Monday, April 21, 2014

The Original.... Coffee Outside

Having coffee outside is not original, but of late in the bicycling community it has been popularized by Rob Perks of Ocean Air Cycles in Ventura CA.  His images and descriptive blog posts have inspired many to try and get a little more out of their pre-work time.  I had the distinct pleasure of joining Rob for some coffee outside at Ocean Air Cycles home base, right on Ventura Beach in CA last Monday.  I've written about my excellent experiences with Rob and my Rambler test ride before so I'll just let the pictures do the talking here.... enjoy!

Does the Pacific Ocean at sunrise need any caption....

Yes he's using a flint striker to light his alcohol stove to brew coffee outside after bicycling to an ideal spot to enjoy the sunrise... :)

Obligatory Rambler #1 porn

Back to the Pacific Ocean

Back the Pelicans, I was transfixed by these guys as Rob brewed up the coffee. They were winging up and down the coast at wavetop height seeming to dip their wingtips in the crashing waves. Awesome!

My borrowed ride for coffee outside - more on the sweet 650B Trek later!

Pictures or it didn't happen...

The outdoor coffee brewer's panoply

West coast double brew technique

My while riding shots are a challenge given my manual focus lens but at least you can recoignize OAC #1 on Rambler #1

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How much do you want it... the stuck seatpost edition

The remains of an aluminum seatpost.
This post is over a month tardy but I had to get around to it... I think I'm only now emotionally ready to discuss it because the process of removing the horribly corroded aluminum seatpost from my steel 1993 Bridgestone XO-3 was way more complicated than it should have been.  I realized the post was stuck the day I bought it but figured that some elbow grease and maybe some lubrication would do the trick.  As it turned out I ended up bending the rails on the saddle and not budging the post after much grunting and swearing.  Next up was the fairly obnoxious use ammonia to try and dissolve the aluminum - steel corrosion. Of course to get it in there I had to remove the crank and bottom bracket, hang the bike upside down and fill the seat tube with ammonia.  I did that for 9 days!  The seatpost didn't even blink.  Next in the problem solving process I took the drastic step of hacksawing the seat post at 1" above the frame and attempted (hardheartedly) to use a hacksaw blade to saw through the now hollow tube enough to break it loose.  This may have worked if I'd given it much more time and effort. But even then I'm not sure as my eventual success would prove the corrosion was incredibly complete.

I threw in the towel on hard labor with the promise of good living through chemistry...

(not my video obviously)  The picture up at the top of the post shows the results, a couple notes about the process. I ended up using 4 lbs of lye (sodium hydroxide) purchased first through Amazon and then at the local hardware store when I blew through the first 2 lbs in no time.  The reaction, at least for me was way less catastrophic than I had anticipated. I ended up spending over 4 hours with the chemicals, it was a huge mess, I ended up with  minor skin irritation on my face (probably wiping my cheek w/ my gloved hands).  The frame was a mess, I thought I had ruined it to be honest but I just got fed up w/ the process and was sloppy towards the end.  The frame finish was already really rough so once I wiped it all down the next day it was really no worse the wear.  The truly disappointing part to me was that even with the application of so much time and chemicals I still had to use a hammer and screwdriver-chisel to remove the ribbons of seatpost painstakingly.  I was so rough with the frame I thought for sure I'd deformed the seat tube for good.

As it turns out the Bridgestone took that walloping, took the chemical burns and spat it out like nothing. The bike now has a completely adjustable seatpost as was intended and I'm glad the project is over with!  I'd be happy to answer any questions, the use of the lye is a tool in the tool box but I'll be attempting to never do it again.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Back in the Saddle

It's been a light mileage quarter... Nov-Feb I never broke 250 miles in a month after averaging closer to 300 Mar-Oct.  Mileage isn't a goal in and of itself for me but these kind of stats are a definite indicator of not getting out consistently on a daily basis.  And of not commuting regularly.  Next year I'll be better prepared with spiked tires and a 'snow bike'!

Oh and I may have picked up a new frame project... :)

1981 Trek 610, size 61cm (my size!)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

MV Ramble

One of the main purposes of today's ride was glamour shots of Agatha... I'm pretty happy with this one down at Jones Point Park.
Today's ride got off to an odd start... I lost my riding companions due to illness and some unforeseen circumstances which allowed me a much more relaxed morning. I even debated riding at all as I was feeling yesterday's 30 miles for sure.  But when my afternoon plans suddenly disappeared I no longer had any time constraints.  I used the gift of time to rig up the SKS fenders that came with the Saluki, amazingly they fit well over the much bigger Hetre tires.  With fenders in place I decided to press my luck and install the Nitto M-12 rack and basket formerly of my XO-3, formerly of my Atlantis.  A couple 'cold sets' later and I was in business.

My ramble started with the modest goal of getting some coffee and then photographing the bike against some decent backdrops... for the two goals I chose Killer E.S.P. in Old Town and Jones Point Park also right there in Old Town.  My saltena and americano lived up to the 'killer' moniker and helped warm me up.  Even though the forecast was clear about the mid-40's temp I wasn't mentally as prepared for the cool  as I have been lately.  The photo-shoot down by the river went well and as I was thinking about returning home I got confirmation that my alternative afternoon plans weren't in the cards either... unburdened again from any time constraints I decided to keep going south along the Mt Vernon Trail.  

My legs are definitely feeling all the sudden mileage, I didn't break 200 miles in Jan or Feb, and I'm not quite there (but close) in Mar and the three days in a row on the bike were definitely leaving me a bit more worn out than I would like.  But I had a good ride, the hetres performed exactly as I've gotten used to over the past year on my 650B Trek and I stopped a couple times along the way. As a huge bonus my friend Wes was home and I stopped in to have lunch with him and his family before I made the turn for home.

After today I kind of feel like Agatha is no longer the 'new bike'... I'm 60+ miles in and 3 days of riding her, and true to the Riv philosophy she handles 'like a bike'.  Definitely the best fitting bike I've ridden, once I get a different saddle on her it'll likely be the most comfortable one I've ridden.  I'm still up in the air on the color, on one hand the light urple is growing on me, on the other hand I'm now obsessing about what complimentary/contrasting color should I use for the bartape.  Black is definitely out, I'm working through green(s), yellow/gold, orange, maroon/burgundy.  I'll be ordering tape, cables/housing and brake pads in the next week or so.  Enjoy the pictures!

There might not be a 'right' way to kick off a ramble but an Americano and Chicken Saltena in a warm coffee house is definitely not a 'wrong' way! :)  (You can see Agatha on the sidewalk beyond the daffodils)

EL Hetre cushion check = SAT... One cobbled block. I can't believe I missed making this photo when I had my Atlantis... note to my Atlanti brethren - great photo op at 'Captain's Row' in Old Town.

Honestly it was cold enough that I contemplated ending the ride after getting the photo's I wanted at Jones Point Park but I decided to push 'a little further'.  Agatha all decked out with fenders, Hetres, and front rack with basket.

Demo'ing a potential bar tape color and adding some protection from handlebar-rash (especially now that the front basket is on.  I was digging this combo alot till my friend Wes mentioned the 1960's Joker... purple and green... hmmm.

The Nigle Smythe mudflaps add some serious class to the bike... I was happy and surprised that the SKS fenders fit even over the Hetre tires. I love installing fenders that someone else has already installed once before... makes everything much easier!

Speaking of Hetres... Extra Legr.  Plenty of clearance at the chainstays.  The hetre's rode smooth, no surprise here.

I'm not sure I ever featured this but holding my Sackville Medium bag in place is this sweet Night Eye hook that doubles as a bottle opener!

Mount Vernon's gates... mission accomplished!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

New Bike - New Ride

What can I say... I'm really digging this bike (I do need to move the bell from left to right side)

Oh and one other note, check out the shifter pods, is this correct or backwards?  I had mine mounted opposite, w/ the shimano pods on the inside and the shifter bolting in from outboard the bike.  My right side shifting is opposite directionality than I'm used to which is not so bad but definitely taking some getting used too.

Technically I did get in a quick 20 min ride last night before starting my evening commitments but it didn't fully demonstrate the bike's capabilities.  That as on the ticket for this morning, or at least to give it a good run down.  The WABA Vasa Ride would have been an amazing shakedown but a Saturday early afternoon Wedding kept me from registering....  registration or not I decided to pop in and have coffee with friends Joe and Alli who were doing the event and escort them out of the Georgetown vicinity (not ride the route though!)

I met up with Joe and Alli, and many other like minded caffeine seekers at 0815 at Baked and Wired - WOW that place rocks. I had a goat cheese and onion biscuit that knocked my socks off.  Caffeinated and with the morning stomach grumbles out of the way we headed down to registration and started with the 0900 group doing the 30ish mile route.  I rode with the group up to Fletcher's Cove when they departed the trail for a series of road miles and got to see many friendly faces from the #FMCC crew out on their Halv-Vasa rides, I hope it was a fun trip for everyone involved!

Since I had a bit of time to spare I decided to keep pushing up the C&O Towpath from Fletchers and made it as far as Lock #8 before I had to turn around.  This is much further than I'd gone before on the towpath and I enjoyed the newness of the path and the newness of the bike.  The 32mm Col de la Vie tires did better than I would have expected on the towpath (though that didn't prevent the swap to 42mm EL Hetre's this evening!).

It was a fun ride and I'm happy to have logged some seat time, I also got the opportunity to play with seat angle, handlebar angle and height among other things. The bike continues to really impress and I have no regrets!  Enjoy the pictures.

Rower's taking a breather just short of the 14th St Bridge... I had to stop and get a shot cause you so seldom see them sitting still.  Damp and cool morning but a nice one that promised warming temperatures.

Agatha/Aggie... at Baked and Wired in Georgetown, still purple!

Allie and Joe at the WABA Vasa Ride registration

I had to get to it sooner or later... does this look like the rider/owner of a light urple bike to you? :) Well it is!

Rolling out on K St

After departing the Vasa riders further up on the towpath.

More urple bike porn... CdlV tires did awesome, I definitely felt the trail strongly but I felt sure footed which was enough for me. (don't expect to see them again soon though, the EL Hetre's went on tonight and the Nifty Swifty's are now on the Trek)

At the turn, I did a quick meander up on the neighboring street and checked out some fine looking real estate with river views before I headed home.  Blue sky starting to pop through.

Today's exploration... the 'Sycamore Island Club', founded 1885. It's sole access (aside from swimming or your own boat) is this awesome man powered ferry.  I need to do some research on this place.

Friday, March 21, 2014

New Bike Day!!!

The Saluki has landed!  I'm the proud owner of a 2005 (very purple) Rivendell Saluki.  This all started back on Jan 27th with a post on the RBW Google group listing a 60cm, Canti-brake Saluki with some extra's in the Bay area.  After a fairly lengthy exchange and several best of intentions attempts to pick up the bike in person during a business trip that kept getting postponed and eventually cancelled I picked up the bike at the local FedEx today.  For those keeping score I sold the 64cm Atlantis to fund this indulgence and it actually worked out to be a very nearly even trade (though it took 2 month's and alot of electronic hustling to make it happen).  Well worth the effort as I rolled out of the driveway this evening for a short inaugural spin around the neighborhood.

I have alot of riding planned for the upcoming weekend and hopefully the next wave of bad weather next week is here and gone quickly so I can keep getting out there on the new Saluki.  About the color.... Agapanthus Purple, better known as Lavendar...  it's pretty darn lavender.  It's a stunning bike in person but I'm not completely sold on the color.  There are options to get around that of course but I'm going to live with it a bit and see how it does/doesn't grow on me.

Here is the unboxing, and a couple shots after my ride.  You may notice that I managed to immediately get it dirty on the .5 mile dirt trail near my house.  That is just a small bit of what's to come, this bike will get used! (of course I wiped it down quickly after taking the pictures!)

Now this is what you want to see opening a bike box!  :) NITTO

The seller had the bike professionally packed, I can't really argue with the results but seeing the job they did made me feel pretty good about how I did with the Atlantis.  I guess packing up bikes isn't rocket science.

Free at last!

Both front and rear dropouts had a nice hard plastic stiffner in there to keep the shape.  Only down side was I caught some paint flaking on the rear dropouts when I took them out as they were very tight in the Riv dropouts...

Both front and rear dropouts had a nice hard plastic stiffner in there to keep the shape.  Only down side was I caught some paint flaking on the rear dropouts when I took them out as they were very tight in the Riv dropouts...

Just a bit mudded up... Trek 650B in the background.

Plenty of hi-vis tape on the bike,  and a bit of downtube mud

The Royal Pup... this may be the first bike I name... got to be a female name, and I'm leaning towards Agatha or Aggie... as in Aggie the Agapanthus Purple Saluki.... :)