If you are lucky enough to live in the East of London there is a wonderful short ride that follows Regents Canal for a bit and branches off to the River Lea which you can then follow up towards The Tottenham Marshes and beyond if you’re feeling energetic. Continue reading
Head up to the bmx track. Take 3 awesome runs. Believe you can do better. Jump the camel. Front wheel washes out in the loose gravel. Put out a foot to save the situation. Break a leg. Crawl off the track trying not to swear because there’s a couple of little kids with their mom. Roll to the closest bench. Continue reading
I’ve been trying to learn how to ride backwards, hence the title of the post. You’d think this would be a pretty simple exercise but it involves a mind block and disobeying 40 years of conditioning that tells you to move forward.
So yesterday we spent 2 hours in Victoria Park going from track stand to the first few feet of backwards motion. In 2 hours i managed to get to the 180 and ride away point only twice, but it had the added bonus of improving my track stands.
However, i woke up this morning feeling like i’d gone a few rounds with a beater and when i saw the video clip i realised why. In the process of balancing you’re using arms, legs, core muscles and in my case cool facial expressions. And boy do i have a load of bruises on my inner knee from the cross bar. Anyhoo, here’s a vid clip of my attempts and Brendan’s successes. Enjoy.
A few shots taken whilst i was out and about.
Where: London, Victoria Park & Mile End
Ah London in the spring time. Well the last day of spring at least, so Bren and i put it in our shoes and took it to the playground in Victoria Park and poured it into some hip hopping and general fixie foolery. First decent street session i’ve had in ages.
Bring on the summer.
These are stills from some clips we snapped with the iPhone 4. Not bad….for an iPhone
Remember that old wisdom that states if you don’t have anything nice to say then better to say nothing. Well i thought about that and decided to hell with it, so here goes the Subrosa Letum 2011 review or You get what you pay for.
I’m sure you all remember how very excited i was when i first got the bike. It looked amazing and felt smooth, i may have used the word pure. Yes i was excited.
3 weeks in and the back cog started to slip when i pulled away, so with a trusty fixie tool i cranked the lockring nice and tight. That seemed to hold. This all co-insided with the start of my Skatepark a Month challenge. That was an awesome day but what i never told you was that on the way home from that skate at Finsbury Park i was charging (ok gliding, it was pure) downhill towards a set of traffic lights, cars coming from all directions. I tried to brake….silly me. The cog unwound as the lockring popped off and i careened towards the cars. Presence of mind saw me take a foot off and do an old skool foot jam on the back wheel. Thank God for Youtube and the SF crew. Bren and i crawled home.
When i got the wheel off and removed the lockring i realized the reason was that there was no longer any thread worth mentioning left on the hub. So feeling a bit annoyed i whipped the back wheel down to Evan’s Cycle’s and after a bit of friendly banter they agreed that it should be sent back to the supplier, and off it went. It was now 1st february and i’d only had 15 rides.
4 weeks and many irrate phone calls later the wheel was back at Evan’s. Did they call me to tell me it was there? Duh of course not but it had been waiting in the office, luckily i called.
And suddenly it was March and i’d been a month without a bike so i rode as often as i could for a few days to get back into the swing. Then the creaking started. Pedal creak. I tightened everything, twice. It got worse. So i decided to strip the bike down to it’s bare bones state. Crank arms off and the square taper BB out i realized there wasn’t a drop of grease anywhere on this bike. In fact there was rust inside the BB shell.
Now there had always been a small metallic rattle in the frame and i figured at this point i’d just shake out what was making the noise. It appeared to be a small bit a metal shaving, i pulled, then pulled some more and like some magical rabbit from the proverbial hat i pulled enough metal out of the frame to make a new BB.
I took off the headset, removed the forks and bearings, holy crap again not a drop of grease and shavings everywhere.
So now she was clean, rattle free and greased to the nines Bren and i put her back together and she was sweet .. and pure. And we went for a ride and she creaked. I dispaired. Next day Bren had whipped off the crank arms again and discovered that the taper was worn and not fitting onto the BB arm nice and snug. Pretty obvious really but the bike had only had about 30 rides. So onto the glorious interweb and i ordered myself a set of Eighth Inch splined cranks with Euro BB and for my birthday Bren bought me a new Eighth Inch 33t sprocket and 14t back cog.
The cog started to slip on the replacement wheel and i feared the worst so i went down to 14BikeCo and bought a Shimano Dura Ace lock ring to replace the piece of poo that came with the bike and i cranked that sucker down tight with the fantastic 14BikeCo Fixie tool.
Alas it was tantamount to putting fresh paint on an old whore and all it meant was that i spent quality time on the side of the road the following weekend with my trusty 14Bike tool trying to give the amazingly tooled Dura Ace lockring some purchase on a knackered hub.
This time i decided to bypass Evan’s because i was getting older and didn’t want to die of old age waiting for a replacement wheel. I went straight to Seventies the Subrosa supplier and after hearing my tale of woe they sent me a replacement wheel. By now i was pretty wary of anything that looked like a Subrosa part so i decided to remove the lockring before i fitted the “new” wheel. Imagine my delight when i saw that the hub was not new but possibly the same hub i had returned to Evan’s the first time. Not pleased does not begin to describe what i felt and i fired off a very angry email to Seventies, and this is where the difference between a good supplier and a shite supplier became evident. They asked how they could remedy the problem, what would make me happy. Seventies at this point went up many points on the awesome scale, Evan’s take note. I agreed that if they supplied me with a new Halo hub i would lace it myself and we could all move on with our lives.
And this they did and it arived a couple of days later. I rushed off to Tokyo Fixed Gear and they laced it to my rim using the existing spokes, the only London bike shop that was prepared to do this, TF you to are awesome.
So now 4 months after buying this bike i have a rideable creation. Was it worth it? I believe it was because i learnt many things i did not know. It was a fantasticly annoying and slightly expensive learning experience but the end result has been worth the wait. Of course the bottom line here is you do get what you pay for. I tried to save money by buying a budget range and ended up paying for it.
What do i think of the Subrosa Letum fixed 2011?
The frame is bombproof and the geometry is spot on but you can take all the other parts and toss them into the ocean because they are cheap and nasty. I’ve heard rumours that Subrosa has dropped this part spec for the next model which if it is true is wise indeed. Subrosa put together some great bikes, this was not one of them.
If you made it this far, here’s what mine looks like now.