Monday, August 31, 2009

Belated Badger post

See Pat's write up for the full story. In a nutshell: we overnighted last Friday at Badger.

I think this is my last Badger run for the year.

If I can swing another overnighter, I think it's going to be on the kayak, or to a different bike destination.

Patrick (not Pat) took these pics. That's Pat there sipping a beer.

I'm out

Wow. That's got to be some kind of record. But I'm done with the 100 mile diet and it's just barely past noon.

It's the caffeine that's going to do me under. I got a dreaded 3 AM call last night -- family member in the emergency room. That kept me up until about 6 AM, when I finally got to the hospital.

Afterwards, I made a good breakfast (emmer + honey + raw milk) and just had a great lunch (local beef + wheat berries + peppers/onions). But w/out the coffee I'm a zombie. Liza just called me at work and WOKE ME UP! Yow.

I'm off to Bay Market for some caffeine.

Looks like we're in for a rough week and I'm going to be needing as much caffeine and easy carbs as I can get my hands on.

Good luck to the rest of you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last day of summer

Maddie's first day of 1st grade is today. We spent a couple hours yesterday kayaking and hanging out at Fish Lake.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On bearings, a Shogun, and a bitchin BMX

Smooth bearings are one of life's simple pleasures. Our tandem is running a six-speed freewheel. I have this fear that some day, we'll be out riding it and the axle will break. The freewheel design, compared to the freehub design, is more prone to failure since the axle is sticking way out there without any support. So, I wanted to put a hub, with a freehub, on the tandem. I found a great deal on a NOS 7-speed tandem hub (threaded for drum brake) on ebay. I got it for $40 shipped. Nice. It has an OLD of 145. Our Burley has an OLD of 135. So, Glen, of Elephant fame, got the assignment to make our Burley have an OLD of 145. To do that, he removed the bottom bracket so he could secure the bike as he expanded the rather beefy rear forks. When he removed the bottom bracket, it sort of fell apart in a way that bottom brackets shouldn't. A quick consultation with Alex (knower or finder of all bike info -- no matter how exotic or esoteric) revealed that the early-model Burleys use a sort of non-standard sealed cartridge bearing fitted into the bottom bracket with a super-high-zoot-full-on-
anaerobic bonding agent. That's how I found myself at McGuire Bearing company on East Trent yesterday. They had this cool shit on the counter:

Can you find my bottom bracket? That's pretty easy.

Here's the Shogun I built up. My "back pedaling" muscles are way out of shape. Those are the muscles on the top of your thighs. I guess those are the quadriceps. It's great riding a fixed gear again. I love climbing hills on a fixed gear: they just force me to push up them so much faster than I do when I'm downshifting and downshifting and downshifting. I'm drenched in sweat when I get home and it's not that hot. I think I'm going to ride this bike every work day for a month. It really forces fitness, which is what I need on the eve of CX season.

Dig this Mongoose. This was outside REI earlier this evening. The rad dude (or lady, can you imagine??!!) riding this bike was not obvious as I scanned the store. Maybe he or she was in the bathroom or something. I really looked around the store.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stuff and other stuff

I built up the Shogun into a fixed gear and rode it around a bit today. Kind of fun. It's been a while; I'm not as comfortable on the fixed gear as I was a year or so ago. I did the top trail on Highdrive and I was sort of tentative and weird.

Here's the next five Elephant bikes, in their unassembled state. TT and DT use OS 858.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

100 mile diet

Radius map generated here.

I'm in.

Plan here. This is good timing, since I still can't shake the beer weight.

For the record, Hank inspired me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Newish LBS: The Bike Hub

My mother-in-law lives out in the Valley, about 3 blocks from The Bike Hub. This is the new Trek dealer in the Valley. A guy named Chris is the owner -- he was formerly at Wheel Sport - East.

I rode out to my MIL's place yesterday after work and stopped by the Bike Hub. It looks like a bike shop -- a new one. Looks like he's just scraped the money together to get the place rented and filled with bikes. Not a lot of finish or frills. Looks to be pretty straight-forward line up of standard bikes. I didn't detect a single overwhelming direction by the stock that was on the floor, though judging by the pictures on the wall and some other clues, if I had to guess the main interest of the owner it would be downhill mountain biking.

Dig this wheel truer. It was sitting on a table in the middle of the floor. I kind of like it. And I kind of want it. For dudes like me that just built the occasional wheel, this would be a dandy stand. It's made by ELDI -- the same company that makes the world's standard pedal wrench. German. Stout stuff.

This amazingly wretched photo is supposed to show the old Shogun frame. This is basement lighting and good phone camera combo for you.

I've been sort of jones'ing for a fixed/single thing for a while. It's been a while since I rode a fixed gear on a regular basis and I think I'm going to get the old Shogun going as a fixed. Standard build: Nitto Noodles, 32mm Pasalas. Good for trails ya know!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another production porteur in the 2010 line up?

Thanks to Jan via Alex for tipping me off. Looks like Electra is joining the big-company, porteur-esque bike plan. Looks like their calling it a Ticino.

Nothing on the official Electra site, but some bike shop has this page up, which is where I lifted the pics from.

This is great to see another big company getting into practical bikes.

I've never been a fan of the Electra style -- super slack cruisers just don't do it for me.

Although the design of this new bike looks to be taken from the Rene Herse photos in The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles, it appears Electra is still sticking to the ultra-slack seat tube. I have a hard time figuring head tube angle from a photo, but that appears pretty slack too. That said, there's shitloads of fork rake, so there's a good chance the front-end may handle nicely with a load.

Dig the cranks, a nice facsimile of the TA Cyclotourists. Or maybe they are TAs? Nice hammered fenders. Bar-end brakes, downtube shifters on the men's bike. Beautiful ladies frame -- not sure on the shifters on the ladies frame.

Geez. Nicely done from an aesthetic point of view. I wonder how the HT/ST angle will impact the handling. I hope Bike Quarterly can get their mitts on this to test it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vacation Part 1

I have a week off. But I'm staying close to town and doing stuff. Part 1 was going up to dad's place on the Kettle River.

Very little bike content here.

Well, except for Maddie's mastery of the giant trike. Once she got it figured out, she was able to haul a load (her 2.5 year old cousin) in the basket about 1/4 of a mile to my dad's place.

We did a ton of swimming in the Kettle. Which is a great river. And one of the last clean ones. I've been swimming there since I was younger than Maddie and I love that river - especially this time of year. It's cool and calm.

We framed out a sort of complex wall for my dad's addition. Note the angled top there. 17.5% to be exact.

Maddie drove the ancient truck. As he let me, Dad let her just drive off the road. Liza was not so sure of that, but she played along as Maddie concentrated on keeping us away from the (big) trees. Maddie is so much braver than I ever was. Not sure if that's a good thing or not.

We ate a shitpile of junk food. Nothing like having a small local general store just a short ride away. Oreos, Nutter Butters, chips, Budweiser, ice cream... good stuff that. Ugh. I'm feeling it.

Part 2 of vacation will consist of a couple day rides and at least one wheel build. There may be a bike build (bi-annual single speed mountain bike build) in there if I get the wheel done quickly.

Part 3 will be hanging with my brozers on the lake this weekend. Likely no pics or official documentation on that part of the vacation. It already has never happened. Knowwhatimean? Nudge nudge wink wink.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The lesson: listen to Jeff

John: wanna take the trails home?
Jeff: no, my legs are tired. Don't you have eggs in your bag?
John: yes
Jeff: uh... be careful on the trails. Ya know, with the eggs.
John: It's fine. see ya

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Midnight Century 09

The Results
Turn out this year was about 20 riders, with 12 finishing.

I took notes on finishers:

Tom McFadden (sp?) blazed the course at 6:20.

The group I was in rolled in at 7:55. This group also included Michael Sullivan, Willy Keane, David Goode, and Ron Dykes.

Second group, Ben Tobin and Jake McBurns came in at 8:12.

Then Jonathon Hawkins and Roger Young at 8:21.

Then Jayce Robertson rolled in at 8:44. I think he came in from Spangle via 195, though that's not verified.

Dan Nortondale came in at 8:49.

DNF'ers that I know of:
Pat S: to Sands Road
Patrick S to Palouse
Glen C, Eric E, to ?
Noah S, Theo P, to Palouse
Tom to ?
Gus M, to Spangle
DB ?

If you rode and have more info to share let me know. If you don't want your name up here, let me know that too and I'll take it off. FYI -- is pending as a place to provide ride details with gpx downloads and year by year finishers.

The report

As I assumed I would, I had a harder go of it this year, though I beat my time by a hair. I've not been riding as much this year.

We left the Elk at 11:59. It was 83 degrees.

Right at the start the ride broke up. Tom (the 6:20 guy) just took off. The last I saw him was when he turned off of 1st Ave onto Bernard.

From there the ride broke into 3 groups. I was in the second group. As we got to state line some of the first group was waiting. I kept going. My plan was to stop at the top of either the first climb or the second climb and do food so I just kept on riding.

The group shifted members a bit at this point as we climbed the first hard dirt climb on N Idaho road. Glen was over geared and really had a hard time pushing up the steep grade. Another rider, Tom (whose last name I don't know, but he's a cyclocross guy) really hammered up this hill. My legs felt ok but my stomach wasn't right and it never got right. It pretty much felt like shit most of the night.

It was on N Idaho road that we saw the first of many smiley faces left by Tom. On this road the smiley face was made up of pine cones. I was never able to get a picture since my camera has to "think" so long before it fires.

The descent into Liberty Lake was great. It's a twisty steep hill. It's fun to go down behind a pack of well-lit cyclists and watch the various cyclists descend. Pat flew down this hill with amazing grace and speed.

At the cross roads of Liberty Lake -- right before we started the next climb up Molter, we ran across a couple guys (Noah and Theo) who were waiting. They showed up to the Elk a couple minutes late and we'd already left, so they hot-footed it out the Centennial Trail and hooked over Liberty Lake overpass to cut us off. As we chatted, more cyclists came down the hill from N Idaho climb and joined us. We must have been about a dozen when we started the climb up Molter.

At the top of Molter, I got a call from Erik, who was asking me directions. He mentioned some names I hadn't heard of and I wasn't much help. I told him to find Molter: go to the west side of Liberty Lake and find the climb out.

Molter is a long steady grade that pays off with a great descent. We pedaled through and down to Saltese and connected with Linke. At this point, the our group solidified: Me, Ron, David, Willy, and Sully. We climbed up Linke then down the other side, where we stopped for about 5 minutes and shuffled water and fussed a bit. The next stretch to Sands Road was uneventful.

Sands is always eventful because you climb and climb and then climb to Bruna. On the descent from Bruna, David pinch flatted. He was running 28mm slicks. Although he only had one flat, David's tires made the second half of the ride pretty hard for him. He's a strong rider so he was able to keep it going, but unless your small and super fit and super skilled, I think this course requires fatter tires.

Ron and Sully were both on cross bikes, running about 32 or 35 mm tires. They held up great. Ron is a super strong rider and comes from a mountain bike background. Watching him descend on Elder Road down to Valley Chapel, it's clear he's got some skills.

By the time we got to Spangle Creek climb, it was getting light out. I was really sucking on climbs and the other four guys waited for me (thankfully). We rolled into Spangle at about 5:30 where we sat and ate for about 10 minutes. This was our longest rest. The sign at the bank said 59 degrees.

The piece from Spangle, over Jenson road and onto the Fish Lake Trail was rough. Jenson was really rutted with washboards and had sections of deep gravel. The FLT is a mess right now and pushing through that deep rocky crap after 90 miles of hard pedaling was difficult. David finally gave up trying to push his 28mm tires through the rocks and deep stuff on the Fish Lake Trail and bailed at Marshall Road. Sully, Ron, Willy, and I continued on the trail to Sunset Highway.

It was glorious to roll into Marron's and have a meal. Unlike last year, where just 3 of us finished and ate our victory breakfast, this year, teams of guys rolled in as we sipped on coffee and carried on. Each person rolling in was greeted with applause. It was fun.

Tom's time was amazing. That's a really hard course and I'm going to stop saying it's not so bad. It's bad. There's a lot of climbing and a lot of hard dirt and gravel. But anyway, I think the "Whoa baby" award goes to Ben Tobin who pushed his single speed 29'er over this course. I can't even imagine. If I had a single gear that would allow me to get up the climbs I would've spun out at about 8 mph on the flats. Anyway, Ben was all smiles and happy.

Great job all. This is my favorite ride of the year and I look forward to next year. If you rode this and I screwed up a detail or messed up a misspelling or if I missed something important, please let me know so I can get the details right for If you've got pictures, send them my way.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What I don't know does fill volumes


Last night was the first volunteer mechanic class at Pedals2People. I sort of hastily arranged it and one two of us showed up to learn about hubs from Willy. The idea with these classes is that we bring in pro mechanics and gurus to teach the volunteers more about wrenching.

I've always hacked my way through bike fixing. I break stuff; I reassemble it in the wrong order; I might read some Sheldon Brown if I get really stuck. Generally, though I know just enough to keep stuff basically running. Not necessarily running well or optimized, but just running.

Last night we disassembled and overhauled a Surly hub with cartridge/enduro bearings and a basic Shimano bearing hub. We looked at the guts of a high-zoot Bontrager that had failed and we finished by looking at Willy's Hugi hubs (a great hub, worthy of a dedicated post).

I've yanked apart and repacked hubs before, but going through this exercise with Willy sort of puts a rational order around the process. I learned a lot of details and I have some notes, but the big money item is my Surly lesson.

Let me start by apologizing to the people at Surly for being a total jackass who doesn't know shit. Not that they ever read this blog, but I dissed their hub and bitched about how I couldn't get the cartridge bearings out of their hub. If you read that post you'll see that since I didn't know how to use the enduro bearing puller I ended up bang and beating and heating the hub to get the bearings out. Then when I put the new ones back in, (this part is not documented), I put them in stupidly (hammer, etc) and ruined them. Then when I couldn't adjust out the play (because I destroyed the bearings when installing them), I bitched some more about how the hubs suck. I will go back to that post and point to this post for people that find it on a search. Now that I know how to remove and install these bearings, I'm looking forward to getting a new set of enduros for my fixed/free hub and getting my wheel going again.

Generally speaking: I really need to overhaul all of my hubs. That's my project for the next week or so.

Disk Brakes
I've had my Rawland for over a year now. And the front disk brake has always been super touchy to set up. I just assumed this was the disk brake trade off. Whenever I removed my front wheel, I had to readjust the entire disk caliper so it wouldn't rub.

Last week, I got to the point where I couldn't adjust the rub away. When I leaned on the bike and put a bunch of load into the left side, the disk would ring. Very annoying.

Enter Dan the Man. Dan Webber is one of the mechanics at REI. I explained my predicament to Dan as he gave the bike a quick shake down on the stand. "Have you faced the disk tabs?"


As I mentioned when I got this frame, the finish work on the Rawland is pretty standard for a production frame. Nothing was faced or chased and the powdercoat was sort of applied unevenly. For the record, Sean at Rawland Cycles, offered to swap frames out for one with a nicer paint job, as the initial batch apparently had a few boners in it. Anyway, the disk tab had a pretty sizable uneven build-up of powdercoat that made it impossible to get the caliper installed in a way that is perfect and true.

Dan faced the tab and I'm in disk bliss. I should probably apologize to Shimano now since I've been grumbling and bitching about how temperamental their disk calipers are, but I've not been too public about that -- since I think deep down I figured it was a frame issue. I'm glad to report it was only a paint issue and not a misplaced tab issue.

My buddy Patrick has the same issue on his front disk tab. Hmmm. He rides a Surly Karate Monkey, a frame that is also made and powder coated at Maxway.

See you tonight!