Tandem broke down again!

En route on the Duvel Trippel Hop 90 km disaster struck at km 62.  We broke 3 spokes on the rear wheel. Something which should never happen on a Rohloff hub as the spokes are symmetric.  Anyway we had to abandon the ride and are now waiting for Ronny to get the car and pick us up 😡 

Broken Rohloff drive sprocket


Broken Rohloff 17t drive sprocket

Veda and I were nearly home when our Santos Double Travel broke down!  Here is the photo of the drive sprocket, which also shows 2 more fissures (12 & 5 o’clock)  considering that the chain is always pulling straight so there is no lateral force applied to the sprocket, I wonder if anyone else has experienced this problem.  I would really like to understand how this can happen.

New rear gear cable

Nokon gear cableSpent an hour changing the damaged rear gear cable on my beloved Liteville 301 for Nokon aluminium segment ones.  It runs through the frame to get to the rear and the old one was really tight to remove, probably because it was blocked with dirt where it goes from the bottom bracket into the right chain stay.

Advantages of these aluminium segment cables is their flexibility and strength, they are much better for tight bends than the multi-strand wire ones usually used.  The gear change feels really good, but they always do when new so tie will tell 🙂

We’ll see how long this one lasts.  The original ones have done 5,673km; 109,843m and 422hrs of ride time.  It was still running quite well, but I damaged the old one and it was bothering me a bit.

Helinox Eureka chair one vs. Thermarest Compack chair

IMG_3101 IMG_3103I bought the Helinox chair one after our trip to Venice in 2013 because a chair was probably the thing I missed most.  I then bought the Thermarest Compack chair because Ria also needs one 🙂

The Helinox plus points:

  • super quality
  • light (<1,00 kg)
  • unbelievably comfortable
  • seat height is good

The Helinox minus points

  • bulky compared to the Thermarest


The Thermarest plus points

  • super compact
  • very light (<200g)
  • surprisingly comfortable

The Thermarest minus points

  • you sit on the floor


We haven’t actually used either of them yet so I can’t give a winner today.  The both have advantages and disadvantages, weight is always a concern but I want a comfortable chair and the Helinox is more comfortable.

We’ll see which is a winner after our trip from Prague to Porec…..

Brooks saddle

Brooks B17 NaturalJust invested in a beautiful, handmade English piece of craftsmanship: a hand made Brooks saddle.

This beauty is guaranteed for 10 years or 100,000km.  I hope I make the 100,000km first 🙂

I’ve just ridden 30km without any issues, but we will get the truth once the saddle is broken in.  I’ve treated it to 2 good helpings of Brooks own saddle cream and expect to be able to give a fair evaluation when we have ridden to Antwerp and back.

How to pack a handlebar

This arrived at the office today, it’s a motorbike handle bar for a motocross machine.

Obviously, if you don’t have a box that fits you just cut the ends and send it like that!

Luckily such pieces are robust and made to take a few knocks in their lifetime 🙂


Santos Double Travel tandem

Santos Double Travel

Our bike collection is about to get bigger. We have ordered our tandem from Santos.  A Santos Double Travel touring tandem with Rohloff Speedhub 14 speed.

Ours is yellow!

I really wanted it with Gates carbon drive to be virtually maintenance free, but Santos haven’t released a carbon drive frame yet.  You can’t really convert a bike either, as you have to make a cut in the frame to install the belt because it is not joinable like a chain.

We are expecting delivery at the end of July so we will probably pick it up after the MTB Pyrenees trip.

Our first big tour will be next summer when we will ride from Atzerath to Rome, returning with the bus or train.  We’ll be carrying our luggage but sleeping in hotels.  Expect more on this subject once we have done some smaller weekend tours.

OpenMTBmap review

Screenshot of our area

I discovered this Open Source project and have spent the day getting familiar with it.

It is great!

As I have a Mac, using Garmin maps is a pain: first convert them on a Windows computer then install them in BaseCamp.  I have been running Windows under VirtualBox (also Open Source) but that is also a pain.

OpenMTBmap is great when combined with Qlandkarte GT (also Open Source)  It can visualise both vector and raster maps and both are routable.  I have been looking at the Belgium topographical map today and it is really quite good.  Not all the tracks I know are there but there are enough for anyone to plan a MTB tour.

Once I am more used to the 2 programs I may be able to contribute to the maps and help improve them for the future updates (made roughly every 6 weeks)

I have tested the maps on my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx: works perfectly and the roads are routable on the handheld. I’ll certainly be using it in the future, on the trail and we will see how it performs

Annapurna circuit day 4 Final preparation

Liteville ready for travel

Today we are going back to KTM to visit the German Embassy and thank Mrs Kochalski for all her help in getting Veda’s visa so he can study his Master’s Degree at the RWTH in Aachen.  We will then meet up with BJ and Ranjan for the Annapurna briefing and go out for a meal with them, Prem and Veda.  Oh, and we have to get the jacket I forgot yesterday for Ria!

We had our final shopping and then met with BJ, Ranjan, our guide Suraz and the new guide Zaggar who is learning the route for the first time, a bit like us then!  During the briefing we discovered that we should have left the bikes packed 🙁 and that we would be picked up at the Ashram at 08:00 on Tuesday.  An early start then for me as I need about 2 hours to pack the bikes.