Monday, 31 March 2014

DIY Bike Mudflaps

DIY Bike Mudflaps - Intro

For some reason most front mudguards / fenders on bikes are not long enough. Why? Goodness knows; but there we are. But with basic tools / office equipment you can easily add a DIY Mudflap to you front mudguard / fender. If you would like to make a pair of DIY MTB mudguards which are better than the crumby one you buy in the shops, check out his post.

You might think that an ugly addition to you fenders / mudguards will look disgusting.  But consider all the time and money it will save you washing you bike, particularly the drivetrain. Most sand, grit & mud whizzing off a front tire with a normal length mudguard will go all over you bike chain, creating a delicious grinding paste. I would rather spend time riding my bike than cleaning it. So for me it is worth the extra ugliness.

Mudflap 1 - An oblong of milk carton secured with pop rivets.
Update 2019: I have been trying different materials over the last few years . . .the best materials by far is old inner tube. Use two layers of inner tube and "fray" the tubes so they hang down in strips. This design is supper flexible, air can pass through it (wind resistance) and make no noise when gravel is bashing in to it. 

Mud Flap 2 - The Shredded Inner Tube Method

 DIY Bike Mudflaps - Fastening


The world is you oyster here. I have used:
  1. Small Nuts and Bolts and Washers
  2. A heavy duty stapler.
  3. A "pop" rivet gun.
  4. Super Glue (for inner tube-see below)
If using a pop rivet gun, you will need a a drill bit to match your rivet size and . . .a drill! Similarly with the nuts and bolts. A Heavey duty stapler is only any good for extending a mudflap.

DIY Bike Mudflaps - What Material


Here you want to search the home or office for something that is ideally a bit floppy, maybe rubbery but strong enough to hold the fastenings. I have used:

  1. Lid of Ice Cream Tube (HDPE)
  2. Side of Milk Container (HDPE)
HDPE seems to be an ideal material it is strong and tear resistant but flexible.

Since fitting I have identified other materials which I think might be good.

  1. Toothpaste Tube
  2. Welly Boot
  3. Inner Tube (Idea from Byron)

DIY Bike Mudflaps - Make and Fit


So this is pretty easy, cut out a mudflap shape with scissors, think elongated playing card. And attach to the inside of the mudguard / fender using you preferred method. Attaching to the inside stops the mudflap bending up as much. Extend the mudflap so it clears the ground by 4 -5 inches, or bit longer or shorter as desired.

Mudflap 3 - A stapled on piece of ice cream tub lid to extend a bike mudflap.
Let me know how you are enjoying your dry feet!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

District Councils in Wiltshire

District Councils in Wiltshire

I found it a little difficult to find out the district councils of Wiltshire, please find the below list. Wiltshire Council is a unitary authority. Although Swindon is technically with Wiltshire it is autonomous in terms of governance (I think).

Kennet District Council - (East)


Salisbury District Council - (South)

West Wiltshire District Council - (West)


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

VW Polo Heater Problems

VW Polo Heater Problems - Intro

My little blue polo TDI has been a great little car and is already at 165k, and going strong. If that is I can demist the windscreen! There are two problems I have

  1. The temperature control knob does not work very well, getting stuck on either hot or cold.
  2. The fan speed only works on setting 3 and 4. 
Problem 2 is dealt with with a replacement part. But please see work around 2 for how I reliably fixed Problem 1. To fix problem 1 properly = ££££ or $$$$

VW Polo Heater Problems - Heater Fan Speed Fix

On a mark 9 polo this is possibly fixable by the amateur mechanic with adequate patience. There is a great video on you tube posted by Gary Freeburn. This is embedded below:

It basically involves removing the glove box, and some other bit in that area, and then there is a component resembling a circuit board that needs to be replaced. You will need a torx (star shape) screwdriver to do this. From the comments left on the you tube video it looks reasonably easy.

VW Polo Heater Problems - Heater Temperature Control

This problem is a lot more complicated, and if you want to get it fixed properly you are looking at around £500. The mix of hot and cold air flow is controlled by a valve or flap, with a little motor which can be accessed by removing the glove box, and the shelf trim below the glove box. This is also the case in the Skoda Fabia I believe.

There are many good forum posts on how you might repair this:

Fault codes for VW Polo Heater Problems (and) other details

As you can see its a flipping nightmare to fix, and as my car is probably only worth £2000, I can't be doing with it. However, with a little patience there is a work (wait) around.

VW Polo Heater Problems - Heater Temperature Control - Work Around

Set the temperature control knob some where between 18 and 22 degrees (10 o'clock to 12 o'clock) and then leave it alone. If you heater is stuck on cold, ie.e blowing cold air all of time, even when switched to hot you may have to wait a while for the flaps to adjust, this could be a few days of normal driving, it may help to drive over some bumps, some people have mentioned switching the fans on and off, and pressing the recycle button, but I find waiting is the only thing that works for sure.

Bear in mind having a heater that is stuck on hot, is far better than having it stuck on cold. So once it is blowing hot leave it alone. And  . . . open a window if you get hot.

VW Polo Heater Problems - Heater Temperature Control - Work Around 2

As mentioned in the intro the problem is either e burnt out motor or, damaged wiring to the motor that controls the hot and cold air mix flap. The mix is controlled indirectly via a thermostatic controller, lord alone knows where that is. . .   Bypass all of this and go old school for a quick and cheap fix, that works well. Click on any of below pictures to enlarge.

Annotated Diagram - Better Picture of Same View 2 Below

Same View As above - Better below

Note brightly lit cog type thing, this is falp for controlling temperature

This is the motor that you can get rid of.

There might be a pink bit on connector, to help identify motor location

View from below teeth of flap arm / arm visable. 

Use a cold start / choke pull bale to operate flap.

Fix cable outer in place firmly, but do not squash.

Carefully drill hole in flap arm / cam and attach end of choke wire or cable. 
The choke cable which I use was solid wire type which was pretty handy, as I could bend the end around to fasten in to the flap arm / cam and also it "pushes" as well as pulls wells. The flap arm / lever / cam will need to be pushed up wards to get hot air, and pulled down to get cold air. A cable (rather then wire) may buckle when in used in this way. 

Rather than dismantle the whole dashboard to unscrew the top of the clip that holds the motor in place, you can just break the clip open at the bottom and pull the crappy motor out. 

If you wanted to keep this really simple, why not just attached a piece of coat hanger to the arm and have it poking down in to foot well, to switch on a off when required. 

Another option might be to screw the flap arm in place half open half closed, for luke warm air all the time. . . maybe.

Have Fun

Planning Applications 

Planning Consultants

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

How to Make Cheese with Vinegar

How to Make Cheese with Vinegar - Intro

We had 12 pints of milk in the fridge which was on it sell buy date. So I decided to make some cheese to avoid wasting it. Most people have a bottle of vinegar in the house, so I used the vinegar method, vinegar is acidic and when added to the boiled milk makes the milk separate in to the curds and whey required in the cheese making process.

How to Make Cheese with Vinegar - What do I need?

  1. Milk
  2. Vinegar - Types from bad to worse. Spirit, White Wine, Red Wine, Malt (less flavour the better)
  3. Sieve
  4. Salt
  5. Tea Towel, Square of Cotton, or Muslin

 How to Make Cheese with Vinegar - Process

1 - Put Milk in a Sauce Pan

2 - Bring to Boil
3 - Measure out vinegar. 1 Egg Cup for 4 pints of milk.

4 - As soon as milk starts to boil chuck in vinegar and stir.
 5 - Pour Seprate Milk in to sieve, jiggle sieve around and mash curds with spatula.
 6 - Squash Curds with flat side of spatula, try and remove as much whey (juice) as possible. When done add salt to taste (2 pinches) and mix.
 7 - Place curds in to chosen cloth, or perhaps a pot. Form in to shape. Put in fridge.
Bingo. It is amazing how much milk it takes to make a tiny cheese.

Landscape Character Assessment

Sunlight and Daylight Assessment

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Hub Gear Efficiency vs Derailleur Gear Efficiency

Hub Gear Efficiency vs Dérailleur Gear Efficiency - Intro 

If like me you spend hours awake at night worried about the comparative efficiencies of Dérailleur and Hub gears then I hope this post will help restore your normal sleep patterns.

Hub Gear Efficiency vs Dérailleur Gear Efficiency - Findings

The first study compares a great many gear hub types with a Shimano 27 speed dérailleur setup.  There are three sets of results for each gear system, this is because each system was tested under 3 different loads, to simulate different pedal pressure.

Summary of Findings

The abovegraph shows the above melded in to an all manufacturer average, and shows that on average over the entire range of gears that 3 speed hubs and Derailleur gears are of equal efficiency whilst hubs with more gears have slightly lower efficiencies.

So what of Rohloff . I have left them out. The above paper was written before rolhoff released there later paper, which focusses almost entirely on the efficiency of their hub, it is also written by rolhoff, so I can not see its value. The above study put rolhoff hub gear efficiency at 90.9% whilst Rohloff claim 96.7%.

The studies quoted in this post are from the Technical Journal of the IHPVA;

Efficiency Measurements of Bicycle Transmissions -a neverending Story?
by Bernhard Rohloff and Peter Greb (translated by Thomas Siemann)


The mechanical efficiency of bicycle derailleur and hub-gear transmissions.

 Chester R. Kyle, Ph.D.

Frank Berto

Hub Gear Efficiency vs Derailleur Gear Efficiency - Conclusion

For the average cyclist who is not in a race a  4% drop in efficiency will not be a problem, but for a 100 mile bike race you might want to stick with Dérailleur gears, unless the race is very flat then a 3 speed might be applicable. For most though a hub gears lack of maintenance is the draw factor, and within the context of utility cycling this install and forget aspect is more important than the hub gear efficiency losses.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Can you use 28 hole Rim with a 36 hole hub?

Can you use 28 hole Rim with a 36 hole hub? - Into

Single speed folding bike. . . . .  Not very useful in hilly Devon. Bucket full of old bike bits, 36 hole MTB hub and associated cassette, chain, and shifters. 

Can you use 28 hole Rim with a 36 hole hub? - Can it be done.

NO. Not without significant pre-meditation.

Can you use 28 hole Rim with a 36 hole hub? - What I learnt.

Basically in trying the lace a 36 hole hub to a 28 hole rim, you will end up with spare holes in the hub, this creates effective differences in spoke length, so if you start out with all the same lengths, as I did, some will be too short, others too  long.

I tried three times to get the combo to work, but couldn't and my standards are way low, so don't think you can bodge it, you can't. Of course I was also migrating from non-dished to dished which made things sven more difficult.

Spare Holes create effect spoke length differences.

Can you use 28 hole Rim with a 36 hole hub? - A solution

If you still fancy a go and have the time to buy the proper spokes, then there a way to do this, but it is very difficult. A chap called Benjamin Lewis Has done it!

Sturmey Archer AW Hub

Sturmey Archer AW Hub - Intro

The STurmey archer AW hub has been around for decades, it is a 177% gear range 3 speed hub with a stainless steel shell.

It is available with a variety of different spoke holes and axle lengths.

Don't do it, you could buy new for 10% extra!

Sturmey Archer AW Hub - Second Hand Purchase

Visiting ebay you will see loads on second hand AW hubs for sale, they were Sturmey archer most popular hub and so they turn up everywhere.

The problem is if you buy second hand the you rarely find that hub comes complete with all of the nessassary bits to make it work, if not you will need:

1 - Left Hand Nut

 2- Locking Washer x 2

 Sturmey Archer Locking Washer - HMW155

 3 - Guide Nut

 Sturmey Archer Guide Nut Standard - HMN129
 4 - Indicator

 Sturmey Archer Indicator (Toggle Chain) - MK1 - HSA125
 5 - Cable Anchor

6 - Cable

7 - Cable Outer

8 - Sprocket

Sturmey Archer Sprocket 16T - 1/8" - HSL716 

 9- Fulcrum Clip (Provides a terminus for cable outer on chain stay)

Sturmey Archer Fulcrum Clip 45/64 Inch - Chain Stay - HSJ548

10 - Shifter

Sturmey Archer 3 Speed Shifter: SLS3N
Wow! Quiet a list, the above will cost you around £35 from a bike shop such as Freemans. So if you add on the £15 you spent on your ebay purchase you are up to £50. Freemans will do an all in brad new hub with fitting kit for £55.

So it is not really worth buying second hand. 

Sturmey Archer AW Hub - Performance

With most derailure systems prodicing at least 250% gear range (1 x 7) or a whopping 700% for a typical (3 x 9) you will be taking a step in to history with this hub, BUT consider the lack of servicing, the hub's record speaks for itself with functional AW hubs still going strong after 30 years! 

Most modern Sturmey archer hubs are grease lubricated, which is a step backwards. High hubs such as rolhoff speed hubs are oil lubricated, as is the case with older sturmey archer AW hubs, one reason perhaps to buy second hand . . . . .

Sturmey Archer AW Hub - Shifter Choice

Sturmey Archer 3 Speed Shifter: SLS3N

plastic or  . . . .

Sturmey Archer DLS30 3 Speed Trigger - HSJ951
fantastic . . . . 

Modern 3 speed shifetrs will work with all but the oldest of hubs.

Threads are common between old and new hubs and are specific to sturmey archer.