Friday, July 31, 2009

Playing quarters with the President...

So President Obama, Professor Gates, and Sergeant Crowley got together for some brews (interesting that all present have titles). Their beer choices were a wee bit pitiful. I would have liked to see one of them order something a bit more, well, more - like an Arrogant Bastard or at least a nice IPA. All the world's eyes are on you. Pick an interesting beer. Then their beer choices would have been much more newsworthy.
(What's playing: X Soul Kitchen)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What's been in the stand...

One of my favorite sayings is "those who know don't say and those who say don't know." That saying has retained its original feeling, but has been paraphrased from the original by Lao-Tzu, a 6th century B.C. philosopher, considered the father of Taoism. The original goes more like: Those who have knowledge don't predict, those who predict don't have knowledge.

I have a hard time posting something just for the sake of posting something. I have an even harder time with things like Facebook (even though I'm on it) and Twitter (which I'll never, and I can say that with some authority, be on). I try to make posts here informational or humorous even in their ranting - posts that are or should be fun. You won't find much of anything about my personal life because it's none of your business.

So why the diversion into philosophy? It's been a while since I posted something and thought it was about time to put up some pictures of some things that have passed through the stand.

First up, a really neat Schwinn Sting Ray in nice condition right down to the original rear slick tire.

Next, a custom reach adjust on an old Shimano 600 brake lever, courtesy of Charlie Cunningham.

This old Potts (or was it a Ritchey?) came in with some bottom bracket problems. It was a little (c)rusty inside the bb shell.
One of the cartridge bearings was missing the ball bearings. That's the inner race on the axle, the outer race on the work bench and the seals. No bearings - yeah, it felt a little rough.

Fresh bearings and it's like new all over again.

This one is for the mechanics out there. You all know what I'm talking about because when it happens you call over the other mechanics (the sales guys just don't understand so they aren't included) to show them your feat. It could be that you're building a wheel and you reach in the spoke box and grab what feels like the right amount of spokes, count them out, and the count is the exact amount you need. Or like in this case, you need to cut a steerer tube at 215mm, you clamp the steerer in the vise, fit up the tubing cutter to where you think the 215mm mark is going to be, measure it and find that you've got the cutter blade at 215.25mm. It's little things like that that make a day memorable.
And finally, sometimes there are BSO's that come in. But they leave my shop as actual bikes that function nicely and get their riders from here to there safely.

(What's playing: Wanda Jackson It Happens Every Time)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dirty Delta...

Went for a quick ride Sunday morning on the fixed gear road bike (note, this is a fixed gear road bike and not a fixie). Coming back, I hit the Cross Marin Trail and it's dirt section. I like riding the dirt section on my road bike. Riding dirt roads and paths on a road bike is super fun. I always seem to pick up the pace a bit on the dirt to keep the bike's tires floating over the rougher stuff and when you ride faster, pushing a bigger gear instead of sitting and spinning faster, you can keep you butt from being planted full-on on the saddle so you don't feel as beat up over the rougher stuff.

Back home, I noticed the unusual (and super cool looking) pattern of dirt that was deposited on my Campy Delta brake up front.
From Ride Photos

(What's playing: Fresh Air podcast)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A: No...

Q: If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

Evidence: This tree fell and I didn't hear it.

Check that off one of life's mysteries. Time to rest easy now.

(What's playing: The Stanley Brothers Gathering Flowers for the Master's Bouquet)

Friday, July 10, 2009

What's in the stand...

This really nice Breezer Panorama tandem (it might be one of a kind) stopped by recently on a ride. I noticed the rear brake didn't have enough spring tension to keep the cable taut whilst the brake was not on. While the owner was at lunch, I did a quick brake job and got the spring tension boosted so the pads actually opened up away from the rim when the brakes were not applied. Dig the classic paint and the way the head tube gusset blends into the paint spear. Very nice!

From Repair Bikes

From Repair Bikes

From Repair Bikes

(What's playing: Kansas Carry On My Wayward Son)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bill's Trail will have to wait...

As I had previously written about different user groups sharing the trail, it seems that there are some groups who still just don't want to share. Bill's Trail, a 4 mile single-track that climbs up to Mt. Barnabe was slated to be open on every other day to bikes. However, at the threat of a lawsuit by groups opposed to bikes on any trail, the State has shelved plans to open the trail to bikes. Read the article in the Marin IJ here - if you have the stomach, read the comments too. I could only get through about 20 comments before I wanted to vomit.

With the State's funds unavailable to defend your silly lawsuit, you have the State by the virtual balls by filing your lawsuit. Citing environmental concerns because of the myth of bike tire's damage to the trail next to a sensitive creek is horse shit. If the concern was truly about the environment, that group would be pushing to kick horses off the trail as well. What about the horse crap left on the trail from doped up horses injected with all sorts of vaccinations and "vitamins?" What happens to those trail apples when rain washes the detrius into the stream? How does that affect the salmon?

I just wish those groups would come out and say the real reason why they don't want bikes on the trails - because they just don't want bikes on the trails. Did the people from these groups get the box next to "Does not play well with others" checked when they were in second grade? Personally, I think the concept of opening Bill's Trail to bikes for uphill only travel could be a good initiation to opening the trail to bikes.

I was thinking about this yesterday. There are two groups who are at an impasse. The situation is very volatile. On one hand you have a group who would do any thing to keep the other group out. The group that wants in just wants to be able to enjoy what the other group has. The group that has feels that they are superior in their position of keeping the other group out citing all sorts of false reasons. The group that wants in find it mind-boggling that the other group resorts to incredible tactics to keep them out. The two groups could just as easily be the two sides that are involved in the issue of gay marriage or they could be bicyclists who want legal access to single-track trails and the non-bicyclists who want access denied to the trails.

Food for thought. But you won't be thinking about it if you are on a bike on single-track in Marin County.

Monday mixed-terrain...

It's funny when you look at a potential ride on a map and you see that it's not that long compared to other road loops by its physical presence on the map. Then you get out and what you thought you could crank out in a couple of hours, turns quickly into three. And so it was on Monday when I got out for a ride.

After morning coffee and some oatmeal, I headed out on my new sample monster cross bike (shhh, it's a secret still) for a Bolinas Ridge ride. I had plans to ride down to the northern terminus of Bolinas Ridge to Jewell Trail, out the Cross Marin Trail and then up Shafter Trail back to Bolinas Ridge and home.

The day dawned clear and sunny after several days of low clouds typical in the area. With a tail wind, to start my day, it was uneventful, but super fun. The new cross bike is really fun to ride. Compared to my previous steel cross frame, this new one is lighter by virtue of a lighter weight tubeset and the ride quality is superbe. The frame and fork both have clearance for a 45c tire (which I was running). This is the bike I use for all of my riding that involves dirt these days. It's my "mountain bike."

I do need to swap out the 11-28 8-speed gear set for a 30 or 32 if I'm going to continue to do stupid things like climb Shafter Trail as it is an 1100' climb in about a mile and a half. Yeah, it's steep. Luckily I had changed out my double crankset that I was running on the earlier version of this frame for a nice old Specialized triple crankset with a 24. A 24x28 gives me less than a 1:1 gear ratio and when I am ("am" implies I was and will be again instead of using "was") fit, it would be no problem. But I'm not currently fit like I used to be so I'll find a 30 or 32 for it soon.

Anyway, the climb up Shafter was actually fun - except for two gnarly steep sections which put me on foot. The roller-coaster back down the Ridge was super fun and the last section on a more smooth dirt/gravel road was fast. What a fun bike!

Teaser shot of the new frame.
From Ride Photos

It's hard to show how steep a trail is from a simple photo, but trust me, it's steep.
From Ride Photos

The fun begins.
From Ride Photos

From Ride Photos

Came home to find these guys in the back yard.
From Ride Photos

(What's playing: Curtis Mayfield Move On Up)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Got legs...

If you think you got legs enough, there is a challenge coming up soon that could suit you and your legs. Carlos is throwing his annual La Ruta Loca Randonee 200k mixed terrain ride on July 11. The route will cover many dirt and paved roads through Marin County. The basic route is:

We start at the Marina Safeway and ride to Muir Woods via the Marin Headlands then climb to Pantoll Ranger Station using Deer Park, continue to Lake Lagunitas using mostly Mt Tam fireroads, connect to Bolinas/Fairfax rd, down to Alpine Dam, up to Bolinas Ridge down to Hwy 1 via Randall Trail, pay a visit to Mike @ Black Mountain Cycles in Point Reyes Station to get your proof of passage, ride back to Fairfax and Larkspur using the regular bike route, before Camino Alto turn left and do the full Paradise Loop, at Mill Valley keep towards Mt Tam, up to Railroad Grade, West Point Inn, down to Pantoll Ranger Station, connect to the Marin Headlands via panoramic Hwy, get to Miwok Stables and continue on the fire roads to Conzelman, down to the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco Side) and you are done. Sounds like fun?
If you got legs, it will be a heck of a ride. I've got a shop to open so I won't be there (not like I have anywhere near the fitness required anyway). But, I will be one of the controls so I will look forward to seeing the riders stop in. I'll try to remember to have some cold refreshments for the riders.

(What's playing: Led Zeppelin Bron-Y-Aur Stomp)

What's in the stand...

Been a while since I had a "What's In The Stand" post, so I thought I'd make it extra tasty. This Steve Potts CCR (Cross Country Racer) is owned by my friend Noah. It was the first vintage bike he bought many years ago. So many years ago, that the bike probably wasn't considered vintage at the time. It's a mid 90s bike and there are some who probably still don't see it as vintage - but it is classic. And classy.

The frame was repainted by Rick at D&D Cycles. Noah collected new old parts over the years and finally, with all the parts ready, sent them out to me (he lives in NYC) for the final assembly. He wanted to easily swap between the drop bar set-up and a flat bar set-up so I installed some Ritchey cable connectors that were designed for a take-apart travel bike, but work nicely in this case to quickly swap handlebars and full controls. In fact, the original cable connectors were designed exactly for this scenario. In the early 90s, Bruce Gordon made some quick cable connect that allowed his Rock and Road bikes to be converted between drop and flat bars.

The bike turned out really nice. Four rolls of cloth tape took care of bar taping duties - taping the bars with cloth tape around all those controls is a pain. There's a split in half mountain bike grip on the top of the drop section of the bar for extra cush. The flat bar grips are new old Magura motorcycle grips that had the flanges precision trimmed by Charlie Cunningham - just like the first WTB grips were done.

Even though the bike was painstakingly put together with NOS parts, it will be a rider. And a sweet rider it will be.

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

(What's playing: KWMR)