Hardware 101

Bicycle Butted Tubing Explained

The weakest point on any (non carbon) bicycle frame is where the various bits of tubing are joined, either by lugs or TIG/MIG welding. The thicker the tubing is at the point of the weld or lug the stronger the frame will be, but if the tubing was of the same thickness across it’s length it would be too heavy.

The solution is butted tubing which decreases the thickness or gauge of the tubing in the center whilst retaining it’s thickness at the ends where the lugs or welds are, like this:

butted tubing explained diagram

Straight gauge and single, double and triple butted tubing diagram.

The process of butting is expensive but enables a frame to be strong by having large welding face at the ends, and light by having a slim gauge in the middle where the extra strength is not required.

Kelly McGarry Downhill MTB

Cinematic Sunday #4 – Kelly McGarry, This Will Have You On The Edge Of Your Seat!

This video of Kelly McGarry doing a backflip over a 72ft canyon has to be this week’s Cinematic Sunday nomination. The backflip is only the start of what makes this video so thrilling; this madman and brilliant rider navigates a razors edge of dusty mountaintop whilst casually disregarding the golden rule of ‘keeping the rubber side down’ and throwing himself off ledges. It’s a white knuckle experience even for spectators.

If you expect me to feature in one of these kinds of Cinematic Sunday videos then, sadly, you might be waiting a while… Continue reading

Outdoors Equipment Photo

Fully Loaded Bicycle Touring Equipment Checklist and Diagram

I enjoy thinking about the details when it comes to planning adventures. I become especially fastidious the more excited I get about an idea and though I’ve noticed that nothing ever really goes exactly to plan, I still find that having covered the ground work from the comfort of my desk is great preparation both mentally and physically.

Here is my master cycle touring kit list. If I’m packing for a cycle trip this is the first thing I look at. I never take everything, it’s more a selection that I can pick and choose from to make sure I don’t forget anything. Continue reading

Koala Bear in OZ

The Hidden Secret Revealed In My Cycle Touring Photos

NB: I would not have felt comfortable sharing this much about myself before New Zealand, but a few more years on the clock and incremental gains in emotional security finally allow me to with only mild reservations:

If you look at these photos you might spot something that I didn’t see happening at the time they were taken. Even though there are not many photos of Ellie and I together on our last big tour, because there was no one else to take photos and we didn’t have a tripod, it’s still clear, and probably obvious to anyone that I was falling in love with Ellie!

Ellie Meets Kitten

Ellie Meets Kitten

Ellie had spent 6 months in New Zealand working as a Midwife whilst I finished my degree. As I cycled East from England she met me in Slovenia to join the ride. From then on it was our joint tour and we had fun from the start. But as time went on we continued to grow closer, we relaxed more, caught up on the last 6 months we’d spend apart and slowly built on our already good relationship. Continue reading

Garmin Forerunner 310xt

Using a Garmin Forerunner 310xt for Mapping and Navigating a Cycle Tour

The Garmin Forerunner 310xt is something of a gem for navigation. The sparsely detailed line drawings it creates provide you with the bare minimum of navigational information to get you from one point to another via a chosen route. I’m intentionally refraining from using the word ‘map’ when talking about the Garmin’s display as that’s too grand a word.

I know that introduction didn’t sound too favourable but bear with me, the Garmin 310xt is still an incredible GPS device. Admittedly the breadcrumb style line routes that it draws may only be adequate, but look at it another way and you’ll see that they’re just good enough! Couple this adequate display information with a 20 hour battery life and a waterproof chassis weighing only 72g and you have a really neat little sidekick for travelling. Continue reading

Infinity Pedal

The Infinity Pedal KickStarter Campaign

I’ve been watching the Infinity pedal on KickStarter for a while. I think that Sam Hunter’s pedal and cleat concept has great potential due to its simple and lightweight design. Mechanically it works in a very different way to current common cleat systems.

As the cleat slides over the pedal it compresses it, making it shorter and holding it between two small protrusions on the cleat. A photo might help to explain:

Infinity Pedal

Infinity Pedal and cleat mechanism

Until recently the KickStarter campaign has focussed on the design and production of the mountain bike cleat, but it now looks like an accompanying road version will be released. This means that both road and mountain bike shoes (and cleats) will work with the same bike pedal.

The combination of road shoes and the infinity pedal with cleat will be one of the lightest cycle shoe binding mechanisms available. Continue reading

Fully Loaded and Ultralight Cycle Touring