Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Went to see Zombieland, today. I highly recommend it. Woody Harrelson is, as always, quite the card and the movie is great fun: Perfect for a Halloween matinee.

Other than Shaun of The Dead, I can't think of another zombie movie which plays the undead for laughs, and succeeds so well.

Guns, trucks, Woody's character says, "Thank God for rednecks!"


Friday, October 30, 2009

My Creepiest Blog Post, Ever

And not creepy in that fun, Halloween-like meaning, but genuinely old-guy-with-a-camera-at-the-coffee-shop-creepy. For some reason, it being a snowy day and all, I decided to take pictures of people's boots, as they were enjoying their coffee.

It didn't occur to me, when I started, that 90% of the boot-wearers in the place would be female. So, I ended up sitting at the edge of the room taking pictures of (predominately) women's feet.

Not that I have a fetish, or anything, but shoes are pretty much the first thing I notice when someone walks into the room.

Lots of Ugg-style boots on display.
Two wildly different styles in the same shot.

No fetish (I swear!), but I do like these.

At last, a guy!

Tony Gallagher joined me. He obligingly posed for me.

Tony took this picture of me. My camera is not quite up to the standards of what he is used to having, as a professional photographer, but I wanted his interpretation of me in the coffee shop.

My other professional photographer/friend, Anthony Camera, sees me like this. (How's this for a self-absorbed section of the post?)


A guy and a gal (not a "couple", though) sitting beside me. I snuck this one, in the spirit of the "creepy-cam".

Two friends, two styles.

So, that's an hour's worth of boots at Kaladi Bros.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

First Real Snow of The Season - Part Deux

Man, am I tired. Riding in this snow is like riding in sand. I actually detoured over to Holly, and zigzagged my way to work on the most heavily traveled roads I could find, just so I could actually ride (I even rode down Colfax Avenue, for a bit). The side roads were snowed in deeper than the hubs on my wheels, and I just couldn't even make any headway.

My normal 8.3 mile, 33 minute commute was turned into 10 miles and an hour and five minutes. By the time I got to work, I had a really cool chin spoiler on the bike.

This is the view out the window of my office, just before I left, today. Look at the bottom of the window, through the spokes of the front wheel, and you can see how much snow we've had.

This is the bike path behind GW High School, where I got First Tracks, yesterday. Today, even though people had walked through, I had to get off and push for about a quarter of a mile.

This is the condition of the side roads, this afternoon, after a day's worth of traffic beating the snow down. Unfortunately, they are still close to unrideable on my studded tires. I probably would have done well to put the snow chains on, this morning.

I am under the impression that businesses are required to clear their walks. The Rockies Inn is apparently exempt from this. The past two winters have seen their walk in this condition until the weather warmed and the sun melted the snow off. I suspect that this winter will be no different. I suppose the meth-heads and prostitutes that live there don't complain about it.

I cleared the snow off of this, yesterday. This is how much has fallen, since.

I haven't knocked any snow off of the truck, however...

Home, again. Yeah, I know that I took this same picture, yesterday. What I lack in technical photographic skill, I make up for with repetition.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snowy Commute

We got a little dusting of snow, here on the Front Range, today.

Imagine what it would look like if I didn't have fenders!

At least the disc brakes still work, in these conditions.

At one point, I rode about a quarter mile putting firsy tracks on a bike path behind GW High School. The snow had drifted up deep enough that the chainring was completely under the surface as I rode.

My street was pretty representative of what I rode through on the way home. Some less-traveled streets had only one set of tracks, and it was hard to keep my wheels in the clear portion of the road where I could roll. I fell only once, but I sure did come close about a hundred times other than that. All in all, the conditions added about 14 minutes (30%) to my normal commute time.

It's been snowing for close to 24 hours, here at my house, and they are calling for another 12 or 16 hours of snowfall. The forecast is for 10 to 16 inches in my neighborhood, more to the west and the south.

Tomorrow's commute promises to be interesting.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Photo Contest at Ecovelo

I really like the Ecovelo blog. The photography is excellent, and the content is right up my alley.

They are having an "Endless Summer" themed photo contest, right now. My submission posted, this morning.

I am composing this post on my Crackberry, so I can't link directly to the site. Here's the address: (EDIT: I added a link when I got home from work.)

Check it out.


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Monday, October 26, 2009

The Project Is Moving Ahead

I don't want to go into specifics until I can post photos. But, the new project is progressing.

There is a style of bike I have tried to build up, for the past few years, called the "all-rounder". Seven or eight years ago, when I was first getting interested in this style of bike, I leaned in the direction of a 700c wheeled cross bike, which could also be ridden on the dirt. The alternative would be a 26" wheeled mountain bike, which could also be ridden on the road (like my red RockHopper that I use for around-town use, right now).

Each of these bikes, while usable in any condition, leans really hard in one direction, and has less usability in the other. The cross bike is terrific on the road, but only partly competent on the dirt (when compared to a dedicated mtb). The mountain bike is terrific on the dirt, but leaves much to be desired on the road (when compared to a dedicated road bike).

So, for years, an all-rounder really was a compromise, pretty good at one thing and merely passable at another. At least, that's how it worked out for me. Your mileage may vary.

And, if your friends and riding partners are all on the same style bike, there's no problem. But, for me, I found that if I showed up for a mountain bike ride on my cross bike, I was constantly chasing the guys on mountain bikes. No one else was riding my style of bike.

Years passed, and something happened which changed everything, when it came to all-rounder bikes. The 29er mtb tire (and, to a smaller extent, the 650b) changed the rules completely. Now, there was a platform which allowed the same bike to run anything from racing-style road tires to big, fat, off-road rubber. If you like riding a full-rigid mtb, things get even simpler.

I think, by now, you have an general idea of what I'm working on. Details to follow (hopefully, soon).


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Message Received

All of the commenters who responded to my question about the F1 bike seem to be agreed that I should go ahead and sell it. So, it is on eBay.

See it here.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Need Your Input

I have another blog, called The Daily Grind (there's a link to it in the list, to the right) in which I mostly address selling bikes and other business things which just don't seem to fit in this blog's focus.

Basically, that blog has replaced my website, since I just can't get a handle on how to work on it.

Right now, I have an entry up concerning my Formula One bicycle. Specifically, I am trying to decide whether or not to keep it.

Please give it a read and leave me some input in the Comments section, if you can.



Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kyle Got His Bike

The box arrived, yesterday, and work commenced, immediately, to get it assembled. Once done, it was time for a test-ride, despite temps in the upper 30s and rain.

Apparently, it had escaped Kyle's attention that I was installing disc brakes on the bike. His mom said it was a pleasant surprise to him.

Now, he's got a bike for rough trail riding, which should hold up to the Western Pennsylvania mud and grit.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


It was pretty warm this morning, at 37 F, as I rode to work. But, the visibility was somewhere under 1/4 mile due to the fog.

Add to that the condensation on my glasses (or on the windshield of a car) and visibility was even more limited. I ran both of my 9-LED flashing tail lights, along with both the flashing headlight and steady headlight, and still felt invisible.

This fog would probably seem minor to Meli and her friends out in San Francisco, but we don't have a lot of fog here in Denver, as a general thing. So, people have a hard time adapting their driving to the conditions.

Kinda makes one nervous, on a bike.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

This One Isn't About the Weather

Back in 1996, DiamondBack came out with the V-Link series of full-suspension mountain bikes. Since the shop I worked at was a DB dealer, I ordered up a V-Link Pro. It is one of those bikes that I've wanted back ever since I sold it.

A couple of years ago, I bought another V-Link (not the Pro, but this orange model), with the thought of riding full-boinger, once again. I ended up going with the soft-tail KHS, instead, and now I've reverted back to fully rigid on the 29er.

I held on to the V-Link frame, thinking that Kyle would eventually want it. And, I was right.

I had done some work on the top tube, which destroyed the paint on about half of it, so I masked it off and sprayed a bit of gloss black on it. Kyle said he liked the orange, so I didn't paint the whole frame.

The Manitou Black fork came off of my pink bike, by way of the Trek STP that I had, last year. The wheels are Mavic Crosslands, which I had been saving to use with the frame. The SYNCROS crank was also on the pink bike, at one time.

I bought a rear disc-brake adapter for the frame (there weren't a lot of disc-ready bikes in 1996), and some Tektro brakes (rebranded as Performance's Forte' brand), in order to build it for Kyle. I like the cable-actuated discs, and I've had good service from them on both the commuter and the mtb 29er. They are pretty low-maintenence, and fairly bomb-proof; two things very important to me on a mountain bike.

The only downside to the adapter is that you have to pull the quick-release lever completely out of the axle in order to remove the rear wheel, if you have a flat. That makes it a not-so-quick-release. Not a problem, unless you are racing and have a flat.

As a mechanic, I find that I am much more interested in parts that let me ride my bike, trouble-free, than I am the latest and greatest equipment. All of the components on this bike are tthings I have found to be durable and high-quality, down to the old Deore DX rear derailleur.

The Ergon grips are pretty pricy, but they give great support to the hands and allow you to ride farther without hand soreness or numbness. Unfortunately for me, they won't fit on the mustache bars on my bike. That makes it fortunate for Kyle, since he gets to use them, now.

I bought a new rear shock for the bike, when I first got it. It has the heavy-duty coil spring (again, simpler and more reliable than the air-charged versions, and not that much heavier). I weigh about 170, and I ride this bike with the preload that you see on the spring, in this picture, so there is plenty of adjustment available.

The SRAM 9.0 brake levers are a lot nicer than the levers which came with the brakes, so I left them on the bars. Those shifters are some of my all-time favorites, too. You can see the "indestructable" pedals I always put on the nephews' bikes. They are the Forte' Shovel BMX platforms that I use on my commuters.

Now, I just need to get it packed up and shipped to Pennsylvania.


Goodbye, Summer

On the way home from the coffee shop, this morning.

Yeah, I'm bundled up like an Eskimo.

After spending yesterday outside in 60-degree temperatures, building up a dual-suspension bike for the eldest nephew, I awoke to somewhat different conditions, today. It was 18 degrees and snowing, when I left for the coffee shop, this morning.

Oh, well, it happens every year. It's just a bit early, this time around the sun.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Weather Guessing

Yesterday, as I prepared to head out on a foggy/drizzly ride to work, I was listening to one of the local meteorologists (Stacey Donaldson) as she ran through the weather forecast. I was relieved to hear that the fog and drizzle would move out of the area, giving me a sunny ride home.

As I rode home, that afternoon, in a pouring rain (wearing a windbreaker instead of my rain jacket, and with my feet wrapped in plastic to make up for the lack of neoprene booties), I found myself wondering why I ever listen to the weather-guessers around here. Had I followed my instincts, I would have been properly dressed and warm, on the way home, rather than wet and shivery.

How many times in our lives do we let the "official" prognosticators steer us off of our chosen path, into the mouth of adversity, simply because they are telling us what we want to hear? I felt like it was going to rain all day, but I wished for sunshine. Having Stacey tell me it was going to be nice was all it took to get the wishful thinking to override the logic.

We all know that if it's too good to be true, it's probably not true. Yet, we all, at some point or another, make that cold, wet ride home.

The road to Hell may be lined with good intentions, but the speedbumps along the way are made of wishful thinking.