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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Station Bikes

The high price of gas has caused many people turn to bikes as a way to save gas and I have found some really interesting examples on my commute of this growing trend. I am kicking myself because I didn't have my camera to grab a picture of a Wal-mart bike where the fork was on backwards! I have seen some pictures on the various Big Box store e-commerce sites where the fork was installed backwards and that was how they were selling the bike. I may need to stop into Target or Wal-mart and see if I can find some more recent examples.

Part of my commute to work each day includes a 50 minute train ride from a small city in southwestern Connecticut, called Danbury, down to another smaller city called Norwalk. Both Danbury and Norwalk have seen better days especially when manufacturing was still done locally. The train stations for both cities are not in the best of areas, either, so it's no wonder the bikes used to get people to and from the train station are either going to be crappy or cheap, or both.

Take for example the Trek 820 below. I first saw this bike Tuesday afternoon when I didn't have my camera - Monday I brought the camera with me to take movies of the trains for my boys. I did have it with me today (Wednesday) and I was fortunate to get a shot of this bike before someone snags it - that is if someone is really that desperate. It looks like someone just dumped it there to catch a train because all the other bikes at the station are locked up.

I am still trying to figure out the purpose of the duct tape on the bars. Did that make the bike cooler? The right brake lever doesn't seem to be really useful, either. I wonder how much else on this bike actually worked.

Over at the bike rack there were a few bikes properly locked up. Another Trek, a Nishiki, and a brand new mountain bike whose manufacturer I have never heard of.

It's interesting to see people lock their helmets to their bikes. I would rather bring my helmet with me because you never know if someone is going to mess with it or even try to take it by cutting the straps or taking them apart. The funny thing, though, is that the owner of this bike is probably the one of all these who actually wears a helmet.

This yellow and blue Nishiki has probably seen better days. Nice looking early mountain bike. Bars look a little uncomfortable - looks like the owner wished they were more like drop/mustache bars. This is truly a classic bike. I especially like how the rear bikes are situated under the chain stays. Not sure of the efficiency of that design in shedding mud and would seem they would get wet way too early and become less effective for riding off road than if they were situated on the seat stays.



The last two bikes were brand new, in fact so new that their tires were barely dirty. The one on the far right is a bike that you can get at Costco rather inexpensively. I like the fact that it has bar ends for those difficult and steep climbs on zero resistance asphalt. The blue bike must be a new brand you can get a Toys-R-Us which is relatively close to this train station. It appears to have been purchased the other day to bring it's rider to the station.


As for the rest of the stations, there seems to be a few bikes at the Bethel stop that I can get a glimpse of from the train that seem to be of higher quality and appears to be the only other stop on the line, other than the South Norwalk station to have a bike rack, from what I can tell. I wish I lived close enough to the line so that I could ride my bike to the station and save some gas as well. I would probably gin up some old beater into a station bike so that if it were to get stolen it wouldn't be much of a loss.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Futuristic Fixie?

Found this on Crankfire.com and thought it might be a nice addition to yesterday's post.

It comes from here:  http://www.behance.net/Gallery/bike/111883

I think this is a rendering and not an actual bike, still it's really cool, especially since it is probably a fixie!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cycle Snack: Back to the Future?

Cycle Snack: Back to the Future?

If you like those, check out these from Cannondale:

Odd and Rare Cannondales

Back to the Future?

Carbon Fiber seems to be taking over more and more in the Road cycling world. Without, I don't think some of these concepts could ever take shape. While most of them are just drawings, Bianchi of course never disappoints with the real deal. I wonder if they have plans for a Pista in this shape?

Can't decide whether this is supposed to be a road bike or cycle cross due to the knobby tires. Yes, it's just a concept but with a little suspension it could be a really cool thing.

Did Special-Ed really snag some C'dale designers? Looks that way to me. Pretty far out to me!






Monday, July 28, 2008

Qballs: Blue Balls?

Found this Qball on MTBR and yowser - repainted blue! It belongs to J-RAD on MTBR and I believe he acquired it from another rider. The Powder Coat was Courtesy of Cycletherapy bike shop!
Here is what it looked like before. Not sure why it needed to be repainted. When you do that, it just becomes another no name frame.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Nice Niner on Craigslist!

Since today's ride, a morning eye opener at Huntington State Park, got washed out I thought I would check out who's selling their 29ers in the area. The only one I found was a nice Niner down in Westchester. Question is, is this a shop selling the bike or someone who bought it, took a ride, and figured it wasn't for them. It's too bad but hey when go from squish to rigid, you really need to realize that you are making a commitment to ride differently.

In fact, I think it's a great way to improve your riding skills because you now have to be picky on your lines, which really teaches to pay more attention to the trail. On a full squish rig, and even some hard tails, most riders see to get into a fire-and-forget mode but when you are riding rigid, every bump counts. Having a 29er does help somewhat in that area but you still can't just ride the trail indiscriminately. I emailed the owner to find out why he is selling such a sweet bike. If I get a response I will post it as a comment.



What's interesting to note in this next ad is that it would appear that the 29er is a fixie! Now, that's cool.



An obvious clue on the picture below is the single handbrake. Can't find any reference to this bike on the FGG, though. Not much really to go on though, but that label on the top tube looks a lot like the Willits logo, so much that I think this bike is a Willits Scorcher.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'm Back ... I'm back in the Saddle again!

The last column in the graph above is my mileage total for July. I rode 5 miles back on July 3rd and that has been it this month. The main reason I haven't been riding is due to the new job and the longer commute, and a nine day fishing trip. However, the longer commute which is now buy train really puts a damper on my ability to ride after work. The only way to ride after work is to drive down to the office with the bike and on the way home, hit a riding area.

In the previous post, I showed you my bent hanger. I spent the morning putting the good one on and then adjusting the derailer, and adjusting it, then going to Sheldon Brown's website only to find out I was doing it all wrong. Finally, I thought I got it. So, I jumped on the 'Horse for a quick Echo Valley Loop.

On the way in, the gears were behaving normally but there wasn't much strain on them and it wasn't until the first climb on the Poly Brody did I start having problems. I got out the Gerber and made a few adjustments to the L limit screw and then a few more, and finally I think I got it spot on.

There were some fresh tire tracks on the Polly Brody and then half way up into the first climb I noticed some pink tapes on the east side of the trail leading up to the rock out cropping. Looks like there might be some forestry planned there. Which would be good because if it opened the outcropping then you might actually get a good view out over Lake Lillinohnah.


At the top of the first climb there were more trees marked with blue paint, which means this area is going to be cut down but the question is when? Some of these trees were marked two years ago and yet the still stand. Can't wait for this area to get thinned out because there is a little trail in there that could be potential connection to the Gussy Trail.

At the top of first climb, where Tom built the up-and-over, that I still have yet to try, I noticed the pair of sun glasses that I lost a couple of months ago! I couldn't believe it! Someone found them and left them where I would find them.

I don't think it was a mountain biker that found them because they were atop that stunt. Still, thanks to whom ever found them!


Rest of the ride on the Gussy was sweet! In fact, it appears that some trail gnomes have been busy adjusting some of the up-and-overs and created a new one, too! Here is a picture of the new up-and-over:

A lot of work went into it and I was impressed. The Gnomes forgot about one thing, people do ride up this trail and the tranny on the south side of the stunt was not suited for this direction travel so I added some rocks.

before


after

On the way out, I ran into two people that were looking for raptors in the forest. I am generally head down most of the time, so I rarely notice much above my head. Included in their survey was Goshawks. I don't think they are in the forest where I ride but there are plenty behind my house.

Hopefully, August will be a better riding month.

I'm stumped ...

... that a stump could do this kind of damage. On my June 26th ride on Al's Trail I mentioned that hit something that knocked my chain off. I thought it was a stump because when I came down the berm there was a stump really close to the trail and I thought I hit that because it didn't make a scraping sound that you would think you would get with the derailleur hitting a rock. Maybe it was a rock afterall?

The reason I think I might have actually hit a rock can be seen in the following pictures. A stump couldn't have caused that type of stress in a machined piece of aluminum. In the first picture below, the hanger in the back ground is seen pushed back. Not sure what you call it, but poking around the Wiki, I think what you are seeing is sheer stress on the portion that hangs down for the derailleur.


And I think what you are seeing here is an example of normal stress, in which the blade was bent perpendicularly to the plane of the hanger.



I am wondering since I was having problems shifting in the past that the hanger suffered an earlier incident and when I took the bike in for a tune-up, the shop made the corrections to the derailleur to compensate for the changed aspect of the hanger. Then when I hit again, the aspect changed all over again and trying to compensate for this new position is too much for the H and L screws to handle.

I had a similar situation with the Fixation where the hanger was bent in towards the gears and I could never get the bike to shift properly again. I put the new hanger on and I will test the bike this weekend to make sure it's in good working order. I think I am going to order a few extra hangers, too, and keep one in Camel for when I find myself on an epic ride and this happens.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Friday Fix

Two new mountain fixies have recently popped up on the FGG, but by the time you read this post, they'll probably be old news. This first one, a converted Haro Mary, combines everything that I love about this sport because not only is it fixed but it's a 29er. This is truly a unique build. If you click on the picture it will bring you to the details page on the bike on FGG. Check out the rear hub on this baby!

Once again my favorite bike graces the pages of the FGG, the Kona Unit. I would love to build one of these up as an SS/Fixed Gear ride. My friend Pete (iBike) is selling his but it's a bit too small for me. Steel and Paragon style drops make me salivate.

Which reminds me, I need to take my Fetish 69er Fixed out for a spin. If I can't replace this frame with a Kona that fits me, I might try for an Evil Sovereign.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

George Carlin's Opinion on Bicycles

Found this in a comment on another blog that I thought I would share - it's pretty funny. From the late, great comedian George Carlin.



Looks like 29ers are getting so popular that there are now quite a few YouTube videos:



Here is a custom build 29er. The soundtrack is a little goofy and watch for the still of the bike at the end. Not sure if it's the camera lens but the bike's head angle is way too slack for a 29er in my opinion!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Qballs: Felix

Found this Qball on the Special-Ed website that seems a lot like facebook. The bike is in California. Out of all the Qballs I have seen to date, this one has the lowest seat post. Hard to tell what size the rider is and what size the frame is, but if I had to venture a quess I would say that this is probably a medium frame.

Build specs:

  • Frame: 4130/Dedacciai03 Steel
  • Fork: Rock Shox Reba Race
  • Headset: Chris King black
  • Stem: Ritchey Pro adjustable
  • Handlebars: On-One Mary
  • Tape/Grips: Odi Oury Lock-On
  • Front Brake: Magura LouiseFR 7"
  • Rear Brake: Magura LouiseFR 6"
  • Brake Levers: Magura Louise
  • Front Derailleur: none
  • Rear Derailleur: none
  • Shift Levers: none
  • Cassette: Rennen 19t, 20t or 21t
  • Chain: Sram 991
  • Crankset: White Ind ENO
  • Chainrings: White Ind. 32t
  • Bottom Bracket: Phil Wood Titanium
  • Pedals: Crank Bros Candy SL
  • Rims: WTB Speedisk XC 29er
  • Front Hub: Hope XC, Hope Skewer
  • Rear Hub: Hope Pro 2 SS Bolt-On Surly Tuggnuts
  • Spokes: 32 DT Swiss Champion
  • Front Tire: WTB Weirwolf LT Race 29x2.55
  • Rear Tire: Kenda Karma 29x2.2
  • Saddle: WTB Lazer V SLT
  • Seat Post: Syncros 27.2x410

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Drove 611 miles in one day!

We left Deer Horn Lodge at 5:40 am Saturday morning and pulled into Newtown, CT at 7:20 pm. It was smooth going the whole way, except for the border crossing. We lost 35 minutes there.

Since the Canadian Dollar is now par with the US Dollar, many Canadians, despite the high price of gas, are heading south for vacations and shopping.

Below is a shot of a Canada Tire/Wal-Mart bike on the back one Quebecqois' car. Saw quite a few bikes on the trip, to and from the camp. Montreal has many bike trails that you can see from the highway. There is an old railway line that used to run from Montreal to Parent which is now a bike path and is 465+ kilometers (288 miles)! Along the Saint Lawrence Canal, both sides, there are bike paths, too!



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Friday, July 18, 2008

Last day of fishing and I got skunked!

Went out at 7:30 am in a light drizzle that turned into a torrential
down pour. If it weren't for the bimni top, we would have been
completely miserable. Besides catching a few perch, there were no
walleye caught by me, though my father caught one jigging.

We did, however, keep up our tradition of a shore lunch on the last
day of the trip at Baie Cox. If it wasn't for the lighter fluid, I
don't think we could have gotten the fire started. As usual, my
father only brought a frying pan and a spatula but there were no
plates or forks, so we had to eat directly from the pan.

Afterwards, I snagged a jig on a stump and busted the rod trying to
horse it out. Fortunately, it was an old rod. I stuck it in the
stump at the shore lunch place. We'll see if it's still there in two
years.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Pike are on Strike!

In the previous post, I caught the only two walleye today. We did try
for some pike but we are not seeing them in their usual hang outs.
Today, we got some weather and it was impetus to head in early. It is
nice, however, having a boat with a bimini top and side curtains.

While it was raining, we had everything up and it was quite cozy and
dry. Of course, we weren't catching any fish but it was nice
listening to Satellite radio and relaxing, and not getting rained on!

Caught some Walleye today!

A few 18 inchers. Decided to let them go. It was a slow day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lake Trout!

Today was great for Lakers! My father got one south of Sterns Pass.
I caught one in 150 feet of water and I was fishing at 100 feet. My
father also caught a nine pounder back in Baie Dixie! We had a great
day!