Posts Tagged ‘Sheffield’

Sheffield Hills

June 5, 2009

Sheffield Hills

Recently Chris Rust pondered whether Alpine Road in Upperthorpe is a tougher climb that Hunter House Road in Hunters Bar. The answer is almost certainly Hunter House Road, as both have sections of 14% gradient, but Alpine Road is far shorter. Which led me to do some research more broadly. Hills with such steep inclines are relatively common in Sheffield – to date Walkley Lane is looking one of the toughest climbs in the city.

(Table shows distance, estimated cycling time and metres climbed in the right three columns)

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Time flies…

June 2, 2009

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And unfortunately this morning so did average speed, distance and cadence.

Turning sharply on the descent of Walkley Lane, I went one way and the computer went the other. Centripetal or Centrifugal Force. One or the other. Anyway it hit the deck, bounced and no longer works. Closer inspection reveals that the two tabs which lock into the bracket on the stem have sheared off.

Something else to replace. Cycling should save you money and get you fit. Trouble is the fitter you get, the more often you seem to end up shelling out.

Cycle Culture

May 27, 2009

Pleased to see Sheffield Pedalready at Sheffield Station handing out details of their 2009 ride calendar. Of particular interest are their Urban Routes series. These rides are designed to help cyclists find the best routes through the city. Details here. I’ll probably join the Northern Commuter Routes ride on June 13 – Hillsborough tram routes pose a real threat to cyclists – I’ll be interested to see the best ways to avoid them.

Meanwhile, which dedicated cyclist hasn’t sat in the office on a sunny day and thought ‘why can’t I be paid to ride my bike?’ Well here is someone who does get paid to do just that. The reality doesn’t quite match the daydream unfortunately.

Sheffield makes it onto Streetview

March 22, 2009

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One of the first cities in the UK to get this service, Google didn’t tell the neighbours they were coming. This post is only marginally cycling related.

Alfine Tikit: First Impressions

March 1, 2009

Got my new Bike Friday Tikit on the road today. It is a large Seasons Tikit hyperfold frame with disc brake fittings on the back and a special wider set of forks to accommodate the front disc. The Hubs are Shimano Alfine, including a dynamo front hub. The brake levers are Shimano SLX fitted on Bike Friday H bars. Goodridge stainless brake hoses keep the brake oil in, and should be robust enough to stand the folding and unfolding. The chainset is Shimano 105 and there is a Chris King Headset. All other pieces are Bike Friday standard issue.

Have fitted Time ATAC pedals, a Selle Italia saddle, a Cat Eye wireless computer and best of all a B&M Lumotec IQ dynamo front light.

There were three tests I wanted to run to start with:

1. How is the gearing for ascending Sheffield hills?
2. Do the brakes work descending Sheffield hills?
3. What is the light output like at low speed?

There was only one place to go, the unimaginatively named Alpine Road. This residential road is only about 100 metres long but averages about 10% and kicks up nastily at the end.

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Test One

The Alfine hub shifts effortlessly and with a 52×16 combination the lowest gear was able to propel me up the hill at just about three miles an hour. The look is one of concentration rather than effort, at this speed and on this incline pedaling is a mental as well as physical activity. However the pedaling was pretty effortless, considering the gradient – which can be judged from the base of the green telecoms box on the left.

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Test Two

Julia agreed to sit in the road and watch as I descended – I promised to miss her if I couldn’t stop. Actually I wasn’t worried about the ability to stop, more about the ability modulate the brakes to stop the bike with me still on it.

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I needn’t have worried, smooth, silky smooth braking and the pads are not yet worn in.

Test Three

It was too early in the afternoon for a genuine test, but as it got darker I tried another ascent of the the hill. Again I am impressed, the light is clearly strong enough even at 3mph. How much of this is coming from the standlight facility in the IQ unit and how much is coming from the hub dynamo is difficult to tell however.

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So tomorrow the bike gets roped into service for the commute – looking forward to it – am really impressed with this bike. Just need to fit the rear rack and I’m ready

Tikit – where it all started

February 8, 2009

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12 months ago I bought a Bike Friday Tikit from Condor Cycles in London. I had a new job about 17 miles away and two weeks of driving had convinced me that commuting by car was a stressful boring experience (I already believed it was environmentally unsustainable). The idea was to do a bike-train-bike commute during the winter and on bad weather days during the rest of the year and use my road bike to get fit otherwise. As the bike was going to be used as the bad weather ride I expected it to take some hammer. It had to cope with Sheffield’s wet climate and the copious amounts of salt which spread on the road during the winter. More than that it needed to cope with the hills. Sheffield is built around a valley and part of the return trip from the station would include a short 14% gradient.

I was attracted to the Tikit by the number of positive reviews on the web, the wide gear range, and the speed of fold as illustrated in this video. Straight out of the shop, the impression was highly positive. A quick flat ride to St Pancras and onto the train without a second glance at the ticket barrier. Arriving in Sheffield the impression was slightly different, coming up the hill the bike creaked like crazy and it felt as if the handlebars might fold towards me at any moment. Still I was home in a fraction of the time it would have taken to walk and still feeling positive.

The next day I decided to try a trip to the shops. A high speed descent to Waitrose, the bike folded and in the trolley I was free to wander around with no worries about whether I would be walking home. Free to take my time I chose the museli and red wine, chatted to the guy next to me in the queue about how impressed I was with the bike and was outside ready for the trip back. The unfold proved as simple as the fold and I was happy. However the ride back up the hill revealed the same problem. It just didn’t feel secure.

A quick investigation on the web revealed the underlying problem. Condors had sold me (at full price) a 2007 twin wire hyperfold Tikit, a model Bike Friday had phased out for a far more robust version. Faced with a 150 mile trip to take it back, I decided to email Bike Friday. They were back to me the same day offering a free upgrade kit. Hugh said I may need to take it to the LBS to have the upgrade installed, but when the kit arrived a week later I was pretty pleased. Great customer service Bike Friday. The upgrade needed the front mudguard hole re-drilling and then tapping and getting this bit right was essential to both the headset staying together and the fold. I knew this was beyond my capabilities but my Dad has an engineering background so offered to do the business. Soon I was effectively in possession of a 2008 model and the uphill handling was transformed.