Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Saturday, November 26, 2011

How Many Bikes Do You Have?

 Get yourself a drink, and settle in.  This is a long post.

How many bikes do I have?  That is a question that I hear dozens of times a year (if not more).  People find out that I am a bicycle enthusiast, and they automatically ask how many I have.  I really have never known how to answer that question, though.

 For one thing:  What constitutes a bike?  Do I only count the ready-to-ride examples, completely built up and with air in the tires?  Or, do I also count the disassembled (or yet to be assembled) frames and parts that would be a whole bike if they were all attached to each other?  How about bare framesets?  Are they "bikes".

Usually, I end up giving some long-winded answer about whole bikes/partial bikes/frames...or I just say, "I don't really know."

Recently, I came up with a plan that will allow me to answer that question, without any qualifications.

I have ten bikes:

My criteria for whether or not a bike is a bike:

1.  It is complete, with all of the parts.
2.  I am planning on keeping it for my own personal use, and it actually gets used.  
3.  It's not for sale, and not for display (like the Iver Johnson, and the Pink Bike).

Recently, I mentioned on the story blog, that I had a bike plan for next year which would serve two purposes.  I will get back to riding for fun, and I will be better able to keep my fitness up and my weight down.

I don't plan on going back to the daily bike commute.  That was fun, while I was doing it, but I am over it.  I will bike commute, when I feel like it (and as convenient training), but I really want to get back into bicycling as a fun pastime, as well.  When I commute every day, I really don't have much desire to go out on the weekends and ride my bikes with my friends.  I'd rather do something else, something I haven't already done 10 times that week.

So, my plan for this coming year is simple:

Ten Bikes, Ten Long Rides

I plan to ride each of these bikes on a century ride, at least once, through the course of the next 12 months.  If I am riding off-road, I will accept a half century (50 miles) as sufficient, for this goal.

I have a tentative order in which I plan on riding the bikes.  Here it is, along with an explanation of why each bike falls in its relative position (subject to change):

1.  2010 Handsome XOXO

This is a relatively easy bike to ride, and I  will be in probably the least-fit shape of all for the first ride.  So, it makes sense to ride an accommodating bike.  Plus, it is relatively new, and I have never done a long ride on it.  So, I want to break it in with a century.

2.  1992 Bridgestone XO-2

 This is another easy-to-ride bike, and it is a known entity.  I have done a few long rides, including more than one century, on this bike and it will be accommodating as my fitness is still in the relatively low range.  Plus, I will get to compare it back-to-back to the XOXO, which is a fairly close copy of this bike.  It will be interesting to see if I notice a performance difference between the two bikes.

3.  Prototype FUNK Titanium Daily Grind

This is the bike I designed for FUNK Bicycles, as a go-anywhere, do-anything all-rounder.  I am hoping to get one of those late-winter/early spring good-weather windows and do a gravel grind on this one.  I will be content with a half-century, for that ride, if it comes about.

The order may change on this one, because Dave Webb and I are considering doing an organized Gravel Century that one of the shops in Parker puts on.

4.  1989 Specialized RockCombo

 Yet another 26"-wheeled bike made with road bike geometry, back in the day.  I am thinking that the ride for this bike should entail a preponderance of gravel road.  So, if the titanium bike switches out of order to do the organized ride, then this becomes the Spring gravel-ride bike.  (If the ti bike stays in order, I will just do two gravel rides in a row.)

5.  1974 Peugeot UO-8 Fixed Gear Conversion

By the time my 5th long ride of the year rolls around, I should have enough fitness to enjoy the fixed gear for 100 miles in a shot.  This is one of the smoothest-riding bikes I own, and I am looking forward to this particular ride.  I rode fixed almost exclusively, for a couple of years, and just got away from it for a while.  Now, I want to put it into the mix, again, but not to the exclusion of my geared bikes.

6.  2008 Raleigh XXIX Singlespeed MTB/Monstercross

I have found that I don't particularly care for riding singlespeed 29ers with mountain bike tires on them.  But, with 38c or 42c cyclocross tires and off-road drop bars, they are a lot of fun.  This is one of my old commuters, put back into service as an off-roader.

Hopefully, by the time I get ready to ride this bike, the mountain trails will be snow-free, and I will be able to get a good 50-mile off-road jaunt in.

7.  1988 Specialized RockHopper 700c Fixed Conversion (Snow Bike Commuter)

After an off-road singlespeed ride, I should be ready for an off-road fixed gear ride.  This bike started as a 1988 RockHopper, which I converted to a dedicated singlespeed "vintage-style" path racer for Brad.  Brad later gave it back, and I converted it to 700c wheels, and I run my studded snow tires on it during the winter, for icy commutes.

I will stick some cyclocross tires on it, and probably follow the same route that I ride on the Raleigh, just to see what a difference going from a freewheel to a fixed gear will make.

8.  Mid-80s Fuji Touring

Back to the road/mixed terrain world with this bike.  I may work some gravel in, along with pavement, just for fun.  This bike will be set up quite differently by the time I take its ride.  I plan to install my Campagnolo Racing Triple stuff, from the mid-90s, and some mustache-style bars (of course) on this bike.  It should make a heck of an all-rounder, at that point.

9.  Late 80s Nishiki Ariel

I will be changing out the bars, shifters, tires, pedals and saddle on this vintage elevated chainstay mountain bike before I take any long rides on it.  But then, I will take the vintage mtb on a vintage mtb ride.  Moab, or Fruita, or Crested Butte...some place like that will be a good setting for an off-road jaunt on this beast.

That is all of the bikes in the picture from the driveway.  So, what is the tenth bike?

10.  1995 Rideable Bicycle Replicas Boneshaker

I have ridden many rides of 65 to 80 miles on this bike, in the past, and I know that it will require the highest level of fitness, so it gets the last century ride of the bunch.  I'm not sure where I will ride this one.  I may even go out on the eastern plains of Colorado and ride the relatively flat, though windy, terrain out there, just to avoid the repetition of the bike path loop here in Denver (where I have done most of my long rides on this bike).  Maybe not...I'll figure it out, when the time comes.

So, that's the plan for getting some fun rides under my belt, increasing my fitness, and utilizing all of my bikes during the riding season.  Like I said, all of the plans are flexible.  If I get a chance to go to Fruita in March, then the Nishiki Ariel may get used a lot earlier than I have laid it out in this post.  Or, if the roads stay snowy late into Spring, then the knobby tired bikes may see paved road action rather than waiting to ride the mountain trails...

Anyway, wish me luck.  At my age, I need it!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Telling Secrets

Well, I don't want to be too mysterious, so here's the new bike project:

It's a Fuji touring bike, mid-80s from the looks of it.  I swapped the wheels, before I took these pictures, but other than that, this is the "before" shot.

 I love Fuji bikes, and I love touring bikes.  So, when I got a chance to trade for this, I jumped at it.  The bike has a lot of cool tuches, like the chromed and pantagraphed fork crown...

 ...the stylized Mt. Fuji head tube badge...

 ...and quad-butted tubing.  It also had the chainstay-mounted extra spokes, which act as a chain-slap preventer, but I forgot to take a picture of it.  Next time...

It has a little wear and tear on it, including this little shallow dent in the downtube.  But, overall, it is in good shape and has a pleasing patina.

I am hoping that my new brakes will allow enough adjustment to line up the pads with the 700c rims on these wheels.  If not, I'll make them work, anyway.  I would just prefer that it be easy, for once.

I bid on some 8-speed Campy bar-end shifters, on eBay.  I was really hoping to get them, and round out the drivetrain with Campy parts.  But, even though I bid a stupid amount for them ($122.00!), I still lost the auction. I just bought some Shimano Ultegra bar-ends to put on, instead.  I'll run friction, at half the cost.

Now, I suppose, I need to sell the Nishiki road bike with the gold SunTour cranks to someone.  This bike will take the place of that one.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gimme a Brake

I have a new super-secret skunk works bike project in the works, and I have begun to gather the parts I don't already have in the shop.

I got these Tektro high-profile cantilevers from Niagara Cycle Works.  They supposedly are pretty powerful, but I bought them mostly because they will fit the aesthetics of the frame I am building up.

I will be using my old Campagnolo Racing Triple drivetrain.  I am trying to decide whether to use the Campy ErgoShift levers (brake and shifter combo), or to use bar-end shifters and separate brake levers.

I like the Ergo levers, but they don't really go with the frame.


I'll post more info, including photos of the frame, soon.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I Didn't Do This...

...but I sure wish I had.


Sunday, November 06, 2011

I Guess I'm Getting Lazy

I haven't done much bicycling, lately.  For most of the summer, I was nursing the Achilles Tendon on my right leg, and didn't ride at all.

Now, I am riding again, but I am only riding back and forth to work.  And, I am only doing that when the weather is bad.

Having broken my consecutive-days streak at 838, I find myself unmotivated to ride when the weather is nice.  I jump on the motorbike, and putt back and forth.  The advantage to that is that I get home a little less tired and sweaty, and I have more time and energy for some of my other pastimes (music, in particular).

But, the lazy thing is that I don't even get on the bike, for fun, on the weekends.  Though, I have to admit, that a great part of the reason for that is that I don't have anybody to ride with, generally.  Most of my old gang, with whom I rode constantly, 10 years ago, have moved on in life and don't have as much time for riding.

Babies have been born, other babies have gotten old enough that they have a lot of activities that need to be attended, health issues have cropped up (such as my tendonitis, as well as other things for other people)...We just aren't as young and active as we used to be.

I don't have the kid situation affecting me, and my health is good enough to allow a lot more riding than I have been doing, lately.  But, I just don't enjoy riding alone as much as I used to.  I actually blame that on the long-term daily commuting. 

An hour and a half a day, every work day, for four years was plenty of solitary riding to suit me.

Maybe I need to join a club, or form a club, or club myself over the head with a seat post until I feel the need to ride alone.  I don't know.

I really have a desire to go mountain biking since I didn't get to do much, this summer.  But, a lot of the trails in the mountains are already snowed in.   And, again, I have no desire to go out by myself.

Boo hoo for Jon.

I was going to upload some pictures from last week's snowy commute, but the computer doesn't seem to like the files.

Oh, well...


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Weather Dot Com

I feel like that's what I have become, since I only seem to post when I want to talk about the weather.

We have another snowstorm approaching Denver.  This one is supposed to ice the roads up, here in town, unlike the last one.

I got the snow bike out, this afternoon, after work and swapped the 49 tooth chainring to a 36 tooth ring.  I rode with my "summer gear" on the bike, last week, which was fine since the streets stayed mostly dry.  But, I find that I like a pretty low gear if I am pushing through a few inches of snow, especially on the uphills.

I'm looking forward to a snowy ride.  I enjoy that.