Saturday, 16 July 2022

I've moved to a new blog.

 I want to commute regularly by bike so I've started a new blog to try to stay motivated. I'm going to keep it simple, just a couple of photos and a little text, but make it regular. 

It's called 'A simple cycling blog' if anyone is interested.  

Friday, 1 July 2022

Friday 1st July commute.

 First day of a new month, so I thought I better make a start. It was pretty damp and miserable down at Belhaven bay, but brightened as I climbed over Pencraig with an accompaniment of skylarks. 

There was torrential rain in the evening so I stayed late at work for an hour, then got a dry cycle home. 

Lessons learned: I would like the bars a little higher but that means a longer front brake hose. The grips are ok but could be a bit thicker. That means expensive ergo grips but I'll try the bar change first. The panniers are just right with no heel strike. The rack bag is handy but isn't secure enough, it will go. I need to get some old inner tube or similar for the chain I lock it up with at work before I scratch the frame. 

Otherwise it all went well, I felt good and enjoyed it. 24.6 miles in total. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Evening ride.


My commute to work has one long climb of just over a mile up Pencraig hill. I took the Ridgeback for a trial run this evening to see what difference the pedal assist makes. 

In eco mode you have to work, but it definitely helps. When I clicked it up to normal mode, I would compare the effort to walking briskly up hill.  High mode is embarrassingly easy, but it also seriously limits the battery range. 

It was a windy ride and my mind was taken up with all the new bike thoughts about ergonomics, handling and getting to know the little clicks and rattles. I spent time pondering how well I know the LHT. I built the thing, have serviced it and fiddled and changed it into what best suits me. The Ridgeback seems a bit sterile at the moment. I think the alfine hub is great but I don't really know how it works. The oversize headset is also alien to me. Having a key and an off switch just seems bizarre. 

I need to get the miles in and some oil under my fingernails.

I have swapped my Velo D2 saddle from the LHT and fitted some ergo grips and Wellgo flat mtb pedals. They're cheap, but I've never had any problems with them. 

The bars are a bit low and I could feel some pressure on my wrists. I've got an mtb riser bar that might be just right. If not, I'll try an adjustable stem. 

Overall, it's a pleasure to ride. If the weather looks ok, I'll probably cycle to work on Friday. 

Monday, 27 June 2022

New bike time.

I've had an urge to get the blog going again  although I'm not sure if anyone reads them anymore. 

Seven years ago I wrote that I would keep sailing, but I didn't. I eventually sold the Sona in a part exchange for the Ambition, which featured in various old posts, and enjoyed doing a bit of work on it but my heart wasn't really in it, and it too was sold on. 

A lot of other things then took up all my time and at the end of 2019 my work moved to a new hospital with decent showers and changing. I commuted a couple of times by bike but then, like the rest of the world, Covid came and everything went tits up. 

My LHT will be celebrating its 10th birthday with me in August and its still my favourite bike but a 12 mile commute takes time and it can be a really windy route. So I've done something I never thought I would do and bought this. 

It's a 2019 Ridgeback e-flight with 750 miles on it and a full service history. (Yes, I know, but ebikes record this sort of stuff on their computers). It even has the original spoke reflectors, which will be coming off! 
I'll do the usual mods, saddle, grips, pedals, fitting and luggage, then start with commuting when I feel up to it and see how it goes. 
I'm not putting pressure on myself, I'm just going to enjoy it. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Still going with a quick sailing post.

I'm still alive, just haven't got around to posting for the last four months. I'll not bother with a myriad of excuses, but instead post some pictures of sailing the Sona.

It hasn't been a very good season, I've been really busy with work and then it always seemed to poor weather whenever I had time off. I've only managed five outings which makes for a very expensive hobby this year!

The interior modifications have held together and the new solar charging and electrics have worked faultlessly. The usb sockets charge my phone quicker than the mains charger at home. The only problem has been a small but persistent leak. I'll need to rebuild and replace the windows over the winter and hopefully that will cure it. But I also plan to get the boat craned up onto blocks so I can check the keel box.

Its a lovely boat to sail but the genoa is a bit of a handful when single handing, so fitting a furler is another project for the winter.

I think the above photo was in May. Anyway, that's Stuart on his yacht Seline. The photo below was a week ago during the Rudkin Memorial Race. I was late starting then retired after an hour of drifting along at half a knot. In the end, there were only two finishers.

There's a big rock under that iron pole!

Back into the narrow harbour entrance and there's an expectant face waiting.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Sona's launch

Back in January I set a target date for rebuilding and launching the Jaguar 23, Sona, on Good Friday, the 3rd of April. Well the day came and went and the crane launched most of the other boats at Dunbar Harbour. I wasn't ready but after an awful lot of work over the Easter weekend, Sona was finally launched on Monday 6th.

First thing was to move it to the slip where it would be launched. Some good friends and a little tractor and off she goes.

Then for the next three days I was up early as the sun started to warm the harbour and kept busy all day, painting, sawing, drilling, fabricating and generally fixing up the boat. Friends and passers-by came along to offer advice watch the progress and generally chat amongst themselves (and enjoy a cold beer) in the hot sunshine. 

Lots of little boxes of collected useful things; and they did come in very handy as I rebuilt the rudder, outboard bracket, rigging, wiring, and engine.

The outboard bracket got a whole new lump of mahogany ply laminated up, then cut varnished and drilled to fit.

The mast foot was re-attached with monel rivets,  and all the hallyards were sorted to fit the blocks and exit for the best runs to the cockpit jammers and winches. Then, whilst there were a few willing helpers, the mast was hauled up into position and I had a minor panic when I couldn't find locating pin for the foot. Fortunately I had a suitable pin in one of my wee boxes!

Monday morning saw a quick coat of antifoul, fitting of the engine, fuel tank and anchor, then at high tide Sona was launched. Harbour resident Kenny took these photos as I scrambled around on board and wound the keel down. Stuart had drawn the short straw and was in the water.

Everything worked!! no leaks and I was soon onto my new mooring.


It has been a lot of work but its worth it when I look at these photos. There's still a lot of fettling and learning to come but she's in the water and only three days late. I'm well chuffed.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Still going, still busy.

Life seems to have been conspiring against my blog over the last month. First I lost my wallet and when I cancelled my cards, I missed a payment on my Blogger wallet for media storage. The new cards didn't turn up for twelve days, and so everything was shut down. Once I got everything sorted my computer decided to go into retirement and now I have intermittent router problems.

But despite all this, work continues toward launch day for the Sona. Progress has been made and the 'mighty' Heron was sold a couple of weeks ago. It's going to remain in Dunbar which is good news and hopefully the new owner, Alan, will get as much enjoyment from it as I did over the last nine! years.

On the Sona I've been doing some major cleaning which can be seen in the above picture of the cabin sole ( halfway done). After a lot of experimenting, the cleaning product of choice is Dettol Mould and Mildew Remover, a stiff scrubbing brush, lots of elbow grease then Flash wipes to clean up.

I've also turned my hand to minor carpentry to extend the bulkhead to the keel box. I made up the lower part today and have stained it to match. I know that the grain is running in different directions, but that was the way the ply was on both sides. The fake brass clock and barometer will be fixed to it along with a couple of shelves for mugs, books etc.

The re-wire is also coming on, although every now and then I find new mysteries to confound me. Above is the supply and return for the VHF with fuses on both sides? I've also managed to get the Mariner 6hp going again. There was a fuelling problem at the remote side which was fixed easily enough by cutting away de-laminated hose and cleaning up the breather on the tank. I've also ordered new cap-shrouds from Jimmy Green Marine.

And speaking of engines. I yet again got roped into the annual task of putting the saab diesel back into the yacht Carioca. It was out for new engine mounts this year.

It is a cramped engine compartment and the only way to access it is to hang upside. Long arms and a lot of patience is required! Outboards definitely have advantages.

So just a couple of weeks to go. I still need to get the mast put together and a test raising to see how the new rigging will work out. I also have to make up various new bolts and pads for the outboard mount, and the rudder box is still awaiting welding. The sea also needs to be reminded that the sailing season is about to start!