Saturday, December 19, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Going Bowling!

We'll be on our way.

The Cyclones are playing Minnesota at the Insight Bowl this year, which happens to be in Tempe, Arizona. I kept mentioning to Jenny we were going to a bowl game, and she pretty much ignored me until the announcement was made. The Cyclones were expected to travel to either the Texas Bowl in Houston or the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, LA. Apparently, the Insight Bowl committee really wanted Cyclone fans at their bowl and passed on Missouri, just like the Independence Bowl committee did. Understandably, the Mizzou fans on the way to Houston are pissed.

But good news for us! The wife spent a good portion of her youth growing up in Tuscon and really, really would enjoy traveling there. Let's see...5 degrees in Minden, Iowa and 65 in Tempe? Do the math.

So we bit the bullet and jumped on the Cyclone bandwagon, as it were. We put in an application for the Alumni tour to the bowl game the very same day the bowl was announced. The tour spots filled very quickly and we waited in anticipation for our confirmation. Today, the confirmation arrived and yes, we WILL be traveling to Tempe for our Dec 31st bowl game!

It'll be a great time. No need to worry about flight, rental car, hotel's all been taken care of. Just show up and get on the plane. Margaritas, anyone? :>))

Friday, December 11, 2009

Piles and Piles and Piles

The snow started Tuesday morning.

And it snowed, and it snowed, and it snowed. Then it snowed some more.

Both Jenny and I stayed home on Wednesday, attempting to dial into work. She was more successful than I, but I eventually managed to get in. Too many folks at home, not enough VPN licenses. I did get some work done, eventually. We managed to get up enough courage to shovel snow in the afternoon, after the wind and snow abated. We managed to get the sidewalk done and the large pile left by the snowplow behind my truck in the driveway. It made me wish for warmer days.

Yesterday, I braved the elements (<5 degrees, not including wind chill), loaded up the truck and went to work. Four wheel drive all the way, not even considering the possibility of dragging a bike out of the basement. Frostbite City! Vehicles littered the interstate median or off the shoulder, stalled or stuck in snowdrifts.

It actually got up into the lower 20's today. Maybe warm enough to try out my Nokians? :>)


Saturday, November 28, 2009

RIDE REPORT: Taking advantage of the weather

The weather has been extremely nice for late November. Mid 40's to Mid 50's, low wind, sunny. Perfect for a couple of extended Thanksgiving weekend rides. Yesterday, I took the Quickbeam out for a nice half-century spin through the Iowa countryside. Today, I pulled the Le Tour off the rack and with a bit of tuning, had it ready for another 35 today.

The Bleriot has been getting a lot of attention lately, so I decided to pull a couple of other bikes out for my rides this weekend. The Quickbeam was as smooth as ever, still one of my favorite rides. My favorite thing about it is how smooth it derailer (Sheldon sp) no shifting, fixed gear, easy to ride, floats down the road. I did have to do a bit of tuning before I took off. I noticed the left hand BB cup was unscrewing to I pulled the crank to tighten it up a bit. It's one of the cheaper Shimano BB's so the cup is plastic. Unfortunately, I discovered the cup was cracked, probably from the huge torque generated by my massive quads :>). I dug the defective VO bottom bracket out of my tool box and extracted its BB cup. Lo and and behold, it fit perfectly! Plus, it's made of some alloy so I probably won't have to worry about it cracking. I could have thrown the VO bracket in the trash, but now I'm glad I kept it around. You never know when some component might come in handy in a pinch. Anyway, it was a great ride that day!

Today, I pulled the Le Tour off the rack, since it hadn't been ridden for awhile. I decided it needed some attention so put it up on the bike stand for a quick tune-up. Lubed the chain, adjusted the rear derailer so I could use the Suntour downtube shifter in index mode (shifting was a bit off), pumped up the tires and took off. It was another beautiful day, even nicer than yesterday.

As I was pulling a hill, I shifted into the small chainring. I'd been running in the big ring for the most part and hadn't really noticed, but when it tried to upshift in the small chainring the derailer just would not move. No problems in the big ring whatsoever, just the small ring. What the heck? Anyway, I shifted back into the big ring and had no problems getting back home, and the issue certainly didn't detract from my ride enjoyment.

I had to put the bike back up on the stand to try and figure out what was wrong. Why wouldn't the rear derailer shift in the small ring, but work just fine in the big ring? I noticed while in the small ring the derailer cage was pushed up against the cassette when I was in the largest cassette cog...once it was in that gear it was just jammed there and the cage spring would not pull it back out. As I looked closer, I could see the problem. There was no B-adjustment at all because there was no spring tension to hold the derailer cage away from the cassette. The tab on the derailer fits into a notch on the dropout, and the tab was not in its right place. That means the guy that pulled the derailer off last to clean it (ahem!), didn't replace the tab in the right orientation, thus no B-spring tension. It was easy enough to loosen the derailer, rotate the tab back into the dropout notch, and retighten. After a bit a of adjustment everything was hunky-dory.

I really have to think about getting a new bike mechanic. Unfortunately, the one I have works for peanuts! :>)


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey, turkey, turkey...

Ah, Thanksgiving!

That turkey cooking in the oven smells really great. Thanks for turkey!
Thanks for my wife cooking the turkey. Thanks for my wife, in general and in everything.

Thanks for my daughter. Thanks for my grandson, who I'll be meeting for the first time sometime in March.

Thanks for my parents, grandparents, in-laws, brothers and sister, nieces and nephews, friends, good co-workers, friendly strangers, nice cyclists, and goofy comedy.

Last but not least, thanks for my bikes and the ability to ride them all on a regular basis.



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why I Don't Ride Carbon

Check it out:

Click Here to Check out all the Busted Carbon

"Crabon" is bad for your health, and steel is real! - D

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bowling for Eligibility

Clones beat the Buffs today. That means 6 wins, and BOWL ELIGIBILITY.

Yeah, baby!! Someone in the state of Iowa needs to celebrate, 'cause I don't think the Hawkeye fans are...


P.S. I like the classic, strutting CY

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cycling In Omaha

This article showed up in the Omaha World Herald today. Good reading.

Click Here to Read This Article

Monday, November 9, 2009

Understanding the bike obsession

A coworker asked me about RAGBRAI today.

Of course, he started it casually. Hey, I hear you ride RAGBRAI. Sure! I've ridden it the past couple of years. Haven't ever ridden the whole thing, but I plan on doing that sometime in the near future, maybe next year. He seemed to be focusing more on the party aspect...partying all night, got up at noon, saw all kinds of weird stuff...etc. Nothing wrong with that, it's all part of the experience. Us old guys partied pretty hard, too. Went to bed at 10, got up at 6 and hit the road at 7. Rode our asses off and done by early afternoon. Who hoo!

He asked me how I trained. "Trained?", I said. "Heck, I ride all year!"

A funny look crossed his face. That's when I knew I'd lost him.

I crossed over. Before the 'training' comment, I was just a casual pedaler out looking for fun. Now, I turned into some mega-miling, tree-hugging, environmentalist rhetoric-spewing, lycra-wearing, critical-mass riding anti-car owning cycling nutjob trying to save the world from Big Oil. Yeek. I started to tell him about my commute but by that time he was already headed back to his cube. I'm glad I didn't get started on my laundry room bike shop, my Rivendells, or my six other bikes. Yeah sure, this guy's out of of his freakin' mind! -D :>))

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Hundred Mile Bottom Bracket

I just can't leave well enough alone. Or maybe it's just not well enough.

It was a beautiful fall day yesterday. I took the Bleriot out for a nice half-century run and it ran wonderfully...except...

Remember when I wrote about the squeaky bottom bracket. It has now become a clunky bottom bracket. On starting my non-drive side power stroke there's a definite 'clunk'. And I don't believe it's because the BB cups are loose. There's definite sideplay in the shaft now, after something slightly more than 100 miles of riding. I don't usually call people out in my blog, but I'm disappointed in the quality of this particular Velo Orange branded component.

I'm sure they will make it good if I bring the problem to their attention. They do sell some nice hard to find parts. Since I was ordering a Brooks saddle and Honjo Fenders from them I though I might try the bottom bracket as well. What I really should have done is included the Phil Wood BB in my Rivendell order. Yeah, it's expensive. But I'm 99.999999999999 percent certain a Phil Wood BB isn't going to crap out on me at 100 miles. I have one in my Soma Double Cross commuter and it is smooth as silk, making nary a peep. I'm pretty sure I could put 20,000 miles on it without a hitch.

It goes almost without saying that a Phil Wood unit is on its way. In fact, as time and finance allow I'd like to replace the Ramby and the Quickbeam bottom brackets as well...someday. Let's just call it insurance :>) -D

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Riding

The rain we've had for the past week or so has abated, and the sun is out! I managed to get commuter rides in Thursday and Friday.

Time for some cool fall riding. The temps will be in 60's, the wind is low, the sun is shining, the Bleriot is waiting. No time to waste, because the snow will be flying soon. Maybe we'll have a mild winter -D

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Oct 24, 2009 will go down in history.

That was the day the Iowa State Cyclones beat Nebraska at home. In Lincoln.

The last time this happened was in 1977, under Coach Earle Bruce. I was a freshman in high school at the time. Yes, I'm old.

It wasn't pretty. I had all my rally hats on. I've watched so many Cyclones games where they'd take a lead into the fourth quarter and blow it. A missed field goal. Stopped short of the goal line. Turnovers. Yet another heartbreak.

Not today.

My wife said I had this incredulous look on my face when it happened. I looked over at her and asked "Did we win this game?? Did we REALLY win this game??" The celebration began.

I work in Omaha, Nebraska so of course I work with a majority of Husker fans. One particular Husker fan told me we 'would have trouble' with the Huskers. I calmly informed him they'd need to play 60 minutes of football to win this game. I should have kept my mouth shut, since this comment unleashed a firestorm. They predicted victory by a wide margin. Another Husker fan interrupted a conference call to ask for my cell phone number so he could call me during the game.

The call never came.

The Nebraska defense played a great game. Ndamukong Suh was everywhere making plays, definitely one of the top players in the country. And playing at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln is never easy. We knew it would be tough going in, especially with our starting quarterback and running back (leading rusher in the Big-12) out of the game.

It was an ugly game. Nebraska turned over the ball eight times. The Cyclones hung in there, played tough, ground it out and left with a win. A wacky game for sure, but a WIN for the Cyclones!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wicked Blue Fixie or how I plan not to fall on my arse this winter...

The Nokian tires I've been patiently waiting for have arrived.

I took these things out of the box, and they looked wicked. No kidding, aggressive tread and carbide spikes? Wicked. Wicked lugged sharp spiked Finlandian tires. Yes, from Finland. Experts on what works and doesn't work in the snow and ice.

160 carbide ice spikes buried in deep lugged tires. They smelled awesomely rubbery when they came out of the box. The rubber seems nice and soft, and I assume softer rubber gives better traction in the snow and ice. We'll find out!

The QBF was all ready for tire and tube installation. The wheels were badly out of true, loose spokes and all! An afternoon session of cleaning up and truing fixed that. Before...

And after!

Snow and Ice?? Bring it on!!! -D

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Salted Nut Rolls and Roasted Rubber

Took the Ramby out for a couple of hours today. I had to work, so I took the bike with me and rode after work. Not too many folks out.

Last Saturday I was riding through Underwood and stopped at the Mini Mart for a soda and a salted nut roll. Salted nut roll, breakfast of champions!

Anyway, I saw this black Buick Grand National puttering around. He was on a side street adjacent to the Mini mart...he'd creep forward a few inches, stop, creep forward, just generally looked suspicious. I guessed what he was up to. He slowly turned around in the intersection and stopped, right in the middle of the highway. If I was thinking, I would have had my cell out recording this in video mode.

I heard the engine rev, and the rear tires started spinning. I saw one hell of a burnout, smoke rolling off the rear tires, engine bellowing (as much as a turbocharged Buick V6 can bellow). It was a good one. The tire smoke cloud hung there for at least two or three minutes, since there wasn't much wind. When I resumed my ride, I stopped and looked at the nice melted pile of rubber he left on the road. Sweet! Glad it wasn't my car, or my tires. It would have been more entertaining if he would have broken or blown something, or a cop would have come around the corner mid-burnout. I saw the same car later, pulled off the side of the road...then pulling back on slowly puttering down the highway. I lost sight of him and I didn't see it, but I swear I heard him doing another burnout, and I know I smelled more tire smoke.

Can't do that on my Ramby! :>) -D

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chopped, flopped, and single-speeded Nishiki

Patrick sent me a pic of his Nishiki single-speed upgrade. Now that's postable material!

Patrick says:

Check out the Nishiki!!! I spent 20 bucks on this bike. The rest of it was elbow.
-stole what looks like a SS from crankset (but is really a double with a guard) from my wife's bike and put the original from the nishiki on hers. She's actually getting the better end of the deal, but it's a win/win because her crank looks better on the NIshiki and give a better chainline.

-Old brown b17 I've owned for a while. Giving it to my friend on "permanent loan". -brooks tape from the bomba. Looks great on this bike.

-I chopped and flipped the original drop bars that came with the Nishiki and dumped the cheesy dirty white brake levers for some old shimano aero's I've had laying around. Looks clean, don't you think?

-dumped the 6 speed freewheel and put on a 17t freewheel in the back. -big time clean up, repacked the bearings on both wheels and headset. steel wool to corrosion on brakes, etc.

Great job, Patrick! :>) -Dwight

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain, no Ride!

I'm wanting to ride, but it's going to be raining and cold most of the week. Cold, ok. Rain I can deal with. Cold and rain? Nah. The weekend looks to be nice, though. Looks like a half-century Bleriot run, at least :>)

BTW, I've ordered some Nokian Hakkepellitta W106 studded bicycle tires. Now say that three times fast! :>) They're going on the QBF, my dedicated winter bike. Now I won't be falling on my ass behind buses full of school kids. More on the tires, later -D

Sunday, October 11, 2009

On the Road!

The inaugural Bleriot ride has come and gone! Note the expression on my face, a.k.a. 'shit eating grin' :>)

It's a great ride! I got it to this riding state (no rack, fenders, other accessories) just to give it a try. I spent all of last Saturday, and a decent chunk of last Sunday getting the remainder of the parts hung on the bike. I've done three shakedown rides so far, 10 miles, 20 miles, and 25. I think I've worked most of the kinks out. Several minor issues:

There was a light (but noticeable) high pitched squeal coming from the bottom bracket area from the first ride. It sounded like a rubber seal contacting metal. I think that's worked itself out... so I'll chalk that up to new component 'break in'. There was also an old rocking chair creak coming from the stem area whenever I stood to crank myself up some of the bigger hills around here. That was solved by pulling the stem out and giving it a nice coat of Phil grease.

Also, note this bike has vertical drop outs. Of course, the chain was almost one link off, meaning that I was just a couple of thousandths of an inch too short to make the chain fit without adding a half link, graciously provided by my LBS. Of course, this made the chain too long and necessitated the addition of a chain tensioner. I chose the Surly Singleator.

Two springs come with the Singleator, a 'push up' and a 'push down'. Push up is prefereable since it gives more chain wrap, and less of chance for chain skip when you are really cranking hard. Push up was not an option here...the chain was just too long, even with the chain as short as possible using the half-link setup. As I was riding my second shakedown, I experienced the grind-thunk-crunch-jerk while cranking hard which I could either attribute to chain skip or shifter adjustment. I adjusted my shifter cable to allow for settling in/new cable stretch and cranked up the spring tension on the Singleator. This seems to have fixed the issue, and I had no problems on my today's 25 mile ride.

More pics!

How do I shift this beast? With the Jtek Nexus/Alfine bar end shifter of course! Since this particular frame came with downtube cable stops, this was a no brainer. It made cable routing extra smooth, and with brifter cable adjusters on the stops it made it extra easy to dial in the shift cable adjustment. And it works 'n go. No pedaling necessary to shift with the Nexus hub, either. You can be sitting still, just click to the desired ratio and crank away.

I haven't yet wrapped the bars. For now, I think the bike looks great without bar wrap. In any case, I needed to plug the left end of my dirt drops :>). This was easily accomplished with a handy wine cork...courtesy of my lovely wife. I helped empty the bottle!

Here's the bike finished, with all the good stuff attached. Mark's rack on the front, with Lumotec light attached. Hammered Honjo fenders, Rivendell Sackville seat bag.

My impressions? This sucker is heavy, but not in a bad way. The generator hub and Nexus shifting system aren't lightweights. It's not meant to be a fast road bike, and doesn't feel that way either. I rode one of my hillier rides with it today and didn't drop under 3rd gear, and 8th gear is sufficiently high enough not to spin out on the downhills. Shifting the Nexus hub is dreamy, just click and go. Most times, changing ratios is virtually immediate, no clunking, no grinding, no muss, no fuss.

I know Patrick is interested in the generator lighting. I currently own a rechargeable battery lighting system, a 4w Nite Flux LED I transfter from bike to bike. It is bright, focused with a bluish beam. In high mode, it is plenty bright and reaches out a long way. I took the Bleriot out a couple of nights ago, taking the battery powered light with me. I ran both lights side by side, LED Nite Flux on the left and generator hub halogen Lumotec on the right.

The LED light is definitely brighter in high beam mode. The halogen light projects a yellowish beam, and the pattern is more dispersed. This light is quite sufficient at speed, but you need to be moving a bit faster than walking pace to generate enough current for a decent steady light. My Lumotec is 'Mit Standlicht' (yes, that means 'With Standlight'). It has a small LED below the halogen bulb which stays on for approximately 10 minutes, charged by a capacitor while riding. So when you stop, you're not left completely in the dark. It's enough for a decent night light, but not much else. While the light is on, you will feel some resistance and a low frequency vibration from the generator hub. It's nothing like the whine from a rear wheel bottle generator, for sure...and it won't eat up your tire sidewall. If you're going to do lots of night riding, go for it! You won't need to worry about batteries, and the standlight is definitely a nice touch when you are standing still. However, if I were going on a multi-day ride I'd take a battery powered light with me, just in case. It was nice to have it mounted when I wanted some extra lighting power, especially at low speeds or when I was standing still.

These are my initial impressions so far. I'm sure I'll have more insights as I continue riding it but now so far, so great! -D :>))

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shakin' all over

I was gyrating like Vince Taylor

Riding the QBF last week, I noticed a low speed shimmy in the front wheel. I really hadn't ever noticed it before, but it was pronounced enough that I began to take notice. I actually stopped on the homeward leg of my commute and took a very close look at my frame and fork, because I thought something might be fractured. Nope. And the front wheel seemed to be decently true.

However, when I spun the rear wheel...yowza. It was as crooked as a dog's hind leg. I'd like to say because of the massive torque generated by my T-Rex sized quads, the hub twisted the spokes and pulled the rim into the shape of a wobbly potato chip. Most likely, it was the weight of my massive ass and loads of crap I lug to work during the week.

The wheels on the QBF probably aren't the highest quality, and they may be machine-built. In any case, I think I might take a shot at tweaking them back into shape. -D

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fixie Season

The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are beginning to turn...

Yup. Time to break out the Quickie Blue 'Winter training bike'. The last couple of commutes have been on the QBF. It had been sitting for a while, since I was busy riding the Double Cross, my 29'er, and the other two Schwinns to work. It looked a bit forlorn and neglected sitting there, and since the mercury was dipping into the low 50's morning wise, thought I should at least give it a spin.

QBF Maintenance: put up on bike stand, notice chain is a bit slack. Loosen rear wheel nuts and take out slack. Dribble wax based lube on chain. Squeeze front brake handle, it works. Pump up tires. Done.

And just like that, we're off. Occasionally, I have to remember that this bike does not freewheel, and you can't just decide to stop pedaling to coast. I relax, but the pedal comes back around and that darn bike just won't let me. Pedal faster, dammit!

I'm not as fast on my fixie. I notice this since I leave the parking lot about the same time each day no matter which bike I'm riding. I always seem to arrive 10 minutes or so later on my fixie, which means I'M JUST NOT PEDALING FAST ENOUGH. Maybe I'm a little more relaxed on this bike, but it seems like I'm always working harder to achieve that relaxed riding state.

Last year whilst winter riding, I wiped out on some black ice behind a busload of school kids. They didn't seem to notice, but I never noticed anything when I rode the school bus in the morning either...I was too groggy and bleary eyed to care or my eyes were just closed. I'm wondering about a nice pair of studded Nokians on the QBF...yeah...then it'd be a true winter bike. Does that seem a bit wacky? Nah.

I grabbed a couple of more components for the Bleriot. I picked up the J-Tek Nexus bar-end shifter and some pedals from Harris Cyclery. I was going to order the shifter directly from the J-Tek website, and was quite surprised to see a notice posted stating that J-Tek Engineering was suspending operations. The owner has some health problems and has decided to shut down for a while until things improve. I hope he gets better soon...first things first and take care of yourself! -D

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Corporate Cup Run 2009

Did it again. I ran the Omaha Corporate Cup Run.

It's the only organized run I do anymore. When I lived in Kansas City, I was running at least a 5K nearly every weekend. After I moved to Omaha, I ran a few other runs but the frequency dropped dramatically because, well, there just weren't as many. I believe I started running the Corporate Cup in 1996, and I've done it every year since then without fail. Here's how it usually works.

About a month or so before, I think about running to get my muscles in some kind of running shape. I know through experience that biking doesn't cut's a different set of muscles altogether. I've biked pretty regularly before runs thinking it would get me in shape for the run, and I'd be so sore after I could hardly walk for several days. The last few years, I've always tried to run a few times just to make sure the old running muscles still kinda sorta worked. Stretching always seems to help as well.

I've really improved my times over the last couple of years (under an hour), not just because of training and stretching...but making sure I thoroughly hit the john before I take off. That porta potty stop halfway through the race always seems to kill off my times, a bit. One year I was standing in line - I was next and a fellow that was in dire straits asked me if he could cut in front of me. I told him sure, but it'd cost him. He handed me a $5 bill! I certainly didn't turn it down, and I figured I could pinch up another minute or two. Easy money.

The run usually starts around 8 am or so, on a Sunday morning. Who in their right mind gets up early to run on a Sunday? At least 10,000 corporate Stooges, nyuk nyuk nyuk :>) I usually try to time it so I don't have to stand around too long, a few minutes of stretching, yawning, and farting. My lovely wife has always driven me and dropped me off so it's easy. What a woman!

They have a seeded runner section which always goes first. I've never been seeded, although I am getting a bit seedy. Then the rest of the 10K runners go (including my fat, slow ass), followed by the 2 mile walkers, strollers, kids, dogs and other assorted farm animals. I usually start out with a slow, loping limp and end up with a somewhat faster, hopping, pigeon toed hobble. People are weaving, jumping, dodging, tripping. You try to avoid ramming into the walkers that inevitable get mixed into the runner's start, and try to avoid tripping from the faster runners who step on the backs of your shoes. I always stop and get a cup of water at the 2 mile and 4 mile marks, and have always choked it down without puking. I try to keep a steady pace to keep ahead of the 80 year old runner who always inevitably passes me and makes me feel like a lumbering hippopotamus.

As I get toward the end I always try to focus on someone that's slower than I. Maybe that mom pushing that stroller with twins, or the octogenarian with the lower-leg prosthesis. It makes me feel great when I blaze past them, spitting and wheezing, one shoe untied. As I round the corner for that last sprint towards the finish, some flaxen haired youth usually flies past me no matter how hard I think I'm sprinting...I do it just to impress my wife who's standing on the sidelines, phone at the ready to call 911. Medic! I stumble and trip across the finish line, nearly taking out several race volunteers.

About a half-hour later, after I catch my breath my wife finds me and we go get our free breakfast of bananas, bagels, and donuts washed down with a gallon or so of water. Since my employer is right there downtown I hit the fitness center showers and we head for shopping, or home depending on whether I'm still ambulatory.

I get up the next morning, sore as all hell and hardly able to walk. I curse myself for not training enough for the run, and always question why I still do this every year.

Then next September rolls around, and there I am, standing at the start line. Glutton for punishment! -D

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Romulus for Sale (no, it's not mine)

I e-mailed Patrick today. I had to tell him about the 61cm Romulus for sale on the Riv website. I'm sure it won't stay there for long, but man...if only I had unlimited funds and unlimited space. Another bike? I'd be sleeping in the yard for sure!

On with the Bleriot Build! I rec'd an order from Velo Orange including a nice Brooks flyer special seat, crank, chain, bottom bracket, and other assorted bits. I installed the seat so I could sit on Bleriot for the first time, and notice I was reaching a bit farther than I'd expect. Come to find out, I'd ordered a 12cm stem, while my other two Rivs have 11cm stem. And yes, that centimeter makes a difference! Think I'll either sell or exchange the stem for a shorter one. In the meantime, I stopped at the LBS to order some chain half-links and a Surly Singleator for chain tensioning. Things are starting to shape up! -D

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Some Days

All I wanna do is sing and dance. -D

Monday, September 14, 2009

FOOTBALL, Bleriot, Winter Biking and Singletrack

Yes, football season is upon us!

Right now, I'm watching the first of a doubleheader on MNF. Patriots and Bills. Not that I care much about how pro football comes out, the wife and I are big college football fans. Great games on Saturday, especially Notre Dame/Michigan.

The Cyclones didn't fare so's hard to lose to Iowa at home. OU, however beat another ISU 64-0, so the weekend games weren't a total loss. Looking forward to most of the Big 12 games.

The build progresses. I put in an order with Velo Orange for most of the remainder of the parts I need (saddle, cranks, chain, brake levers, etc.) Still need to order the J-Tek shifter, but that's coming. I patiently wait for components to arrive.

Patrick sent me an e-mail saying he was getting his bike 'winterized'. He's setting up his Bomba for off-road action, and asked me if mustache bars were good for singletrack. I've never had mustache bars on any of my bikes, but I understand they're good for general on/some light off-road use. If anyone reading this blog has used or is currently using mustache bars let me know what you think.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It appears to be rideable!

I felt it coming on last week.

Sore throat, I knew there was a cold on the way. Sure enough, on a holiday weekend to boot. Plus, the weather was way nice for biking. But I made the best of it by loading up on cold medicine (the non-drowsy kind), and starting my rear wheel build.

No fact, this one really went together better than the front wheel. There was some tweaking but the wheel came out nice, round, and true in short order. There was also resting and consumption of fluids throughout the process...I didn't want to overdo. I also installed the Dia-Compe centerpulls, and checked out the cable routing for the Nexus shifter. I debated using the supplied twist shifter, attaching with a Hub-bub bar end extension, but most of the builds I saw using that solution zip tied the cable housing to the frame...not an elegant solution.

J-Tek engineering to the rescue! They make a Nexus bar end shifter...check it out here

You know you want one

I can route a shifter cable through one of the existing downtube shifter bosses using an STI cable stop, and I can cover the other one up. Problem solvers makes a screw on cover just for that purpose. Not inexpensive for sure, but certainly cleaner than zip-tying a cable to my frame.

Next...brake levers, crankset, bottom bracket, chain, pedals, and seat. Stay tuned! -D

P.S. Fortunately, I was well enough on Monday to ride Ramby a half-century :>)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hey Patrick...

...those Nitto Dirt Drop bars look really good on that Bleriot frame, don't they?? :>)

The rare and elusive bars made it, along with the headset, stem, and a few other assorted parts. Of course, I had to install them ASAP just to check them out. The headset installation was a bit more difficult than I'd imagined. The crown race would not install onto the steerer tube, no matter how hard I pounded. Usually, all it takes is a screwdriver and a few taps. Not this time. I ended up using some PVC tubing I'd used for shooting 4th of July bottle rockets a few years ago attempting to drive it on. My lovely wife was freaked out by the pounding and cursing noises emanating from the basement. "What the hell are you doing down there?"

Sweating my ass off.

I took some drywall sandpaper and tried to sand the mounting ring down on the steerer tube. Sand, sand, sand, sand, blister. Pound, pound, pound, pound, curse. Sweat some more. Pound some more. Sand, sand, sand, sand, bleed. $#%%^&&@@!!

It just wouldn't slip down over that last half inch of steerer tube.

Finally, I got out the heavy artillery. Yes, I pulled out the Dremel tool and stuck on a sanding drum. After about a minute of sanding around the circumference of the tube I tried again.

Pound. Whack! Pound. Pound. Hey! It looks like it's slipping on. Pound. Ouch! Pound. Pound. Success!

After a quick shower, I assembled the fork and stem to the headset tube and slipped the bar in place. Boy, those bars look nice!

BTW, I just recently placed another order with Riv for a few other 'hardware' items, including brake hangers, cables, a Mark's Rack, and a SaddleSack XS Special. It'll be great!

One last thing...ya gotta look at Patrick's kick ass Bombadil, loaded for bear...


More Bumper Sticker Fun

Inspired by my blogging buddy Gravelo, I found some bumper sticker wisdom...

Caution: I drive like you do!

Strangers have the best candy

Save the Earth, it's the only planet with Chocolate

No, I don't have PMS. I just really hate you.

My mind works like lightning, one brilliant flash and it's gone

I didn't ask to be a princess but if the crown fits...

I'm a cruel and heartless bitch but I’m damn good at it

I brake for scholars, priests, and no apparent reason

Stupidity is not a crime so you’re free to go

" I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth!"
" Watch out for the idiot behind me!"
Buckle up... it makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car
Learn from your parent’s mistakes use birth control.
He who laughs last thinks slowest.
All men are idiots, and I married their king.
Friends help you move; real friends help you move the body.
Very funny Scotty; now beam down my clothes
Saw it, wanted it, threw a fit, Got It!!
Want to get laid? Crawl up a chicken's ass and wait!
Mothers with teenagers know why animals eat their young
We're not old people we're recycled teenagers!
Eternity: Smoking or Non-Smoking?
I wasn't born a bitch; men like you made me that way.
I love to give homemade gifts, which one of my kids do you want
They didn't let me out, they just gave me a day pass!
(Front Bumper) If you can read this, I didn't hit you hard enough.
0-60 in 15 minutes!
100% Irony Free
100,000 Sperm And You Were The Fastest?
186,000 Miles/Second: It’s Not Just A Good Idea, It’s The Law!
3 kinds of people: Those who can count and those who can't.

A Day Without Sunshine Is Like, You Know, Night
A fool and his money are a girl's best friend.

A Waist Is A Terrible Thing To Mind
Abandon the search for Truth; settle for a good fantasy.
According to my best recollection, I don't remember.

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder...
Beer: It’s Not Just For Breakfast Anymore.
Beer: The Reason I Get Up Each Afternoon

Conserve toilet paper - use both sides.
Conserve water - Shower with a friend
Constipated People Don't Give A Shit.

Cleverly Disguised As A Responsible Adult
Clones are people 2

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.
Do not play a leap frog with a unicorn.
Do not put a question mark where God put a period.
Do they ever shut up on your planet?

Don't Be Sexist - Bitches Hate That
Don't believe everything you hear or anything you say.
Don't believe everything you think.
Don't drink and park - accidents cause people.

Elvis Is Dead And I’m Not Feeling Too Good Myself
Energizer Bunny Arrested; Charged With Battery
Enjoy life it's not a dress rehearsal.
Entropy Isn’t What It Used To Be
Eschew Obfuscation
Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?
Every silver lining has a cloud.

Follow your dreams, except the one where you’re at school in your underwear.
For a small town, this one sure has a lot of assholes!
Forbidden fruits create many jams.
Forget World Peace. Visualize Using Your Turn Signal!
Friends don't let friends drive naked!!
Friends Help You Move. Real Friends Help You Move Bodies.

Give your child mental blocks for Christmas.
Go Braless! It will pull the wrinkles from your face.

Graduate Soon! Millions On Welfare Depend On You

God gave man a brain and a penis and only enough blood to operate one at a time.

Gravity- It’s not just a good idea, it's the LAW!
Grow Your Own Dope, Plant A Man
Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is optional.
Gun control is a steady hand.

Help Stamp Out And Eradicate Superfluous Redundancy
Help starve a feeding bureaucrat.
Hey idiot- You're driving a car, not a phone booth
Hey man, you live in America now... speak Spanish!

Honk If You Love Peace And Quiet
Honk If You Want To See My Finger
Honk If You've Never Seen An Uzi Fired From A Car Window

I Do Whatever My Rice Krispies Tell Me To
I do work for food.
I Don’t Have To Be Dead To Donate My Organ
I Don’t Suffer From Insanity, I Enjoy Every Minute Of It

I don't drive fast I fly low.
I don't find it hard to meet expenses. They're everywhere.

I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not too sure.

Kids in the backseat cause accidents.... accidents in the backseat cause kids.

Life is not a garden, so quit being a hoe!

Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.
Love is grand. Divorce is a hundred grand.
LSD melts in your mind, not in your hands.

Microbiology Lab: Staph Only!
Minds are like parachutes--they only function when open.
Mirrors can't talk. Luckily for you they can't laugh either.
Mistakes are proof that you are trying.
Money Isn't Everything, But It Sure Keeps The Kids In Touch

My Kid Got Your Honor Roll Student Pregnant.
My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch.
My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I am right.
My other auto is a 9MM.
My other car is a piece of shit.
My other car sticker is funny.

Nothing Is Foolproof To A Sufficiently-Talented Fool
Nothing is illegal until you get caught.
Nothing is impossible to the person that doesn't have to do it.

Okay, who stopped the payment on my reality check?
On The Other Hand, You Have Different Fingers
One more repo and I’ll be debt free!

Plagiarism is copying from one source; research is copying from two or more.

Practice safe government. Use kingdoms.
Pride is what we have. Vanity is what others have.
Proud mother of a delinquent child!
Pull my finger.

Reality is a figment of your imagination.
Reality is a nice place, but I wouldn't want to live there.
Rehab is for quitters.

Santa’s Elves Are Just A Bunch Of Subordinate Clauses
Sarcasm helps keep you from telling people what you really think of them.
Save a tree, eat a beaver.
Save on gas, go fart in a jar.
Save the planet recycle an environmentalist.
Save the whales! Trade them for valuable prize

Smile and the world smiles with you, Fart and you stand alone.

Someday your prince will come. Mine got lost took a wrong turn and is too stubborn to ask for directions.

Sometimes I wake up grumpy; Other times I let her sleep!!'s what's for dinner.

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of the oncoming train.

The sky is always bluer at the top of the windshield.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
The squeaky wheel is often replaced.
The world is coming to an end. Please log off.

This car is constipated: hasn't passed a thing all day!
This car is designed by computer, built by a robot, driven by a moron.
This car is protected by an anti-theft sticker!
This is not an abandoned car.
This is the rebel base.
This truck has been in 15 accidents...and hasn't lost one yet..
This vehicle insured by Smith and Wesson.

Unless You're A Hemorrhoid, STAY OFF MY ASS!

Was today really necessary?
We are born naked, wet and hungry. Then things get worse.
We are having EVER so much fun!
We are Microsoft. Resistance Is Futile. You Will Be Assimilated.

What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
What if the Hokey Pokey really is what its all about?
What If There Were No Hypothetical Questions?


Where There’s A Will, I’m In The Way.
Where there's a will there's a BEER!
Where there's a will, I want to be in it!

Who died and made YOU Darth Vader?.
Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?

Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
Why do they call it a bumper if you're not going to use it?

YES this is my truck, NO I won't help you move!.
Yes, As A Matter Of Fact, I Do Own The Whole Damn Road!

You Are Depriving Some Village Of Its Idiot
You are driving to close I can see your bald spot.

You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely.
You are right where you belong, behind me!


You’re Just Jealous Because The Voices Only Speak To Me
Your Child May Be An Honor Student, But You’re Still An Asshole
Your honor student deals the best drugs.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Random Thoughts

I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can
think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can
tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly
involves me.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you
realize you're wrong.

I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to
have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and
sticks when they've invented the lighter?

Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're
going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to
be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the
direction from which you came, you have to first do something like
check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to
yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're
crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was

The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This
recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never
be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.

Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't
work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically
fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all
know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards
or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

There is a great need for sarcasm font.

Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and
suddenly realize I had no idea what the f*** was going on when I
first saw it.

I think everyone has a movie that they love so much; it actually
becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting
90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's
laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little
bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the
only one who really, really gets it.

How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than
take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear
your computer history if you die.

The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to
finish a text.

A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the
spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it.

Was learning cursive really necessary?

Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else
to say".

I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and

Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron
test is absolutely petrifying.

My brother's Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads.
Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I
inquired about the name. He explained, "Cuz we beat you, and you hate
us." Classy, bro.

Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all
I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod
and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up
to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong,

While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and
instinctively swerved to avoid it....thanks Mario Kart.

MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I
know how to get out of my neighborhood.

Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the
person died.

I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the
shower first and THEN turn on the water.

Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty,
and you can wear them forever.

I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
Bad decisions make good stories.

Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their
profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got
the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind
if I do!

If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring
would probably just be completely invisible.

Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go
around and say their name and where they are from, I get so
incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from; this
shouldn't be a problem...

You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work
when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything
productive for the rest of the day.

Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't
want to have to restart my collection.

There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are
going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me
if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I
swear I did not make any changes to.

"Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this

I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people
watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will
they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't
watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and
leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'

While watching the Olympics, I find myself cheering equally for China
and USA . No, I am not of Chinese descent, but I am fairly certain
that when Chinese athletes don't win, they are executed.

I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?
Darnit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and
goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the
phone and run away?

I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not
seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she
hasn't already told me but that I have learned from some light
internet stalking.

I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle,
then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising
speed for pedophiles...

Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still
not know what time it is.

It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to
answer when they call.

I think that if, years down the road when I'm trying to have a kid, I
find out that I'm sterile, most of my disappointment will stem from
the fact that I was not aware of my condition in college.

Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do
to with it.

Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car
keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on
the Donkey - but I'd bet my a$$ everyone can find and push the Snooze
button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first
time every time...

My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would
happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the h*ll do I respond to that?

It really pi$$es me off when I want to read a story on and
the link takes me to a video instead of text.

I wonder if cops ever get pi$$ed off at the fact that everyone they
drive behind obeys the speed limit.

I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or
Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw
they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words,
someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think
about it, and then estimate d that there must be at least four people
eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating
by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat b@st@rd
before dinner.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Morning post-commute note to wife

I'm having a heck of a time this morning...

  • I forgot my bike helmet, had to turn around to come back and get it. I wasn't too far away from home, at the top of the hill going towards the winery.
  • Lost a bungee cord, and my lunch sack fell off my bike. Luckily, the lunch sack fell off while I was going up the ramp into the parking garage, I heard it fall and immediately stopped to pick it up. The bungee was nowhere to be found, of course.
  • Went to eat my cereal this morning, got the milk out of the vending machine. Poured the milk on the cereal took a bite and yeeeesh! Sour milk.
  • We missed the Powerball. Someone in South Carolina won it.

By the way, it's my wife's birthday today. Happy Birthday! LLVE! -D

Monday, August 17, 2009

Front wheel, Dirt Drops, and crossed fingers

It was a dark and stormy night. Most epic novels start like that :>)

Really, it was just a rainy Saturday. Actually, not all that rainy but I was planning on riding the Corporate Cycling Challenge on Sunday, so I took a rest day. What a great opportunity to start bringing a few bike parts together into meaningful assemblies. Since I very recently received a shipment of spokes and spoke nipples, wheels of course came naturally to mind.

The front wheel came together first. No big drama here, everything came together quite nicely. A bit of tweaking, and everything came into muss, no fuss.

I didn't mislace or forget any spokes on this one. I've been known to do that from time to time. I double checked, just to be sure. Honest. I wasn't motivated enough to start the rear wheel, there's plenty of time for that.

However, some things just couldn't wait. I stumbled onto the Rivendell site Saturday and happened to notice a notice posted...someone found 50 Nitto DirtDrop handlebars sitting in a box hidden in a dusty warehouse corner. Nitto stopped producing these in 2004. I immediately placed an order for one of those bad boys along with some tires, tubes, headset and stem. As far as I know, I got the order in on time. I rec'd the order confirmation via e-mail, and when I checked today all 50 DirtDrop handlebars were sold out. I'm not at all surprised, and I won't be absolutely certain I have these bars until I'm holding them in my hot little hands. I'm sure Riv's shipping department will be more than busy packing and shipping them in the next few days.

They're gonna look really nice on the Bleriot. My fingers are crossed. :>)


Saturday, August 15, 2009

I'm not at the Movies

Why don't I go to movies as often as I used to? I was looking at some local movie showtimes and this is all I came up with...

• Bandslam NEW! Some kind a band contest. I've been to high school band contests. Not exciting.
• 1 hr. 51 min.

· District 9 NEW! Sci Fi, aliens, that kinda stuff. Aliens come to Earth and get stuck here. I think their GPS quit working. We are tired of them hanging around because they ate all our potato chips. R • 1 hr. 53 min.

· The Time Traveler's Wife NEW! Chick Flick Alert! She's a wife. Of a Time Traveler. Who has a time machine, and uses it to travel through time. He didn't help do the dishes or the laundry before he left and boy is she pissed! PG-13 • 1 hr. 48 min.

· G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra NEW! I dig a real American hero...G.I. JOE!!! but the movie sounds like a pile of crap to me. Maybe would go IF they were handing out free Joe action figures. It'd give me something to when I got bored watching the film. PG-13 • 1 hr. 58 min.

·Julie & Julia NEW! Chick Flick 2 Alert! Alert! Woman obsesses over Julia Child, tries to cook all 10 million of her recipes. Husband/boyfriend/Lesbian lover has to eat them. Might be funny, though.PG-13 • 2 hr. 3 min.

· A Perfect Getaway NEW! Horror/Thriller set in Maui. I wanna have fun in Maui, not get dismembered there. NOT! R • 1 hr. 38 min.

· Aliens in the Attic Is this animated? Sci fi? Kid stuff? If they're living in the attic, where do they go to the bathroom? Nuh-uh PG • 1 hr. 26 min.

· Funny People Has Adam Sandler and Seth Rogan. Rogan farts and Sandler recites fart jokes. Could be really stupid funny, or just stupid. R • 2 hr. 16 min.

· G-Force in Disney Digital 3D Animated story about armed rodents. Huh?? PG • 1 hr. 30 min.

· The Ugly Truth Chick Flick 3 Alert! Alert! Alert! Woman, brain and heart. Man, pee-pee and balls. Everyone knows this. R • 1 hr. 35 min.

· Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Harry graduates from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Gets a job, gets hitched, buys a house in the 'burbs, has a couple of kids. Worries about his golf game and his receding hairline. Wait for the DVD. PG • 2 hr. 33 min.

· Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen I am Optimus Prime. I am a big ass robot. I am here to save you, while spewing really corny dialogue. PG-13 • 2 hr. 30 min.

· The Proposal Chick Flick FOUR ALERT x 4!!! Guy hates girl. Girl hates guy, but in the end they are naked and get stuck together anyway. Formulaic. PG-13 • 1 hr. 47 min.

· The Hangover Funny as hell, but we already saw it. R • 1 hr. 40 min.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chasing Tandems

I shouldn't ride bikes with rear-view mirrors.

Tuesday, I pulled the Quickie Blue Fixie out of the mix. Yeah, it's my 'winter' bike but it looked so lonely leaning up against the wall, well, I just thought it needed a bit of bike love.

While heading down the Lake Manawa trail commuting home from work, I met a tandem at the South Omaha bridge road trail. A fit woman and man stoker, experienced-looking cyclists. I passed them as they were merging onto the Lake Manawa trail.

I just had a feeling. Nice flat trail, zero headwind. I figured they'd be closing the gap quickly once they gained momentum. Sure enough, I saw them in the rear view, coming up on my left.

I felt that old Neanderthal eyebrow growing across my forehead. Me not let you pass caveman Grok! I jumped on the pedals and surged ahead. Of course, it was a short-lived victory. It took them a short time to gain speed and momentum, and soon they coasted past me on my left. Did he say 'on your left?' or 'you are left behind, loser?'. Nuh-uh!

I wasn't gonna be dropped. No way. I furiously pedaled away, and managed to maintain a steady gap between myself and the tandem. It was going to be hills where I might be able to gain an advantage. They had to slow to turn for a bridge and I managed to gain a bit there, but they sped away as they circled around the lake. I mashed the pedals and spun furiously, legs and lungs burning.

As I was going into the home stretch, I seemed to be gaining. I kept at it, and since there are a few sharp turns and rolling hills in that final part of the run they lost some of their momentum. I pulled closer, closer, until I was closing on their back tire...still pumping away furiously, sweating, panting, cursing (quietly, inside).

I never did pass them...I really didn't intend to. I really wasn't interested in being first, I just didn't want to be left in the dust. I imagine these people were thinking 'what the heck is up with that ding-dong?' I don't know. The thrill of the chase? Competition? Maybe I just don't like to be passed. Old man can still pedal a bike. -D

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Progress Report

Since I'm calling the blog "My Bleriot Build", I suppose I should write a bit about that particular subject.

As I've mentioned, this one is going to progress slowly. There are just too many nice bike riding days and too much going on during the weekends, to find much time to spend on bike tinkering. I'm afraid if I get started, I'll get focused on bike building and miss out on some good riding and other fun stuff.

I finally received the Shimano Nexus hub from Bikeman. I had to wait a while for that one, because they were out of stock and I had to order a substitute. I ended up with the higher quality 'Redband' hub, though it cost me about $30 more. Since the Bleriot has vertical dropouts I got the special vertical anti-rotation washers, and I'll also have to order a chain tensioner. I'm considering the Surly Singleator.

I've had the generator hub for some time. I ordered that from Harris Cyclery, along with the headlight and a few other related bits. A couple of weeks ago, I pulled out my trusty calipers and made the measurements necessary to make the calculations for spoke length. I calculated the spoke lengths for the Nexus hub some time ago, since Sheldon's website contained a complete dimensional layout. The order went in to Lickbike, and I received the spokes just two days ago. Does this mean I can actually start building my wheels? Yes!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Fellow Iowans

Interesting August 6 Dave Moulton post:

And yes, I commented.  I will be riding farm to market roads until my legs fall off, and I don't care how many signatures the 'Citizens for Safety Coalition' put on their petition.

Petitioners: Please let me know which roads you live on,  so my cyclist friends and I can exercise our rights to utilize the public roads by riding them.  We'll figure out who you are.  Most likely, it will be the drivers that honk and/or yell and/or flip us off.  Go ahead.  We'll do what we normally do to rude drivers: smile and politely wave back! 


Friday, July 31, 2009

RAGBRAI 2009 Photos

Thought I'd get these out here for your perusal. I have a few more stored on my cell phone that aren't yet more to follow

Enjoy! - D

Monday, July 27, 2009

Where the heck am I?

Jeez. Been so busy I forgot to write.

Well, this will be a quick update. I swear, I'll write more later. There are so many things I want to put in my blog, and so little time lately. I feel I've been neglecting my reader(s), and I feel a bit bad. No worries, though.

RAGBRAI was great, and a good time was had by all. I rode Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. My wife surprised me by offering (tentatively) to sag next year. It would be great! She even offered to sag all week (yowza!) but I'm not sure how we'd hold up camping for six days. Maybe we start out slow, hm?

I'm still working on the Bleriot, ever so slowly. I finally got around to ordering the Shimano Nexus hub from Bikeman, come to find out they are out of stock. They have the premium hub for another thirty bucks, so I figured why the hell not. Hopefully they'll get my e-mail, since it's been messed up for the past few weeks. They have been having technical problems, but folks have been getting messages returned with 'recipient e-mail full'. I've been doing some electronic purging, hopefully that will get the message flowing again.

I've been swamped at work, which is a double-edged sword. Swamped, bad...job security, good. I'll just roll with it for now.

Still trying to sell my house in Minden. We dropped the price, and got zero response. I feel like we're trying to sell ice cubes to Eskimos here. I'm sure if my house was a foreclosure (read: significantly under the fair market value), it'd be gone in a week. Vultures.

I have RAGBRAI pics and stories, I swear they will come later. Even though I look calm on the surface, I'm paddling like mad! -D

Friday, July 17, 2009

RAGBRAI 'round the corner!

Sunday marks the first day of RAGBRAI!

I'll be riding Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. We will be starting at the Gene Leahy Mall in downtown Omaha, riding over the pedestrian bridge around Lake Manawa to the trailhead. Since this is my commute route, it's somewhat familar to me.

I made a list last year of the stuff I should be taking along. It may be somewhat informative, or amusing depending on your point of view.

flashlight lightsticks batteries koozie band-aids ibuprofen towel bike shorts bike shirts handkerchiefs headwraps gloves butt cream sunscreen trash bags TP ziplock bags bug stuff chair bars CASH +$150 shorts sleep wear t-shirts hat keens underwear tubes CO2 patch kit minitools multitool jacket rain jacket cell phone charger cell phone RAGBRAI wristbands water bottles pillow eyedrops toiletries moist wipes contact solution extra contacts glasses prescription sunglasses bike shoes socks IBU profen cream RAGBRAI materials and maps store list D-cell batteries Cash/ID ice food (bars, jerky,etc) flip-flops earplugs bike light plastic tarp bungee cords

It's a wonder there will be room enough in the RV to haul all this stuff. I have to explain a few of these items. Some are no-brainers...yes, definitely bring TP, along with moist wipes. Butt cream, necessary. Last year, rider Fred wore boxer shorts under his bike shorts and severely chapped his ass. We spent at least an hour looking for chamois cream so he could continue the ride. Store list? I have no idea. Earplugs, never know when the couple in the tent next door will decide to fornicate, loudly. Note I've mentioned CASH several times. It's amazing how fast it disappears on RAGBRAI (so much pie, so little time). Painkillers and food? Necessary. Lightsticks? Well, they're just so fun to play with. Beer isn't on the list, but it certainly is implied. I didn't break anything last year, but I'm bringing a full complement of tools, patch kit, and tubes and inflation devices. You just never know.

This trip we are tenting it. Although we have an RV hauling the gear, we are sleeping outside. I pulled the ole 'Ozark Trail' Walmart special last week and the wife and I set it up to seam seal it and just generally check it out. It's one of those family size tents with the external tent poles. Both of us struggled with it and finally managed to get the damn thing up. It's a few years old, last time I had it out it leaked, and it just generally looked (and smelled) rough. My lovely wife, whom is also quite wise, casually mentioned that it might be a good idea to procure a new tent. After much deliberation, I decided to pick up a 3-man lightweight Eureka dome tent. Set up is a snap, and it fits into a nice compact package. It should do the trick, and quite nicely.

Did I forget anything? Guess I'll find out Sunday night :>) -D

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Death Ride 2009

Oh yeah, this is definitely under consideration for next year. The 29'er would be great for this. I learnt of this from my old blogging buddy Gravelo, who unfortunately can't make it for RAGBRAI this year. He happened to mention something about doing Guitar Ted's Death Ride, and I immediately imagined the Motor City Madman astride some kind of flamed-out, super-macho, super-lugged monster tired mountain bike with antler handlebars, guns a-blazin', Gibson Byrdland a-wailin' I got you in a stranglehold bay bayyyy....

Rides down loose gravel and B-level minimum maintenance roads? Yeah, that's an adventure ride in itself. And any page that links to Guns America, the NRA, and SPAM?? KICK - ASS.

Now this looks like a good time!


Random acts of volunteerism

I got asked to volunteer again. While I was locking my bike up in the parking garage. Really.

So there I was, locking my bike to the bike rack in the parking garage and this lady walks up to me. Introduces herself as 'Susie' and hands me this postcard. It's for the Omaha Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 10K, September 27, 2009.

Jeez, I'm too big and fat for a marathon runner.

Turns out they need volunteers, and they want bike riders to ride along and escort the runners. Since Susie saw me dressed in bike clothes, with a bike helmet locking a bike in a bike rack, she assumed correctly :>). Susie asked me to go out to the website and drop her a line if I was interested.

It also happens that Susie is the marathon race director, and works for UP. So I went ahead and sent her an e-mail, asking for more info.

I figure if she's the Race Director of the Omaha Marathon, she might also be fairly high up at UP as well. Doesn't hurt to make contacts :>)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Commuter Challenge

So far, so good with the Activate Omaha Bicycle Commuter Challenge.

Since May 16th I have 15 trips logged, for a total of 405 miles. I've been trying to get at least two days a week in, three when I can squeeze it in.

An advantage to signing up for this program: my employer provides 'full size' lockers in our fitness center for commuter challenge participants. I can load up with clothes for the week, drive in on Monday to swap dirty for clean, and I'm ready for the remainder of the week. I don't have to haul clothes in the Carradice bag, which means I can ride other bikes not set up with my bag mount. The Schwinns have been getting a good workout lately...I've been riding the Tempo and the LeTour into work. I think I even rode Juicy in one day.

Riding in warmer weather has other advantages besides not freezing your hands, face, feet, and nuts off. No layers of clothes to wear, just put on the cycling shorts and a t-shirt. Less to wear, carry, or pack, thus less to hassle with. No ice or snow to slip, slide, and crash on. The trips seem to go faster. Fewer strange looks and comments from fellow employees: "You rode your bike today? It's February and it's below freezing!" More comments like "It's 90 degrees out and you rode your bike?" So I drink extra water on those days. And we have a fitness center with showers! :>)

Yeah, you don't know what you're missing.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Squeaks and Creaks

Rode the LeTour to work this morning.

As I was tooling down the Lake Manawa trail, I noticed a squeak while I was pedaling. When I stopped pedaling, the squeak went away.

Of course, when you hear a noise while biking, you immediately begin to diagnose the problem. Where the heck is that noise coming from? Seat? Handlebars? Bottom bracket? Hitchhiker mouse?

On the ride home, the noise seemed even louder. Okay, now I'm going to have to figure this out. I threw the bike up on the stand and started cranking. I immediately ruled out the bottom bracket, the sound definitely wasn't coming from that area. It sounded like it was coming from the rear derailleur, so I immediately assumed jockey wheels.

So the derailleur came off, the jockey wheels came apart. Into the sink they went, with a bit of degreaser to clean them up. I greased the bushings and shafts, smeared a bit of grease around the perimeter of the wheel and put the whole mess back together. During this process I noticed the cable ferrule into the derailleur was broken and I just happened to have one in my random pile of bike parts. Replaced, cleaned up, reassembled and back on the bike. I cranked the pedals.

Squeak squeak damn! (Bike, Bike, me)

Okay, where is this noise coming from? I spent the last hour or so fiddling with this thing, and I was sure it was coming from the rear derailleur. I know I lubed the freewheel, but it only squeaked when I pedaled, not during coasting. I grabbed the chain and flexed it.

Squeak! Drier than a popcorn fart.

I lubed the chain thoroughly. After two good squirts of Pedro's Dry Lube, the squeaking magically disappeared.

Note to self: check the most obvious stuff first. D'oh!