20,000 Mile Challenge

14 April 2015 - 1300 Days, 8240 Miles Posted on 14 Apr 00:00

20 August 2014 - 1012 Days, 7847 Miles - Off To The Gallery Posted on 20 Aug 10:10

04 June 2014 - 935 Days, 7422 Miles Posted on 04 Jun 18:25

Riding Log: I'm Martin, and the bike has been my companion for 3 weeks now. 

So far I've used it for travelling roads around East London – predominantly a journey that takes me from Leyton to Liverpool Street, via the slice between Hackney Marshes and the Olympic Park, followed by a pleasant Victoria Park interlude, and then Old Ford and Bethnal Green roads in their entirities. Mostly a paved journey, apart from a half mile of gravel path beside the River Lea Navigation.

The bike feels sturdy, and is quick off the mark at traffic lights. A good test of the brakes is having to avoid running over the jaywalking suits of the Liverpool Street business district. No collisions so far!

Short Report: I've noticed a split in the back tyre, about 1cm across.
Tyre tread slit
Something sharp must have found it's way between the rubber tread, and now you can see the blue kevlar of the layer beneath. This was noticed a few days ago – tyres are still firm so it definitely hasn't caused a puncture.

21 June 2013 - 588 Days, 6560 Miles Posted on 21 Jun 18:24

Riding Log: Well we're now 30% through a second 5,000 mile tranche with this set up and we should probably be getting onto rebranding the project 10,000, or perhaps 15,000 mile challenge. Because we're feeling pretty chipper about the whole thing.

The bike's been back in London doing everyday commutes, sometimes with our trailer behind it. 

Short Report: The wheels are running fine but have had a bit of work. We discovered a couple of broken spokes on the rear wheel which have been replaced and we took the opportunity to loosen the hub bearings when the wheel was off. I think that makes 3 or 4 spokes replaced out of the 64 original... so we can still consider these to be our wheels... not a frankenstein's monster yet. 

Running Costs: £15.00 for the fitting of two new spokes and a quick hub adjustment. Total now £182.00

17 May 2013 - 553 Days, 6317 Miles Posted on 17 May 18:22

Riding Log: Something unexpected and heartwarming happened over tha past month. On the 4th April we received an email from Remis, a young man with a simple aim to cycle round the UK with not much more than a bicycle and the goodwill of strangers - meeting people, sharing his love of two wheels and experiencing the place in a new way. Remis' original bike had failed, the rear hub collapsing, and he was wanting a new one. So we sent him out the 5,000 mile bike and Remis took it on tour.

Check out the Facebook page Remis set up for this... his nice shots and observations tell the story infinitely better than we could!

We write this having just met Remis in Victoria, London to receive the bike back from him after their tour together. All in all the ride seems to have been a great success. It has also put 1,200 miles on our odometer... though a few 'off-odometer' miles were done too!

Short Report: The bike seems to have had a few scrapes... why not!? But all is in order and it feels fast and great. The rear brake was not returning propertly so we've taken it off and given it some 'alphaalpha-numericnumeric' (WD-40, GT-85, or whatever...) and it's running fine

Running Costs: Zero! Well there you go, that's a pair of Marathon Plus tyres for you. 1,200, probably more like 2,000 miles round UK roads, and no punctures! Total running costs remain at £167.00

30 January 2013 - 446 days, 5016 Miles Posted on 30 Jan 18:17

Full Test: So, 5,000 miles in. How have the wheels fared? We've taken them off the bike, put them in a jig and inspected them - looking at tension, trueness, hub condition and roundness

Bearing Condition
Front: No play, smooth, could do with a re-grease
Rear: No play, smooth, no issues

Spoke Tension
Front: Fine, nice and tight
Rear: One loose and one bent spoke, needs a quick repair

Front: about 1mm out. A tiny true if you want but not needed
Rear: A 3mm kink, needs truing

Both wheels: as before, a slight deviation from roundness, but not an issue so we haven't trued for this.

Rim Wear
Front: minimal wear
Rear: no brake, no wear...

Photos, Cosmetic Condition and Summary
After a good scrub the wheels have come out remarkably clean, with just a small scratch here and there they basically look new. See images below.

The wheels are running absolutely fine, needing a minimal service to get them back to tip top condition.

This is very, very pleasing after 5,000 sometimes pretty gungey miles. 

Rear Wheel Before Clean
Rear Wheel Before Clean

 Rear Wheel
Rear Wheel After Clean

Front Wheel
Front Wheel After Clean

We have renovated the bike in preparation for handing it over to a new custodian for what we hope will be another 5,000 miles.

Full sized images here. This is what we've done:

Thorough Clean
The frame and wheels have been utterly cleaned and you can see just what good cosmetic condition the wheels are in from the images above. The whole bike, clean, is shown below:

Full Bike After Clean

Chainset, Cog and Chain
We've replaced the vintage chainset with one of our SSC Modern chainsets, with a compatible bottom bracket, and with a new standard chain and 17T Dicta freewheel.

Our original fixed sprocket is still usable but we're moving to freewheel usage now. Changing both cogs warrants a new chain even though the previous one was still in decent condition

SSC Modern Chainset Fitted

Dual Pivot Brake System, Flat Bar, Second Computer and Marathon Plus Tyres

Now that we're moving to freewheel we need a rear brake and have taken the opportunity to start again with a pair of new dual pivot brakes, as well as a flat bar and our brutalist brake levers.

We also decided to put a second distance computer on the bike for a bit of security, especially given the condition of the original one.And finally, we've put some Marathon Plus tyres on the bike to see if they can provide the super puncture protection often claimed for them.

Flat Bar, Second Computer and Brutalist Levers

New Dual Pivot Brake and Marathon Plus Tyre

Running Costs: £57 for the Marathon Plus tyres and a new chain. Total now £167. This is a big increase, but remember these tyres are an investment, we expect them to run and run and run and run...

24 January 2013 - 440 days, 5002 Miles Posted on 24 Jan 18:15

Riding Log: So, success!

The 5 thousand mile challenge is complete. These wheels have travelled 5 thousand miles and have survived.

Sorry about the 5 month gap between reports. I've continued with similar riding the whole time - quite a bit of trailer pulling, quite a bit of canalside riding but mainly just up and down London roads. We've had a few punctures and changed a tyre or two.

Some Proof: First of all a bit of proof and some pictures to show the overall state of the bike


The Bashed Up Odometer

Please believe us the bottom line of this is our total, and is saying '5 0 1 6' miles

You can see a range of scratches from the numerous times this has been dropped on the street over the 15 months of its use, hence the loss of various sections of the numbers in the display

The odometer has been removed and refitted to its bracket about 1200 times in the period. An average journey of about 3 miles it has mostly been used in London where theft was too much of a risk anytime I parked in public. Inevitably it was dropped several times.


The Bike

The bike has not been cleaned much... as you can see.

It has continued to have quite a bit of use on tow paths and other slightly muddy trails. So it looks just like it did after 100 miles... dirty.

A few more images here.

Short Report: So, how are the wheels then?

They have had no issues at all in these final 1,500 miles, and at present from riding them they are basically true, making no funny noises, and the hubs are not crunching in any way which is detectable as you ride.

So overall they have performed stolidly. Apart from a pinged spoke and a bit of truing and hub adjustment already discussed they have required no help to get the job done.

We'll take them off for a full clean and test in a jig in a few days 

Also, we can say that our Dicta Sprocket and lock ring managed to make the full journey, which is pretty pleasing. Our standard chain was replaced after 4,800 miles - I blame myself for letting it get rusty when I cleaned it... but it still did sterling work for a £7 chain!

Running Costs: £29 for the final 1,500 miles. For five more tubes, a tyre and a chain. Total now £107.50

A full list of the full running costs:

16 x Inner Tubes - £40
4 x Tyres - £28
Labour - £30
One Brake Cable £2.5
One Chain - £7
Total Cost - £107.5

This works out as 2.2p per mile

The 16 inner tubes works out as roughly a tube change every 312 miles, meaning each tube lasted on average 625 miles

Slightly different maths suggests that our tyres lasted about 1670 miles each

This doesn't seem bad.

However the total costs for rubber were £68 and I think that a super strong tyre like the Schwalbe Marathon Plus, which we offer for £50 a pair may well therefore be a cheaper option for this kind of mileage as it may well eliminate all further costs, as well as removing the inconvenience of replacement.

This is something we will be testing next... to which now

What's Next?

Well, we're feeling good and aiming at another 5,000 miles. But probably to be ridden by a new custodian, another Matt.

The bike will first be pretty much stripped, cleaned, and refitted with a host of our parts, including some Marathon Plus tyres to test the hypothesis above, and a new odometer. It will be useful for us to see how these other parts perform too.

Before that we will clean the wheels and do a full test of them in our jig and also clean and examine the sprocket and lock ring.

Bring on the next 5 grand!

17 August 2012 - 280 days, 3513 Miles Posted on 17 Aug 18:12

Riding Log: Another thousand miles done since the last report. No problems with the wheels which have not been taken off in this period. We've had a few punctures, which are probably from broken glass left in the driveway of my home... grrr.... 

Short Report: Nothing to report about the wheels, no issues at all.

Running Costs: £10.00 for three more tubes and a replacement brake cable. Total now £78.50, which is more than the cost of the wheels.

13 June 2012 - 215 Days, 2502 Miles Posted on 13 Jun 18:10

Riding Log: We've passed the halfway mark and the wheels are running fine. A couple of punctures on our new tyres and we've moved to slightly wider 28mm tyres for now - we may return to the 23s later but for now we're playing safe. We will use some mileage later on in the test to try to test the black 23s. All of this means that the running costs have almost reached those of the wheels.

Full Test. We've taken the wheels off,and inspected them in our jig, to look at trueness and roundnes

Bearing Condition
Front: No play, great.
Rear: No play, smooth, but feels a bit dry. Could probably do with a re-grease

Spoke Tension
Both: fine. The replacement spoke on the rear wheel is a bit looser than ideal having loosened off in riding - but no big issue

Front: good
Rear: some wobble, probably a result of the replaced spoke

Both wheels: as before, a slight deviation from roundness, but not an issue so we haven't trued for this.

Rim Wear
Front: minimal wear
Rear: no brake, no wear...

Cosmetic Condition
This is to be checked, we need to give the wheels a good clean beforehand... coming up!

Running Costs: £12.00 for two more tubes and a replacement 28mm black tyre. Total now £68.50, just under the cost of the wheels.

28 April 2012 - 169 Days, 1899 Miles Posted on 28 Apr 18:09

Riding Log: We're up to just shy of 2,000 miles now, at 38% of the journey. In my last report above I suggested that the tyres may be at the end of their life and if we got three punctures in quick succession we'd replace them.

That happened - three punctures in 5 days, so we've replaced the Panaracer Pasela tyres with our budget £14 a pair option

As also noted above I ride quite aggressively. Coming down from a few inch high kerb a spoke popped out. This has been replaced and the wheels are running fine.

Short Report: A few maintenance issues, mainly the death of our Panaracer Pasela tyres!

Running Costs: £7.50 for three more tubes on our knackered tyres, £15 for a replacement spoke, £14 for a pair of tyres. Total now £56.50, which is nearly the cost of the wheels. Half of this is in rubber costs.