Thursday, 23 June 2016

Hosteller Decals

Got the decals on today.  I was really nervous about doing it but they went on fairly easily.  I've made a bit of a pigs ear of the lacquer coat over the top, too heavy handed again, but rescuable I think.

Sunday, 19 June 2016


I didn't get to Eroica after all, it seemed best to leave it given my health at the moment.  Maybe next year.

Anyway, the Ian Steel is pretty much finished.

At some point I need to swap the cranks and bottom bracket, I need a longer bottom bracket axle to fit the original.  The front wheel bearings are a bit rough as well, I could do with stripping and re-greasing them. 

Then I need to decide whether to leave it as it is or trying to get it back to the original spec.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Nearly There

Just handlebar tape to do.  At some point I'll have to get a longer cottered bottom bracket axle and swap out the cranks.  Due to my health I won't be able to ride at the weekend Eroica, but hopefully we'll go for the Saturday and show it off.

The Hosteller is still waiting on decals.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

And More

Headset, stem and brakes fitted...

Monday, 6 June 2016

More Ian Steel Build

Headset sort of added, plus bottom bracket and shifter...

Friday, 3 June 2016

Ian Steel

Got my Viking Ian Steel back from Rourke's the other day.  Just unpacked it, not done any build up yet, but it looks fantastic.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016


My medication is starting to get effective,  I can actually sit still without getting short of breath.   So I thought I'd get on with the Hosteller.   Painting is an ideal job actually as its ten minutes of activity followed by ten minutes rest, just about what I can manage.

The forks were pretty clean, so, after a final rub down with some 320 grade wet and dry and a whipe with a clean rag & white spirit, I put an immediate acid etch primer coat on.  This seemed to go quite well.

A second coat had it ready for the colour.

The frame was quite badly pitted and still had some surface rust.  I'd given it a good sanding but decided to treat it with a rust treatment.   Once this was done it was ready for the primer.

I'm just using Halfords rattle can paint.  Its a bit mixed quality wise, one can was very watery and drippy, I managed to splash wet paint over the frame when shaking the can between sprays.  The second can seemed to go on much better.  I've got a few coats of the forks and a good first coat on the frame, but need to flatten back and redo the frame with a few more coats.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Spot of Bad News

Back in January I got ill, an unspcified viral infection that layed mei out for two weeks.  And I have never really seemed to get back to full fitness since, but like most blokes never did anything about it.   A couple of weeks ago we went to my Mum's,  and I was really tired all weekend.  I cycled to work on the following Tuesday, struggling into the wind on the way in, the to my dismay,  struggling even more on the way home.  I finally had to admit something was wrong and planned to call the doctor the next morning.  The idea was to drive to work, check my diary and get a suitable time slot in the week.  However,  Tuesday night I was having real difficulty breathing, I could take in big lung fulls of air but didn't seem to get enough oxygen in.   It was quite frightening.   Wednesday morning I was feeling a bit better and decided to stick to the plan.  But when I got in the car to head to work I was struggling again and decided to go straight to the Doctors.  I eventually saw the Practice Nurse who diagnosed a chest infection and prescribed 5 days of antibiotics.  These ran out on Sunday morning and I didn't feel much better so went back and saw a different nurse who said the same thing, blood oxygen was good,  pressure a bit high but not worryingly so, pulse same, and prescribed a different antibiotic.

I went home, took the first dose and 45 mins later,  threw up.  Rang the Doctors who said next day try eating more before taking the tablet.  So I spent the day reading until Jayne got in.  It was a lovely warm sunny day, although the new tablets said avoid the sun.

Then early in the evening, I suddenly went very cold and had to get a fleece.  As I was putting it on my left hand suddenly clenched itself into a fist and my forearm went numb.  Then the left side of my face felt funny.  Jayne says that the right side of my face fell.   She rang for an ambulance but they were very busy and because we were quite near, she decided to drive me to the hospital.

By this time I'd got feeling back in my arm and my face was starting to recover.   Initial triage said I had a very high and irregular pulse but didn't think I was in any immediate danger.   I still couldn't string a sentence together but otherwise coherent.

Once in the assessment area the doctor did a series of tests, ECG, chest x-ray, CT scan, blood test etc, all of which took hours.  The Doctor explained he'd ruled out chest infection,  but I had a very worrying ECG, my heart was all over the place.  He was also trying to decide whether I'd also had a Stroke or a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA).  In the end he decided TIA was more likely.

So at 3 AM, 9 hours after the initial incident,  Jayne went home and I waited for a bed on the Accute Medical Unit.  I dozed for a few hours before finally getting a bed at just after 5 PM.

Next day the AMU medical team came,  redid the ECG and went over events again.  The upshot is that I have Atrial Fibrillation (AF), which is basically a mismatch of the electrical signal in the heart causing them to misfire and causing the very high pulse and irregular pulse.  This causes the shortage of breath feeling as the lungs try to keep up.  It also causes little blood clots to form which then  enter the blood supply.  In my case they think this cause a TIA,  or mini-stroke, from which I should fully recover, but still have some loss of feeling in my cheek.

I've been prescribed beta blockers to keep the heart rate down an Warfarin to help stop blood clots from forming.  I've got to go to a blood clinic today, to set the Warfarin dosage and will need regular blood tests to manage it.  I've got a referral to the hospital TIA specialist,  hopefully they will ring today.  And I've got an appointment with the GP tomorrow,  partly to discuss sick notes, but mainly to get a referral to a Cardiologist to plan what to do about the AF.

I'm back home now after a very scary 24 hours.   It seemed much longer.  Jayne was really good, stayed calm and collected through out, right up to getting home yesterday when she broke down into tears.   Its still quite scary, I'm still struggling to breath particularly at night and had a bit of a panic attack last night.  We are both exhausted but hopefully we can get some good night's sleep and start to recover.

The Blackpool Victoria A&E and AMU were fantastic.  They were very busy but I always felt I got the attention I needed when I needed it.  The A&E doctor was particularly keen we understood what he was doing and why.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Viking update

I've been off sick today, a chest infection that means I'm struggling to do anything.   So I've sat in the garden with a tub of white spirit, tin of Brasso and miscellaneous brushes and rags, cleaning and polishing the remaining bits for the bike.

The stem is a mess, it was painted red like the rest of the bike, but underneath the paint the chrome is largely gone.  The rear brake is not original but ok age wise.  The brake levers are quite badly scratched but polished up ok.

Got some final bits and bobs sat in paint stripper, lamp bracket, stem expander bolt and seat and stem clamp bolts.

Should be ready to start building as soon as I get the frame back.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Viking Progress

I've spent the afternoon starting to clean up the bits for the Viking. I bid for and won a Simplex gear shifter yesterday, so pretty much got everything I need.

The frame is ready to spray, just waiting for it to warm up a bit. It just needs a final sanding before the first acid etch primer coat.

The left hand crank is a bit grotty, the chrome has largely come off.  I'll probably just polish it up as best I can.  The right crank is not so bad.

I did spend a lot of time on the front brake caliper, probably about two hours cleaning and polishing.  I've filled the GB stamping with red nail varnish.  It needs another coat and some careful polishing but I think its looking good.

One disappointment was,  after cleaning them up,  both bottom bracket cups are cracked.  Fortunately I've got a few spares so not a disaster.

Rourke's rang the other day saying they were due to start painting the Ian Steel,  so hopefully I can start building that in a few weeks

Tuesday, 19 April 2016


Jayne and I have just got back from the Bristol Bespoked bike show.   While we were there we ran into Rebecca Olds of an had a very nice chat in which she berated me for going on about our tandems but not posting any pictures online.  So I am here to remedy this.

First some pictures of the newest tandem, an Orbit Lightning Spirit.

Some pictures of the aluminium Lightning we swapped for the Spirit

The Swallow in its final guise

As a triple

And finally in its original guise