Author Topic: the leaving of Darlo  (Read 68997 times)

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #200 on: October 22, 2011, 07:50:27 am »
I'm addin titles to some of the photos. I particularly liked this photo, from a misty Monday morning by the Altmuhl.


Altmuhltal by dean.clementson, on Flickr

And obviously, the hero shot.


P1100287 by dean.clementson, on Flickr

Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #201 on: October 22, 2011, 11:48:45 am »
Deano, you've got a red fuel bottle slung on the underside of your down tube, what sort of bottle cage are you using?  I have the same fuel bottle but yet to find a cage that fits it. 

Thanks matey, really enjoying your words and picture.

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #202 on: October 22, 2011, 04:24:58 pm »
OD, It's a Topeak Modula. Works quite well - it's adjustable to take different sizes of bottle, but the fuel bottle isn't quite a perfect fit, so I have a toestrap around it to hold it in. I don't have bottle bosses on the downtube, but the Zefal doodad I'm using is quite secure. 

As I have an enforced layover here in Istanbul, I might bore you all with a review of my kit. There'll be one or two rants in there, though mostly it's been fine...

It's really hard not to spend money in Istanbul - I've spent about 40 lira today (including accommodation), and I haven't done anything except eat and walk around and doss by the sea while updating my diary and making friendly with the stray cats. I think I'll be doing a lot of sightseeing by foot - which is actually proving to be a good way of seeing lots of the city and getting a feel for it. I'm tempted to visit Gallipoli, but it's an eyewatering 70 euros, and it's a long bus trip which would be four or five hours of feeling ill. 

Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #203 on: October 22, 2011, 05:16:06 pm »
Thanks for the info Deano, I for one would be very interested to read a review of your kit.

I have a couple more questions. What's in the bundle you have strapped to your handlebars?  And, your photos indicate you are cooking with a Trangia. If so how are you getting on finding meths?

interzen

  • Venture Altruist
  • Agent Orange
    • interzen.homeunix.org
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #204 on: October 22, 2011, 05:39:45 pm »
Thanks for the info Deano, I for one would be very interested to read a review of your kit.
Ditto.

Quote
I have a couple more questions. What's in the bundle you have strapped to your handlebars?
I'm going to hazard a guess at the tent, or at least some component of it.

peliroja

  • Mrs Woolly
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #205 on: October 22, 2011, 05:43:19 pm »
I reckon it's drybags with clothes? Guess what's in Deano's panniers! This is a good game!

Great updates, Deano.

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #206 on: October 22, 2011, 06:00:45 pm »
I'm actually carrying two stoves. All the pans go in the Trangia, so I decided to take the burner and fuel bottle as well as the multifuel stove. Bloody good job, too, as the Optimus Nova has been a huge disappointment. Doesn't bloody work, despite me following the manual to the letter. I'm persisting with it, but it's hugely frustrating.  I've gotten meths pretty easily so far - a litre at a Rewe in Germany and another litre from a pharmacy in Hungary, which I still have. I reckon that'll last me most of the way across Turkey - after that, I hope to have solved the issue of the damn petrol stove. It's fucking new and it was fucking expensive, so it should fucking work. 

As interzen says, the stuff on the front is my tent (not the poles, they're on the rear rack as otherwise they'd be touching the bars) and my sleeping stuff - mat and sleeping bag inside a drybag. They're not strapped to the bars, it's a wee NItto front rack which I've had for a while, though I tie the luggage straps around the bars to stop the thing swaying. The rack is supposed to be a three-point mounting at the brake bosses and the fork crown, but the fork crown mount snapped aaages ago when I was descending Sleightholme Moor (see threads passim), even though it wasn't overloaded. I e-mailed Nitto and Planet X (where I bought it), but had no response from either, so I bodged it with heavy-duty cable ties (half an inch) around the fork legs and the rack, which has held up fine so far. I reckon one of the Old Man Mountain racks would be a better solution - I've met a couple of people with those. 

jane

  • Mad pie-hating female
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #207 on: October 22, 2011, 06:18:20 pm »
I carry my fuel bottle (also  red) in a cage in that position.  In an attempt to stop me mistaking it for a water bottle.  It was not a fool proof solution on my last trip.  But, I 'm  guessing, you are probably not as dopey as me.
  Good to read (and see) what you are getting up to.

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #208 on: October 23, 2011, 01:30:03 pm »
Well, you asked for it, so here it is  

Bike Stuff

My approach has been to choose and fit parts for reliability and simplicity, cheapness, and hopefully universality, so I can get replacements easily when things do go wrong. As nothing has failed dramatically yet, I can't say how realistic the last element is, but hopefully that will help to explain the decisions I made when buying and fitting the equipment. 

Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon 1.75". No problems. They've done more than two years' service on my commuter and some touring, all rock solid. I've had my sister post me replacements - some Schwalbe Marathon XRs which I got at a good price, and which I shall fit so as to have a bit more grip for the rough roads ahead. At the moment I'm wondering how necessary that is, but I'll still fit them when they arrive, and ditch the vanilla Marathons, as I don't want to carry around another kilo of tyres! I'd happily keep using these Marathons though. 

Wheels - front is a 32-hole Shimano DH-3N71 which I built into a Mavic rim and have used for commuting and touring for two and a half years.  Keine problem. Rear is an XT Parallax 36-hole hub built into a Rigida Sputnik rim by the LBS and which I rode for about 600 miles before the trip. No problems either. Double butted spokes all around, DT or Sapim, I think. 

Frame is a 531 Peugeot Dakar from about 1984. I had it resprayed and v-brake bosses added and crappy u-brake bosses taken off. Then, when a crack developed around the seat clamp, I had the seat tube replaced (a 75-something tube, I  think it was: Kevin Winter, a local framebuilder, did the repair, and I'm responsible for the paint job) and downtube lever bosses added. All a bit much for a factory Peugeot, but it fits and has performed admirably and I love it. I've treated it with Framesaver. 

Forks: Kona P2 with a 1" steerer. I was also incredibly lucky that they came with bosses for low-riders. The one minor issue I had was that they came with really inconvenient lawyer lips which made removing the front wheel an utter pain until I got around to filing them down. They make for a good ride and seem utterly reliable. 

Saddle: Brooks B17 special. Say no more. 

Seatpost: I only mention this cos CrinklyLion gave it to me before I left, as the one I had kept slipping. It's from Bontrager, and it's been fine since I fitted it on a rainy morning in Beverley, ninety miles into this journey. 

Bars: Salsa Bell Lap 46". I really like these bars, I have the same on my Dave Yates. The width suits me, and I love the shape of the drops.

Brake levers: Tektro v-brake levers. Brake OK and are OK comfort- wise. They are the best solution I've found to the issue of using v-brakes with drop bars. The hoods have started to disintegrate in the rain (this pre-dates the trip, and in fact little on the bike was new) and with wear, but electrical tape is a good enough bodge.

Shifters: Shimano Ultegra 9-speed downtube jobbies. I have them set to friction as I'm using a 7-speed cassette. I've tried to pick my parts to be simple and reliable, and these epitomise that approach: they just work. 

Brakes: Shimano XT on the rear and LX on the front. They've been fine. I'm using Koolstop brake pads front and rear, which are simply excellent. I think the front are Salmon, but I couldn't find any more of those online, so the rear are black Koolstops.  The only problem I've had is that I've lost the pin on one of the rear pads, so it falls out if I brake when holding the bike on a hill. I've become quite adept at slotting it back into place, though, and I can't really blame Mr Koolstop for this. 

Chainset: Truvativ something-or-other which I found at Darlo tip. I have replaced the chainrings since then, though. The middle ring, which I use the most, is a Middleburn ring. One of the few things I bought new before this trip. The outer ring is TA and the inner is Shimano. The spread is 26-36-46, and I spend most of the time in the middle. The cassette is just a Shimano HG 7-speed jobbie which I've had a while, combined with a Sachs 8-speed chain. I think the largest sprocket is 30-tooth, and I haven't had to walk anything yet, apart from where the grip has failed on mud or sand. 

Mechs: the rear is a Shimano LX 9-speed. I've been using it for some while now, so it must be approaching 10,000 miles. It has worked uncomplainingly so far. Front mech is a Shimano something-or-other which I bought for a quid from Chain Reaction before I left, and shimmed out with cans of Stella I blagged from my neighbour. I don't really drink lager, except where there's no alternative. It shifts fine. 

Rear rack: Tubus Cargo. Sturdy and solid and trustworthy. 

Front racks: Nitto thingummy with the aforementioned bodge. Tubus low-riders which have been fine. 

Rear panniers: good ole Carradice Super Cs. A classic. I had the seams replaced before I left, and though they're not entirely waterproof, they're big and rugged and lovable. 

Front panniers: Ortlieb. Awkward to fit and they have a tendency to sway about, making the steering juddery. The hook adjusters on the left have gone west somewhere, so I've padded the low-riders out with electrical tape to stop them rattling. But they're waterproof, and quite easy to get on and off. 

I've had very few mechanical issues: there was an annoying knocking sound which developed in Austria. I thought it might have been the cassette, so I tightened that, but it persisted through Hungary, to the point where the French couple I was riding with commented on it. But it went away by Serbia, so I'm not worrying about it. I've had to re-wrap the bar tape and bodge the brake lever hoods with electrical tape. I've had to tighten the bolts on the low-riders. I can't think of anything else - it's all been very minor stuff. 

I am carrying plenty of spares - a spare rear mech is probably an extravagance, but I already had it, so I'd rather carry it than buy another XT mech on the road. I'm also carrying a spare headset, which is ridiculous, but since 1" threadless headsets are bastard rare, and I had to buy the whole headset to get spare bearings, I thought I may as well carry the whole thing. Other than that, I have a spare tyre, tubes, inner cables, spokes, brake pads, patches. Nothing extraordinary. 

Tools - a Leatherman Skeletool, tyre levers, key for my security skewers and a cone spanner to turn it (also useful if I ever need to service my hubs - I'm not carrying a big spanner, I just figure I can borrow one of those if it comes to it), a NBT for removing the cassette, spoke key, chain lube, the usual stuff. ICBA to list it all. 

Camping Stuff

Tent: Hilleberg Akto. Very good indeed - light, easy to pitch or strike camp quickly, pretty roomy inside (though I do occasionally yearn for more headroom) and very sturdy. also a subtle shade of green which is useful when camping stealthily. 

Mat: Exped Downmat Pump. Heavy at a kilo and pumping it up is healthy exercise, but the comfort factor outweighs everything else. It is probably more comfortable than my bed at this hostel in Istanbul  I did wonder if it had developed a slow leak before I left, but I believe that was paranoia. One of the seals can make a weird farting noise at times. 

Sleeping bag: Snugpak Softie Kilo. Officially a three season mat, though I've had no problems down to -10 (on a different trip) with the addition of a silk liner. No comments, as no problems. It packs away nicely and doesn't yet stink. 

Bivvy bag: Alpkit Hunka. It's been great on the three nights I've used it when I didn't want to pitch my tent, such as sleeping rough in Wiener Prater. No problems with condensation despite the damp, and it was warm and roomy. It's not so heavy that I've resented carrying it, either.  From now for a while, I think it may serve a secondary purpose as a sleeping bag outer if the nights get cold across eastern Turkey. Look out for future reports. 

Stoves: firstly, an Optimus Nova Plus which I bought to be the solution to travelling in remote areas. Sadly, it has refused to get any hotter than a Dutch Oven since about Belgium, and I find it too tricksy and difficult. I like things which just work, which is one reason I brought the Trangia, and I am very glad I did, as I'm relying on it.  As OD hints, getting fuel for the Trangia may become an issue from here on, so I'm persisting with the Optimus. Fingers crossed 

Sporks (for what would a camping trip be without sporks?): I was actually carrying two titanium sporks, one attached to the Carradice with a cheap carabiner for easy access when eating yoghurts and emergency coffee, but the carabiner broke and I lost the spork, so I am now down to one spork. I am (semi) bereft.  Sporks are things of beauty and a delight to use. 

Miscellaneous

I also carry an iPod and a Sony e-reader, for entertainment and to ward off madness. I had an iPhone and now have another - charging these devices was always going to be the issue. Now read on...

Charging devices: Portapow USB battery, which İ charged from the computer before I left and haven't needed yet. 

Secondly, a Freeloader which I used to charge my phone or iPod or ereader when the sun was hot. Not powerful enough on its own for everything I have, but useful. 

And the Dahon Biologic Reecharge, which I only got cos it would directly charge my iPhone (lost in France after PBP, so even more of a waste of time).  It did work, but it came with a serious flaw, compounded by a couple of secondary flaws. 

Firstly, the battery had to be set to take a charge, meaning it had to be on when it was connected to the hub dynamo, or there was a chance of frying the innards at high speeds. 

(the use of the past tense here should be giving you an idea of what's coming)

Fair enough. Unfortunately, the only way to tell that it was on and charging was to lift the front wheel and spin it, and look for the green light to come on. The designers had clearly never tried to use this in a bicycle touring situation, as the on-off button has no clear difference between on and off, and the green LED is only marginally brighter than the green plastic covering. Imagine trying to check this: lift the heavy front end of the bike with one hand, spin the wheel with the other, check that the green light is coming on, but the daylight's too bright so you can't tell and drop the wheel. 

It was only a matter of time: I set off without checking one morning, it was wet and miserable and I was convinced I had left it on the night before. I stopped at the bottom of a huge, fast, wet descent to check, and there was no response. Bastard. As I said, I like things that work without too much intervention, and such a huge flaw as that makes the Reecharge utterly inappropriate for touring. I did dry it out, hoping that it might have been the wet which it disliked, but no. It's dead, and I suspect the innards are fried. 

[I'll be sending a sharp e-mail to Mr Dahon along those lines, as well, especially considering the price of the damn thing]

But in general there have been relatively few problems. Now I've bought another iPhone I will have a greater power demand, but I hope to discipline myself to use it only when necessary, such as when navigating across cities, when lost and when bored. As I said, I never used the Portapow, so I hope to be able to manage. 

Uncle Peter's suggestion of carrying the Collins Guide to the Night Sky was brilliant, and it's been a great companion on the nights when it was clear. 

Anything I haven't mentioned has probably just worked without me thinking about it. For maps, I had the Michelin road map of western Europe to start, which I thoroughly disliked, though I managed. I didn't find the distinction between a-roads and m-ways especially clear, so I had a hell of a time avoiding prohibited roads, and the level of detail was disappointing. I bought maps of Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria en route. Freytag and Berndt was the mapmaker and they were PDG. The scale was 1:400,000 and I found that OK for everything except dirt roads in Serbia where the tracks I was using probably wouldn't appear on the local version of OS Explorer, and in cities, where much more detail was useful. But all the roads I would use were on those maps. 

Feel free to ask about anything else, or for more details. There isn't a great deal I'd change, apart from the obvious two. 

Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #209 on: October 23, 2011, 01:54:24 pm »
Excellent, thanks Deano! 


peliroja

  • Mrs Woolly
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #210 on: October 23, 2011, 02:49:25 pm »
Brilliant reviews! Thanks for those.

I agree about the Downmats. Pumping both our Exped Deluxe Downmats is officially my job (while Woolly does stuff with guylines, hunts and gathers, and other woolly pursuits). It takes about 15 minutes, including rests, and does get rather tedious, but all the hassle is forgotten when I settle down (groan) for a comfortable night's sleep.

Gill

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #211 on: October 23, 2011, 03:59:57 pm »
I can't believe you have got me reading about bike bits and enjoying it! I am loving the updates and as usual am in awe of you. I also love that since we discovered yACF we have met such great people as yourself who encourage lightweights like me to do things we wouldn't normally consider. Well done so far and I look forward to catching up with you when you get back and hearing all about it over beer and food  :)

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #212 on: October 23, 2011, 04:01:59 pm »
46 inch handlebars?  Wow, is this some new variation on the superman position?  :P

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #213 on: October 23, 2011, 09:16:38 pm »
Glad the star-guide is worth the weight!  Bad earthquake to the east, today, did you hear?

Pedaldog

  • M' back!
  • Head Banger.
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #214 on: October 24, 2011, 12:30:33 am »
Something good about the old Peugot frames Deano. My Longstaff conversion trike is on an early 80's peugot frame and it is still going strong, despite the nasty treatment I give it!
Hope y' didn't spill any coffee with the Earthquakes earler O:-)

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #215 on: October 24, 2011, 04:31:51 pm »
Brilliant reviews! Thanks for those.

I agree about the Downmats. Pumping both our Exped Deluxe Downmats is officially my job (while Woolly does stuff with guylines, hunts and gathers, and other woolly pursuits). It takes about 15 minutes, including rests, and does get rather tedious, but all the hassle is forgotten when I settle down (groan) for a comfortable night's sleep.

I often pitch the tent, cook, then pump up the mat as the exercise warms me up on a cold evening!

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #216 on: October 24, 2011, 04:43:01 pm »
Right, I've applied for my Indian visa. I should collect it on Friday evening.

While I was in Taksim, I did a bit of shopping - I found a few outdoor shops, and bought myself a Dog Dazer. A brief (and hopefully not too cruel) test on one of the street mutts showed that it worked. It was 90 lira, so about 32 quid. Probably about what you'd pay in a UK shop, though there are cheaper prices online. I hope not to have to use it much.

I also bought one of these folding bowls, which looks neat and should have a few uses (the blurb says it's great for randonnees), and a couple of tin openers, as I left mine in Germany somewhere.

To complete the spending spree, I bought some new shades as the Aldi ones I had broke. I've been using my glasses more as it's awkward to fit lenses in a tent with mucky paws, but there are times when shades are best.

Andrij

  • Андрій
  • Ερασιτεχνικός μισάνθρωπος
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #217 on: October 24, 2011, 04:58:23 pm »

I also bought one of these folding bowls, which looks neat and should have a few uses (the blurb says it's great for randonnees), and a couple of tin openers, as I left mine in Germany somewhere.


I have a set of these, which I refer to as my flat-pack / origami dinnerware.  Never had the need for them on a randonee, but use them on most of my camping trips.
;D  Andrij.  I pronounce you Complete and Utter GIT   :thumbsup:

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #218 on: October 25, 2011, 02:28:59 pm »
So I get back to the hostel after having a day grockling around at the Museum of Archaeology, and the guy tells me he's left my parcel on my bed. Brilliant, thinks I, that'll be my tyres and maps and wotnot; I can get busy cleaning and setting up my bike for the next stage.

Except it isn't my tyres and maps and bits: it's too small. Now, you'd expect me to be disappointed, and normally I would be, except on this occasion the package contained a great slab of Marj's fruit cake and some emergency supplies of BRITISH foodstuffs. Thanks, Marj and jogler  :D

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #219 on: October 25, 2011, 06:15:50 pm »
So I get back to the hostel after having a day grockling around at the Museum of Archaeology, and the guy tells me he's left my parcel on my bed. Brilliant, thinks I, that'll be my tyres and maps and wotnot; I can get busy cleaning and setting up my bike for the next stage.

Except it isn't my tyres and maps and bits: it's too small. Now, you'd expect me to be disappointed, and normally I would be, except on this occasion the package contained a great slab of Marj's fruit cake and some emergency supplies of BRITISH foodstuffs. Thanks, Marj and jogler  :D

"Because you're worth it"   ;D 

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #220 on: October 25, 2011, 06:52:50 pm »
And the Dahon Biologic Reecharge, which I only got cos it would directly charge my iPhone (lost in France after PBP, so even more of a waste of time).  It did work, but it came with a serious flaw, compounded by a couple of secondary flaws.

Firstly, the battery had to be set to take a charge, meaning it had to be on when it was connected to the hub dynamo, or there was a chance of frying the innards at high speeds.

Ugh, while I've ranted before on the poor design of the thing, I hadn't considered that issue.  Epic, as they say, fail.

Chances are it's just the rectifier/regulator unit that's fried.  The battery unit is probably okay (and could presumably be usefully charged from USB power)?


Interesting to hear about the stove.  And good that you had the sense to bring a backup spork.  Sporks are essential.   :thumbsup:
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #221 on: October 25, 2011, 08:09:09 pm »
Thanks, Kim. I checked the battery the next time I had access to the mains - as you say, it works fine that way, as a USB battery, which led me to think it was the rectifier (the thingummy). I doubt I can fix it myself... Anyway, I've e-mailed Biologic and Dahon, and sent them a link to my review. I was also interested to note that boab's review was the fourth or fifth hit when you google "Dahon Reecharge". I think I'll put a link to my review there too.

With the stove, this has been my first chance to get googling, and I've found a couple of people with similar problems and possible solutions, so I'll get onto that tomorrow. I can always try buying really strong alcohol for the Trangia, if all else fails. Though this mightn't be mega-successful in Iran.

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #222 on: October 25, 2011, 08:14:38 pm »
I can always try buying really strong alcohol for the Trangia, if all else fails. Though this mightn't be mega-successful in Iran.

Following in the fine traditions of empire, Deano tours the world fuelled by gin   ;D

interzen

  • Venture Altruist
  • Agent Orange
    • interzen.homeunix.org
Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #223 on: October 25, 2011, 08:40:24 pm »
I can always try buying really strong alcohol for the Trangia, if all else fails. Though this mightn't be mega-successful in Iran.

Following in the fine traditions of empire, Deano tours the world fuelled by gin   ;D
At least it's useful for something (gin, I mean)

Re: the leaving of Darlo
« Reply #224 on: October 25, 2011, 10:26:19 pm »
And you sold your Honeystove..... :facepalm:
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark