Friday, 23 December 2011

Native marine aquarium December 2011

I collected some more algae, rocks and top shells for my native marine aquarium yesterday as it was looking a bit bare. I think it looks great at the moment although I still want to collect some more anemones.
Tank set up. Lots of serrated wrack (Fucus serratus) that gives shelter for many animals and moves nicely in the strong flow that I have in my native marine aquarium.

Juvenile common hermit crab (Pagurus bernhardus) in a top shell (Gibbula sp.)

Native marine aquarium from the side

Macropodia sp. A spider crab that decorates itself with algae to camouflage itself.

Shanny resting

Asterina gibbosa Cusion star feeding on cyanobacteria growing on the glass. It's cardiac stomach is everted out of it's mouth to digest the food on the glass.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Asterina gibbosa, common cusion star

This is great little starfish that is commonly seen under rocks along the Menai Strait. It is perfect for keeping in native marine aquarium as it is very hardy and eats rotting algae and films of cyanobacteria which can be a real pest in many aquariums.

Aboral side of Asterina gibbosa

Asterina gibbosa showing the tube feet (podia) and mouth with cardiac stomach visible.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

British Marine Bivalves

These are some of the British marine bivalves that I have collected during my time studying marine biology in North Wales. I decided to put them in a display using sand after seeing a similar display at the NHM London.  I would like to find more of the native cockle species (Cardiidae) if possible. Well I need to go beach combing more, especially after windy weather if I'm going to do that.

Only 3 species of native cockle. I'll keep my eyes peeled for more.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Unknown fish Juvenile

I have not been able to ID this little fish that I collected with the mysids yet. I will feed it with Artemia. Any suggestions greatly received.

Unknown Juvenile fish

British Native marine update.

I have collected some new animals for my fish tank. Lots of top shells (Gibbula spp.) to keep the algae under control and some more weed and mysids.
The aquarium

Mysid on the glass

Prawn (P. serratus) amongst saw wrack weed

A bryozoan colony showing extended  lophophores.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Bickerton reborn! Bickerton portables

There is a new website featuring some new 40th anniversary Bickerton bikes and some archive material about the original Bickerton. The new bikes look like they are following the Dahon type design but it will be interesting to see what they actually look like. Not as cool as the original I'm sure.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Blenny (Lipophrys pholis) in my British marine native aquarium. A new inhabitant!

I have a new guest in my fish tank. It is a common blenny (Lipophrys pholis) and is by far the largest fish I have had in my tank so far. It looks pretty cool. It has really nice patterning. Most fish take a while to settle in but he has settled in straight away and is pretty active and coming up to the glass etc. I think I will feed it on Corophium and the odd polychaete worm.

Blenny (Lipophrys pholis) smile

Blenny (Lipophrys pholis), Cushion star (Asterias gibbosa) and Beadlet anemone (Actina equina)

Friday, 3 June 2011

Brooks B17, no pain no gain

The weather has been amazing in North Wales so it has been perfect for putting the miles in and trying to break in the saddle. It was fine to sit on for the first proper ride but my sit bones were definitely  a bit sore after. I'm putting Proofride on each evening and polishing it off the next morning, I will stop this after a week and do it less often. You can see the pressure points and how the leather is softening/stretching at those points. It is pretty comfy already and can tell it will only get better, thankfully.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Brooks B17 standard leather saddle in Honey

I have fitted my new Brooks saddle onto the Peugeot touring bike. It looks great. It looks a bit nose up but Brooks said you should aim to have the weight loaded onto the widest part of the saddle so it does feel very different to my racing bike saddle and riding position. I can tell there is a little discomfort ahead while I 'break it in' and the leather softens and conforms to me. I put on the first application of 'Proofride' too. One application on the bottom which is not polished off and is only needed once, and the first of many applications for the top of the saddle.
The old saddle which was torn and not very comfortable.

The saddle as it came. There were lots of things to look at and read in the box.
Bottom of the saddle after one off application of 'Proofride' as instructed.
Brooks B17 saddle in honey
Peugeot touring bike with nice new Brooks B17 saddle.

Well I just need to put in the miles now. I should anyway, but now I have another motivation of getting that expensive saddle to actually be comfortable! No pain, no gain.

Brooks B17 Standard saddle in honey

My Brooks B17 standard in Honey leather saddle has just arrived! It looks great. Some nice bits and pieces to read as well in the box.  Looking forward to fitting it to the Peugeot and having the 'breaking in' excuse to go on many more rides. I bought some 'proofride' polish too with it, to help break it in and maintain the leather. Can't believe I spent so much on a saddle (although I did use a voucher which eases the guilt). I feel justified as everyone says they are THE touring saddle, and it should last me until I die I hope.
Pictures to follow

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Gelert Solo 1 man tent

 Now that my Peugeot touring bike is up and running I have started to get a few bits and pieces that are needed for going away on bicycle. I already have a pair of panniers and a sleeping bag so all I need is a tent, a sleeping mat and something to cook with. Well I can tick off the tent now, I bought a Gelert Solo 1 man tent off amazon. It is light (1.5kg) and cheap (£30). I though this tent was a good choice as I may end up not liking touring ( I doubt it) and are likely only to do short trips anyway. It had good reviews mostly but apparently I will need to keep an eye on the poles which are prone to splitting.

My Gelert Solo pitched for the first time in the garden. It was easy.
The tent was very easy to pitch really. You have to pitch the inner tent first though which could be a problem if it is raining I guess.

Inner tent of the Gelert Solo. The door is on the side.
You have to shimmy in sideways to get into the tent. Once in it is very 'cosy'. Well i think is cosy and not cramped as lots of people say, but i have not actually  camped in it yet. I think I should be able to fit panniers in with me and be pretty comfortable. You cant sit up but you can lean on your elbows on your side, which is a bit like sitting up. I will probably have an extra tarp for the door area and to cover my bike whilst sleeping to avoid mud and keep the bike dryish and out of sightish.

Rescue helicopter's view of my Gelert Solo
I'm looking forward to giving the tent a go and seeing what it is really like to sleep in someday soon. Maybe I'll cycle up to the Ogwen valley one evening and test it out over night. I'll post about how I find it.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Peugeot tourer is now finished!

I have now finished the Peugeot touring bike build. From just having the frame, headset and forks and lots of odd bits, i'm really pleased with how it has turned out. It rides really nice, despite a collection of dodgy bearing cones in the hubs and bottom bracket. It is a really fun and enjoyable bike to ride and I can't wait to go on a trip with it. I have bought a one man tent (Gelert Solo) and just need a stove and a sleeping mat before I'm set to go.
The finished Peugeot touring bike! What a beauty.
 I managed to get these tan cane creek lever hoods to replace the Weinman ones that I did not have and could not find. They are not a perfect fit and I had to cut some of the rubber away to allow free movement of the lever when braking. They work fine and I would use them again as a replacement for old perished Weinmann hoods, I think they look good.
Cane Creek hoods on Weinmann levers

Most of the components on the bike are from the right period for the frame apart form the rear cantilever brakes which are shimano and the rear derailleur. I remember getting them changed when I was younger at the local bike shop, wish I had kept the originals!

One of the modern components of the build

Well, I look forward to my first tour which will be to south wales from Anglesey. I would like to replace the bottom bracket and axle cones when I have the time and funds. And to make the bike super cool it would be good to hunt down a pair of Weinamnn cantilevers for the back, white cable outers, new pedals, a Brooks B17 saddle, a 3rd bottle cage, a front rack and new freewheel as the current one is pretty dodgy sounding (looks bad too when taken apart but I'm in denial, it will keep going!). Just a short wish list.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Bickerton Portable

This is a great bike! It was my first proper refurbishment project. It belonged to a keen cyclist who took this bike round the world on the ships he worked on, and used it when in port. It was i n good condition but needed general cleaning, some new parts and I stripped down the Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed hub gear.
Bickerton portable partly stripped down
Serial number of the Bickerton portable

Stripping down the SA AW 3-speed. I bit of rust and old blobs of grease, otherwise in good condition.

Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed rebuilt cleaned, oiled and ready to go back in the hub shell.

Bickerton Wheels ready for tyres and tubes. Front is 14" rear is 16", very cool.

Folded by the door ready to go.

Bickerton Portable at Tregarth slate quarry on the Lon Las Ogwen.

Showing off the Bick

White Edible crab!

This is a picture of the white edible crab I had in my British native marine fish tank. Never seen a white one before or heard of anyone who has. It was great, until it grew really big and started eating everything and rearranging all the rocks in the tank every night. It is now living free in the Menai Strait. It turned brown again after a moult just before I put it back in the sea.

The amazing white edible crab (Cancer pagurus)

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Bicycle Touring

I have been doing some research on touring to help me make the most of the Peugeot when it is finished. I have really enjoyed reading this touring journal Around the United States on a budget by Tom Hornyak. It made me laugh allot and got me excited about having an adventure somewhere. I wish I had done this years ago when I had no responsibilities! Full respect to Tom for his stealth camping.
'I don't like fixing bikes on bridges or looking at very bland scenery' Tom Hornyak

Brake cable hanger

I was given the Peugeot frame with the headset attached. However, it was missing a brake cable hanger which is important to have for a front cantilever brake but it is also required to act as a spacer for the headset. I bought this cable hanger from which is a great source of bicycle parts which I regularly use. No free postage though. I get my bearings from as they do have free P&P and sell Weldtite bearings in good numbers. The bottom of this headset now has new x26 loose 5/32" bearings and the top as a caged set of 5/32"  bearings. Makes sense to me as the bottom seems to take the majority of the load and wear in other bikes I have worked on.
I polished up the fork crown bearing race as best I could with Autosol. It looked and felt pretty smooth.

Headset with new cable hanger

Peugeot Touring bike

My brother gave me his old Coventry Eagle touring bike when I was a teenager. Unfortunately when trying to get it running again recently I split the seat tube trying to release a seized seat pin. Well I was lucky enough to be given a Peugeot touring frame by a very generous family friend (due to my blunder) and I now want to build the frame up with the bits form the Coventry Eagle.
Touring frame

Regina BX 6 speed touring free wheel off the Coventry Eagle. I replaced all the bearings but it does not sound or feel that smooth. Should be OK I hope!

Simplex downtube levers from the Coventry Eagle now on the Peugeot

Weinmann front canti's on the Peugeot forks. This are beautifully made breaks. I don't have a pair for the rear, but I hope I come across some one day.

BSA Granada refurbishment 99% finished

I have just finished refurbishing the BSA Granada gents bike that I will use for cummuting. There is still some polishing to do and a pletcher rear rack that I will fit. It is all pretty much original apart from the new pletcher kickstand I added so I dont scratch the paint when locking it up. It rides pretty well but the narrow bars take a bit of getting used to. Maybe one day I will fit a bigger rear sprocket to help me up the hills of North Wales.

BSA 1979 Granada

SA AW 3 speed. Stamped 10 79 (October 1979). I replaced some pawls and springs, the clutch and all the bearings.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

BSA Granada project. Dated around 1979

This bike is a current project. I bought it to use a commuter bike because it looked like it was a good solid bike, and the paint was in good condition. And it had a Sturmey Archer hub gear! 

Everything looked fine when I went to get the bike. The only issue was that the chrome on the front wheel rim was badly rusted. But I will make it look as good as possible using fine grade wire wool and autosol, it is still round which is the main thing!