Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why bother?

Headed into NYC for work on Thursday and when I got off the highway in Bridgeport I got stopped at a light at the bottom of the ramp. It was lightly snowing but just a dusting on the ground at this point. Unlike the more rural area farther to the north in which I live in, there seems to be more people in the Park City that depend on bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. Out of the corner of my eye I see someone pushing a bicycle and it's flat, then they hop on and ride through the intersection and then hop off. Guess that person got their exercise for the day.

This Schwin cruiser is a real beaut! Classic Station Commuter bike with a rusty chain and broken seatpost. I guess if the tires still have air and the cranks turn it's perfect.

I have seen this bike before, a Diamondback Topanga. I love the stamped triple ring crankset and comfort stem. All it needs are fenders and it would be a perfect winter commuter.

My new lunch time ritual is to head down to 148 East 46th Street to Joy Curry & Tandoori for the Curry Goat Special and of course check out some of the commuter and delivery bikes along the route I walk. Take this Kona Kahanna which given the type of locking situation and the sloping saddle this bike is used for delivery rather than commuting.

This guy on the Fuji track bike turned out to be rare siting however, I think he was running a freewheel in the back. His chain is way too slack for horizontal drops - what a travesty! I wouldn't want to be caught dead with a chain that slack.

Here's fine example of city commuter. It's a Trek that I have seen before that is usually locked to a parking meeter on Park Ave. Guess that spot was taken and the rider had to settle for something closer to Lexington Ave.

Another bike I have seen before on 49th. Rattle can black so that it's not appetizing to a potential bike thief but looks like it's built for speed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thawing and Freezing, MAKE UP YOUR MIND!

Got out for a quick mid week ride on the Gussy trail. Poly Brody was horrible, still soft in a alot of places and many frost heaves. Looked like someone got out before me on Monday or Tuesday, which must have been even worse. The Gussy is truly a sustainable trail, not one spot on the trail was soggy or muddy, with one exception, the third stream crossing (if heading north) but there are plans for a reroute there this spring. Now, the Wet Spot (below) was the wettest I have ever seen it but then nice thing is that it never get's muddy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Deconstructing Lambert

Last night I started stripping the Death Fork. It was amazing the range of tools, all standard, I had to use to take this bike apart. Every part looks like it was hand crafted. All the knobs have custom L for Lambert on the them.

The 52t chain wheel is the only part that mounts to the cranks so I had to take of the 42t and 22t chain wheels. There were a ton of spacers and hex bolts, again, all standard size rather than metric.

Interesting that the bottom bracket is open like this. It appears that when the previous owner went had the bike registered with some law enforcement agency, the owner had his social security number etched into the BB for identification purposes. I don't think you would do that these days.

I ran into two snags: (1) can't get the stem out and thus I can't take the death fork off; and (2) the seatpost appears stuck in the seat tube. I might have to take out the spindle in the BB and see I can get at it from below.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

First Monster Cross Gravel Grinder of 2010

Mud season has returned to Southern New England and to respect the trails and stay out of the mud I opted for a 20 mile ride from Newtown, through Monroe, to Route 127 in Trumbull and back on the rail trail. I rode the Newtown section for the first time, partly out of curiosity and because the Newtown Trails Committee, which I am a member of, was assessing the rail trail for some up coming projects. We are going to build the Rail Trail to no where.

The reason being is the town owns 1600 feet from the Monroe line to where the Housatonic Rail Road spur line ends. There is a trail that continues from where the town's property ends but it goes through the edge of a superfund site that probably won't be cleaned up anytime soon. The only hope for this trail is if something could get worked out with the Railroad to swamp road.

Paula Burton (picture above), who is on the CT NEMBA and Newtown Resident is also a member of the Trails Committee. She rode her bike to this walk through. And then she rode with me to Pepper Street. I continued down through Monroe and into Trumbull, all the way to Rte 127 and then back. The Monroe section between the top part of Pepper Street and the lower part of Pepper Street was the worst because it doesn't get nearly as much traffic as the section between Pepper Street and Wolfe Park, so there was a lot more snow and ice on the trail which made it sketchy at time.

Good thing I decided to keep the fenders on. It was still below freezing when I started down the trail but there were sections that were in full sun that got soupy really quickly. While I have dressing for cold weather mountain biking pretty well figured out, this kind of riding is still a big unknown for me. Lobsters and over booties were a must but up top was a crap shoot. I opted for my orange, windstopper fleece and my wind vest. I had to ride with the zippers mostly open otherwise I would have overheated.

The Newtown section is about 3 feet wide and looks more like an ATV track. When you get further up the trail there are still rails on the ground.

Gearing on the Qball is still not working properly. I couldn't get into the outer ring when I thought I had that fixed. Looks like I need to do more work and testing. The 29er tires were the best in the wetter areas. Skinnier tires would have been nearly impossible to ride the trail in some sections. Can't wait to get the Salsa Wood Chippers. The drops aren't too bad but I need more width for more leverage. When I get the new bars, I am going to upgrade the levers to disc pull levers for Cane Creek or Tektro and I am going to try and do inline brake levers, too.

Hopefully in the next six months to a year this will be the first official Newtown Rail Trail. Too bad we can't do the the same with the Shepaug section through the Pond Brook River Valley and the section that cuts through North Newtown and goes over to Sandy Hook. This former rail line eventually turns into the Larkin Bridal Trail in Southbury. Below is a map of today's ride. 20+ miles.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rigid and Frigid and Rolling

Rode Upper Paugussett this morning and it was twenty degrees. Frost heaves galore on the Poly Brody. The Dillinger is really riding well, too. Another ride without a camel back or seat pack, just some Powerade and the bike.

It won't stop an ATV but the trail gnomes have been busy once again.

A little video of my rolling it rigid on the Blue Cross Roller

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An old Crappy Ten Speed Commuter

First trip to NYC in the New Year by way of the Park City. First thing I noticed between the garage and the station is that the bike racks were moved off the street. Was this done because it was winter and the snow plows would be throwing snow on the bikes when the streets were plowed? Or was it more of an aesthetic move to take all the sexy, flashy station bikes away from the public eye and hide them behind the station building? I think the latter. Of course, now it's an open invitation for vandalism - smooth move Mayor Finch!

This Ross Ten Speed looks like it did when it was probably brought home from the bike shop twenty years ago. Perfect specimen for a fixed gear conversion and reminded me I have a Ross hanging from the ceiling awaiting conversion.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Frozen Sloppy Seconds at P-Valley

Riding yesterday might not have been such a good thing because it got really warm, 40 degrees where I was skiing in New Hartford on Saturday, but towards Bridgeport I bet it was closer to 50. Meaning the trails at Pequonnock River Valley on Saturday probably had the consistency of a carnival snow cone. However, last night it was in the low twenty's again and all that slop was frozen by the time Rick and I hit the trails. Trails were awesome. Having studs would have made a few sections a little easier to get across but they were mandatory. All that slop was frozen solid.

This was Rick's first time at P-Valley so I took him on my favorite standard loop. You start out by climbing the white trail, then picking up the red/yellow near the highway - though the blazes go all over the place so it's often hard to tell what trail you are on. Descend to the second stream crossing on Mullholland Drive. Then take the yellow up to the jeep road, cut over and continue on the trail that takes you over another stream and then climb back up to the yellow. Head towards the picnic tables but then branch off and get lost in that spaghetti network of trails until you descend down to the rust river. From there head over to the white trail, come back on the blue trail, and then return on the white. A nice 6 mile jaunt.

60 % of my rides over the last two months have been at Trumbull in varying conditions from frozen solid ground and no snow, to 8 inches of virginal powder, to 3 inches with well packed down trails from bikes. No matter what the conditions, riding at Trumbull never dissapoints. I have been covering a lot ground, too, trying new trails and figuring out other areas. Below is a picture of Rick and a glove that we found on the trail. It's a hunter's glove. I hope the owner will find it but they may never see it because it's camo and I put it in a Mountain Laurel with some green leaves around it. Not too far from this point I saw a Coyote run by, it was pretty big.

The big tree that is down on the blue trail near coyote crossing got a make over this past week, someone cut a pussy path! Probably a hiker because even I can get over that up and over on my dillinger. Still it's a shame that someone had to do this. These features are additional deterants to motorized use. What do they say? Improve your skills, not the trails. Below is a little vid of Rick doing the up-and-over and then heading over the bridge that Rich fixed last week.

Back in the lot, started chatting with some people heading out. One of them had this seat tubeless bike that I thought was really cool.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The sixties are baaaaaack, man!!

So says the Crazy Eddie of Single Speeds up in Framingham, MA. If the '60s are coming back, does that mean they'll bring back the Mud Shark?

I wonder if Phil is trying to become the next Sheldon Brown? Anyway, when I saw these Weinmann DP18s in orange with orange hubs I new I had to get them for the Death Fork! After a quick email exchange resulting in Phil's phone number I pulled the trigger on this wheelset and got some good rubber to go with.

So it looks like IROs Track hubs I got last summer are now on the table. Shoot me an email if innerested in these babies. Thinking $75 (+ship). I am about to have a second fixie in the stable!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tools and Lube

Got this in an email from Bicycle Warehouse and thought it was funny. Reminded me of some website of ill repute.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ice Dreams

Took the 'Horse to Trumbull and met up with some friends for nearly a 3 hour ride in 25 degree temperatures. Again, dressed right for the conditions it's a blast. The main trails are well packed down and traction is never an issue.

Upon getting on the bike at the Commuter Lot I noticed that my fork was really squishy and after one big compression there was a lot of oil on the stancheon. Oh, oh! Looks like I might have a bad seal. Yikes! I wonder if yesterday's ride in the cold, or the drive down could have effected the seals in some what. Thankfully I have a lockout, which gives me 3 inches of travel upfront and that was more than enough. Looks like the 'Horse is headed back to the shop this week.

Here is what the main trails looked liked. It was like a groomed XCountry ski trail, only for bikes. Never a worry for traction and very smoother riding.

That's me in the Bat Cave. Rode some new stuff that I never knew was there and some trails that I haven't been on in year. The snow is the universal equalizer.

Rolling the new bridge on the blue trail

Saturday, January 09, 2010

How cold will you go?

It was 14 degrees when I got up this morning and jonesin for a ride but that seemed to be just too cold. So I waited a few hours and when the thermometer read 19, I got suited up. Overbooties are a must, lobsters of course, polar fleece snowboarding shorts keep my posterior toasty warm, wicking t, waffle shirt, and my windstopper fleece; and yet 20 minutes later I was sweating everywhere!

No one has ridden at Upper Paugussett besides myself since last Wednesday. I tried following the ATV tracks to see where they came out on the blue trail and they were all over that trail.

Those are people walking down the center of the Pond Brook inlet. I guess with the constantly below freezing temperatures these past two weeks ponds and lakes will be frozen but I still don't like the idea of walking out on the ice.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Riding the 'Horse in the snow

I got my Iron Horse back from the shop about a week ago after having the brakes redone which included new pads and a new rear rotor. Also had the rear derailleur put back on after waiting a month for new hangers. That's one of the drawbacks of buying a bike and then a year later having the manufacturer go out of business. Luckily, I have the 2007 MKIII, apparently the rear triangles on the 2008 are known to fail and unless you got your bike from Randal Scott you are not getting a replacement rear triangle. I did seem them, however, on eBay.

The first thing I noticed after riding rigid for the past two months is how smooth the bike is. Having a range of gears to chose from made riding in the snow seem easy. Of course, temperatures were perfect for snow riding. Two to three inches of snow but not compressed enough so that it would turn to ice.

I tried something new on this ride, I brought a hex tool and a water bottle. If I got a flat, I am a 10 minute walk from home, so why bother bringing all that extra hardware? It's not like I am not accustomed to doing the walk of shame numerous times out of this forest.

Tried something new with the clothing, too. Given that it wasn't windy and the sun was out I opted for only two layers underneath my hunting jacket, which by the way is the warmest, fleece jacket that I have ever owned. I also just wore the lobsters and while my hands sweated some it was just cold enough that they didn't overheat.

The big let down of the ride came when I discovered ATV tracks on the Upper Gussy Trail. It looks like I am now going to have to do some serious rerouting and putting up trail blocks here and there to discourage them from riding on it.

The ATV'ers didn't ride the whole trail so I still had some virgin powder to ride and it was dreaming. The whole Gussy trail seemed like buff singletrack.