Friday, July 29, 2011

Joe's ride...

Remember Joe? Well, Joe turns 76 this year and to celebrate, he is pedalling 760 km up and down the east side of Vancouver Island in B.C. Every year, for the past several, Joe has undertaken a lengthy tour to benefit local West Marin non-profit organizations. This year, the beneficiaries are The Dance Palace and KWMR, two great local, community organizations.

Joe started his ride a couple of days ago and is updating a blog with tales from the road. Check out Joe's Vancouver Ride and follow Joe and his wife Mo, who's driving the sag wagon. And then go to either KWMR or The Dance Palace and make your donation. Both organizations will split all donations 50/50.

Here's Joe and Mo before they headed out of town.

(What's playing: Talking Heads Television Man)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What's in the stand...

This turned out super sweet. Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know, it's a mountain bike with slicks, but no one would say word one if I fit knobby cross tires on my road bike. They'd simply say "cool!" But the most important thing is this is going to get ridden. Ken contacted me from Grand Rapids, MI and wanted me to build his bike after the frame was painted by Cyclart. I'm pretty damn honored to be involved in this project. I think the mixing of old and new on this bike turned out great.

What's old: The frame is a Tom Teesdale built Fisher Mt. Tam. It's fillet-brazed and Cyclart did a great job painting it. The color choice is perfect match to the parts. The other parts that are old are the old "no-logo" King headset, Gary Helfrich made Arctos polished titanium stem; and WTB ti bars. The Suntour roller-cam brake is also original to the bike. A WTB roller-cam would be the icing, but they are about as rare as hen's teeth. As it is, the Suntour brake set up really nice and I don't think anyone, including Charlie, would be able to tell it's not a WTB brake in a blind brake test.

What's new: XTR 10-speed drivetrain and pedals with White Industries VBC crankset and MI5 hubs, Velocity Synergy rims, Paul Components Neo-Retro front brake with the Paul canti levers.

It's going to be a shame to box it up and send it off to Grand Rapids (Velocity USA is in Grand Rapids) as it's such a neat bike.

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Now that's polished!
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Attention to detail: orienting the Brooks logos left and right so they are readable.
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Interesting double grooved seat collar.
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(What's playing: KWMR Faultline Radio: Random Music Played Randomly)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dude, you left your seat bag...

To the guy with the T-Mobile Giant who broke your SLR seat, your seat bag is here. E-mail me with your address and I'll mail it to you along with your seat post if you want that back too.

(What's playing: Elvis Costello Party Girl)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's in the stand, Thursday edition...

Another day, another sweet bike in the stand. This time it's a Pegoretti 'Day Is Done.' This particular one was exhibited at the 2011 NAHBS show in Austin. I really like the orange tones on the gray paint. It also looks and feels like it's going to be a great rider. This particular frame came to me to be built with Campagnolo Record 11 after being purchased from another great Marin shop, Above Category.


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(What's playing: Luther Wright & The Wrongs The Happiest Day Of Our Lives)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What's in the stand...

Custom touring bike. That's what's in the stand. This one is a custom touring/rando frame from Palermo Cycles in Baltimore, MD. The owner started this a while back and in the mean time moved from the DC area to Marin, got married, had a kid, sent the kid to college - kidding about the last one, but up to then I was serious. Just had a kid this weekeend - congratulations Nathan and Meghan!

It built up very nice. Only one hiccup with the length of the front rack mount, but that was easily solved. The only thing I would change would be to use standard butyl tubes. The latex tubes air down too fast and for a long distance rider, you would need to pay closer attention to them to maintain proper air pressure. On to photos...


Bike's built, on to the fender install.
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The seatstay bridge is pretty neat and mimics the double plate look of the fork crown.
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Racks next with a Nitto M18 that will be swapped for a Nitto Campee for touring.
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There's too much threaded rod from the M18 rack behind the fork so in its final form, there will be a spacer at the front to make this flush. The spacer will also tip the rack forward which will also make it level. Racks have to be level.
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Nice dropouts and dropout detail.
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Mud flap on front fender.
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(What's playing: Democracy Now! on KWMR)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Let's move on to water bottles...

I received a water bottle in the mail recently. It kind of confused me. There was a top and there was another top. The second top was on the bottom and you couldn't drink out of it. What the... Then I read the literature. Yes, it had literature - for a water bottle. The bottom top was so the bottle could be cleaned. Clean water bottles? I removed both the top top and bottom top and tried cleaning it, but still couldn't get my hand inside to clean it.

Which end up? One too many parts.

I've been a fan of Specialized water bottles since day one. We sold them at the shop I worked at in the '80s. I sell them in my shop today. I'm not a Specialized dealer, but I sell Specialized water bottles. They just feel right. They fit into King Cages perfectly. The top screws down and doesn't leak. The poppet closes with no leaking and opens easily with my teeth. And most important, when you squeeze the bottle fluid drains into your mouth (provided it's aimed into your mouth). And when you squeeze it, it has just the right feel - not hard plasticy, not too soft, just right.

There's lots of bottles folks use out on the bike. From 1l store bought plastic bottles fit into vintage Blackburn/WTB Bomber cages to stainless bottles, there's lots of options. However, both of those options don't work that great for me on the bike. The purpose of the bicycle mounted water bottle is to drink on the fly. Reach down, pull out, squirt, swallow, reinsert. The method of securing the 1l bottles requires an additional rubber loop fit around the top. Technically, you can reach down, unloop, pull out, squirt (with "sports top"), swallow, reinsert, fiddle with rubber loop, and continue riding. By that time, I've probably wandered off road or off trail or crashed.

The stainless water bottles are supposed to fit into a standard water bottle cage, but metal on metal - the scraping sound of the bottle out of the cage is like fingernails on a chalkboard or teeth on popsicle sticks. And then there's the rattle of the bottle in the cage. There is a custom cage that fits the stainless bottle nicely. But there's still a problem. Reach down, pull out, squirt - oh wait, you can't squeeze a stainless bottle, you have to suck. And while I'm riding, I'm already sucking wind and combining that with trying to suck water out of the top usually produces oxygen deprivation followed by blacking out and then wandering off road or off trail.

So there I am, using the same bottle type I've used for closing in on 3 decades. I can reach down, pull it out, hydrate, and reinsert without looking. It's intuitive and fast. It just works. It's easily cleaned without having a bottom top. Just a bit of hot water, some dish soap, shake vigorously, squirt out the top to clean that too, rinse, and it's ready to go another round. And if you do find yourself negligent in your bottle cleaning duties and a bit of grunge starts growing that isn't removed by standard cleaning forms, a spot of clorox in a bottle filled with water and left standing for a few hours will clean out that bottle just like bleach cleans your whitey-tighteys. No streaks. And if you rinse thoroughly, there's no bleach taste. Well, at least none that bothers me.

And all this leads up to the sales portion of today's post - Black Mountain Cycles water bottles made by Specialized are still and will continue to be for sale. Large bottles are $7 and small bottles are $6. Get 'em now. And if you order a road or cross frame, I'll throw in a bottle, gratis.

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And then here's a Black Mountain Cycles bottle in the wild that's sure to be the envy of every bottle out there - mounted to a classic 1984 Bruce Gordon on the flanks of Mt. San Bruno overlooking San Francisco and the bay yesterday. Thanks to Robbins for the use of the photo of his bike.
1984 Bruce Gordon

(What's playing: Joe Jackson It's Different For Girls)