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Thu, 01 Sep 2005

Feeding the addiction - 15:36
I wholeheartedly agree with Mikal, riding a bike is a fantastic way to reduce stress and it is a kind of drug. I have said in the past (that post is even about using cycling as a stress reduction tool) that I am a cycling addict.

I fed the addiction today, with the intention of getting some quality kilometres done at a steady pace I was planning to head out for a lap of Cotter/Uriarra with Sue (as we did two weeks ago) in an effort to work on building my base back up. Sue however pulled a reverse double pike with a twist or something, some excuse about having no bidons at work or something. However she had by that point talked Rob Allen, Dave Moten and someone I had not met previously named Tim, into joining in on the loop. Rob is a fair bit stronger on a bike than I, Dave Moten is one of the best climbers in Canberra on a bike and Tim was no slouch. Eek none of this taking it easy with guys like this even their slow pace would require some effort.

As evidence of how poor my current form is, for this 61.5 KM ride, which in summer we do on Tuesday mornings at an average speed of approximately 31 KMh often, today my average was only 29.2 (the ride took 2h6m today). Now I know to people who do not cycle this does not sound like much, trust me it is a pretty huge difference out there, the difference is mostly due to my poor climbing form. Sure I will never be able to climb faster than Dave Moten, however I hope to have much better form back in the next few months. Ahh well it was a gorgeous day out there and we all had a great ride.

As for Mikal's comment about feeling somewhat sweaty, I would suggest a shower can solve the feeling sweaty problem rather well.

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Leon does not appear to trust quill stems - 10:26
For some reason Leon appears to think quill stems are prone to failure. I have no idea why he thinks that, they are as reliable as most other parts on modern bikes. The steering mechanism on any bike relies on friction to avoid slipping, whether one uses a threaded (quill stem) or threadless (aheadset) setup at the front.

For a description of the various stem mechanisms Sheldon Brown describes them in the context of adjusting handle bar height, specifically look at his description of threaded stems. Sheldon also has a page up with some details of doing failure tests on various stems and he mentions the places he found failures and with what frequency with threaded and threadless systems.

There are a few reasons why you may prefer to use a threaded setup, even though they are far rarer these days. Of course one possible negative, in these days of aluminium being so prevalent in bike parts threaded headsets freeze inside the steerer tube. Jobst Brandt has a discussion on ways to get them loose and points out the system remains from the days when steel was the prevalent material.

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I am happy to report derailleur hangers work - 08:39

What's left on the frame (full size)

The hanger (full size)
Riding through Bruce Ridge on the shared use single track this morning with Ben, Tanja and Peter I thought I had a stick in my spokes. Stop, look, no stick, hop back on and pedal, can't pedal, stop have another look and notice (because this time I was looking for more than a stick in the spokes) that the derailleur is in the wrong place.

As the hanger is the same colour as the frame I was initially afraid the frame had snapped instead of the hanger. Fortunately upon closer observation once I got home I realised it was just the hanger. (this is after all the reason derailleur hangers are used on aluminium and carbon frames, so they break rather than the frame).

I was lucky to be riding at Bruce Ridge and Black Mountain this morning rather than Majura too, it was a nice down hill roll all the way home and I did not have to scooter or walk for 4 KM as I would have had to otherwise.

Of course now I have the small problem that the Rocky Mountain importers do not bring replacement hangers into Australia, fortunately however Allan Bontjer also has a similar Rocky Mountain frame and he purchased a few spare hangers from Simon's Bike Shop in Vancouver. So I will order myself a few new hangers, and give Allan one to replace the one he fixes me up with when they arrive.

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