Saturday, February 28, 2009

New-to-me LFB

Mark Knokey's Elephant. I think there are only two of these CX bikes in existence.

I'm making up a new acronym. Remember, you saw it here first: LFB. That's your friendly, Local Frame Builder. My normal LFB, Hairy Gary, is busy or something. He's not returning calls right now. He may be hunting or visiting his family in the mid-west.

I've heard of the local guy that built the Elephant bikes at one time and I've admired Jake McBurns' Elephant CX bike many a time. Anyway, I talked to John at REI about figuring out who could do the RB-1 work for me. He told me to try Dave at 2 Wheel. I talked to Dave, who said that his torch/shop room got turned into a baby room, so he hooked me up with Glen, of Elephant fame.

Liza's Fuji fork

Glen is close -- like 2 miles away. I took the RB-1 over there today and the forks off of Liza's bike. She's going to run v-brakes up front on the new Fuji configuration. I also asked him to braze on some barrels according to the Alex-standard front rack mounting points. He was done with Liza's forks in about 2 hours. The RB-1 will take a bit more time. That will be about a week, since I blew him out of canti posts.

He's made bikes for Serotta and Bontrager back when Bontrager had his own shop, so he knows what he's doing. He mentioned TIG'ing the cracked bottom bracket from the inside, to fill the crack, then brazing on the outside. I wish I would've asked more questions on that to understand it better. I'll get the full story when I pick it up.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obsessing again

What is wrong with me?

I was thinking about the old RB-1 in my basement the other day. After I cracked the bottom bracket, I took the parts off it, moved them to a new bike and stuffed the RB-1 deep in the basement.

It's a fun frame to ride and I just hate having it sit down there. Its presence has gnawed at me for a few months.

I think I have a plan for it. From a collector's perspective, the frame is ruined, so I don't have to feel bad about hacking it. And hack it I will. 

I think a quick bead of hot metal in the bored out crack of the bottom bracket would do the trick to make it ridable again. And while Hairy Gary is doing that, he might as well add some canti-posts and a hanger, maybe cold set the rear triangle to 135. I have a 650B wheelset laying around. Why not?

Why not indeed?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Shorts and sandals

The thermometer read 39F this morning. That's basically 40. Which is about 50, which is solid short and sandal weather here in Spokane.

Granted, I have two pairs of socks with my sandals, and I'm wearing my woolie leg warmers, but by the time I ride home, I'll be bare-pastey-legged and single-socked.

Bring on the crocuses!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bike scavenger hunt

I'm a JIT blogger...

Simon is putting on a bit of a shindig ride tonight. When I chatted with him a couple days ago he had cooked up an interesting scavenger hunt sort of deal. Complete with cheap drinks and prizes. Go to Fixed the Race to check it out.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

First fall aught nine

The evil off-camber ice section that was my undoing

I took my first fall of the year today. I have minor falls and dabs all the time. But this is the kind that registers as a "wreck," where it hurts.

A couple days ago on Pat's blog, I was carrying on about how I've not fallen this winter. I'm not superstitious at all, but if I were, I might attribute today's wreck to the boastful comments I left for Pat.

As I told Liza, it was a freak accident that could've happened to anyone. I was riding the still-frozen Highdrive trails. Going down some single track -- a tad faster than maybe was prudent, since I was on a bike with slicks -- and misjudged some off-camber ice patches. It was an over-the-bars-affair.

When I was younger, the thoughts that would go through my mind just as I came to a landing in this situation were something like: "crap, I hope I don't have to walk home now..." Now, as I get older, my thought today was, "crap, I hope I can still walk..."

Good news: the frame and wheels are ok. The only issue was a tweaked brake lever, which I straightened and tightened down when I got home.

The dreaded tweaked lever

Not as good: my left ankle has a small gouge that doesn't do the pain any kind of justice, nor does it encourage sympathy from Liza. And my knee is hurting more as the day wears on. Really.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Broke a spoke

I busted a spoke today on my 747. I made it home easily -- about 4 miles. I'm impressed by the wheel build, one spoke busted on the rear wheel but the wheel rolled good enough and didn't rub on the frame. That's also good frame design: having room for a bit of wobble.

Luckily I had a spoke at home that was close enough in length. It's not butted like the other spokes, but that's ok. I wonder if I'll have a rash of broken spokes now. What's slightly odd is that it broke on the non-drive side.

Fixed gear to eight-speed in under 5 minutes!

The fixed configuration

The evolution of the 720 continues. I put the Origin-8 Space Bar rip off of On-one Mary bars on there so I can haul the big front loads.

It's still an ice bike until I'm super sure that the ice is gone. Hence the studs.

The 8-speed configuration

But now, I can swap between fixed/free and 8-speed in about 5 minutes... assuming I don't have to change the tire. Come spring, I'll have all wheels wearing my favorite high value tire, the non-tourgaurd Panaracer Pasala, 32mm.

I'll also have a Tubus Fly on the back for the bucket panniers. I have very specific plans for the bucket panniers this spring.

These pictures really show how important the placement of the rear brake bridge is. I wish this one was just about an inch or so higher. When I run smaller tires, it's not so pronounced and I can fuss with the fender line. But with these fatties in there, I need every mm of space, so the squeeze spot is obvious.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Maddie's first ride of the season

At first she was nervous that she'd forgotten how to ride, then she jumped on and wore this smile for the whole ride. 

I bored the hell out of her explaining why the saying "it's like riding a bike" makes so much sense. She informed me that she'd never heard it, "What's like riding a bike?" she asked. I grab hold of those learning moments like a pit bull. So I carried on for at least two blocks about how "they" say it -- cause, you know, riding a bike is something you don't forget. Like  most kids, Maddie lives in the moment and tuned me out after the first 1/2 block or so.

Later, she went up a couple small rises and exclaimed, "Whew, what a work out!" And talked about the "fire" in her legs. Where upon, I seized the moment, "feel the burn!!" I shouted. Maddie just kept on smiling, so I took this photo and shut the hell up so she could ride in peace.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Riding the CX bike to work

My most beloved bike: a 1991 RB-T. I took the knobbies off, put a pump and a basic tool kit on it. This bike has been hanging in my basement since the last CX race a couple months ago. That's a shame because it's fun to ride in this stripped down mode. That saddle is a killer though: my bum is used to the B-17, but it's nice to have a plastic jobber on there that I can forget about.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Family picture

All the daily drivers ended up in a pile today as we straightened out our storage scenario. It's like a family event when all the kids and parents and kids' kids are there: it makes for a good pic.

I've been meaning to get our storage area squared away for a while so after the Sunday morning ride, I came home and took care of business.

(Obligatory ride pic - go to Pat's blog for a great write-up on our ride this morning.)

I should've taken a "before" picture. Because it was a mess. Btw: the magic number for the space b/t hooks is 16". I think Alex figured that out.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Which local climb is the hardest?

I rode up the White Road hill today. That is just a flipping steep-ass grind. I think it's only about a mile, but man it's steep. Even though it's shorter, I think it's harder than Greenwood. It's been a few months since I climbed Lehman, so I'm not sure if White Road is harder than Lehman or not. 

My relationship with hills has changed over the years. After loosing another chunk of weight last year, I don't suffer nearly like I used to on hills, so they're not as ominous and threatening now. I've always been slow and I'm still slow, though not as slow as I was a couple years ago... there is very gradual improvement there. I actually enjoy climbing most hills now, even when I'm beat. 

My favorite kinds of hills are the long gradual ones. Think Washington Pass east to west. The short (or god forbid, long) and steep ones are not so much enjoyable as they are interesting mind-game challenges. Think Lolo Pass for a long steep one, or White, Greenwood, Lehman, Spangle Creek for the short ones.

Btw: if you are interested in a flat and slow breakfast and bowling ride tomorrow, check out the forum.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Liza's 650b'd Fuji

Liza has been quietly working away in the garage this week. Today she emerged with the re-worked mixte.  It used to have 700c wheels on it. She loves the cushy ride and not-so-upright position on her Rockhopper, so she made some changes to emulate this on her mixte. 

She took the 650b wheelset off my 520 Porteur. Then she swapped out the Dove bars for some cheap-o risers from the P2P stash. And voila... a comfy bike that is suitable for a skirt. 

She has a stylin' (but highly top secret) plan for a homemade skirt gaurd. Stay tuned on that.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Classic wool

A few years back someone on the iBOB list gave me an old Bridgestone wool jersey. These were classic Italian jerseys resurrected and sold in 1993. Liza has the Dutch colors. She doesn't wear this much, and I've never been able to sneak a good shot. But today I got this camera-phone pic as she was getting ready to leave Bitter Sweet. Score! It's like getting a shot of a rare bird.

Next item: this quick-release skewer bolt was a road find. We found this at the intersection of 26th and Bernard this morning on the way to Maddie's school. That's kind of a scary thing to find. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mindnight Century on the brain

Over the last week or so I've been thinking about Mr. Blaine's Midnight Century a lot. I don't know why. But I suspect it's the time of year. Last year as the winter wore on I was thinking about overnighters. This year, I'm thinking about long dirt road rides in the summer. And the best long dirt road ride I took last summer was the midnight century.

This year the ride is at 11:59 PM, Sat Aug 1. 

Some random thoughts I've had:
  • I think if you had to select a stock bicycle from the last 20 years that would kick booty on the Midnight Century, the 1993 XO-2 would be the bike to go with. It's standard diameter, triple-butted tubing, fasty-roady geometry, drop bars, triple chainring, canti-brakes, slightly-flared drop bars and takes fat-enough 26" wheels. 
  • I am slowly building up the Burley Tandem for Liza and me to enjoy this spring and summer. What if Liza and I really enjoyed riding the tandem enough to do this ride together? I ran it by her today and she didn't totally dismiss it out-of-hand. Promising or what?
  • Food. I'm going to bring a bit more food this year and not so much candy. I was on a candy thing last year for long rides. It's good for 50 miles or so, but doesn't hold up after 75 miles of gravel and dirt.
  • Last year the group was small and made a point of waiting and regrouping throughout the ride. If the group is bigger this year, then regrouping won't really work, which means everyone needs to know their way. I hope I fall in with a few people that share a similar pace as me and also know the way.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Morning Breakfast Rides

These are social rides, with a few hills to keep us warm, but generally the pace is relaxed. Today we did a little loop out of downtown, made our way to Glenrose, then across the south hill where we landed at the Scoop. Three of the riders did not know that The Scoop had food other than ice cream. 

Well. They do. It's really good, simple fare: bagels, veggie/vegan stuff, great salads, paninnis, breakfast and lunch wraps, homemade baked treats, good coffee, etc. And Kate came and opened up an hour early just for us, so you can't beat the service. 

If you're interested in coming along for a breakfast ride, or starting your own ride, check out the mostly dead Cycling Spokane forum