Gran Canaria impressions …

As spring in Europe is officially cancelled I went with family to Gran Canaria. Trip looked from the start as standard “lay-on-the-beach” borring time  , and that’s kind of vacation people mostly looking for. BTW. Standard British way is: wake up in the morning (about 10am), go to the pool and take sun bed (by placing towel on it). Then get back to hotel room, eat, drink, and then spend whole day next to pool on sun bed, stuffing yourself with chips, coke, candys etc, trying to survive massive hangover from previous night. Occasionally go and have a shower, or dip into pool. About 9pm is time to move down town, for a slap-up meal (trying avoid vegetables if possible, apart from potatoes of course).  After dozen pints of lager about 1am, get back to hotel room. Sounds like fun, innit?
Not really for me…

My college days are gone, and as a middle age doughnut I won’t survive such stomach and brain abuse. So I decided to spend half a holiday cycling around the island.

I went to free motion company as they where on top of the list displayed by google. Choosen cheapest option Canondale CAAD10. Pretty basic alloy model, but solid as equipped with Shimano 105 groupset/wheels and Conti tyres. The company seems well organized and professional. Very friendly stuff, no problems whatsoever.

The island is quite small but there’s plenty different routes. You can go along coast line, which is up and down with refreshing breeze or you can choose mountain with spectacular valleys (barranco) different climbs and smooth tarmac.

I was focused on mountains mostly as coastline I have at home in Dorset ;-). Below is an example route to Ayacata and some pictures.

route to Ayacata



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Couple of hints if you want to rent a bicycle there. What you’ll need? Helmet (mandatory there), standard summer setup of clothes, plus arm warmers and gilet.  Shoes (pedals if you have some exotic system, but if you have Shimano shoes/cleats shouldn’t be a problem). Lights!!! Front (basic blinking white led) and rear. This is mandatory as well, if you want go trough tunnels which is almost unavoidable in most cases (of course you can rent light but it’ll cost money). Also: spare inner tube (as you’ll have only one) or patches, allen keys/multitool, bottles (or you can buy sport drinks already in bottles, but they usually 0.5l and you need at least 2×0.75l). At last, if you want/need your favourite saddle (don’t forget allen key 8mm!). Looks like quite a list, but really everything you can squeeze into helmet and some hardware into pockets. Washing clothes is not a problem, as the sun is oppressive there and everything is dry in no time. Talking about sun, remember about sun care otherwise you’ll look stupid like me, with peeling skin on nose, sun tan on chicks and pale around the eyes 😉

Summarizing. I didn’t expect such a nice time on the bike there. Must say it took quite a while to get used to the heat, but higher in mountains wasn’t too hot, and all you need to remember is sun care. As cycle holiday place strongly recommended, or like me part of family holiday.

Keep them rolling. Adam

Garmin 705 mount (diy)

A year ago I found neat solution to mount my Garmin 705 on my racer . This time I’ve tried to find a budget solution for my crap cyclocross bike, as I had all the bits and piece available “for free” at work. I’ve used some alloy pipes, stainless steel screws M5, and I also managed to find some plastic corks in the workshop (wireman using them for something I’ve asked if I can nick four and they gave me a lot). The rest of the story is pretty much on the pictures. The goal was to make “shed engineering” despite the fact that I have an access to lathe or can have theoretically an access CNC. Instead of painting (I hate painting aluminium) I’ve used heat shrink (I developed kinda fetish with heatshrink, love watching it shrinking ;-)). Effect is instant, you don’t have to wait for paint to dry. It’s scratch resistant. It’s easier. Instead of heatshrink, a vinyl sheet will do the job (to match handlebar tape colour for example ;-)). The whole bracket is attached to bottom screws of stem face plate, and Is very stiff.

Direct link to instructables


Full story in pictures below…

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Commuter mk2 (diy)

And again I’ve put together another commuter bike, as the previous old Giant frame will wait for better use (as winter bike) and better components. The price/quality factor is pretty Ok this time, as I had plenty parts lying around and some of them I transplant from previous commuter ;-). So in terms of costs, I spent 75 quid all together. Cassette Shimano HG50 9 speed- £15 (new), shifter Shimano Deore M511 £9 (new old stock! from chainreactions), rear mech (used from ebay) £8, chain Shimano Deore HG53 £15 (new), chainring plus bashguard Shimano Alfine 39T – £5 (new “old stock” from ebay), alloy frame Carrera Virtuosso – 15 quid, alloy fork (with spacers and cap) £7(!) (used from ebay). The rest bits and pieces I transplant from the old bike or I had already. Like handlebars, saddle, crank ancient Shimano (originally 3 rings road crank with 130BCD, painted, will see how long the paint will last) rack, wheels+tyres/tubes, pannier etc.

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I decided, after few calculations, to go for 1×9 drivetrain. So on front is standard Shimano Alfine chainring 39T and on the back is cheapest MTB Shimano cassette 11-34 which in terms of lightest gear is very similar what I had before 34(front)/30=1.133, now: 39(front)/34=1.147. The hardest gear is 39/11=3.54 which is enough for commuting, as I haven’t got a problem riding 30km/h without pedalling like complete retard. Now bad things. Despite the fact, that the frame has got threads for rack/mudguards, the bottom eyelets looks very weak. So I probably will not try carrying heavy stuff.

The fork apart from good price looks like is from an old school racer, and got a clearance just enough for 25mm tyre itself. No space left for mudguard at all. Other bad thing is lack of eyelets for mudguard (crap! I didn’t check it). I needed to make “problem solvers” of aluminium strips covered with heat shrink (you can see on the picture).

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Another bad thing was lack od thread to support rear mudguard against seat tube. Actualy there is one but the mudguard wasn’t long enough. This time I used DMR hinged clamp as on the pic. Lack of front shifter creates a bit of space for light as no cables are on the way.

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For rear light I’ve discovered very neat looking light from RSP.

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Ok, maybe it isn’t the prettiest bike in town, but so far doing the job perfectly, and the only thing I need to think of is front fork, which needs to be changed to something with eyelets and bigger clearance for mudguards.

Happy pedalling. Adam