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

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Up with your head!

Does anyone else read BikesnobNYC? If you ride bikes and can laugh at yourself, or other cyclists, or both, the column is worth a read. He is very smart, funny, and probably a hoot to ride with. Unless you're a hipster (a certain "fashionably" attired member of the fixed gear riding urban crowd) or a headster (someone with a stickball bat of a headtube). Snob's current target are the folks who have abandoned traditional frame geometry for Jack-in-the-beanstalk tall headtubes. It's the new "expanded" design, which is supposedly totally different from last year's "compact design.

Here's a guy on the former:

You can see that the headtube is about 2 feet long and his seatpost is sticking way up in the air.

Next, here's a Giant "Compact" bike, With about 1/2 the headtube but still an awful lot of seatpost up in the air. The difference is just that the guy above has higher handlebars. You could get the same effect with the bike below using a stem extender. Not very different at all.

But you can get a nice comfortable and "normal" bike with a traditional geometry as well. Why these two "new" inventions? Regular bikes come in many sizes, like pants. You check the fit and get the one that meets your needs. These new bikes come in just a couple of sizes. Even ole Grant Peterson at Rivendell is trumpeting his new Sam Hillborne model with it's "expanded" design and just 4 sizes. You push and pull on the periperals to make it work. From the Rivendell Bicycle Works (RBW) web site:

"Four sizes: 48 and 52 fit 650B wheels; 56 and 60 fit 700C. The frame design is "expanded," which is not at all like "compact." The top tube slopes up 6 degrees, and so the head tube grows in height to intercept it. As a result, it is easy, really easy, to get your handlebar high up where  it's comfortable."

Well, yes I suppose, and it's also easier to get a good price from the Taiwanese factory that makes these bikes if you only get one color (a nice green) and 4 sizes, right? Rivendells have been comfortable for years, ever since 1994, in fact.  Will they be hawking welded frames next? (They have been strictly a fully lugged frame maker heretofore)

In my case, the ride is about the same speed no matter what bikeI'm on. I haven't tried Calfee's bamboo bikes yet

 but it would be a safe bet that I'd average  the same 13 - 15 mph over any distance you care to do with me on it. So why do tall headtubes bug me? or compact frames?  I think that classic bikes are beautiful machines, that's why. I don't like the newer stuff coming out and there seems no real reason to change for the rider's sake, at any rate. Maybe to make the manufacturing easier and higher margin.

Speaking of rides, today's was the first one of any length in a few weeks. A business golf outing occupied me last Saturday. The 1st golf round in 2 years, but to my utter shock, I only lost 2 balls. Since it was a best ball tournament, there was no pressure, and we even used one of my shots; a birdie putt.

Frank, Ron and I tried to do a lap around town on Tuesday after work, but we aborted the mission 10 miles out when skies looked increasingly dark and menacing. Thursday was rainy as well. In fact this are got up to 10" of rain and flooding occurred in numerous places.  Hwy 82 was washed out and needs to be repaired before it can be re opened.

This morning, most club members were probably at The Waters for the KidOne ride, but after a couple of charity paid outings recently, I opted for a non paying ride. Michelle and Jim came out as well to Pintlala, as did 2 new faces (new to me anyway) Jamie and Mike. They belong to the club, they said, but don't ride with us. I've seen them on our Ramer runs, as they live there and ride by themselves in that area. Jamie is will-o-the-wisp thin and floats up hills. Mike is plenty speedy too. They said they wanted a slower pace than the Patty-Bilee warp drive rides, so they came to club lite. They really needed Club regular. I am afraid they must have been in agony with us!

It was hot, muggy and breezy, but the recent deluge has greened everything up, and the scent of jasmine and magnolia was almost everywhere. On the whole it was a nice morning to be out, but we went out too quickly for me, and then had head winds. Tim and I both wondered where the "lite" of Club Lite had gone off to.

Here's Tim, I think I looked about the same, tiredness wise

Tim btw, has had another book published, "The Mexican Wars For Independence" which he handed me a copy of to read. I enjoy history, and he teaches it. I'm looking forward to the read. The jacket reviews are all positive, but are they going to print any other kind? :) I've been bored/disappointed with Lemond's classic "Complete Book of Bicycling". Greg was surely a champion bike racer, but he is not an interesting author to read. He does however agree with me on headtubes. He thinks smaller is better. He's kind of medium on seatpost stickout. Anyway, I'm ditching Greg and reading Tim!

Here are Jim and Michelle cruising up a hill, as easy as you please. No worries!

Jim told me they decided to take a break before climbing the hill. Michelle used the opportunity to remove and replace her chain. After the chain was off, she rememebered that her feet were still clipped in to the pedals. Sorry I missed the show as she windmilled the unchained cranks while trying to unclip, and do her best trackstand. Jim said it was really good stuff. Jim, after being one of the "we're going too fast" complainers, took the lead and pulled away at 20 mph. I figure that if I look down and see 17 on my cyclometer and they are pulling away from me, I am under no obligation to keep up.

Tim did some animal rescue along the way. Turtles are looking for mates now and one was in the road, all drawn into the shell. Tim stopped and put the little guy in the grass along the road side. Probably the same side the turtle left from, so he had to start all over again after we left!  Plenty of dogs out today, but none were serious issues.  Cedric looked the same as always when we made it to Ramer. Jamie went to school with him, as they both grew up there. Neat stuff. We took a long break at the store, and I needed it. I was just drenched in sweat. It was cascading off my head like nobody's business.  No Jim, it has NOTHING to do with wearing a wool jersey, hat, socks or briefs and everything to do with hot sun, head winds and hills and going too fast. I cooled down, had a blueberry breakfast bar and some Powerade and felt better for the ride home. I knew that with that much water loss, I'd cramp for sure if I didn't rehydrate. As it turned out, no cramps!

So that was about it. I feel like I'm back in regular riding shape, and that feels good. Hope to get in another ride tomrrow, but we'll see. It's Mother's Day, and that comes first. Final tally today was a hair over 40 miles at 14.7 for me and I was the LAST rider back to the cars. C-L-U-B L-I-T-E  People!!! Go slower!!!



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