Monthly Archives: January 2013

Recent Updates

Repaired Chain = Back to Training:

It took 4 days to arrive, but I eventually got my power link (see guide) and could fit it as such  I gave my chain a ‘degunge’ and fresh oil and was ready to hit some turbo training that evening. So I did with good intentions, but after an hour in I was disappointed to find my mp3 choked and died on me half way through. I would have thought it would be the other way round machine beats man. In the end I had to give up, I lacked the mental strength to concentrate with the flurry of bangs being positioned above some open squash courts.

Fortunately the next two days I put in some excellent sessions and leading after Tuesday’s circuit training, I was pretty knackered at the end and slept a very good night despite only having 7 hours sleep.

  • Tuesday: Circuit Training
  • Thursday: Circuit Training
  • Saturday: Turbo Trainer (1hr)
  • Sunday: Turbo Trainer (1hr 1/2)
  • Monday: Turbo Trainer (2hr)
  • Tuesday: Circuit Training

I am hoping that soon I can record a video of my training efforts to really show how determined I am achieving this.

Website Improvements:

The website serves as the backbone for my adventure and  For the few dedicated followers that I have already, I managed to improve the homepage of my website so that it is much more informative in real time from many sources (Twitter, Twitpic, Blog).

Screenshot showcasing improvements to World Rickshaw Taxi Frontpage

Also shown is the modified trailer for my world rickshaw taxi, which was entered part of the Kukri Scholarship competition. Having direct control over website gives me great flexibility to tweak this as I want and how I want and will become more interactive when my adventure begins.

Twitter: To tweet or not tweet that’s good question

It does open up many avenues for engaging with people, but at the same time is time consuming. However, I am now on twitter under a new alias (@worldrickshaw) and steadily building up some dedicated followers who probably do think I am on the eccentric side.

I am currently contemplating whether I will use this on the trip to communicate updates whilst on the expedition to followers – it seems a sensible and realistic idea which I’ve done in the past. However, I currently have the problem where some countries like Iran, China it is banned. I am sure there are work around or I will consider some other ideas. .

Get Punkt:

Recently I’ve been contacted by Lydia from Luxson, who shared me their quite novel method of sharing updates using your mobile phone whilst roaming on expeditions called Punkt

Luxson Punkt - Method for sharing expeditions It seems a very practical method of sharing the adventure on the go especially with richer social media. My only hesitation is integrating this seamlessly into my website. However, that may be addressable and will need a bit of time to think this over.

The Big Training Ride:

I will be heading home on Friday , but rather than taking a train I will be cycling home. I will post more about this in a successive post sometime soon.

 

 

Guide to repairing a broken chain

With the unfortunate situation with the snow this has left training by turbo non-existent recently. Having taken by bike out in the snow and using relatively high gears to prevent skidding, I found on Tuesday morning that my bike chain suddenly snapped. One of the pins had broke and I had nearly fell off as I went up a slight in climb. This is the fourth time in my life this has happened, quite an achievement.

I thought it would be useful to share my knowledge on my experience as this has become a trivial matter which I have learned over the years without being a road bike enthusiast.

Broken Chain

 

Surprisingly the outer link is quite bent but the remainder of the chain looks fine on a closer inspection. In the mean time I’ve been waiting for a spare link to come – sadly Royal Mail has failed to deliver this week.

Introducing SRam Power Link:

These are handy to have on any expedition or even on a bike ride. If you chain suddenly gets caught anywhere and bends or even snaps then you will be walking back to the nearest bike shop.

sram

They are quite easy to use and are re-usable. Simply push the links together between the connecting ends of the chain and pull the chain taught. Bob’s your uncle and you’ll be back riding. They can be bought individually or a pack of three off eBay for £2.00 and are satisfactory  It saves buying a new chain although it is recommended to swap every few months to reduce stretching – although as an engineer I cannot understand the logic behind that…

The other benefits are that you can easily dismantle the chain which allows you to thoroughly clean and remove grease improving the performance when changing gear and increasing the lifetime of the chain (dirt will act abrasively).

When Distaster happens: Removing a faulty chain link/pin on the go

This has happened to me one time and I was lucky I had a tool available with me and a spare power-link at hand.

Standard chains conventionally use a master pin which is permanently riveted into the chain and requires a chain pin extraction tool to remove. This is the same for all other links. Once these are removed these need replacing. Having the correct multi-tool will allow you to remove these easily without fuss or worry.

A Multi-tool for life:

Put the investment for a decent multi-tool, they are like the swiss-army knife for bikes, no joke. If you are in the middle of no-where and you have to rely on yourself you need to be ready for whatever situation. There has been many times for me when a bike shop has been nearby but was closed because it was the weekend.

BBB BTL-41L – MaxiFold Multi Tool:

A good multi-tool will last for a long time – mine is a  (below) has lasted nearly three years without a problem. Purchased at an over-inflated price (£30) when I lost all my gear on a trip in Norway it can be found most places online at £18.

BBB BTL-41L - MaxiFold L Multi Tool

Having a  steel tyre levers are really useful especially trying to life the bead (wire around the open edge) of a tyre tightens when over a long time. Plastic (acrylic) tyre levers become strenuous and for me have even snapped.

tyreDiagram

A midrange tool will do you justice by using better alloys than cheaper equivalents for the tool heads improving durability so the tool head keeps it shape.

A worn allen key head will destroy bolts and will make them impossible to remove. 

A good multi-tool sometime feature a chain extractor and spoke keys which are essential for any expedition. Simple operation of the chain extractor is fitting the chain link with the pin to remove aligned with the ‘pin punch’. Winding the punch will push out the faulty pin and you can then attach the powerlink connector between.

Hopefully this quick guide may serve to be useful to someone.

One of those days…

Sadly to say, this day hasn’t been a great one. With the result of the heavy snow our weekend away trip to Wales with our Athletics Club at Warwick got cancelled. This was unfortuante enough but it was looming with the ever pressing forecasts of worsening conditions. C’e la vie. Although left empty with disappointment, there wasn’t anything I could do and sometimes moving on from situations like this is hard enough.

Also today, I finally heard back from the Kukri Adventure Scholarship. Disappointedly I wasn’t successful.  I promised my self not to expect anything and if I did it would be a suprise. Some of the projects and teams do definitely deserve to go to the next rounds although some I arguably question. Nevertheless it’s not of my choosing. 
So it leads to one of those bad days where luck is simply not on your side. It happens – frustratingly two in one day.  It will take an evening to get over but most importantly I will move on. Dreams were never meant to be easy.

Playing the exhaustive waiting game

The past two weeks have been exceptionally busy: both the demands from the University work in the case of a fourth year group project in addition to trying to fit the remaining pockets of time with training. Consequently this has left me exhausted but I still keep chipping away.

Over Christmas and January I have sent of two grant/sponsorship applications and the pending result from this is both anxious time for me. Going ahead with World Rickshaw Taxi is still a possibility without these, far from it, but having not to worry about chasing sponsorship would release some worry and make life that bit easier.

It’s the waiting game, but I know this time around I have got the strength to not lose hope and take whatever comes to me.

Plan B:

Having a Plan B is essential and if things don’t fall in my part I am sure not to give up hope and look elsewhere. I have several other ideas for sponsorship and options later. It would later be interesting to consider ‘crowd funding’ just to help support some of my costs around the world.

Speaking with Cycles Maximus:

Cycles Maximus excel in engineering and producing rickshaws (modular trikes) in the UK and distribute these abroad. Having made an enquiry last November it was fantastic news to hear that they were really interested in World Rickshaw Taxi. Concurrently this year they will be re-launching and will be particularly exciting to see the launch of their new company and improved trike.

This past Monday I had a great conversation with their Marketing Director discussing this project and how it would fit together with CyclesMaximus. It was very interesting to hear how durable they have designed their trikes – especially as an engineer. I didn’t realise a lot of their components were bespoke and made by themselves. They assured me that this would further boost my confidence in having the mechanical reliability to pedal a rickshaw around the whole world. With their position, it would be great to have their support and I look forward to hearing their response next week.

Training:

It has been a hit and miss affair this past week. The weekend proved too busy, but most of the past week I kept committed and put in the training. I am pretty pleased with my efforts considering my state and successfully managed to put in the hours despite the very busy timetable. Yesterday proved exhausting and it took 40 minutes to build up any strength on the turbo trainer but managed squeeze some effort for the remainder of the session.

Last Week:

  •  Monday: 2hr Turbo Session
  • Tuesday: 2hr Turbo Session & Circuit Training
  • Wednesday: Abs workout (Rest Day)
  • Thursday: Circuits & 1 1/2 hr Turbo Session
  • Friday: Rest Day (University Work)
  • Saturday: Rest Day (University Work)
  • Sunday: 1hr outdoor bike ride + little running

Past WEEK:

  • Monday: University Work
  • Tuesday: 2hr Turbo Session & Circuit Training
  • Wednesday: 1 1/2hr Turbo Training

New Years’ Training Continues

After Warwick Sport finally opened its doors on January 2nd. I managed to finally get back to some serious training on the bike. This time around I am on my brother’s bike, which I traveled on when I went to Morocco. After replacing the rear tyre for wear, I was once again ready to sweat it out. So far it has been very successful and managed to find a space each evening. This term will be greater pressure and this training should be a way to release it.

Training done this past week:

  • Wednesday: 2hr Tubo Trainer
  • Thursday: 2hr Turbo Trainer
  • Friday: Core Exercises / Day Off
  • Saturday: 2hr Turbo Trainer
  • Sunday: Gentle Ride and 1h 1/2hr Turbo Trainer evening

General Training Plan:

Most of the training I am wanting to focus on is building up strength whilst retaining endurance. Pulling a rickshaw up a slight inclimb will be a great challenge, more so with passengers and that’s not forgetting about tyre resistance and of course the element of wind. There’s no good trying to train for speed and higher cadence because in essence it will have limited help in these situations. One of my focuses is to build high torque power but in a fully seated position which provides the most efficient form of pedaling.

So far has been going so well and using the higher gears, I am generally finding I can sustain greater period at the same cadence of 80-90 RPM much longer than I used to. All of this and after finishing at night I am generally shattered and for once falling to sleep relatively easily.

In between each two sessions, I take a rest day to help recover and just work on the abs and core for strength, doing numerous exercises in my room.

I hope this will continue and that my current determination keep strong.

 

Return to Warwick with a Happy New Year

A Happy New Year to all!

2013 will bring a new set of challenges and excitement especially with the World Rickshaw Taxi. It will be hard to organise everything, and gaining sponsorship will also prove a further difficulty and provides small atmosphere of uncertainty. Discussing with my parents over Christmas has further established my desire to keep strong. Whatever happens, I will have to work out a way of getting round all the problems I am yet to face.

Hope is never lost and each day will be a small progress in a persistent fight where the odds are against.

I hope for all the people I know that new years won’t be just a mere resolution. Instead an opportunity to present a daunting challenge that on the first steps appears to be impossible. But achieve success by tackling each small step towards the bigger picture at the end.

Anyway, frilly motivational talk aside, this month is where I will have a better idea of where I stand, or even better on a rickshaw!