Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mutant Saddle

This is an old ADGA saddle that was on my commuter bike, a couple of years ago. It's wasn't too pretty, but it was the most comfortable saddle I owned.

One day, on the way to work, the leather gave way and the nose fell off. I laced it back together and got home with it, then replaced it.

Today, I decided to use the Red Rockhopper to commute on, for a couple of days. But, I didn't have a saddle for it. So, rather than swap a saddle over from another bike, I pulled this one out.

The adjusting bolt was exposed on the front of the saddle, and I was concerned about it catching the seat of my pants and ripping them. Hoping to prevent that, I decided to graft the nose from an Ideale 39, which was splitting, onto the ADGA.

I hacksawed the nose off of the Ideale, fitted it in place, and glued the two pieces of leather together with Shoe Goo. Voila... a usable saddle.

We'll see how long it lasts. The lacing actually supports the saddle, so the nose doesn't really have all of the tension on that it would, otherwise. So, it may last a good long time.

Or, it may fall apart, tomorrow.


Friday, January 29, 2010

A Rare, Work-Related Post

I rode the XO-2 to work, today, just to see if I was actually getting slower and slower, or if it has something to do with the gearing/tires on the Raleigh.

Apparently, it is about the bike. I got to work in what I consider to be my normal time (33 minutes), rather than the 38 to 40 minutes I've been riding for the past few weeks. Now, I know 5 minutes doesn't sound like much of a difference, but it's a ~15% increase in riding time.

Now, I'm wondering if I've always been this slow on the Raleigh, and just didn't notice it, or if I'm slowing down. I know that I got to work, regularly, in 33 minutes on the Ghetto bike, but it had smaller tires and a higher gear ratio.

I'm thinking that I may have some modifications in store for the Raleigh...

Also at the office, I am working on an Accidental Art Project. I posted up some pictures and details here.

Run over to 52 Card Pickup to see it.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Miyata Head Badge

37mm tall by 27mm wide, 3mm thick (approx.) - Silver raised lettering, logo and border with black background

Willyh left the following comment on Monday's blog: I wonder if you could take a picture of the badge on the one? I have a Miyata 1000LT I rebuilt and I'd love to try to create a badge for it.

So, here is the best shot I could get on a dark and snowy night. I hope it is helpful.


Monday, January 25, 2010

No, You're Not Seeing Double

These are two 57cm Miyata Six-Ten touring bikes that I picked up, this weekend. They are not completely identical, however.

This is a 1984 model. I will be selling it, but I need to decide whether I am going to convert it to 700c wheels and overhaul it, first, or just put it up for sale as is. I know that a lot of touring riders have pretty clear-cut preferences on components, wheels, etc. and I think that those guys just basically want the frame and fork. People who are going to ride a stock bike might probably just buy a newer bike.

Maybe. I'm still thinking about it.

This one is from 1983. There are very slight differences in spec, and this one has an actual head-tube badge (rather than a decal). My buddy mark is going to get this one, to build up a mixed-terrain/commuter/grocery-run bike.

I'm just glad that they are too big for me with a 33" stand-over height (although the 56cm top tube is perfect for me), otherwise I would be tempted to keep one for myself. And, I don't really need another bike...

Catalog pages here and here, if you are interested.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Don't Snicker at My Knickers - EDIT: Now with music!

Gif Created on Make A Gif

Today, I was looking at my favorite knickers, and I decided to take pictures of them all and discuss what it is about them that I like. Once I had taken the pictures, I noticed that I had shot pretty much the same picture 5 times. So, rather than post up a really boring post about pants (I like a 20" inseam on the knickers. That's was pretty much the gist of it.), I made a gif out of the shots.

Enjoy the show, and feel free to dance along. (Click the video, then scroll up to to see the animation as the music plays.)


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Guitar Class, Tonight

Wore my new hat to guitar class, tonight.

I have been playing guitar for about 30 years, now, but I am mostly self-taught. I picked up a few things at jam sessions, or from friends who played, through the years but I never had any formal instruction. I simply got some song books, applied my limited understanding of music theory (learned in high-school jazz band, mostly, and from reading books), and started playing.

At the beginning, I actually worked on learning chords, strumming technique, etc. Then, I discovered electric guitar power chords and "box-shaped scales", and started playing and writing songs in what is basically guitar-shorthand.

I am liking the guitar class, because it is making me relearn the open position chords (beyond the 3 or 4 I normally use) and some actual acoustic guitar technique.

Tonight, we started in on TAB and playing scales. This week, I will have to do a little more practicing than last week, I think. And, that's the main reason I signed up: I need to practice rather than play, so that I can get better.

And, getting better is very important to me, because playing guitar is very important to me. As Brad pointed out, on our ride last Sunday; Playing guitar is a very big part of who I am. It is a genuine passion, rather than a pastime, and I want to be able to better express that passion to the world.

So far, so good.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Guerilla Century

Jonny Reb and El Comandante on the trail. (Ride pictures by Brad Click)

Our 100 mile ride, yesterday consisted of a mostly bike-path circumnavigation of Denver. Cherry Creek Trail/470 Trail/Bear Creek Trail/South Platte Trail/Front Range Trail/Sand Creek Greenway/Highline Canal Trail (plus a few fill-in miles at the end to bring the total up to 100).

Here, we are about 60 miles in, having stopped for a light (2,000 calories) snack at Subway. The day had started off somewhat overcast and dreary, but it had begun to clear nicely by the time we stopped for lunch.

The Front Range trail goes north from the confluence of the South Platte and Cherry Creek. Along the way you pass through some areas of pretty scenic waterway juxtaposed with industrial wasteland. I always feel a little like Mad Max, when riding through here.

Seventy five miles in, we hit the Sand Creek portion of the ride, and this is what greeted us. The frozen trail had thawed and turned to sandy peanutbutter. For some pretty good stretches of trail we crawled along at 3 miles per hour. It murdered us, for a bit, until we decided to abandon our original plan, and follow Chambers Road down to the Highline Canal and turn south. had we not done this, we would have gotten our complete 100 miles without the added wandering around at the end.

Brad's Rivendell Bleriot was nice and clean, when we started out. It is somewhat less so in the "after" picture, though it seems to be a bit cleaner than...

the XO-2. Obviously, my knobby tires throw a bit more gunk up in the air than Brad's Fatty Rumpkins.

You can see the aftermath of a nice mud-fest here.

At one point, the bikes were so muddy that my rear derailleur was ghost-shifting,

and neither of our front derailleurs would drop to the small ring, since they were so crammed full of mud.

Once we got onto the Highline, we seemed to catch a second wind. Actually, I think that we were just so relieved to actually be able to pedal that we hauled ass, despite being tired. We rode the mile 85 to mile 93 portion at between 17 band 19 mph. That was much more satisfying than creeping along at 3 mph.

So, I've got two Centuries down, on the way to my goal of 12, this year. Hopefully, they will only get easier.

Now, it's time to clean my poor Bridgestone, using the trusty wheel and bumber brush. (Oh, those crazy Chinese!)


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rode Another Century, Today

After my Century ride on January 2, Brad told me that he had been planning on doing the 12 Centuries in Twelve Months Challenge but didn't realize that I was riding on that particular day. So, I told him that I'd be glad to ride another one in January. That way, if we get socked in with snow during November or December, I am still able to get 12 100-milers in.

I made sure to get the full 100 miles in, this time. I had to meander around, a bit, at the end to get there.
The mud on my clothes tells you a bit about the conditions. I realize that I should have re-shot this picture...but, hey, I'm a little tired.

Instead, I just took a separate shot of the shoes.

I left my camera at home, but Brad took a couple of shots with his. He's supposed to email them to me, and I'll post them along with a few more details, later.

Right now, it's time to eat and then pass, go to sleep.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Another Furlough Day

I figured that I'd try to get something productive done, during my unpaid day off. In the wake of re-tiring my commuter, I figured I'd perform a bit of maintenance on it. I've put nearly 2600 miles on it, since building it up at the end of May.

So, I overhauled the hubs and adjusted the brakes (first time for the hubs, a pretty regular thing for the brakes). I considered replacing the chain, but got distracted by something else and never got it done. Maybe tomorrow...

As you can see, the 42c tires that I put on the bike are quite a bit smaller than what was on there (click the link in the first paragraph to see the original tires). The new tires do roll a little more easily, but I am still painfully slow on this bike. On the orange Ghetto Bike, I averaged 33 minutes on the ride to work, at my comfortable/brisk pace. On this bike, if I hammer it, I still can't get under 35 minutes. At the same level of effort I felt on the Ghetto Bike, I am closer to 40 minutes on this bike.

The gearing on this bike is a bit lower, and that shows up in slower speeds on the downhills and flats. I had geared it lower to make up for the added weight of the big tires. I don't really want to bump the gearing up, too much, because the studded 26" tires sort of require lower gearing in the snow. The eccentric bottom bracket doesn't offer enough adjustment to allow running a significantly different gear on the two wheelsets unless I re-size the chain when I swap out wheels. And, if I was going to go to that much trouble, I might as well go back to having a separate snow bike.

Oh, well. I think the tires are a good compromise. Hopefully, the wheels will hold up.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Retired My Commuter Bike, This Evening

I guess, that, actually, I re-tired it. I took the 29x2" (700x50c) tires off and replaced them with some Maxxis Wormdrive monstercross tires. I have been noticing some knee pain, lately, and I was wondering if accelerating the heavy 2" tires was contributing to it.

So, I swapped out to the Maxxis tires (which I had on the red and black Rockhopper Monster), after work, today. I was using the 2" tires in order to protect the rims from the recurring damage I experienced with 35c tires, in the past. Hopefully, the 42s will be big enough to protect the wheels, yet small enough to roll a little more easily.

I actually have some 45c tires on order, but I wanted to go ahead and try the smaller size, tomorrow. I have a 4-day weekend coming up (furlough, weekend, MLK Day), so I have to ride them tomorrow, or wait until next week to check out how they affect the commute. And, I am too curious about it to wait.

I'll get some daylight pictures, later (my house is too dark, even with the flash, to get a good shot), and post up my impressions.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Collectors Are Ruining the World

Image from a recent eBay auction...

The X0-1 pictured above just recently sold on eBay for $1814.90. That's roughly twice what I would consider it to be worth, honestly. I mean, I'd love to have one of these to ride, but $1800.00 will buy a much nicer bike in today's market. And, I would assume that anyone who knows bikes would realize the same thing.

So, I have to assume that the buyer of this particular "like new" 1993 bike is a collector, and that the bike was bought as a "collectible", rather than as a bike. I have a problem with that, and with most collecting in general.

Coins, stamps and other such things are, to me, legitimate collector's items. They are commodities, from the get-go. What I have a problem with is the collector mentality which has swept the land, lately, making it impossible to buy old (cheap) guitars or bicycles to actually use them. Every old bike on craigslist or eBay seems to have suddenly become "vintage", and therefore very valuable. Broken-down old Harmony guitars should not cost $600 to $1000, and 17 year-old hybrid bikes shouldn't go for upwards of two grand.

I don't have $1800 to spend on any bike, right now, but if I did it would not be spent on a 1993, factory built frame with the plainest lugs in existence. I'd buy a Velo-Orange Polyvalent frame or a Rawland Drakkar frameset and build it up with much nicer components than what the XO came with. Or, I'd have a lugged frame built, and build it up with middle of the road components and upgrade them, later.

"Well, then," you say, "why not shut the hell up about XO-1s and just get one of those frames?"

Honestly, I just want an orange XO-1 because John Stamstad rode one to set the 24-hour offroad distance record in 1993. Ride-wise, as I've pointed out before, the XO-2 is fine. And, I do have something on the way to build my own, modern take on the XO set-up.

Still, I just find it annoying that these bikes and other usable older equipment are being artificially priced out of the range of people who will actually use them..

Oh, well. Enough venting...Rant ended.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Suspension Fork Question

Tonight, I got an email, tonight, alerting me to a comment which had been left on an old post (the one about using cross forks for 29er mtb's). This was the comment:

"i have a '98 cx bike i love, 700c. i just recently broke the 1" Alpha Q cross fork so bought a new cx bike. now i want to convert my old bike to a front suspension "700C-er". Can i use a 29er suspension fork or how do i adapt a 26" fork to 700C? i want to have both wheels be 700C (but i might live with the front being a 29") thanks gary "

My answer:


700c wheels and 29er wheels are the same. The "wheel" sizes on bikes (20", 24", 26", 29") are a measurement of the tire height. There is a Euro touring tire size known as 28", which is basically 700 x 45c.

Long story short, a 29er fork will work just fine on a cross bike. The hard (probably impossible) part will be finding a 29er suspension fork with a 1" steer tube. I have never seen nor heard of one, myself. If you find one, let me know.

There were some 700c suspension forks with 1" steerers (Rock Shox Metro, for instance), back in the 90s. You might find one of those, but they are kinda rare. They were never very popular, mainly due to the weight they added for only 2.5" of travel. Some hybrid bikes came with suspension, too, but usually fairly low-end.

Let me know how it all comes out.

Jon G

Anyone out there know of a fork I haven't heard of for this fellow?



Saturday, January 02, 2010

Got That First Century Ride Under My Belt, Today

Slow and painful describes the ride pretty well. I spent over 7 hours on the bike, a bit more than 8 hours out on the trail. Now, I am never real fast on a Century. In fact, that time is about average for me.

Usually, however, I don't ride on trails that look like this for 35 or 40 miles out of the 100. The effort required to not only stay upright, but to just keep moving forward, made this more of a mixed-terrain ride than the normal paved ride I would have preferred.

There was a constant wind from the northwest, which translated to a head wind for much of the ride. The temperature was about 10 degrees cooler than yesterday, and the 35 degree F temps plus the wind made me feel chilled pretty much the whole time I was out.

Perversely, the effort required to deal with the snow and ice made me sweat to the point that everything I had on was soaked. Luckily, the wool and man-made wicking materials I was wearing still provided some warmth.

If you look at the large version of this picture, you can see the Denver skyline just over the rack on the bike. This is from the opposite side of town compared to the same shot from yesterday.
This shot was taken on top of the hill at Bear Creek Lake State Park.

Here's a shot showing some of the clouds which apparently dropped some snow, up in the mountains. Down here, they just shaded us and kept the temperatures low. (Looking in the opposite direction from the same spot as the photo, above.)

The route was mostly paved bike path, with a few miles of connector roads from and back to my house. In short: Cherry Creek Trail south to the 470 Trail. 470 Trail to Bear Creek Lake State Park and on to the Bear Creek Greenway. Bear Creek to the South Platte Trail. South on the Platte for a few miles, just to add some mileage, then back north to Confluence Park. From there, Cherry Creek Trail South, past where I turn to go home. Added some miles before turning around, to make the mileage come up to 99.68.

And, no, I am not going to ride around the block to make it exactly 100 miles. Close enough, for me.

Now, to collapse on the couch, and recover.


Friday, January 01, 2010

The Requisite Yearly Mileage Blog-Post

I know that this is probably of little interest to anyone other than myself, but I want to put it down for my own benefit, anyway.

Commute miles since 05/01/2007: 9466.2
Consecutive bike commute days: 547

Commute miles in 2009: 3425.4
Commute days in 2009: 198

Miles on the truck in 2009: 1597.5
Miles on the motorcycles in 2009: 3000 (approximate)

The bike mileage dropped, compared to 2008 (3701), as did the days (213). Car mileage went up a bit, from 1340 in 2008. Yeah, I'm getting lazy in my old age.

Actually, I purposely drove a bit more, this year, because the battery and other things on the Nissan were beginning to show signs of neglect. It takes a certain amount of use to keep a car in good operating condition, apparently.

I have no idea what my total bicycle mileage for the year is. So much of my non-commute riding (like today's ride) is done on bikes with no odometer that I can't really say. I do know it is somewhere over 5000 miles.

I also figure that 2010's mileage will probably be higher, if for no other reason than the fact that I plan on riding the 12 centuries, in addition to everything else.

Kinda makes me tired just thinking about it...

Nah. Just kidding. I'm looking forward to every mile!


It Was A Beautiful (New Year's) Day For A Ride

Your blogger, hard at work.

I will admit that, after taking this picture, I did add a sweater. But, I am still sitting outside blogging. The temps are in the mid-40s, the sun is out and I am feeling a bit of cabin fever. So, I am outside for as long as possible.

This morning, I went down to Kaladi Brothers to meet whomever showed up for the ride.

Carl showed up, again, this year. he rode with us, last year, as well.

Carl, earning his ACW pin.

Tom (I'm sorry, but I missed your last name), came along. Tom works at a local community bike center up in the Park Hill area. I also forgot the name of the center. (Let me know, and I'll edit it into the post.)

Carl left the 3-speed at home, and brought his Masi CX ("the only Masi in town, with a kickstand").

Tom was riding a late-80s Trek 300 single-speed conversion.

We left Kaladi around 10:45, and headed north, through Washington Park. From there, we took the "tour de parks" and rolled through Cheesman Park, and then City Park. Here, Carl rides through City Park.

Tom, in City Park.

We rolled up to the West entrance of the Museum of Science and Nature. It's a popular spot for viewing the skyline of Denver.

The Tai Chi guys, thinking about Chai Tea.

From City Park, we headed East on Montview, to Hudson Street. Then, we turned South and followed my morning commute, in reverse, to 8th Avenue. On 8th, we headed West, crossed Colorado Blvd. and then cut over to 7th.

Tom headed to his house, when Carl and I turned South, once again. From there, we traced our route back to Kaladi Brothers, and called it a ride.

After we got back to Kaladi Bros., I had an Italian soda and headed home. As I cut through the D.U. campus, I saw this blown-out football lying in the snow. Kinda made me wonder what the heck happened to it.

So, there you have it: The New Year's Day Ride for 2010. The weather was gorgeous, the company was agreeable and the riding was terrific. I can only hope that this positive day bodes well for the remainder of the year.

Happy New Year!