What I ride - Unfinished Business - CycleBlaze

What I ride

I am not particularly interested in bikes. I ride them, fix them, build my own wheels and so forth but rarely do I look twice at someone else’s bike; I'm not going to say, "I love those triple butted titanium spokes"! I’m interested in the person and not the bike unless, of course, it’s of poor quality! I’ve seen people touring on bits of junk. Now, that’s interesting! That’s really saying “who gives a rat’s a..e about what happens; I’m going regardless”.

But I know that many people are interested in bikes so here are mine. My first, now my commuting bike, was a Dawes Horizon circa 1993. It’s a steel bike with 700 wheels capable of taking 35mm tyres. It has a triple chain ring and seven cogs in the rear cluster. I can’t recall the range but I got that thing over the Rockies and up Wadi Mujib in Jordan. It was that ride that convinced me that front panniers were the easiest option for preventing wheel-stands on steep ascents.

I decided that the Dawes probably needed replacing for a really big ride in 2011, including places like the Pamirs, and so hunted online for a replacement. I quickly came across Thorn and ordered a Thorn Nomad. A few months later, Cora and I flew to the UK, rented a car for a month, dropped it off in Bridgewater and walked 200m up the road to St John St Cycles. There was one bike in the showroom – a bright yellow Thorn Nomad. Cora said “that could be your bike”. It was! I did the mandatory test ride, got a few things adjusted, loaded it and rode it roughly east with no destination in mind. When time had expired, I was in Singapore. This has been my recent “beast of burden” and is what I will ride on “Unfinished Business”.  Here it is in one of its less glorious states in the Pamirs in 2019 and all ready for “Unfinished Business”.

Dirty Tajikistan
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My spanking new Thorn Nomad loaded with new gear and ready to leave England heading east. Cora's Dawes is similar to my original touring bike.
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So, what is it. Well, I am sure it’s steel for a little plaque says “Steel is Real”. Also, unloaded it weighs 20 kg. I’m sure also that the frame was made in Taiwan because, again, a plaque states this proudly. The wheels are 26” Rigida Carbide Supersonics, something I can’t deny because they’re still going strong. I find Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres good but don’t really give a toss. I select the tread and tyre width based on the common conditions for the trip. Thus, the tyres above were hopeless for the Pamirs in 2019 but fine for the ride through Kyrgyzstan. There are three water bottle cages in which I can fit 1.25L drink bottles. I fill these with sugary cordial when I can - replenish water and carbohydrates simultaneously. The bike has a Rohloff hub – 14 internal gears, and thus a single 38T chainring at the front and single 14T sprocket at the back. Both are reversible to enhance wear. An eccentric bottom bracket enables tightening of the chain. How long do they last?  One chain, one chainring and one sprocket got me from England to Singapore. They weren’t very good at the end!

That's what 19,000 km does to a single cog. And they're reversible so you can flip them around when the teeth start to bend
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