Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Friday, September 26, 2014

Spic 'n Span

I ride my motorcycle, a lot. Not necessarily big miles, but I ride often. This summer, I have ridden back and forth to work in innumerable rainstorms, and I rode over 400 miles on wet roads, when I made my little weekend trip to the western slope, last month.

I wash the bike, fairly often, in a cursory manner. Only occasionally do I put it up on the pit stand and and clean the nooks and crannies. So, grime tends to build up on the wheels, swingarm, etc. Today, in preparation for the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, on Sunday, I figured I should clean the Scrambler, for real.

So, up the bike went, onto the pit stand. I took the Corbin seat off, and planned on putting the stock seat back on for the ride. It has a more "classic" look to it, and I figured that it would be more appropriate.

I started wiping the rear rim off, before I thought to take a picture of the grime. You can see it, between the spokes, still.

The spokes, themselves, didn't look too much better.


The final results aren't too bad. Sometimes, I forget that there is chrome under all of that black goo.

In this picture, I have cleaned the left grip with a "magic eraser" sponge. The right is still untouched.

Here's the bike, all spic 'n span, glowing in the sun.  Where did all of the grime go?

Quite a bit of it went under my fingernails and on my knuckles!

As I rode home, yesterday, the bulb in the left front turn signal burned out. So, after the bike was clean, I decided to ride it down to Performance Motorcycle and get a replacement. I also needed a shield for my helmet.

Well, I got the shield, and a helmet to put it on. The new lid is a Speed and Strength SS600. I like the oldschool graphics, and the fit is nice, too.

I love the gold metalflake Daytona lid that I've been wearing. It's nice and visible in traffic, and I get a lot of compliments on it. Sometimes, though, I would like to be a little less flashy. I think this new helmet has a pretty classic/classy look. I'll probably wear it, Sunday, for the ride.

I'm looking forward to the ride, and I'm happy that I was able to raise some money to fight Prostate Cancer (although, I would like to raise more!).

Look for ride pictures, soon after Sunday.


Say, Is That Nancy Sinatra?

Spotted her strolling down Evans Avenue. No, wait, not strolling, but walking, because that's what those boots were made for!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Golden Hour Cloud

Weather, by Steven Spielberg!

It only held that light for a couple of minutes. But, while it did, that was one heck of a beautiful cloud.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Number One!

On the way to the coffee shop, this morning, I looked down and saw that I was fast approaching the 1's, on my odometer. So, I pulled over and snapped a cellphone shot of it.

Not the actual mileage (I have another 2400+ miles on the bike, which went by before I swapped speedometers), but cool, nonetheless.

I've enjoyed every mile that I've put on this bike, so far!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Madness Continues

A little while back, Wally World had the new Mongoose Dolomite fat bike in stock, for cheap, so I  snagged one. It is very similar to the Mongoose Beast which I had customized, earlier.

The Beast, you may recall, came as a single speed cruiser, with a coaster brake. Before I was done, I had added a cro-mo fork, disc brakes (front and rear), a five-speed freewheel, a triple crank and a front derailleur mounted on a bracket made from a 31.8mm-clamp stem. And, I also substituted decent tires and tubes for the crazy-heavy stock items, added a nicer seatpost and a Brooks saddle, and cool Surly bar on a threadless stem. I eventually bought new wheels, with a cassette hub in the rear, before it was all over.

When I got the ti frame, the wheels, tires brakes, bar and stem, along with the seat, all went onto it.

The remains of the Beast have languished in the shop building, since then.

When I got the Dolomite, I continued cannibalizing the poor old Beast, and swapped over the triple crank, and front derailleur setup. I also added anotherbar, similar to the Surly bar,  some shifters to go along with the new gear setup, and a Cardiff (Brooks-clone) saddle, plus some decent tires and tubes. I also transferred the rack and bag over, from the Beast.

As I told my friend, Danny Mc, the cheapest bikes have the prettiest paint.

This is going to become my commuter fat bike. I need to make a fender, for the front, and maybe one for the rear, as well. The rack acts as something of a fender, but enough water can get by it that I think it might be worth my while to extend the coverage a bit. Of course, it needs lights, as well.

Stay tuned for more ... Same Fat Time, same Fat Channel...


Sunday, September 07, 2014

Nice Day For A Ride!

As Brad and I left Denver, Friday evening, we drove into some heavy rain, and steadily dropping temperatures. By the time we got to his family cabin, we were discussing Plan B, in case it snowed on the pass, overnight.

Then, we got up to sunshine, and bright blue sky, punctuated by fluffy white clouds.

After a big breakfast, we took off, dressed for the cooler temperatures at the high elevation. A half mile into the ride, I stopped and peeled off my leg warmers, arm warmers and fleece vest. After strapping them to my CamelBak, we took off, again.

Brad, patiently waiting for me to get my clothes situated...

As we rode, the incline steadily increased, as we approached the head of the valley.

The trail conditions were primo, with tacky dirt and fantastic traction, due to the previous day's rain. Eventually, the trees beagan to thin, and we could see the ridge, above us

The road became rockier, as we ascended, as well.

Mine tailings? Scree? I don't know, but the trail sure was rocky, through here!

Trucks, on the ridge...

Looking back down the valley, from about halfway up the switchbacks...

 Steeper, and steeper...

 Eventually, we reached the top of Webster Pass, at 12103 feet above sea level

 and brewed up a cuppa.

 If you continue on, you end up in Keystone.

 Caffeinated Wheelmen at the top of the world...
 and a wee nip from the flask, in celebration of an excellent climb.

After we finished our coffee, we turned back toward the cabin, and headed down. Even on drop-barred, rigid bikes, we made pretty good time, on the downhill. We passed Jeeps, and ATVs, and had a good time flowing downhill, like water. Too soon, we got back to the cabin, and the adventure was over.

We sat on the deck of the cabin, and had a post-ride beer, before heading home. All we could talk about was how great the weather had been, and what an awesome ride we had.

The bikes performed flawlessly, and I was happier on this Trek than I have been on any mountain bike, for a while. Sort of a "back to basics" feeling, I guess.

I have had a few conversations with people about the bike, since I first started talking about doing this ride on the vintage steel. A lot of them followed the "I guess it's okay for moderate trail riding, but it wouldn't be too good for rough trails" theme. As I pointed out to Brad, telling him about these conversations, the laws of physics have not changed, since the advent of suspension forks, and 29-inch mountain bike wheels. These bikes are no less competent, now, than they were when they were new.

And when they were new, these bikes were high-end, serious mountain bikes. They are still fantastic rides, as this little jaunt proved.


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I May Have Found My New Favorite Bicycle

 Sunrise at CDOT
I rode the drop-bar Trek 950 to work, this morning. I wore a backpack, both to carry my stuff and to simulate a CamelBak hydration pack, like I will use, this weekend. I wanted to see if the seating position, handlebar angle, leg extension, etc. was good for an actual ride. Up until today, the farthest I had ridden the bike was about 3 miles, as I took a short detour on my way home from the coffee shop, on Monday. It seemed like a good idea to check things out on a slightly longer ride.

I have to say that the bike is pretty much dialed in, for me. The handlebars are spot-on, and the bike is maybe even a little more comfortable than the Funk!

I often say that whatever bike I am riding at any given time is my favorite, at that point in time. And, I'm only half joking about that. But, there are always bikes that, given a choice, I will choose over the others; the "What if you could only have one bike?" bike. My go-to answer to that question, for the past few years, has been, "The titanium Funk."

Today, as I was riding home from work, I was considering that question, anew. I enjoyed the ride to and from work, so much, today, that it made me begin to consider that a bike might well take the "favorite" tag away from the Funk.  But, I doubt it, in the long run. I am still in the infatuation phase that we all go through with a new bike, on the Trek. And, honestly, if I had to dump all of the bikes but one, I would have the Funk parked outside of my cardboard box shelter, in the end.

Adios, Amigo

Speaking of moving bikes along, I sold the Miyata 310, over the weekend. One of the college kids who works at Kaladi Bros. needed a commuter bike, and he is the same height as me. I had him come over and check the Miyata out, and he left with it. As much as I liked it, and wanted to keep it, I knew it wouldn't get ridden much. I'm just happy that it's going to get put to good use.

I'm really looking forward to the Webster's Pass ride, this weekend. It has been ages since I've done a ride like that, on any bike, and i think it's going to be extra cool to do it on the vintage steel.

Stay tuned...