Tuesday, April 24, 2018

30 days of biking - update

So I'm six days from the end of this month-long bicycle party and here's how it's going.

Knowing that I'd be traveling out of town for a gig, I decided to "bank" some rides in advance by going out twice a day for a few days before I left.
This allowed me to have a ride count for each of the thirty days of April.
Yesterday I flew home from the East Coast, napped for a couple of hours, and then went out to the shed to finish up a refugee bike -- and then, to tally another ride and get myself current, I took that bike for a test-ride. It rides great, and while I was super-tired from flying I was also glad to get in a quick ride.

(the bike)
https://scontent.fsnc1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/31167006_1586303811498143_6232519410738436901_n.jpg?_nc_cat=0&_nc_eui2=v1%3AAeFkISdvriRbGN30YcU-qT5HhoxLrjs9HoNt6lKxGBRJgcOsZo4RUfnzJRgIZxabwgJMPfn7_kUrVK4SKRXNMdZte8XV7WRdgRYqFVzUPWIwgA&oh=e5c4aa20964c73cdc11d80c3178d8e35&oe=5B69C9E4

 (evidence of participation)

https://scontent.fsnc1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/31170742_1586303758164815_6350735308674459659_n.jpg?_nc_cat=0&_nc_eui2=v1%3AAeHi5niKQxATe6mZK_dmpI-V34O4tfML6H3m_GBqZAYSmc1esUgBO5m7jCrglW5u0o500QdnpNmHXZ1wsAvdjCJIO1OcWVoOwcW6ttBX1Ao--g&oh=98a669f1c8acd8015013dab58e269950&oe=5B50E8CC

Today it's supposed to be near 80F! You can bet I'll be getting a ride in before my hebrew student comes this evening. Cheers and happy riding!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

dear minneapolis (a love note)

Dear Minneapolis: Fine. You win. You're all the baddest-assed bike riders in April because there's ten feet of snow on the ground and you're out riding in it with spiked tires and heating up beer and venison over a camp stove at the park or whatever.
But if you come visit me here and I hear even a PEEP about how horrible it is to ride in the rain every day, or how it's amazing that all these gray days don't make everyone here clinically depressed, or some other ninth-circle-of-soggy-hell blah blah blah, I will make you ride with me across the Tillikum Crossing bridge while it's 38F and raining sideways.
Both ways.
Without fenders.
THEN we'll see who's the bad-ass.
Love, Portland

P.S. we'll have a fresh pot of real coffee waiting for ya.
..::all of the above typed with tongue firmly planted in cheek::..
Happy riding.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

presenting (drum roll, please)... Stompy, version 3


I acquired this bike about a year ago, and hadn't had much time to mess around with it until after I got back from camp last summer. By then, the short-track season was half over and I was too fatigued to contemplate ever racing again; but I did want to investigate the newly-opened Gateway Green cycling park. (I never got around to that last summer, either, but I digress.)

So after we hosted a lovely Passover seder at home, washed every dish in the house, put the extra table away and saw off all our out-of-town guests, I spent the first half of today sleeping in, from a combination of a depressive fluctuation and extreme fatigue from getting so much done over the last week.
I didn't wake up until almost noon, and it took me another two hours to find my equilibrium again.

After hemming and hawing I finally decided that, since the rain was returning tonight, I wanted to get something done before the day got away from me.
So I went out to the workshop, finished a refugee bike that had been sitting in the stand, and pulled down the new Stompy to put the finishing touches on it.

It's a simple bike -- it began life as an entry-level mountain bike from Iron Horse. Their low-end bikes can be found in big-box stores, while their high-end models are for sponsored racers and generally found in few bike shops (at least here in Portland).
I swapped in some V-brakes from another old mountain bike, knowing I'd appreciate the stopping power in dirt and mud.
I also had to remove the cranks and bottom bracket, which had rusted badly.
Turning this into a singlespeed would require a different crankset and bottom bracket. Since I was trying to spend as little money as possible on this, I settled for a NOS splined bottom bracket and some NOS cranks I found in the back room at Citybikes. (With my ex-worker discount they were dirt cheap, less than $20 for everything.)

I was able to use the same rear wheel and swapped in a singlespeed freewheel, which I found in a bucket at Bike Farm for five bucks. Yes, the gearing is super-low; I'm an old fart and figure that I've earned it. I don't mind coasting more these days.
The tires that came with it had been replacements, and hadn't been ridden much. 26 x 1.9's will be fine for this, at least until I decide how much I plan to ride it off-road. They're not fancy and have a decent, basic dirt tread that should work in wet or dry conditions for just noodling around.
Some Odyssey BMX pedals, used Oury grips and my Misfit Psycles FU2 bar (swapped from bike to bike to bike and having now taken up residence on every version of Stompy to date) completed the bike.  (** see Sad Note, below.)
As a singlespeed, it's lightweight and nimble.

It fits fine, will be simple to care for a a lot of fun to try out at Gateway Green when things warm up just a little more.




**(A SAD NOTE -- Misfit Psycles appears to have gone out of business as of late November 2017. There is still an online store but inventory is quite limited, just t-shirts and a few small parts. There's also nothing of theirs on on eBay. So you can't buy this handlebar anymore and boy, am I glad I saved mine.)