Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spock Sings!

I am not a Trekkie!

OK, so I own the original Star Trek boxed DVD set, and I've watched all those original episodes at least 100 times. There's just something about the 'campyness' of that entire series that intrigues me.

A couple of years ago, I was listening to online radio... to be precise. They had a novelty genre, a.k.a. extremely bad music. I listened to stuff like 'MacArthur Park' and Dolly Parton singing 'Stairway To Heaven', various William Shatner songs and recitations...and Leonard Nimoy singing 'Proud Mary'. It was gawd awful.

It's funny how these random bits pop into your head. Some bitter, bitter dregs of work sparked memories of a Spock ballad which was belted out in an early Star Trek episode (Plato's Stepchildren).

Here are the lyrics for "Maiden Wine"

Take care, young ladies, and value your wine.
Be watchful of young men in their velvet prime.
Deeply they'll swallow from your finest kegs,
Then swiftly be gone, leaving bitter dregs.
Ahh-ah-ah-ah, bitter dregs.
With smiling words and tender touch,
Man offers little and asks for so much.
He loves in the breathless excitement of night,
Then leaves with your treasure in cold morning light.
Ahh-ah-ah-ah, in cold morning light.

While this ditty was playing in my head, I stumbled upon this website:

Yes, the musical touch of Leonard Nimoy. This provided hours of entertainment, especially viewing what must be the world's worst video...the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins. Amazingly awful.

Live long and prosper, Spock...but please forget the music :>)


Friday, April 24, 2009

George Carlinisms, just for fun

Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman,"Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

If a deaf person swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap?

If a man is standing in the middle of the forest speaking and there is no woman around to hear him... is he still wrong?

If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

Is there another word for synonym?

Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do "practice"?

Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"

What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?

Would a fly without wings be called a walk?

Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?

If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he homeless or naked?

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?

If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?

Why do they put Braille on the drive-through bank machines?

How do they get the deer to cross at that yellow road sign?

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people.

How is it possible to have a civil war?

If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown, too?

If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?

If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

Whose cruel idea was it for the word "lisp" to have a "S" in it?

Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song?

If the "black box" flight recorder is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn't the whole airplane made out of that stuff?

Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?

If you spin an oriental man in a circle three times, does he become disoriented?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Old Ten(ish) speeds are x-tra cool!

The Turquoise Tempo made OTSG (Old Ten Speed Gallery). How 'bout that? :>)

Go ahead and submit your favorite old bike! It's easy-schmeezy!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spam Slam

I don't like spam!

Not that kind! My lovely wife and I enjoy our Sunday morning Spam Lite and egg sandwiches.

It's that damn e-mail spam. I swear, my quarantine box fills up with cheap Rolex watch knock off offers, Buy-A-Diploma, Get-A-Hard-On, please your lover, re:your website, Acai berry weight-loss offer, sexy underwear, make big bucks working from home, Canadian Pharmacy Viagra, Nigerian money laundering schemes, buy foreclosed homes for $1, buy gold jewelry cheap, sell Grandma's gold jewelry for extra $, female companionship, male companionship, naked supermodel videos, fully dressed supermodel videos, credit card offers, part time jobs for $, full time jobs for $, sell your organs for extra $, yada, yada, yada, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaada....

Note to e-mail spammers. Screw you. I will not read, open, peruse, scan, look at, eyeball, focus on, pay attention to, study, glance at, ogle, watch, record, view, investigate, stare at, click on, select, care or give a crap about the junk that shows up in my quarantine box.

I will delete, purge, wipe out, erase, waste, throw away, toss, chuck, heave, trash, boot, rub out, terminate with extreme prejudice, and hurl into the great dark void of nothingness your vile, irritating, space-robbing garbage.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Gravelo Inspired

Thanks man, now I can't get the Who out of my head...

Okay, but check out Pete Townshend windmilling his Rickenbacker, plus the kids on bikes at around the 2:00 mark. Now we're jammin!

-Pinball Wizard

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Sheldon taught me

I was looking at my Cyclofiend calendar, and noticed that April 1st was "Sheldon Brown Memorial Ride Day".

For those of you who don't know, the late great Sheldon Brown was an expert on everything bicycle. He was quite active on the Harris Cyclery website and published tons of useful and helpful information. I built my first set of wheels using that website information. I never knew Sheldon personally, but he gave me some very good advice via a mailing list. I had just purchased my Quickbeam and was riding fixed gear for the very first time. It was great, except I had some issues keeping my feet on the pedals. Sheldon 'SPD' Brown suggested clipping in, and it was exactly the right thing to do.

If you notice, I have Sheldon's website bookmarked on this blog and I continue to utilize it regularly. His teachings, and his legacy, live on.

Thanks Sheldon! :>)


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Accessorization, Frustration, and Bike Lust,

The internet is dangerous.

It enables me, makes my wallet lighter, and fuels my bike lust.

Of course I was looking at bikes and/or bike parts, and happened upon the Epicurian Cyclist Blog, where I happened upon some interesting bike accesorization.

These are Velo Orange retro bottle cages, holding stainless steel water bottles. The leather sewed to the cages are VO leather toe clip covers. Epicurian cyclist Russ claims they keep the bottles secure and rattle-free. Besides that, they look really good!

So good in fact, that I hit Velo Orange and ordered a pair of cages, 24 0z. stainless water bottles, and four toe clip leathers. While I was there, I saw some really cool looking Elkhide sewn-on bar covers, so I grabbed those too. Here's what they are supposed to look like:

I ordered these parts last week and they rapidly showed up at my door on Thursday. Of course, the weather being as crappy as it has been (wind, rain, and snow ....yes snow) forecast this weekend it was a good time for bike tinkering. Well, it's always good time for bike tinkering! :>)

First, sewing the toe clip leathers to the cages and cage installation. This really was a snap. And the stainless water bottles look really great, and no nasty plastic aftertaste!

My next project was getting rid of the shellacked blue cork bar tape and installing the new Elkhide bar covers. I couldn't wait! It was easy enough removing the old bar tape, and I read through the installation instructions several times before I started.

This was definitely tougher and certainly more labor intensive than wrapping bars. The kit includes two blunt harness needles, a length of heavy waxed string, and two die cut pieces of elk hide. The sewing pattern is like a baseball, with alternating crossing threads. The trick is using one piece of string and two needles on each end, knotting the string in the middle and passing it through the first die cut hole putting the knot towards the inside of the wrap to start, then crossing the threads over each other and passing back through the holes to secure the end. To sew, the needles are alternately passed over one another through the die cut holes along the edge of the leather forming a crossing pattern (think baseball again). This is harder to do than it is to explain.

After a couple of false starts I managed to semi-sort-of get the hang of it. As I stitched, I also had to pull a piece of double-sided sticky tape lengthwise from the inside of the bar tape. This was put there to hold the sewed up cover securely and prevent twisting.

The really tricky part was passing it over the brake bosses on the handlebar. Of course, I had to remove the brake cable and lever, but leave the brake boss on the handlebar in the desired position. I taped it in place to ensure it wouldn't move. Once my wrapping got to the brake boss, I was supposed to cut a hole in the leather to allow the brake boss to pass through.

And this is where I ran into trouble.

The picture on the instructions showed a large rectangular hole over the brake boss at the brake handle mounting point. This is supposed to allow ample clearance for the brake lever housing to securely make contact with the handlebar, with no leather interfering with the fit. Sure, no problem...I whipped out my X-ACTO knife and started hacking.

What I failed to understand at the time is that hide s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s. Yeah, when I stretched the cover over the brake boss I saw the hole was crooked, off-center, and too large...much too large.

Two hours of wasted time sewing, and one wrecked bar cover. I was cursing. I was frustrated. I sat down on the toilet in my combination laundry/shower/bike tinkering room, head in hands. My lovely and highly intelligent wife, hearing my grumbling and cursing noises, wandered downstairs and saw me in this state, disappointed, pissed, fuming. Cooler heads prevailed, and together we attempted to solve the problem to no avail. Dejected, we clipped the stitching and removed the wasted bar cover.

Don't do this:

Do this instead:

Since I now had a 'spare' piece of hide to practice on, I found that cutting a vertical slit directly and CAREFULLY down the center lengthwise, and stretching to fit worked much better than attempting to cut a hole. So, I got to start all over again with the remaining piece of hide.

Starting the process from the stem end:

Vertical slit over brake boss. Again, CAREFULLY lengthen until proper fit is achieved.

Stitching down the back side:
Trimmed, bar end plugs in, brake lever installed, done.
I smeared some Obenauf's on it to sweatproof and weatherproof it. It looks and smells great.

Unfortunately, I'm short one piece of hide. So of course, I had to go back to Velo Orange and order some more. Furthermore, I thought these cages would look good on the Quickbeam as well, along with toe-clip leathers, a VO leather saddle (replacing the hard plastic ass-buster on the Turquoise Tempo), a new and a real Pletscher Master Commuter rear rack, on sale of course, for the Quickie Blue Fixie. My shrinking bank account!

And, as I was surfing I happened into Travel Gravel's blog, who's listed all 44 (no, it's not a typo) bicycles he owns. Included in this melange of metal is a Bridgestone RB-3 that's too big for him. Of course I had to lust getting the better of me again.

Bike accesorization. Bike love. Bike tinkering. Bar wrapping. Sewing. Blogging. Internet surfing.

Anger. Frustration. Redemption. Satisfaction. Shopping. Lust.

I'd say even with the crappy weather and no riding it was a full day.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Take a load off

Whilst I was happily riding my Ramby, a super-fast roadie type on a super-lite tri-atheleete carbon rig stopped to admire my bike. "Man, that's a classic", he leered with a superior sneer on his face. Then he plunged in the knife. "That's a nice ride...if you like trucks." Then like a ghostly spectre, he rapidly faded off into the mist.

Not to be intimidated, I've decided to put the Ramby on a diet. Fat pig, you say? By integrating the latest technology into the tried and true Rivendell design, my newly trim Ramby will be laterally stiff, yet vertically to challenge all carbon comers.

Lets start here:

Yes, it's the 19 gram Speedplay carbon fiber water bottle cage. From the website: They call it the Nanogram Ultra Light cage, and it only weighs in at 19 grams. Even with its light weight, it’s very strong because of its unique design. It’s made from unidirectional carbon fiber, and positions the water bottle stop at the top of the case rather than near the mount where it’s most vulnerable. It’s designed specifically for a road bike, and can absorb the repetitive impacts of rough roads with ease. Hell yeah, gotta have that! Only $65 each!

Next, some Driven Meteor Carbon Fiber Handlebars, including cranial crash pad. These will significantly reduce weight, improve high-impact strength and promote safe riding, whilst retaining the standard Rivendell upright riding posture.

Of course, toss that nasty Nitto seat post and replace with a $250 Deda Elementi Superzero Crabon (sp) Fiber Seatpost. Just because I dig the Italian sounding name, meaning it must be extra-super tissue-paper butterfly wing light.

Ohhhh yeah. Wheels are incredibly important in the quest for ultra-liteness. Propulsion IS possible with Sub9 tubular disc wheels from Zipp Speed Weaponry. The patented toroidal ring profile controlling airflow at the leading and trailing edges will trounce the competition! Who cares if I don't know how to mount a tubular tire? If I flat, I'll just have my LBS on cell phone speed dial.

And of course, I should replace all friction-bearing surfaces with Sheldon's patented hollow Superleggero bearing balls...less than half the weight of old-fashioned solid ball bearings!

I figure with all these improvements, I should be able to reduce unsprung weight by at least 15 lbs, cost be damned. I should also be able to improve thrust by at least 87.4% because of the extra aerodynamic 'push' the disc wheels will provide. My ride will also be laterally compliant, yet vertically stiff.

-Super D.