Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Senegalese bike tricks

I mentioned content is more important than film quality... here you go...

-:)

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Horse and bike Beachride...


Sunday morning i headed down to John Muir Park for a couple of hours riding the Moonlander around the Bay.
I joined friend Andy again on his Salsa Mukluk and also his wife Kat on her horse Orion...


The sun came out once we were around Spikey Point and riding down to Belhaven Bay was surreal with the sun and clouds reflecting on the wet sand.
Another lovely winters day on the east coast.
Again i filmed using the SD Tachyon XC camera. It does not have the picture quality of the (twice as expensive) HD Go Pro sports camera and is the older 4;3 ratio, but i love its old cini effect. I love its upload speed and ease of editing on my humble PC, a lot less time spent in the making,    fun films with cheap cameras is something i like, content is more important than quality...

Songs by Zero 7;  `Give it Away` and `When it Falls`

Monday, 27 February 2012

Vanishing Point - Trailer (1971)



Watched this again the other evening, a classic road movie from 1971.
It has it all, V8 cars, a funky soundtrack and a naked blond in the desert on a motorcycle...


As Kolwalski races across the desert of Utah and Nevada chased by police, at  KOW Radio the blind DJ  `Super Soul` keeps him one step ahead of road blocks in between playing some funky tunes...


The film ends as only a film like this can end...

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Saturday Beachride...


Out around Aberlady Bay and Gullane beach today on the Moonlander along with friend Andy on his Salsa Mukluk.
It has been one windy week and there was still a strong westerly today.
Were getting close to the lowest tides of the year, this mornings low tide was only 1 meter at 10.10am.
We were out at the Peffer estuary having ridden across the bay of the nature reserve at 11am and the Peffer burn was as low as i have ever seen it here...



After the winch out into the gale it was a tailwind assited blast back towards the WW2 Midget sub wrecks,  Andy produced a hip flask and we had a wee nip of Glenmorangie, bliss -:)



Conrods from the Gardner diesel engine that propelled the 4 man sub on the surface, it was the same engine as fitted to London buses!...




S.E of the wrecks this chassis has reappeared...


Friend Gary photographed it recently. Sure i posted this way back in the early days of the blog, but it has not surfaced for a while. I have been told there is the remains of a Ford model T out here, could this be it?...


Note the wooden runner board, was it once one of these?...


Kite surfers and windsurfers were out along the coast as we rode down Gullane Beach and through some of the trails in the pine woods...


I did some film with the Tachyon XC sports camera, it is in SD 4:3 ratio

Song is by Norwegian eletronic artist Skatebard,  `Vuelo` (2007)

Friday, 24 February 2012

Friday Night Youtube surfing...

Which of these did you also watch?...TV was so much better as a kid...

Starting with my own earliest memories of what we watched and amazing;  Bagpuss...



"Bagpuss dear Bagpuss, old fat furry cat puss,
wake up and look at this thing that i bring,
wake up be bright be golden and light,
Bagpuss o hear what i sing..."









And still a favourite now -:) ...









Do you remember the soup dragons?...










Thursday, 23 February 2012

Mid Week Beach Night Ride...


One Day i will have a decent camera that can take photos at night, asking a lot out of a £60 compact. But technology is getting cheaper all the time and hopefully it will come to cheap cameras.
In the meantime you will just have to take my word for it i had an ace night ride along the coast.
Riding from North Berwick at 5pm i rode tacking into the gale force westerly that's been blowing all week now along trails and through woods through Archiefield to the sandy trails east of Gullane as the sunset (5.35pm) and across the Forth the lights of Edinburgh came on as i rode to the cliffs and descended down onto the beach with retreating low tide...


It was kind of surreal with the wind howling, sea roaring and the clearing sky was lit up with stars as i rode along the beach on the Pugsley picking my way through rocks and single track trails that often did not look familiar in the dark...





Even 2 Magicshine lights on ful power do not penetrate the darkness on the beach when it is flat and open...


Yellowcraig Lighthouse blinked in the dark out at sea and the coast seemed alive with wildlife, a few pairs of white eyes blinking at me before disappearing with a bushy tail, Foxes are on the increase, as any Green keeper will tell you by the tracks left in bunkers every morning.

Once at Yellowcraig the glow of North Berwicks Town lights came into view, riding along the beach to the Harbour as the Town Clock chimed 8 pm. It could have been midnight , except for the guy in the harbour with headtorch checking mooring chains, rumaging around in the mud...




North Berwick East Beach has the benefit of being street lit...

So no worry if your light batteries are getting low...


Glad to be riding the Pugsley for the ride into the wind out to Gullane. but noticed it harder work on the sand that is very soft in places as dried out from the weeks Gales, and the tyres felt hard on the pebbles and exposed rocks  compared to the Moonlander, still a great bike for tonights ride...


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Bullitt Car Chase (Full Scene)

This bit of film needs no intro... one of the coolest actors of his period and a great film...

Monday, 20 February 2012

Hope Hubs, and stock Moonlander hubs...


Those beady eyed out there maybe noticed a shiny gold hub now on the Moonlander in the last post and film.
I had the wheel off for 5 days while friend Jake at Alpine Bikes at Glentress in the Tweed Valley laced the wheel and i got it back on Friday evening.
I have to say just how nice quality the Surly Clown Shoe rim is, a lot lighter than it looks...



Jake mentioned feeling a bit flex in the rim while building not felt in the  Large Marge rims, need to watch these rims on rocks - nice and slow over them...
I took the bike down so Jake could check the alignment but it was spot on, i think Jake just wanted a wee shot of the Moonie -:) ...



Jake has built all my wheels over the last 5 years and none have needed a spoke key on them.
Jake is leaving to a new job soon, but i will continue to get wheels built there as his fellow mechanics have seen the wheels being built and have all the info needed from Jake.
If you need offset wheels built give Alpine Bikes at Glentress a call. They now have the extender legs for the truing stand to take the Moonlander hub width, and indeed any 170mm inline fat bike hub.

Why did i get the wheel re laced so soon?, When the Moonlander comes with a Shimano XT hub?...


Non cycling readers bear with us for a bit...

Well without going off on a rant as i know a lot of people like Shimano hubs i think a cup and cone bearing hub as no place on a bike for beach riding.
I am going to keep my opinions on Shimano hubs on offroad bikes to my blog as there seems to be a big following of fans of them, and mentioning this on a forum will just erupt in arguments!, something i do not go on the internet for...
I have read that Shimano hubs are reliable, last forever etc, and the loose bearings drag less than sealed bearings, a fair point and for road cycling they still have a place.
I would end it at that but i had a bit grief with it.

When Shimano hubs are new they are best stripped and re greased as there is not a lot of grease in them and also adding a touch of loctite on the axle threads keeps the cup and cones tight.
Now i never touched the hub (inside) as i planned to only use it for a month or two, and of course the cones loosened whilst out cycling!. I should have known better to have not checked them. It was the cones on the drive side under the cassette too so i could do nothing until home.

I wonder how many people this happens to who pick up there new bike from a shop properly built and ready to go as you the buyer would expect a new bike to be?. The average purchaser of a bicycle is not a home mechanic or even aware of goings on inside hubs.
This is not the bike shops fault. But it seems to happen quite often according to another bike mechanic i spoke to. Why do Shimano not have them built properly?. This from the Worlds biggest manufacturer of bicycle parts from a country respected for there attention to detail.

So back home that evening i go to remove the Shimano cassette to access the cones and my Shimano cassette remover tool does not fit over the cones... Phone mate Jason.. "Ah you need the new Shimano remover tool, i bought one for the Alfine",
This one... Shimano part; TL-LR10


 So i borrowed said correct tool, and it didn`t fit over the cones either, same as my older Shimano tool, "mama mia!" and a few Scottish swear words!, and in 3 seconds i had decided time for `Operation Hope hub transfer`... -:)
I still had to get the axle out the Shimano hub from the non drive side but could not get the cassette off, so had no choice but lever out - and ruin in process an alloy cap over the cones,  then got the cassette off.

Anyway, my point is would you buy a cup and cone Bottom Bracket nowadays for a Mountainbike?, or a loose bearing Headset?,  of course you wouldn't.  When you can stick some sealed bearings in there then check them once or twice a year and job done, no hassle.

So why are cup and cone bearing hubs still being made and put on good quality off road bikes?, and esp something like a fat bike and the likely wet conditions it will see?, who knows...
Apparently there is a third Shimano cassette removal tool, what a load of nonesense!.

To balance the record a bit my 1994 Dawes Super Galaxy has Shimano Deore hubs, original items and the first owner of the bike racked up more than 40,000 miles. all 3 of my cassette removal tools fit the LX cassette too!,

I will also be changing the front Surly hub as for some strange reason it has angular face bearings with cup and cones instead of a regular shouldered axle, yep you guessed it, they loosened off too!,


I took some advice on line and replaced the lock rings with Shimano ones, they are still tight but, i have lost faith in it now, every ride i at least once go for a shake of the front wheel!.
Friend Jason had nothing but problems with his front hub cones loosening. The Moonlander uses a rear hub up front too but unlike the Pugsley it is in line, so i am just going to get a Hope Pro 2 SS trials rear hub like i have on my Pugsley laced on before summer.
The Hope hub is symmetrical despite the narrow cassette spine which will have spacers, but hey it means i will have spare cassette pawls just in case!.

For beachriding in the UK the stock Pugsley and Moonlander hubs are a bit of a let down for reliability and low maintenance.
To replace them even if you have hubs your looking at £45 per wheel for spokes and build, then also postage of wheel or petrol costs (£15 return fuel for myself).
Do the sums and thats not short of £400 for a swap to Hope hubs.

Now with its UK import price of around £1500 (same as a complete Surly Pugsley) the Salsa Mukluk is a good deal with its decent spec and regular sealed hubs. For someone who wants a bike ready to ride on the beach without any further outlay..

But Surly must have realised about the hubs because there launching new hubs soon, sealed with shouldered axle, This makes me happy as soon there complete bikes will be bomb proof  if these hubs are fitted.

I think the News on TV should be read like this...typical Surly -:)



Anyway... bike porn time...


I have 5 rear Hope hubs, at around £140 each that's a lot of money right? just for a hub?, not long term,

This Hope hub is about 7 years old, it was the first Pro 2 hub i bought and was built onto a Kona Cowan hard tail, then two Cannondales, and then my 29er wheels. It has seen hours and hours of riding.
Oh and it is still on ORIGINAL BEARINGS, and cassette pawls.
The red object is the 28mm offset spacer needed for building the wheels, if you buy a Pugsley you will get one that is 17mm long.
The beauty of these hubs is there simplicity to quickly pull apart and clean and service. ideal if you submerge your bike regularly in fresh or sea water, pull em apart, a quick airline then a squirt of GT 85 and job done,
Another reason to love Hope products is the warranty back up and available spares.
Many makes of hubs do not have available spares, all are available for older Hope stuff, and their warranty is second to none. I  had a 3 year old (out of warranty) HID light battery replaced free of charge - i mailed about its fault and they said `post it and we will have a look`,  and a friend had the whole internals of an early XC hub replaced due to a bit wear on the axle - even though it was over 10 years old.

A full service on the Pro 2 Hub takes no time as shown here in this film...`That`s a good hub`




If Carlsberg made hubs, they would still be not as good as these...



Morph - Ice Cream

Remember Morph & friend Chaz? -:)

Gin Head Radar Research and testing facility...East Lothian

East of North Berwick on the cliffs opposite the Bass Rock Island is the impressive ruins of Tantallon Castle...



Just west to the ruin is a set of buildings and perimeter fence perched above the cliffs at Gin Head, which is largely unrecognised for playing a very important part in WW2 history...



In 1943 scientists and technicians from the Air Ministry and Admiralty research establishments arrived at A.S.E.E. Tantallon and by April of 1944 made new breakthrough radar equipment prior to the D Day Landings in France on 6th June.
It was here that experiments with captured German Wurzburg and Seetaktrader radar sets were used with British radar which would represent other German equipment on a destroyer,  mine sweeper and several other ships offshore in the Firth of Forth and would develop equipment which would block the German radar at Normandy.

Captured German Radar testing on the roof at Gin Head 1944...







After the success of this further equipment was tested at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire which showed up massive movement of ships.
On D Day in June 1944 this equipment was deployed using Stirling and Lancaster bombers of 218 and 617 (the famous Dambusters) and it deceived the German High Command to believe the main Allied invasion was at Pas de Calais and not Normandy where the equipment shielded most of the invasion fleet.
Many Allied soldiers lives were saved due to this equipment, developed and tested here in East Lothian.
Yet there is no recognition to this place or the people who worked here...

Another technique tested and developed at Tantallon was `Window` which was to drop bundles of aluminium strips from an aircraft which reflected the radar signals and jammed the enemy stations.
Calculated amounts dropped at intervals could also deceive the radar into making one bomber appear as a mass of planes or ships.
A Mitchell bomber was used for these experiments flying up and down the Firth of Forth...



After WW2 and the start of the Cold War the now named Ministry of Defence (MOD) site was still busy in radar research...









In the mid 1950s the station was reduced to maintenance level, still MOD property and security staff on site, note the narrow gauge rail tracks that would have been used to wheel equipment to test into the buildings...









In 1984 the site was sold to GEC Ferranti. They continued using it for the same purposes throughout the closing years of the Cold War, testing and developing equipment for the MOD until it closed in 1994, and left it in an abandoned state.The MOD signs were still outside until it`s sale. It is now owned by a property developer awaiting planning consent.

If you want to know whats inside now you will have to watch the film.
That is a Buccaneer nose cone protruding out of the wall you will see in the film, experimental radar was placed inside and beams transmitted out across to a reflector plate on the Bass rock Island.
Do not ask how i got inside pics -:) ...