France 2017 in photos

This year St Malo – Cherbourg. Whole week on¬† the bikes, weather superb as well as food. In fact was a bit too hot, despite cloudy start in St Malo. We slowly learning from mistakes, and creating list of gear. So far we learned that the best weather is guaranteed when you got all possible rain gear with you overshoes, over-trousers and rain jackets ūüėČ

Story in photos below.

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Brain food after 1/3 of 2017

It’s quite my list of things, as I like grey area where tech meets politics and social. Anyway, in first (my favourite) article, there’s a glimpse of what “micro nodging” in news is, and how that might lead to quite nasty nationalism. I’m thinking how that might unleash something, which will be hard to control. Watch forces behind Brexit, Trump and wait for Le Pen in France…

Will democracy survive big data and artificial intelligence

ACLU orwellian citizen score – chinas credit score system is a warning for americans

The rise of the useless class








Steven Wilson – Routine

I didn’t follow for a while Steven Wilson solo career (Porcupine Tree), but this is something special in my opinion. This piece is in every detail perfect. You might be not a fan of “prog rock” but his is must-see piece. Hats off and many thanks.

Steven Wilson: ‚ÄúAmongst the hundreds of songs I have written over the years Routine has a very special place. It‚Äôs a deeply sad story of loss and denial, but at its conclusion the clouds lift and there is acceptance at least. Having worked with her on 3 previous videos, I knew as soon as I wrote it that it was perfect for Jess to do something amazing with. Even then nothing prepared me for the organic beauty and power of the film she made, a painstaking labour of love that took her months to produce. When we play the song live I look out into the audience and see people swept away with emotion at the combination of music and animation. To find poetry and beauty in sadness is a wonderful thing I think.‚ÄĚ

Steven Wilson – Routine (Hand. Cannot. Erase.) from Kscope on Vimeo.

washing clothes on the go

We spent this year spring half term holidays in slightly better climate. Just want to share quick hint, how I managed to wash my bicycle clothes. (actually might be any clothes on the go, on camping as well)

Normally you going to wash them in the sink which is painstaking and boring. I developed technique with using dry bag:

  • put some washing powder inside,
  • soak all clothes with the water and quickly transfer them to dry bag,
  • squeeze air and close drybag

Now you can sit down on patio with beer in your hand, gently stumping/squeezing the dry bag with your feet. Don’t do it to vigorously as you might burst the bag, often changing the position of the bag rolling it from one side to another. After 10 minutes job is done. I used karrimor XS dry bag which is approx 5 liter but I wrapped closure extra 2-3 times so effectively the volume was smaller. In the meantime you can chat, play cards, watch tv whatever you like ;-).


painting (pain-thing?) frame, why you shouldn’t

I’ve decided to utilize somehow my old Specialized Sirrus frame. ¬†The frame looked awful so needed to be repainted. And here starts whole story about¬†painting¬†alloy frame. If you ever tried painting aluminium, you know how tricky it is. To save your effort will be better to strip the frame from any hardware, and find company which will sand it down and powder coat it for you. You’ll wait 2-3 days, job done. Otherwise the job is¬†painstaking,¬†laborious, will take quite a long time, and you¬†shouldn’t do it. ūüėČ I’ll try to describe below why.

Sometimes it’s not necessary to remove paintwork¬†completely¬†to the bare metal. If you’re lucky and haven’t got big chips of paint you can sand it down an paint it again. The fun begin if you have deep scratches, chips or rust/oxidisation underneath the original paint, and you need to remove whole paintwork. It’s¬†laborious. Prepare yourself for at least 8h job. You’ll be sick after two hours so will probably take 2 days or so, to do it properly. (seriously, don’t do it! find company, pay for the job, and in the meantime drink beer, wine or even clean up cassette or degrease chain if you wish). Anyway, I found quite helpful using some tools like Stanley knife (you can scratch off the paint in some places), rotary wire brushes for drill at low speed as it’v very easy to go deep into aluminium (use googles! save your eyes you’ll need them later on), obviously sandpaper, orbital sander might me useful as well for tubes. Some areas will be hard to reach, but ultimately will be unlikely to chip or scratch the paint there, so don’t go crazy in places like seatstays-seatpost joint, chainstays-bottom bracket. (Anyway it’s not too late. Don’t do this, find a place which will do it for you)

Ok, so you decided to remove paint and you’ve done it. Enough? Not? (It’s still not too late go give it to someone which will paint the frame for you). Anyway, if you have naked frame at this point, and you still convinced to diy, you need to secure all threads and areas you don’t want to be painted. I’m talking about bottom bracket threads or push fit (depend which system you’ve got), bottle cages threads, v-brake threads (if there’s any), ¬†rack mounting threads (if there’s any), inside head tube, inside seat tube. For BB you can find cork from milk or something wrap with tape and push. same with headtube. If you’ll be painting by yourself you’ll probably place the frame upside down on some kind of pole inside seat tube, so won;t be a problem. For all threads you can use¬†ordinary¬†screws 4-5mm, v-brake pins might stay and should be covered with sealer tape.

Now you need to find a place, where is relatively free of dust and not too cold. Technically, you can paint the frame even when is around 5C (despite what is written on spray cans) but you’ll need add extra 12-24h, on top of¬†recommended¬†time, to dry out each layer. (it’s not too late to let do it someone else…)

Ok frame is on the stand and you still want to do it. At first of all needs to be¬†degreased. Use alcohol and you’re ready to paint first layer which is in this case is etch primer. Etch primer will increase ability to sick next layer (which will be actual primer). Remember after each layer you must use fine graded coarse pad to slightly rub whole frame (equivalent of sand paper 500). That is to increase grip of the next paint layer layer. It’s actually quick process scratch slightly the whole frame is about 15-20 min and paint job is probably another 10m. The most painstaking thing is waiting, be patient! don’t rush!¬†Did I tell you that will be long? ūüėČ

Next layer is primer. If you can, go for epoxy primer as it’s very good stuff and coating is better than any other primer.

Ok third layer (remember sanding¬†slightly¬†each layer) is actual¬†colour. I’m talking about third layer but you might find some imperfections when the frame will dry out so might be another layer or two of colour.

Finally when you’re happy with the colour it’s time to put some stickers now (or write something on the frame if you wish), obviously sand down slightly whole frame again and you ready for great finale!

Last layer is clear lacquer. Again if you are not happy with first layer apply another but remember to slightly sand the surface before.

Hint #1. If you painting by spray paint you need to remember that sprays are very thin. So effectively you’ll have very thin layer of paint (which sometimes is good, primers for example). Ultimately paint is not always covering properly previous layer (specially if primer has got different colour). The other bad thing is more likely you’ll have splatter. (I told you to give it to specialist, didn’t I?)

Hint #2. The other thing is sanding between layers. There’s couple of types of sanding pads used for sanding. If you’ll be painting with spray you have to use the finest one (equivalent of 500 sandpaper). If you have access to paint gun and compressor, you can use more coarse pad. With paint gun layers might be thicker and it means will cover imperfections better (specially¬†lacquer on top and primer)

If you’re happy with you paint job let another 48h to dry out¬†completely. Normally I’m sleeping in bed with my freshly painted frames first two night’s (Droit du seigneur – or¬†“right of the lord” if you like), so they are fully domesticated afterwards and should know “who’s the master”. Obviously you can be harsh and leave them in garage or shed ;-).

Conclusions. I’ve spent ¬£24 for sprays and left with half can of a etch primer (you not using it too much just a very thin layer) and less than a half can of¬†lacquer. So lets say I’ve spent 20 odd quid for materials. You can think it’s not too bad, but in terms of labour it’s¬†completely¬†different story. Removing whole paint took me 2 days lets say 2x3h, and painting 5x1h five visits over whole week. started on Friday afternoon and next Friday I had painted frame, still not ready for assembly as¬†lacquer¬†looked very fragile at that point.¬†Effectively¬†I’ve started assembling Monday afternoon. In the meantime I’ve figured out a business near me which will powder coat frame in a week or so for ¬£70. Pop in on Monday leave frame, collect on Friday and ride Saturday. Looks like better plan for me. Powder coating is stronger and the frame is usable straight from a oven. Think about that before start.

Happy painting