Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More Snow, Still No Riding

Saturday might have been a good day to be riding, but I devoted it to kids activities. I got out into the backyard, and the ice crust was pretty treacherous. I went down once and slid halfway down the hill. Sunday came and dumped another six inches of snow, but it was a nice wet sticky snow, not ice. Although I chose not to ride, the kids, dog and I got out on an arctic patrol. Tramping around in the snow can be pretty fun stuff. My daughter said she thinks it is what Narnia looked like in the grip of the White Witch.

Back in the house I got the Monocog into the stand and replaced the 20t rear cog with a 22t. Always the easy way out. The chain was just barely long enough. I took off the plastic chain guard, and added a bash ring I had around. I also switched the brake cables to a right/front setup like on all my other bikes. I don't know if that is an affectation or a throwback to my motorcycling days, but I'm pretty happy with it that way. Finally, I replaced the platform pedals with a pair of Shimano 324 platform/SPD combos. The cog is ready to roll in SS mode, I just need to get out and do it.

I'm still going back and forth about either putting an easy 1x7 geared setup on the Monocog for road use or putting the effort into building up the Hercules frame that Rob gave me. The 1x7 is the least expensive option right now, because I have everything I need but cables to make it work. But the added effort of converting between commuter duty and SS offroad may be a joy killer. Waffles anyone?

BTW, the Quickbeam is sitting pristinely in my stationary trainer, being almost completly ignored. I don't think my indoor mileage will very high this season.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

This Bike is a Pipe Bomb

After the kerfluffle last year about the bomb scare in Ohio from a bike with a "This Bike is a Pipe Bomb" sticker on it, it is interesting to note that occaisionally, the bike IS a pipe bomb.

We live in a strange world.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wow! That was fast!

I hinted at 29"er news in the last post. I'd been lobbying the Mrs. a bit to let me get another bike, not really expecting much to come of it. Monday she gave the OK (isn't she wonderful), so I put in an order with the local shop. I knew there wasn't one in my size on the floor, and it would have to be ordered, so I really didn't expect to hear anything for a week.

Anyway, as I was leaving work today my wife called me to pick up dinner for the kids. The fast food joint I picked was COINCIDENTALLY right next door to the bike shop. I popped in to say hello and Tom said "Hey, I was just about to call you." There in the stand, getting the final assembly tweaks, was the Monocog. Yummy, yummy, yummy. I took a couple of pics when I got home, but the light was failing fast, so this one will have to do for now. That's Duncan, the world's most expensive $25 dollar pound puppy next to it. More later.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

No Biking Weekend

Although many of my friends were out having fun riding this long weekend, I was working around the house. It's not so bad as it sounds. After some exterior fun hacking away at the ice against the basement door, to clear it enough that it doesn't melt into the house, I came inside and secluded myself in the basement doing all the little tasks that have been piling up. The first thing I did was to unplug the kids video game player and plug in my old stereo. It hasn't been used since we moved here 4 years ago. Next I dug out my old albums and proceeded to geeze my way through the 80s and 90s while I worked. Psychedelic Furs, Stan Ridgeway, Joe Jackson, Alan Parsons Project, The Damned, Vangelis, Suzanne Vega, Colin James Hay (Men at Work) and lots more. Lots of non-cycling cleaning and sorting of basement contents followed, interspersed with both kids rocking to the oldies with me while they tried a few craft projects, and my own little bike projects.

I pulled all the components off the Fuji (RIP). Compadre Rob gave me a Hercules frame to try out. It has a small bulge in the fork steereer tube up at the very top. The bulge is above where the race sits and way above where the stem would insert to, up by the top locknut about 1cm from the top of the steerer. I took an old race and screwed it off and on with pliers a couple of times, then chased the threads. The race and locknuts go on by hand now, so I'm going to give it a try building it up. I spread the rear stays to 130, using the Sheldon Brown method. I'm going to have to track down some smaller tires, though. The 37s I have don't fit, let alone with fenders. If I keep the fenders I'll probably have to go with 28s, but I'll try 32s first. I'll also have to track down the right seatpost. Its not a 25.8, nor a 27, so It could be 26, 26.4, 26.6 or 26.8. The headtube and seat tube on this size 59 bike are much smaller than the old 64cm fuji. My fuji fork was about 3 inches too long. The top tube lengths are about the same, so if I can get the bars and saddle up high enough things should be OK.

I gave the Quickbeam a good cleaning. She's so pretty. On the Diamondback I changed (again) the chainring, this time to a 34t. This gives me a pretty good 34x20 gearing.

There may be good news forthcoming about a new bike. I hesitate to jinx myself yet. Just think 29"er...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Conversion on the Road to Damascus

OK, not Damascus. In fact I can't say I've ever even wanted to go to Damascus, but I've converted this blog to the new google based platform. We'll see how it works. Mike, Tom, see if you can comment now.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Snow ride in the 'Shed

20070211_10I found my way to the watershed on Sunday, tagging along with a group of folks who didn't object to the worlds slowest mountain biker following along. The snow which had all pretty much melted or blown away down in the Monocacy Valley was hanging on up top on the ridgeline. The ride was billed as "not too much climbing," which I suppose was correct for the watershed, but it still wore me out. I was on the Diamondback, recently rebuilt after several years on a hook in the basement. Except for some minor mishaps relating to mechanic's error (me), it held up OK. I kind of like this mountain bike thing...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Croisière de boissons alcoolisées

It somehow sounds more elegant in French, but several of us braved temps in the teens to hit up a couple of local pubs. I think there were 10 or 11 of us out there on a variety of bikes. My preference would be for a little more cruising between the boozing, but maybe that will take off as things warm up. I chose the Raleigh Twenty fixed gear, my perky little town bike. I admit to taking some abuse for looking like a circus bear when I ride it. But it is fun. The latest mods on it were chopping and flopping the bars to make bullhorns, and putting the original fenders back on. Works a charm.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Fred So Far

I was playing around with my Magellan Map software and had loaded all the tracks of my explorations. I hadn't loaded all of them at once in quite a while. Then I took out the ones not related to Frederick County. This is what was left. I have a chunk of the southeast to finish up, then almost everything to the west of the top of the first mountain ridge. Fun with maps.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sweet and Sour Ramble

This is the rest of the story to go with the cracked frame photo in the post below.

I was just riding along.....

No, really. The fine folks at Ride Lugged hosted a little ride to Thurmont, and I came along. Unfortunately, we weren't blessed with the balmy weather we had in December, but eight hearty souls made the ride out regardless.

20070203_08 Starting at Cory's palatial mansion, we wended our way north out of Frederick. We were almost cut short early on when some Granny Grope nearly plowed Cory and Starmer into mush. The evasive action took out Starmer's front wheel, so they jumped back to the house and swapped one out while the rest of us waited, and I once again saw the Outlaw headed out for a ride.


Plenty of stops to regroup, and a longer stop at a local philanthropist's for some to add toe and hand warmers (THANKS BK!!), and back out into the blast.


As we passed through Loys Station Bridge, my rear wheel was really getting wobbly. This is a new, budget wheel, and with my standard luck, was coming untensioned and untrued. Cory helped tighten and true it enough to keep me rolling, but we had to stop a few times. Near Thurmont, Mel and Christine were DONE, so I led them into town the direct way instead of the roundabout way the lads took to catch the last of the three covered bridges. Heading up one of the last hills, I heard the ping of what I thought was a spoke breaking (been there, done that), but when we got to town I checked and didn't find one broken.

We ate at the Thurmont Bar and Grill. The astonished clientele must have been puzzled by the outlandish crew that invaded their quiet little pub. The dining was accompanied by the dulcet tones of the local fire dispatch scanner blaring out, and the beer, burgers and fries never tasted so good.


The planned bailers had limited room for bikes going back, but Gary joined us there to do the ride back, and graciously allowed me to take my bike back to town with his car, solving two problems at once. Back in Frederick I went over to the shop to have a grown-up get my wheel right, and when putting it back on the bike Tom said "Uh, John, I think you have a bigger problem than the wheel."


Yikes, now I knew what the "Ping" was. I can't complain too much. The 30 or more year old Fuji was a goodwill purchase that gave two years of hard service. Now I'll be looking to replace it, so if anyone knows of a bike that is 62-64cm or 24"-25" in size and will fit 37mm Paselas with fenders, let me know. Right now I'm leaning towards some flavor of a Surly, maybe a Crosscheck, Long Haul Trucker, or even a Karate Monkey. Who knows?

As for the rest of the riders, they stayed cold and swung to the east and Woodsboro before heading back to Frederick, arriving just before dark. You'll have to bug them for that story though. I came back to town afterwards for a few more beers and good company. Christine and Mel get extra points for doing the ride out in the wintery blast and STILL being nice enough to make chocolate chip cookies that evening. I stand in awe. It was great to see some friends, and meet some new ones.

Update: I posted the link to here on the i-BoB list, and found I am not alone.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Every time I ride with the Ride Lugged folks, some major piece of my bike disintegrates. It's getting expensive.....