Sunday Mar 09, 2008

Surrey Lanes and triplet repairs

A ride of two halves. Due to one rider having an injury that demands that he not over exert himself we devised a relatively flat route to Headley and then off into the Surrey lanes. The reason for the two halves was that at the bottom of Pebble Coombe our injured rider turned for home leaving just four of us to “power” around the remaining road.

Thanks to the wonders of my GPS I know that that left us with 35 miles of fast1 and furious. For the second half I have, as always, an excuse for being slow. My front tyre was not properly inflated. Yes I need to ride more need to find some hills to train up. I' counting the days until the summer bike come out.

The GPS also gives some extra information around how much climbing: max: 745ft min: 34ft ascent: 1235ft descent: 1178ft, ie it was flat.

On getting home I had to do some maintenance that I have not found the time for for a few weeks. The triplet needed new “front” chains. There are a number of things that are odd about changing the triplet “front” chains. First you need three chains to replace the two front chains. A standard chain is short by about 10 links, which is why you need three chains to replace the two at the rear. So I now have a chain with 90 links in it for next time. The second is that the chains are tensioned using eccentric bottoms brackets which are a bugger2 to get to turn so that you can tension the chains correctly. The final odd thing was that the chain I removed had a half link in it, so I bought a half links for each chain, but when I fitted the chains I did not need the half links. On the upside the chains last much longer than derailleur chains and they the replacements are very cheap (£5.99) at least compared with a 10 speed chain (£32.99) for my summer bike.

1For us.

2Technical term.

Friday Nov 09, 2007

3000 miles on a triplet

On a whim I asked if my daughter if she wanted a lift to school today so that we could have an extra 45 minutes in the morning rather than have to rush out to get the bus. She accepted and then just after the point of no return (ie she had missed her bus) someone calls me to arrange a 9am phone meeting. I had to put them back to 9:30 to be sure of getting back in time.

As I cycled back I noticed the milage on my trip computer was moving towards the 3000 mile mark and when I got home it was.

In 3000 miles the furthest it has been from home would either be Richmond or Thorpe Park. The vast majority of those miles have been the school runs.

It is on it's second set of tyres and second rear chain and cassette. I expect to have to replace the other two chains when the rear needs to be replaced again.

Has it been a success? Absolutely. I sold a car we no longer needed thanks to the triplet. I have the option of taking my daughter to school, you would not do that in a car unless you enjoy sitting in traffic jams.

The only thing that has not turned out as I expected is that I always planned using it as a way to pursuade my daughters to do what I wanted. Something like, “Tidy your room or I will take you to school on the trilpet”, on the basis that I thought that arriving at school on a triplet when you are a teenager would be so uncool that they would rather tidy the room. Alas not. Travelling by triplet is seen by their peers as just about the coolest way to travel, so I need another method to get my way. Do Fathers ever get their daughters to do what they want? Well I suppose I have in that they ride the triplet mostly without complaint.

Sunday Sep 09, 2007

2 4 1 dilemma

I went to the Supermarket today and was, again, faced with the usual two for one dilemma. On the one hand the offer makes buying only one of something and not taking the free one seem expensive, on the other hand it you double the shopping it won't fit in your panniers for the ride home.

Luckily one of the great advantages of taking the triplet is that you can get three times as many bags hanging off it's handlebars as you can on a single bike.

Friday Jul 20, 2007

Triplet rescue

South east England is in the grip of a “Severe Weather Warning”. which is Met office speak for it could rain really really hard and there may be floods and if there are don't come running to us as we learnt our lesson back in '87 about not warning of high winds so if there is even a hint that things might be bad we going to tell you.

Anyway today's Severe Weather Warning was due to exceptionally heavy rain which could cause localized flooding. Odd I recall localized flooding this time last year. So I decided that if I could do my 10 O'clock on the phone I would work from home and not risk another drowning.

This all went well, my 10 O'clock got moved to 2 O'clock by one of the others and so I set about todays tasks from my nice dry office.

The rain came, it was very hard, the road flooded but I was dry.

Then at 12:30 the phone rang. It was my daughter asking if I could pick her up from school as “they have closed Kingston due to flooding and all the busses are cancelled”. I pointed out that the only way I would therefore be collecting her was by bike and she said she knew that, that was why she was calling me. I would have to be an idiot to drive, did I not know Kingston was closed?

So now I had been put in my place I hopped on the triplet for a ride through the flooded streets to Kingston. It was the usual kind of thing. The roads were grid locked, more drivers pulled over to let me past then pulled over to try and stop me passing (I just can't believe people do that, however I felt a deep sense of satisfaction as we rode home and past the same car that had tried to block me going into Kingston still in the same queue of traffic).

Kingston was indeed closed but on a bike as usual there was a way through so I collected my daughter went back through Kingston again and headed home past the queues of traffic and by now a steady stream of people walking.

Then as we crossed Hampton Court bridge, in the outside lane to turn right, the steering went very heavy and we had a puncture. That is the third on the triplet and means I need to get new tires. Thanks to this I only just got home for my 2 O'clock.

Monday Feb 06, 2006

Tandem Tips

I'm so pleased that Peter's Tandem is going well. It is early days but hey.

My number one kidiback tandem tip, well triplet in my case but it applies to tandems as well, is this:

Keep the toe clips on for all riders. Then tie the leading edge of the rear pedals to the traling edge of the pedals infront (repeat for triplets) with some thin elasticated cord.

This has 2 useful effects.

  1. The pilot's pedals are always facing the right way up.

  2. When riding solo the rear pedals don't spin around catching the road when you sling it around a corner.


Saturday Oct 22, 2005

Product of the week.

The product of the week is the Minoura workstand. I bought this off a colleague who is moving to the US and since it his heavy did not want to take it. My previous workstand held the bike under the bottom bracket which had the distinct disadvantage that it would foul the gear cables making adjustment impossible. However I never quite got around to replacing it, until this week. It also stood no chance of holding the triplet.

As “luck” would have it I got to use the new stand today as the triplet got a puncture I was able to get home and then just wondered how good this workstand really is. Well it is as good as in the picture. Lifting the bike up there was more of a challenge but not impossible (note to self, next time watch the middle chain so you don't ruin another shirt). Once up there I was able to carry out all the usual bits of bike tweaking you would expect. New tube in the front tyre, adjust the gears so I can now get into top gear. While I never even thought about the triplet when I bought this I can now see that it could be this bike that benefits most. It's very hard to adjust the gears on it without a stand as the levers are just so far away from the gears.


Wednesday Jun 22, 2005

Cycling Circles

I bought our triplet after reading this web page by Guy Chapman which I came across via Since the shop does a 14 day no quibble guarantee you would be foolish not to give it a try. I did and well the rest is history.

This week I got an email from a colleague who had read my blog and seen my triplet. It seems he had just bought one from some one in Reading. That someone was Guy Chapman, which I thought made a nice small world moment.

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