Category Listing: Bikes and accessories

Stuff about bikes and accessories. For example, good and bad purchases. Bike reviews.

Dr Bike videos

I've volunteered to help with Dr Bike sessions being run by the CTC for the Prudential RideLondon event.

To help prepare for the event, I've been sent some links to YouTube videos. I thought they might be of wider interest so I've included them below.

Quick check for road bikes


The 'M' check for MTBs


Attaching rear lights

Click any of the images in this article to see a larger version

I have three rear lights on different bikes, all Cateye:

TL-LD 600 (costing about £15) is quite an adequate light with five LEDs

TL-LD 650
TL-LD 650

TL-LD 650 (about £25 and also known as the TL Rapid 5) has five LEDs. The centre LED is so bright that when set to continuous only the centre and two outer are lit; all are used in flashing mode and in pulse mode the centre LED is dimmed to avoid dazzling following cyclists.

TL-LD 1100 (about £32) has ten LEDs in two rows of five of which three face to the rear and two are angled towards the side.

All can be switched to steady and flashing and maybe several other modes I haven’t discovered.

I can’t compare light output, lumens, candela because I don’t understand things like that, but the 1100 is the one about which I get most comments on how bright it is.

But my intention is not to write just about the lights but to consider how to fit them. Manufacturers seem to be under the impression that all cyclists want to attach their rear light to the seat post and they only supply a bracket which will clamp around a seat post. That is no good to me because I have a saddlebag.

I have two solutions. The first is on my Flying Gate. Trevor Jarvis, who built the frame, also made the detachable pannier rack and his contribution to solving the rear light problem is to braze half of a hinge to the rack. This of course has two convenient holes in it. All that is needed now is to cut a piece of L-shaped steel or aluminium and drill the necessary holes, two to attach it to the half hinge and a third on the return through which is bolted a Cateye bracket (available from many sources for a couple of quid).

The half hinge
The half hinge
Bracket attached
Bracket attached
TL-LD 600 attached
TL-LD 600 attached

The second is on my Hetchins on which I have a Blackburn pannier rack. I cut a piece of handlebar (I think it was, but any suitable tube will do), cut two slots in it to fit snugly over the rack tubing and drilled a hole through it. Others will no doubt be able to do this more neatly than I did.

This bit of tube slides over the pannier rack tubing and is held secure by a bolt through the holes. I can now use the bracket supplied with the light to attach the light to this piece of tube.

Tube section
Tube section
Fixing attached to the tube
Fixing attached to the tube
Attached to the panier
Attached to the panier
TL-LD 1100 attached
TL-LD 1100 attached


Adjusting cable disc brakes

Ever since I bought my Specialised cross bike with cable disk brakes, I've been on the look-out for a good way to adjust them so the rotors don't touch the pads and - at the same time - not having too much play in the brake levers.

This video shows a fairly simple method. I suspect it can be improved on, but it looks like a good starting point...

Show the video

Registering your bike on the internet

There are web sites allow you to record details of your bike so that:

  • If your bike is found, Police can find out who owns it, and return it to you
  • You can show potential buyers of your bike your registration as some proof that it has not been stolen
  • If you want to sell your bike, a registration more than a few months old provides some evidence you are the rightful owner
  • You prevent a thief registering your bike to claim ownership

Police forces usually rely on a single site. Hampshire partners with The other main site is BikeRegister. Both sites offer a range of services:

  • A free registration service that allows you to record details about your bike so that the Police can check its status and, if necessary, get in touch. The sites would obviously prefer you to pay for a service, so you will need to be persistent to get to the free service.
  • A sticker that can't easily be removed that advertises your registration to thieves and potential buyers.
  • 'Smart water' encoding that covers your bike and components in tiny dots that link your bike to its registration on the web site.

It makes sense to register with both sites. If you decide to use one of the paid-for services, however, it's not worth buying the same service from both sites.

While on the subject of the internet, you need to take care not to provide a thief with clues of where to find an expensive bike. In particular, if you participate in a cycling social networking site like, make sure you do not record routes that accurately describe your home location.

More security information is available on the Cycle Hayling web site.

Articles on the Cycle Hayling web site

CycleHaylingLogoYou may already know there are several CTC members on the committee of the Cycle Hayling campaign group. Cycle Hayling exists to promote cycling on Hayling Island and to help bring about changes to the cycling infrastructure.

You can read more about the Cycle Hayling projects here.

We've written some articles you might be interested in. In particular:

If you'd like to support Cycle Hayling's activities - you don't have to live on Hayling - then please register your support. In return, we'll send you an occasional newsletter keeping you up-to-date with what's happening.

Andy Henderson

Replacing bar tape

Andy's bike - before
Andy's bike - before

The bike I ride through the warmer months is a road/race bike with drop handlebars. You can see a picture of it on the right.

The bars came wrapped in white bar tape. That's a pretty daft idea because they get grubby really quickly. You can see they are pretty bad in the picture, but they got worse.

I'd not replaced bar tape before but, having read a few articles on the web, I decided I could do it myself. This article describes how I got on.

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