Sunday, March 01, 2015

My Singlespeed Commuter

After hitting 2,000 miles commuting goal last year, my goal this year is the quantity of commutes to take me to the 2,000 mile mark or even exceed it.  To get there, I am going to have to ride to work 100 times.  Last year, I rode to work 76 times and averaged 26 miles per commute on three different bikes.  This year, I am only going to ride one bike.

My Bianchi San Jose has been fun but for a while I wasn't sure I wanted to keep it.  I put it up on Craiglist but got no takers so I it's new purpose in life will be for commuting.  

I mounted my Serface Vida commuting tires on my rims and found that a 700x38c fits nicely on the Bianchi San Jose.  I used the Water Bottle Trick for chain tensioning but realized that will be the last time I can do that once the rear fender is mounted.  Speaking of fenders, the Planet Bike fenders that I had on the Cross Check went on rather smoothly and makes the bike look cool.

The last addition to the bike will be a vintage Cannondale Handlebar bag that I got from eBay the other day.  It's yellow and will match the bar tape. The only problem is that the bracket that it mounts to is made to fit only with old fashioned quill stems and 25.4 mm bars.

Someone suggested bending it to accommodate a wider stem but then I will loose the span from the bar to the bag and I will need to figure out some other way to mount my Garmin.  My best bet is to find some similar diameter bar and bend it myself to make it work.  This won't prohibit me commuting but it will be a nice to have for carrying stuff that I want to have within arm's reach while riding.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fatties Fit Fine!

I picked up a little motivator the other day to start getting my bikes ready for the coming cycling season.  These past two months have been so cold and snowy that riding has not been on my list of things to do.  Riding the trainer, while fun catching up on some of the TV programming that I have missed in the past week is fun, the Give-a-Shit Meter to do so is often lacking.

For the past two months I have been thinking that I need to make some changes on some of my bikes. 2015 I want to commute only by singlespeed and I while I didn't ride in the rain all that often, wet conditions were the norm in the spring and fenders are an important asset for commuting.  Not to mention, most of my Gravle rides never needed fenders. 

After removing the fenders, and removing the Serfas Vida tires from the rims I went back to the Vee Rubber tires.  They are 29x1.95 tires and just hit in the rear triangle but they really give new meaning to Fatties Fit Fine because they are fat!

I rode these tires a few times but it was mostly pavement.  I need to try this out on a good Gravle ride when the weather gets a little better.  When I was putting the rear wheel back in I noticed that the rear derailleur pulley wheels were shark toothed and it looks like I am going to have to get them fixed.

I am going to do some type of modified fender in the near future.

I have seen a few people on the web use a Surly Tugnut instead of the new Hurdy Gurdy that is specifically made for the Cross Check.  I like the Tugnut better becuase it also makes a great bottle opener, too!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Can I Play with Madness ...

Too much snow on the ground to ride in the woods and I really don't want to be on the roads with all this slop, either, so the next best winter workout is a good XC Ski at Fairfield Hills, the former State Psychiatric Hospital in Newtown, CT.  Of course the other thing taking me away from cycling or any other physical activity is the fact that last weekend I slipped on the ice and banged top of my shin and it swelled up to the size of a baseball.  It's still swollen, just not as much, and it only hurts if I put pressure on the bump, so as long as I don't fall on it again, I am good to go!

When I got to the end of Keating Farms Road, I couldn't believe on one had been skiing yet. The warm-up earlier in the day and light rain made snow smooth and slick.  There was a wind out of the North that made it a lot colder than I was expecting and I was lamenting that I didn't wear my mittens.  However, once I started climbing from the bottom of Yahoo Hill, that all changed.

Since I have been mostly skiing Nordic on the slopes this year it fun to be in the flats and trying some different techniques that I have been teaching myself, like doing raised heel turn.  By angling my the opposite ski of the turn in towards my knee, I am able to turn slightly and thus creating a smoother arch for the next person to follow.

After two miles and hour of skiing I was feeling pretty good and everything was soaked from the workout.  The one thing I tried differently in equipment arena was wearing my old pants but I forgot my gaiters so I got a little snow in my boots.  I will definitely use the ski pants but when it's much colder.  When it's around 30 degrees long johns my old Army BDU trousers are still the best combination.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

First Dirt (acutally snow)

Usually by now we would have had a few good snow storms and I wouldn't even be thinking about mountain biking but that's not been the case this year.  Frigid temperatures around here means either riding the trainer in the garage or when the thermometer gets to be 20 degrees or more, and there isn't much snow on the ground then mountain biking will always be a blast.

My first trail ride of 2015 was indeed just that.  An inch of snow meant plenty of traction and the trails were perfect.  When I have the time, like today, I ride in on the Brody, go down the Gussy, hit the Reach Around and then back up the Gussy to Double Secret Probation.  While on DSP, I came across three guys on bikes coming the other way.  That's probably best way to ride DSP but I prefer to ride the Gussy down so until I can find a way to hit both trails in the same direction I will have to stick with this new route.

I did try something new today.  Instead of taking the Connector to the boat ramp I went towards the old Jalopy and then cut across the forest road and eventually made my way out towards the gate. There is some nice terrain back there and made the end of a great ride just a little better.

Friday, January 02, 2015

New Year's Day ride to the Beach

First ride of 2015 was freaking cold!  We spent the night in Trumbull after celebrating New Years with good friends that also live in Trumbull which took away from a long drive home after the revelry.  Since we were sleeping over, I brought my road bike and the next morning I headed out while everyone in the house was still sleeping!

While riding down Route 136, I went slower because my legs felt like they were going numb so I went to a higher gear and pedaled with a higher effort to warm up my legs.  It worked but by the time I got to the Minute Man, then wind coming off the water didn't help.