Friday, 12 June 2009

World Naked Bike Ride Again

My wife doesn't like to ride solo, so we took our tandem. That meant only one Downtube on this year's ride!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Smithfield Nocturne - Representing the Downtubeisti

The race ready bike shown below was not built for nothing. In fact, I raced it at the Smithfield Nocturne Commuters Folding Bike Challenge, a criterium race where the competitors run 30m to their folded bikes, unfold, and race 4 laps.

I wasn't really in shape to challenge, but I almost made the cut for the final, finishing 23rd (I think) out of 40 competitors in my heat. Nest year, I'll be fit, and I hereby promise a position in the final, and will aim for the top half of that as well. If anyone fancies bringing their Downtube along too, and racing the myriad Bromptons, then perhaps we can be Team Velo Chocolate? Let me know, and we can go next year.

My 12 year old son, however, has nothing to regret, as he tried out on the roller-racing (track bikes on rollers) and set both the top 2 times in the jnr category, against approx 150 other competitors. Not bad!


And Sam Jnr in action!

A Race Ready Downtube?

I have the latest model 9 FS as a demonstrator, which means that the 07 model I had previously was rather redundant. I use the FS9 regularly, so that I'm in a real position to comment on the usefulness of the bike in day to day riding, so what was my old IXFS to do? Well, I decided to convert it into more of a fast road bike, in preparation for a folding bike race. I swapped in old drop handlebars (up til the late 80's, drop bars had the same clamp diameter that mountain bike bars have now, so if you have old drops, they'll go straight on to your Downtube). I put on Tektro brake levers designed for V brakes (regular caliper brake levers don't pull enough cable), and replaced the twist grip shifter with an old Suntour bar-end shifter I had in a box somewhere. I wrapped the bars with elkhide wrap from (if you don't know Velo Orange, go visit, they rule), and added a honey Brooks B17 to match. Finally, I swapped out the chainring for a 52t item for higher gearing (I'm a bit of a masher), and put on high pressure Schwalbe Marathon tyres. Here's the result, and isn't it a handsome looking Downtube?


Website Finally Fixed!

Finally the Velo Chocolate website is back in working order. Huge thanks are due to Dave Walker, who voluntarily looked over my bodged and fudged HTML, and offered the solution. Dave, you're a lifesaver, and should we meet, I'll buy you a beer or three.