Manila Coffee Cycling Club: December 2018 roundup and first anniversary

Having missed way too many rides and events of the Manila Coffee Cycling Club, I made sure I would be there for its first anniversary…and was I ever glad that I showed up.

Brian Sy’s Officine Battaglin Power+ Disc. Photo courtesy JP Carino/Manila Coffee Cycling Club

JC Peralta’s Allied Alfa, running IRC Roadlite tubeless tires. Photo courtesy JP Carino/Manila Coffee Cycling Club

After the initial meetup at San Antonio Plaza in Forbes Park, founder JP Cariño took us on a 20-kilometer ride that packed quite a number of places into a dense little package. Riding a loop of Bonifacio Global City, our motley group then went down Gil Puyat Avenue to the SM Mall of Asia area.

Zoren Legazpi assuming the ‘attack’ position on his Colnago. Photo courtesy JP Carino/Manila Coffee Cycling Club

Photo courtesy JP Carino/Manila Coffee Cycling Club

Photo courtesy Pao Moreto.

Yours truly with Roxy Ibrahim and Brian Sy. Photo courtesy JP Carino/Manila Coffee Cycling Club

Photo courtesy JP Carino/Manila Coffee Cycling Club

We then pedaled to Rizal Park and Intramuros, where we stopped for photos, rode cobblestones, and slurped some sweet taho.

Pao Moreto’s Specialized hardtail MTB juxtaposed against Lito Vicencio’s No22 titanium steed. As Pao says, his bike was the lone tank among the racecars…but what a fast tank!

Anyone for some Roubaix-style cobblestone action? Look no further than Intramuros!

Roxy Ibrahim riding his Colnago V-1r alongside a horse-drawn carriage (calesa). Photo courtesy JP Carino/Manila Coffee Cycling Club

Our way back had us cut through busy Taft Avenue, passing by UP Manila and De La Salle University, before swinging back towards Makati to conclude our ride at the new home of Gruppo Veloce Sportivo, a spiffy bike shop named La Course Velo, located on Sampaloc Street in Makati.

Photo courtesy JP Carino/Manila Coffee Cycling Club

Photo courtesy JP Carino/Manila Coffee Cycling Club

Awaiting us there was a substantial breakfast spread, plus coffee served via pour-over.

The shop itself is really rather neat, packing a lot of premium cycling components in a compact floor space. As this is meant to be the showcase for Gruppo Veloce Sportivo’s wares, right now I think it serves the purpose pretty well.

Campagnolo, Kogel, THM, Silca, Omata… This is one expensive display shelf

Shoes from Italian brand Northwave.

Kogel bottom bracket bearings.

Spurcycle’s famously sonorous American-made bells.

Pirelli returned to manufacturing bicycle tires in 2017 with its P Zero Velo line.

Silca’s hex and Torx key set – just one of the firm’s very high-end tools, made to last ages.

Wend wax: a pretty funky form of chain lubrication.

It can be argued that Gruppo Veloce Sportivo started with these: Praxis Works’ cold-forged chainrings and cranksets.

Elsewhere on the shop floor are just a few of the high-end bicycle frames Gruppo Veloce Sportivo brings in.

One wall is home to frames from Allied Cycles, the American outfit born from the ashes of defunct Canadian operation GURU Cycles.

Check out that amazing red-to-blue fade paintwork on this Allied Alfa frame.

Another wall shows off frames from Bellé, a Spanish frame builder specializing in custom steel. The bottom one has flat-mount hardpoints for disc brakes.

Not to be forgotten is Australian operation Bastion Cycles, which makes its frames out of carbon fiber tubes and 3D-printed titanium lugs and dropouts. JP was riding this very bike.

As La Course Velo is also a fully functioning bike shop, there is a workshop area, as well as a bike fitting rig.

Photo’s a little dark, but this machine is a fully adjustable bike fitting rig.

An Allied Alfa Allroad ready for a mechanic’s attention.

Even the restroom is steeped in cycling lore. People who’ve seen Stage 16 of the 2017 Giro d’Italia will understand this poster of Tom Dumoulin.

Concluding the little program was a little raffle of cycling knick-knacks, with winners drawn by lottery.

JP Carino calling out raffle winners.

It’s amazing how quickly an entire year rolls by. As JP himself said, the club started a year ago just as an informal collection of cyclists who happened to like coffee and riding on Sunday mornings. The ride routes back then were a little on the tame side, but gradually became more adventurous as the club reached out to little cafes and explored the theme of “riding your city.”

Despite many of the participants owning high-zoot bicycles, it’s also quite impressive how inclusive the club is. On every second Sunday of the month, you can ride with athletes, coaches, celebrities, bicycle industry players, distributors, and other people from various walks of life – all just so happen to enjoy riding. That’s pretty neat. Long may the club continue.

Photo courtesy JP Carino/Manila Coffee Cycling Club

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Plans, old and new

I had planned on revisiting the 200 km Subic-Masinloc-Subic randonnee, and that decision was reinforced by people that had said at the time that they would be going as well. Alas, that commitment evaporated at the end, and it was due to this development that I disappointingly had to back out from the ride myself.

While I am confident that I have trained enough to finish the event comfortably, I don’t want to do it while in a less-than-optimal head space. Riding is supposed to be fun; if I can’t keep it fun, I figure I might as well leave the bikes at home. C’est la vie.

On more positive developments, I am grateful for all the readers and visitors that have graced this little blog, and I am continually amazed by your numbers. After three years, I think it’s time to grow The Accidental Randonneur a little. I will be doing things in baby steps, and this may call for a bit of work behind the scenes, but rest assured I will continue delivering bicycle- and riding-related content…and boy, do I have a lot to write about.

Exciting times are ahead.

Replacing chainrings on a five-bolt crankset

Previously I wrote on how front shifting happens between chainrings, and I noted that mine were particularly worn. I got my Shimano 105 FC-5750 cranks second-hand to begin with, so adding thousands of kilometers on that starting point eventually meant Hyro’s front shifting was going to deterioriate sooner rather than later.

Unlike with a chain, measuring wear on chainrings isn’t straightforward. I found though that one giveaway is deteriorating quality and ability of upshifts to the big chainring. If you’ve ruled out the front shift cable and front derailleur adjustment, and you still have upshift failure in larger cogs, your chainrings may well be the culprit.

Unfortunately, many Pinoy cyclists would rather just replace an entirely fine cranket instead of just the worn rings, partly because they may not know any better, and partly because new chainrings aren’t easy to find locally in bike shops. Add to that the recent proliferation of proprietary asymmetrical BCDs (bolt circle diameters = the diameter of an imaginary circle that runs through all a crankset’s bolts) from Shimano, Campagnolo, and FSA, and you have one bike maintenance job that is losing popularity pretty quickly.

Today I’ll be walking you through chainring replacement on a crankset with a five-bolt spider of 110 mm BCD. This is pretty common on 50/34T and 46/36T chainring combinations. For reference, a 53/39T crank uses a 130 mm BCD, and many cranks for fixed gear use have an even bigger 144 mm BCD.

The process uses mostly standard tools, with the exception of a chainring nut wrench. This is best described as a fork with its tines shortened and thickened, then bent over at a 90-degree angle. Its purpose is to prevent chainring nuts from spinning as you loosen the chainring bolts on the other side.

On Shimano Hollowtech II two-piece cranks, I find it a little easier to remove the non-drive side crank arm first, then tap the crank spindle end with a rubber mallet just enough to free up room behind the chainrings. This way, the bottom bracket shell will act as a sort of “third hand.”

Insert the chainring nut wrench into the grooves of the chainring nuts on the back side of the chainring. On the front side, use the relevant tool to break the chainring bolt free. On my Shimano 105 FC-5750 crank, you will need a T30 Torx key and quite a bit of force, as Shimano recommends a torque spec of 12-15 Nm.

The inside of a pair of fresh chainrings. No shiny bits of worn-down anodization here, just a satin black finish.

Once all five pairs of chainring nuts and bolts are loosened, the chainrings should come apart from the crank spider. Pay attention to how they come apart, as most of the time chainrings are meant to mount in only one correct orientation. This is to ensure correct “clocking” of the various shifting ramps and pins and ultimately smoother front shifts.

Fresh teeth!

One feature to watch for on the big chainring is the chain drop prevention pin. On a Shimano crank, this is intended to live underneath the drive side crank arm. In the event of an overly eager upshift, or a sloppy high limit on a front derailleur, this pin is the last line of defense protecting your crank arms against the surprisingly savage cutting friction of a dropped chain.

Chain drop on the outside can literally eat your crank arms.

My outgoing big chainring lost this pin for some reason…hence the battle scars all over my crank.

Re-installation is the exact reverse of removal, although some prep needs to be done. As chainring nuts and bolts are a common cause of creaks, first you’ll want to clean them well with degreaser and a rag or paper towel, then smear some fresh grease on.

Align your new chainrings correctly onto the spider. On these Shimano chainrings, the chain drop prevention pin on the big chainring and an engraved little triangle on the small chainring have to line up with the drive side crank arm. You can see these on the inside.

Put the chainring nuts and bolts on the spider and turn until finger-tight. Then break out your torque wrench, attach its T30 driver bit, and tighten them to 12-15 Nm in a star pattern.

You’re done! Reinstall the crankset and you should be in good riding condition again.