Saturday, May 31, 2008

Last day of Turkey Season?

Rode the 'Horse today and decided to try riding from the Hanover Rd Trail Head and up the Brody Road. I don't like this way because you are on hardball road longer than if you were going the other route to Tamarack. Of course if you parked at Pond Brook or Echo Valley, you wouldn't have to ride on much, if at all. At least I am saving gas by not driving to a trail head.

Lots of erosion on the Fire Road. I think Tuesday it rained pretty hard. I was down in Trumbull and it got dark and showed a bit but nothing major. Heading up the fire road, I cleaned every stage including the Choke and Puke (steepest section) in second gear no less!

Got to say a big THANK YOU to who ever took it upon themselves to add some improvements on some of the up and overs. Hard to describe where this one is, but I personally refer to as the Trichter (which is German for funnel). It's about a 1/4 of the way in coming from the Fire Road. Before you get this point, the trail curves to the right and through a little technical section with a log hop.

Turn the corner and then start going down and you get this little jump here. Only problem is that you can't get enough speed to really launch off of it. I guess you have to treat it more like a wheelie drop.

Tom brought the back blower through here the other day and finally cleared the rerouted section, essentially from the bucket to the third stream crossing. Made a little video of the third stream crossing.

It rides nicely, although the other side is still a little soggy and needs the same kind of attention as what I did on the other side.

Getting back on the Fire Road, I came across this gentleman walking towards me. At first I thought the Nasty Girls were running an op in the forest but one guy on the trail, out in the open, didn't seem really tactical (or smart). I stopped and chatted. Turns out it was last day of Turkey Season. He didn't get any but his buddy was supposed to be somewhere between the Forest Road and the water. Great, because I was planning on hitting the Mulikin Trail.

Never saw his buddy, must of had pretty good camo. I cleared my throat a few times to announce my presence in case he was in the area. I left the fire road on the way back and went down the Mulikin Trail. That needs some work, now, it's getting choked out but people are riding it so that's cool! There are some new trees down but nothing obstructing the trail

The up and over still rides nicely. The section between the rock wall and the old logging road needs to be cut back on both sides. Good thing I had long sleeves on because the thorny bushes were sticking out over the place and I still got a few scratches.

Seems people are riding the go around so I might have to go in there and armor that wet area, and definitely have to armor the other stream crossing. There was a lot of new blow downs on the old logging road grade down to Al's Trail. Today's ride starting and returning to my house was 6.2 miles and going the other way is 5.6 miles. I thought it would be longer.

I think the profile came out backwards because the steady climb up on the right matches what it should be riding up the fire road and then dropping down a bit and then climbing back up to the start of the Trichter. When you look at it, this is a really good profile.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Friday Fix

Welcome to the Friday Fix. Every Friday I will post something related to the Fixed Gear community. For example, Cycle Snack recently got linked to the Fixed Gear Gallery (thanks Dennis!) and check out the increased hit rate on the blog. Kind of cool to see all the traffic but the question will be, how many of those first time visitors will come back for more snacks? I hope they find something useful or entertaining to come back for a second, third or even more helpings.

More Mountain Fixies!

Check out this tasty treat: Smoke Bikes, LLC. Very trippy but they have some cool frames and they are all fixies! Check out their Freak Bikes section. If you think my 69er fixie is odd, check out some of their concoctions.

Here's a fixie from Connecticut:

I emailed the owner when I saw Southern CT, thinking he might be from Fairfield County, but turns out he lives over near Branford. That explains the big ring up front. Try that ratio up in my neck of the woods and unless you are Lance, you'll be walking some hills!

It appears that the FixedGearGallery may have some competition: The Single Speed Garage, which is part of the website The Garage is my kind of place. Going to have to get my four single speeds up on it now.

You are probably wondering what is the fourth bike, right? No, it's not the 1970's Raleigh that I got for a six pack of Bass Ale. Since the deraileur is still mounted to the frame, that bike is technically still geary. Do roadies understand what geary means? Although, it's intended to be SS/Fixed once I can find a good deal on another flipflop hub.

The Qball is my first single speed, the Fixation is second, and Barney the Purple Cannondale is third. The fourth single speed bike in the stable is ... I will give you a hint, it's steel, it has an Italian name, and it's made in Japan.

Here is a little taste of my fourth single speed and second fixie:

Finally found a use for those cross tires I experimented with last year

New Bars and Tape

High Magnesium Steel


What do you think it is?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yet another 29er, this one on the Fairfield Craigslist?

This seems like it's turning into an epidemic: disenchanted 29er riders. This is the third 29er up for sale on Craigslist in CT this year! I guess they tried the koolaid but didn't like the aftertaste? Although, this guy claims he never rode it? How can you buy a bike and not ride it.

I feel sorry for this guy, probably had a good time riding at Highbridge and then poof, went to put money on his metro card and now his baby is gone.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Diamond in the rough?

At 8:29 PM this evening I put up the following post on the NYC - Fairfield County, CT Craigslist and from 8:49 PM till 11:10 PM, received 22 inquiries about this bike. Similarly, I put up the same ad on the New Haven Clist, and got 6 responses in the span of an hour. Of course, one thing you have to be wary about when selling something on the Clist are the scammers and it seems there were a lot more coming from NY than in CT.

I did respond to three of the inquiries from the New Haven board - sent measurements, which include the seat tube length of 24" and the top tube of 22" but I am not sure how this bike measures out in the metric system. However, with all the responses, I am wondering if maybe I am asking too little for this bike. Afterall, it's practically a relic, especially if you are a fan of Cannondale.

I think I am going to hold on to this bike a little while longer, maybe change the bars and see if that makes a difference in the ride.

Need a better lever?

This is not the first time I broke a Park Tool Tire lever, but to break two within quick succession of one another, I just have to say something! I will never buy another park lever again after this. All I was doing was trying to put a 700c tire on a 700c wheel. Took it into the LBS and they have this think that looks like a big screwdriver. In two seconds it was done.

I got these levers from Pyramid. They look like the tool that they had at the LBS. Until the LBS get's another one in I'll just have use these.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Larkin State Bridal Trail: Riding Fixed 29-26-20

Rode the Fixation as a 69er and fixed with Katie on the Trail-a-bike for the first time. Hence the title, 29 inch wheel in the front, 26 inch drive wheel, and a 20 inch stoker wheel. Riding fixed this way was difficult when we hit some of the road crossings and then there is the matter of weight. I think Katie might be too big for the trail-a-bike because sudden jerks in the steering have us wagging all over the place.

Still, it was worth some Daddy/Daughter time, two hours and 9 miles. Not the longest trip for us, I think we did 10 miles two years ago. This time we first headed back towards Southbury but after crossing Rte 188 the bridle trail got really sketchy and muddy and I didn't want to subject Katie to any more mud. We did hit a little puddle before and she got a little spray.

We decided to wear our matching CTNEMBA Trail Ambassador jerseys and she actually fits into an XS pair of riding shorts from Cannondale and we were styling! We encountered a pair of horses on the trail and had to dismount and walk past them.

It was a good ride with only one snack break. Riding this trail is tough, especially fixed, and pulling the trail-a-bike because there are some deep gravelly spots that slow you down immensely.

The profile shot would look better if I didn't stop the Edge and forget to turn it back on again. Still, this that is a pretty steady climb for a Steam Engine, after all the Larkin Bridle Trail is really the old railroad bed that connected Hawleyville and Waterbury. Below is a map from the link above. I want to try and do the whole trail sometime, only not pulling any kids. The entire trail is 10.3 miles and you could probably work in a loop at Hop Brook State Park and probably get 25 to 30 mile ride!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wacky Tracky

Here is this morning's track and as usual the Edge was not tracking like it usually does. Something about mornings and I always get a lousy track. Below is a comparison to Wednesday's ride doing the exact same route, which is in green. Horrible! Still, I was out riding and that's all that matters.

Again, the profile from today's ride is not terribly accurate, either. The start and end points should at least be around the same elevation, but they are not.

Here I am at the 2.5 mile mark. This is my new stopping point, which is about a 0.4 miles into trail. Up till this point, the trail is pretty milk toast but then it starts getting really technical so this is where I open up the front suspension and take a sip of water.

The next stopping point was the roller at the crossing with the Blue Trail. For some reason I couldn't get a song from the Who out of my head.

Here is a cool artistic shot of the Qball. The new 2.2 tire is great and it's always a joy to ride.

Here is a little snack of the video that I am working on which will be a compilation of all the spots along the Upper Gussy Trail.

Another Fixed Fixation

It's really cool to see another Fetish Fixation rigged fixie. Found this one on the FixedGearGallery the other day. Most fixies show up in urban areas and there doesn't seem to be much enthusiasm for off road riding fixed, but there are a few. While I have only ridden this way twice, on a fire road with half a foot of snow on the ground and the other just last weekend on a rail trail pulling my two sons in a Burley Trailer, it takes an entirely different mindset.

Before submitting my own fixie (Fixed Fetish Fixation) to FixedGearGallery where I was the 7,001 post, I trolled the entire site looking for examples of off road fixed gear bikes and found a few, and on the gallery they make up an extremely minuscule population, 0.003%! My favorite bike is one that someone used a URT (Unified Rear Triangle) platform and I am kicking myself for not doing the same with my Dumpgoose! Spacial needs won out over another frankenbike project. If I ever get another, that is what I am going to do.

Recent Off Road additions include: Mr. Happy Bike, a 1989 Diamondback, Roadrat (this might be an ATB frame and then again it might not because of the drops), here is another RoadRat with a front disc brake, and lastly and one of my favorite frames, a Surly 1x1. I had asked Dennis if he could add a little designation icon, like a fat tire, for those fixies that are ATB frames but so far, it hasn't materialized.

If you happen to know of any that I might have missed, or know of any other sites with fixed off road biking, let me know.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

First Ride on the Cannondale SR 300

Took the boys, the Burley, and this time Barney the Purple Cannondale out for a spin on the Middlebury Trolley Trail. It was the first time that I have actually rode the Cannondale and it has a really nice feel to it. Putting the 17t freewheel on it makes a big difference and the modifications to the drops allows it to pedal smoothly.

There is just one drawback to the bike and that is the bars - can't get enough leverage. It probably would have been different if I weren't pulling my two sons in the Burley but I actually had to walk a few hills. Here are a list of excuses that I can come up with that explain my complete failure in climbing the hills today:
1. First time pedaling with 42:17
2. I think the frame is too small because I couldn't stretch out enough to get the leverage I needed to pedal up the hills.
3. The quasi bullhorns (cut and turned around drop bars) again don't allow me to get out over the front bars where you get a lot of leverage.
4. First time riding pavement in quite a long time.
Other than that, the bike was nice to ride. The Trolley Trail is nice but it's a lot of climbing. If you start out at Meadowview Park in Middlebury and head east towards Waterbury, it's a nice, mostly downhill ride all the way to Maggie McFlys at Exit 17 off of Rte 84. Of course, that means on the way back there is quite a bit of climbing as you can see from the profile below.

There were a few complaints from the peanut gallery when we first started out. Brody wanted to control the situation by telling me to slow down every couple of minute. Elliot on the otherhand couldn't care less.

On the way back, it was time for some juice. What a life!

When we got back to the park, the boys played on the Jungle Gyms, made new friends, and tired me out. Then we drove down to Woodbury to Dairy De-Lite for ice cream. Brody insisted on a cone and he wasn't too bad with it. He does do a mean Colonel Sanders!

Elliot did better with the ice cream cone. We ended the day with a little group picture and then headed home.

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Kona Bicycles Mountain Bike Adventure Series

For the 8th year NEMBA will be holding Mountain Bike Adventure Series rides at various locations around New England. This year the series will feature some of the best riding areas in our region. There's no better way to explore a new riding area than following a marked course that highlights a venue's best trails at your own pace. And all monies collected normally fund local trail projects.

The ride series comes to Connecticut on Sunday, June 22nd, at Huntington State Park in Redding CT. This is the first time that the park has hosted this series. There will be new trails, lost of guided rides, skills sessions and many more reasons to join CT NEMBA in Southwestern Connecticut.

The event will take place at the parking lot (Statues) off of Sunset Hill Rd, in Redding.

Registration: 9 to 11 - $10 for members, $15 for non-members but if you join NEMBA the day of the event, then it's free.
Led Rides Depart: 9:30 & 10 (return 12:30)
Demos ( Iron Horse) , Women's Skill Sessions ( Campmor Womens' Race Team), Stunt Course : 10 to 1 PM
Award Winning BBQ by Jamie Shier ($10), raffle : 12 noon to 1:30 PM

Registration money will go to Huntington State Park for signs, maps, and trail improvements. BBQ money goes to Pan Mass Challenge.

Volunteers are needed, so please contact Paula Burton ( or 203-426-5369) if you would like to help.

Off I-84 Eastbound: Take Exit 5. At stop sign, continue straight to traffic light. Turn right onto Main Street and travel to its end (1.25 miles). Turn left onto South Street, at 2nd light follow Route 53 into Bethel. At Route 53 and Route 302 follow Route 302 east for 1.6 miles. At Route 58 and Route 302, follow Route 58 south for 4.6 miles then take a left onto Sunset Hill Road. Collis P. Huntington is 0.8 miles on the right.

Off I-84 Westbound: Take Exit 9. Take Route 25 South for approximately 3 miles, then turn west onto Route 302 for 6 miles. At Route 58 and Route 302, follow Route 58 south for 4.6 miles then take a left onto Sunset Hill Road. Collis P. Huntington is 0.8 miles on the right.

Off Merritt Parkway Southbound: Take Exit 42. Take Route 136 north for 5.2 miles, at the intersection of Route 136 and Route 58, follow Route 58 for 7 miles then take a right onto Sunset Hill Road. Collis P. Huntington is 0.8 miles on the right.

Off Merritt Parkway Northbound: Take Exit 44. Take Route 58 North for approximately 10 miles. Turn right onto Sunset Hill. Collis P. Huntington is 0.8 miles on the right.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Independent Fabrication "IF" 29er on Craigslist

This is one sweet bike! Granted, a little small for me but IF bikes are awesome and I would love to have one. Of course it is in my favorite color and looks like it has an EBB (Eccentric Bottom Bracket) so chain tension is always tight! Nice parts list, too. If you want to taste the Koolaid, this is the bike to do it on!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

No Sleep til Hammersmith

If you have came to this post looking for Motorhead, you won't find anything but I thought it was a fitting title to describe what I encountered during yesterday's ride on what I now call the Echo Valley Loop. I was making great time, Lap 1 (My House to the Upper Gussy trail head) 2.5 miles in 9.4 minutes, during lap 2, I stopped at the Third Stream Crossing (need a better name for this) and decided to add some tiles (flat rocks) to the southern portion of the tread way after the crossing, when I heard the thunder off in the distance. I knew that it was time to start hammering home.

Probably went 200 yards when I realized I forgot to turn on the Edge! Arrgghhh, I hate when this happens! So I rode back to my starting point and started over. I know it seems pretty anal or maybe even a little CD, but I have to have a complete track. This also provided some good feedback on riding that crossing because going back through it again allowed me to critique it even more and that means it needs more work. The flat rocks, once they are dug in, will be nice. I imagine the same will be needed on the other side as well. I think that is what I am going to try and do this Saturday on my little Memorial Day Trail Maintenance session.

After the Mulligan on the third crossing I kept hammering and didn't stop. Hammered through the Double Cross, which by the way is a great armoring, climbed up to the switch back. I usually stop at the hairpin turn to catch my breath but I knew I didn't have the time. Didn't think going through the Wetspot and cleaned it. I did hit the Blue Blaze Roller (need to take out some of those little trees growing on the side of the rock face) and kept hammering! Up and over the Camel's Hump (can't wait to clear that off some more for more rolling opportunities), back and fourth through the maze and then onto the Jeep Trail. I hammered the Gussy in 20 minutes (not including the little bit trail work)!

Got onto Sanford Road when the first drops were starting to fall and flashes of lightnining were directly overhead. I must have been on the periphery of the storm because by the time I hit Hanover it was raining but not intensely. Not a minute after I pulled into my garage did the torrential downpour hit! And that's why this post is called No Sleep til Hammersmith because I did not stop at all till I got home!

From my house, round trip it's almost 6 miles and I can hammer that (even on the single speed) in less than an hour. Unfortunately, the distance if you were to park at the Echo Valley lot and do this ride is only 3.66 miles - need to work on that. Again, screwy reading on the edge. Starting elevation at Sanford Road and the Jeep Trail is around 400 feet above sea level but as you can see below the elevation profile exceeds the actual mapped heights.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ghost Chain on YouTube

Problems with Blogger have prompted me to upload the same video to YouTube. Also, I discovered that why the wheel is probably out of true, more importantly it's the axle that is bent. I took the axle apart last night and replaced it with another axle from another dumpster dive bike. This was fun because I had to repack the bearings and grease them up with Phil Woods bearing grease. I should have another video up soon. In the meantime, if my directly uploaded video on blogger is still not working, here it is on YouTube.

Also, if you go to YouTube and look at the video, you'll see other Fetish Bikes and Single Speed stuff.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Full Face Fixie

Found this interesting picture on a BikeSnobNYC blog post which appears to be the Tour of New York bike ride but if you look closely at the rider in the left foreground, it appears that he is wearing a full faced helmet? I thought that was only for huckling and buckling mountain bikers, or for those who don't know what going big means, kids that think they are invincible.

(Photo courtesy of Bike New York)

This guy looks like he is definitely riding a fixie, BikeSnob confirmed my guess that he is riding a Bianchi Pista and the bike looks like it only have a front brake. You would think people that ride the streets of New York might consider these helmets more but I think this is the first time I have seen one, granted I don't get to the city much and you rarely see fixie riders around here.

Still, having a full faced helmet would be especially helpful in deflecting any face plants. I queried this on Google and came across an interesting video on a Bicycle Commuter's Blog. A full faced helmet would have saved this person's face for sure and maybe he would have stood a little chance with a regular helmet, too, but helmet's seem to be a rarity in general with all the cyclists in this video.

Riding full faced on the road, especially in the summer would be pretty horrible. I don't know how the mountain bikers can take it. It makes sense, though. I think I will take my chances with a regular helmet.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ghost Chain Ring

Here is my attempt at a Ghost Chain Ring. The freewheel is a 15t, the next cog is a 22t (granny gear) and upfront is a 32t. The wheel that I am using is off a bike that salvaged from the dump. A friend of mine works over there and drops off a bike every so often that I will strip for parts or even experiment with a build into something unusual, for example the Dumpgoose.

You might notice that this wheel that I am using is really out of true so I will have to take it in to the shop and get it trued up. After the ride yesterday I got to thinking about how to utilize my wheels, gearing, and tires. I really want to use these Kenda Kross tires that I bought for commuting for riding rail trails but using them with the Atomblast set that I have is really overkill.

I want to keep the original Redline rear wheel configured as a Flip Flop for off road riding and that is when remembered the latest bike from the town dump was a bolt on! Turns out, when I took the cassette off, it was a threaded one, and I just happened to have a 15t freewheel not being used and now I have a use for it!

The next two pictures are a fine example of what happens when you don't ensure the tire bead is hooked into the rim properly. The funny this was, all of a sudden there was this crunching noise and the the tube started grow out from the tire and rim until it stopped as you see below.

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