Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Travelling to London from the Southwest

Travelling to London from the Southwest - Intro


I regularly have to travel to london for work, and sometime pleasure and I present the below list of way you can get there and try to summarize costs also. Some notes:


  • Based on Travelling from Devon, near Exeter so option are best suited if you are in that area also. 
  • If you have a group (kids) then driving becomes proportionally cheaper. 
  • I have not included for travel in London (underground - pay by contactless card is best)


Travelling to London from the Southwest - By Train - £120 to £220


An off peak return to Paddington will cost around £100, so if you can schedule your meeting for lunch time, you can take advantage of of there off peak (or super off peak) tickets. Of course if you need to get there for start of the day (9am for example) then you will need an anytime ticket which will costs £200!

Unless you cycle or walk to the train station you will need to pay for parking, which will be about £20 for the day.

Travelling to London from the Southwest - By Air - £220


If you need to go to the east of London, then flying from Exeter is a good move. The flights are well timed, and will enable you to get to a 9am meeting no worries.

You need to pay for parking at the airport, and the flights should be booked 7 days or more in advance to avoid price hikes, but flying costs less than you think.


Travelling to London from the Southwest - Drive Rail Combo - £115


A good option is to mix and match. You can drive to say reading or slough and and then hop on a quick train to Paddington. This is a cheap option, and can be done spur of the moment. Of course if you drive a 4x4 or gas guzzler, then this will not be as cheap. Diesel would be about £50, Parking £25 and rail tickets about £40.

Travelling to London from the Southwest - Drive - £115


If you are careful about the time of day, and choosing your destination you can drive to say Sloane Square, park under ground for £45 and hop on nearby tube.

Of course this will be a long drive, and there is potential for traffic problems. But it is still a good move, for last minute jaunts during low traffic hours.

Conclusions


So the most carbon intensive option is the cheapest option. Go figure.

Environmental Consultants London 

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

ZTTO 9 Speed Cassette Review & Install

ZTTO 9 Speed Cassette Review - Intro


The old saying goes "you get what you pay for" but NOT in the case of this 11 - 40 ZTTO 9 speed cassette. I purchased mine for around £15 on eBay, and I am very impressed with it.

I sued a Short Cage Rear Mech, and an extender for the gear hanger. All good. 
I also made a video review, if you are too lazy to read this one!



ZTTO 9 Speed Cassette Review - Building Quality 


I compared the quality of this ZTTO 9 speed cassette with the shimano cassette that it was replacing. The shimano one was used of course, but you can still compare the finish of un worn parts.

Comparison between Shimano HG 400 11 - 34

I should imagine that the sprockets are "pressed" in manufacturing rather than cast of machined, the finish is very good. The sprockets are steel: "high tensile steel" apparently.

I mean to the untrained eye this look OK right?


One thing I was very impressed with was the weight saving measures, the sporkets had been designed on the ZTTO 9 speed cassette had been design to incorporate a lot less steele (proportionally) compared to the shimano cassette.

Rear view showing the construction. 


If I had just one improvement comment it would be for a steel lockring. Alloy threads, cringe. 

ZTTO 9 Speed Cassette Review - Installation / Install


I "few" years ago I vested in a short cage shimano saint rear mech. Which is a great piece of gear. I had read that you can use a 11 - 40 cassette with a short cage rear mech, and it works OK. It does work.

On the bike. Works great. 


I had a slight complication in that (unknown to me) my front chain ring was worn, and this was cause a dropped chain when I shifted on the the largest rear sprocket. Of course initially I suspected the lack of chain cacapcity in my rear mech, but no.

Size Difference 11-40 vs 11-34


I did use a sunrace hanger extender, I am not sure if this was required, but I fitted it anyway. For the record I should point out that I do not think my rear mech would take a larger rear sprocket, it may just about stretch to a 42 tooth. But I very very much doubt it would be OK with 46, 50 or 52.

When on 40 tooth sprocket, the chain has just enough slack to operate, but not much.

In summary the install would have been very easy, if it weren't for the worn chain ring.

ZTTO 9 Speed Cassette Review - Extra Photos and Conclusions 

All in all this is a well made product that enables 9 speed drive chain uses to add extra gear range to their machines without breaking the bank. If your old chain and cassette are worn out, then it is a no brainer to upgrade, more range, same price and weight penalty is minimal. 

In use this provide a similar amount of range to my alfine 11 hub gear. It certainly makes a 1 x 9 drivetrain more realistic in hilly parts of the world. 

Close up showing quality of pressings. I think it looks fine. 


Each sprocket is labelled with tooth number. I nice touch. 



Not sure what these bales mean. 

Close up of rear, showing structure. Second largest sprocket shares spider with largest. 

My only complaint: alloy lock ring. Probably fine, bit alloy threads make be nervous. 

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Environmental Consultants Bristol

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

6 Ways to Get an Upright Riding Position on a Bike

6 Ways to Get an Upright Riding Position on a Bike


There are numerous reason why you might want a more upright riding position on you bike. They range from comfort to fashion, and all are 100% worthy. Upright is where it all started, both for road bikes, and mountain bikes.

The Whippet Safety Bicycle - Very Upright
Early Mountain Bike - Upright (For California)


In this post I will go through a few methods that can be used to obtain a more upright riding position, I have ordered suggestion from lowest cost and ease of implementation, to highest cost and effort.

This post assumes that you have a bikes that you want to adjust, or customise to give an upright riding position.

If you are buying new new bike, then the world is your oyster. I suggest googling for "dutch bikes", however modding a mountain bike with a fork from surly (disc trucker) or Thorn Cycles (Mt Tura) would give all of the robustness of a MTB, lots of gears and a very usable bike. If you pursue comfort and little else then just buy a "dutch" bike, like the "batavus quip" below.


1 - Squash Your Cockpit (1cm)

By moving you saddle forward, and rotating you handle bars to provide maximum rise / minimum reach, you will achieve a slightly more upright ride.

However, you will likely only get a tiny extra bit of uprightness using this method, and adjusting you saddle too far forward may cause other problems.

2 - Stem Extender (5cm to 10cm)


For under £10 you can buy a stem extender. They are very easy to fit, as you do not need to remove your handle bars, or brake levers or anything like that. In the below video a 7 year child fits one, so it is very easy.


Just be sure to get the right size, you will need a 1" or a 1 1/8" inch size.  As well as the above fixed offering you can get adjustable stem risers:



3 - Riser Stem (5cm to 10cm)

There are many many stems that can be used on there own, or in combination with other methods on this page, to give an upright ride. A good brand to pursue is Ergotec (Humpert) who make some very high rise fixed stems. Below is the "charisma" model.

Or why not try the "Humpert Comfi High Rise"  beow which gives about 10cm extra height. 



4 - Riser Bars (5cm to 20cm)


There are many handlebars that will give a "rise" and thus give an upright riding position. But my advise would be to opt for bars that provide an extreme rise, such as BMX handle bars. You may think this ia going a bit too far, but as you will see, uprightness just keeps getting better and better. So don't mess about, with small riser bars, get some with a serious amount of rise.


BMX bars again, used below to make a upright commuter bike. The below image is from Calories per Pence Blog. 


5- New Forks (upto 30cm)

Many forks, when bought new, come with very long steerer tubes. Some can be as long at 400mm with most being around 250mm.

Perhaps the most upright V-Brake fork you can get is the Thorn Mt Tura Fork. Which is huge. Pictured on my bike below.


Now you may think that a 4000m long steerer tube, would be as upright as you would ever want to go, but I have recent added a riser stem to this set up:


6 - Welding 

Now if you were to combine a 400mm steerer tune fork, with a BMX handle bar you would end up with you handle bars around 1.2 meters above ground level. That is pretty high.

But if you want straight bars that are very high, to get an upright riding position, then extending you steel steerer tube, by welding on an extra length would be one of the few options available. If you are thinking this is dangerous, then please don't after all you whole bike is welded together! The below video shows the proper procedure.



A very tall person might have a torso length of 60cm, add on 15cm for their ass. A saddle might extend 20cm above the top tube. So a maximum handle bar height but be around 80cm above the top of the head tube. If you are very tall, and want a very upright ride.

A Word on Saddles

Something quite important to consider is that as you move to a more upright riding position, you will put more weight on your buttocks. Consider getting a wider saddle, to help spread the load!

Life Cycle Assessment Consultants 

Flood Risk Assessment London


Thursday, 28 November 2019

Barbour Bede Wellington Boots - Review

Barbour Bede Wellington Boots - Review


This a a long term (10 year) review of Barbour Wellington Boots, of which I am now on my third pair. I purchased by first pair around 2010, and the latest pair arrived yesterday November 2019.


Here are my new Barbour Bede Wellington Boots. they are navy blue, and are just what I expected. I like Barbour Bede Wellington Boots, because they fit a wide foot well, do not have a very high heel like a lot of the fancier boots available, and they are very bendy. 

Here are there three pairs I have which are 10, 4 and Zero Years Old Respectively. The 10 year old boots I still wear although they are not water proof any more, as they are so comfy.


The inside lining is what lets these boots downs, as after a few years of daily use your heel will wear a hole in the lining at the back of the boot, resulting in you sock coming in to direct contact with high friction rubber. Much rubbing will ensue, and perhaps a blister. 


Looking at a 10 year old Barbour Bede Wellington Boots, with perhaps 5 years of regular use, we will see that the rubber is perished. And this one has a hole in it. 


The soles are very hard wearing. The grip on the front quite unidirectional, but its good. 


On two pairs I have had the in lining is the thing that wears through, and renders boot useless.  You can just see the cloth coming away in this picture. Its a shame because teh 4 year old boots are still perfect in all other respects.



 The 4 year old boots, I think are made from a less flexible rubber than the 10 year old and new boots. I would suggest the more flexible rubber is better and makes for a comfier foot.


An attempt in above picture to show difference in flexibility between 4 year old and new wellies. The Barbour Bede Wellington Boots with the more flexiable rubber are better. This is anot choice to make, I think they must have changed the rubber recipe a few years ago and then changed it back. 



A picture above showing perishing on 10 year old boots, not surprisingly really.  I muself am more "perished" than I was when I bought these boots!

To conclude: Best pair of boot you can get for under £60, although I got these for £48 posted. I have tried moire expensive boots from the likes of Le Chameau but these I prefer. They have lots of room for tucking trousers inside the leg, don't have a wedge heel and come in three different colours.

When this new pair wear out I will get another pair. That is an indication of my high regard for these Barbour Bede Wellington Boots.

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Flood Risk Assessment London 

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Ryde Andra 40 Rim - Review

Ryde Andra 40 Rim - Review

I have had trouble with spokes snapping repeatedly on the rear wheel of my bike. It was a persistent problem, as I had completely rebuilt the rear wheel with new spokes, suspecting spoke quality to be the issue. However, even rebuilt with plain gauge stainless J-teck spokes, I had another spoke snap. . . . . it was all the more confusing since I was using a heavy rim (Mavic EX325) which I have 4 of in total on other bikes, and have all been perfect. 



Braking Surface - Welcome Offering

Ryde Andra 40 Rim - Overview

When looking at the rim, it is a bit wider than most. This is the specific reason for my purchase. I like wide rims. You can buy this rim in a "30" version, which is narrow.

The rim is unusual in that it has a braking surface for rim brakes. This is a bonus as it improves  adaptability.

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of this rim is the cross sectional profile, that see the lack of eyelets, and the adoption of a ticker layer on alloy adjacent to spoke holes.

The spoke holes are drilled at an angle, which suite my 3 cross wheel build very well.

The construction is pinned, I would have preferred welded, but  I had a £25 budget and this was the best rim I could find.

Quite a "Tall" Rim when viewed from side. 
 Other things in this picture: Alfine 11 Hub Gear and Super Moto X Tyre

Ryde Andra 40 Rim - Building and Use

The wheel built up very nicely and the angled spoke hole were a nice touch, but are they angle for 2 or 3 cross hweel building? I am not sure, a note there would be useful. 

The lack of spoke eyelets means that you are trying to tighten spoke nipples on to a rough surface, and so tensioning spokes can be a bit jerky. Not too much a problem though. 

A minor problem was that the valve hole was in the wrong place, relevent to the angling and offset of the spoke holes. 

Mounting tires is easy, and you can get them one without leavers. A bonus I think. 


Ryde Andra 40 Rim - Conclusion

A very good rim for the money.






Is Green Guard Thorn Proof?

Is Green Guard Thorn Proof?


Schwalbe Tyres offer many of there tyre models equipped with Green Gaurd, a 3mm, partially recycle latex rubber shield, that is installed between the tyre carcass and the tread.

It does not prevent punctures from thorns. At least not completely.

Complete Guide to Puncture Prevention

The Thorns

Hawthorns and black thorns are a common species included with UK hedges. In the autumn and winter UK farmers are free to trim their hedges. The reason that the trimming is undertaken in the winter is that it does not interfere with nest birds.

The Bain of Sir Dunlop

Typically a mechanical flail hedge trimmer is used to trim the hedge, bit of hedge fly all over the place and inevitably 50% of it ends up on the road.

Not only are they sharp and spiky, they also land with three of 4 thorns set at angles around a twig, meaning they sit on road, perfectly angled to puncture a tire.


The Tire

I recently purchased some  Schwalbe Super Moto X Tires, as they have a green guard protection layer and I thought this might prevent thorn punctures.

No it doesn't. The thorns go straight through. This thorn went straight through the very central area of the tire, where the green guard layer is thickest.

Lesser Spotted Disaster

Conclusions 

I would not buy green guard tires to protect against thorns specifically, you might choose nay other puncture protection system. They may help prevent lots of other punctures, and perhaps they might reduce the probability of thorn punctures, but they wont stop them. Ciao ciao

Complete Guide to Puncture Prevention

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Are Zoom Bicycle Components any Good?

Are Zoom Bicycle Components any Good?

Yes Zoom components are good. Whilst there are not bicycle bling, they do offer high quality functional bicycle components that are superior in terms of quality to unbranded products.

Across my bike stable I have numerous "Zoom" branded components. These include stems (adjusting and non-adjusting) and seat posts, they also make:

  • Brakes
  • Thru Axles 
  • Handlebars 
  • Forks (Suspension)
  • Stem Adaptors
  • Bar ends 
Based on past zoom purchases I would not hesitate to recommend buying any zoom branded product, as it is a safer bet than an unbranded product. 

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construction environmental management plan 

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