Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rain Rain Go Away

Well the monsoons have begun. It's rained almost every day for the past 3 weeks. All training and commuting has stopped untill the weather improves. In the mean time I've been working on my ongoing Raliegh 20 projects. I have two of them that I have been restoring. A green one which is nicely rust free and a brown "rust bucket." Actually the plan make both into product improved Raliegh 20's replacing the stock cottered cranks with 3 piece cotterless cranks, shimano 424 SPD pedals, Brooks Conquest Saddles, Alloy rims, Cool Stop brake blocks, and one day replacing the Sturmey-Archer 3 speed drive train with the new 8 speed rear hub, and possibly setting the front wheel up with a Dynohub for lighting. Plus a rear rack setup with grocery panniers..

The aim of all this? To have a pair of bikes that can serve as short distance round the neighborhood bikes for guests and as a jump and run grocery getters. Lets face it conventional bikes are set and forget to one person and when you adjust it to anothers settings, it never fully feels right to the original rider when it's reset. Plus, I have three grocery stores within 5 miles, but to use my MTB would require completely unloading my panniers which are too small for a proper grocery run. I want a bike that I can just jump on and go with open bag panniers

It's also rather useful to have a set of bikes of matched capabilities when in a relationship or dating. This is something I learned when I was married as my MTB and road bike were too big and unfamiliar to my then wife. The green Twenty fit her better, but needed overhaul which caused it to have greater than usual resistance. Plus the differential between 20" and 26" wheels would cause me pull far ahead. So at that time it dawned on me that a matched pair of easily adjustable bikes would be a good thing to have.

So far the green one is closer to being ready. The biggest problem being faced by both projects is the hunt for a suitable bottom bracket. All sites documenting similar upgrades are vague about what they used and what their parts source was. I've outsourced this part of the project to Daniel Boone Cycles. When they get the green one done I'll then do the brown one on my own. On the brown I was hoping to use the orginal cranks for the time being; however, somewhere in this bike's past some one really laid into the cotters with a hammer so there is a bad chainwheel wobble (possble bent spindle.) Right now I'm looking for a Sugino 3-piece BMX crank with a 44 tooth Chainwheel to set aside for this bike untill I have funds avaialble to take it the rest of the way.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

At last!

Finally commuted to work this past Friday. In the process I also found a slightly easier route. Historically I would ride down Gessner to Barryknoll and then work through the southern most of the Memorial Villages to Memorial Drive. This time I just rolled right down Westview which is pretty much residential for half it's length and then missing my southerly turn Chimney Rock (It's named different at Westview and I always forget the street name.) I turned south on Antoine which once crossing I-10 then drops me on Memorial Drive about 3 to 4 miles from the outskirts of Memorial Park.

This time I had to carry my PC repair bag with me and My already heavy mountian bike had to be pushing 100lbs. I also decided at the last minute to ride with my Ipod; however, I didn't use stereo headphones, but a monophonic earpiece so I could still listen to traffic. I also opted to listen to an hour long podcast as opposed to perpetually pulling out the Ipod and risking it clattering to the street. I didn't do half bad all things considered. I averaged 11.48 MPH round trip which isn't bad on a heavily laden mountin bike. Also the new route was four miles shorter than the old route.

Here is a Pic of my bike parked at the office propped up by desk. My PC repair bag is the Reliant Energy bag acting like a "boot" bag with the long carry strap threaded through the rear rack. The blue trunk bag is actually a cooler with an "ice substute" a couple cans of soda and lunch loaded. Right pannier has work clothes, the left abolution materials (towel, soap, toothpaste, etc.)