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Monday, February 28, 2011

Some Pix along the Upper Saddle River Trail

It seems Jersey Barriers are everywhere in New Jersey, so much so, that even the hotel carries a comic of them.  I didn't really stop much to take pictures on my ride along the Saddle River Trail.  I took one at the trail head or Northern Terminus because I actually started my ride at the Dunkerhook section of the trail.


There was this cool Mill Tower along the way that I felt needed to be photographed.  Of course, what better opportunity than to also throw in a little gratuitous fixie bike porn.

What's interesting about this trail is that you can tell that it was created in sections in which the terminus of every section ends with a turn around.  There must have been 4 or 5 turn arounds along the way, one of which is where this mill was located.  At the other end of the trail there is a rail line with an old train station and some sidings that I just had to take a few pictures of, too.









And how about a little more bike porn.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Giddy Up on the Upper Saddle River Bike Path

Had a great ride on the Upper Saddle River Bike Path this morning.  Started a thread on MTBR in the NJ forum to get a little G2 on the trail.  Was thinking about bringing the Qball but the girl is shoed with knobbies and I didn't have the outer ring installed and thus I felt it would be over kill.  Perfect trail for a fixie though and I settled with Stinson.

While at Campmoor yesterday I got the lowdown on the trail from the bike tech.  He said to watch out for all non English speaking individuals but at 6:30 in the morning there were only a few walkers, some runners, and a couple of dudes riding mountain bikes, only one with a helmet.

Nice trail for a quick fixie ride, though.  A runner in the parking lot suggested next time to try road along the Palisades, something called Hudson Drive, for hills.  Took a few pix along the way and did some top tube cam but I will upload those later this week.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Got Fork?

The diSSent is slowly coming together.  At a friend's recommendation I asked my LBS (The Bicycle Center) to leave some room on the steering tube so that I can play with the stem height while I am trying find what works best for me with the new frame.

I am definitely going with a Black and White motif.  I have some white Blunts that I got on Ebay from Wheel & Sprocket.  I will be getting a white seatpost collar, white saddle and black seatpost.

I thought about outfitting everything new on the bike but decided to stick with some favorite parts that have been waiting for a new frame like my FSA Mega Exo cranks that I got a new chain ring for, my Juicy 3s and FUBars.  Not sure if the FUBars are going to give me the leverage I need for climbing but I am going to try them for awhile since they are just sitting around.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Night Shoe'in

After yesterday's little foray into the backyard Katie wanted to go out again so we planned on an after work Night Shoe.  I went out at lunch and got her a headlight just to be safe and this time I brought the GPS.  With the temperatures already below freezing and steadily dropping we dressed accordingly.  The only plan that I had in mind was that we would cut through the neighboring open space to a hiking right of way that climbs up the back ridge to more town open space.

Katie really doesn't need snow shoes because the snow will hold her weight but with me, it's a different story and the snow shoes are a must.  The hiking right of way is largely washed out so we had to veer off the trail often until the last climb and then it turns into a pretty good trail.  The hiking right of way actually was a farmers old cart road that eventually spits out onto Butterfield Rd.  Instead of heading down to Butterfield we cut back and climbed further up to the one of the high point on the open space property, or at least what thought was the open space.

Before heading back down the hill we did come to a fence that had three bands of barbed wire at 3 feet, 6 feet, and 9 feet and then deer netting in front of it but some sections were torn down.  There was a house in the back that I think is accessible from Silver City Road but it was dark and no one was home.  



From there it was more or less a straight shot down hill.  Along the way, we had to cross a few streams.  I had my bell on my back and that ringing attracted the neighbors dogs but they were all bark and no bike.  It sounded like they were coming into the woods after us, we know these dogs and they are quite friendly, but Katie and I stopped, turned off our lights and stood still for a couple of minutes.  They barked for bit more until my neighbor came out and had them come into the house.  Then we turned our lights back on and continued back down to our house.


The walk was just over an hour and it was great getting out with Katie on the snow shoes.  She really likes them and can't wait for more adventures.  


When we have more time we are going to walk down into the Pond Brook Valley and maybe walk along the old Shepaug Railroad bed and also try to hit Upper Paugussett before the snow melts.  


I am also really impressed with how accurate the new GPS is working.  I thought at first that maybe it didn't track properly but then I figured out it was zoomed out and it looked like we didn't go anywhere but once I pulled the track into Topofusion, it was all clear that it worked superbly!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Are you sure Punxsutawney Phil?


I spent Monday evening prepping the Qball for commuting this week only to find out that it's going to be too cold to ride Tuesday morning (I am trying to ride Tuesdays and Thursdays to work).  An expected low for Tuesday and Wednesday morning is 10 degrees!   The weather does look promising, and I am still in Phil's camp because Thursday and the 10 day forecast are looking a lot brighter.


I wanted to try out an XT wheelset I picked up over Xmas with 45c commuting tires (Kenda Kross) but forgot that I needed shrader tubes for them so I decided to stick with my Mavics. While I hate rolling knobbies on pave I decided to suck it up and slip on a pair of Kenda Klaw 1.95s that came with the new wheelset. I need the knobbies this weekend as I am headed down to New Jersey to do a real Monster Cross ride on some Greenway trails near Paramus, where there isn't a lot of snow!

These tires might be just what I have been looking for in a Monster Cross tyre, not too wide but not too thin.  I still want to try some 47c tires but I might hold those for my next Monster Cross project.

Monday, February 21, 2011

More Snow?

Woke up to a light snow Monday morning but by mid morning it stopped.  A mere two inches but the weather people were predicting a lot more.  Early morning temps in single digits means I won't be riding to work this week unless it warms up a little bit.  I thought Phil saw his shadow -- why are we still getting winterized?

I took my daughter out for a little snow shoe in the back 40.  Katie took to it immediately, granted we were only walking in 2 inches of powder, on top of 3 feet of compressed snow/ice from January.  Still there were a few soft spots that I broke into.  We climbed up a ridge that I have never been to the top of before and it gave us a whole new perspective of the neighborhood - there could be serious mountain bike trails back here come next summer.

Now my riding buddy, who by the way turned 10 today, is also my snow shoeing buddy.  I think next winter she is going to learn to XC Ski!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chris King

Went out to pick up my Reba that a friend of mine was rebuilding and he also happens to have a headset tool, in fact I keep telling him that he ought to open a shop, so he switched out the Chris King on the Dillinger and put it on the diSSent. The Dillinger is going to be rigged as a 1x9 so I went back to the original Cane Creek S-3 that came with it.

As I look about my garage, I wonder what am I to do with all these bikes.  I had to put the wheels back on the Death Fork to make room for the Dillinger to hang next to the wife's bike, the kids Tandem Trail-a-bike, and Elliot's geared bike which he has yet to ride.  And then there is the Iron Man Dave Scott, my next fixie project in the offing.  On the other rack, I have a 1984 Nishiki Cascade frame that I want to rebuild into perhaps a fixie, montster, 650b'er or something.

Am I turning into a bike hoarder?  Or am I just a bike whore?  Who knows?  Who cares?  All I know, is I love bikes!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Friday Fix: First Fixed Commute 2011



Spring has sprung a little early here in Subrural-urbia and with an expected high in the 50s on Thursday I decided this was going to be the start of my 2011 commuting season.  My driveway was still a bit icy so I walked down the hill and my only concern at this point was black ice.  The night before I switched the Stinson back to fixed gear but it would seem that I didn't get the tension right because 2 miles into my commute I dropped my chain and skidded for 50 feet until I stopped.  I was riding with my helmet cam attached to my top tube and I have tried in the past to record this part of my ride but always unsuccessfully.  

The helmet cam did the trick but as you will see towards the end the chain drops, gets stuck between the cog and the spokes and I come to a skidding stop.

Nothing like a little mechanical to start the morning.  After getting the chain back on I spent a few additional minutes tensioning my chain.  The water bottle trick doesn't work with fenders so I had to center the wheel and then push it into the drops while tightening down the axle nuts.  It took me a few tries till I got it right.

The rest of the ride to work was pretty uneventful.  The morning attire was perfect:  Wicking shirt, long sleeve wicking shirt, riding jacket, and a fleece vest.  I did go with the lobsters and I had a balaclava on but it wasn't really necessary.  Fleece lined tights, winter riding boots and over booties.  Toes did get cold towards the end of the ride but I ignored it because I was at the office by then.


I decided to take a slightly longer route home which parallels Route 6 to the south, its the Walnut Hill to Old Bethel Road route.  Walnut Hill had a lot of potholes on it and it was really wet.  Crossing over Haleyville Road is the fun part with rolling hills and sweeping turns this section of the road that eventually intersects with Route 6 is best part of my commute.  Every time I ride through here I wonder what it would have been like 100 years ago when the Shepaug Railroad line passed through here.

At the end of the line (road) I headed down Rt 6 to Rt 25 and that was a mistake because I picked up a glass shard and ended up flatting.  I should have realized that with all the snow we had in January that were bound to be accidents, especially with I-84 in close proximity.


So, I changed the tube in front of the Housatonic Railroad's Reload facility.  Funny, how I rode 500 miles last year and not once did I get a flat and on the first ride of 2011 not only did I have morning mechanical but one in the afternoon, to boot!


Fixed the flat and got rolling again, only at the end of Pond Brook I rode up on some ice that had quite a bit of sand on it, trying to get around a really deep puddle only to have the bike slip out from under me and I went down on my knee, elbow, and pinky finger.  I think I jammed the pinky, got a little road rash on the knee and my elbow is just sore.  Hopefully, the next commute will be better than this one.  I am thinking about riding the Qball but I think I will need to change my tires.  Depending upon the melt I might just stick with mountain tires.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Just Add Air

I got an email the other day from Wheel & Spocket and while I am pretty well flush for parts I decided to click deeper to see what they might be offering that could be interesting and that is when I came across this wheelset offer from CyclingCloseouts.com.  

$99 for a Track Wheelset!  The deal comes with tires (700 x 23c), tubes, track nuts, 16t cog  and lock ring!    I couldn't pass that up and this is the perfect wheelset for the Dave Scott.  52:16 is going to be smoking!

OK, so the rubber is not the best but it will last long enough till I can find a good deal on some Conti's, not to mention I think I have some nice 23c Italian Rubber laying around somewhere.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Insanely Hard Snow at F'Hills

Headed over to F'Hills where I am planning a XC Ski Trail for next year and wanted to walk the proposed route and lay a decent GPS track.  While there is a ton of snow right now, it nearly frozen solid and XC Skiing right now without a decent busted track would really suck right now.  In fact, it almost seemed that snow shoes were over kill but there were quite a few places where if I didn't have the shoes on I would have post holing my way through.  Having the crampons were a definite must have.


The most difficult section is to figure out is the woods between the Recreational Trail, which is paved, and the buildings.  I tried to stay as straight as possible while only making subtle changes in directions.  Further up, behind the Newtown Youth Academy is this only obstacle course.  Maybe this is where some of the Patients from the old hospital worked out.  


I guess the trail really doesn't have to cross the Recreational Paved Trail but I wanted to take advantage of the old trail that I round at Christmas time, albeit it's pretty short.

But it does line you up with the single track that cuts south, granted who owns this section of land is still in question so it can't officially be part of the trail but there is single track that heads back towards Nunawalk Rd that is fun to ski, too.


Next time I go out, I am probably going to hook to the north around the Reservoirs and then pick up the new route. Tying into the existing single track and using that loop will be really fun in the future but won't be part of the official trail.


Last time out, I found an old farming road that it looks like the Equestriennes have used for some past Hunter Paces that I tied the trail into.  Following that to the bottom of Yahoo Hill I crossed over a stream and found that there were some boards that go over the stream!  Won't hold a horse but perfect for XC skiers and snow shoeing.