Sunday, 24 March 2013

Repairing 5Ten Impact 2 Low shoes


I've had these shoes from +Five Ten since October 2010. Since then I've done all of my riding in these shoes, until February this year, when I got a pair of SPDs. I still use these a lot though. That's a lot of miles! They are extremely warm, very sturdy with reinforced toe boxes and heel cups and a wrap-around tongue which stays in place no matter what. The tongue is very well padded, as are the ankle cuffs which provide more protection from rock strikes and flying debris.

5Ten Impact 2 Low shoes - love the way that reflective 5 pops out in the flash.

They are still extremely snug, warm and have a grip like a vice. Do you know that feeling when you have spilt some sticky juice drink on a linoleum or laminate floor and have only wiped it down, not properly cleaned the floor? When you walk across it, it makes that sticky, cracking sound when your foot lifts up? Yes? These shoes make that sound, have that feeling and all without the sticky mess. Adjusting your foot position on flat pedals with pins means you have to actually lift your foot off to reposition - it's difficult to swivel on them. That's down to the patented "Stealth Rubber" compound.

As with all products they have cons as well as the pros I've just mentioned. They aren't waterproof, so in rainy weather or if you splash through streams or becks, all that thick padding becomes waterlogged, which makes them heavier than what they already are. Each shoe weighs 600 grams when dry. If you plan ahead with waterproof socks, this isn't too much off a problem. They are quite wide and can rub on your crank arms, or catch on your chain stays if they are holding a wide hub (My Scott Sub 35 does). One of the most annoying cons is that the nylon loops holding the laces in place eventually snap, meaning you can't fasten the shoe up properly. This has happened to three of the loops so far on my pair.

...whole loops and nothing but the loops...
...So help me God...
I was pretty upset when this happened as I wasn't sure how I could fix it. They are quite expensive shoes so I didn't want to just get rid of them. I did some Googling and came across this blog entry. The guy there had the same problem as I had and resorted to drilling his shoes! I was nervous about doing this so left a comment on his blog asking advice. He replied, and I got busy with the drill.

Repairing the broken loop

If the drill bit is sharp, you don't need to mark the hole
Basically, you just need a sharp drill bit and a steady hand. I used a 4mm steel bit. I just set the point in the middle of the band of leather that holds the loops in place, in line with the loop itself and started the drill going slowly.

Clean hole

You will need to drill the hole a couple, maybe three or four times so that it is totally clean through.
When you flip it over and check the other side, you might find that the hole doesn't look so clean, or you might not be able to see it. There is a flap of material that covers the underside hole, so just push the lace up through the hole and you'll have a fully functioning pair of high quality MTB shoes again.

The finished result
I realise that this is a very specific tutorial/piece of advice. I'd say if you feel relatively confident using tools, and what you are working on is of solid construction, you should give it a go to try and repair it. If it works, you just saved a load of money and gives the item a more unique appeal. If you were considering disposing of the item and the repair job doesn't work out as intended, you've essentially lost nothing, but gained some experience.

How about you? Have you ever fixed anything that looked as if it was beyond repair? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Have a scrapyard nearby?

I saw this video on you tube and thought..."If only".

I doubt many people have the time, equipment and circumstances to be able to do this. I'm sure some people do, but it may take them months, even years, to finish the bike off.

For most of us life is too busy to be able to make a custom bicycle. I'd hazard a guess that life is also too expensive to be able to buy a custom bicycle like this.

I know I sound like I'm being hard on the people who do this sort of thing. Maybe I'm jealous or I don't have enough cash!

Either way, take a look at the video and I'm sure you'll agree that it looks pretty cool and a great use of scrap cars.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

St Patrick's day via bike

St Patrick's day is generally celebrated by everyone whether you are Irish or not! I love St Patrick's day; Guinness and Jameson's whisky are such a treat to the taste buds and I've been lucky enough to visit the brewery and distillery respectively.

So the day falls on a Sunday this year, which turns out to be pretty convenient for me. I always visit my parents in Toronto for Sunday dinner, as does my sister Gemma and my little nephew Jack. Its a good chance for us all to catch up. There's normally two cans of Guinness with my name on in the fridge too :-)

Thanks to the March Hare pub in Tindale, they emailed a voucher for BOGOF Guinness. Now there's an offer! I was to be meeting my friend Marc for football watching but he was having lunch at the March Hare. I formulated a plan:

- Get showered/changed
- Get on the bike
- Have lunch, catch up with the family, drink Guinness
- Get on the bike
- Go to March Hare, drink Guinness
- Get on the bike
- Go home and put bike away
- Go watch football, drink Guinness

So far I'm half way through this plan but I'm way behind schedule. I blame the Guinness!

Mam and Dad's to pub. Check it out on #strava:

Monday, 11 March 2013

Wonderful Winter Commute

Today there was going to be a chance I'd wake up to snow. I did wake up (happy days) and there was snow. Only a dusting, no more than 10mm.

Whilst out walking Melba, who loves running around in the snow, I was able to check the conditions. Was it icy under the snow? Is it windy? Is the snow melting? It seemed fine so I decided to carry on with the commute in.

Having breakfast I thought about the bike. I switched my pedals back to my SPD last week as I thought the bad weather was finished with. I thought that the conditions outside weren't too bad and I have enough confidence to ride clipped in on the snow. I also decided to take some pressure out of the tyres to give a bigger footprint. The thing with I found this morning with 700C x 35 tyres is it is very easy to let too much air out. I pumped some back in, and conscious of beginning to run late, set off for work.

Every bump and stone had me on edge as I thought I was going to pinch flat at any moment. Looking at the tyres though, they weren't deflated that much. It was just the spongy feeling keeping me worried. I arrived at work just in time to clock in, but I needed to shower to freshen up and to warm up.

During the course of the day, the weather was up to something weird. One moment it would be tossing hailstones off the windows, the next huge snow flakes fluttering down. Look again and there was brilliant sunshine and blue sky. A colleague originally from Poland claimed he'd never seen such crazy weather before! There was no way of knowing what it would be doing at leaving time.
Hailstones on the windowsill
I pumped some more air in my tyres and set off. The snow was just starting and took a while to get going. I was enjoying the ride a lot and was still on the roads in Spennymoor. The studs in the tyres were making their unmistakable crunching noise so I knew I was safe as I kept the pace up. Within 10 minutes I had hit the start of the Auckland Way, a 4.5 mile public bridleway linking Spennymoor and Bishop Auckland. It used to be a railway line, but has been long since abandoned. The winds that had been gusting had snapped twigs and branches off the trees and they were scattered everywhere, like little arms reaching out of the snow at my wheels. A lot of swerving was required! By the time I reached the outskirts of Binchester, the wind was really howling and the snow was horizontal.
Arriving at Binchester
This proved to be a good photo opportunity - only my phone crashed after a couple of shots. I thought the sudden drop in temperature had affected the battery severely or it just crapped out as it was recording my route via Strava and trying to get the position of the photo and upload the photo to my Google+ Stream. I stuffed it back into my pocket, jumped back in the saddle and let it reboot.

I was really enjoying myself now and it dawned on me that it because it was light and I could see my surroundings! The mornings have been gradually getting lighter, at the moment sunrise is generally when I set off for work, about 6:35 am  As I'm going to work, I'm conscious of being against the clock; but coming home there isn't as much pressure (it depends on what is for tea!).

As I dropped down out of Binchester and in towards Bishop Auckland golf club, I stopped at the top of High Park (a pretty useless link, but shows you where I mean) and took some more photos. There is a series of stone bridges here and they looked quite picturesque. The icicles hanging from the inside of one of them looked quite threatening though!

Approaching High Park bridges

Steps leading up to footpath into High Park

I once tried to ride my mountain bike down these...I didn't get far!

You are wearing your helmet - right?!
After snapping these pictures, I carried on homeward. I noticed the traffic to my left at Park Head bank crawling as I cruised past the golf club. I looked right and saw the sun setting.
Snowing and sun setting. The golf course is beyond the trees on the right
I made it home in one piece. I could ride in the traffic of the town at the pace of the cars; it was pretty busy. The traffic in Bishop Auckland is pretty bad when rush hour arrives and I try to avoid driving at these times if I can as you're in 2nd gear 3rd tops for most of the time.

I got the bike locked up, changed into a different jacket, switched boots and headed back out with Melba for even more snow fun.

Rides like this aren't just rewarding for the physical exercise, the great views, the challenge of adverse weather conditions or being the only person out on the trail - one of the best things is coming home, having a hot shower and getting into some clean, warm clothes and sipping a steaming cup of tea. That's the gold medal right there.

These photos and a couple more can be found here.


I have just checked the historical weather data for Bishop Auckland as I had forgot to mention temperatures:
Setting off home: 4:20 pm, 0 C with a windchill of -6.4 C.
Arriving home: 5:20 pm, -1 C with a windchill of -7.5 C.
These are the observations taken from Wunderground here.
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