Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sizzling Bacon

That is how many people describe the sound of studded bicycle tires on bare pavement.  With the added acoustic resonance of the 4" wide tires on the Mukluk, my Southern-bred ears hear it more as sizzling country sausage.

Whatever gustatory imagery you subscribe to, the studded tires on the Mukluk were quite noisy as I rode back and forth to work, yesterday.  But, the studs stayed in the knobs.  I did lose one, but it was a stud which I had difficulty getting started into the rubber, and I think I kinda chewed the knob up as I screwed the stud in.

So, I think the studding experiment was successful.  Once there is some ice on the road, I will know whether or not the pattern and number of studs is sufficient.  I have plenty left over, if I need to add some.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Big and Studly

A while back, I read a post on Rantwick's blog about studding one's own tires.  I followed the link to GripStuds, and ordered up a bag of studs and an installation tool.  The studs came in the mail, three days after I ordered them, and I promptly put them on the kitchen counter and forgot about them.

Tonight, it is raining in Denver, and the temperature is falling.  The forecast calls for 1 to 4 inches of accumulation, by morning.  Suddenly, the studs were back on my mind.

I brought the Mukluk in the house, and read the instructions for installation of the studs.  Then, of course, I decided to do it differently.  The instructions call for using a power drill to install the studs, but the knobs on the Origin8 Devist8r tires are a bit small.  I was concerned about drilling the studs all the way through the tires, so I chucked the installation tool into one end of a 4-way screwdriver, in place of the driver bit.  Then, I promptly drilled a stud all the way through the tire and put a nice hole in my $20.00 Surly tube.


I was a bit more careful, from then on.

I don't have any idea if the studs will stay in the tires, due to the smallish knobs that they are drilled into.  At about a buck piece, I hope so.

I will keep you informed.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Life On (and Off of) Two Wheels

I have not been blogging, too much, lately (obviously), and I haven't been riding a whole lot, either. In fact, I have had to turn down two different invitations to go on a ride, within the last week and a half, because I am so busy with Skull Full of Blues.

Steve and I have put a lot of time and effort into getting ready for the gig we had at 3Kings, last Saturday and, by extension, to get into the studio and record the CD.  I had hoped to ship the CD, this month, and that was the target date I put on the Kickstarter project. But, it took longer to find a drummer than I anticipated.  Plus, we really want to do the best job possible. So we decided to put the recording back, a bit, rather than rush through it.

Today, I did actually get on a bike.  I rode the Funk Ti bike down to Kaladi Brothers, for coffee, this morning.  Later, I took the Mukluk to the grocery store and got some fruits, vegetables and other staples.  Then, I actually worked on a couple of bike projects, this afternoon.

Everyone at the coffee shop commented on my clothing ("Are you on your way to church?"). In fact, I was just dressed comfortably for the cool morning temps, without resorting to lycra, or some other "bicycle" clothing. There is a reason that you see all of the tweed and whatnot in old photos of cyclists, especially in the first 30 years, or so, of the 20th Century.

Back then, even in the U.S., most people rode bikes for transportation.  They weren't training for a race, and they didn't need or want to be dressed like a racer when they arrived at their destination. Neither was I, this morning. I rode at  really relaxed pace, and still got to the coffee shop much faster than I would have if I had walked.

And, walking is the transportation mode that you should use as a yardstick when cycling for transportation. You will always be faster than a pedestrian, and that should be the goal. In my opinion, anyway...

I'm going to try to ride the bike to work, all this week.  My Achilles Tendon is still bothering me, occasionally, and that keeps me from riding as much as I'd like.  I think I may just have to suck it up and put up with the pain, in order to avoid being an ex-cyclist.

In the meantime, I am shopping for a studio, and trying to set up some more shows for Skull Full of Blues.  Follow the band on Facebook, if you are interested. There are a few more videos up, there, for those of you who would like to check out the sound.


Saturday, October 06, 2012


I was planning on taking the Scrambler to work, yesterday, so that I could run a couple of quick errands on the way home from work.  I knew that it was supposed to be cold, in the morning, and not warm up too much through the day, so I laid out my warm clothes, Thursday night, and went to bed.

Imagine my surprise when I looked out the door, at 4:45 Friday morning, only to see about a half-inch of snow on the street in front of the house, and more falling all the time.  Nedless to say, that changed my transportation plans.

I put on my wintertime cycling togs, and pulled the Mukluk out of the shop building.  It already had panniers on it, so I thought I could quickly get on the road...

Dang!  No lights on the bike.  So, I spent a few minutes lighting it up, front and rear.  Then, I took off down the snow-covered street.  When I got to the main road, where I cross I-25 on Evans Avenue, the pavement was covered in a very sloppy, wet, slush.  I was pretty happy that I had managed to get the fenders on the Mukluk, a few weeks ago.  The big 4-inch wide tires sure throw that slop around in large quantities.  But, the fenders kept it off of me and the bike, pretty well.

I was running late, riding the bike on which I am my very slowest, so I didn't take the time to stop and get a picture of our first snow of the season.  I wish I had because, when I came home, the snow was all gone and the roads were just wet.  In fact, north of Alameda, the roads were merely wet as I rode to work.  I go down in elevation, and farther into the urban heatsink as I ride to the lab.

On the way home, I was severely over-dressed, and got absolutely drenched in sweat (even though I made a conscious attempt to go slow and avoid that).  My helmet straps and pads were disgusting, when I took the helmet off, so I threw it in the shower and and shampooed it while I was in there.

I'm really liking the Mukluk, and I figure it is in the fleet to stay.  It takes a bit more effort to ride, especially uphill, but that is offset by how much fun I have on it.  Now, if only someone I knew would get one so that we could go Fatbiking together...