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