pour some sugar on me

I love it when a post comes together.

This week’s foray into the murky world of ‘Random stuff people were searching for when they landed here trivia!’ is quite literally a little bit interesting… It’s almost as though the search engine gods had some kind of master plan when they gave us such gems as:

“schwalbe kojak brompton pressure”

and

“bob yak lowrider”

Regular visitors will of course be familiar with me and my Yak and the nightmares fun we have together.

31696_433159445659_539585659_6272016_296285_nIrregular visitors [see what I did there?] may even be familiar with the saga of the wheel… you see, all that time ago when I spent all that money on all that trailer I was thoroughly disappointed to find the stock wheel & tyre supplied with my BOB Yak had clearly been pinched from the nearest kid’s bike and thrown in my box.

A lot of time, a heap of internet research and more visits to various bike shops than even I think was appropriate and I was all kinds of familiar with the different versions of 16″ wheels and 16″ tyres, none, NONE of which are interchangeable.

Originally, I bought a stock Brompton front wheel and a 349c 16″ Schwalbe Kojak slick tyre (tyre pressure is between 60ish and 120ish, as I recall) but it turned out the axle length on Brompton wheels is considerably narrower than the 100mm (standard front axle) width the Yak required; so, replacement wheel #1 was promptly sold.

150030_465165489862_6224409_nReplacement wheel #2 was a 305c 16″ lowrider wheel complete with 16 x 1.75″ white wall tyre; essentially the same wheel & tyre size as the original but with extra bling bling, 17 million spokes and a couple of extra pounds weight. Cool eh?

Cool, heavy and blinging aside, that wheel really isn’t much better than the stock kid’s bike one I started with and, although the tyre would accept a little more pressure (and therefore drag less on the road), it really wasn’t the solution I was looking for.

270547_10150255310509863_784234862_7043533_3617116_nCue replacement wheel #3: a custom built 349c Brompton rim laced to a standard 100mm wide quick release road hub, all wrapped in a brand new 16 x 1″ Schwalbe Kojak tyre – sweet. I can run this with high or low pressure (dependent on how much weight I have in the trailer), it’s super light, nice and strong, the tyre’s super sticky and it comes with awesome puncture protection and reflective tyre labels.

It’s amazing the difference it makes to the feel and handling of the trailer. In those bad old early days with the crappy original, I remember dragging the damned thing up and down hideous climbs and I distinctly remember the crappy tyre buzzing on the tarmac, sidewalls pathetically flexing under load and generally ruining my life.

These days, I fit the trailer to the back of the bike and just forget it’s there! No matter how much weight I have in it, the larger rolling diameter, slick tread, higher pressures and more resilient sidewalls just keep the trailer well planted and make sure it’s not ruining my life any more than it should.

Which all leads rather nicely to my favourite search term from this week’s selection:

“kendal mint cake cycling”

Now, I happen to lurve Kendal Mint Cake and on more than one occasion it’s saved me from certain bonk atop a ridiculous climb in equally ridiculous heat… I mean, come on, 4 different kinds of sugar all melted down, given a minty fresh zing, (sometimes) wrapped in chocolate and sold in gift shops everywhere… what’s not to like?

Yes, it’s true they climbed Mount Everest on it. Yes, it’s true I’ve had a bar of it in my cupboard for ever. Yes, it’s true I sometimes take it with me when I’m cycling but no, it’s not true that it’s a good cycling food.

Kendal Mint Cake, as awesomely tasty, minty and sugary as it may be, is really not much more than a block of pure sugar. Now, sugar’s great for picking you up when you’re down and a bar of the white stuff (I prefer the brown, personally) will certainly beat off the worst bonk but it won’t last for long.

Your body burns sugar really quickly and, before you know it, you’ll be back to bonking again and it’s only going to be worse because you’ll also be crashing from your sugar high.

So, by all means, grab a bar or two from the gift shop and stick it in your pockets but rely on it in small bites at a time as only the last of last resorts – you’d do much better to get plenty of slow release energy into you prior to the ride with some Clif Bars and / or bananas in your pockets.

Other high quality energy bars and fruit are available.

gold

This has to be one of my all time favourite loads I’ve transported in my BOB Yak; it was the first time I’d tried transporting a whole bike and, with the creative use of nothing more than a few bungee cords, it all fitted in just fine and was perfectly stable for the whole trip.

The bike in question was an uber cool, uber rare, vintage Coventry Eagle frame which was my 1st vintage build. It came to me in a fairly rough state and basically needed new… well, everything. The reason it ended up on the trailer is because the 27″ wheelset I’d bought simply wasn’t working out properly with the brakes and I also needed to get the bottom bracket rebuilt so I broke down and took it into the bike shop for some advice.

After a considerable amount of head scratching with the boys at Sprocket Cycles in Digbeth, Birmingham (one of my favourite bike shops ever, by the way), we finally decided that, despite its age, this frame was actually built for 700c wheels, not the slightly larger 27″ ones I’d bought. Oh well, you live and learn, I guess.

Sprocket also fitted this rather beautiful ‘Phoenix’ chainset I found on eBay with new cotter pins after replacing the bearings in the BB; happily the cups and axle were still in great shape. That’s a Gusset Slink half link chain, by the way, which is the only way to go if you’re running a single speed (or internally geared hub) setup as it makes tension adjustment so much more precise; not to mention the variety of colours it comes in!

Oh, back to the Yak! The other reason this is one of my favourite loads is it was one of the first outings with my riduculously shiny, ridiculously heavy, ridiculously ridiculous gold lowrider wheel with white wall tyre! I’d been looking for a wheel to replace the awful stock one that comes with every BOB trailer for some time and, a trip to Ridelow in Manchester and £40 later, this is what i got… I don’t care how absurd it is, I love it!

All joking apart though, if you’re looking to add some stability to your Yak, particularly if you generally only carry relatively light loads, a heavy steel wheel like this really helps to plant the trailer and stop it bouncing up and unsettling the bike on those bumpy city streets. Those 16 x 1.75″ white wall tyres are rated up to 60 psi according to the sidewalls (I’ve run them at 80 psi very comfortably), have a semi-slick type tread but no puncture protection so again, I’d only really recommend them for light duties.