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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

89 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Savings from Bike Commuting

Gas:  11 gallons
CO2:  220 lbs

Tuesday's commute was simply glorious!

I had to ride through town and stop at the Middle School
to perform my civic duty

Since I was already past the Newtown Flag Pole, I headed to the office on Rt 302
I realized how much I missed riding this stretch of road
It's still cold enough in the mornings to warrant a little snivel gear

I left the office kind of late

It was warm enough for shorts and finger less gloves
but I sill wore my jacket because the wind was fierce

I rode like bat out of hell to get home before it got dark.
I got home in 33 minutes which is the fasted time yet,
and I was on a singlespeed!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Working my way to Waramug

When I got up Saturday morning it was 30 degrees and it felt the same, if not colder, at my son's 9 am soccer game, probably because of the northerly wind. By the time we got home the temperature gauge said it was 50 degrees.  A few hours later, temps moved another 5 degrees.  I waffled a bit on what to wear, and only screwed up on shoe choice.  Brought extra stuff for the ride home thinking later in the day, coming back from Waramug is was going to be colder.

By the time I got to the top of Old Ridge, I was feeling good but thought I was biting off more than I could chew, so I altered course and took Rt 109 towards Washington Depot.  That is a scary road because a fellow rider was killed on this road just last fall.  He was riding west and probably picked up quite a bit of speed coming down a steep descent before Kimberly Farm when someone pulled out from the farm and he had no time to stop or swerve.

While riding up towards the Gunnery on Route 47 I spied another cyclist about 100 yards in front of me and it wasn't until I was a couple of miles into Rt 199 that I caught up to him.  He introduced himself as Randy and he lives in New Milford.  He was riding a Specialized Tricross with disc brakes, fatter tires, fenders, and all the right gear for a good dirt road ride. 

He said that he rode down through Steep Rock but the road just ended and so he turned back and came this way. I told him about the Shepaug Railroad Tunnel and how you can ride through it and keep going all the way to Tunnel Road and then on to Judds Bridge. I offered to show him the way and maybe that will be next weekend's ride, and shying away from Waramug, again, but hopefully I will have my new tires for the Crosscheck and good Gravle ride will be in order.

Randy and I parted in Roxbury, he went right on Rt 67 and I went left through Roxbury.  Didn't bother stopping at the market because I had plenty of energy.  In fact, all I was doing was drinking water the whole ride. I decided to stretch out the route a bit and take Rt 67 all the way down into Southbury.  At one point I was out in the lane trying to avoid a rough patch when a car honked at me. I got over and then the motorist passed me well within the 3 foot rule and there was no body coming up ahead, either. I had some choice vernacular for his driving abilities.

Further down 67 I came across a cyclist in distress and stopped to lend a hand.  Her chain dropped off the front ring and was stuck on the inside of the ring and the frame and she couldn't get it out. While she turned the crank I pulled on the chain and we were able to get it unstuck! She was riding the Carbon Fiber version of my bike.

The ride along the river back into Sandy Hook was stunning and then I headed up to the center of town and then home. After 41 miles, I felt great and can't wait for next weekend's ride which will either be to and around Lake Waramug or some Gravle. Despite the change in route, my hot feet, and the anxiety of my job going away and what am I going to do next, I had my Velo Wa and helping a fellow cyclist out on the road was further icing on the cake for a great ride on a beautiful day!  

Friday, April 24, 2015

90 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Savings from Bike Commuting

Gas:  10 gallons
CO2:  200 lbs

What happened to Spring?


 Riding to work in the cold

Riding home, still cold

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

91 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Savings from Bike Commuting

Gas:  9 gallons
CO2:  180 lbs

By delaying my departure 30 minutes I missed the showers
but still dressed for a rainy commute.

It was overkill to say the least.

The ride home was much better but boy am I pasty!

Riding down Pond Brook Road (dirt portion) I had a mirror failure.
It's now history!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Unsettled Velo Wa (ベロ 和)

Fatties not fitting fine
No Harmony Peace Balance
Rode to Ride my Bike

I rolled out of Chez Snack at approximately 2:45 PM on Sunday with the intention of riding to Lake Waramug on Surly only to get a quarter of a mile away and discover that I was still having wheel alignment issues with those big, honking Vee rubber tires.  Ever since having my rear deraileur serviced I haven't been able to seat the wheel properly.  After returning home and fixing the rear alignment I found that the front was rubbing in the fork, too.  I think the front wheel needs a little trueing.  Since this wasn't going to be the day, I switched to Cannondale Synapse and rode north.

I was in such a rush to get going, I left all my gear in the Ventour Handlebar bag that I wanted to test out and Sunday's weather was not as Summery as it was Saturday making me somewhat uncomfortable but I rode on.  Between my attire and the fact that my chain sounded a bit dry really unsettled my Velo Wa (ベロ 和) that I just did a 20 mile loop.

After I got home, the first think I did was order a pair of Schwalbe Land Cruiser HS 307 700x40c tires that I had been eyeballin' for quite sometime.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stick in the Mud

It actually felt like summer on Saturday and after I got done with the Honey-Do List I headed out on my mountain bike to Upper Paugussett State Forest.  It's been nearly 3 months since I last rode here and that was with a few inches of snow on the ground so it was going to be a whole different scene.

While all the logs that were being stored in the Echo Valley Parking Lot have been removed there were still quite a few at the Mud Hole, which as you can see is back in business.  Rather than ride through the mud, I prefer to ride the corduroy that someone built last year.  The last time I rode through it was ice so I stopped to make sure everything was good to go before attempting it.  It's kind of at a weird angle so I wanted to make sure it was still functional after the long, hard winter.

As you can see my first attempt was not terribly successful.  It seems that the armored portion sank further down so that when my front wheel went into the center it stopped causing me to endo and finding out the hard way that the water is cold and dirty!  I found a better, flatter rock to sit in the center and rode it again with no trouble.

Further up, the seasonably wet section of the Poly Brody Forest Road was wet.  The nice thing about this part is that it's a gravel road and never gets muddy despite the water.

The Upper Gussy Trail was really nice.  There are some new trees down here and there but nothing impeding the flow.  It appears that someone may have redone the rock armoring at the stream crossing in the picture above.  Further down the trail I came across a father and his sons riding up the trail.  It was their first time on the trail and they were riding it backwards.

Coming down the Gussy to Jeep Trail there were a lot of skid marks and they looked fresh, as in today!  I wish people wouldn't do this because it really ruins the trail.  I usually never ride down this part of the trail but I avoided the Reach-Around because I knew the Jeep Trail would be bogged out because of all the rain we got on Friday and spring melt.

Something needs to be done about this!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Beer Can Handlebar Shim

This shouldn't be anything new to the DIY Cyclist/Mechanic and I really don't know why I didn't think about it sooner because I have used Beer Can shims numerous times on various seat posts. 

You don't have to use a Beer Can, by the way, any aluminum can will work.  I only like the Beer Can, especially a Pabst Blue Ribbon, because of the common association that beer has with cycling and PBR with fixed gears, but I don't where thick glasses and have a beard.  Also, I have to thank Cliff, the cyclist who sent me some vintage handlebar bags, who suggested that I should do this.

Step 1, or Step 2 if you had to empty the can first, cut out a ribbon or strip of the can so that it's the width of the bar clamp and will wrap completely around the bars at least once and there is plenty of overlap.  I use the the circumference of the entire can to ensure that I get enough overlap and then some.

Wrap the aluminum ribbon around your handlebars, ensuring there is plenty of overlap and then slide it and the bar underneath the clamp.  Then tighten down the clamp.

Get on the bike and make sure the bars don't slip!  If they do, you might have to add more can and also make sure the clamp it really tight!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

92 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Savings from Bike Commuting

Gas:  8 gallons
CO2:  160 lbs

Upon leaving Chez Snack, the temperature read 37 degrees but by the time I got up to town the temperature gauge on the Garmin was reading 45 degrees and did I feel over dressed by then

I have to say though, I think this morning was my first pleasant morning bike commute 

Everything was working nicely

Instead of riding home, I had to ride over to the car dealer and pick up my wife's car so I will have to make up the mileage next week

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fixed laps with my Son

Sunday was a beautiful day for a bike ride

Some snow still remains and it's almost the middle of April

Elliot took off 

We were having a blast, lap after lap

The Paramount was rocking and my fixie sense came be quickly
There were a few issues that I have still have fix

Sunday, April 12, 2015

1992 Schwinn Paramount Series 7 PDG OS: Fixed!



The only Fredding to the bike, besides throwing on a pair of flats
is a different set of bars

The proper use for Origin8 Gary I Propulsion Bars is on a fixie
I tried three different stems but went back to the original