Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I used JustGiving a great deal during my LEJOG and Back ride in 2006 and it was fantastic to raise so much dosh. JustGiving were great, claiming the Gift Aid and paying all the donations to my chosen charity. I raised the money for the Alzheimer's Society, and not only were they getting funds via JustGiving, we collected cash and cheques personally too.

The system works well, and I recommend it to any fundraiser .........

However, my thoughts have changed. It was time to start publicising my Chopper JOGLE and as I'd chosen to raise money for Gunnislake Primary School to improve the playground and play equipment for the little-uns in the infants classes, I tried to see if JustGiving would work.

Gunnislake School is a tiny school, not more than 70 children in Infant plus Junior. They have only two teachers and a few support staff. They are as impoverished as any school I suppose, but as they are local, and the Chopper is really a kids' bike, I thought of local children. If you look on the JustGiving site, they are geared toward Charities. That's all very well, but a school isn't a charity, so you have to set up an account and I looked into this. JustGiving make its money by holding back on a percent or two from the Gift Aid they claim. Also, they charge the charity £15 per month. If I were to set up an account with them now, and keep it going during my ride and afterwards too, the school would have to pay in excess of £60. They can't afford that, and I wouldn't ask them.

Consequently, the chairman of the governors is giving us the paperwork, and today we are going to open a dedicated bank account instead.

JustGiving is great for bigger concerns, but not for little ones. I know that JustGiving will provide an extra percentage via Gift Aid, but the money is offset by the £15 per month. Not really a good deal on a small scale.

See ya later,

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A Self Portrait ..............

I have a tripod and a camera with a self timer that goes up to 30sec, so off I went into the sunshine!

A short video tour.

I felt like a complete prat doing this! Hopefully, you'll all get the idea of what I look like, what I sound like and what Chopper and Trailer look like.

I'm open to questions about all the fixtures and fittings, and the operation of all the 12 gears!

Thank you for watching me.

Monday, 29 March 2010

I've not been idle these past two weeks. Although the weather has been wet and cold, I have managed to get out on Chopper a couple of times.

Today, I rode out through Tavistock and up towards Brentor, then turned for home and into a brisk and cold westerly. Hard work or what! I completed 18 miles with Trailer in tow. A good ride, but I need to get out more, and clock up a 60 or 70 miler. Maybe later this week, weather permitting.

On Friday, four of us went out for a meal at The Bird's Nest Chinese restaurant. We took a taxi each way, and whilst chatting about me and Chopper, the taxi driver said, "Oh, it's you! I've seen you out and about on it, and always smiled to myself. I had a Chopper when I was a kid!" We explained what I was going to do on the thing, and as the driver dropped us off he was still smiling!

Choppers bring out the best in people.

44 days to go.
That's all.
I'm getting nervous.

We've started getting sponsor forms together. I've raised money for national charities before, but this time I wanted to keep it "local", so I've decided to raise some money for Gunnislake Primary School. Like all schools, they are very short of funds, and the Infants Department, or should I say Key Stage One, are as short of funds as can be. They have an outside play area that the education department are hoping to improve, so if I can swell the coffers somewhat, all the better for the little 'uns.

On Thursday, the day they break up for Easter, I'm attending the school assembly. I have to be there by 10.15 fully kitted out with Chopper and Trailer and explain to the assembled masses my intention, showing them this 40 year old bicycle and strange contraption of a trailer. I'm sure some of the older kids will understand the monumental task and appreciate Chopper, but I feel that I may leave the smaller kids somewhat baffled. I intend taking a map and showing the route - hopefully they understand maps, but I'm sure they will understand "a thousand miles!"

I only need to chat for a few minutes, but it's doing my head in. I could talk to adults all day about bicycles and cycling and all things Chopper, but kids? Good grief! Anyway, they won't bite. (I am reliably informed!)

More later, thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

My Route - in pictures!

Cycling Day 1
JOG to Wick 17 miles
Thursday 13th May

Cycling Day 2
Wick to Golspie 51 miles
Friday 14th May

Cycling Day 3
Golspie to Inverness 53 miles
Saturday 15th May

Cycling Day 4
Inverness to Pitlochry 88 miles
Sunday 16th May

Cycling Day 5
Pitlochry to Edinburgh 72 miles
Monday 17th May
Then take a day off.

Cycling Day 6
Edinburgh to Beattock 63 miles
Wednesday 19th May

Cycling Day 7
Beattock to Penrith 58 miles
Thursday 20th May

Cycling Day 8
Penrith to Leyland 79 miles
Friday 21st May

Cycling Day 9
Leyland to Wrexham 60 miles
Saturday 22nd May
Then take another day off

Cycling Day 10
Wrexham to Ludlow 58 miles
Monday 24th May

Cycling Day 11
Ludlow to Gloucester 48 miles
Tuesday 25th May

Cycling Day 12
Gloucester to Bridgwater 66 miles
Wednesday 26th May

Cycling Day 13
Bridgwater to Sourton 71 miles
Thursday 27th May
Then take a day off at home!

Cycling Day 14
Sourton to St Columb Major 51 miles
Friday 29th May

Cycling Day 15
St Columb Major to LE 49 miles
Saturday 30th May

Total Distance 901 miles
I thought I'd see if I could upload a movie, so I sat down and looked stupid and said something stupid too!

I'll try and do another one sometime and say something worthwhile. I have this idea of doing a video diary each evening as well as keeping the blog going during the ride. I will also keep a detailed diary.
(This supposes that I'll have time to do it all!)

It seems to work!

For the techies amongst you:
This was done on the built-in iSight camera on my trusty MacBook via iMovie.

See ya later!

Monday, 15 March 2010

I've been shopping! I hitched Trailer up and rode off down to Lidl Saltash.

Thirteen miles each way. I flew along with Trailer empty - and much of the ride is down hill, but I crawled back up the hills. Chopper is heavy enough, and with a load of shopping it takes a great effort to keep the pedals turning. I took it slowly, and took my time.

Chopper weighs 44lbs and Trailer 21lbs. (I know these facts).

As soon as I got back, I detached Trailer, picked the whole thing up and climbed on the scales. By subtracting my weight and that of Trailer, my shopping weighed in at 26lbs.

That made the whole rig a massive 91lbs!
(Or for anyone that is metric - 41.3Kg)

It was a good trial. It was the first time that I'd pulled a heavy trailer with Chopper, and I'll have to repeat the shopping idea with a bit more weight. Maybe next time I should buy more bottles of wine and a sack of potatoes!

Chopper performed faultlessly.

Great stuff!
Speak soon,

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Fourteen faultless miles today!

My tweakings of the transmission seem to have paid off. I rode out this morning making sure I had plenty tools with me, and half expecting to only get as far as the village, but as all was ok, off I went!

I took the A390 into Tavistock and made my way up to Lamerton, then back home. A great short ride, and come Monday I'll be out again, this time with Trailer in tow.

As promised, here are some photographs of the transmission.

The Chopper gear shift is disconnected. I can't reach it now the saddle is so high! I've installed a trigger shift on the handlebars.

The front changer.

Another view of the front changer. The yellow bit is cut off from and old car number plate. I had to butcher the changer to make it fit, and as the outer plate was very worn, it had no strength, so I Araldited the plastic over the top. I works well.

The front chainrings are 42 tooth and 52 tooth.

The back end. You can see the Chopper spoke protector and the double sprockets bolted together. They are a 28 tooth and an 18 tooth. The Sturmey Archer is a 3sp AW - wide ratio version.

All in all, it was a great test-ride and I'm very pleased with myself.

Tune in next week for another ride report.

Regards to all,

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

I've had a couple or three test rides, and it's been difficult.

The new chain is a 9 speed one and the gear changers aren't too happy with 9sp - they would be happier with 6, 7 or 8sp chains. I'm having a great deal of difficulty getting the cogs to select properly. One problem, is that the chain over-shifts into the spokes and jams behind the big sprocket, and the other problem is that the chain over-shifts and jams in the dropout. I've tweaked and tweaked and had a terrible time trying to get it right.

My newest plan, is to re-fit the spoke protector that Choppers have originally.

This will stop the chain jamming inside. The trouble is, it adds a little to the thickness of the equipment that fits on the Sturmey Archer driver, and the circlip that holds it all on comes off! I've had to file a little chamfer on the inside of the sprocket boss so the circlip beds in better. It may be that I may have to file a little more. Trial and Error is the way of things!

I've had a test ride, and all seems fine. This new chain may be problematical, but if and when it changes gear, it works beautifully. I only hope that I can get it right permanently. When everything is fine and dandy, I'll take some photographs of the gear train so you can all see how it works.

Busy again over the next few days, but hopefully I'll be out at the weekend for further tests, and fingers crossed, all will be well!


Monday, 8 March 2010

I managed to buy a new 18t sprocket contained within a six speed freewheel unit this morning. It only cost £6.99 for the whole lot, so I can't complain.

The fitting wasn't much of a problem, the sprocket had to be filed on the inside to fit onto a boss. Ten minutes later it was on and drilled through to bolt it in position. Next I needed a road test!

I hopped on and went for a spin, and everything felt fine, except the chain came off! No real problem, and I rode home again.

This afternoon I've been for a longer ride, and although the chain came off again, I'm very happy. This new Campagnolo chain changes gear so sweetly, I'm going to have to be very accurate with the gear adjustments. Tomorrow will be Adjustment Day!

The new mirror is a bit of a pain. The glass is flat, and ideally it should be convex, so I was finding the view a little limited - better than nothing, but a little limited. It only cost a couple of quid, so I should expect something less than perfect. The idea is good, so I'll shop around for a better one.

Thanks for reading,
Another update soon.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

First the good news.
My new brake blocks work well, and so does my new rear-view mirror as does the trailer hitch modification. Even the shiny new chain was perfect and so were the wheel nuts.

The sun was shining, and I fancied a ride on Chopper - not a long one, just a short one hour ride.

Here comes the bad news.
Off I went, whizzing along in the chilly March sunshine and changed into top gear. (3rd on the Sturmey Archer, big ring on the front and small cog at the back) The chain started to jump! This is caused by a worn sprocket. It didn't jump on the big 28 tooth sprocket but it did on the 18 tooth.

This 18t sprocket is a very old one that I used to use nearly 20 years ago, and I wasn't aware of it being worn. When I went over to cassettes, I kept all my old freewheel sprockets for ages and have since given some away. The 18t was perfect as a ratio on Chopper, and now I need a new one.

You may ask why this wasn't a problem before. The thing is, as sprockets wear, the "pitch" between the teeth becomes wider, and as the chain wears, everything is ok - until you fit a new chain! That's just what I've done! The good chain I've fitted with perfect pitch doesn't match the old sprocket.

You may ask why I just don't put the other chain back on, and that's what I may have to do, but continued use will ruin the 28t sprocket. I can't win. The best solution is to get hold of a new 18t sprocket.

So it's off to the bike shop tomorrow morning to see if I can get hold of one. It would be best and cheaper to buy a whole freewheel assembly with an 18t sprocket included and strip it down.

Oh well. I'm off the road until I can sort this. Poor Chopper has his legs in the air in the workshop awaiting some tender loving care.