Flow

IMAG0005I was out and about last night for a combination of fitness/clear the head type ride.  My fitness is pretty low right now, so I was basically toodling about on some back roads.  I had just turned onto a hilly stretch when I detected a strange sound and was kind of “tuning” my ears to determine what kind of yard machine or power tool someone was using in the area.

Just then a roadie blew past me and revealed that the source of the strange sound was his bike.  I have no idea of the specific cause, maybe a bottom bracket, but I had to think that it would drive me crazy to have a rattle/screeching that loud.

Used to be I would give chase in such situations, but I am older and my trustee Trucker is too comfortable.  Right now it is sporting the ol’ Champion Flyer which I pulled from the parts bin and tightened considerably to take out much of the “hammock” effect.  With only short rides so far it is showing a lot of promise.

But even without giving chase, the squeaking roadie prompted me to pick up the pace a little.  After all, my goal is to build up some leg strength.  So the rest of the ride was probably in a gear a little too high and pushing the thighs harder on the hills.

Yes, I could feel “the burn”, but I could also feel the joy of cycling.  There is just something about getting out on a bike and working up a sweat that appeals to the human condition.  All is well with the world on this lovely evening.

College Bike

Son #1 and a few of his classmates have rented a house off campus, and between trips to Goodwill and the Habitat Restore for furnishings he mentioned that it would be nice to have a bike for commuting to classes.  Since the Bianchi was originally purchased for either he or his brother to use, I jumped at the chance to get this bike road ready.

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Given the frame and general appearance, I think it will be perfect for what he wants.  It’s sturdy, yet light; well geared, and won’t draw the attention of any thieves looking for higher end stuff.  I asked him about fenders and the rack, which he said he would like, and then I went to the basement bike parts bin and started digging.004

I believe it turned out pretty well.  Both the clean lines and the lightness are lacking in my own bikes.  There is a thick coat of dust on the frame, so it will look even better once it gets a cleaning.

The racing frame roots required some cobbling with both the rear fender and the rack.  The front of the fender is anchored to the seat tube using some small pieces of inner tube and a zip tie; otherwise the line is clean.  There are no rack mounts on the chain stays, so I remembered a little doo-hickey clamp that I had on my old Privateer for mounting the rear rack.  Its not pretty, but it is solid.

The only real downside I see is the short top tube geometry, which creates quite a bit of toe overlap.  I have a problem with it on tight turns, so I expect my son’s size 14 shoes will be even worse.  The steering is also a little wonky, but I haven’t figured out if it’s the bike or just my being used to my own bikes’ handling.

The only work remaining is to decide on a lock/cable setup, probably a small saddle wedge, and then some basic tools and a lesson on repairs and maintenance.  Fortunately, like most college campuses, there is a bike rental/repair service; and a good shop in town.

Hanging Out

The chapter of our lives involving volleyball has concluded.  The final school match was last week for son# 2.  Long live volleyball and now long live the free time we are about to be blessed with each Spring.  It has been a wonderful experience; far better than most high school/college sports; and I would not trade it for the world.

003‘been taking some short rides here and there to build up some leg strength.

Yup – the bike is changed once again as I try to sort out the handlebars.  The VO Crazy bars are great, and sitting on the X bike.  The Alba’s are back on the Trucker; just because I like how they look.  Downside = not quite as comfortable and a lot more ghost shifting than the indexed pods, especially if I come up out of the saddle.

Saddle?  Hey, that’s a new B67 on there, which replaced a new VO synthetic touring saddle, which replaced an old B67!  And…as of today that old B67 is back on the bike.  I’m having some issues getting it just right.  I know what I want – a wide rear for the sit bones in an upright position, a narrow nose so the thighs don’t rub, and a level surface where the sit bones come in contact with no sagging.

Old B67 started sagging too much on the sides, mainly due to it being Pre-aged.  The VO was all but perfect – wide, level, and a wonderful suede finish so one doesn’t slide around.  But the nose was not narrow enough and the thigh rub was a deal breaker.  New B67 showed up after an especially good deal on Amazon.  It was working well until it started breaking in and now the nose, as you can see in the picture is angled up too high, thus causing some discomfort.

Last night I took the old B67 and tightened it and tied it tighter, and it at least looks good.  A longer ride will tell.  Option two is to tie off the new B67 to bring the middle back up.  Option 3 is to try a new Cambium C19, which appears to meet all of the criteria, but at a substantially higher price.  Option 4 is to go to China and have my own design built.

But it feels great to get out and ride!

Truckin

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Rolling around Silver Lake on Christmas.  Everything has been very wet.

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Before they started making snow at Roundtop. It was lit up last night now that the temps have dipped below freezing.

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A study in saddlery: VO Microfiber Touring, Brooks Champion Flyer, Brooks B67 Pre-aged. The B67 has stretched too much at the sit bones, so its time to see if it can be ‘re-formed’ to bring it back into shape. In the meantime, I’m playing with the VO, which has some pros and cons that I’ll get into at some point after more miles.

Fat Bike Sale

Fat Bike Sale

Oh man.  This is really tempting.

 

 

Yup, It’s Strange

67F is a new record for these parts, but it’s a great temperature for getting out on the road.  A few more miles and it will be a new December record for me as well.002Still fine tuning the X bike, but its turning out to be a fun ride, as always.

012Last year at this time there was snow on the ground.  This year there are people mowing their grass.  Riding along the Yellow Breeches, I spotted a guy in deep with his waders on, casting a fly rod.  Down a bit further, two kayakers.  We all waved and smiled.

033Some yards have Christmas lights, other have stage coaches.  Off to the right is a Pennsy caboose.

Vacation is Over

So I’ve managed to ride more since Thanksgiving than I have in the four months previous.  Mainly I had to get into wood scrounging mode, along with some house/yard projects, along with life and job in general.

Almost all of the riding has been at night, thus no pictures.  and it’s been chilly…no…downright cold at times.  Still, I find myself overdressing, usually the result of wearing a thin wool layer covered by my down sweater.  Until it gets below freezing, or I get covered in sweat, the down is just too warm.  I have to rethink my clothing/temperature chart once it gets below 40F.

The tinkering has not stopped.  On the Trucker I got the Crazy Bars dialed in nicely with a taller stem, and the shifting got much better after I took apart the pods and sprayed some Teflon in the works.  The bike is my steady traveler.

As for the X bike, which has been logging most of the miles recently, it has once again undergone a transformation.  Its back to the Albatross bars, but with a longer and slightly higher stem that used to be on the Trucker.  That seems to have made the difference, because the cockpit is much more comfortable.  I’m fiddling with saddles, Brooks v. Selle; and the headlamp has been upgraded to a B&M Cyo Premium.  The light will most likely be the subject of its own post, but I’ll just tease with saying that the beam is wider, smoother, and brighter (80 lux v. 60).  Its actually a better beam than the Luxos on the Trucker.  I managed to pick it up for an incredible price on-line, and then got a good price on the Cyo Plus that it replaced.

So as time permits I’ll try to get a few more posts and some pics up.  The weather, while nippy, has been dry and the backroads lead for some beautiful night rides.