Great infographics on improving urban cycling in Copenhagen

Especially interesting to see a preference for urban cycling for convenience rather than altruism.

Let’s make altruism easy!


Retro Rescue: Shimano PD-A550 pedals

After a bit of a hiatus, for no good reason here’s another pedal refurb!

I picked up a box of tired pedals, that have now sat for a while in my basement, but a drizzly Sunday calls for greasy hands.

First ones on the refurb bench are a pair of PD-A550s, mid 90s clip pedals from Shimano. They should have some clips and straps, but these have been broken and the straps lost. No luck yet finding replacement clips and straps.

Most pedals seem to require special tools to open for a service, but these can be opened with just a spanner.

A neat design, the clip can be adjusted forward and backwards for shoe size.

So let’s get this open! All it takes is a 17mm spanner.

All pedals have small bearings on either side so be careful not to lose them. If there’s still some grease they’ll stay where they are, otherwise they can fall out. If they do they like to hide under things and go farther than you’d imagine!

Here we can see they’re happy where they are, though there’s not much grease down there. All clean, no corrosion.

The races look good, no scoring from being over tightened or from dirty, dry bearings.

Let’s get the bearings out, clean them, remove any grit and regrease them. The grease here looks good, but is probably from the mid 90s.

On closer inspection, the build quality and finish of these pedals isn’t quite up to what we’ve come to expect from Shimano. You can see some artefacts from the casting which haven’t been removed.

There’s a few of these on various parts, including the inner bearing race. You’d normally expect this to be very smooth.

Back to the overhaul, I always clean bearings with some kitchen paper, pretty straightforward. A spot of WD40 helps dissolve bits of grime that can’t be otherwise easily removed. Just make sure to clean it off, or it will contaminate the grease.

Races and spindle nice and clean, time to rebuild!

All in all this took maybe 15 minutes, so definitely worthwhile doing to get the bike ready for the new season. Just make sure not to over-tighten when reinstalling. It’s worth a little patience to find the sweet spot, no wobbling spindle, no crunching bearings. You can feel when it’s just right.

Now I wonder if that reflector is supposed to be bent back like that, or whether it should be perfectly perpendicular to the pedal? Any ideas? Most photos of these pedals don’t show the front reflectors but I think they are original as one NOS ad I saw seemed to have them.

Another job done! Shall I pop these on my mid 90s Colnago?

Retro Rescue: Scott RC-703 SPD road pedals 

These came on the Colnago Tecnos I bought recently, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t original spec.

American pedals on an otherwise fully Italian road bike doesn’t seem right.

They’re early SPD, so different the modern version of the system and I have no shoes that work with them.

So I have no use for them at all, but can’t leave them dirty and unserviced, right?

Used to seeing daddy fixing stuff, this time my daughter wanted to help out.

Then a bit of WD40 always seems to help…

Transformed! Actually, on camera they look kind of the same…

Oh well, at least we did something “useful” on a rainy Sunday, and hopefully inspired my little one to repair stuff in future 😁

Yangon, Myanmar – a morning wander

In the full light of day, I’m glad to say Yangon seems even more similar than I remember it from 12 years ago. Lots of traditions remain and daily life hums along. 

Here’s some snaps to give you a flavour of the city. It’s not like any other south east asian capital. 

And there’s a few bicycle rickshaws thrown for good measure!

This pickled tea leaf salad was great!

Yangon, Myanmar – an evening stroll

Yangon has changed a bit since I was last here. But a lot of things are familiar: many men still wear longyis, ladies still have skin whitening paste on their faces, people are uniformly friendly and smiling, traffic is busy but not aggressive, the sugar cane juice vendors still have tinkly bells on their cane crushing mangle, the food is still lovely, and the colonial buildings downtown are still crumbling away with dilapidated charm.

But auto rickshaws and motorbikes seem to have disappeared. There are a lot more stray dogs then I remember, as well as skyscrapers and fancy shops. A few hipster type coffee shops as well, they were definitely nowhere to be seen when I was last here 12 years ago. Only dark teahouses back then. 

So it’s lovely to see that some traditions have remained and haven’t been completely wiped out by progress and foreign investment. 

Here’s some photos from my evening wander down to the Irrawaddy and back. 

Singapore – wheels, tigers and laksa

In town for work and the F1GP this weekend I caught up with friends and visited a funky bicycle-themed coffee shop in the Singapore heartlands called Wheeler’s Yard

Wooden handlebars anyone? A first for me. 

This place reminded me of Ah Joo, a long-time Singapore vintage road bike collector. I’d love to see his collection one day!

I also had my favourite laksa

And a couple of new Tigers (Black and White!)

And check out the view I had of the slippery start line F1 crash that took out both Ferraris (including Vettel on pole) and a Red Bull car. Incredible! Thankfully no-one hurt…

India does love the bicycle 

I almost bought this Hurricane indian made  gents town bicycle, with rod pull brakes, but… I just don’t have the space and common sense got the better of me.

Still, I did get some “Cycle” brand matches and sandalwood incense sticks recently in Mumbai. They smell so strong!

Not sure of the connection to bicycles though… 😂