's old one, but rather than loosening the handle bars to flatten things against the wall, and have to reset it every morning. I can now just whip the wheel off, and it's easy to replace.

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21062009009

I inflated the tyres and learned that my foot pump has a broken pressure gauge, that tops out at 40psi. I thought it was failing to add more pressure, but when I switched to an electric pump it's gauge showed pressure was about right, up at 60psi, so just the gauge had been rubbish.

My first ride on Tuesday was great, I took it easy on the way to work; and everything felt good. I particularly like the stopping power of the disc brakes. Good when hurtling down hill, to know you can stop reasonably well. On the way home I pushed it (in the rain) and was pleased to make it in about 35 minutes.

I've continued to track my journeys with my n810, and have seen a peak speed of 34mph and a best average speed of 12.4mph.

After 2 days in a row, I really needed a break to let my body recover. The saddle region in particular needed some respite. But I'm hopeful that I'm still on an improving path. If I can get to work in the morning in 40 mins, and not feel dead at the other end, I'll be happy. But some serious training required first.

In the time since I got the bike, I've added lights, rear mud guard, kick stand, rear pannier rack, panniers, under saddle bag and of course a bike lock.

None of which are cheap. All told I've probably spent 40% of the bikes cost again on accessories. I had really better keep at it now!

The mud guard was a faff, I specifically asked if it was 'compatible with disc brakes', the pannier explicitly claimed to be. The Halfords bloke said yes, they were the ones to use... Well to be fair I have used the rear one. It just took a lot more fiddling than I expected. The disc brakes get in the way of the metal supports the bolt to the frame and go to the mudguard. However the pannier came with long bolts and shrouds to allow it's 'legs' to come wide of the disc brake mechanism and bolt in.

rear mud guard supports
rear mud guard supports

this meant I could mount the metal mudguard supports similarly wide. but then I had to bend an couple of kinks in it so that it would enter the clips at the correct angle. The instructions do mention needing the wires bit to enter the clips at the right angle, but don't mention anything about bending to achieve it.

I've still not mounted the front mud guard, since I do not have bolts/shrouds that will widen the mount point. I'll have to figure something out. Though I was more concerned with the rear guard.

The kick stand I'll have to take back. I hadn't checked before hand, but the wire that controls the rear derailer passes under the bottom of the frame and up through the hole I'd need to bolt the kickstand through. Nothing to be done there, I didn't really need a stand, it was just cheap and I was carried away accessorising.

I've not done a commute yet with the panniers, I'm hoping it will really make things easier. Carrying laptop and stuff in a bag on my back takes its toll over the journey. My posture ends up all wrong and my shoulders/neck were feeling it. I did take the bike into town yesterday just to pick up some shopping, and it did make things nice and easy. So looking forward to Tuesday when I next commute.

Overall I'm really getting into this riding to work thing. I'm still not sure how much I'll continue if the weather is bad, but in the sunshine it is nice. I also like the mechanics of the bike. Yesterday I adjusted the rear derailer, as it was skipping between the top 2 gears. Basically in the penultimate gear, the chain was skipping between the correct gear and the top gear. Adjustments made I shall see how it goes. But there are loads of bits and bobs to play with, and unlike a modern car, it's all easy mechanics which are user tweakable and that's cool.