Introduction text

With The Lake District and The Yorkshire Dales on our doorstep - KDCS offers an exciting selection of cycle rides throughout the local area and beyond. There are social gatherings including slide shows, talks and supper evenings and members are kept up to date with cycling news and issues through this web site, emails and our Facebook pages. KDCS are an affiliated group of Cycling UK.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Basic Bike maintenance for the Eco-Fair

If you went to the the Eco-Fair and want to start using that bike in the back of the shed, to go to shops or out on the country lanes this basic bike maintenance may help you get on your way.

Since the Eco-Fair I have added some links (at the bottom of this article) to some good sites for more information on bike repairs and maintenance, I'll try to add a few more over the few days.
Thanks to all of you who came to the Bike Maintenance workshop today -Neil, Bryan and Dell

Punctures -

To help avoid punctures check the tyres regularly for anything in the tyre, you can often find and remove slivers of glass etc before they puncture the tyre or damage it. To reduce the risk of punctures many tyres are now available with a strip behind the tread to prevent most punctures, It is worth remembering to check these from time to time as slivers of glass, tacks etc can be in the tyre and may work there way in and make a puncture eventually.

Before removing the rear wheel to mend the puncture the chain should be on the smallest cog at the back and middle or large front chainwheel. This makes putting the wheel back on much easier. Then to release the wheel the quick-release (qr) must always be tightened by moving it through 180 degrees, not by simply rotating it until it feels tight. The qr lever should preferably be on the pavement side, and always face to the rear when tightened so can’t be accidentally knocked into the “loose” position. Some brake levers have a button to allow the brakes to open more to get the wheel in and out.

Check quickly for thorns, nails etc they may be visible, remove and note position so as to check inside tyre for any remaining thorn etc. Before removing the tyre, push the bead (edge) of the tyre away from the wheel rim, and push the valve into the rim a bit, to create space in the rim well to allow room to more easily remove the tyre.

Remove the tube, marking the valve position on the tyre. Inflate the tube and locate the puncture, either by hearing it, feeling the escaping air on your fingers The cause of the puncture in the tyre should be the same distance from the mark on the tyre as the puncture in the tube from the tube valve, so locate and remove the cause. There may be second thorns etc., so carefully run fingers round inside of tube, both ways, as thorns could be angled and so not felt in one direction.

Never mend punctures on the roadside, wait until you get home. Therefore always carry at least 1 or, better, 2 spare inner tubes.

Modern tyres often have a “direction of rotation” arrow on them, as tyre treads are often more specific these days (note – if your bike is upside down, the arrow should be rotating anti-clockwise to give “direction of rotation”)

On a mountain bike (mtb) the lightly- inflated inner tube can be inserted inside the tyre, and the whole lot simply put back onto the wheel. Amazingly easy.

The recommended air pressure will be marked on the tyre wall. Always run at this pressure – many people run with too little air in the tubes, this makes for more punctures, and harder work as more rolling resistance. A track pump, from £20, is wonderful to quickly inflate your tyres to high pressures, buy one.

To repair a puncture (at home, I sometimes put the punctured tubes in a box and then have a session doing a few together) find the hole, pump up the tube, sometimes you can hear the air escaping, or feel it on your top lip. Failing that a bowl of water will quickly show the puncture position, if it is a fault at the valve, or valve seat scrap the tube. There are 101 uses for a dead inner tube, but that could be a hole new session/article. Dry the tube and mark the position of the hole, rub down the area around the hole, apply glue thinly around the hole, wait for the glue to feel dry, remove the foil from the patch and press firmly over the area of the hole, make sure the edges are stuck. stretch the patch to tear the paper backing across the middle of the patch, carefully remove the paper backing from the middle tear - so as not to lift the edges of the patch. Now apply powder to the patch and around, stops any excess glue sticking to the inside of the tyre, lightly inflate and set aside to see if the pressure is held, and then roll up as a spare.

Chains -
Try to keep the chain on your bike as clean as possible.

People tend to neglect their chain which is a big mistake - it's a job well worth spending 15 minutes on.

If you don't clean and lubricate it properly, it will make pedalling much harder and mess up the other components on your bike. To avoid the chain doing this or becoming squeaky or too slack make sure you clean and lubricate it at least every month - more often when the weather is wet. To check if the chain has stretched and become slack, try lifting one rivet at the front of the chain ring. If you can pull it away even slightly then the chain is worn. Chains stretch with use, a tool that measures this is available.

If your chain is caked in mud then hose it clean first. If it's only covered in oily dirt then give it a quick wipe with a rag or an old T-shirt. Then use the edge of a cloth to scrape out the muck between the sprockets and to wipe the teeth of the chain rings. Spray the chain rollers with solvent and scrub with an old toothbrush. After you've thoroughly cleaned the chain dry with a rag. Then complete the job with chain lube (lubrication). Run the chain through at high speed, or a link at a time allow to soak in (overnight) and then wipe off the excess lube.

Should always be oiled at the ride end or when the chain has been cleaned and dried after the ride. This gives time for the oil to really get to parts, whereas oiling it just before you set off will mean that most of it is effectively just thrown off. Modern oils really do lubricate places that 3 in 1 type oils won’t reach.

Changing chains regularly, as this should (hopefully) ensure the expensive cassette and chainset will last much longer, I try to use 2 or 3 chains and change them when I do the thorough clean (as if the chain is not replaced for a long time, the whole drive train will have to be replaced.)


One of the causes of the chain slipping is that a link is not freely bending as it goes over the gears. Finding this link may be difficult if simply moving the chain round slowly in the normal direction – moving the chain backward however should always find the faulty link.

Cables -

There are 2 types of inner cable - brake and gear. So you will need to carry both types with you if on a tour. Brake cables have 2 types of fixing, pear and barrel, the gear cable a single smaller one. A quick visual check will show what types you have on your brakes. Brake cables come in a single size, and need to be cut down, depending on the length required, i.e. front or back brake (note, if need be, i.e. on the road with no good cutters, any excess length can simply be coiled up until you get to a bike shop with good cutters. There are also different outer sleeves for brake and gear cables, so make sure you have the right one (there are sound engineering reasons for this difference, but you don’t need to know why.)

An alternative approach to this technical stuff is to renew the cables long before they break or you set off on tour! Spares still advisable though.

Brakes -

Brakes have adjusters, for both distance from the tyre rim and angle towards it (the “toe-in”). On V brakes the adjusters for rim distance are nuts at the brake base. Squeaky brakes are often a sign that the brakes are poorly angled to the rim, and there are 2 washers on the actual brake block to adjust this – the front of the brake block should touch the rim (toe-in) before the rear part. Check the brake block for signs of wear, some block have wear indicator lines to show when they need replacing. Check also when the wheel is out for grit, etc in the pads, a pin can get it out, it just wears the rims down if left.

Gears -

If the chain is not fitting exactly over the gear and hence being noisy etc, there are usually micro- adjusters to alter the gear cable tightness – one where the cable enters the rear dérailleur, and one either on the brake/gear lever or on the downtube. If the chain is quiet at the start of a ride and then becomes noisy, only adjust the micro- adjusters, a slight turn should improve the gear change, if not turn the adjuster the other way, only a slight turn is needed. The H (High) and L (Low) screws on both the dérailleur and chainset. should not need touching

Mountain bikes need a good scrub down after a muddy ride but any bike looks better after a wash and polish. Do it after a mucky cross-country ride or every month or two in dry weather. It should take you an hour to do the job properly including cleaning and lubricating the chain. Ten minutes if you're in a real hurry.

Cleaning kit: Washing-up liquid, Water Dispersing Lube, Spray Degreaser, Brush-on Degreaser. Bottle brush, washing-up brush, old toothbrush, sponge, old sponge for the chain, chamois leather. Squirt plenty of washing-up liquid into half a bucket of hot water. Mop over the whole bike and let it soak in. Wash the whole bike again. This second wash will shift most of the dirt, but there may be areas where the dirt is more stubborn.

Use a toothbrush or a paint brush for all the nooks and crannies. Where the foam seems to form droplets and roll off, use a degreaser (a solvent that dissolves grease) to break down the film of oil. Do the same to the chain. Work it with the brush to ensure the dirt and oil mixes with the degreaser. Get a bucket of clean warm water and rinse the foam away. Use a sponge to cascade water over the frame, the mudguards and the chain. Dry the frame, mudguards, saddle and handlebars with a clean rag or a chamois. Then squirt spray lube over the chain, gears, hubs and headset to drive out any water that has got in. Then lubricate the chain.

Dos: Do not wash your bike in the sun. The water will dry off too quickly leaving you with dull paint and a lot of streaks. Keep the bike upright, whether it's standing on its own wheels or in a bike stand.

Don'ts: Never use a pressure washer. Bike bearings are not designed to keep out water under pressure. For the same reason, keep the pressure down if you use a hose.

Tools on the bike -

The following tools are the minimum you should carry whilst riding and should ideally be left on your cycle at all times, in order to ensure that you have everything necessary to continue your ride or simply get home again:

Pump; Inner tubes x 2; Tyre levers 2 or 3; Allen key set; Chain breaker; a little small change; MOBILE PHONE !

Links to web sites with bike repair information -

Park Tool - lots of good information

Sheldon Brown-load of information - a unique resource

CTC Technical information CTC have a Technical FAQ section that covers lots of topics

"Park tools Big Blue Book of bike repair" is an excellent book around £18.00 available from bike shops, or Google to find online.

This was based on article originally by Mark Bazeley in the Summer 2006 KDCS Newsletter

Monday, March 24, 2008

Kendal Eco-Fair

KDCS will be at the Kendal Eco-Fair being held by SLACC on Sat 29th March at the Castle St Centre, Kendal 10.30am - 4pm. Call in to see Steve or Neil who will be on the KDCS stand, we will be showing the Kendal Riverside Leisure route proposal drawings and also the 3D visualisation drawings, and also a Bike Maintenance workshop.

The Eco-Fair will have workshops, talks and stalls on all manner of topics from recycling, composting, organics, home renewable energy, green consumer shopping and lots more!

On the Saturday morning at 10:30am the Eco-Fair will be opened by our local MP Tim Farron, so why not come along and celebrate with us?

3D visualisations of the Kendal Riverside Route


We have received a PDF that shows various 3D visualisations of the Kendal Riverside Route scheme, printed versions of these were shown at the third meeting about the Kendal Riverside Route Proposals. We hope to have these available to view on the KDCS web site soon, they will be on show at the Kendal Eco-Fair being held by SLACC on Sat 29th March at the Castle St Centre, Kendal 10.30am - 4pm. See the next item, above for more details


The visualisation drawings are shown on 7 pages, it is quite a large file. If you would like them emailed to you - email KDCS blog and ask for the Kendal Riverside Route - 3D visualisations drawings. It would be better if you have broadband as the PDF is quite a large file.


You will need Adobe Acrobat installed, most people will have this, it is free download available here> Adobe Acrobat

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Saturday 15th March - Ride from Windermere Ferry -Cunsey- Rusland-Brantwood

WD 40 was definitely needed on last Saturdays ride, who hadn't been cycling and who was just a little bit rusty?


Ten riders met at Ferry Nab for the ferry, to cross Windermere. Possible showers from lunchtime, that could be heavy was the weather forecast that we looked forward too. After the ferry across the lake, Bill's route meant that we missed the climb to Far Sawrey, as his route took us along by the lake and through Cunsey Wood and onto Graythwaite Hall, a right turn took us over the climb and down to Crossland and into the Rusland Valley. We went down the valley via Causeway End to Bouth, we thought about a stop for coffee, but decided with the weather forecast to press on, whilst it was still dry and try to get to the lunch stop in the dry.


On the quite, undulating roads, we continued via Spark Bridge and Lowick Bridge. The instructions Bill had provided, had pointed out a group photo opportunity at Nibthwaite. Overlooking the southern end of Coniston Water is a modern sculpture figure, it looks to be by Antony Gormley, in the same style as his famous figures now permanently erected on Crosby Beach. Normally Mike who works in the local Tourist Information Offices is able to give us up to date information, but this sculpture was news to him, we are sure it has only been put in place within the last year, other than that we don't know any more about it.

Then only a short way alongside the eastern shore of Coniston to Brantwood, for a well earned lunch stop. Fully refreshed, we then made our way down to Coniston, as Mike and Celia needed to get back earlier they left us to take a short cut over Hawkeshead Hill to get the ferry back, we went on the A593, past Yewdale and High Cross towards Skelwith Bridge. Before the bends at the top of the main descent down to Skelwith Bridge, we turned right along a minor road, which gave lovely views over Brathay, Loughrigg and Ambleside, then past Bull Close we turned right to get to the crossroads at the Drunken Duck. A right turn here took us towards Hawkeshead Hill, but we soon turned left - too soon it transpired - as we should have gone down Skinner How Lane, but instead we went down from Knipe Fold and onto the B5286, a bit of confusion was soon resolved with our local knowledge (?). A brief stop in Hawkeshead, and on towards the ferry, it was just pulling away as we arrived!

Despite the poor forecast, and the darker sky we'd seen after lunch, along with the few light spots in Hawkeshead we got back without any rain, or the forecast heavy showers - to nicely round off an anjoyable, if hilly ride. Thanks to Bill Jackson for his route, around 36 miles - Bill could not lead his ride so I tried to follow his instructions and lead it for him - Neil Hazlehurst



P.S. Spot the odd one out?







The next ride is on Sunday 6th April and starts from Kendal Leisure Centre at 10.30, Janet and Paul are leading the ride to Bowland Bridge, of around 30 miles. Ring either - Peter Raffle - 01524 761801 or Bill Jackson - 015394 44179 for further details.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Kendal Riverside Route Proposals

Third Consultation Meeting 5th March 08 - County Hall, Kendal

This was a very positive meeting, with support and general agreement for the main proposals.

The revised proposal drawings showed a number of amendments to the previous drawings,which had taken notice of the points raised at the earlier meeting. Four drawing were shown as well as a number of 3D visualisation drawings showing how a number of the junctions would look.

The three route drawings showed the three options for the New Road section of the route -

Option 1 - shows the pedestrian/cycle way along side the road, in front of the parked cars.


Option 2 - shows the pedestrian/cycle way going along by the wall by the river at the back of the New Road , from Melrose Place, just after the footbridge to Gooseholme and coming out past the toilets to the front of the parked cars then along to Miller Bridge.



Option 3 - shows the pedestrian/cycle way going all the way along by the wall by the river at the back of the New Road, from Melrose Place, (just after the footbridge to Gooseholme) and then all the way to Miller Bridge, going behind the toilets and over the slipway by way of a (removable) bridge.


All the three options have the New Road as reduced to one lane, and one lane over Miller Bridge to give wider footpath over the bridge.

I
t has been confirmed, that Gooseholme is proposed to be shared use cycle/pedestrian as other footpath sections and subject to obtaining permissive rights from the landowner, this would then link with the Canal cycle path.

The forth drawing shows the the design of the signs to be used on the route -we were told they are designed to be less obtrusive.

The overwhelming view of the people at the meeting was in favour of option 3 - the main reasons being - it was felt it would be more pleasant, being by the river rather than alongside a busy road- it also would be safer as there was less potential for conflict with vehicles, no need to cycle across the entrance and exits for the car park.

A number of items in the detail of the design of a few parts of the route were queried, and some minor redesign was to take place. But the overwhelming conclusion was how good the proposal was, how much it would benefit Kendal. For both cyclists and pedestrians, it will transform getting around Kendal - and should encourage more people to cycle in Kendal in future.


PDF copies of the latest Kendal Leisure Route - Drawings (including amendments resulting from the second consultation meeting) can be emailed to you -there are four PDF documents -

Kendal_Jan08 - Whole Scheme - Option 1

Kendal_Jan08 - Whole Scheme - Option 2

Kendal_Jan08 - Whole Scheme - Option 3-1

Kendal_Jan08 - Whole Scheme - Typical Sign Faces - Cross Se





NOTE: These are new drawings dated 4.3.08 and not the drawings on the KDCS web site.


To get the drawings email Latest Kendal Leisure Route - Drawings and ask for the Kendal Riverside Route - proposals drawings, you will be sent all four unless you specify otherwise.


It would be better if you have broadband as the four PDF’s are quite large files.

You will need Adobe Acrobat installed, most people will have this, it is free download

available here> Adobe Acrobat

Sunday 2nd March Sedbergh ride -Orton -Sunbiggin Tarn and Ravenstondale

Twelve cyclists met at Sedbergh for Peter Raffles ride, we set off and soon we climbed gently north towards Howgill and the Lune gorge. The weather through the day proved to be quite breezy, with patches of sun and some cloudier spells.

It was only when I checked the map later that I noticed that the unfenced section of the road closest to the M6 was marked as "Roman Road". Shortly after we had joined the A685 we turned left before the bridge over the M6, an undulating road with lovely views took us to Bridge End and the the right turn to go over the M6, soon we were descending into Orton for a café stop.


After Orton, and on to the open moor to Sunbiggin Tarn, and a mile later the sharp right turn to bring us down to Newbiggin-on-Lune and then Ravenstondale, and a brief stop near the King's Head for lunch, most of us eating outside, quite bracing. Through Ravenstonedale to the A683 junction at the Fat Lamb and at this point we split into two equal groups, of six each. One group took the more direct route back to Sedbergh, via the A683. The other group went north towards Kirby Stephen on the A683 for about a mile before tuning right onto the minor road across Wharton Fell to drop down into the Mallerstang Valley.

Pendragon Castle, or rather the ruins, stand at the junction with the B6259 , according to legend, the Castle is the site where Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur, died. The undulating ride down the B6259 took us past the Moorcock Inn and we joined the A684 at Garsdale Head to make our return to Sedbergh, against a slight niggling headwind. We all luckily got back to our vehicles just before a slight hail shower, as the weather started to deteriorate.

The longer route was about 45 miles.

The next ride starts at Ferry Nab, Windermere on Saturday 15th March at 10.00 prompt, the ride is via Cunsey, Spark Bridge, Brantwood, Coniston, Yewdale and Hawkeshead to then return on the ferry, approx 36 miles. Ring Neil 015394-42586 for further details.

KDCS Newsletter 2008 - 1 PDF download


The first KDCS Newsletter of 2008 is available to download as a PDF from the Mint Cake MTB web site, look under recent news dated 1.3.08 to select the link.

Many thanks to Paul M. Allen for getting it onto the Mint Cake MTB web site so quickly.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Kendal Riverside Route - proposals drawings are now on the KDCS web site.

Kendal Riverside Route - proposals drawings are now on the KDCS web site and you can download them to view.

There are three proposal drawings

PDF - Option 1 - shows the northern section of the route from Dockray Hall to Stramongate Bridge

PDF - Option 2 - shows the New Road section in detail

PDF - Option 3 - shows the Waterside (Kent Place) to Nether Bridge section

You will need Adobe Acrobat installed, most people will have this, it is free download available here> Adobe Acrobat


KDCS would like your views, what do you think about the proposals?

  • Remember the meeting -
  • Third Consultation Meeting -Kendal Riverside Leisure Route

  • 5th March 08 - 7pm - County Hall, Kendal


Please let Liz Ashburn know what you think - by the end of 3rd March - Monday evening, to allow time to put your comments together for Wednesday, and then submit them for KDCS.