Here’s a tyre to avoid – the Panaracer Pasela PT Tyre – Amber Wall – 27 x 1 1/4 Inch (32-630). I bought two of these from SJS cycles and fitted them to a 1983 Raleigh Record Ace. The tyres were carefully fitted, correctly centred and inflated to the maximum recommended pressure, as printed on the sidewalls.
After just four miles of gentle riding, there was a loud bang and the front tyre instantaneously deflated – not a good experience at the best of times, and on this occasion I was riding on the very busy A420.
The cause of the problem was the sidewall detaching from the wire bead (see photo below), allowing the brand new Schwalbe inner tube to bulge out and explode. This is the shortest-lived tyre I have ever used and the running cost works out at about £6 a mile.
Shire Books, famous for 50 years as publishers of affordable non-fiction paperbacks, has diversified its output since Oxford-based Osprey Publishing purchased it a few years ago. Among Shire’s recent releases are two reproductions of cycling books.
The older of the two books is Fancy Cycling by Isabel Marks, originally published in 1901. What the author means by “fancy cycling” is revealed in the subtitle: “Trick Riding for Amateurs”. The introductory chapter states that one of the many virtues of trick cycling is that no special garb is needed. Indeed, the book is liberally illustrated with photographs showing Victorian ladies and gents performing stunts on ordinary roadster bicycles while wearing the conventional clothing of the time, such as they might wear to go to church. The ladies all have ankle-length skirts and wear hats, some of which are quite elaborate.
The instruction starts with the relatively easy stuff, such as a near-side mount. Then we progress through side-riding, hands-off, side-saddle, unicorn driving (you’ll have to buy the book!), coasting on the handlebar, coasting on footrests on the front fork, coasting with knees on handlebar and feet on saddle, and much more. Ultimately, we reach the really exotic stunts, including the butterfly dance (in which – shock, horror – a lady is seen hatless!) and hoop skipping, where the cyclist combines skipping through a hoop while cycling. No mention of a risk assessment.
The book is a beautifully printed hardback of 116 pages, with numerous well reproduced photographs and even a couple of contemporary advertisements for bicycle makers. The unjacketed linen-bound hardback cover faithfully reproduces the design on the original, showing a male stunt rider on his bicycle, printed in black, white and gold on a claret background.
The author wrote of her book: “May my insignificant efforts be of some little service to the merry band of tricksters; may the track of their wheels be ever increasingly present in the land.” While we may not seek to emulate the tricks shown, the book is a delightful novelty and well worth the £7.99 suggested retail price. The ISBN number is 978-1-90840-271-4.
Another cycling book reproduced by Shire is a paperback publication, The Modern Cyclist, 1923, written by the famous cycling writer Kuklos. (His real name was William Fitzwater Wray.) It’s a touring guide, originally published as The Kuklos Annual, at a time when cycling had finally become cheap enough to be a mass leisure activity in the UK.
The guide comprises three parts, the first dealing with technicalities such as choosing a bicycle, riding position, cycling in traffic, variable gears, legal aspects, touring tips and bicycle maintenance. The second part comprises “potted tours” in Britain, Ireland and France. Kuklos’s comments are interesting, sometimes amusing and occasionally surprising. For example, writing just after the Anglo-Irish War, and possibly even during Irish Civil War, he makes no mention of either conflict, merely stating that “the Irish are the most charming, generous, warm-hearted, and courteous people in the world.” As for France, he tells us that you can order breakfast at almost any time you like, simply by requesting “un café-au-lait complet.” (I’m not sure that would work today!) French WCs “often leave something to be desired,” he notes, mercifully sparing us further details. The third part of the book is a rest house directory with over 3,000 addresses in Britain, Ireland and France.
There are three sorts of illustrations in the book. The first are the maps that appeared in the original book. There are also contemporary advertisements added by Shire books, and taken from Cycling magazine. Most evocative, and also taken from Cycling, are the line drawings showing romanticised scenes of cycling in idyllic countryside. They appear to be mostly by the famous artist Frank Patterson, although they are not credited to him.
With about 150 pages and a colour cover, The Modern Cyclist, 1923 gives a fascinating insight into mainstream cycling in the early inter-war years. It would make a good gift for almost anybody, but especially those with an interest in cycle touring and the few senior citizens old enough to recall that era. The original price was one shilling (5 pence) but today, after 90 years of inflation, you will need to hand over a still modest £6.99. The ISBN number is 978-1-90840-262-2.
In theory, the rolling resistance of wheels decreases as the diameter of the wheel increases. This is on the assumption that all other factors are equal: the tyres are of identical cross-section and carcase construction, with equal internal air pressures and equal external applied loads, rolling at low speeds in still air where no significant aerodynamic effects apply, on smooth hard road surfaces, with the wheels on hubs with insignificant bearing friction.
Yet it is clear from observation and testing that, under some circumstances, some smaller diameter bicycle wheels can roll as easily, or even more easily, some larger diameter wheels. This does not mean that the theory is wrong – merely that one or more of the “other factors” is not equal. The easiest factor for the average rider to control is tyre pressure. It’s a fair assumption, confirmed by everyday observation, that most cyclists ride on tyres that are at sub-optimal pressures. So, pumping up the tyres of a small-wheeler to the maximum recommended by the tyre manufacturer may well be enough to allow it to roll more easily than many other cycles with larger wheels. Choosing a small diameter tyre with a supple carcase will also help. At racing speeds, wheel aerodynamics and unsprung mass of the whole bicycle and rider ensemble can also enter into the equation and may, for example, favour a well-designed small-wheeler with suspension.
Between 1998 and 2002, British engineer John Lafford carried out rolling resistance tests on various tyres, ranging in tyre bead seat diameter from 305 mm to 622 mm (i.e. nominal wheel diameters of 16-inch to 28-inch). The manufacturers and product types, cross-sections, tread patterns, state of wear and tyre pressures all varied quite considerably. His full data may be found here: http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/tech/JL.htm
Below is a chart generated directly from John Lafford’s data using Microsoft Excel. The vertical axis shows the various tyres tested, ranked by bead seat diameter – biggest at the top and smallest at the bottom. The horizontal axis shows rolling resistance – the less the better. The straight, backward-sloping, black line is a computer-generated trend line which reflects the general truth of the theory that rolling resistance decreases with tyre diameter. But it is immediately apparent that the rolling resistance of any particular tyre diameter may vary considerably, confirming the variance due to those “other factors” that may not be equal in reality. Hence we find some of the smaller tyres under certain conditions have actual rolling resistances lower than some of the larger tyres.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 25,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals
This collection has now been dispersed but before that happened, Arnfried and I recorded it for posterity. Enjoy the slideshow!
Instructions for a wide range of Sturmey-Archer hubs from 1902 to 2001. Includes the original 1902 3-speed, the popular K type of the 1920s and 30s, the T and TF 2-speeds, the ever popular AW, the SW, SG, SB, AB, AG, TCW, AM, AC, ASC, FW, FG, FM, FC, BR, GH6, S3B, S3C, all 5-speeds, the Columbia 3-speed, the BSA 3-speeds (based on a Sturmey-Archer design) and the hubs in production when Sturmey-Archer ceased to be British-owned in 2001. Also included is information on the DBU and FSU accessories for use with hub dynamos.
The files are in Adobe Acrobat format, making them zoomable and easily printable. Some of these files may take 5 minutes or so to download if you do not have broadband.
In the beginning
Type K 3-speed
Includes Jim Gill’s simplified instructions
From the 1956 Master catalogue
Fitting and adjustment
Use and maintenance
SW wide-ratio 3-speed (See also Brian Hayes’ paper)
SB wide-ratio 3-speed/hub brake
SG wide-ratio 3-speed/Dynohub
AW wide-ratio 3-speed (see below for later AWs)
AB wide-ratio 3-speed/hub brake
AG wide-ratio 3-speed/Dynohub
TCW wide-ratio 3-speed/coaster
AM medium-ratio 3-speed
AC ultra-close-ratio 3-speed
ASC fixed-wheel 3-speed
FW wide-ratio 4-speed
FG wide-ratio 4-speed/Dynohub
FM medium-ratio 4-speed
FC close-ratio 4-speed
BF & BR hub brakes
Dry Battery Unit & Dynohub wiring
Instructions from various dates, 1960s – 2001
S3B 3-speed with small-diameter hub brake
S3C 3-speed coaster
S5/2 and Five Speed Alloy 5-speeds
S52 1988 modifications
5 StAr and 5 StAr Elite 5-speeds
Columbia ‘no-slip’ 3-speed (Jim Gill’s documentation)
AB/C & BF/C 90mm hub brakes
AWC 3-speed coaster
AT3, VT and ST Elite hub brakes
Sprinter 5-speed hub and Sprinter 5-speed Elite 5-speed hub brake
Sprinter 5-speed coaster
Sprinter 7-speed hub & Sprinter 7 Elite 7-speed hub brake
Sprinter 7-speed coaster
Steelite SBF, SBR & SAB hub brakes
All information provided here is done so in good faith. It is as written by the original authors and has not been modified by Tony Hadland. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss, damage or injury of any kind sustained for any reason arising therefrom. Our thanks go to Sturmey-Archer Limited and Jim Gill for permission to reproduce their material.
The first seven of the following files provide amazingly detailed information on Sturmey-Archer hubs, from the earliest models to the present day. They were compiled by English engineer and hub gear enthusiast, the late Jim Gill. Although some of the material was originally published by Sturmey-Archer, the vast majority is Jim’s own work and has never been published before.
Also provided is John Fairbrother’s simpler approach to fixed-wheel conversions. John is an engineer and bicycle restorer based in Hampshire, England.
The files are in Adobe Acrobat format, making them zoomable and easily printable, page at a time.
Epicyclic Gears – some theoretical considerations
Engineer and hub gear enthusiast Jim Gill explains how various hub gears work. Includes zoomable diagrams.
Sturmey-Archer Hubs – reference tables
Zoomable dimensioned drawings and tables of pawls, drivers, axle keys, pinion pins, gear teeth, ballcups, hub shell dimensions, indicators and more.
Sturmey-Archer Hubs – axle charts
Zoomable dimensioned drawings of axles for Sturmey-Archer hubs.
Sturmey-Archer Hubs – cone charts
Zoomable dimensioned drawings of cones for Sturmey-Archer hubs.
Sturmey-Archer Hubs – spring charts
Zoomable dimensioned drawings of springs for Sturmey-Archer hubs.
Sturmey-Archer Hubs – triggers
Zoomable dimensioned drawings of triggers for Sturmey-Archer hubs. Includes how to convert triggers for use with fixed-wheel hubs.
Jim Gill’s fixed hub conversions
Jim Gill’s compilation of how to convert a 3-speed to 2-speed fixed-wheel and how to convert 4-speeds to 3-speed fixed.
Jim Fairbrother’s fixed hub conversions
Modifications to Sturmey-Archer hub gears to produce fixed wheel gears
Engineer John Fairbrother outlines another approach to fixed-wheel conversions.
Fixed hub trigger conversion
Modifications to Sturmey-Archer triggers for use with fixed wheel gears
More good stuff from Jim Gill.