Tuesday, March 31, 2015

96 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Savings from Bike Commuting

Gas:  4 gallons
CO2:  80 lbs

The ride in this morning was pleasantly cool, around 28 degrees.
There was black ice to contend with but nothing too bad.

Leaving the office at 5:30 PM it was snowing!

I should have put on my new rain pants because I got pretty wet.

My Velo Wa was spot on this evening.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Velo Wa (和): Harmony, Peace, Balance

Riding up to the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington at Edmond Town Hall on Saturday from my house it was flurrying and cold.  I had all the right gear on except I made one mistake, wrong gloves.  I had my gloves with the removable overmitts but really didn't have enough insulation for temps below 32 degrees and later when Team 26 started riding towards Fairfield Hills, my hands were numb!

When we got over to Fairfield Hills I headed over to Youth Academy to get a cup of coffee and warm up.  That worked!  Team 26 already left on their journey towards Bethel and beyond, so I went for a quick loop around town and then headed home.

I wanted to do more, and had the Get out of Jail Free Card to do so but I was so upset with myself for not having prepared sufficiently that I couldn't find my WA for a longer ride.  The other thing bothering me and thus keeping me from my WA was the fact that my backside was getting wet because I didn't bother putting on my rear fender.

By the time I got home, my whole bike was covered in frozen, brown slime.  It's funny, and I said this before, I spent the first two months of winter avoiding riding in these conditions.  Now that it's spring I feel that I must ride because it's spring, and now I am riding in the conditions that I just spent the last two months avoiding.  I guess I shouldn't have avoided them.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dinglespeed: A Singlespeed in Sheep's Clothing

At the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington Rally at Edmond Town Hall this past Saturday, I met up with this guy that I have come across on the roads riding a fendered up Scattante Single Speed frame.

However, when I looked closer at his rear cog I noticed that it looked really big, like a 22 or 23t.  I asked him what kind of ratio he was running, 46:23, and that's when he said that he had a Sturmey Archer 2 Speed Kick Shift.  According to the Sturmey Archer website the 2 speed kick shift is set for one level at 100% and the other at 138%, so if my math is right, in the high setting, his ratio is actually 46:17!  I guess that might explain when I see him in the flats he is really moving faster than you would expect.  

So technically, he's not riding a singlespeed, with two speeds he's really riding a dinglespeed!  When I get my next singlespeed (hint, hint) I might have to go this route, too.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hope Peace Love: Sandy Hook Ride on Washington

I rode up to the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington Rally being held at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, CT this morning.  It was flurrying when I left the house but by the time I got up there it was snowing much harder.

Team 26 rolled in about 10 minutes later and while I was OK standing around in 28 degree weather I was lamenting that I didn't wear my lobster gloves.  The gloves I had on would have been fine if I were just riding but during the speeches, prayers, and kind words by those involved I came to the realization that I might have a problem with the ride today.

I was able to have my picture taken with Stephen Badger, whom I credit for encouraging me to be the cyclist I am today.  He is truly one hell of a rider.  I would like to do this ride.  Maybe next year?

Monte Frank, founder and ride leader or Team 26, makes his closing remarks before we all ride over to Fairfield Hills where the team was the honorary guest at the Sandy Hook 5K.  I rode in the back of the group and while it felt great to be out on the bike, in the snow even, my hands were numb and also not having a fender was making me even more uncomfortable.  I headed over to the Youth Academy to warm up and get a cup of coffee.  By the time I was good to go, Team 26 had took off towards Bethel so I headed down to Sandy Hook and then back up Church Hill and then home.  

It wasn't the best ride but it was still good to get out despite the weather.  Bike felt really good and I could feel that riding the single speed to work is actually helping me with my road riding.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

97 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Savings from Bike Commuting

Gas:  3 gallons
CO2:  60 lbs

Where is Spring?

I got the cold weather riding gear down to a science!
Columbia Windstopper Fleece hunting jacket
My old PFU pants from when I was in the Army
Lobster Gloves
Lake 303 boots

The actual low for this morning was 14.0

These riding boots are worth every penny!

Ride home was wet but I missed the heavier rain because I left later

The Banjo Brothers Pannier is perfect!

Broke out the neoprene riding gloves for the ride home.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

98 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

It's funny, this was the kind of day that I have been avoiding for the past two months but it was the only day that I could ride to work so there was no stopping me.  It's not that I haven't ridden in this weather before it's just not my favorite and the wind wasn't making it any better.

Not only did I have to wear my Lake 303s, I had to break out the Lobster Gloves and my Windstopper Fleece hunting jacket.  In fact by the time I got to the office I was sweating because that jacket is so warm and I had the zip pits wide open!

Roads in Newtown were absolute crap.  The snow on the shoulders actually provided a lot of traction but it was the moral rural roads that I use for my route that had to be ridden with a lot of caution. There were quite a few icy patches that I was able to get around but this one (below) on Tunnel Road is one that I had to walk.

The ride home was just as cold.  The only respite was all of the icy patches that I had to ride around or even walk were gone.  Despite the cold, the ride was totally worth it.

Gas:  2 gallons
CO2:  40 lbs

Monday, March 16, 2015

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall ...

My 2015 bike commuting season started last week and I am already two months behind!  January and February were such depressing months that I didn't even bother to get on the trainer and I know I should have.  However, with the weather changing so abruptly I feel like I got caught with my pants down, at least mentally to get into the bike commuting mindset.  I am counting down my commutes starting from 100, and using the Bottles of Beer on the Wall folk song.

While the new commuting bike was ready to go and the ride up to this point was going nicely the only thing bothering me was my my DIY headlight mount and it was a little canted to the left.  I did my best to ignore it and concentrate on the road conditions because while the thermometer at the house said 34 degrees there was still a lot of black ice on the road and I was worried about slipping.

My other concern was whether or not I would be too hot or cold on the ride in.  Somehow I nailed the right combination of gear with a combination of short and long sleeve wicking shirts and my rain jacket.  It doesn't have zip pits but with the back vent and keeping the front zipper open I never got hot and never got cold.  I probably shouldn't have worn my Lake 303s because on the ride home I wearing the boots with shorts made me feel dirty.

Between my messenger bag and the Cannondale Handlebar Bag, I have just the right amount of capability to carry the necessary things to and from the office.  Laptop, clean underwear, lunch, iPhone, which rides in the map pouch atop the bag, light recharger, first aid kit, rain jacket when I am not wearing it, and wallet.  I think, however, I might have to invest in a good pair of packable rain pants.

Gas:  1 gallon
CO2:  20 lbs

Sunday, March 15, 2015

DIY Headlight Mount

One of the dilemmas that I was going to have to face going with a handle bar bag was where to mount my headlight because the way most of these lights mount, they are made to sit on the handlebars.  The ideal location would be on the non drive side fork blade and I have a light that would work but it's old and unreliable.  

My solution was to take an old reflector mount, make a few bends, and attach it to where the fender mounts to the fork.  This particular reflector mount also had a hinge so I cut a piece of carbon fiber from a busted seatpost to serve as the light mount and screwed it into the hole on the hinge.

After a test ride, having installed my new handle bar bag the one thing I noticed is that there was a little vibration on the fender so I glued a piece of rubber stripping underneath the bracket where it comes in contact with the fender and problem solved!  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Vintage Cannondale Casey Handlebar Bag

1982 Cannondale Catalog found at VintageCannondale.com

I won an eBay auction for a Vintage Cannondale (B017) Casey Handlebar bag.  I have been looking for one for quite some time.  Found a few on Craigslist but the sellers never got back to me and I had been trolling eBay for a couple of months and made a few bids only to some of the auctions exceed the amount I was willing to pay.

This yellow one popped up one day in early February and it was perfect for the Bianchi so I put in my max bid of $32.00 and crossed my fingers.  As you can see I ended up paying $31.00 and if you adjust the original amount for this bag for inflation since 1982, it would cost $48 so I actually saved money, from a purchasing stand point.  However, when I got the item the first thing I realized is that the bag's support frame isn't going to fit on a modern stem and 31.8mm handlebars.  DOH!


 My first thought was to go out and see if I could find some sort of thin metal bar and bend a bracket using pliers and my vice but I never got that far because I stopped in at the Bicycle Center and asked Shawn if he knew any metal workers figuring he might have had to use one in the past to have a metal frame welded.  Shawn recommended that I call this guy Austin who lives in Bridgewater and owns a company called Wolfpit Iron.


After explaining to Austin what I wanted to do and sent Austin a bunch of pictures.  As you can see in the top left picture the original frame is about an inch and a half and a modern stem is almost two inches wide where it clamps onto the bar.  The other issue I wanted to accommodate is where my GPS is mounted.  I asked Austin if he elongate the bracket from where it leaves the bars to connecting with the bag so I could keep my GPS mount on the bars as such.  He got back to me with a price and I said go for it.

I met Austin for coffee about week later and dropped off the original bracket on a stem with bars so that he had something to model off of.  He sent me this picture of the new bracket while epoxy coating was still drying.

I picked up the bracket the following week and had a do a little bending in my vice.  Initially it stat at about a 45 degree angle off the stem but after a few bending sessions I got it perfect!

It sits far enough away from the bars so that it doesn't conflict with my Garmin!  I took the bike out for a test right and I couldn't even tell it was there.

It was raining but I headed down to the lake for a quick test ride and I couldn't believe how nice the new bag is.  Couldn't tell it was there.  The Sefas Vida tires are really rocking on this bike.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

My Singlespeed Commuter

After hitting 2,000 miles commuting goal last year, my goal this year is the quantity of commutes to take me to the 2,000 mile mark or even exceed it.  To get there, I am going to have to ride to work 100 times.  Last year, I rode to work 76 times and averaged 26 miles per commute on three different bikes.  This year, I am only going to ride one bike.

My Bianchi San Jose has been fun but for a while I wasn't sure I wanted to keep it.  I put it up on Craiglist but got no takers so I it's new purpose in life will be for commuting.  

I mounted my Serface Vida commuting tires on my rims and found that a 700x38c fits nicely on the Bianchi San Jose.  I used the Water Bottle Trick for chain tensioning but realized that will be the last time I can do that once the rear fender is mounted.  Speaking of fenders, the Planet Bike fenders that I had on the Cross Check went on rather smoothly and makes the bike look cool.

The last addition to the bike will be a vintage Cannondale Handlebar bag that I got from eBay the other day.  It's yellow and will match the bar tape. The only problem is that the bracket that it mounts to is made to fit only with old fashioned quill stems and 25.4 mm bars.

Someone suggested bending it to accommodate a wider stem but then I will loose the span from the bar to the bag and I will need to figure out some other way to mount my Garmin.  My best bet is to find some similar diameter bar and bend it myself to make it work.  This won't prohibit me commuting but it will be a nice to have for carrying stuff that I want to have within arm's reach while riding.