Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Off the Grid

Well if you have been wondering where I have been we had a hurricane/tropical storm rip through our area on Sunday and have been out of power since.  Today, I got a generator and we now have TV and Internet!!  Still no running water but I have been hauling water up from the stream in our back yard to flush the toilets.  I also made a fire pit in the back yard and we have been roasting marshmallows with the neighbors every night.  Not being able to shower after a ride has been preventing my saddle time.  Hopefully, we'll have power soon.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Misfit Psycles diSSent 1x9

Just have to add a chain and I will be rocking! The thing that gets me is the Conti Race King (in the back) looks bigger than the Mountain King in the front. Apparently, the tire width is meaured from knob to knob so while the rear tire has a lot of volume the front tire has a lot teeth for grabbing the trail.

Irene induced Labor

The much anticipated arrival of Hurricane Irene meant rain and tropical conditions on Saturday preventing me from mountain biking. So the next best thing of course is to work on bikes. I spent most of my time on the Ross Riviera but I did switch out the pedals on the Lambert, too.   Went out to the hardware store on an errand looking for a specific sized bolt for the rack on the back of the Ross but found the Hardware store was closed.  They closed early because they were sold out of all the hurricane preparedness items.  And all I wanted was a freakin' bolt!

Then I went over to the Bicycle Goodie Shop and they gave me a few things to try I decided to get the largest freewheel cog they had, which was a 20t and I just happened to find a blue KMC singlespeed chain in parts bin while cleaning up the night before. Added my old Blackburn race and voila! I now have a new commuter! I just have to find some nice, used fenders and it will be sweet. Test ride up and down my road was awesome! 52:20 gearing is great!

Between the bands of rain I tested the bike and it was sweet!  The 52:20 gearing is still plenty fast and the bigger tires means I will have more confidence riding Pond Brook Road (dirt) then on my 23c tires.  Just need to find some fenders and it will be rock solid.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kona happened at Huntington

I was all set Thursday to volunteer at a Cricket Match (for work) down in Norwalk, finish the day at the Norwalk office, and then head down to the Red Barn on Merribrook Road for my annual tour of Mianus.  However, the rain storm unrelated to the coming of Hurricane Irene showered lower Fairfield County pretty good forcing my tour guide to cancel the ride.  Apparently, the slightest bit of rain makes Mianus muddy.  The rain also canceled the Cricket Match and thus my trip south.  The Danbury area got some rain but it wasn't it didn't rain long enough to the turn the trails to mush.

While getting ready at the Old Dodgintown lot this guy rolls in and asks me where we are riding?  I told him I am riding the northern trails and that he welcome to join me, that is if he doesn't mind riding with a rigid, singlespeeder.  He said he didn't mind at all.  The first bit of singletrack that cuts over from the Red Trail (carriage road) to the lower Dodgingtown lot gave us a pretty good look at what the rest of the trails would be like - nice!  The rain solidified the dry and dusty trails that were reported in the CT NEMBA Trail Ambassador Report but the rain also made the rocks slippery.

Mike and Jim - Junior's Friends
Apparently, Junior has been riding the southern section of Huntington and have never been to the northern sections.  He was loving the Big Burn when we ran into some of his friends that had gotten here earlier and were already out riding.  They rode with us up the blue trail for bit but then turned around because they had already ridden for a couple of hours.  So Junior followed me out to the to the northern reaches of the park.  I took Junior up the Blue Trail back towards the AT&T cable and I almost made the climb, that freaking tree at the end with the roots gets me every time, but Junior cleaned it!  I have cleaned it, too, just not on a singlespeed.

New bridge by the Rusty Truck

Got to check on the new bridge by the Rusty Truck.  It's really nice.  Smooth trannies on both sides and a little rock feature on one end.  Thanks NEMBA!  We got back to the Lower Dodgingtown lot we parted company.  I told him I going to ride out on a fast paced loop on the carriage roads to get a few more miles, by this point we had ridden 3.5 miles, and I guess he wanted to hit some stuff he was more familiar with.  We traded numbers and took off in separate directions.  Apparently, Junior rides Wooster Mountain a lot and I think I am going to have to try to meet up with him to see what's going on there.

I am glad that I kept the Blunts on Kona because except for the Big Burn, everything else at Huntington is pretty rocky and rooty.  The bike performed beautifully and it's such a joy to ride.  Riding this bike is Single Speed heaven!

The Friday Fix: Ross Riviera Conversion

I never measured this frame and after finishing the rebuild I sat on the bike and thought that it felt really good!  For some reason I thought it was going to be too small but in reality it's a great fit for 58 cm (23 inch) frame.  I think the big difference is the fact that the Moose Bars make the riding position more upright then bent over.  It's essentially like a mountain bike.  

Didn't have enough orange cabling so I had to go with white

Went really, really old school on the pedals

Took the grips off the Qball

Avid levers work nicely with these brakes

Right now, this is not a bike for hills with this gearing:  52:15
I have an 18t fixed cog on order so I wont be riding this to work
anytime soon but I am going to have to try it on some rail trails

Sheldon Brown (standard)
42:15 - 75 inches

52:20 70.2 inches
52:19 73.9 

Lambert Grand Prix-Fix (Death Fork)
52:18 78.0 inches
52:17 82.6 inches52:16 87.8 inches

Ross Riviera
52:15 93.6 inches

Hopewell Sporting Goods, according to the Interwebs was still in business as of 2002

This bike, even in it's original configuration was never lite

This could be a hard sell!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I survived the Great East Coast Earthquake and then went Mountain Biking!

After surviving yesterday's near death experience by riding out the earthquake in the office I had to find my inner peace again so I took the Kona out for ride at Upper Paugussett.  Even with the slightly heavier wheelset she still climbs like a mountain goat, or maybe I am just getting stronger.  Never-the-less, the bike does not dissapoint and I got my inner peace back at the top of the highest point at Upper Paugussett.

They say leading up to an earthquake animals do weird things.  Well, it looks it affects them afterwards, too.  This deer was no more than 5 yards from me, just staring at me.  I took a few pictures, talked to it, but then it started walking towards me with a gleam in it's eye is when I started fearing for my morality.  I think the deer wanted me in a sexual way, me atop my rigid, less than 25 lbs single speed, I must have been one sexy mountain biker to the king of the forest.

I guess when he realized I wasn't going to put out, he snorted at me and then ran off.  Next time, you got to wine and dine me Bambi!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Putting on the Brakes

After putting the Lambert brakes on the Ross I asked myself why didn't I put them on the Lambert?  Either I wasn't thinking or I was caught up in the whole anodized orange color scheme and if you don't know me by now, I really like Orange. Maybe I have been conditioned like Pavlov's Dog so that when ever I see orange I think of riding and I get excited.

I really like how Orange and Blue look together so I mounted the brakes on the Ross and put the wheels to make sure they have contact with the rims and they do.  Now I just have to figure out whether I can use AVID FR-5 levers with side pulls or do I have to use something else.  Going to hit the LBS today for lunch to get these answers.  The other alternative is to switch bars and use either Gary Bars or Mustache Bars that I have in my box of tricks but I would rather stay with the Moose Bars because they fit in the steering tube and I don't have to buy another stem.

Putting the Lambert brakes on the Death Fork now makes the bike seem more like a Lambert.  Everything on the bike was customed and hand built and the brakes bring it back to hit's hay day of cycling.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Another Old Crappy Ten Speed Fixed Gear Conversion

Courtesy of
I have had this Ross Riviera in my shed for a couple of years but have had the hardest time trying to place it's year of origin.  It has the classic lugs of a 1970s bike, along with bolted stem and shifters located on the stem as well.  The manufacturer labels are surprisingly similar to the 1983 Ross Force 1, the first mountain bike made in America, and I found the Ross Riviera in a 1982 Catalog on that leads me to believe that this is not a 1970s era bicycle, rather 1980s.   

This bike fits the Old Crappy Ten Speed label (OCTS) because that's what it was when I got it.  In fact, I believe the drive train was so rusty that it wouldn't even move.  I had to disassemble the cranks from the inside because I couldn't get the crank off the spindle.  

I ended up putting a 1970s era Sugino Crankset on with a 52t ring.  These cranks are forged steel and super strong.  I am going to have to get an 19t or 20t cog for the rear wheel in order to make it more rideable for New England hills.

Originally I was going to keep the seatpost but it had a lot of surface rust on it and to make the only other seatpost I had was a millimeter too thin so I decided to use a PBR shim.  

None of my existing quill stems would fit but I have had these old Moose Bars laying around that fit perfectly. I will need to get some BMX levers and some colorful lock on grips.

I finally found my Lambert Brakes and they work nicely on the bike, however, I have a change of mind and I am going to put them on Lambert instead and put a new set of brakes on that will look much nicer.  Also, I think I am going to go with an Orange and Blue color pattern.  Orange brake lines, Orange Chain, maybe an Orange saddle.  It won't be that Annoying but it will look cool.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Monster Cross

The Qball Monster Cross was looking sweet after getting it back from the LBS.  I had the front derailleur adjusted so I could ride with three rings upfront.  Originally, I was going to do the Tri-Bury Gravel Grinder but didn't leave enough time so I did an out and back on the Larkin Bridal Trail.

As flat as this trail is I basically road the whole thing in the outer ring.  Bike was running really nice, however, I was having a little issue with the seatpost sliding down on me.  I think I am going to ditch the Salsa Flip Lock and use a regular collar.

I was amazed to find this rare cousin of the Mongoose Deception, a girls mountain bike probably purchased from a big box store and by the looks of it is an endo waiting to happen.  If you look closely you will see that it suffers from what I would guess is an in-store assembly by an equally less than capable person characterized by the backwards fork.  Perhaps that is why it was abandoned.  Hope no one got hurt.

Lots runners on the trail and a few guys on Mountain Bikes riding without helmets, NICE!  A little mud here and there and the usual wet spots were wet of course.  Right before Towantic Road there is a huge, deep puddle that is best to just right through the middle of rather than try to ride on the side where it's muddy.  Crossed paths with some roadie dressed in all white and on a white bike near the airport.  He actually gave me a head nod!  Compared to his virginal wedding dress attire I looked like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Rolling Blunts

While my rear ZTR Arch is All Mountain rated it's the front wheel, ZTR Crest, that I am worried about riding on technical trails so Thursday night I threw Rampages on the Blunts and switched out wheelsets.  The nice thing is that I had another Surly 20t cog in my bag of tricks making the switch easy peasy, nice and easy.  Prior to going out, though, after work I dropped the Qball off at my LBS and Shawn was telling me that he discovered the Gussy Trail and loves riding it.  He said that he found the Mulikin Trail, too, and is loving that as a downhill adventure.

By the time I was rolling down Hanover towards Pond Brook it was starting to get dark and thunder could be heard off in the distance.  I decided to try something different than my usual loop by starting at the boat ramp and do the nasty climbs on the fire road to see what it's really like to climb with the heavier wheelset.  Truth be told, it wasn't really that bad.  I got up the three mistresses but took breaks at the top of each climb because the thick air makes it difficult to breath.  It wasn't till I was on the Gussy that I noticed how smooth the ride was.  That carbon fork is simply dreamy!

The headless college student
I ran into another mountain biker on the Gussy.  He was riding up the trail and stopped and chit chatted a bit. Second time I have run into him and this time he let me take his picture but he didn't want to be identified so I left his head out of the picture.  He looks like a college student and reminds me of this guy Donnie who works in Brookfield, rides a similar bike, and is an absolute machine.  I ran into him again on the flip side.  By this time it was really starting to get dark and the thunder was becoming louder.  By the time I hit the Mulikin I was wishing for an HID.  The Mulikin is starting to show signs of use, too.  Now, just need to re-route around one huge blowdown and take care of another further down.

Looking at my GPS, this route is actually shorter by about a mile.

Rode Kona hard and put her away wet
The rain finally came just as I was exiting the forest back at the boat ramp.  The ride home was wet but I felt great!  There was a nice ancillary benefit, too, because the Kona got a little bath.  I feel sorry, though, for the guy I met on the trail because he lives on South Main and rode to the trail.  Now that must have been a wet ride home.  I had it easy because I only had to ride half a mile. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Riding Alex's Trail at Wadsworth

Tried some new stuff in this video but I think taking the shake out and increasing the brightness kind of messes things up.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Easy New England Singletrack on the Unit

Took the Kona to Wadsworth State Park Wednesday evening for the Monthly CT NEMBA Chapter Meeting ride.  I figured the current wheelset would be fine even though there is some technical riding, it's really not that difficult and the bike would do fine.  I am planning on using the Blunts that I had on the diSSent, shoed with my Panaracer Rampage tires, for more technical riding.

As I mentioned before, Wadsworth is pretty easy for New England riding areas and it reminded me a lot of Glacial Ridge just no sand and many more rocks and roots to ride over.  The other big difference here is a lot more climbing and the Kona climbed those hills like a horny mountain goat!  UFB!  What a difference  in   having such a light.

Glenn calls in the Pizza
Having arrived late, as usual - its funny how I can never get out early to meet the ride's start time, Mr Murphy might be at work here, so I rode up the Orange trail to Alex's Trail and met the gang half way up.  Then we climbed up the trail to the Red trail and that is when Paula decided to leave us.  She was the only one on little girl wheels.  Art was riding his C'dale 29er race bike, Al on his fully rigid, fully carbon GF Superfly, and Glenn was on his Monocog SS 29er.  It was basically big wheeled fest!

A little trail maintenance was performed on Alex's Trail. The downed tree was interrupting the flow so we collectively took care of it as a team.  We had a nice little rip, tried some different stuff, and then headed over to the meeting for pizza and beer!

A Stromboli Pie