Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mountain Bikey News

Look closely and you can see the TREK STP sitting in amongst the foliage. This was about halfway between Pence Park and Lair O' The Bear, yesterday.

I took off from the house, yesterday morning and, after a stop at Kaladi Brothers for some coffee and scone (plus a bagel, egg and cheese sandwich I had made at home), I headed west to Mt. Falcon. I was planning on doing the ride which got cut short when I broke my derailleur, a while back.

I made the climb, and looped around back to Morrison, and completed the 5 Parks loop with the same equipment on the bike that I had left home with.

After lunch at the Blue Cow, in Morrison, I headed back to the house. My legs felt good, and the old back was fine with the weight of the CamelBak pack, but I made a decision about another piece of equipment. The Flite saddle is coming off, and a Brooks is going on before the race. I just can't make more than about 4 hours in the saddle with the Flite.

Years ago, when I rode Flites all the time, they were an all-day seat for me. I don't know if it's just an age thing, or the fact that I ride on a Brooks(or Adga, Wrights or whatever leather saddle happens to be on the particular commuter bike), every day. But, I need the comfort of the wider leather saddle enough to not worry at all about any added weight.

All in all, about 55 miles of mountain bikey goodness.

In related news, I'm sure I added some weight to the (former) 69er when I installed the Marzocchi Bomber suspension fork and a 26-inch front wheel on it. I am going to take it on the next long ride, and see how it feels in relation to the STP. How it goes will determine which bike becomes the race bike and which is the backup bike.

I may mess around with the gearing a bit, on the KHS, too.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Chrome!

Click for BIG

Well, I couldn't leave well enough alone. The more I looked at the chromey cruiser, the less I liked the handlebars.

So, I took the bars I had set aside for the Raleigh Twenty, and put them on, along with some Oury grips. The bars are motorcycle Clubman Bars, mounted upside down.

Skull valve caps; a present from my nephews a while back.

The headlight shell is from an old generator light set. The front swings open, so I stuffed it full of foam rubber and mounted an LED headlight inside. I just pull the LED light out, turn it on, replace it and close the front.

The skull on the headtube is just for fun.

At Kaladi Bros. coffee shop, this morning. It's a cool ride.

I'm sure I'll make a couple more changes to it. It needs a cool tail light, for instance, and some nicer pedals.


Saturday, August 23, 2008


So, I kept looking at this old chrome bike, which I picked up at Ye Olde Junque Yard, last spring, trying to figure out what I wanted to do to it. I eventually decided to go for the Minimalist HotRod look.
I found these tires, which look like the bias-ply tires you'd expect to see on a 50s-era rod or bobber. The wheels are some newer alloy cruiser wheels I had picked up, last year, for a project which never happened. I may paint them, later.

The stock fork wouldn't accept the wide tires. The original tires were "middleweights", rather than ballooners. So, I pulled the fork off of a junk Texas Ranger I had hanging around, and sprayed it metallic silver. It's almost as shiny as the weathered chrome on the frame.

I pulled the bars off of an old Huffy freestyle bike I picked up at the thrift store. They are a little taller than what I had envisioned, but they are close enough until I find something better.

The seat is a Brooks "tractor" style. I have no idea where it came from. It's just been floating around the shop for a few months.
The seatpost is a 7/8" (or something smaller than 1", anyway). I didn't have a longer one to fit, but I found that a 27.2 alloy post would slide over the stubby little bugger. I trimmed it to my saddle height, then notched it and used a Schwinn-style seatpost collar to clamp it on and avoid rotation.
A new SRAM chain got me rolling. Feels pretty styling, when I ride it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Yellow Bike Stays

The consensus seems to be that the Peugeot and the Specialized both should retain their current places in the herd.

To that end, I swapped a DiamondBack hybrid fork onto the bike, so that I would have enough clearance for the front fender. Then, with the aid of ever-helpful Mr. Hammer, I made a bit of clearance in the rear triangle, and shoehorned a fender in there, as well.

So, I managed to fix the only real problem I had with the yellow bike. In addition to allowing for a fender, the fork also makes it possible to mount V-Brakes, so I should be able to stop in the rain, now!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Help Me Obi Wan Kenobi.. You Are My Only Hope!

I come to you, today, seeking advice. I am in a quandary as to what to do, and I need some feedback.

So, please read this post, and leave a comment. That way, I will have any advice offered all in one place for easy reference.

Once again, I have looked around and noticed that I have way too many bikes for one person. I need to thin the herd, again, but I am loathe to do so. Most of the bikes are unique, and I ride them all for different purposes.

About these two, however, I am conflicted.

On the left, my late-80s Specialized RockHopper (my favorite commuter). On the right, my 1974 Peugeot UO8 (my favorite bike).

I think this is the prettiest bike I own. And, it is one of the most comfortable bikes I have ever ridden. The gearing is spot-on for my legs. The Brooks saddle and the mustache bars combine style and function in a pleasing manner. I have ridden many miles on this bike, and always enjoy it.

This may be the ugliest bike I own. Yet, I really like to commute on it. Why? Mainly because it rides very similarly to the UO8. The gearing and the riding position are very similar. I put 700c wheels on it, a single brake, upside-down Huffy 3-speed bars and a leather ADGA saddle. Blindfolded, I would be hard-pressed to tell the two bikes apart.
The problem? I commute on the yellow bike almost every day, and the orange bike has been hanging from the ceiling of the shop building so long that the tires are flat. I feel like the Peugeot is being wasted, since I never ride it, and that the Specialized is redundant.
So, should I install the rack, lights and other equipment on the Peugeot and use it as a commuter, or should I continue to use the Specialized and pull the French bike out for recreational rides?
PROS for keeping the Specialized as my commuter:
It works nicely and is already equipped for the commute.
It is ugly enough that I don't worry so much about theft/cosmetic damage.
It is pleasing to have a junkyard dog which works so well.
I had one of these, before, and sold it. I missed it enough that I built this one to replace it.
PROS for making the Peugeot my commuter:
I miss riding it, and commuting would give me time on it.
I can fit fenders on it. The Specialized won't accept fenders with the 700c wheel/35c tire combo.
It would allow me to clear a hook by selling the Specialized on.
So, the question: Should the Specialized stay, or go? I await your thoughts.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Just a Small Memorial

The great Isaac Hayes has left us.

I am bummed.


Kenosha Pass Pwns Me

Fireflies danced in the periphery of my vision as we cleared the trees and broke out above timberline. Brad was slightly ahead of me,(as usual on a climb), and I looked around at the flickering bugs.

"Waitaminnit! There ain't no fireflies in Colorado, and for sure not above timberline!" I realized. The altitude was getting to me.

I hated that, too. Back in the day (gather 'round, younguns, and let me tell you a tale), I rode at elevation often enough that anything below 13,000 feet seemed fine, to me. Now, here I was, gasping for air and stumbling around like a flatlander tourist on his first real mountain ride.

I had felt strong up until that point. Brad and I had left his car, a couple of hours earlier, at the Kenosha Pass trailhead. Neither of us was too concerned with getting to the top of Georgia Pass, at the Continental Divide above Breckenridge. We just wanted to get in a good, long ride before heading to the cabin.

Other than one stop to adjust Brad's front brake, and a couple of short, random, pauses along the trail we had ridden steadily to a point almost at timberline. There, we stopped and ate a couple of Clif bars. I put on my wind jacket, and then we took off again. A few drops of rain spattered us as we climbed, but no thunder, so we just kept on heading up.

Then, magically, we broke out of timber and there it was; the top of the pass. At this point, of course, there was no turning back. Onward to the top.

I was goofy enough from the thin air that I couldn't hold a good line, and kept planting a pedal into the side of the foot-deep trench that makes up the singletrack across the alpine meadow. I was going slow, but I was going.

Eventually, I joined Brad at the top. As we stood there, in the ever-present wind, the sun broke through the clouds and sent a warming ray to us.

Damn, it was beautiful. The mountains, the sun, the clouds, two good friends sharing a ripping ride for the first time in too long...

Brad has an iPhone. I have a MotoKRZR. Both of the phones have digital cameras built into them.

We also both have digital cameras.

All four items were safely locked away in Brad's car, back at the trailhead. So, no pictures.

Oh, well, some memories are best left undocumented, I suppose.

As we turned back, and headed downhill, we met a couple we had passed on the way up. It took some of the manly-man feeling out of us when we stopped and talked to the older of the couple. He was the dad of the 13 year old girl who was plugging along on her bike, heading up to the top of the pass, where we had just been.

We ripped some downhill on the way down to the (about) halfway point of the ride back to the car. I know that many people would find 23 mph a slow top speed for that stretch, but I felt like I was in the groove and pretty much going as fast as I could ever hope to.

The climb from the Jefferson Campground Road back up to the trailhead was a bit slow, but I managed to at least keep Brad in sight on the way up. As we approached the trailhead, and the trail once again turned downhill for the last mile, or so, we upped the pace. Another bit of flowy singletrack, and then, suddenly, we were back at the car.

I have to say that I've not enjoyed a ride like I enjoyed this one, in quite a while. And, I have never had such good weather on the top of the pass. Usually, it snows on me when I'm up there.

Here are the numbers on the trail. My odometer showed 24.8 miles, overall, slightly different from the published mileage.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Attacked By Ninjas

Ckick for BIG, if you feel the need...

At least, that's what it seemed like.

I was cranking up the one significant slope on my way to work (Dahlia, between Leetsdale and Alameda) doing about 17 or 18 mph, when I heard a "SNAP". Next thing I knew. I was augering-in on my right shoulder, my helmet whiplashed to the pavement, and my bike was all over me like a randy prom date.

The left crank had snapped at the pedal threads, launching me over the bars. The bike flipped 180 degrees forward, the top of the cyclocomputer hitting the pavement hard enough to break the mounting band.

This cut a small place on my shin, on the way by.

The shoulder is sore, my arm tingles a bit (probably pinched a nerve), but the collarbone is unbroken (YAY!).
I rode 2.7 miles back to my house, with one pedal, and swapped all my stuff over into the bags on the pink bike and then headed off to work, again.
Made it past the Ninjas, on the second try.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bike Sketches Framed and On Display (Finally!)

I did these three sketches, last year, for my cousin Carol's boy, Drew. While I was at my folks' house, Carol came by and brought pictures of the framed art on Drew's wall. (Click for BIG)
You can see the double-bed bedposts in this one, for scale. I think that they look good framed in one piece. (The original plan had been to frame and hang them separately).

I'm just glad that they got the "Drew Seal of Approval".