Sunday, March 27, 2011

The man who went up a hill and came down a mountain

Yesterday was the first real test of the P3 and my building skills. I went with some friends to Holmbury hill for a short ride. Well that was the aim, but they met someone who offered to show them some of the less popular trails. The result a rather longer day on the hill and a test of me and the bike.

I would love to say I spent the time flowing with the terrain and catching big air, but actually I spent frantic moments of concentration learning new routes and learning the ways of a new bike. Bits fell off, the result of not be quite tight enough, I didn't although my foot slipped from the pedals.  I also spent a lot of time letting my legs recover from the climbs.

First off it seems a torque wrench might be a worthwhile investment if you are building a bike that is going to be shaken by the ground. The handlebars slipped on a short downhill section, which was alarming. I also lost one of the front brake arms. It is possible that the brake boss problems are the cause or it may be the mechanic who put it together.

I also realise now that I need a few changes to improve the rideability of the bike. A 42 tooth front ring is not an ideal climbing ring for the average unfit weekend rider. It was hard work, perhaps made harder by trying to follow the lead riders up the hill in their granny rings when I needed to be going faster. I also can't push the crank round up in 9 for long enough. Perhaps one day I will be fit and trail wise enough to do this I don't think so either. The other problem was that other the hardening trails as the back kick out over stones and roots I would lose my connection with the big flat (cheap) pedals . A few shin bites resulted. I am now looking for a nice pair of clip in pedals with a wide foot bed.

Am I disappointed to have the bike now? No, it is fantastic to be riding something that I have worked on. The tinkering with all the little details is,  I guess, all part of the fun.

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