Tuesday, October 31, 2006

One Less Fixie

Like the bumpersticker says. I finished getting the Fuji back on the road this weekend. 1970s bike (Fuji Sports 10), 1980s front derailleur (exage mountain), crankset (deore w/ Biopace 48-38-28) and rear wheel (six speed freewheel), 1990s rear derailleur (STX mountain), and bar end shifters. It all went together suspiciously well for one of my wrench jobs, and held up for a 20 mile test spin in Walkersville and environs. It was pretty nice to be able to coast down Water Street Rd. We'll see how things hold up (including the rider) Wednesday night.

In pump track news, I've been a diggin' fool. The three berm base of the triangle shaped track is roughed in, with pump mounds joining the bermed curves. I have a couple of mounds starting down each straight, and I've started the tight bermed curve at the triangle's peak. I have quite a bit of dirt to move from the waste pile left over from the patio excavation which will be going into this curve. Once that is done I'll have to do 4 or 5 mounds left to do on each straight. Zoom Zoom! Sweet!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I've been digging through the parts bins to see if I could come up with a workable (and cheap) solution to my recent need for gears. Fortunately I have much junk to dig through. I've come up with a set of chainrings (biopace, baby), bar end shifters, and front and rear derailleurs. I even found a detachable derailleur hanger. I found a usable, if rough, six speed freewheel rear wheel on Frederick Freecycle, and if it doesn't work, I'll use the one from the Doi. After payday Thursday I'll pick up a chain and some cables and housings and add them to the stew. The only downside will be if the mountain(exage) front derailleur can't handle the 48t large ring....in which case I may be running a single front and six speed rear.....

Oh, and I turned the first shovels of dirt on the pump track. I'm starting with the bermed curves at the top of the slope. The photo shows a couple of locals watching the work. The test riding Princess already thinks it's great fun. I'm modelling it after this one in Stowe, Vermont, with a slightly smaller scale. I'll do the outer section first and see what happens.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Not much to report

Spending a whole lot of time busy as hell but doing not too much - Work, kids, house, etc, with a lot of thinking about bikes, but not much actual riding. This weekend is looking promising though.

SSO dislocated his elbow. Ouch. Send him you healing thoughts.

Check out these prototype knickers from Richard at Bicycle Fixation. Nice. I hope they make them in fat guy sizes.

I've been cleaning up the Doi Torii Tourer, and I'm just about convinced that it isn't going to work for me. It's just a bit too small. I'll have to get a longer seatpost and stem before I know for sure, but I hate spending money on something that might not work, so I'm starting to muse about my options for geared bikes. I could gear up the Fuji, with either an internal geared hub like a shimano nexus 8, or talk to my cousin about switching over the wheels, derailleurs and such from the Doi. Alternately, I could lace a three speed hub to a new rim and slap that on the Quickbeam. I'm leaning towards something using the Fuji, and a internal hub would make for an easier maintenance commuter.

What to do? What to do?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Some days it's all worthwhile

My daughter (age 8) had to write about her hobby for school. For someone who makes me want to pull my hair out, she sure can say the nicest things. I can even forgive the spelling and grammer in a first draft, it's probably as good as mine.:^)

First Draft Emily 10-7-06
My dad and I bike a lot together. We are trying to ride all of Frederick County. I ride the back of the tandume. A tandume is a two seat bike. The most miles I ever rode so far is twenty-six miles. We have tons of fun. Biking is my hobbie. My top three favorite things about biking is: 3. Feeling the wind egainst me. 2. Being with my dad. 1. Riding with my dad and the group. My dad is in a bike club. I go with him sometimes. We have lots of fun. I love biking.

Take your kids for a ride.

B & B

Banjo and Brewing, that is. I had a great weekend and learned a ton of interesting stuff.

Sunday I went down to The House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park, MD for a banjo workshop by Dan Levenson. I'll refrain from comparisons about driving in the DC area and rats in mazes, but the pace is significantly different only 50 miles away here in Fredneck. Anyway, the workshop was great. I learned a lot about the mechanics of playing and how to position myself more comfortably, and quite a bit more for a beginner. The intermediate session was a little harder, but I got plenty of good info to file away for when I can use it. I found out about the workshop on the Banjo Hangout forums, a great place for finding and discussing banjo information. Both Dan's workshops and the Banjo Hangout are highly recommended.

I was off Monday, so I headed over to Joe's for an initiation into the art of brewing. I helped him start a batch of porter for us to take to the Bootlegger's Bliss in November. Intriguing, and I'm worried I'm going to start spending on yet another interest. There is a pretty good payoff though. Thanks Joe!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nightmare Ride

The first Wednesday night Lights and Pizza ride was last night. I had asked Bill about it because it is advertised as a B ride. "Oh no," he said, "we take it easy and never drop anyone. We probably won't even get to the hills until it gets colder later in the season."

I decided to brave the ride. In a now familiar pattern , I show up and a bunch of skinny guys are standing around waiting for the ride to start. Don't any other fat people ride bikes? They all have gears too, although I would have been surprised otherwise.

Whoosh, start we did, at a pace way to high for me. I expected some hills, so I rode the Quickbeam, but it still had on fat(er) tires (37s) from Sunday's ride. Also, the chain was in need of lube after Sunday's water crossings. Squeak, squeak. This (and a lard ass rider) all added up to SLOW going. I was just about maxed out spinning fast in the lower gearing on the flats, so when we did hit the hills (and they really weren't THAT bad), my lungs were shot. Chris, Bill and John took turns hanging back with me. We'd regroup at intersections.

I felt bad holding folks back. I may have to rethink my group riding and contemplate g-g-g-gears at some point, if just for the coasting down hills. Heresy, I know. I also need to score some better lights, although the cateye did ok. It was washed out completely by some of the lights others were using.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Who did I piss off?

Man. Irritating day on the bike. I left the house for work at 6:20 and I wasn't 300 yards fom the end of my driveway when I got a rear flat. I hoofed it home and changed tubes, and had to push it to get to work on time. I made it, but the thighs were smoking. After work I just planned to take it easy going home, and was right by the smelly water treatment plant on Gas House Pike when it went flat again. I pulled a big sliver of glass out of the tire this time. I also found that the spare tube was presta instead of the schraeder I usually run on the old school Fuji. I stopped by the Bicycle Escape (right on my route) and picked up a couple more spare tubes and tried to ride gingerly home, but flatted again in Libertytown. I could have changed it again, but I was beaten. I called the Mrs. to come and give me a lift the final three miles home. I think the rear tire is getting pretty thin (2 yars old for a weekly rider), so I'm going to change it out. But sheesh.

Dirt Track Date

Sunday found me on a quest for pain at SSO's Dirt Track Date. Fixed Gear cross racing in the rocks and hills of the watershed. Full story here, but as usual, an awesome event.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Breakfast Ride

On Saturday several of us braved the cooler and overcast weather to do a breakfast ride from Lewistown up to the Kountry Kitchen in Thurmont. The Princess Stoker kept me good company on the tandem. We kept together until after the resturant stop, where Emily had the chocolate chip pancakes and I did justice to the Italian Sausage omlet special. Brian and I headed back to Lewistown on the short route. This turned out to be the best decision, because it started raining before we got all the way back and the princess didn't have a good rain gear. 18 miles and a few more roads for Fixing Frederick. Full report here.