Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dirt Road Database

James at Ride Lugged has started a very, very cool effort to create a database of dirt roads. Blog here. Maps linked from there. Great opportunity to collaborate and leverage all this ridiculous technical potential of these interweb tubes. Get over there and add to it.


I've been slowly moving my photos from Fixing Frederick over from my own limited space website to Flickr. This lets me put the full size photos up instead of a 400 pixel size. I have yet to relink all the photos on the ride reports to the new location, but I'm chipping away at it.

In the meantime, I got out on Sunday for a short ride in Jefferson.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ups and Downs

You can't slack on your riding to one or two times a month and then go out for a 30 miler and expect to have no aches and pains at the end, but at least I seem to recover quickly. Since SSPBE was postponed due to the deplorable condition of the trails, I got permission to do a road ride on Monday. Yea! I'm slowly winding up the roads in Middletown and moving south. I went up to the interesting War Correspondent's Memorial in Crampton's Gap, and followed the length of Gapland Rd. through Burkittsville and in and out of the many small stream valleys which make up the larger Middletown Valley. Good stuff. More ice and snow coming this week, so maybe the trails will be frozen enough to ride. Some Photos are here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nice, Snow Ride

Actually, Ice, No Ride. Tuesday I was off work and going to meet up with Cory and maybe a few others to ride in the Middletown area. Snow overnight Monday would have been OK, but the weather just got worse all day, with the snow turning to sleet then freezing rain. We hemmed and hawed for a bit then bagged the ride. I ended up doing pretty much nothing all day, which is a nice change once in a while. Since I blew off riding on the weekend because I was planning to ride Tuesday, I'm behind my plans. Hopefully there will be some good riding this upcoming three day weekend, in between kids aikido, soccer and basketball and the inevitable honeydoos. This morning there was even more ice. I thought about going in to work, but once again opted for the telecommute. I like that option.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sheldon Brown, RIP

There is a notice on the Harris Cyclery site that Sheldon Brown has passed away. I didn't know him personally, but I had exchanged emails with him a couple of times, and I feel as though I've lost a good friend. My first try at converting a bike to fixed gear was made easier with information from his site. Indeed, I even used a model of bike he had converted himself. The Harris site is an amazing resource of biking information mainly due to him. He had been in declining health for some time, but this is still a heavy blow. The cycling community has lost a champion.

Reno Monument

I was able to take advantage of some nice weather and a lack of kids' sports activities to get out and ride. Once more I opted to explore some of the Middletown Valley, first heading south for a bit then northwest to climb South Mountain. I saw a couple of other riders out enjoying themselves and lots of motorcyclists taking advantage of temps into the fifties. I went up to the Reno Monument, and checked out all the civil war Battle of South Mountain info there.

Since I knew I'd be doing a hard (for me) climb, I took the geared bike. I'm trying some changes on this one.

I finally got a triple back on. Low gears. Yeah baby!

I removed the front rack and have the bar bag attached to a threadless stem below the regular stem. This allows me to bring the bag down and in, which seems to me to be a better location than stuck way out off the front, or down too low like it was on the rack. I can vary the exact location with length and drop of the 2nd stem. The stub bar in the stem shifted on the ride, but a quick tightening of the faceplate bolts fixed it fine. Placement of the light is now more problematic, but I'm playing with options.

To get that all to work, I put on a pair of sidepull brakes on the front. Ta Da! No more cable hanger needed, and now my front and rear brakes match.

I'm also trying flat pedals. For the type or riding I do on this bike, the minuscule efficiency advantage afforded by clipless is outweighed by the ease of use and walking advantages of regular shoes. I like it fine after a bit of playing around to keep the wider heel of my sneakers from hitting the crank. I'll have to ride a bit in all my shoe options to see which I like best. Still using clipless on the fixies for foot retention, but I've put flats on the singlespeed as well. A recent discussion on a local board about this stuff made me realize that people get pretty religious about rationalizing their equipment decisions, so let me add: Your Mileage May Vary.

Lastly, I added new yellow bar tape. I'm going to shellac it to try to match the color of the honey Brooks saddle, but haven't yet.

Friday, February 01, 2008


An ice storm just brushed my area today, enough to close schools because of the impact in the higher elevations. Since I knew it was coming, I chose to telecommute. Sometimes that can be nice. Today, with the kids around, it was a little busier. The view is out my window at about noon. The ice is mostly gone, the rain is falling and the creek is up. We had about 2 inches of rain, about half of our monthly average in one shot. Welcome to February.