Day 2 started bright and early for me, I woke at 06:30, looked out of the tent flap, it was still raining hard and there was a stream running down the road outside. I tried to go back to sleep but I couldn't, so I laid there until 07:00 and got up. I only had a 1 man tent, couldn't sit up and had no phone signal so decided to head to the showers and get everything packed away ready to leave. Pete and Stuart were still asleep, so I decided to explore the area on foot and practise my photography skills.
The sleeping beauties eventually woke up and we were back on the road by 11:30! It turns out we had cut off more of the route than we had planned the day before and only left ourselves with 12 miles before our planned camping spot at the end of day 2. Luckily we had cut the big chunk off, as the 12 miles were not a walk in the park. Now fresh, the climb out of Exford seemed less daunting along with the ensuing rolling terrain over the next couple of miles, which seem to pass quickly before dropping down to cross the Barle river.
The river crossing probably starkly highlighted our different approaches to the trip. None of us had done this kind of relaxed trip before, so it was a learning curve. I took a few more clothes and a 1 man tent (rather than a bivvy bag) over what I would normally take and Pete and Stuart took provisions for a 2 week trip, even a washing line! This really showed up when carrying our bikes across the river. If Paul Chuckle is looking for a new partner I have a great audition tape of Pete and Stuart trying to get their bikes across. To me, to you.... As a side note, if anyone follows this route, do not cross where we did, further down stream, about 20m, there is a gate!
After we dried out, we pushed on and was initially rewarded with some great (slippery in places) but flowing rocky single-track. This got more and more technical the further we pushed on until eventually the rocks got much bigger, steeper, narrower and unrideable. It's fair to say Pete didn't enjoy the hike-a-bike section! It felt like it went on forever, but it was probably only about 500m. It did feel unnecessary, it would have been very easy to slide down some of the rock slabs you needed to navigate and snap an ankle or break a leg. We considered trying to scrabble out of the ravine to see if there was a path that ran higher up but, when I investigated it, the routes were just as bad if not worse, so we continued on. We crossed the River Barle again via a bridge which was now considerably wider than when we waded across earlier.
I unceremoniously fell of my bike on the next section having stopped to let a woman past with her dog and chatting to her whilst standing on a rock, my foot slipped off. I rolled down the bank and the bike fell on top of me! I obviously jumped/scrambled up, brushed myself off and embarrassingly rolled on! Pete and Stuart gained a bit of a fan club when we stopped on the bank next to the Tarr Steps and were considering whether to ride across the river (rather than use the stone bridge that had been provided). I chickened out and took the easy, dry route. After taking their tent/bags off their bikes, Pete and Stuart rode across the river to wild applause from the adoring crowd that had formed, all hoping their video would make the local news or £250 from You've Been Framed. Sadly (I mean luckily), both of them made it across without taking a dip in the river.
Just a quick stop at the Tarr steps for a tea cake and beer (coke for me) before a rather spiteful steep rocky climb took us back onto the moors. Like stallions, we rode 3 abreast along the slowly descending track towards our day 2 campsite, Pete getting the short end of the stick having to splash through the puddles, only breaking formation to skirt round some real-life Exmoor ponies. We rolled in, pitched our tent, had a shower and then cooked some food that we had been dragging around with us (Note: I definitely didn't try and sprinkle some of the "Do not eat sachet" on my boil in the bag meal). We then headed down to the pub.
Finally got a chance to build my RUSSTi Evo up! Lots of Bling colour coordination...obviously rigid with 27.5 x 2.8" tyres!
Hope tech Brakes, Garbaruk chain ring and cassette, Travers Titanium stem, handlebars and seatpost.
Internal cable routing for rear brake and rear derailleur:
You can install the brake hose or gear cable from either the front via the headtube or rear via the cable guide situated on the top tube near the seat tube.
You might find it easier from the front with the forks removed (or before installed)
In the first image you will see the kit supplied for your build, on the left is a spare rear derailleur cable guide, on the top is 2 blanking plates, one is for the internal cable guide for the dropper post if you do not have one, the other is to cover up the cable exit if you are running a wireless groupset like SRAM eTap.
The middle 2 pictures show the 2 cable direction options, the left one is the cable being inserted from the rear, you may need the help from some long nose pliers to help the cable of of the head tube, the 2nd images shows the cable entry from the front. There is a small section cut from the plastic guide, make sure this is sitting flush with the frame. the guide is there to dissipate any tension from the cable/hose allowing for movement and flex.
Rear cable/hose entry/exit. If you are pushing the cable in from the front, you can simply remove the allen key screw from the guide to allow you access to the frame making it easier to thread the cable through.
Syntace hanger and axle:
The Travers RUSSTi EVO has a boost 12 x 148mm hub spacing. The syntace axle and hanger system is clean, elegant and simple. In the first image you have all the components, the 2nd and 3rd image you have the left and right frame dropout.
If the axle isn't already installed in the EVO, place the bolt into the frame and turn it a few times, so it does not fall out , slide the axle nut into the frame locate the hanger onto the bolt and locate the small guide into the recces on the frame, fully tighten the bolt to hold the nut and hanger in place. The axle is completely independent of the nut and hanger, so you can remove the wheel without the nut falling out.
Caring for your Travers RUSSTi EVO frame:
Titanium needs no care other than washing down with a bucket of soapy water, if you want to polish it then any bike polish or WD40 will work great. If you do mark or scratch the frame you can simply lightly polish it out with a scouring pad or some Scotch Bright rubbing in the direction of the grain.
When building up the frame always wipe down the contact surfaces i.e before installing the Headset, Bottom bracket and Seatpost/clamp with Alcohol and apply copper grease.
Frame Interface Sizes
Headset Size: ZS 56 /44
BB Size: T47 - 73mm
Internal (seatpost size) Tube 31.6mm
External (seat Clamp) Tube: 34.9mm
Hub Width: 12 x 148mm Boost
RUSSTI EVO Axle: 12 x 148 (Production frames)
RUSSTi EVO Axle: 12 x 142 (some bespoke frames have been made with this size if requested)
Syntace Hanger Bolt: 28.5mm - common to all EVO frames
Syntace Hanger: Common to all EVO frames
Syntace Axle Nut: Common to all EVO frames
Copper Paste: FENWICK'S COPPER ANTI SEIZE
HAND BUILT TITANIUM FRAMES.