Friday, January 31, 2014

Fred, yeah that's me!

Leaving the office today someone wrote this on the back of my car.  I won't deny it.  In fact I am proud of it.  especially after watching this video from on now to be Road Biker.  At 0:30 you might recognize a brand of bike that I once owned and some guys from East Hampton, CT that had a piece of that action, I think.  Might explain why they went belly up.

Not only do I have the Fred covered, but I got commuter, ranndoneur, and gravel racer, too!  They missed hipster, unless coffee shop poser is supposed to cover that label.

Spent another evening riding the trainer only I gave myself a little more incentive, a blue ribbon incentive!  Some guys have training videos or watch past bike races.  I prefer watching the TV programs that I missed earlier this week on Internet TV.  Hopefully, this weekend it's going to warm up to over 20 degrees and I plan on getting some serious riding in.  Might event take the Qball out on a mountain bike ride!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Trainer Life

I have ridden in cold weather before, even as recently as last month, however, right now I just don't have any desire to in temperatures less than 15 degrees.  We saw mid twenties on Monday but I had to work.  I probably should have road my mountain bike on Sunday but the book I was reading was more interesting.  To fill the void I have taken to riding the trainer and in fact I have now ridden it more this year than I have in all the subsequent years I have owned it.

My trainer is a piece of crap and it's incredibly noisy.  I tried one at the LBS the other day when I was checking out road bikes and the really nice ones are really quiet.  I have seen quite a few Roller posts on Craigslist that have been interesting but I think I will stick with what I have until I have to replace it.  To make things more interesting I decided to watch a program that I missed on Monday on computer while I rode.  I had to use my amplifier through headphones to hear the sound, though.  Still, it beat starring at an unopened can of beer while pedaling.

This time around I went with shorts and riding socks and my feet got so cold I had to switch shoes half way through.  I put on my old Shimano winter riding shoes and they helped.  The garage was 41 degrees!

Monday, January 20, 2014

That's what fenders are for!

Riding the Surly Cross Check gets better and better.  Not only is it a great commuter it's also a joy to just ride on for the pleasure of riding, for right now is my work outs, too.  I was thinking about about doing a really big ride on MLK but I procrastinated all morning by playing with the kids, checking off some items from the Honey Do List and drinking a lot of coffee.  Finally I realized that the ride window was closing fast so I headed out for a two hours.  

What's nice about having fenders, especially right now, is that you can bet your sweet bippy that if the temperature is above freezing you are going to encounter something wet.  Pond Brook, the dirt road near my house, was really sloppy and if wasn't for the fenders it would have been nasty.  Lots of wet sand all over the place and still some snow melt really put these fenders to the test, today.

I came across that Single Speeder Roadie again, on Sugar Street in Dodgingtown, only this time instead of ogling his bike I introduced myself but soon afterwards he peeled off down Swamp Rd.  His name is Dan.

Despite the fact that is was in the low 40s it was still cold.  The wind really made a difference today but I am starting to get the hang of dressing for the roads.  Good think I went with the Lake 303's though.  Those are the best for this kind of weather.

Bicycle Commuting Haiku

Will the laptop fit

Clothes are carried in it's place

Bike Commuting at night is a blast

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cold Cross Check Commute!

Temperature at the house this morning was 23 degrees but riding through Hawleyville it got as a low as 17 degrees!  I wore basically what I wore the day before only I also had a short sleeve riding shirt on underneath as well.  Not sure what happened to the time but I was up early but ended up leaving much later.  Still, being out on the bike again was a blast.

I did two improvements to the Surly last night to prepare for today's commute.  I replaced the skewer with the type that Surly Bikes recommended and did not have a single problem!  I also transferred the fenders from the Trek to the Cross Check.  Didn't need them today but it was nice to know that now that I have them I will be prepared for just about every weather condition.  Like the night before, leaving the office around 6 PM it was actually snowing!  Flurries, but still that was a total surprise.

Since I have bar end shifters I decided to try my Outdoor Research over mitts with my ratty, old Cannondale Cold Weather riding gloves and it was awesome, my hands never got cold and of course I had no problems shifting like I would have on the Cannondale XS800.  The big plus is if I didn't have these then I would have had to wear my lobster gloves and bring the other gloves for the ride home because I knew it was going to be a lot warmer.

I still can't get over how enjoyable it is to ride this bike.  I have finally found the perfect commuter bike.

If you put lipstick on a pig

It's still a pig!

I think this makes my second or third commute on the Trek and to be honest I am not a fan of the hybrid.  I think what bothers me the most about it is how you sit upright like riding a mountain bike but not having the same geometry as a mountain bike just makes it feel off.  It's still a good bike but in this current configuration I don't think it's something I want to be spending a lot of time riding.

About half way to the office is when it hit me, this bike needs the Gary I bars that i put on the Qball and combined with lower stem, this would turn this pig into a pony!  Of course, you know what means?  The Gary I's are purely a singlespeed handlebar because you can't get bar end shifters into the ends.  The only drawback is that this bike has vertical drops so in order to go singlespeed I would need a tensioner but then I found this website called FixMeUp!  It's an online gear calculator that will let you calculate the gearing combination you need so that you have enough tension on your chain.  By the time I got to the office, I got it all figured out:  Get a fixed gear wheel set, mount the other fenders I have and voila, I will have a new singlespeed, all weather commuter!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Pedal F*cker is now Unit-less

If you have perused my Former Lovers page you might notice two recent additions.  The Fredmobile was just added and now Pedal Fucker has joined a long list of well ridden bikes that have been accepted into the fold of another where they will continue to bring their new owners much joy and happiness.

I put Pedal Fucker up the usual Craigslist sites that I like to use, as well as on the Northeast Bike Classifieds Facebook Page but ironically it was by word of mouth or I guess you could social media that connected me to the buyer of Pedal Fucker.  I posed this very same picture on Instagram with a caption indicating I was done, that is done with the latest incarnation of Pedal Fucker, however, a follower from Australia (as well as huge bike and beer fanatic) took the comment as if I was done with the bike.  Which brought on the following conservation:

It was Lizridesbikes (and blogger of When Inspiration Hits) suggested I contact someone she happens to know that is looking for a Singlespeed Mountain Bike.  I contacted the person and he was interested.  Sent some pictures, answered a few questions, did a little negotiation and settled on a price.  Turns out he was going to be in the area doing some errands and we agreed to meet at one of the local commuter lots in Newtown.

As we were making the exchange, in the pouring rain, a State Trooper rolled through the lot and rolled down her window to say that it must not be a nice day to ride a bike.  We all had a chuckle but when she pulled away I mentioned that this lot is heavily patrolled because it always looks like there are drug deals going down.  Of course the buyer, said, well you are right, bikes are like drugs, they are addictive and can be expensive, but the huge difference is that they are good for you!

Reba RL, Carbon Fiber Bars and Seatpost
Like all my bikes, the Kona had quite a few costume changes, including 5 different forks, 4 different handlebars, 3 cranksets, and two and a half wheelsets.  It got raced at Singlespeed A-Palooza two years in a row, and I rode it not just in Connecticut but also Cape Cod, Pine Hill Park, and twice at Kingdom Trails.  I have to say of the 6 singlespeed mountain bikes that I have ridden over the years it was by far my favorite.  So here are some pictures of the evolution and transformation of this bike.

SSAP Training - front wheel was in the shop

T-U-B-L-E-S-S at Kingdom Trails
And Jesus said: "Though shall ride Singlespeed"

Wheely wide bars (762mm) and White Brother's Fork

Carver Rigid at the Old Ford at Stewart State Forest
Fox F29 Fork
I always thought the Fox F29 was a 110 mm fork but when I see it pictured above and then I remember riding the Kona Unit with the White Brothers 110mm fork (which I knew was indeed 110 mm) it now seems that the Fox might have been 120 mm.  It really threw the geometry way off on the bike.

Rigid with Bluntz

This is what she looked like the day I bought it.
It was a great ride!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

F*you to the Dolboeb driving a white Tiguan!

I was hoping to get out and back before the rain came Tuesday but I procrastinated too much and left a little later than I wanted but I wasn't paying attention to the time, rather the rain as it started to come down while I was waiting for the Garmin to acquire.  

The was the first time on Qball since it's make over a couple of weeks ago and what a difference the new stem makes on the geometry of this bike.  As with all my monstercrossers I have always used happier stems and this is the first time that I tried something half cocked (to keep the analogy moving).  Riding the Qball makes me want to jump for joy like in those old Toyota commercials for "Oh what a feeling!"

Another remarkable thing is the brake levers.  Despite the extreme angle alignment to the bars I can still hold onto them like hoods that are more perpendicular to the road.  They never moved the whole time including quite a few times where I was climbing out of the saddle.

The Vee Rubber tires are also awesome!  A little bit of road noise but the extra volume of a 50c tire really makes the ride plush.  Their tenure on the Monstercross might be short lived because I called Surly Bikes today to find out more details on a new chain tensioner for the Cross Check that they will be introducing next month called the Hurdy Gurdy. They asked what type of QR I have on there now and I told them an XTR.  That's when Bob, Tzar of AntiSocial Media, Harley Riding Deer Destroyer, told me to try an older QR axle, the type that is smooth on the ends because the inside of them have an uneven surface and will hold much better that the lightweight, modern, QRs.  I have a million of those so if that works, the Vee Rubber is coming back to the Cross Check!  Still might get the Hurdy anyway just to be safe.

Knowing that it was probably going to rain I threw on my riding jacket and discovered that it's much better than wearing 3 or 4 layers.  I was able to get away with just two layers underneath and with the zip pits wide open I never got overheated.  Ironically it was the same temperature as Sunday only no wind.

I was JRA on Boggs Hill when I hear this car zoom up behind me and then slow down because of limited site for oncoming traffic.  I kept as far over as possible but got the feeling this Mentally Challenged Driver was right on my tail.  Finally he could see down the road and it was safe to pass but when he did so he arrogantly laid on the horn as he zoomed past.  Of course, I gave him a prominent one-fingered salute.  Then a mile down the road I spot the same car that passed parked at the Elementary School on this road.  Looks like the dolboeb was late to work.  Thanks for nearly running me off the road!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fredmobile's last roll

The departure of the Polar Vortex brought a drastic change to the weather where we got snow on Friday (I had planned to ride to work) and then 50 degrees and 2" of rain on Saturday.  Heading out Sunday morning the temperature was around 40 degrees and it was really windy.  Despite the rain and warmer temperatures it didn't dissuade these fisherman from ice fishing on Taunton Lake Sunday morning.

Started to get some traction on the Cannondale.  The first buyer was really interested and but low balled me and it was pointless trying to negotiate with him seeing where he was coming from, however, on Friday some interest arose from one of my Craigslist ads.  His initial offer was $200 less than what I was advertising and I said no thanks.  When he wanted to know what I could live with I told him $100 less than what I was asking and sent that response before heading on the Cannondale for my weekly Sunday morning ride

I was immediately lamenting my decision to ride Pond Brook because it was really soggy and agonizingly slow.  Once on the pave section it still seemed slow and there was some rubbing on the brake.  Grabbed the multitool and made a quick adjustment to the front brake and it was good to go!

Map Courtesy of Strava Multiple Ride Mapper
I now have a pretty standard route that wraps around the north part of Newtown as if I were riding to work and then from the intersection with Currituck and Rt 25 I can ride up to Mt Pleasant down Taunton Lake and up Scudder Hill which sets me up for the run down Poverty Hollow. The other alternative is to take one of my commuting routes to Old Hawleyville and then over to Rt 302 and back towards Newtown to shoot down Hammertown Road.  The latter route is around 26 miles (Purple Route) but my Poverty Hollow rides are between 30 and 40 miles.  Today I checked out North Avenue but I made a wrong turn off of Judd that took me to the bottom of Hammertown when I should have stayed on Judd.  My only concern is there is a blind corner and on a hill on Hammertown that I like to avoid.  


Whilst on Poverty Hollow I spied this cyclist up ahead of me and figured no way I was going to catch him but when I got past the descent at the horse barns the gap had been closed quite considerably.  It wasn't until I got in behind him that I realized he was on a Single Speed!  


I realized I had seen this guy/bike before at the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington send off riding a Scattante SSR single speed frame from Performance Bicycles.  I recall asking him why singlespeed on the roads and he said that he rides it in the winter time because it's much easier to maintain and clean.  

One thing is for sure, I need a better riding jacket.  One that has three pockets on the outside and zippered pits.  Average temperature for the ride was 41 degrees and I had two long sleeved layers, a short sleeve with arm warmers and a riding jersey.  With a pocketed jacket, I could loose the jersey and a layer, I think.  No problem with the feet riding the Lake 303s of course and I was spot on for gloves, too.

I think you can say that this is the bike that turned me into a roadie.  With its sale, I think even more road like routes will be ridden in the coming year on perhaps something a little more modern and weighing less.  The Fredmobile wasn't heavy, but it was no spring chicken compared to what you can get today at your LBS. The one thing that I never got around to changing was the stem.  The current stem is 130mm and I really think I could have done better on a 90mm stem.  Still, it was great for everything I rode it on.

Alas, the Fredmobile is no more.  He is off to Boston where he will be serving as an all weather commuter for someone who wants to bike to work rather than drive!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Homage de Qball

Original Build list:
Ritchey barends, flat bar, stem, seatpost
WTB Saddle
Qball Frame, Large 20" and QStick Fork
Shimano cranks, 32t chainring & Shimano Bottom Bracket
Velocity Singlespeed Wheelset
Kick Ass 21t Cog
WTB Nano Raptors 29x2.1
Shimano 575 Pedals

August 2006

October 2006:  Mutano Raptors

April 2007:  Misfit Psycles FUBars

October 2007:  Crank Brothers Candy, FSA Cranks, Marzocchi 100mm Fork

December 2007:  Riser Bars

April 2009:  Racing saddle, Flat Bars, Ergon Barends

June 2009:  Brooks B66 Saddle
2009 begins the Monster Cross Era

August 2009:  Singlespeed Monster Cross with Gary Bars

October 2009:  Geared Monster Cross (1x9), inverted 3 speed bars

October 2009:  Geared Monster Cross (3x9), drop bars

June 2010: Geared Monster Cross (2x9), Salsa Wood Chippers

January 2011:  Geared Monster Cross, Misfit Fugly Stem and Fme Bars

February 2011:  Geared Monster Cross/Commuter
Misfit Fme Bars

March 2011:  Geared Monster Cross

Back to Mountain Bike again?

October 2011:  Geared, 29er Mountain Bike

November 2011:  Singlespeed Monster Cross
Gearing:  44:18
Maxxis Cross Mark Tires
Salsa Woodchippers

March 2012:  Singlespeed Commuter
Gearing: 32:16

November 2012:  Geared, Monster Cross

July 2012:  Triathlon Bike

January 2013:  Fixed Gear Commuter with Fme bars
Gearing:  42:15

May 2013:  Singlespeed Commuter with Trekking Bars
Gearing:  42:17

June 2013:  Singlespeed Commuter with Salsa Woodchippers
Gearing: 42:17

December 2013:  Singlespeed Monster Cross
Gearing:  34:19

January 2014:  Singlespeed Commuter
 Gearing 42:20
Gary I Propulsion Bars
Not bad for a $550 bottle opener!

The Vee Rubber tires look awesome on the Qball

But the Blunts really pimp it out!

Going forward I have dedicated a page of this blog to the Qball