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 :>))