little helper

After the last ride on my mountain bike, there seemed to be more noise than usual coming the equilink suspension.  Having a quick look at it when I got home I felt that a rebuild is in order.  I haven’t touched it in four years so it is probably well overdue 😦

First thing is to work out how many bearings are required and what types they are, thankfully it was well documented online and the bearings are actually the same ones used in skateboards, which makes it easy to source.

Next thing to do is to rope in the little helper 😉

Fixing bikes is easy

I like helping dad, now what did he say, “lefty loosy”

I am now thinking about buying a bearing press, it would have made getting the bearings out a lot easier, plus there would be less chance of messing things up, thankfully they all pressed out without any hiccups by using an assortment of sockets and threaded rod 😉

nice and clean again

All ready for re-assembly

This is it all ready for reassembly, and for this I used an old bearing and a C-clamp 😉 Again, using a bearing press would make this process a lot easier.

Surprisingly, quite a few of the bearings were seized, probably due to some water getting in behind the seals.

Not too bad for an afternoons work


how times have changed

Whilst cycling to the station the other morning, I stopped at a set of traffic lights, when after about a minute it dawned on me that it is very quiet – eerily so. I knew it is Christmas time and there is not a lot of traffic on the roads, but I was also aware of some cars behind me, but now … nothing.

Turning around there they were, all four of them, not making a sound.

Fairly new cars all featuring stop-start technology.

just one of those strange moments

home made energy bars

Every time we do a weekend away riding, my lovely wife makes us some energy bars. I tried making some, but Mike complains that they’re too chewy, maybe his dentures keep getting stuck 😉

So I just leave it to her now.

Anyway, they usually get offered around the group, and it is always the same “you need to give me the recipe!”

So without further ado, here it is.

100 g dried fruit (dates, apricots, cranberries, goji berries…)
50 g raisins
50 g mixed broken nuts
50 g seeds (hemp, poppy, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower…)
25 g brown sugar
35 g carbohydrate powder (multodextrin) – (I leave this out if I make a batch for the little army at home, they’re hyper enough without it) 😉
80 g plain flour
60 g rice krispies
100 g runny honey
100 g golden syrup (sometimes I double up the honey instead of using syrup)
50 g fruit spread
150 g oats
100 g bar of dark chocolate

Preparation: Chop up the dried fruit.

Cooking: Place the dried fruit into a pan and add a little water. Simmer gently until the fruit is tender. Mix in the fruit spread, honey and syrup and gently heat until runny. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and add the syrup and honey mixture.  Stir thoroughly, with the extra nuts and seeds, you might need to add some more honey.  Pour into a greaseproof baking tin and place in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius.

In the mean time melt a slab of dark chocolate, a glass bowl in a pot of boiling water does the trick.


Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Once cooled, spread the chocolate over the energy bars, to get real fancy you can melt a bit of white chocolate and make patterns on top of the brown, however, I’ve not met a cyclist that cares about this yet.

Get on your bike cycle somewhere nice and enjoy 😉

This was not my recipe to start with, I got the bare bones of it from the “Mountain Bike Fitness Training” book, however, found they started tasting better after adding nuts, seeds and other dried fruits and the chocolate…

unceremonious dismount

Friday one week ago, all was well with the world, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, I was just setting off on a quick 15 miler and it wasn’t too hot.  It had all the makings of a beautiful day.

I coast up to the traffic lights and catch up to one of my friends who is second in line, tap on his window and catch up for 30 seconds or so.

I see the light is about to change, so I say cheers and push off, only thing is, I am totally in the wrong gear, I hadn’t bothered to shift down, as I normally do, no problem, just push harder.  First car is gone and I’m on my way, one revolution, two revolutions, then nothing…  the most unreal feeling in the world pedalling hard and next second pedalling fresh air.

The bike I use for commuting is quite compact, i.e. I am normally seated quite upright, and with me standing and stomping on the pedals my centre of gravity was forward of my handlebars.

In Afrikaans they have a wonderful saying for what happened next. helmet, poepol, tekkies, literally translated means helmet, arse and trainers, in that order, and over the handle bars, but hey “that’s just the way I roll” 😉

Needless to say there was thankfully no major damage to myself (not counting my pride in front of my buddy), just a bit of bruising and some skin off the elbows, and I ALWAYS wear full finger gloves.  The bike now unfortunately has a totally disintegrated shifter, not sure if that was me hitting it or the bike landing on the ground.

This has left me to ponder the importance of bike maintenance, and by letting it slip I was potentially becoming a hazard.  The chain has been stretched for a while now and the only issue to date has been when going over very bumpy terrain, it would jump a tooth and make me think “I should really fix that”.

I have been putting off getting it replaced because I was looking into getting a cyclocross bike for commuting, and didn’t want to waste the money on the old bike (well over 20 years old and weighs a ton)

So another lesson learned,

Till next time and keep the rubber side down.

1898 and counting

Well I’ve finally done it. After months of searching for it I have bought another bicycle frame. I’ve been wanting to replace my commuter rigid steel frame bicycle with a lightweight hard tail aluminium frame.

There have been times when I have taken my commuter off road and each time, I’ve come back and felt like the flesh had been shaken off of the bones of my arms, I think I now understand the term “boneshaker” 😉

I am now the proud owner of a Marin Hawk Hill lightweight frame coming in at 1898 grams.

Not the lightest, but a LOT lighter than my old steel frame. All I need for it is – everything!!!

Marin Hawk Hill

So there is going to be some fun over the next few months as I put together some pieces to get this on the road, or rather off-road.

daddy’s mountain bike

A poem by Cayke, aged 8…

my daddy loves to ride
all over the countryside
he has a special mountain bike
that he really, really likes
and once he went on a race
he got mud all over his face
my daddy loves to ride

This from my eight year old last night 😉

Certainly made me smile