Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Miles or Smiles?

Should anyone have cared to notice, it's now about a week 'til the Goshawk Challenge.

A ride that last year brought me tiredness, a deep questioning over my own sanity and one hell of a final descent..

I promised I'd be back.. I will be

I promised I'd be fitter.. oh arse

Not enough miles, simple as that, but, the miles I've done have brought smiles to my face and sometimes that is more important than churning out countless miles and weighing your lunch.

I know I need to get fitter, I always do, but I've started enjoying my riding again and have a real desire to get out do it.  That probably has something to do with the fact the evenings are getting lighter, but the last few rides I have had really have ticked the right boxes for me.

Last nights for example, a ride around Low Bradfield and best described as 'cheeky' - a route thrown together by Chris whilst walking 'somewhere new' with his soon to be wife.. good skills I say.

The possible descent the whole route was based around proved to be challenging - in that we all fell off, but the eagle eyed gent had spotted another option and kindly informed us as much once we had rolled (bodily) to a halt at the bottom of the rather stony trail.  A lung challenging hike a bike later saw us climbing over the 20th or so fence of the evening before embarking on a real beauty of a trail, roots, little drops and enough flow to ensure we all reached the bottom with speech rpm wound right up.

A steep road climb to reach the top of another trail saw us ratchet cheeky up to 11 by short cutting through a church yard.

"Best be sneaky here lads" informed Chris, as if on cue we dowsed our lights, at which point my mobile rang.. then stopped, then rang.. and so on for the next five minutes.

For anyone who has never seen Low Bradfield, picture Midsomer, in my minds eye Barnaby was turning up the following morning after the discovery of three pitchforked to death mtbers were found next to a ringing mobile..

A great ride though, lots of laughs and an evening warm enough for short sleeves to be suitable even at 9pm.. that felt odd for February I can tell you.

So, Goshawk may again punish me for my lack of preparation, but I'm willing to risk it

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HV Pump Review

Picture courtesy of Lezyne
I'll happily admit to being a gadget geek and can easily justify adding shiny things to internet shopping baskets because of how a product looks (although I will always look at reviews before pressing the 'Confirm Payment' button.  When I recently decided I needed a new pump I assumed my normal position in front of the laptop searching online bike shops for the best solution at the right price.

A few months back I bought a puncture repair kit made by Lezyne, a company founded in 2007 that set out to design high quality cycling equipment.  I admit to falling slightly in love with its styling, daft I know for something as seemingly inconsequential as a puncture repair kit, but some things are not only functional but finished in such a way that you have no option but to admire the design process behind them.

Lezyne therefore seemed an ideal starting point for the trail pump.  My final choice is the High Volume track / trail pump that is designed for MTBs, they also do a High Pressure variant for Roadies.  The next choice was whether or not I needed a pressure gauge, I decided I didn't and that the time honoured tradition of checking tyre pressures with the thumb and forefinger squeeze hasn't done me wrong yet (I can't be arsed to get too hung up on tyre pressures I have to admit and stare blankly at people when they ask what pressures I run my tyres at).

I went for the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HV after much agonising..

The rather eye watering price is £32.99, A tag would suggest normally being reserved for full on track pumps, but I have bought cheap before and usually send them spinning over next doors hedge with a frustrated drop kick after a pre-trail trial proves they match their price tag.

When it arrived it I was keen to give it a try, the weight is feather light at 150g and the quality of finish exceptional, with lazer etched logos on the handle.

There is a 60cm long hose to ensure you don't have the issue of direct attachment issues of the bike wobbling when you pump the tyre up and a thread chuck to securely fit onto the valve - this proved both a curse and blessing during my first attempt as I managed to unscrew the valve stem deflating my nicely inflated tyre within a second or two.  Once I got the hang of it though, it really did make short work of inflating my tyre (2.2" Bontrager Mud X)  From dead flat to pressure in 58 pumps *ahem*, way quicker than other trail pumps I've owned.

Whilst using it I did notice the handle is small and uncomfortable after a time (I wouldn't want to do three or four tyres in a row with it that's for sure) but with gloves on it's not unbearable - this is a common complaint though and most user reviews I've seen make mention of the same thing.

There is also a fold out foot rest (foot rest is probably stretching it a little, it's about 3" long, but it does the job of keeping the pump upright during use)

It comes with a bottle cage mount but to be honest, it's on the large side for that and I also wouldn't want to lose it so it lives in my pack instead, the weight is bugger all so it won't slow me down.

Solid Build
Positive Connection to tube valve

Uncomfortable handle

This is a high recommendation if you're after a well styled and effective pump, with it's high volume capability it would make an ideal companion for long trips or travel, the cons are far outweighed in my eyes