Thursday, August 30, 2012

FUBars are rockin!

After yesterday's debacle on the Gussy, dropped chain 3 times (my fault, should have tightened it after the first time it dropped) and my first ever pinch flat on the Gussy, it got me thinking what am I gonna do with this bike.  It was bound to happen and it probably could have been avoided if I took better care but the days are getting shorter and I knew that if I screwed around after getting home late from work there would be no ride.  Chain tension on a Single Speed is paramount!

Getting home and cleaning up I decided it was time to switch bikes, that is to start moving parts off the Kona to the Raleigh.  I also decided to try the FUBars on the Spot, too, since I wanted to run titanium bars on the Raleigh.  

I made one mistake, as I found out during today's ride, I put the shifter pod inside of the brake lever and the grip when it should have been on the outside.  This impacted how much grip real estate I could grab onto because the trigger shifter was in the way.  If fixed that afterwards.

Besides the placement issue with the shifter pod the climb up Poly Brody's Backside was pretty good as I adjusted to the new hand positions withe the FUBars.  Between the jalopy and blue trail I contemplated scrubbing the ride but decided to push on into the ass kicker section, where the steepest section is a 22% grade, I discovered the power of these bars which is they force you to stay seated in order to climb.  After that, I started to develop a groove with these bars that made the ride even better.

I met this guy Vance coming up the Gussy as I was going down the trail.  Like me, he rides from his house and rides here a lot.  Never seen him before.  I ride here a lot, too, but this is the first time I ran into him.  Upper Paugussett is turning into quite the mountain biking destination.  I am encountering people all the time on the trail now and now that I am into the social aspects of riding using Strava I can see that there are quite a few other people that are riding it regularly.

The final rip down the Mulikin was AWESOME!  The on thing I could use with these bars is if they were a little bit wider but I am really liking them and already thinking about the next ride with them, Waldo perhaps?  In fact what I want to try next is riding from my house to Waldo and back utilizing some of the trails behind the Vineyard and the old railroad bed.

During the ride I did make a final decision on the Kona and that is to strip it down and put all the good stuff on the Raleigh.  In fact, I think I am going to put the Reba RL fork on the Spot but ride the Carver Carbon Fiber fork for a while on the Raleigh before trying the Manitou Minute 29er.  I think the Minute is better suited for single speeding because you can adjust how much travel you want as opposed to the Reba where it's all open or closed.  When I ride single speed I have always been of the opinion that it would be best to ride with just enough travel to take the edge off the trail.  Will all the extra parts, I now have more stuff to try out and see what I like best!

Not sure whether or not to sell the Kona at this point.  It was a great bike, and fun, but just a tad small.  I have enough parts now to build it back up into a descent bike, which I might do this winter if the Farmer's Almanac proves to be true in it's predictions and all I can do is XC ski and snowshoe.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Riding with the Kids

Here is a little video I made of Sunday's ride. I have ridden the Qball with the Adams Tandem Trail-a-Bike before but I don't remember it being this creaky. I think it might be due to the weight of one of the riders.

Load rating: 125 lb (56.8 kg)

For ages 4-6

Here are specs from Adam's website and I think the weight of my two boys is probably hitting the max load capacity of the bike.  Still, want to see how it does on the Burley Tandem but this might be it for the Tandem Trail-a-Bike:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Riding to the Park!

Took the kids for a little jaunt Sunday afternoon down the Housitonic Railtrail, Monroe Division, to enjoy some the park and do some riding, too.  I think we are on the borderline with tandem trail-a-bike.  It was kind of wobbly with Elliot and Brodie, together.  We will probably use it a little more this year and then put it back on craigslist for next spring. 

This summer just flew buy and the kids realized that we
should have done more of this.

Of course, riding with the kids means snack time.

We basically had Wolfe Park all to ourselves and it was beautiful!

The kids are getting at posing for Daddy!

Riding the railtrail was really nice because of all the trees it was like riding through a tunnel!

I tried Elliot on the rear on the way back but that made it even more wobblier.  It worked best with him in the middle.  Next, we are going to try this on the Tandem, something I wanted to try on the Cape but never got around to doing.  Probably take a spin on the Farmington Canal Greenway next time.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Always good on the Gussy

My original plan was to try a double header, ride Upper Paugussett and then ride over to Waldo, ride there and then back home but I ended up getting out of work later than I thought I could which meant settling for one or the other locations.  I also wanted to get a good segment for Poly Brody's Backside for Strava which I got but for some reason it won't recognize that I rode it.  Still, it was nice to see that I can still ride up the forest road where the steepest section is a 17% grade!

The Spot is definitely dialed in and always such a pleasure to ride.  I am thinking though of trying new bars, actually my old FUBars and putting the Titec bars on the Raleigh in order to make it as close to the Kona as possible.

Here I am looking down one of the biggest rollers on the Gussy Trail.  I call it the Blue Cross Roller because it crosses over the blue blazed hiking trail.  The great thing about this roller is that it's fun in either direction.

I needed some variation in today's ride so I rode down the Gussy, hit the Reach Around and then came back up.  Riding back up the Gussy is much more challenging and worth doing.  It looks like the Reach Around is getting some action, too, which is good.  I think, though, I need a better connector to the Mulikin


Monday, August 20, 2012

Sunday and Single: The Upper Gussy Trifecta

Keeping in tune with my new obsession to compete with myself and others, Strava lets you do that without getting dirty (actually racing) - I will have to load my GPS tracks from when I did race and see how they compare to others on the same courses, I went back to Upper Paugussett to see how I could do on the same course only this time on the single speed.  Well, I came in second.  In the competitive sense it was a good measure of my single speed endurance over geared and gives me something to shoot for now.  Now I am going to have to do the same for Waldo.

Today's ride was was also a test to see what's up with my wheelset but trying another on the same bike and lo and behold I think I need to have the blunts looked at.  Could be the hubs, the spokes or both but they are making a creaking sound that I doesn't sound good and it's time to get it looked at.  Also, during the entire ride I was debating what I should do with this bike since I have the Raleigh waiting in the wings.  All I need is a rear brake caliper, but the true question is whether I cannibalize the Kona (for some other parts, too) and make the Raleigh my primary single speed or stick to the plan and keep them separate so that I can compare the two?

Poly Brody's Frontside is now completely open.  I forwarded my trail report to the State and it appears they came in sometime between Friday and Saturday and cut the tree.  They must have taken the wood.  Too bad, because it would have made a nice skinny.  I would really like to see this in Orange.  Looks like the 2013 Units will be grey with orange lettering and the drive side drop will be separable in order to run a belt drive.  Is that the future of Single speed, belt drives?  With the way I roll, I probably wouldn't find a 2012 Unit and end up getting another frame to try and keep the cycle moving.

Did a little trail clearing Sunday from blow downs.  Still thinking about doing two additional reroutes on the Gussy, one would be completely new which would be a big zig zag turn in that flat area between the big sweeping turn I did with Paula last winter and I think I need to fix the cleavage reroute, too.  When riding south, the turn is just too sharp for the amount of speed you pick up and it would be nicer if you could use that speed to roll out further and widen that turn.  Keep the Cleavage Drop as an alternative feature would be good too.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cape Cod Mountain Biking: Tears of the Sun

Riding with Dirt Rag's Old Coot and NEMBA Legend Bill Boles
at the Trail of Tears in West Barnstable, MA

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Strava made me do it!

Well, not exactly ... apparently that won't hold up in a court of law but being the cycling, gps collecting data geek that I am, adding Strava to my riding fuels me to ride more so I can measure myself up to others.  In general, I think cyclists tend to be solitary enthusiasts, especially roadies, or those roadies that don't race and fear what others may think of how that are not performing.  Maybe this is what a Fred truly is, someone who gets all the gear, the latest bike, looks good, actually might be a good or great cyclist, but doesn't compete.  Well, looks like Strava is bringing competition to a whole new level!

I was all set this morning to ride to work but I still wasn't feeling it until I thought about getting more activities for Strava.  So, I guess I goaded myself into riding to work.  Still, I was pretty distracted because I forgot my pump, water, and helmet!  How can I forget my helmet!

I couldn't ask for a better day to bike commute.
Although, the afternoon weather picture was looking dubious.
Upon leaving the house, though, the weather people were saying
it could start storming in the later afternoon.

I read somewhere that today was the last official Ride to Work day, however, something like that really doesn't happen in the Danbury area.  It's not like New Haven or Hartford.  Still, doing my part.

While there were some really neat looking clouds it didn't look like it was going to rain.  I threw a little more distance and hill climbing on my ride home.  It was pretty hot though and by the time I got home, my lone waterbottle was empty and I polished off a quart of Powerade shortly afterwards.. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

So many mountain bikers at Upper Paugussett!

While the rest of the country is suffering from extreme drought conditions, the northeastern part of the US has transformed into the Land of Liquid Sunshine as it was once described to me when I was cadet at Fort Lewis undergoing Advanced Camp training.  Finally, an evening with no rain gave me the opportunity to head out to Upper Paugussett and hopefully set some Strava Segment achievements!  I got King of the Mountain (KOM) on Poly Brody's Frontside which was pretty easy considering it is all fire road.  I am also the leader on the Upper Gussy Loop, too.

There were so many people riding the Gussy Trail this evening I should have had a bell!  I caught up with Shawn and his wife Lisa riding Cannondale 29ers demo bikes they have at the Bicycle Center.  She was on a full suspension rig that looked really sweet!  Further down the Gussy I ran into Rob who I met last month on a ride here.  He was riding up the Gussy.  Stopped off and cut that low lying tree by the new tunnel of love near the 3 sisters roller.  Then I came across three guys taking a frosty break on the Blue Cross Roller.

I decided to take another crack at the Frontside of Poly Brody again and then hit the Mulikin Trail on the way out.  This is a lot better than what I have been doing because it adds an additional mile or two to my basic route.  And seeing how I was able to do it in under an hour I think it will become my new workout route.  On the second go around on the Poly Brody I passed another group of riders.  One guy was even riding a Pugsley!

Some changes On the Spot, new saddle because the Terry Saddle bit the dust and I have my tubeless tires back from Pedal Power.  That was an ordeal!  Turns out I need a new valve stem and rim strip, which was a little costly but it's nice to have them back because they roll so nicely!


Cape Cod Mountain Biking: Tears of Joy

Riding with NEMBA legend Billy Boles and his friend Steve
at the Trail of Tears in West Barnstable, MA

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fred's Cape Cod Monster Cross Adventure: The Woods Hole Experience

This route includes Elm Rd 
to Surf Drive 
to Oyster Pond Rd 
past the light house 
and finally up FR Lillie Rd.

Ride before Work: Long time no Gussy

Headed out to Upper Paugussett Tuesday morning for a quick loop and to set some Strava segments now that I am getting into this whole Strava thing.  I created two new segments, Poly Brody's Front Side and the Upper Gussy Loop, on top of the one I also created, The Mulikin.  For those that don't know what a segment is, it's Strava's way of Socializing portions of your route and compare it to others who have ridden that same section.  Strava is Social Media for bike geeks like myself that track every ride and every mile using a GPS.

The Mulikin Segment is the climb that includes Al's and the Mulikin Trail to the top of the highest point at Upper Paugussett.  Poly Brody's Frontside Segment runs from the gate at the Echo Valley lot to the entrance to the Gussy.  The Upper Gussy Loop segment is the Upper Gussy and Poly Brody Loop.  I still want to add Poly Brody's Backside, which is the climb up the fire road up to the highest point from Silver City and Hanover Road and Upper Gussy in Reverse, which is climbing the entire Gussy Trail.  Still on the fence about whether to purchase a membership though.  It might be a good way to upgrade my GPS and go to a Garmin 500 but I think I want the 800.

Seems there are some new developments at Upper Pauggussett that I wrote up in my NEMBA Trail Ambassador report that needs higher authority to address.  There's still dumping at the Echo Valley Lot and a big blowdown on the Poly Brody.  Motos are still going but they seem to be containing their activity to the fire road.  Fine with me as long as they stay off the singletrack.  There is a little blowdown on the Gussy that I will take care of later this week, too.  Otherwise the Gussy is bone dry and riding nice.  No new braids or off shoots, either.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Bluff Point Adventure

All I can say is the The Bluff Point Adventure
was a smashing success!


Set up started bright and early!

And people just kept coming and coming!

People from all over the state showed up and quite a few from out of state including Washington DC, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts!

I ended up working registration and did not get on the bike until 11:30!  It didn't leave me a lot of time to ride since lunch due to arrive at noon.  I wasn't feeling it either, mainly due to the exhausting ride setting up the course and the lack of sleep at the campground due to the weather.  I went out and did a quick 4 miles on the carriage roads on the Kona since my tubeless tires were still failing.  I was wishing for the fixie but took what I could get.

And talk about swag!  Everyone walked away happy!