The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fitte - Kita Senju

In my very first post I mentioned Fitte out in Kita Senju - a bit of a journey out there, but the guys there really know their stuff - and they can speak English.

Anyway, just thought I'd share with you the road bike one of them owns...if i owned it I'd put it in the front window too!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The modern classic new old road mtb bike

I was in Shinjuku, trying to buy running spikes (if anyone knows where I can pick up some Mizuno Chrono Dist shoes in size 27 please let me know - I've tried Art Sports, Parco Quattro and the shop in Shinjuku) anyway, yes, I was in Shinjuku, and I spotted this fine machine. Back in the 80s some mtbs looked a bit like this, but this is more of a hybrid. The saddle bag and bars are very 1920s. The frame I believe is an old GT Zaskar (I'm no expert on mtb frames) and it's got a really interesting mix of components (what is it with hybrid bikes that they always run a Salsa headstem?). I thought it was a really good looking bike...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Kobe's super rare Bridgestone

On a visit two weeks ago I spotted this rare Bridgestone pennyfarthing. It looks like it was made in the 1950s - it has pneumatic tyres and a single-pivot brake caliper - but it's a real Bridgestone, as you can tell by the badge on the headtube.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Run for Africa 2

This morning I ran the second of the Run for Africa runs. It was organized by Harriers ( - and they did a really good job. Because of work commitments I could only run the 1500 meter event at 9.15am. I came fifth, which was OK, but I was happy with my time - 4.46. This surprised me as I thought I would be lucky to break 5 minutes. This Wednesday I am running a 5km on the Oda track. I know it will be really fast - I'm not sure if I should be looking forward to it or not!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Flying Kiwi

I read a book recently simply called "Advanced Running Book". It was published by Runners World magazine back in 1983. The one thing I found throughout the book was how much sense the Kiwi coach Arthur Lydiard makes. I've incorporated simple suggestions of Lydiard's into my training - such as bounding up steps and running one long run a week.

Then I picked up the 40th anniversary edition of Runners World and in it the good runner Budd Coates says: "When it comes to training, nothing has been proven to work better than the methods of Ernest Van Aaken in the 1940s and Arthur Lydiard in the 1950s. For instance, core training and plyometrics sound like they are brand new, yet Lydiard was doing this stuff before anyone else."

So why not check out the Lydiard website:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The worst brakes ever made?

A rare find these days, Mafac brakes once graced the machines of Tour de France riders. I would love to know what people think of these brakes however. I have heard stories of Tour riders simply having to call out "Mafac" and people would understand that his brakes had failed - such was the regularity with which Mafacs gave out. But other people rave about the brakes, saying they are light and effective. Perhaps they were all these things, or perhaps it's down to which model you used.

Anyway, these are Mafac "Raid" calipers on a nice old bike I saw in Daikanyama.

Two hour run

Today I did a 2 hour run along the Sumidagawa. It was the first time in about 4 months that I've been able to run along the river without making detours to avoid closed parts of the river path. All the work the council was doing has now been finished, so I can run for an hour in one direction without leaving the path.
Today I ran with a heart rate monitor on and tried to hold 170 beats per minute - quite a task. I ended up averaging 164 beats per minute - which was OK, because I stopped a couple of times to buy drinks (it was really humid).
I know I need to increase my endurance. I lose a lot of time when I run a 5km because I can't maintain the same pace longer than 4km. I think the 2 hour runs are just what I need - and they will make it easier to start training for the Tokyo marathon, which I really must focus on soon. I want to break 3 hours - but my best time is 3.31, so I'm not sure I can improve by such a big amount so quickly.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

This would make a great T-shirt...

Basically it says "Death To Bike Thieves"

Running at Oda Field, Shibuya, Tokyo

Tonight I ran at Oda Field in Shibuya for the second time. I love going to this track - it's good to see fast runners training. I was really happy with my times tonight. We did six 1000 metre runs with a 200 metre jog to recover. Last time I ran at Oda my times for the six efforts were: 3.34, 3.22, 3.26, 3.34, 3.34, 3.34. But this time I felt really good, and my times came down significantly to: 3.16, 3.14, 3.15, 3.18, 3.26, 3.25. Obviously I need to make sure my efforts are a little more even - the splits should be about the same - but I didn't fade too badly.

If you want to join us at Oda Field on Wednesdays, visit for details.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Some more pics of "Project 6.8"

Here's a few more pictures of my bike. It's slowly coming together. I still need decals - I'm thinking of contacting for them. After that it's new wheels, ergo levers, rear mech and chain. But as you can see, the bike is looking pretty good already:

It's so difficult to take a good picture of a bike! But this gives you an idea what my bike looks like.

From the front

From the back (nice new seat)

I drilled the centre of my Cinelli bar plugs out and cut off some of the internals. Saves 3g for two plugs.

My rear mech has been tuned a lot. It's a very old Campagnolo Mirage 9-speed. I've drilled the body and plate. I've put Tiso jockey wheels on it and I've put an old Campagnolo Nouvo Record back plate on it from 1984 (it only weighs 7 grams, see below). All of the smaller bolts have been replaced with Minoura alloy bolts. The cable adjuster screw is also taken from a Nouvo Record rear mech. I've saved about 20 grams.

6 alloy bolts. I've replaced the bidon cage bolts, mech cable bolts, and front mech hanger bolts with Minoura alloy bolts.

I need a good name for this bike. I'm really not sure what to have as a decal. If you've got any suggestions please leave a message for me here, or on the Weight Weenies forum (

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Project 6.8 update

My quest to build a bicycle that weighs 6.8 kilograms is progressing, slowly. Yesterday I bought a new saddle - an SLR Flow with carbon fibre rails and then, soon after returning home from the bike shop, the doorbell rang. My new rear hub had arrived from the States. Here's some pics:

I was a little disappointed that this seat weighs more than claimed by the maker. They say 120 grams. The scales say 129 grams.

This hub, made by Swiss company DT, however, is perfect. The weight is only 232 grams, lower than claimed.

My bike with the new saddle. The new hub won't be on the bike for some time, I have to save a bit harder before I get the new wheels built up because the hub is a 10-speed hub, so I will need to change the chain, rear mech and ergo levers at the same time. Very expensive.
Here's some links to the manufacturers. The saddle is by Selle Italia: The hub is by DT: