Wednesday, 26 July 2017

NO cycling today

Rain, rain and more rain! What else can I say, other than it really is incredibly wet outside. Poor weather condition have very effectively curtailed any thoughts I had of cycling but hopefully, not for too long. Unfortunately the forecast for the rest of this week isn't actually that much better...And just as I was starting to get back into a routine of regular, but short, cycle trips. My original plan, was to take my Olympus EM1 + 14-42mm pancake lens and start to document some of the things in my home town and the surrounding areas. Sadly, mother nature had other ideas today.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

With camera in hand, I'm back and ready to ride...well almost!

Over the years I've been involved with this blog, I have moved almost exclusively to the Micro Four Thirds system for most of my imaging needs. As detailed elsewhere in the blog, this actually started with the very capable Panasonic DMC-GF1. Fast forward some 7 years and many pictures later, I am still using MFT or M4/3 cameras. I now use 2 slightly different Olympus OM-D series bodies. My first OM-D purchase was the EM5 Elite, followed by a nearly new EM1 Mk1.

Click the image to enlarge
As can be seen here, when purchased my secondhand Olympus EM1 had under 300 shutter actuations! The camera was less than 4 months old (I have the purchase receipt) and fortunately for me, considerably cheaper than if had I purchased it brand new. Despite the EM1 being a fairly major upgrade of the older EM5, my go to camera is definitely the earlier EM5 Elite. Paired with the excellent Olympus HLD6 2-part grip, the EM5 is a little chunky, but still extremely comfortable in my hands. I have tried the EM5 with the grip removed. Configured in this way, the camera does have a significantly smaller footprint. Everything was fine, until I realised the camera was then so small that it was near impossible to hold, let alone take pictures with....The joys of Hemiplegia!

have a small but carefully chosen collection of MFT mount lenses. The first one I acquired was absolutely free; the excellent Panasonic 14-45mm. This lens was given to me by my father. He'd owned it for some years, but had only taken 60 or so pictures with it, so the lens was essentially new when it came to me. Due to what he cheerfully describes as his “rapidly advancing old age”, last year my father decided to end his life-long love affair with all aspects of photography. Subsequently he gave his remaining camera equipment (including an unused Fuji X100) to his son...Many thanks, Dad!

Back to my lenses. The underrated Olympus 12-50mm EZ was my first actual lens purchase. Many months later, I bought the plasticky 40-150mm R, which again is an Olympus product. I'm told this is quite a gem of a lens, but other than a few quick test shots, I've not really had time to use it. I've saved what is probably my best lens until last. My personal favourite, the diminutive M.Zuiko 14-42mm EZ pancake. To date, this tiny zoom lens has spent almost its entire life attached to my EM1.

My most recent acquisition is a fully manual MFT lens, the Neewer 35mm f/1.7, purchased just a few weeks ago from Amazon. If like me you started with photography in the 1980’s, I think you'll find this lens really does represent superb value for money. Yes I understand that it cannot be as good as the more expensive branded equivalents. However, those lenses are at least three times the cost of this one. Top-notch metal build quality, together with super smooth aperture and focus rings, actually add to the experience.

Click the image to enlarge
I believe this photo clearly illustrates the quality of this very affordable Chinese lens. IQ may not be brilliant, but it is certainly more than adequate for my purposes. By the way, the picture was taken after both Image Magnification and Focus Peaking had been enabled on my OM-D EM1. Whilst the EM5 does support Image Magnification, I am not aware that it provides Focus Peaking with any lens. I did investigate an Internet hack that claimed to enable some kind of Focus Peaking feature on EM5 bodies. Sadly and for reasons unknown, this hack did not appear to work on my particular camera.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Epic Fail...

Yesterday was the first puncture of the season. Having travelled some six miles, the right front tyre started making a rubbing noise. Initially I thought this noise was being generated by the mudguard catching the tyre and so I decided to adjust the position of the mudguard when I stopped. With about a quarter of a mile to ago to my intended destination, I realised I had a puncture! On a very quiet country road and with such a short distance to go, I elected to carry on. Though I would certainly not recommend anyone doing this, I was very surprised how easily the trike rode with a flat tyre. Having arrived, I laid the machine on its side and prepared to removed the punctured inner tube.
For many years I have carried spare inner tubes, so this should have been a relatively quick and easy task. But not so...Whilst trying to inflate the replacement inner tube, the business end of my pump simply snapped! Luckily help was at hand; my wife was home. Using my trusty mobile phone I rang and asked her to drive over to where I was with my stirrup pump. When she arrived, I connected my newly fitted tyre and tube to the stirrup pump. It was then that I discovered the Schrader valve in my replacement inner tube had jammed solid! I assume this is the reason my other pump broke. My wife, cleverly woman that she is, had thought to bring a brand new inner tube with her so problem solved.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

An interesting gear problem

This is quite an interesting but somewhat annoying problem!

When the drive chain is running on either of the two large front chain rings and the rear shifter is operated, the chain glides smoothly from one cog to another without a problem. However if the front shifter is then set to use the smallest inner (22T) chain ring, the top jockey wheel on the rear derailleur fouls the block when the chain reaches the largest 34T inner cog. I've checked all possible gear combinations and as far as I'm aware, this only occurs when I'm using the exact gear combination mentioned above!

Monday, 9 April 2012

On the road again

My nearly 7-year old ICE QNT
A recent check of my bicycle computer revealed that since I replaced both the tyres and drive chain back in May of 2010, my trike has actually covered a little over 400 miles. I know that very few of those miles were done last year and if pressed, I'm reasonably confident that I could dream up a number of plausible excuses for not using the thing. However the simple truth is, I've not been in the best of health and I really haven't felt well enough to ride. Throughout this time my fairly expensive toy has sat forlornly in our garden shed doing nothing more adventurous than gathering cobwebs and dust! But all that changed last week when I decided to try cycling again.

What surprised me most is the strength that remains in my legs. Even though I've not ridden for such a long time, my legs are still strong enough to cope with the many uphill climbs that are so much a feature of the Shropshire countryside in which I live and ride. For me the great thing about riding recumbent is the almost total absence of pain, even when I'm pedalling uphill for prolonged periods. I do get occasional discomfort but this is mostly limited to my knees. Because my legs are different lengths, I have learnt to adjust the boom to suit my shorter right leg. Unfortunately doing this can and sometimes does cause pain in my left knee. So far any pain I've experienced has been fleeting and certainly not enough to stop me riding or force me rethink my current setup. According to my old but trusty Garmin GPS, in 3 separate trips the trike covered exactly 43.6 miles (about 70 Km) and I have to say I enjoyed travelling every single mile!

The attached picture shows what my nearly 7-year old ICE QNT looks like today - I think it still looks pretty good, don't you?
(to view a larger image, please click the picture)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Santa came early this year

Just over a week ago, I got an early gift from Santa!  That gift was a brand new Panasonic DMC-GF1 camera + Lumix 14-42mm lens.  Amazingly Santa also provided a genuine Panasonic leather case to put it in - Lucky me!  Well not really, at 55 I am probably a little old to believe in lovely ideas like Santa Claus.  The truth is I funded the camera by selling most my existing camera equipment and my wife and daughter paid for the remainder.  Perhaps there is a Santa after all?  In addition to still images, my new camera also records 720p video, so you may even see movies posted on this blog.  My plan is to ride with this kit in my bicycle panniers throughout 2011.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Recumbent Veltop Review

Velovision Issue 39

My Recumbent Veltop Review has been published in Velo Vision.  A version in .pdf format can be found here - Both the cover image shown on the left and the .pdf version of my review are courtesy of the editor Peter Eland...For those of you who don't know this excellent cycling magazine, Velo Vision can be found by clicking this link.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Veltop...What's it really like? Recumbent Veltop Review

I have now completed my Recumbent Veltop Review and it has been submitted for possible publication to a national cycle magazine.  If they do not wish to publish, I will definitely post links to the review from this blog...

Friday, 9 July 2010

Prees Trice Weekend Pictures

Images from this event can now be found here - If you would like copies of any of these pictures, please contact me by using the comments feature below this item.  My sincere thanks go to Pat Douglass at Xpanding Horizons for allowing me to use many of the pictures she took over that weekend.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Prees Trice Weekend by Mike Hessey

What a great event! Congratulations and thanks to all those involved in organising the event, and also to Abigail who managed more than twice her previous highest mileage, and on a heavy KMX while the rest of us were on Trices - and at 10 she is only 1/6 of my age, which is depressing, and I would never have even considered such a ride when I was her age!  I really enjoyed the ride, and it was particularly satisfying to see a younger rider take part, and complete the ride. I think Abigail did really well - congratulations to her.  I thought Abigail did very well towards the end; the time I was getting quite concerned was at around 40% of the distance - she obviously picked up later, while I was suffering from heatstroke by then (my excuse)! I was horrendously sunburnt on the legs when I got back (I forgot to take any cream with me), but I was sufficiently tired that it did not affect my sleeping, and although it still looks horribly red, it is not all that uncomfortable.

Note added by Tricerider:  On the left is a GPS generated map of the Saturday Prees route.  For Mike, Abigail (my daughter) and myself the ride was a total of 37 miles (60 Km).  On our return journey, we unfortunately missed a turning that would have taken us directly to the campsite at Green Lane.  However, I doubt that more than a mile was added by our unplanned detour.
(please click the map for a larger image)