Flippin eck – 3 years??

Well, umm.. sorry to anyone who’s interested in my ‘adventures’.  It seems I’ve neglected this blog a little, but I have got a good excuse; my liver died, so I got a second-hand one, then that died, and then I got another one.  That one hasn’t died yet!

So, all that has kind’ve put me out of action for the past couple of years. My last major illness was back in September last year, which resulted in 4 months in hospital, and the loss of almost all my muscle mass.  It took 3 months of protein supplements and physio to get me on my feet again, and another 2 months to be able to walk normally.

After a few local rides to the supermarket, I finally managed a proper ride on the Middlewood Way in February.  I only had a small amount of time, and I’m pretty slow at the moment, so I only managed about 7 miles in total.  I’ve ridden there a few times previously, and it’s a nice place for a pootle.  Just watch out for the horses!

ooh – the Muddy Fox is complete!  I actually completed the build back in 2015, and the Kili’s been out of action due to setup issues, so I’ve used it quite a lot since then.

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There’s also been another addition to the fleet, which I bought *just* before my liver keeled over; a Lynx Parrilla.  If you google the name, you get motorbikes and barbeques, and practically nothing about the bike (except my own posts to retrobike).  Info on the bike is rarer than it was for my Courier, so I have no idea how many exist, or what their spec is supposed to be.  Luckily, the frame under the branding is not so rare; it’s an early Roberts Genesis!

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So that means it needs a decent spec, but as I’m a cheapskate, XT is about as far as I’m willing to go.  I’ve got the crank and mechs so far, and I bought some Project 2 forks.  I just need to get some brakes and put it all together! Once I’ve built up the strength to hammer in the headset, that is.

I just noticed that I never posted an update about the Kili Racer, or the ALX89 for that matter.  Shameful!  The Kili worked for a little while, but after the ride down south, it was clear that I’d set it up badly, and I never quite got around to finishing it properly.  I’m gonna finish it soon, though – honest!  Here’s how it looked just before heading south:

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Not bad, eh? Since then, I’ve put on some silver chainrings, swapped the front brakes for some that work, put on a black handlebar with some Yeti grips, and the tyres are now Panaracer Smoke and Dart.  The brakes are Suntour SE XC self-energising brakes, which are spring loaded to pull the brake in as they grip the wheel.  Only the rear are spring loaded, but the front brakes are a lot more expensive, despite being basic brakes.  Originally, I had rear brakes on the back and the front (they’re reversed, so the spring does nothing on the front), but the shape of the brake meant the fork got in the way when trying to adjust them.  In the end, I bought proper front SE XCs, but now I’m pondering fitting some Maguras that I’ve got…

As for the ALX89; I sold it.  It was just too small!  Shame, though.. that bike was ace in every other respect.

And that’s everything up to date!  Except for my most recent ride, which I’m gonna stick in the next post.  It’s gonna be a lot sooner than 3 years!  🙂

Dahn saahf

I had a pretty good weekend, last weekend; I took the Kili down south and cycled in the countryside with an old friend! 🙂

On Saturday, we headed into the New Forest, for a cycle up and down forest paths around the Minstead area. It was absolutely tipping it down, but we ventured on regardless, directed by a friend of my friends who seemed to know the area quite well (and had a map). The bike performed admirably, despite not having fully operational brakes, and having a crank that was getting more and more wonky. My bike did look a bit odd next to their modern 29ers, with no discs or suspension, but I held my own. Only the brakes were a true embarrassment. Best bit of that day was a section where the path disappeared and became a very rooty slalom through trees (I was convinced we’d gone the wrong way, but apparently it was a path). For some reason, the other guys slowed down for this bit, but I couldn’t help but speed up and enjoy some proper offroading. No more commute through the forest – time to bounce off some roots! It was fun, and reminded me of how I used to ride mountain bikes about 20 years ago (that makes me feel old!).

On Sunday, the weather was lovely, and it was just me and my mate, so we headed to a trail that goes from Titchfield to Lee On Solent. It wasn’t a race, or a test of our abilities – we just chilled out and took our time. Sometimes it’s nice to just admire the view..

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When we got to Lee On Solent, it seemed right to stop for a bacon butty on the beach before heading back, even though I’m supposed to be vegetarian. It’s a good job I’m not a very strict vegetarian. 🙂

The trip hasn’t cured my home sickness. I miss proper forests. I miss being able to see the sea. I miss pubs that sell decent beer. 😐

Dammit – I forgot to get a pea fritter! I must go back!!!

All change, again!

The Peugeot’s sold.  The Kona’s sold.  The Rusthopper’s been given away.  The bike I was going to bid on was ended early (bah!).

Things have changed again!

Hopefully, this is the last change.  After the silliness of a few weeks ago, I realised that I needed to be more focussed than just buying every bargain-tastic, vaguely decent bike I see on ebay, or else things would always be changing, and my wife would leave me!

I decided to sell the Kona, and wait for a mid-nineties Saracen Protrax or Tufftrax to turn up.  I didn’t have to wait long!  The following week, a 1995 Saracen Tufftrax appeared on ebay, located in Chester.  I was worried that it’d get ended early, so I did what I’ve always hated..  I made an offer outside of the bidding system.  😮

The seller accepted my offer, and after a bit of fannying about, the bike was mine!  😀  I couldn’t pick it up until the following weekend, so I spent the week selling the junk that I’d acquired on ebay.  Then, on the Wednesday, something else popped up on ebay…

Remember I mentioned a bike that I wanted to bid on? It was an old Carrera elevated chainstay bike, built by Saracen.  Apparently Halfords asked them to build some e-stay frames for them, when e-stays were being seen as the next big thing.  I’ve always been intrigued by e-stays, and wanted one for myself.  Well, the thing that was on ebay was a 1992 Saracen Kili Racer; a proper Saracen e-stay.  And it was cheap, and on a buy-it-now!  After a few minutes of hesitation (mostly wondering how I was going to break it to the wife), it was mine!  😀

Both bikes have now been collected, so here they are:

1992 Saracen Kili Racer
Saracen Kili Racer

This bike was in pretty rough condition when I picked it up. It was covered in grime and filth, it’s seatpost was stuck, one side of it was covered in scratches, and it just didn’t look very well looked after.  It needs almost everything doing to it, but that’s half the fun.  This one is going to be quite a project!

1995 Saracen Tufftrax
1995 Saracen Tufftrax

This bike, however, was almost immaculate!  It was covered in stickers at first, which I pulled off as soon as I got home.  One of them took the Tange sticker with it, but I’m not too bothered by that.  It needs new wheels, new chainrings, and new pedals, but that’s about it.  I’ll be riding it to work tomorrow!  😀

No more new bikes now – honest!