Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

New jersey

June 6, 2014
Old Guy kit: The original (left) and the second edition.

Old Guy kit: The original (left) and the second edition.

No Chris Christie jokes, now — though we are gonna be talking about new Fat Guy jerseys.

Several of you have expressed an interest in reviving the Old Guy Who Gets Fat In Winter Racing Team kit, and yesterday I emailed the fine folks at Voler to get an idea of the process and expense.

They replied straight away, and it seems they still have at least some of my original designs on hand.

So, the question is, do we want to revive one of the old designs, or come up with something entirely new for the 25th anniversary edition?

We’re looking at an order-due date of Aug. 4 and a shipping week of Sept. 22-30. Price is unclear at this point — I’m guessing we’re looking at a cost of $55-60 per jersey, but that is a dramatically uninformed opinion. I’ll speak with one of the sales guys next week and should know more then. Obviously, the more we order, the less they’ll cost.

In the meantime, feel free to chime in with your opinion as regards design: yellow original, multicolored second edition, or an entirely new jersey.

Must be May …

May 27, 2014
Herself enjoys the first ride of 2014 on her Soma Double Cross.

Herself enjoys the first ride of 2014 on her Soma Double Cross.

… I finally got Herself out on a bike.

 

On the sunny side of the … alley

May 14, 2014
The Bianchi Zurigo Disc, coming soon to a Pikes Peak Greenway Trail near you.

The Bianchi Zurigo Disc, coming soon to a Pikes Peak Greenway Trail near you.

Colorado being Colorado, we’re cycling through a wide range of weather possibilities this week — cloudy, sunny, chance of thunderstorms, plague of toads; you get the idea.

Speaking of cycling, there’s a new bike in the garage. It’s a Bianchi Zurigo Disc, and it’s slotted in right behind the Salsa Vaya for review in Adventure Cyclist.

This is not your granddaddy’s touring bike. In fact, if you were to mistake it for a cyclo-cross bike, you’d be forgiven, in part because it’s named in honor of the 1967 ‘cross worlds in Zurich (won by Renato Longo of Italy) and in part because, well … because it’s a bloody cyclo-cross bike.

The $1,799 Zurigo has an aluminum frame and carbon fork, knobby Kenda Kwicker 700×32 tires, and a SRAM Apex 10-speed drivetrain (48/34 up front, 11-32 in back). But it also has eyelets for mounting fenders and a rear rack, so a quick-and-dirty, lightly loaded tour is not out of the question.

I hope to get one of those in here directly, if weather and work permit. We have something of a full plate here in Dog Country from May through July, and a little road trip would do wonders to flush out the headgear.

Steel(man) is real, man

May 3, 2014
My main racing bike from back in the day, a Steelman Eurocross, slightly the worse for wear after two hours of dusty trail.

My main racing bike from back in the day, a Steelman Eurocross, slightly the worse for wear after two hours of dusty trail.

It was Ride the Neglected Bike Day again today. And I must declare myself a shameless hypocrite.

For years I’ve inveighed against gram-counters, contending that a strong black cup of coffee and a productive few minutes in the reading room pre-ride is immeasurably preferable to flushing a fat wad of coarse notes down the loo of the latest and greatest bike-lightening comosellama.

Well, yesterday I spent two hours aboard the Salsa Vaya on the mean streets, bike paths and bumpy byways of Bibleburg, and today I did likewise astride one of my old racing bikes, a Steelman Cycles Eurocross.

And whaddaya know? I felt considerably friskier on the elderly ‘cross bike than I did on the young gravel grinder.

Let’s go to the tale of the tape, shall we?

The Salsa Vaya tips the scales at 28.9 pounds.

The Steelman Eurocross weighs in at 22 pounds.

Hm. A 6.9-pound dump is not out of the question, depending upon what was had for dinner. But it seems unlikely.

So for the moment I’m forced to declare myself full of shit.

 

 

Free at last

April 22, 2014
My No. 2 Steelman Eurocross, a.k.a. Big Red.

My No. 2 Steelman Eurocross, a.k.a. Big Red.

It was Ride the Neglected Bike Day again yesterday. The office was feeling a bit cramped, what with all the computers, books, cartooning tools, audio-video equipment, and voices in my head, and having a bike clamped to a trainer in there — even if that bike was a Steelman Eurocross — didn’t exactly help matters.

So I liberated the Eurocross and myself from bondage. The tire pile in the garage included a serviceable pair of 700×35 Maxxis Razes, so I slapped ’em on and rolled over to Palmer Park to make a fool of myself on the single-track for a spell.

This is one of my old eight-speed racing bikes from back in the day, and like all the others it’s been through some changes, so I forget what I’ve got on it drivetrain-wise — seems likely it’s either 46/34 chainrings with a 12-26 cassette or 48/36 with a 12-28 — but you’d be surprised how well an old feller can go uphill on a bike that’s five or six pounds lighter than what he usually rides.

Today I was back on the Kona Sutra, which is next in line for an Adventure Cyclist video shoot — the old Quentin Ferrentino treatment, ho ho ho. The Sutra weighs 27.2 pounds without pedals, wears a pair of 700×32 Continental Contacts, and no, I did not ride it up any sketchy bits of single-track, thank you very much. Not even in the granny gear.

But I have some burly off-road rubber in that tire pile, and with the Sutra’s racks and fenders off I bet I can squeeze some fatties on, and then look out, Palmer Park. Bologna on a Kona, comin’ through!

April fuel

April 19, 2014
The Salsa Vaya takes five underneath a recently renovated bridge above the railroad tracks.

The Salsa Vaya takes five underneath a recently renovated bridge above the railroad tracks.

Y’know what they say about April showers? Well, we should be up to our keisters in May flowers if this weather keeps up. We already have a fine crop of dandelions in the front yard.

Deadlines and various chores have monopolized my attention lately. The House Back East™ has new tenants, and I celebrated by doing a bit of raking and bagging, as the back yard has looked a tad funky since our landscaper vanished mysteriously, leaving a mulching undone and his tools behind. Rumor Control hints at an extended visit with the authorities, but as you know we don’t believe the liberal media here at Chez Dog.

The garage was likewise becoming unmanageable. My half of it, anyway. It looked like the lair of a bike thief who was deeply into the art of stealing but contemptuous of the business end. And so today I tidied up a bit in there, too. Got Herself’s ‘cross bike up on a hook and everything, though there’s still an appalling pile of tires in one corner. And for God’s sake, if you’re a neat freak avert your eyes from the workbench.

In between shifts I took the Salsa Vaya out for a few gentle rides. You know, the usual — city streets, back alleys, pulverized granite paths, single-track, concrete bike path, the works. Everything but I-25, and I’ll get around to that before I’m through.

Today’s Bible lesson is “Thou shalt count the teeth on thy cassette.” That 11-30 cogset ain’t nothin’ of the kind. Big plate on that bad boy has only 28 teeth, which when paired with a 39-tooth middle ring makes me feel my years. Don’t make me use the granny without racks and bags, please, Lord. I’ll quit touching myself and everything.

 

Game of chance

April 5, 2014
Mystery flats forced a tire change for the Soma Double Cross.

Mystery flats forced a tire change for the Soma Double Cross.

The forecast calls for a chance of rain and/or snow through Monday, and I beat the odds with today’s ride — a light drizzle began just as I hit the driveway.

Maybe it’s a good thing I swapped my tires out before I left. I had been running some portly 700×38 Schwalbe Little Bens on the Soma Double Cross, but the rear keeps going flat for no good reason. I’ve replaced tubes, checked the casing and the rim tape, you name it, and the sonofabitch still goes softer than Paul Ryan’s head when parked in the garage overnight.

Anyway, the DC now wears a frisky pair of 700×32 Panaracer Pasela TourGuards, and we’ll see tomorrow whether the garage gremlins treat the Japanese any better than they do the Germans.

Me, I’m being mistreated by allergies. Faugh. Our recent moisture is bringing all the neighborhood trees to hideous life. Look for pix of The House Back East®’s apricot tree in bloom here in a day or two as I gobble Claritin-D tabs like M&Ms.

 

 

No foolin’

April 1, 2014
The Salsa Vaya, coming to an Adventure Cyclist issue near you.

The Salsa Vaya, coming to an Adventure Cyclist issue near you.

It’s New Bike Week here at Mad Dog Media, a 57cm Salsa Vaya 2 having arrived just in time for what passes for spring in these parts (37 degrees, 10-mph wind, etc., et al., and so on and so forth).

The Vaya is Salsa’s touring and “road adventure” bike — hey, all the roads are an adventure in these parts, Sparky — and it sports all the usual goodies, from braze-ons for racks and fenders and three bottle cages to a Shimano 105 10-speed drivetrain to some big ol’ honkin’ 700×40 Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires that weigh 940g (!) apiece.

The color is Smokey Blue Robinson, in case you were wondering.

We went for our maiden voyage yesterday, just an hour or so of chewing on the wind and inspecting some recently concluded work on the north-south bike path (fresh concrete, yay!). Once the temps inch up a bit we’ll do it again, because the weather wizards are calling for a chance of rain or snow Wednesday night.

 

The next 60

March 28, 2014
The Soma Saga in its present configuration. I'm thinking about losing the rando' bars for some short-reach drops, beefing up the bar tape and fattening up the tires.

The Soma Saga in its present configuration. I’m thinking about losing the rando’ bars for some short-reach drops, beefing up the bar tape and fattening up the tires.

Thanks to all of you for the most excellent birthday wishes. No. 60 was a quiet day around Chez Dog — since Herself was road-tripping for business purposes, the party was an exclusive affair; just me, the menagerie, and all those voices in my head (happily, they don’t eat much, not even ice cream).

Today, a milestone behind me and various millstones ahead, I continued what I’m calling Ride the Neglected Bicycles Week. So far it’s seen the Voodoos Nakisi and Wazoo, the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, and the Jones all get out of the garage for some vigorous thrashing, and there are still two days left. Tomorrow’s supposed to be 60-something and mostly sunny. You can’t stop me!

When not riding, I’ve been reading about riding. “Life Is a Wheel” is Bruce Weber’s account of his second cross-country cycling trip, undertaken at age 57. I had been aware of his ride — a writer for The New York Times, Weber blogged about it for the paper — but the book had somehow slipped my mind. I saw the review, downloaded the book, and so far Weber and I have spent an enjoyable few evenings together.

Like other road books — “Travels With Charley,” “Blue Highways,” and of course, “On the Road,” “Life Is a Wheel” is giving me notions. Nothing so elaborate as a cross-country ride, mind you, certainly not in springtime. But taking a few days away, under my own steam, sounds like a wonderful departure from business as usual.

 

Strange beverage

March 16, 2014

The sky is crying.

The sky is crying.

Oh, ’tis a fine soft day in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ninety-three percent humidity is good for the skin after a long day spent drinking watery green beer with a few thousand of your closest friends followed by a nap in a shamrock-colored puddle of pee under the old F-350.

I managed to skirt the no-fly list once again and am squatting in the Charlotte airport awaiting the next pressurized aluminum tube full of viruses bound for Chicago, where I understand the climate is likewise good for preservation, especially of things like wooly mammoths, Ben and Jerry’s, and other frozen goods. Just as well, as I’ll be chilling there for at least a couple of hours before catching a Ford Tri-Motor for Bibleburg and Chez Dog.

Skipped the final day of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, as two days gave us a pretty good look-see at all the touring bikes that weren’t there and I like to rassle my travel arrangements early, especially when I have so little say in how they get made and turn out. If some TSA dude is gonna beat on my kidneys with a mop handle I want to get it over with early, is what.

Meanwhile, Mr. Deme is in Detroit, where he reports he is sipping a Miller Fortune.

“All I can say is we really needed High Life in another package with a bit of Malt Liquor Bull added to it,” he adds.

I recommended a chaser of Listerine, or perhaps some Park Tool chain cleaner.

“That’s next,” he said.


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