Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Monday, 13 December 2010

Back on the Beta

Back on the Beta commuter bike for a few days... moving back to chain drive and rim brakes on fat 26" tyres with only my trusty old 90-lumen Fenix head-torch is interesting. Not sure how I rode the trusty stead like this for 18months!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Amazingly small...

Amazingly bright... It must be a Supernova light!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The first weeks commuting

I have a days holiday tomorrow so this weeks commuting is done. I have ridden the new bike on 3 of the 4 days (rode the MTB on Wednesday as it had to go in the car on the way into work)

The week has not been the greatest to commute due to the concern with ice on the roads which means I have had to stick to the main roads. Even then there has been plenty of ice on the surface and it has been a bit of a nervous week. To prove a point tonight I helped a motorist who had managed to get his car into a ditch. Fortunately he was OK but the cars was going nowhere.

First impressions of the bike are good. The design has eliminated all of the short comings of the Beta bike.

- I can get a rack on the rear and still have a rear disc brake.
- The geometry of the frame is excellent and makes for a very comfortable ride on the road.
- The Marathon Plus tyres have way more grip than the city slickers on the beta which has been very comforting this week.
- The Gates Belt Drive has been silent and has meant that I have not had to use oil all week.
- The dynohub means I have not had to charge batteries.

It has been everything Mark and I always discussed for the ultimate commute bike. A bike you can take out every morning and just ride. I can't wait til the roads are a bit more predictable to ride and then I can do some longer rides home and get used to riding the bike at a bit greater speed.

Reason to Ride #25

-3.5deg, crisp & clear; an awesome morning

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

2 Commutes in the Bag

Been commuting on the prototype for a couple of days now, and it's going really well - apart from the Brooks saddle, which is going to take some breaking-in! The weather hasn't been the best so far - well below freezing this morning, some serious frost in some areas too

Love it: Grade 'A' Milk


The deep freeze continues here in the UK, but that hasn't affected the commute and the new bikes are churning on without any issues. Really enjoying getting to know the prototype! (More images later, once they've been downloaded)

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Ready to Roll!

The White prototype is complete and ready to roll (barring the 'guards and a rack). The Gates carbon belt drive didn't go on as well as we thought it would; took a bit of tinkering to get the alignment just right before setting the tension, but now it's setup it should give endless hours of clean, silent and maintenance-free drive! Now for a bit if testing! Mark

Friday, 3 December 2010

Starting to feel like Christmas

Up at friends last week we made some wreaths. I managed to find an old tyre while we were out collecting materials so used that as the base for mine. Hung it on the shed door today with a bit of old inner tube ;-)

Some more build pictures

Not to be out done by Mark I have also been building up my prototype....

Thursday, 2 December 2010

It's a bike!

... well, nearly! It's starting to look like a bit at any rate... Now just need the snow to stop and melt before the weekend. Wishful thinking, me thinks!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Fitting the Belt

The first prototype build is under way... The eccentric bottom bracket and belt combo has to be the way forward

When Commuting becomes Survival

We had been hearing all weekend about parts of the country with lots of snow. We even went up to Manchester to see some old friends but saw no snow. Yesterday the weather reports showed that it was going to snow overnight. Stu rang me at about 1pm yesterday to arrange riding in together on our MTB's as we did back in February. He seemed to be quite excited. So this morning we woke up to the first snow in Essex this winter. Mark texted me at just gone six and want to meet to ride in. By 6:45 we were all toegther with virgin powdery snow on the back roads to enjoy. This was the fun part of the morning. Mark left us half way through the ride to go back and work from home...

Stu fell off almost as soon as it was two of us and this marked the turning point in the ride. From that point on the roads became slippery and we tip toed our way into work. Past the cars struggling to get up the inclines and stuck at the lights. The only repite from the slippery roads came on a little off road cut through where all of a sudden the a slippery track seemed to make sense.

Now I am sat at my desk and the snow is still coming down. Roll on tonights survival test....

Saturday, 27 November 2010


Teflon-coated, stainless steel, Kevlar-reinforced stopping goodness... and in a colour of your choice!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Beginnings of the Brand

Initial sketches and a slightly more polished version of what may turn out to be the Milk Bikes logo... Let us know what you think!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Schwalbe City Jet Review

When I built up the Beta I ordered some cheap tyres to put on it for commuting. I didn't get the ones I ordered but the Cuty Jets as a replacement. At first I was disappointed. On the first few ride they had felt a bit draggy next to my 23mm road tyres. Not surprising really. I mentioned to Mark that as soon as they wore out I would replace them with something else... He laughed, he also has City Jets on his Beta and they look almost new after nearly 2 years of commuting. I knew I was going to have to ride them for a long time. That said they only add 5mins to a 1hr commute. Their biggest weakness is their grip on wet roads. In 10 months of commuting on minor roads I have only had 2 puntures. This is was really brough home to me when today I have had 3 punctures on my 75 mile Sunday ride and that has made 4 punctures of the week on the 23mm road tyres...

So the City Jets have been great commute tyres cheap, hardwaring and good resistance to punctures all of which is good for the commuter.

Their main weakness is grip in the wet but if you accept this and take it steady on those day then all is good...

Pedal - Cake - Repeat

Had a great Sunday ride today with just one companion. 75 mile loop around Chelmsford. I had planned the route on Saturday and wanted to take some roads that I had not ridden before. I planned it on www.bikehike.co.uk, simplified it so that it would go onto my aging GPS and downloaded it. The eTrex then guided us round without any issues. The route can be found here and is mainly on minor roads and made for a good training ride.

Also on Saturday I decided to make the Guinness (& Chocolate) Cake, the recipe for which can be found at here. This is a good solid cake (it would be good served hot as a pudding with ice cream instead of the icing) and was great to have with a coffee when I got home.

On the bike again tomorrow for the commute, no doubt will have some cake when I get home from work.

Cake anyone....

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Painted Prototype Frames

Factory-fresh pics of the prototype Milk Bikes commuter frames... Can't wait to ride them!!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Alfine Pics

Alfine Maintenance

Two and a half years ago I got Marks help to design and have made a Titanium hardtail. I wanted the bike to be able to use many forms of drive train so that it was flexible. At the time we decided to go with sliding drop outs to enable the bike to run any of the available hub gears.

The bike also had a derailleur hanger to allow the use of conventional gears. I built myself an Alfine rear wheel for the winter and for the last two winters have ridden it in all conditions. It has been great in both the mud and snow, especially when everyone else has been struggling with temperamental gear changes. In the summer I have run conventional gears and done long epic weekends and local XC races on the bike.

Last weeks Friday MTB commute home via the pub confirmed that it is time to make the switch over to winter Alfine mode, but before I put it on I thought I would look inside the Alfine to see if it needed any maintenance. It was a pleasant surprise to find the insides in excellent condition. I have now given it a clean and a re-grease and hope to get it fitted this weekend ready for another muddy winter.

If it takes this abuse on an MTB the hub is looking like an excellent choice for the commute bike. I only wish I had planned a belt port into the Ti MTB so that it was belt ready. Never mind...

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

GEN-01 Prototype Frames

The first generation commuter frames are finally at the prototype stage... The design has eveolved over the past few months and most of the various components have arrived at Milk Bikes HQ and the big bike build is on the horizon - very very exciting!

Once assembled, the bikes will have bits from all over the world; the States, Australia, Germany, Taiwan, Finland, Italy and of course the good old UK. And, if you're lucky enough to own a Milk Bikes bike, you'll have it all assembled here in the UK too, in Chelmsford in be precise!

It's all good, people!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Raw Frames

The Head Tube: Some beautiful welds going on there

Inboard Disc Mount: Racks AND guards?? No worries, mate!
The Belt Port: Neat little stainless T-piece

Monday, 15 November 2010

Reasons to Commute #23

What an awesome morning. You'd totally miss out on this if you drove to work...

Sunday, 14 November 2010