Eroica Britannia 2017 Report Posted on 23 Jun 13:41 , 0 comments

Well we got both the Lenton and the Severn Valley built in time and took them up to Derbyshire to Eroica Britannia. Friday night there was twilight ride to a pub led by the  Pannier 15 kph club. I am sure many of the riders were doing a lot less than 15kph! We were asked to illuminate our bikes, but I forgot to pack the decorative lighting. Many of the bikes had fairy lights wrapped around the tubes  and some riders had them sewn onto their clothing!

The ride was on the High Peaks trail and completely traffic free, apart from crossing the road to the pub. A lovely relaxing first evening.

Saturday was real scorcher, so we skipped the family ride and had a good look around the various stalls at the festival. Not quite so many traders as last year I think, but I have never seen so many old bikes for sale. It is perfectly feasible to turn up without a bike and buy one for the ride. There were several mechanic services there to fettle it for you and bike jumbles to buy any missing bits! The period clothing and accessories were also for sale.

Sunday was even hotter, so we opted for the short ride. The pace was very relaxed - the biggest challenge being to keep hydrated. Buxton Water were one of the sponsors, so it was "help yourself" to as many free bottles of water as you could carry.

While the vast majority of the bikes were "period" there is no scrutineering and I was following a modern mountain bike with disk brakes for some of the ride! A lot of kids were on their everyday bikes, but that is understandable. About half of the entry were in period costumes and quite a few in fancy dress. Including a few men in dresses. I was following this one "woman" and I thought here legs didn't look very feminine and would have benefitted from shaving, when I came past it was burly bloke with a beard!

The lunch stop provided a free lunch box, free beer and free water and a brass band to serenade us, just so you remembered this was "The North"! We had a very long lunch break to prepare us for the massive steep hill out of Monyash in the searing heat. This was one of the very few on-road sections of the ride. 90% of it being on "white roads" The High Peak Trail and the Tissington Trail. Some parts of the trail were in very poor condition with large stones instead of gravel, so I worried about my choice of Grandbois Cerf 700x26mm tyres, but they were fine. We did hear a couple of loud bangs and saw some repairs being made so not everyone was so lucky. Next time I would go for 32mm + width tyres or even 650 x 42B. Maybe the Calla next year then.

We got back at 2.15pm about 4 hours after we started and even including the 90 minute rest break it was a relaxed pace. Apart from Monyash no serious hills. 

As for the bikes they did well. The Raleigh Lenton was faultless throughout the ride and the Severn Vally dropped the chain a couple of times  changing down to small ring. I think I have fixed it now, but there may be too much slop in the 50 year old Nouvo Record front derailleur, so if it continues I will fit a SunXCD front mech, as the bike is such a joy to ride otherwise I don't want any disincentives to using it.

Happy Cycling



Chain Rings 50.4mm BCD Posted on 7 Feb 11:15 , 0 comments

OK chainrings may not be the most interesting topic but they are one of the most visible parts of a bike and determine "the look" of a classic bike. For many years the Stronglight 49D and T.A. "Cyclotouriste" (AKA Pro 5 Vis) were the most popular of alloy cotterless chainsets and to many a vintage or classic bike looks perfect with one fitted. Both of these models used the same 50.4mm Bolt Circle Diameter (BCD) to mount the outer chainring to the crank. However the inner ring BCD, where the inner ring bolted to the outer was different between the Stronglight and TA products., so you could swap the pairs of rings but not individual rings between the two manufacturers. Also the Stronglight 49D was only ever sold as a 52 teeth/42 teeth double, whereas the T.A. Cyclotouriste was available in singles doubles and triples in a  huge range of sizes down to 26 teeth for the inner and as many as 60 teeth for the outer. so many cycloists fitted their Stronglight 49D cranks with TA rings.

Many of these cranksets survive and need new rings. Both TA and Stronglight are still going strong as manufacturers of rings and chainsets (in the case of Stronglight), but only TA still make the 50.4mm BCD rings and they are to special order. Velo Orange make a few sizes and SunXCD are launching their own in April 2015. There will be 48T, 46T, 44T for outer and  30T, 28T for inner chainring. Prices will be available soon. We stock a range of new TA rings which we specially order every few weeks.

Both Velo orange and SunXCD make new 50.4mm BCD cranksets. The VO ones are more like the Stronglight and the SunXCD are more akin to the T.A. Cyclotouriste. We sell both makes, although the V.O. ones were unavailable for a while and the SunXCD are more popular with our customers. 

See the range here