Category Archives: Guides

Charting the route: Bringing geography to the 21st century

Most expeditions seem to rely on Google Maps – which are fairly convenient, easy to use and ofcourse is free. One of the perplexing issues is the proprietary nature of the digital maps and under scientific pretext I wanted to avoid tying down any data collected on my trip onto such platform. This has especially come to light considering the NSA PRISM scandal, although I’m not too pessimistic that I’m worried someone is spying on me.

All the data collected is stored on a (Mysql) database on the website – this includes

  • The itinerary route
  • Passenger fares requested and completed
  • Tracking system data

The Passenger locations are plotted on the map along with the tracking data simultaenously. This will inevitably become very large and will be optimised so that it is simplified.

All registered – completed fares can opt and once completed data will be anonymised under the user’s preference. Data is only accessible to myself and will not be shared except between you and me.

Having data that is open ensures it’s accountable and any discrepencies can be found – although to be honest is not crucial on this project.

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Cycle Touring Guide: Route Planning

A map is an empty canvas for your to explore your options. The route chosen serves as a guide not a detailed plan. First steps to choosing a route starts with picking a start and a finish location (sometimes the same). I believe having a start and finish gives a goal and an achievement to both work for and look forward to either through excitement or just as a sigh of relief.

I don’t like the idea of aimlessly cycling around unless you have a list of places you want see. That’s my opinion, but I prefer seeing a transition of change between regions or countries.

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Cycle Touring Guide: Deciding on cycle touring

Over the past year, I have often been asked many questions about my previous cycling trips and seemed to have become a resource to help some students who are or have been interested in a cycling trip or tour. I thought I would share my experience that may assist or inspire individuals to take on the best way of seeing the world by Two Wheels. Continue reading

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.