Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Striking a Pose

Striking a Pose
Originally uploaded by fullylugged
Well, it's done. or at least it WAS. I asked my son Alex if he wanted to take it AROUND THE BLOCK. Now, before going on, I should say that in 2000, when I brought my very first new Trek home from the bike shop, Alex took it for a spin and grabbed the front brake hard. He went over the bars and to the Emergency Room. Today, He was unfamiliar with Down Tube shifters, and accidentally dumped the chain into the spokes, cutting through 2 of them. Hopefully, it'll all be together in time for a ride next weekend.....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bike Build Notes

[Advisory: If you don't find bikes interesting, this post may lull you to sleep. read or don't depending on your need for rest]

The blue frame set of "Winter Bike Project" renown is my 1st attempt at a full up bike build. The fact that I live about 2 miles from a capable bike shop emboldens me to go where this man has not gone before. I hope the mission does not take the 5 years that James T. Kirk spoke of. There will be much trial and error, consulting of manuals and mounting and re mounting parts on the way to getting them right. One of the first things that raised some eyebrows on the 650B forum was using a Velo-Orange bottom bracket with a Campagnolo Veloce triple crankset. V-O uses a Shimano style tapered shaft and some wondered if the two would work together.

From the Branford Bike files:

>>>>Compatibility - length and tapers

All cranks must be matched with a specific length bottom bracket spindle. Triple cranks or frames with oversize seat tubes require slightly longer bottom bracket spindles. Shimano and almost every major bottom bracket maker have traditionally used the same spindle end cross section of 12.9 mm and two degree taper. Campagnolo uses the same two degree taper but has a smaller starting cross section of 12.7 mm. A Shimano crank arm will bottom out on Campagnolo spindle. A Campagnolo crank arm will not draw far enough onto a Shimano spindle. <<<<<

As it happens, the distance from the center of the seat tube to the middle ring of the crankset needs to be 47.5 mm for this set up. I was able to get it to 48 mm, and decided it was good enough. After mounting the derailer and manually operating it, there seemed to be the right amount of range for proper chain movement. If it doesn't work out with a chain attached, I can always replace the BB with a correct Campy one.

Sheldon Brown wrote:

>>>>In practice, you can very often get away with mixing these sizes, as long as you select a spindle length that gives the desired chainline.

Taper matching was fairly important back in the day of loose-ball cup-and-cone bottom brackets, because these required regular maintenance/overhauls, and this required removal of the cranks. Every time you remove and re-install a square taper crank, the hole in the crank is liable to get very slightly larger.

This was particularly an issue when using J.I.S. cranks on ISO spindles, because over time, as the crank went on farther and farther, you could run out of taper, and the square end of the spindle would become flush with the surface the crank fixing bolt/washer pushed against. At that point, further tightening of the bolt won't make the crank any tighter, since the bolt is bumping onto the end of the spindle.

These days, however, most folks are using sealed c

artridge bearing bottom brackets. With these, there is no routine maintenance required, so typically the crank will be installed once, and will stay in place unless/until the bottom bracket needs to be replaced. This greatly reduces problems of wear to the interface.

I generally avoid mixing sizes on customers' bikes, but I have a lot of experience mixing ISO/J.I.S. in both directions on my own personal bikes, and it has never given me a lick of trouble. <<<<<

I should add that my Campy Veloce double on the Mark III is running quite nicely on a Tange BB.

The tracking page at UPS says the next delivery is still on schedule for tomorrow, but I won't be surprised if that doesn't happen. It was in Kansas this morning. Maybe if the driver clicks his heels together 3 times.... "There's no place like home.."

Note: The ruby slippers still work their magic, for the box was here when I came home from work today. Here's a picture with a few additions. Can you spot them all?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rivendell Build, Day 3

Just a short post to show a pic of the parts which Brown brought today from Rivendell Bicycle Works World Headquarters. Actually, it's a garage unit or two in a mini warehouse type place, and they don't make a single frame there. All are built by master craftspeople at their own shops, and painted at other paint places by coatings experts. They do get to assemble bikes there for people who buy complete bicycles from them. Much of the time, they just sell a frame and fork set. They also sell parts and accessories there. For my build, I ordered a front derailer and a pair of shifters becuase I knew they would work on this bike. RBW has only used one diameter of seat tube (varying steel grades, wall thicknesses and butts though), ever. So while parts houses list item after item along with the tubes it may or may not fit, I knew one from Rivendell would fit ANY bike they've ever made. Including mine. I also liked the way the Silver (House brand, designed and made for them by Someone else. Tektro maybe) shifters look and the power ratchet feature that makes lifting the chain onto the bigger rings easy.

I prefer a silver color derailer clamp, but my choice was any color I wanted, as long as it was black. It's a Campy Mirage and will handle the differential bewteen the rings as well as the reach required. I think the shifters on the downtube bosses give an elegant look and go with the overall feel of the bike. My other bikes are all bar end and something different was in order. With only brake cables in the cockpit, that too will have a cleaner uncluttered look. So, to date: RBW road frame, Chris King 2 nut headset, Campy Veloce triple, Campy Mirage Derailer and Silver down tube shifters. UPS is due in again on Weds with wide and long Tektro 556 brakes (to handle 650B tires), a Campy Veloce rear triple derailer, a cable set, a chain and a stem. I have the other needed parts in hand (saddle, seat post, handle bar, brake levers, wheels) It's probably optimistic to think I'll have it ready by this weekend to take to Cochran GA, (and do I want my shakedown cruise to be a 100K?) but you never know.....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Going to the dogs..

That's about what Jack said we should call our Saturday ride this weekend. They (the dogs) were out in bunches. We put Sammy out in front and he tired them enough to where we didn't have too much trouble with them. A troika of them cornered Jack just past the Volunteer Fire Dept on Brady Rd, but his serious, "Go Home!!" drove them away. Sammy decided to join us for the more relaxed cruise and rolled out one of the bikes from his racing days. Here it is, some fast Italian steel!

I also learned from Sammy that the correct pronunciation is Gwer-Cha-tee. As long as he was out in front doing dog decoy, we were good with that. Note the period correct saddle and the Coca-Cola water bottles.

Roger (NTCP) came out to ride as well, but had a shoe problem and turned back when it was clear to him that he wasn't going to be able to enjoy the ride. I think we've all shown up at a ride and realized that we needed something that we forgot to pack. The rest of us managed to truck on. We had headwinds all the way out, but the tailwind on the return was nice. It was also uphill most of the way out and downhill on the way back. Jack meant to take a picture of us as we sped down one of the hills, but held the button down and ended up with a little video. I'd post it except that I don't know yet how to do videos on Blogspot. (Update! I may have figured it out...)

I went out again today for a "beginners" ride. None of the beginners who requested the ride showed up, but 3 other riders did and we set out to do a relaxer ride. For some reason, I just couldn't get my legs to work right. I struggled to pull the line at 12 mph! The headwind was not that strong and I wondered if I was getting sick or something.

I turned back after 2 1/2 miles and it was work to get back to the car. Only there, when I climbed off the bike did I notice that a not-snug-enough quick release had allowed the rear wheel to shift. My tire had been rubbing the chainstay the whole way. Once I fixed that, the bike pedaled with ease. D'oh!! Now I felt pretty strong, as it was like riding a trainer stand with the tension all the way up.

I have high hopes that my legs will be fine for next week as Dave H and I do the Cochran GA ride.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Palmer Children's Home, Columbus MS

I'm just back from a week at Palmer Home. It was a church mission trip, and the 14th year or so that our church has fielded a team there. It was my first year to go on this or any other charitable venture over an extended period of time. I'd always looked at these things as an intrusion into my well earned vacation rest, or even better, cycling time. Now that the trip is behind me, I can see how badly I misjudged things. This was a great way to spend a week. Just doing something for others as a volunteer warms a person's heart. How can that not alone be worth the doing of it? This facility is 100% donation supported and entails both the main Palmer Home campus in Columbus proper as well as the recently added Mississippi Sheriff's Boy's Ranch. There is always something needing construction, repiar, or painting. This week we broke into teams and did some of each.

 The kids here have done nothing wrong, their parents have, or they are for some other reason unable to give the kids a home. The children live in large group residences with full time house "parents" and go to school, play, etc in the same way "normal" family kids do. It takes a lot of support to keep the place working and various groups come in during the year to help with projects. A group from Dalton Ga was there as well and had their own stuff to do. I mostly worked out on the ranch, building a small barn for some livestock. We worked in all sorts of weather. we had sleet one morning and 79F degrees the next. It was crazy. I also had fun one morning working on bikes for the staff. Here I am testing out one that I just repaired. It's a Huffy, but the shirt says "Rivendell" so it's all good :)

I also helped disassemble a ton of scrap bikes. Mostly I got rained on or very cold while learning to use tools I had never seen before. Fortunately there were some real pros on our team and they were very patient. I feel like this was as good of a vacation as I ever have had. Sights did not include mambo bands,ancient ruins or art museums, but did include hugs from kids, watching out for a goat while working, and slip sliding away in slick as a whistle Mississippi mud while setting made-on-the-spot roof trusses.  Here's a picture from the day before when it was better weather.

You get the idea.  So tomorrow is back to a club ride after a while of not riding. No parts came in this week, so no more work right now on the winter project. And that's about it for now!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winter Bike Project

Okay, 70F in mid February lacks a wintery feeling, but the boxy brown truck delivered my winter project today. A 1995 (1st year) Rivendell. This was hand made for Rivendell by Waterford Precision Cycles in Waterford, WI. The frame is silver brazed and made of Reynolds 753, a heat treated version of Reynolds 531 manganese molyebdenum alloy steel. The fork blades are the more flexible 531. I took measurements (easy to do with nothing yet hung it) and recorded them. I weighed it as well. the frame and fork and head set (A new looking Chris King) weighed a total of 5 1/4 lbs.  Then I pulled some parts off the shelf and other bikes to see in general if this frame, built up, would make a comfortable fit.

In addition to the handle bars (also a mustache set. Not sure which will be used yet) and leather bar tape and saddle with seat post, I have a NOS Campy Veloce road triple crankset, a Gran Cru bottom bracket, pedals and NOS Tiagra brake levers. The wheel set pictured will be used: Velocity 28s Aeroheads on Sansin hubs. I'll put a different set of Synergy / Deore wheels back on the Nashbar. So, a few parts still need to be gathered up and I'll hunt around for a nice looking and working front and rear derailler set up. Bar ends or down tube shifters? Not sure yet. And nice bottle cages in stainless wire of course.

Some pictures:

Here it is in the trainer stand. I grabbed the randoneur bars to the left and simulated where they would be with various stem lengths.

Here I am seeing how relaxed my arms are with the bars where they night be using about a 9 or 10 cm stem. Not too stretched out, and maybe some of that excess bulk will go away if I ride more.  I love the headbadge on this bike, and the beautiful (Richard Sachs designed) lug work. The head badge is laquered brass and is screwed on the bike, just like in the old days.

And finally, a close up of the name.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A mid winter's respite

Our February weather has certainly been cold enough. The mercury dipped to 16F this week, which is good for slowing insect populations, but less good for cycling. Things started to warm up yesterday though and by the time our 9 AM Lite Ride was ready to roll out, I was pulling OFF the tights and leaving the jacket in the car. The thermometer showed 49F at the start and it rose 20 degrees during the ride. The air was calm to start and of course there was a headwind to finish, but that's cycling, right? It was just perfect weather for a ride in my book. How's that for a mid winter break? Love it!!

jack, who asked for this ride, had to work, and our other Elmore regular emailed from some resort in Jamaica to say, "See ya later, suckas!" yeah, ole Therese was riding nothing quicker than a fat tired beach cruiser, that's for sure. Roger, who emailed to say he would be there, was not. Mike S, who said he might show up, also did not. I had a feeling that he wanted the hotter pace with the regular folks. They threw in some hills today too, which he was wanting. As it happened, Mike G came up, as did "Viper" (WITH car keys this time to the collective disappointment of the Millbrook Police Dept, I am sure) A "new" couple, Rick and Andi also showed up. they pulled in to the parking lot with hot looking Tri bikes on the rack, and they both have zero body fat. "Are you SURE you want the Club LITE ride?" I asked. They said yes, and Andi gave me the usual, "I've never ridden this far in my life and my legs are totally jello from lack of use." She and Jodi were able to comapre Tri traing notes as we rode so that all worked out well. Here's a shot of everyone not far from the start in Millbrook

It turns out that Rick had ridden with us once before. He and Jeff B did a break away, so I didn't see much of him the last time we were out together. Jeff had been running late for a kid thing back home, so he slipped the chain on that 56 front ring he rides and warp factor 9 ensued. (Maybe it's not a 56, but he IS fast) Everyone stayed together for most of the day today and we really enjoyed the time in rolling conversations. After leaving the Elmore store northbound on 143, we saw Scott (UPS, not BAS) heading south and waved and yelled our hellos to him. Moments later he was in our group. What a nice guy to ride with and he and Rick knew each other as well.

We crossed 111 and went over Lake Jordan. The day was beautiful and fishermen were out on land and in boats. We waved at them all. Most waved back. The route we took features about 5 good climbs and while Scott and Rick seemed to be sweatless, the rest of us were earning our keep moving up the hills. I brought up the rear, but my plan was to avoid over exertion and cramps. Both goals were achieved. Mike found that he could indeed handle the climbs just fine with a 39/23 combo. I was on a 26/27 at one point, but mostly 26/21. The others all did great, and were nice enough to let me regain their group after cresting the hills. Here are some easy rollers on Coosada Rd in Deatsville. You can see how far back I am. It was worse on the big stuff.

The day was ordinary in that no one wrecked, had animal trouble or flatted. Andi and I both threw chains. She dropped hers onto her chainstay, I dumped mine bewteen my freewheel and the spokes. Both of us got it figured out before damaging anything. Jodi and Andi had derailer adjustment issues, but Scott was faster than the eye could follow in getting them adjusted and working right again. Like the guy in this Blackberry ad: He rides about like this too.

Andi was a little tired at the end, but she was stellar on the ride. I do hope she comes back again. We all agreed it was a nice ride, good company and a great way to get out and get fresh air. the final tally was 43.5 miles and we were in the middle of our advertised 13 - 15 mph avg range. I won't expect another weekend like this one weather-wise for a while, but if we get one, I'll be out on the road, you can be sure. I'll be the one in the wool..

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A post I read

I read several bike blogs, including "The Chain Gang" from Orlando, FL. Jeff K posted this and it really resonated with me. Since my start in adult cycling, I've had, loved, sold, and replaced a succession of bikes. I had no Raleigh, Schwinn, or Specialized bikes as Jeff did. Mine included Univega, Fuji, Trek (2), and Waterford. These days two Rivendells and a Nashbar inhabit our garage, and another Rivendell is inbound. Each of my bikes has a distinctly different feel. I am concious of feeling, "Wow, this bike feels so good!" every time I get on one. I always think it's the best bike in the world, until I throw a leg over one of the others.

Anyway, here is Jeff's excellent post. Our Montgomery version of the slim rider who HAS an Italian law firm of fabulous steeds is of course Slamy.


I work next to a woman with long legs and no body fat. She rides very fast on a Kestrel bike. I don't know what a Kestrel bike looks like. I'm not familiar with that brand. But sometimes I hear her yearning for bikes that are lighter, faster, more expensive than her bike. Bikes like DeRosa. Colnago. Cevelo. Orbea. Pinarello. Bikes with names that sound like an Italian law firm.

My bike is a Specialized. it is the best bike I've ever owned. But I said that about the bike I had before, a Schwinn hybrid. Before the Schwinn, it was a Raleigh 10-speed that I liked because it was a pale blue. It replaced the first bike I bought when I moved to Florida, a Juventus. It was an Italian-made bike and, because I was still under the influence of Breaking Away, I knew Italy made the best bikes. I rode that bike on the first Sentinel Safari cross-state bike ride somewhere around 1980. We had about 300 riders that year. None of them had ever heard of a Juventus before. "It's Italian," I explained. Before the Juventus, I think I had a green three-speed Raleigh because I believed my parents when they said Raleighs were the Cadillacs of bicycles. The first bike I remember was a Schwinn with coaster brakes that I had not yet mastered before running over the neighbor girl.

The thing I remember about all of those bikes is how much I loved each one in turn. I couldn't think of a better bike than the Schwinn until I got the Raleigh. And the Raleigh was the best bike I ever owned until the Juventus came into my life. And I never would have given it up if I hadn't fallen in love with a blue Raleigh 10-speed.

I image there are car people who feel the same about their wheels. I can't relate to them. But I do believe when it comes to bikes there is an intimacy between the object and the person that forms a strong attachment. It's a love affair transcends price or craftsmanship. The people who ride those high-end, finely made bikes I've never heard of feel the same as I do when I'm outside, on a nice day, riding my Specialized.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Weekend Ride Redux

Just a short note on our Sunday afternoon "relaxer" ride. We had a new rider today. Her nickname is "Viper" and her auto tag is something like IRNGRL. So when she said, "Sure, 13-15 avg speed is fine with me. I haven't been on my bike in ages," I knew she was pulling my leg. Having watched other chiseled triathletes disappear into the distance ahead of me before, I knew the type. Jack and Therese know that I'll get wherever we're going, eventually, but they do make sure I'm not road kill every once in a while.

Anyway, we had great weather, if just a tad chilly in shorts and no jacket. As long as we were working, it was okay. We found it a little cold when we stopped though. I pulled a lot of the way out, with Jack doing a nice job the last part into Slapout. Jodi, as Viper is also known, was suitably impressed by Slapout, and we turned south to head home after a brief stop there. The headwind picked up and I offered to let others pull. "But YOU know the way Bruce," was the reply in unison. Uh huh. Jodi put me out of my misery after slogging a few miles behind me and scooted to the lead. She only needed to know where the next turn was. Trouble was, it was awfully hard for her to go SLOW enough so that I could hang with her. She really did try, but ....

Therese took a turn at the front after we passed the Elmore Store on the way home, and then I did some from Jenkins Brick until getting tired about a mile from the finish. I eased back to 13 until my legs got back to working again. I knew where the cars were parked that's for sure. The other 3 were, in fact, nice enough to let me catch them at the final traffic light.

We had a couple of spunky dogs run along side us, and the one which came closest to being a problem was a "battery operated size" mutt that looked like a bloated chiuaua. He finally decided that we weren't worth breaking a sweat over and disengaged from persuit.

The real excitement came after we got to the parking lot. When Viper fished her car key out, it was the wrong key. She thought it was her spare, but it was not. The car key was IN the locked, non-OnStar equipped car. Hmm, what to do, what to do? I mentioned to her that the Millbrook police station was only 100 yds away, and politely pointed out that the officers would get into a fistfight in order to be the one to help her in her moment of distress. Did I mention her long blonde hair? I apologized for being sexist, but said, "If you've got it, use it." She pedaled on over and about 30 seconds later, here comes an MPD squad car with a officer ready to render a citizen some assistance. Told Ya! (in a later email, she confirmed that the officer was able to get her car unlocked)

I expect Viper to be riding soon in the pack with our other tri training and other competing folks, at quicker pace than we "Lite" relaxers run, but she is welcome to come back any time, as is anyone who isn't out for a faster ride. We advertised this outing as 13 - 15 avg and I had 14.7 on my cyclometer for 33 miles. Between the headwind and a couple of not too bad hills, it really was a pleasant outing.

I'm already hoping for good weather next Saturday.

And, I am pleased to say that I have a 1st year custom Rivendell frameset coming my way. Someone on the RBW list got it but it was too small, and small is generally good for me. Anyway, we'll see how it builds up as a 650B. Yes it's steel (Reynolds 753 and 531), and yes it's fully lugged. Here's a link to show it looked when last built up in 2007 by a prior owner.

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