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Superstar Components Brake Pads

Fitting My New Superstar Components Brake Pads

Last week I spent £5.48 on a pair of Superstar Components brake pads.  Now that’s cheap!  Shimano or Ashima were all the wrong side of £10 so I took a chance and ordered one set to see how they were.  If they were rubbish I’d only have wasted £5.48.

They’re not rubbish. They’re bloody marvellous so thank you @Mattmbr !

Fitting The Brake Pads …

… was easier, but took longer, than I expected.  Le me explain.  Extracting the old pads was simple:

– Remove the wheel, squash the split pin on the brake unit and pull it out (easy).
– Push the old brake pads out with a small screwdriver (easy peasy).
– Put the spring clip and new brake pads together and push into the void left by the old pads (pretty easy)
– Re-insert the split pin and bend the end with the small screwdriver (lemon cheesy)

So far, all good. No issues. Hunky dory. Five minutes top end. Smiling.

Then put your wheel back on.  No, hang on, the new pads won’t let the brake disc rotor back in. Oh no, now what?  Drop back wheel, put the small screwdriver between the pads, work them apart, put the back wheel in again.  No?  Repeat several times, with swearing.

Eventually, to be fair, the wheel went on.  Just remember that your brake pistons gradually work their way further out when pads are worn, so when you fit new pads they’ll be too close together unless you force them back in with a little bit of grunt (and of course some care).  Once the wheel’s back on, you should be laughing.  And, more to the point, stopping.

Don’t forget to wear your new pads in with a few long, hard stops to get the rotor and pad heat up so they form to the shape of the rotor.  Then you’ll stop properly.

I’ve ordered the second pair today, so I might let you know if the second fitting is better 🙂

Superstar Components Convert

I took some advice via Twitter earlier this week and ordered some new brake pads direct from Superstar Components.

Two days later, less than half the price of Shimano OEM or Ashima and with no postage costs, here they are!

I’ll fit them at the weekend and hopefully bed them in with a long descent from Blackstone Edge, but based on my first Superstar purchase, I’m a convert!

I also got a bag of Haribo! Wiggle haven’t sent me any for ages, so Superstar win on that score too.

p.s. I posted this via my phone, so sorry if it looks pooey.

First #Apr100 Ride – And Gadget Update

Wasn’t Saturday Lovely?

After a brief downpour caused by Jon Moore buying some masonry paint, I ventured out for some proper off-road MTB action.  The route was mapped from the latter pages of Singletrack Magazine, and my plan was to join it at Ogden (near Newhey) and enjoy the moorland and bridleways of my local environment.

The trail didn’t work out as planned thanks to some technical issues (see below), but it was still a cracking ride.

You can view the Google Map/Earth view here, or the Daily Mile record here.  All in, I did a very enjoyable 12.77 miles, only 2 or so of them on the roads.

Tech Talk – Cyclemeter on iPhone4

Last week a new iPhone4 arrived, so I took a little advice from the land of the internets and plumped for Cyclemeter as my training GPS tracker of choice.  I must confess, it’s been a good start.  I stuck the phone into one of the kids’ mp3 armbandy thingies and off I went.

I imported my route via an email I sent myself, with the gpx file attached.  Admittedly, I rode the first 3 miles without my route imported properly, so when I stopped at the top of a killer hill, I imported it again and tracked properly for the rest of the afternoon.  User error aside, I’m very impressed so far, and the app links automatically to Facebook, Twitter and DailyMile to record the tracks like the one linked just under the pictures above.


… to the bloke who went past me on his orange Turner (5 Spot?) as I sat messing with my phone and trying not to pass out at the top of a bridleway hill that pulls steeply out of Ogden.  “That was a proper grueller” he explained as he pedalled past me, then continued without a breath up and over the brow of the hill.  I followed his tracks until I took a wrong turn on a dry bit.  You’re fit, man.

Anyway… enjoy your riding everyone.  Don’t forget to follow the #Apr100 hashtag if you’re on twitter, and join the challenge if you haven’t done already.

Cycling GPS Trackers for Windows Mobile Reviewed

I didn’t go for a ride today. Again. This a Bad Thing (capital B, capital T).  Instead, I thought I’d tell you about the parallel test I’ve been running on three Windows Mobile Cycling trackers.

The Windows Mobile Phone

I use an HTC HD2.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I love it when it’s working fine. I does loads of stuff. It’s even quite useful for speaking to people with, sometimes. I know, that’s unusual for a smartphone.  I hate it when I have to rebuild it from scratch, which occurs once every 8 or 9 months.  I’ve even written a little “rebuild the phone” note on my hard drive so I don’t forget what I need to restore.  Still, that’s Windows for you…

SatSports, Endomondo and RunSat

SatSports was featured on Dragon’s Den a while ago, which led me to check the app out.  It’s got a lot going for it.  It does rely on you running an app on your PC to get the most from it, which enables you to compare your rides in quite a detailed way.  Calories, routes, times, detailed tracking of time & pace – it’s an excellent app if you want to see all your rides in one pace, nicely tabulated.  I also like the way it publishes to Google Earth from the app directly, showing your fastest, highest and lowest points alongside your start and finish times.  Nice for the bloggers to screencap!

Socal networking links aren’t really supported from the app though, which is quite limiting for those of us who like to show off a bit.

I’d recommend this if you’re training and you’d like to see your progression because it’s a brilliant way to see similar rides sorted most recent first, showing how you’re progressing.  The SatSports app is available for Windows Mobile and Android and costs about 6 Euros as I publish.  Worth a punt.

Endomondo is becoming more and more popular.  Several readers of this blog already use it.  Its biggest advantages are the social networking links.  Endomondo is capable of telling all your Facebook and Twitter friends when you’re going out and when you come back, telling them how far you went and how fast, as well as what you were doing (running, cycling etc).  Links are published so your friends can visit the main Endomondo site, view your route and stats, then leave comments if they wish.

Unfortunately, the Windows Mobile Endomondo version isn’t nearly as good as the one they have for iPhone.  It doesn’t take account, for example, of resting time.  Now I don’t know about you, but I like to stop for a brew and a danish when I’m out for a ride.  With Endomondo for Windows Mobile, my brew time is included in my ride time and therefore my average speed.  This makes me look like a right old slowcoach!  My average speeds are poor enough without adding brew and pee stops!

For this reason, I can’t recommend Endomondo for Windows Mobile. Not until that major oversight is fixed up, anyway 🙁

RunSat, Navmi, RunningFree Online

Call it what you will.  This tracker has gone through a few iterations and I think it’s been bought by one or two different parties in its lifetime.  Maybe that’s because it’s actually very good.

The app itself is downloadable as RunSat from  It’s a comprehensive app, giving a number of different views whilst you’re actually out.  I use it on my handlebars (if you’ve seen my bar arrangement you’ll kow it’s quite crowded), where it shows me all sorts of route and riding information.  By toggling the view you can see as much or as little as you want to.  You can also turn the info off and the app will record your ride without distracting you.

You can also upload routes to your phone to show on the maps within the app, which download via GPRS as you ride (or whatever live internet connection you’ve got going on your phone).  I’ve used this feature to upload a route which veered onto a bridleway in Royton which I wasn’t sure about – it worked perfectly.

Like Endomondo, RunSat automatically posts your ride to the internet when you finish.  Your ride is posted to your (free) account on RunningFreeOnline, which is a great way to keep all your routes handy, whether running, walking or cycling.  From within this site, you can set auto-posting to Facebook and/or Twitter.  The posts can be edited too, so you can add hashtags for example. I have it post my rides with the #Feb100 and #20111k hashtags, which is nice.

Which Windows Mobile Cycle Tracker App?

Which Windows Mobile Cycle GPS Tacker Shall I Use?

Which Cycling Tracker Should I Use?

Well, I’ve used all three.  Each has advantages and disadvantages.  SatSports is great for serial training. Endomondo is simple to use and has a great membership website.

But for me, the Runsat app is superior.  It tells me all I need to know whilst I’m actually riding, then it records comprehensive information on the RunningFreeOnline website when I get home.  It posts to my favourite social media channels too.  And the website can take information from a massive variety of other devices too.

So, my recommendation for Windows Mobile GPS Cycling Tracker goes to RunSat and RunningFreeOnline.  Tell ’em Phill sent you!

What do you use?

Meeting Point Rest Area Littleborough

Today, the kids and I took a little ride along the favourite towpath to the Meeting Point Rest Area, just alongside the Rochdale Canal about 3 miles from home.

What Is The “Meeting Point Rest Area”?

Basically, a bloke who loves biking (motorbikes, not proper bikes but we’ll let that go for now) has taken a piece of disused, derelict land alongside the canal, opposite the main A58 Rochdale-Halifax road that runs over Blackstone Edge, and put a couple of portakabins on there.

He’s put some tables outside and he retails refreshments to passing bikers, cyclists, walkers and even drivers, who can park in a smallish car park right in front.  This guy sits in his portakabin with his cute Westie terrier, quietly getting on with his life and providing a wonderful amenity to passers-by.

Meeting Point Rest Area Littleborough

Meeting Point Rest Area Littleborough

He’s an absolute boon to me, as the girls (aged 7 and 8) love the fact that there are no hills or traffic between our home and the Meeting Point.  It’s a cracking, if short, family ride when we have an hour or so to spare.  To everyone else, he’s a handy little cafe in a lovely position close to a few busy roads.  To some though, he’s a bit of a problem so they’d like to shut him down.

What’s The Problem?

The guy has, apparently, been on the wrong end of some complaints.  I’m not sure how the planning process works, but apparently his portakabins “aren’t in keeping” with the local architecture.  They’re certainly an improvement on the derelict plot they’ve replaced!  But, Littleborough’s a nice-looking place with some cracking buildings and I can see how people might see the Rest Area as the thin end of the utilitarian architecture wedge.

He’s hoping to put a permanent building on the site I understand, but first he has to await the decision of an independent planning hearing, which takes place in Bristol (why Bristol I wonder?), probably in December.

I hope he wins.  It would be a shame to see the place removed.  No doubt someone will stick some nice flats on there now he’s levelled and cleared it, but I’d prefer to see the Meeting Point Rest Area made permanent and give the guy a chance to put a nice, appropriate building on the plot.

Are there any locals or passers-by reading this blog who have an opinion?


In the meantime, pay him a visit why don’t you?  His brews are very tasty and reasonably priced.  He even does Bovril 🙂


Here’s a link to my Google Map.

He doesn’t seem to have got a Google Places account yet – I’ll have a word with him about that.

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