Archive for January, 2012

Campagnolo mid 80s Victory Crank swap

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

So before all this personal bike frenzy happened I had just my old trusty 1986 Gardin Victory. I upgraded and cleaned it up and even took it for some group rides and commuted with it. However one thing was still wrong, the front crank was warped it seemed. No matter how much I fiddled around with the front derailleur it first touched one edge then the other. I removed it, put it back in, cleaned it up. Obviously it or the bottom bracket was causing the problem.

Now this crank has probably done over 50,000 kms, probably more, and it had done stellar duty. Replacing it would be sad but not wrong.  I did have the BB lubed and cleaned in the not too distant past so had a suspicion it was the crank. The left hand arm had become quite loose and useless so had to replace that last year.

Old Crank on frame

The offending crank still on the bike

I had received a full compact Victory crank with a crank arm that I bought over eBay. I just wanted the left side crank arm but it came with the full compact right had crank and chain rings. It was 50/37 (what? I thought compact cranks were a new idea!) and I wasn’t thinking I was going to use it, but if my old crank (53/42) was toast may as well try it out. Crank length was the same(170mm) so good to go.

Compact Crank pre install

Compact Crank before I installed it

So I decided to swap them out and see if that fixed the problem. And if yes probably will leave the compact one in as this bike is more of a general fun bike now (despite my hatred of my compact crank on my Cervelo P2).

Step 1 – Remove old Crank

The old crank I had removed a number of times to try and fix it so I didn’t expect it to be all that bad and it wasn’t. It requires a 7mm allen key and you don’t have to worry at this point about the dust cap. Turn the key counter-clockwise and it will extract.  Don’t forget to take the pedal off first.

Loosening the old crank

Use 7mm allen key to loosen the crank

I know there are a lot of standards out there for crank bolts but this one seems pretty easy. After I got the crank bolt loosened the crank just popped off for me. No other tools were needed. The crank bolt stays in the crank held in my the dust cover. I simply looped the chain off and left it hanging.

Step 2 – Remove the Dust Cover (Optional)

My new crank didn’t have a crank bolt so I needed to use the old one. The crank bolt is held in by the dust cover so that needs to come off. Unfortunately it’s not a simple task. The only way to get it off is to put something into two small holes on each side of the cover. I am sure there is a pricey campy tool just for this, but I don’t have said tool.

Dust cover

Dust cover needs to come off to get to the crank bolt

So I figured that I could use a bit of elbow grease and a small screwdriver. This will hurt the holes a bit so if you want things to stay absolutely intact I guess you need the tool. One problem I had right away was what direction does it unscrew? By playing around a bit figured out it was clockwise to loosen.

Taking the dust cover off

I am sure there is a campy tool to do this

I tapped it with the hammer just to get it started, then used my hand just to spin it around. It never really loosened up so took a bit of time as each move was only about 1/4 rotation.

Bolt with dust cover

Getting there

Finally it was obviously loose enough to remove and pop..out came the bolt.

Bolt removed

Bolt, out of the old crank

Old Crank Analysis

Took a look at the old crank. These things are built to pretty tight tolerances so wasn’t sure what I could see. Overall it looked fine. I did notice that one of the teeth on the outer ring had broken and that the square center seemed to have some scoring bur honestly it looked ok if not great.

Crank removed

Hard to say if the problem is here

Step 3 – Examine the Bottom Bracket

This is also the right time to see if there are any problems with the bottom bracket.  Short of taking it out at least see if there is any obvious visual problems. Mine seemed fine so I decided to leave it for now.

Condition of the BB

Visual inspection at least of the bottom bracket

Step 4 – Install New Crank

So this part is very much reverse of taking it off. Naturally clean surfaces off then slip the crank back onto the bottom bracket. For the life of me I could not get the dust cover back in so I decided to install the crank both and hope that the process of tightening it would screw it in. Instead it popped off. Which in the end I figured was ok. I may get another dust cover in the future like the one on the left hand side which hides the bolt or try to get this one in later.

Dust cover left behind

Dust cover not used in this case

Compact crank on frame

New crank on the frame

Slip the chain back on and make sure things still shift etc.

Step 5 –Test it out

So now I had to figure out how it worked compared to my old one. And lo and behold it’s as straight as a arrow now. No wavering back and forth and I can still shift. Not 100% sure if I need to shorten my chain. Will leave that for another day. So something wrong with the old crank. Took the chain rings off and may play around a bit with those but otherwise good to go with the Gardin, now in modern(?) compact size!!

Categories: bicycling, Mechanical

Take the Poll!!

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment
Categories: Triathlon

Why I choose to buy a Cervelo P2

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Buying a bike is a very personal thing. Like a motorcycle, a bicycle is nothing without a rider. It does not exist without a human, it simply falls over. So it is an extension of you. In this way I have always thought of bicycles and motorcycles as MECH model 1s. You strap them on (or clip them on) then they merge with your body. When you move it moves.

Deciding on a particular bicycle brand can be daunting. Basically you have only a few variables to play with. And there are lots and lots of brands. The group will be various levels of Shimano or SRAM (or in some cases campy), components will be a mix of other vendors, and you can change whatever you want except for two things. One is the frame, the other who you buy it from. And frames are usually well built by the bigger names. It would be like if cars always used the same 2 or three engines, dashes, windows, doors and shocks, but we focused all of our branding on the chassis.

My local bicycling store ( carries Specialized, Cervelo and Norco frames. I live in a small town with one (very excellent) bike store, and while there are excellent bike stores within 75 kms, my LBS is worth supporting. And I just don’t see enough differences in the frames of the top tier companies for TT bikes, which includes Cannondale, Specialized, BMC, Blue, Aragon 18, Cervelo, Trek, Planet-X etc. In the end I just don’t think a frame really matters. If that was true then pro riders would moan about their frames, but in 98% of the time they simply show up at the pre-season training and it’s Oh, we have Felt this year. Cavendish has gone from Scott, to Specialized to Pinarello and still wins. Thor won’t miss his S5… I would be fine on any of these frames. But I wanted to choose what my LBS had and the new Shiv wasn’t out yet. That left me with the older Transition frames and the P series from Cervelo. The transition was nice, but even the lowly 105 version was $2500 and it got steep fast.

I didn’t want a Cervelo for a number of reasons but I found one in the back of my car at the end of the process. How did that happen?

I have issues with Cervelo. Being in the technology business I see a lot of companies that are “engineering” companies first and they usually fail at the more important side of the business, which is revenue. Cervelo made a few good moves, getting into the Tour with CSC was a good move. And they have survived, but the rules change all the time (unless you are the UCI!) and you have to adapt. Cervelo TestTeam didn’t make a lot of sense in my mind and I think a lot of people now see that as a costly mistake despite the good press they got.  I wonder about companies that are very technology focused and if they will survive.

Indeed, shortly after my purchase, Cervelo went through some changes and introduced the buy one, get $2k towards another bike. That would have been helpfulSmile. I would have picked up an RS too. And then they announced some funding arrangement with the private equity firm PON. Both were poorly communicated. There is a very simple rule in business, if you have to announce bad news you announce it on a Friday. By announcing the funding change with the least amount of info on the Friday before Christmas, even if this was good news (it does mean the company has funding) means it wasn’t meant to be seen by anyone really. So either there was a problem with funding or they thought it was ok to announce good news on a Friday.

That is the type of mistake an engineering company makes. People were confused. Why the fire sale, why the funding news…hmmm.

Other things that concerns me on Cervelo.

1- Lack of understanding that the world is online. I know that bike fit is important, but that is an after sale process and some (if not most) people know what frame size they want. Not sure why they don’t allow online sales. Adapt or die.  It is pretty common now to see somebody with an online ordered bike and be very happy. Many brands live online. Canyon ( is a good example. They also supply tour level teams. And you can only buy it online. Phillip Gilbert seemed to enjoy his Canyon in 2011.

2- Web Site.  See above. When I was looking info on the P2 I found the site next to useless.  The picture has wheels you don’t get, some of the gallery looks like the bike from 2007, reviews are years old.  There is a link ( that has been static for about 2 years. Is there a Test Team 2.0 coming, is it just sloppy web clean-up???

3- BBright…world doesn’t need yet another bottom bracket standard.  This is called Hubris. I like that more and more people are having the conversation on all these bottom bracket formats. Velo’s 2012 buyer’s guide has a great overview of the problem (Adapt This. Why today’s variety of BB standards has hurt the consumer…pg. 20 not online that I can see). I have tried to understand all of this as I work to upgrade the crank on my P2 and I am still confused and am worried I won’t get the right BB for my new crank.

4- P5 pricing. This one I think I understand why, Cervelo can’t make tons of frames so they restrict it to the high end. But that also means I won’t see really any P5s for quite some time and I use Tri Transition areas as showrooms and I am sure others do as well. Specialized, who to be fair can probably create a lot more frames, has pricing from the low end (ok, you don’t get the wow frame) thru entry points for various spending groups. But it probably made some sense to push out a few more frames and get one lower cost mechanical build. Still the frame is $4500! That means that even with say a 105 group it will be over 5k…yikes.

There are some Good things.

1- Fantastic forum and customer service. Company is honest and really cares about the product.

2- Nice to see the bike under some teams, and I do hope that continues but didn’t need to be the high price of full team status

3- The new P5 micro-site shows they are starting to understand the power of the web

4- They have good ads..better than most

5- Beyond the Peleton was awesome…but it’s now gone. Would have been nice for them to at least end with the awesome 2011 TdF…

But…it’s not about the company. Since 80% of the bike I can still get support from somebody if Cervelo was to disappear tomorrow I want some value. And this is where the P2 really shines. I just simply have to say it’s a good value.  If you ditch the wheels and have some pedals you can probably get it for well under 2500 without trying, and less if you do. I tried to re-create a nice tri bike along the same lines at planet-x, Ribble, various chinese sites and in the end I usually ended up pushing against the P2 price point and having to do some work myself and piss off my LBS. So why not support my local LBS, get a great bike and not have to worry about waiting by the mailbox.

So why did I buy the Cervelo P2. It’s a great deal on a great bike from a great LBS.

Ridus Epicus 2011..Hawkesbury River Australia

January 19, 2012 1 comment

KanSignAustraliaSo one goal that I set for myself was to have more interesting and “epic” bicycle experiences. When I figured out I was going to Australia I decided that one day would be a wall-to-wall bike riding experience. Again here the web helped out. I knew it had to be close to Sydney (I didn’t want to spend my day driving) but still add a lot of variety. After a few hours of checking thru Garmin connect and other ride reports I came up with an out and back 100 km + ride along the historic Hawkesbury River west of Sydney.


My steed for this grand day was my Specialized Tarmac Elite. I had lugged it all the way to Australia from already winter weary Canada. We had done a wee ride in Melbourne, a sharp Mountain climb, a Triathlon and now we were going to be spending the day together.


All decked out ready for a day of adventure


Below is the satellite view of the ride. While little of the ride is actually along the river, the landscape is up and around it, very varied, forested, and there are a number of nice hills and high gradient climbs.


The middle part was a wee bit of a mountain at the end with a steep descent into the river valley (which I knew I would have to climb back up).  The elevation profile is below and since I didn’t see it until the end I realized that the first half was mostly up which made the return better.  In the middle I was riding along the river itself.


Weather was mostly nice with one exception (more on that later).  Started out in a nice town place Windsor where I found a great parking spot near the main park. Saddled up and away I went.


First part was along major roads and here there was a nice shoulder, which was nice compared to my last ride. Once interesting aspect of this ride was that I was going to have to cross the Hawkesbury river twice on a Free ferry which meant I also had some natural resting spots.  The first ferry crossing was at Sackville Reach. With all the forests, names (Old Northern Road, Wiseman’s Ferry Road) and ferry crossings felt a bit like I was in the Shire in the Lord of the Rings.


1st Ferry Crossing

HawksburyRiverViewAfter the ferry crossing the ride went progressively higher. After a particularly long haul there was a nice lookout and I could see the Ferry crossing below. This was when I started to realize that I had been riding up for quite some time and a descent was in order.

By the looks of the data on my Garmin 500 it was about a 600 feet rapid sharp descent into the village. Really had to watch out with my speed but was tons of fun. Soon enough  I was in the village below and once more at a Ferry Crossing.

This crossing was exactly like the one before it, basically bikes were like pedestrians so you walked on board. This crossing was busy enough to have two ferries running so I didn’t have to wait very long. The Ferryman was very nice as well, telling me that the ferries would never be replaced as they were so historic and integral to the fabric of the region. Works for me and I hope he is right!


Muddy waters of the Hawkesbury River at Wiseman’s Ferry

The next bit was along the Hawkesbury River and was pretty flat. Not a lot of traffic really since about 15 minutes outside of Windsor so a relaxing day from that point of view. This is where I figured I would have to turn around soon. You do a lot of mental arithmetic as you know that every km is an extra km on the way back. At around 55k I decided that at the next natural stop I would pull over, rest a bit then return.  Sure enough within a few kms there was a nice pull off spot.


As far as I got on the Hawkesbury

It was also at this point that I noticed the sky wasn’t as blue as it had been before. I had to return along the same route, so I knew it would take a while, and now the weather had some surprises on offer. I headed back to the Ferry, crossed then stopped for lunch.

By this time I was very hungry and I needed to stock up. In Wiseman’s Ferry right next to the Ferry itself there was a burger shack. Wish I had taken a picture because it had a funny name which escapes me now. I asked for the “works” burger, two cokes and fries. It was messy affair but did the trick and probably nullified any fat burning I had been doing up to then!

Next up was back up the mountain. This had me worried. My legs had over 70km into them and I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it to the top without stopping. Gradients were over 20% in the corners. But in the end it wasn’t all that bad, I used my lowest gear and soon enough I was on top and the road started a general downhill slant. Would not have been able to do that a year or so ago!!

Then the skies opened up. I know few people who love riding in the rain like I do. I just love it. When the thunder and lightning started I was besides myself. It was a bit scary but fun and exhilarating. It lasted for about an hour until I reached the 1st ferry again. I was soaked, I was tired, I was happy! What else can you ask of an Epic Ride!


Stormy weather coming to an end

The last bit I was in survival mode. Just need to get the crank over the top one more time, then again, then again. It seemed to take forever and I think about 10k from the end I wasn’t having fun anymore, but I knew I had to keep going. Finally the town of Windsor appeared and the car and I was so happy and grateful to have had such a great day. Can’t wait to see what my Epic Ride in 2012 is going to be like!!

Final Stats.

115.01 km


Avg Speed:
25.9 km/h

Elevation Gain:
1,127 m

1,928 C

Avg Temperature:
20.8 °C

Avg HR:
130 bpm

Max HR:
155 bpm

Categories: bicycling, Travel Tags:

My last Tri of 2011–Sydney Australia Hills Club Tri

January 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Finally getting back to things now that the holidays are more or less over. Kids back to school, work back to it’s regular rhythms. Wondered what the damage was so looked down on the scale and whoops…up 5 pounds. Crap and I want this year to rule…

But this isn’t about the year ahead, it’s to finish the year behind.

In early December 2011 I had to head down to Australia to cover for a colleague who had left the company quite suddenly. With little time to prepare I still did want to see if I could fit in a tri and lo and behold, due to the power of the internet, there was a tri out at the Olympic Rowing basin though the Hills Triathlon Club (

The race was in the evening on a Saturday, but that would give me a chance to do some things during the day and get ready. I had my Tarmac so was ready to rock.

Unfortunately two of the things I did during the day was to do a run around the harbour in Sydney then do a ride up a small mountain.

So I arrived at the transition area pretty tired and had a wee nap.  When I woke up I felt better but knew this wasn’t going to be my best Tri of the year as least in terms of results, but could be a lot of fun.

The tri is in and around the rowing basin and was a very cool location for a tri.


Under a beautiful blue sky I racked up in the transition area.


I won’t do my usual swim/bike/run analysis because I realized with about 15 minutes to go this one was going to be for fun. I was tired, it had been a long day and I was looking forward to a big ride the next day.

The swim was interesting in that you proceeded up the basin to the start line (in our case 750m) then entered. You then swam in a straight line so you were able to stay focused on your swim.  Water was so smooth and we were effectively in a lane so it was a simple case of just following the buoys up the line. At the end there was a nice ramp and lots of helpers in he transition area.

The bike was a bit windy and was a loop around the basin. I felt good and was keeping to my usual 34-35kph when I hit THE wall. I was just done and knew it. I slacked back, finished the ride and did a decent run I think.

My results reflected how I felt at the beginning.  There were 80 men and I finished 72nd (ouch) but what was really bad was that my bike was worst than my swim and I was low there. Usually I am competitive in the cycle at least. Run was in line to where I feel I am now. Anyways it was fun and was a great way to spend a Saturday evening and now I have done Tris in Canada, US, UK and Australia. My basic sense is that there is a pretty standard template for running a Tri worldwide and most of organizers get it right. Another well run event.

My Full Results:

72 Doug DAVIS Finished 1:24:22 Swim: 0:16:14 (60) Bike: 0:39:41 (64) Run 0:28:27 (78)

So a few take aways

1- Evening Tris are not optimal when you have to make sure you rest for most of the day

2- When you know you are going to blow up, best to just slow down and enjoy the ride

Categories: Travel, Triathlon Tags: ,