First Ride on the New Fixed Mountain Bike
My good friend Randy Caley asked me to go on a mountain bike ride at Elk Meadow, on Sunday. So, I made sure to get the KHS-framed fixie mountain bike finished on Saturday.
Sunday morning rolled around, and I picked Randy up at his house. After we loaded up the bike I built for him last year, we took off. Half an hour later and we were at the trail head. Randy snapped a shot of my new bike, before I had a chance to scratch it up, and we took off.
Elk Meadow is a popular Open Space Park outside of Evergreen, Colorado, and has a good mix of trails ranging from smooth, wide-open beginner trails to a monster climb up Bergen Peak. Randy and I were heading for for some really nice singletrack in the woods, falling about half way between the two extremes.
I was a little concerned about the On-One Mungo bars on the mountain bike. The ends of the bars are pretty much parallel to the bike frame, unlike the slightly splayed version I had been riding on the Cafe Scorcher. About five minutes into the ride, all of my doubts were erased. The Mungo put my hands in a nice relaxed position, and allowed for plenty of leverage on the climbs. I was enjoying the ride immensely.
Randy took a couple of little tumbles (one of which would play well on one of those Extreme! Video! Shows!), and seemed to be getting a little frustrated. We dropped the air pressure in the Conti Leader Pro on the front of his bike, and things smoothed out considerably. I have always been amazed by how sensitive that particular tire is to air pressure. The difference between 45 psi and 40 psi can mean the difference between riding and crashing, in many conditions.
Randy's knees took a little bit of a beating, but nothing serious.
This ride was the "shakedown cruise" for the new bike, so I was really looking for problems which might need addressing. The one thing I found was that the drive-side crank was slightly bent, and hit the chainstay every time it went by. Apparently the torque on the left arm would flex everything just enough to make the right side hit as it went by. That was mainly just an annoyance. It became a problem when the end of the crank arm hooked the chain as I dropped off of a water bar, wrenching the rear tire to the side and locking it up.
Luckily, I was going slowly enough that I didn't crash. After we got rolling again, I found a gate post close enough to a fence post that I was able to lift the bike and slip the the crank arm between them. Then, using the bike as a lever, I carefully tweaked the crankarm straight. No problem for the rest of the ride.
I told Randy that if he was keeping a diary he should make that day's entry read, "Perfect weather for mountain biking." The temps were in the mid-seventies, the sun was shining and the breeze was cooling, but not intrusive. Down in Denver, Brad was finding that the wind was very intrusive as he rode south to Parker, on his way to his sister's house for a cookout. So, we lucked out, up in Evergreen.
We also lucked out in our timing. When we pulled into the parking lot at the trail head, I had my pick of about 10 parking spaces out of 25. When we were loading up to leave, a lady sat in the driveway waiting to get our parking spot as we left, since every other legal (and a couple of bootleg) parking spaces were full.
All in all, the "shakedown cruise" was a success.