Sunday, March 31, 2013

Toxic Combo: 762 mm bars and barends

I had originally planned to do some trail work this morning but I woke up with a stiff neck so I decided to  try and ride later.  Of course, by 10 am, it warmed up considerably only I over dressed.  Still, it wasn't too bad.  When I hit the Echo Valley lot I made a little loop through where the loggers had been but it's still too torn up to really ride through there.

The usual wet sections on the Poly Brody were as wet as expected but further up the road I came across this section that I figured if it were nicked, it would drain out and not be so wet.  I also laid out some rocks so that you wouldn't get muddy until it was dried out.

Heading into the Gussy I tried to climb the rock wall but my barend got hooked on a tree and down I went!  I have been riding with barends off and on for years but I think they are over kill with this really wide bars I am running on the Kona because it was a yard sale!

And not just once but twice even!

So, I am done with barends on the these bars.  I think if I had shorter bars it would be different but these are hear to stay for now so they are definitely coming off before the next ride!

Overall, it was a good ride but after riding here already once before in the past week I feel like it's the view from the Second Sled Dog.  I need to get some variety.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A happy stem makes all the difference!

I went back to the 70 degree stem and Oh what feeling!  Boosting the bars up at least 2 inches makes all the difference.  The dilemma now is that my Garmin Edge needs a better mount because mounting on the bars just doesn't work for me.  The mount slips too much because the diameter of the bars isn't large enough for the rubber bands to hold the mount in place.  I have something coming that will take care of this problem but it hasn't arrived yet.

I made some additional changes to the Qball.  I flip flopped the brakes with the Kona by putting the Avid Juicy 3 on the Kona and the Avid BB7s on the Qball.  Saturday was so nice I had to get out for a ride so I rode up to town to pick up some medicine and then hit some trails before riding home again.

I surprised the pharmacist at the CVS.  Turns out her husband used to be a big cyclist.  We talked about riding in Cape Cod.

The singletrack at Fairfield hills is perfect for Cyclocross Riding.  It looked like some other people have been riding these trails.  Ironically, the last time I was here was about a month ago and there was a foot of snow on the ground.

I ran into the Easter Bunny after coming out of the Singletrack.  He didn't mind posing for a picture with me! From there, I headed down to Sandy Hook and then back home.  I wish I had more time so I could have ridden further.  I did see some other riders and couldn't believe that they all were wearing tights and jackets! Just shows you that single speeders are cooler, we wear shorts and pose with the Easter Bunny!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Monday's Map

Wasn't able to post this ride map earlier this week
because I got a new computer and Topofusion wasn't working
with my firewall but I finally got it working and here it is!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Still waking up with Winter's Mistress

Lots of snivel gear still required for morning bike commutes from my house in Newtown, CT.  Decided that comfort is better than fashion for commuting and now I am wearing a backpack rather than riding with my Timbuk2 bag.  Of course, it probably would be OK if I wasn't hauling a 10 pound engineering laptop and processing power wins over everything else for the work that I am doing.

Today's ride in to work on the Qball was a mixed bag of sorts.  Still trying to figure out whether or not I like the Misfit Psycles FMe bars or not.  One thing is for sure, I definitely need a happier stem if I am going to continue riding with them but there in lies the dilemma.  The reason I went with a lower rise stem was so that I would have good place to mount my Garmin Edge but with more rise in the stem means the Edge has to sit on the bar or somewhere else.  There are mounts made for the bars but those are all made for 31.8 diameter bars and the FMe's are 25.4.   I found something on line that might work that I am going to get and see how it works which will breath more life into the FMe's.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Singlespeed and RAW

The Give-a-shit meter was pegged today when I got home from work but after getting a lungful of the cool air while taking out the trash I decided that I can't be a pussy and I need to ride!  Shucking my jammies I jumped into my mountain kit, only come to find that I can't find my other bootie so I decided to take my chances with some potentially cold toes.  I brought my headlamp, too, because leaving the house at 6:30 PM  and overcast might call for some illumination assistance.

Hopping onto the Kona, which I haven't been on since Christmas, I headed out for a quickie at Upper Paugussett and I found the trails a lot drier than I would have expected for this time of year.  There were, however, a few soft spots here and there and I even found some snow still on the trail!

Stayed away from the stuntry but it was tempting.  The Kona was riding really well.  I think I need to go back to a little more air pressure in the Manitou because it was feeling a little mushy.  Still, it was great to be out on the singlespeed again.  Just have to find some longer riding with SSAP13 right around the corner.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

First Commute of 2013

While on the calendar it may be spring it still feels like winter!  It was 18 degrees when I left the house this morning and I had a ton of snivel gear on, which was all necessary.  One thing I have to remember when wearing the polar fleece is that at a maximum, I can only wear a t-shirt and a long sleeve underneath but this morning I overcompensated with an extra layer.  I didn't need my helmet light either because by the time I got out of the garage (6:45) it wasn't necessary but running as late as I was there was no time to switch.

Since I didn't have my laptop, I took the long route which is essentially from my house to the center of town and towards Danbury via Route 302.  A variation to the long route is the long and hilly route by way of Castle Hill.  Again a route in which I am not carrying my laptop.  If you are wondering what's up with my laptop, I have an engineering laptop which weighs nearly 10 pounds and if I am going to ride with it, I am riding the shortest route possible with it.

The bike once again performed like a champ!  It's such a joy to finally have a great bike to ride to work on.  Not that all my previous commuters weren't good, too, but you just know when you have that perfect combination of equipment that makes the ride so enjoyable.

Not even in the new office a full week and it's already been christened with the bike.  I had a lot of gear on that needed airing before doing it all over again.  Prior to getting redressed to ride home it was actually snowing outside (flurries) so I knew that all the snivel gear that I rode in with will be going back on, again.

I was able to repack my Timbuk2 with my morning gear and the laptop and lug it all back home.  It wasn't that bad but I think I am going to try a back pack next.  Since I barely rode last year, this year I am going ride as much as possible and mix it up a bit between the geared bike and singlespeed.  In fact, I found 20 mile route for riding home (sans computer) that I am going to try next time!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Connecticut Effect: Get it done, Congress!

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My Local Bike Shop: The Bicycle Center

If you live in northern Fairfield County and don't have a favorite LBS (local bike shop) then I would suggest that you check out Shawn Emerson's Bicycle Center on Federal Road in Brookfield, CT.  Not only is Shawn a great mechanic but he is wealth of knowledge about all types of bikes and a great problem solver.  Case in point, I bring the Fredmobile in see why the front derailleur isn't working right and he figures out the problem right away but needs to keep it over night.  No problem there, it's snowing out and I have to go out of town anyway.

Returning from trip and swinging by the shop not only does he fix the derailleur when one of his guys was road testing the bike he noticed the front brake acting funny.  It turns out my Rube Goldberg solution for the front cable hanger wasn't so hot after all.  Turns out, Shawn just so happens to have the part I need!  That is service!

The shop has been newly renovated and his selection of items is fantastic.  I always find what I am looking for at his shop and when he doesn't have it he can order it for me and sometimes have it the next day.

There is only one shop that I will trust my bikes with and that's The Bicycle Center.  If you haven't been in to the shop, I suggest you pay him a visit and tell him Mark sent you!  For more information about The Bicycle Center, click on their logo on the right on the blog and check out their website.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Happy Days are here again!

To me, when the clocks spring forward it triggers a sense of relief that winter is finally over.  I got home from the office and it was so light out I had to go for a spin.  Even though my roadie friends call me a Fred, I still try fit in a little when I am out road riding but I didn't feel like all dolled up to ride on the roads, rather dressing down to ride in the woods!

I took a chance and went over to Upper Paugussett State Forest where I figured the trails would be rather free of mud.  With the exception of one spot on the Gussy Trail (have to fix it this later this spring) and the usual wet places on the Poly Brody I knew I was going to have a good ride.  Riding by the Echo Valley lot I noticed a new sign about what they are doing.  The forest road started out dry but then turned to soup shortly afterwards in the usual places.  

There were some soft spots on the Brody after this point which left me wishing that I brought a fender but what's a little mud splatter and dirt in you mouth -- victory!

The Spot was running excellent.  Never checked the tire pressures but they were perfect for riding the mixed conditions.  The Gussy still has some snow on it and a few spots I dished out on but overall it's a good ride.  I definitely bent one of the crank arms when I fell on the bike and hurt my back 4 weeks ago but it's only a little noticeable.  I don't think I need to replace them.  Probably go back to flats but today I was riding with my Crankbrother Clipless Mallets.  They were perfect.


I rode up to the Papa Bear roller but wasn't feeling it so I rolled Baby Bear instead.  Need to fix the lead in to the 3 Bears Rollers - probably do that when I fix that one muddy spot on the new re-route I did as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

The WetSpot was finally wet!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Connecticut Effect: Ride along with Sandy Hook Ride on Washington

The Sandy Hook Ride on Washington started from Reed School and went to the Sandy Hook Fire Department, which is at the entrance to the Sandy Hook Elementary School and where coverage for that tragic day was centered.  There, Team 26 announced, individually, each of the 26 Victims they were riding for.  It was moving, to see the 26 green and white jackets in a big circle sound off like that.



A co-worker of mine and who I consider a friend and mentor, Stephen Badger, is one of the leaders of Team 26.

Good Luck!
Stephen is the original owner for the Fredmobile!  

From the fire house, we rode up through the center of Sandy Hook and then up through the center of Newtown on Church Hill Road.

At the Flag Pole we turned north to make a loop at the Newtown Ambulance Corps to further honor the first Responders.


When we got to Bethel, I turned around and headed back but first I stopped off at English Apothecary for a Granola bar!

I took the hillier route home that took me over Castle Hill!

The Fredmobile

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Connecticut Effect: Rally for Sandy Hook Ride on Washington

"With the taking of our daughter Grace, I can feel no greater pain, nor have anything left to fear. I appeal to those who have not experienced such a loss to look deep into their hearts, that which they think can not be done," said Chris McDonnell, Grace McDonnell's father.

"We lost the love and the light of our family, our daughter Grace. Since that day, I have made a solemn promise that her life would forever be celebrated, her vision of the world as a beautiful and peaceful place, forever honored, and her voice forever heard,"

I was awestruck by Chris McDonnell's words on Saturday morning.  After what happened on 12-14-2012 in the town that I call home, I can no longer be silent - we have to speak up and put a stop to this endless violence.

As the poster (on the right) says, just because you have the right to bear arms doesn't mean you have the right to an assault weapon.  Too many people focus on the last part of the 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms, but they forget, don't know, don't understand, the full import of the 2nd Amendment was to defend our country after taking it away from the British, and thus the right to bear arms as our founding fathers described this right means to also form a militia and there doesn't seem to be many militias around here these days.

Originally, I had intended on riding from home but then thought better of it for the black ice potential so I drove up to Reed School with the Fredmobile on top to ride along with Team 26 from Newtown to Bethel and then I would head back.

There must have been upwards of 500 people that came out to the rally.  It was amazing!  Most of the Ride-along cyclists were from the Bethel Cycle riding group, as well as a few other groups here and there.  Seeing that a good majority of the riders were from Bethel it wasn't surprising to see so much Bethel kit.

Photo credit:  Michael Duffy, Newstimes
Of course no one looked sexier than me on a screaming orange, old school Cycloscross Bike from Cannondale, except perhaps for the Team 26 riders in their green and white riding jackets!