The forecast for bank holiday weekend was riding with a bit of drinking and was 100% accurate! C.a. 300km covered in France, sun, tailwind, cheap wine and beer. Back to reality.
Yep. Why not. After watching couple of videos and diy tutorials, I bought bits and bobs and made one. Looks like after swapping to hammock camping, people never looked back and some of them become almost preachers. 😉 Anyway, I think that might be best idea for one/two nights micro-adventures. (even some primates figured that out)
Probably the most useful piece of camping kit I’ve made (to date) plus as a bonus you can see pretty hot porn video with this piece of kit in action ;-).
Googling the other day I came across Exped Minipump. This is an awesome idea, but I’m not sure will fit other brands than Exped. They making quite ok camping gear, but unfortunately too dear for me. So I tried recreate more less same product.
I made valve connector with cable gland. Just cut inside to fit valve.
Cut ripstop in a shape of big lollipop as below. (already looking hot ;-))
As ripstop is quite thin I had to reinforce hole with a bit of stronger fabic. Tested and sewn to leg of one “lollipop”.
A “bun” been made with foam I found at office. The additional holes are to decrease slightly volume of the foam (will pack smaller).
In other lollipop piece i made air intake hole, and everything has been put together. Voilà, ready to test. Uhh! Ohh! look at that hot pictures below!
And now promised porn. Do not watch it if you’re under 18! Camera! action!
Final thoughts. Obviously that is prototype or MK1 if you like, just to prove the concept. The pump works ok, but I didn’t pay too much attention to details (as I wanted quickly test it), so I think the air leaks are the main problem. Other than that the test was promising enough to make another iteration in the nearest future.
Mistakes. “Foam bun” is too small, should fill completely wider part. I’m planning to add valve in “hose” part of the lollipop as I got feeling that air been sucked back a bit. The hose is not acting completely as expected, I thought negative pressure will squeeze walls and act as valve). I hoped that stitching need to be air tight so next time I’m going to glue pieces together and than sew it. Intake hole need to be a bit smaller.
Time for Mk2, stay tuned!
I had couple thoughts about distributing weight on the bike. I’ve been thinking about Salsa anything cage with some dry bags. Neat solution, quite like it, but will be a bit tricky to attach it to the fork in my case. What I really don’t like is the price for whole setup. One Salsa Cage in is UK £29 (need two). On top of that is pair of fancy Salsa bags or other dry bags (Porcelain Rocket) with size suitable for the cage, or DIY something.
Other option was Blackburn Outpost cargo cage. This one is around £17 per one. That’s better. Acceptable price, but again, a bit problematic to attach to my fork.
Finally I gave up and started looking for standard front panniers and rack. I’m not really original and went for Ortlieb. As I don’t really see the point paying more for Classic model, I bought “Front City”. Minimalistic design waterproofness guaranteed by Ortlieb and costs 51 quid per pair. Good.
Then I had a bit of dilemma with front rack. I found quite a lot of different designs, but really liked Avenir front rack. Googled about 2 days tried to find any information about dimensions and if they’re compatible with Ortliebs. No luck. The other thing to consider was compatibility with disc brakes. Anyway I decided to purchase the rack and try. I can always return if won’t be possible to fit them. Turned out the rack fits perfectly Ortlieb panniers. So just in case someone is searching for dimensions here we are:
Two things you might don’t like. At first of all there’s no front joining so theoretically they can be “sucked” by front wheel and cause very nasty OTB. But I think as I have mudguards, the mudguard stays will be enough to prevent this from happening.
Once I checked the panniers fit and brakes won’t be a big problem, started to think how to securely attach them to fork. As I expected none of the fittings were ok for my setup and probably most bicycles will have same problem. The internet is full of similar stories as below:
“This front rack is great if you have very thin front forks, otherwise they just will not fit. I am ashamed to say that I resorted to hammering the fixing to make them fit and put dents in the front forks. If you are ordering online check and check again all measurements……now they fit and are very solid indeed !!! “
Well…, the guy gave 2 stars rating the product. On the other hand I’m just wondering why Avenir decided to give only small brackets (U bolts), which in most cases won’t fit? Why they didn’t supply with another, bigger set of U bolts? Or just simply bigger U bolt? Cost for end customer will be probably around +£1.20. Strange.
Anyway at first of all, I needed bigger U bolt. as the one supplied originally with rack was way too small for my fork (the one suplied it’s really 20mm across, nonsense unless you’re owner of old steel frame). After measuring the fork 5 times I purchased suitable U bolt stainless steel 6mm (6 quid) 37mm across. Put some heat-shrink to protect fork. And here we are.
Next I made two spacers instead of original one. The spacers are made of 5mm thick plastic. I’ve chosen the plastic as is incredibly easy to work with, but that can be done using alloy bar or something else.
The mudguard stays eyelets are “sandwitched” between slightly oversized washers (I decided to use same threads as for mudguard stays).
The other option for using mounting points only for rack only is Axiom axle runners or DIY similar thing from alloy sheet (might actually try it for my other bike which hasn’t got eyelets at all)
Everything mounted, medium thread lock applied on all bolts. Done
Keep’em rolling. Cheers.
Suppose to be three day trip to Dartmoor, wild camping, plenty pictures etc, but I was too optimistic about the British weather – predictably unpredictable. Sunday noon after quick forecast check, looked like Sunday afternoon until Monday evening will be heavily raining. I scratched my head, counted pluses and minuses, and decided, that won’t be fun riding in pouring rain and headed back to Exceter. In the meantime, as to ensure me, started drizzling. Anyway, the hills (18-19%) in Devon will take care to not leave you dry, even when it’s not raining ;-).
Such a shame, last bank holiday before Christmas, wasted because of weather.
Long bank holiday weekend pushed me outdoors. Initial plan was Dartmoor (possibly Project Eden) but I’ve ended up just touching outskirts of Dartmoor.
Anyway, as always lack of planning is a plan for disaster. The links to bikemap.net with routes are just as an example, I’ve done each day from 110-120km circling around towns or trying to find better way, or trying to find shops etc..
I was in rush as I ended earlier on Friday and still had to change tyres, change pedals, tighten crank buy a food etc, etc… Effectively I forgot couple bits and pieces and climbed quite a hills on National Cycle Route no 2 on the way back, plus insane hills just before Cerne Abbas itself. In some places the road is insanely steep reaching (from my Garmin) 18%. Not funny with trailer and panniers, but what won’t kill you will make you stronger.
Between Devon and Dorset Route no 2 is in some places just magic…
… but very steep in some places which makes problems with climbing, but as the rule no 2 saying: harden the fuck up. On the other side you can reach easily 70kmh going downhill. Not good at all… As a result after Alps and this trip brake blocks are not existent.
Started with brill weather as you can see…
… and then gradually was darker, and darker and of course started pissing. I thought will be worse so turned back and decided to shorten whole trip one day and get back on Monday.
On the way back I took ferry which saved me probably an hour or so. Ended up, after painstaking hill, on the posh camping near Sidmouth feeling slightly strange between campers worth 50k quid ;-).
The steepest and probably hardest hill on the last day Eggardon Hill, but the view was rewarding. On top, one guy just asked Don’t tell me you cycled all the way up?!
Gear camping and some thoughts.
I’ve tested couple of things as always. At first of all what works.
Coffee maker – coffee sack ;-). Basically I’ve made simple method for coffee on the go. I made small sack made of synthetic (polyester?) fine netting fabric. Whole procedure is similar to making tea from leaves and the sack can be used for that purpose as well. Weighs nothing can be squeezed and stored anywhere. Quality of coffee is more less same like from french press.
New sleeping bag Vango F10 Catalyst 250 goose down (95/5). Just delighted with that thing. Spent 120 quid (RRP £200!), quite a money for me, but I’ll be sorted for early spring and autumn. I must admit was slightly too warm, as in the night was about 14C. Only one night been col enough to zip it up.
New tent Terra Nova Zephyros 2. Seems to be quite ok tent for the price – double skin, under 2kg, spacious tent for around £100. I’ve made two mods: replaced lines with dynema and line-loks and replaced 60cm end masts with foldable ones same length as main pole (43cm) which effectively reduced whole package to almost half size. Terra Nova is claiming that is two person, but really you need to be close with someone to count it as 2 person tent ;-). I’ll call it man-with-a-dog-tent. Plenty of space inside for one person, and in bad weather I believe will be able to cook inside. I’ll post some pictures in the future.
Gearing in front double 46-34 on the back (10 sp) 11-36. Basically mix of Deore DynaSys with FSA Omega crankset SLX Cassette. Works really well with trailer, quite happy with that setup. Can’t see any reason changing to anything else.Allows me to climb even steepest hills (the 36T cassette looks absolutely ridiculous ;-))
What wasn’t work
Pegs from my new tent. Fucking joke! Almost half of them bent after first use.
Bloody Garmin and 705 calculating route 2o minutes, soooo annoying.
My planning skills sucks. No major mistakes but plenty smaller quite annoying (that’s why I haven’t got output from GPS- batter died and I didn’t have cable to charge it…).
Keep them rolling.