Saturday, November 14, 2015


Well pretty much anyway, dyno light cabling and a couple other finishing touches not withstanding Erika's Clementine is ready to roll.  The build is so similar to my Saluki I decided to do a side by side.  Enjoy!

Hers and His Rivendells!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day Ramble-Ride

Last year gave us alot to live up to with a nice size group and an epic distance in great weather so I had alot of anticipation for today's ride.  It turned out a bit different than I had expected but spectacular nonetheless.  Wes, Matt and I opted for a shorter, and well known (at least to me) route to still get in some mixed terrain, open up several food/beverage opportunities and still ensure Wes and Matt were back home by early afternoon.

The route followed the very familiar Four Mile Run - W&OD backbone out of Alexandria, through Arlington, Falls Church and then at Vienna we went hard left and made for the Accotink Trailhead at Nutley and Rt50.  On the way out in Falls Church we took advantage of Lazy Sunday's Deli for some breakfast and hot, dark coffee which hit the spot after the first ~10miles of 'warm up'.

That stretch on the open road is a tough one, especially crossing I-66 on Nutley past on/offramps for the interstate.  I don't know of a better way to do it but we made it work.

The Accotink trail is one of my favorites, it's relatively close and maintains a remote feel.  The tons of new leaves on the ground made for a different look and to be honest made seeing the bumps/holes and soft spots harder to see.  But it was still good. We had time to do the round Lake Accotink trail as well but were stymied by construction on the east side and opted to turn back to Vienna.  On the way back through Wakefield Wes and I took the opportunity to under-bike a bit and run the slalom course of single track... thrilling as always!  I'm super impressed with the 700x32 Compass extra lights in particular which took a pounding and felt super secure.

Once we made it back up the Nutley/Maple Rd traffic gauntlet (uphill) we were smooth sailing for the rest of the day. Our Veterans Day festivities got kicked off in style at Vienna in with cold mugs of beer and hot Chili Cheese dogs and then capped off the day at Samuel Beckett's in Shirlington with a pint of Guinness.

By the numbers that's 49.4 miles, ~6 hours, 2 cups of black coffee, eggs, bacon, croissant, 6 mugs of cold beer, 4 chili cheese dogs, 1 carrot cake slice (generous) and 3 pints of Guinness.  Wes noted that today was the most miles/hours he's spent on the bike to return with such full water bottles ever... we were well fueled and oiled up for this ride.  Comfy way to spend the day on a bike! :)

Happy Veteran's Day to all who have served!

3 horses ready to go... 

Glad we weren't around to see this sign go down... not sure where it was originally but someone hit it pretty square.

The W&OD in particular was popular today, gorgeous day but windy in the morning particularly.

Accotink Trail near Rt50... this trail cuts right through a strip of woods/flood plain along Accotink Creek.  Well worth your time if you are in the area.

Wes and Matt on the Accotink

Nice shadows, the woods shielded us from the wind pretty effectively.

Breaking out onto the powerlines at Wakefield.

Closed?!? Not to us!  (about 1 mile in we caught up to the still in process part of the construction and turned around)

Matt plowing right through a small stream crossing, he was underbiking like a champ for the Accotink/Wakefield portion.

Good size Whitetail Buck was parallel to the trail on the way back towards Vienna.

YUM... first round of beers at the historic Vienna Inn

Delicious Chili Cheese dogs HIT THE SPOT!

Some Bob Jackson detail shots... Now sporting non-aero classic Mafac half-hooded brake levers and new cotton tape from VO.  I also replaced the front brake with a more appropriately sized Weinmann centerpull which decreased but didn't eliminate the squealing.

I can't say enough about these 700x32 Compass EL tires, they feel like hot grease on paved surfaces and make gravel, hardpack and even some light singletrack work as well.

'new' Weinmann front brake got the job done

I'm sold on the non-aero levers, Probably because I like the look of the loopy cable housings for some reason.  I suffered NO hand pain or numbness for the full day in the saddle which is remarkable and unusual for me.  Especially considering I couldn't find my gloves for this ride.

Uno Mas at Becketts in Shirlington.... a well deserved victory beer before we wrapped up the day.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Erika's New Bike Day - Riv Clementine!

Packaged impeccably... I did have to go pick it up at UPS as it was a non-negotiable signature required per Riv which was a bit of a pain.

Looking goood!

The orange came out richer than it was originally advertised to be but it's a luxurious, gorgeous color.
Apparently the cream details on the fork crown were an extra treat, looks good and matches my Saluki!

Not as fancy or organized  a build shot as I have admired on others sites but this gives you the basic idea.

For any fat tire curious folks 650Bx2.25" Schwable Nobby Nic's fit FINE on the Clementine.  

This is as faras I got today, it rolls nice, the brakes wen ttogether pretty smoothly after I struggled mightily with the rear rim.  It is a SUN 18 650B rim and I broke two tire levers getting the original Col de la Vie tire off and the Fatty Rumpkin on.  The wheelbase is undeniably long and the fit range is fantastic.  With the seat at this level my 5' 5" wife fits great and raise it up a bit and at 6' even I have no problem either.

The 41+ tires look scrawny on this frame... I may have to address that.  BTW that rear brake cable housing is a complete one from VO, no cuts... and I'd say it's only about 2ish inches to long. 

I hope Erika really appreciates the Paul cockpit on this bike! :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Compass 32 EL's on the Bob Jackson

One of these days I'll stop being suprised at the amazing road feel of these supple, light tires.  The 32mm 'Stampede Pass'  tires came up on the Riv list last week and I couldn't resist.  They replaced the 32mm Pasaela's, also courtesy of the list which are at the end of their service life and mainly served to prove that 32's would fit.  Anyway I plan to ride into work tomorrow on the Jackson and give them a more thorough test.  Pictures;

Oh... and I got a sweet new compact camera - the Nikon Coolpix A.  It's packing a DX sized (1.5 crop factor) sensor, a super sharp fixed 28mm equivalent f/2.8 lens and the controls are straight up Nikon DSLR derived.  It's essentially like Nikon took the back off of a D7000 DSLR, removed the AA filter, removed the viewfinder and put on a 28mm prime.  Tough to beat, I'm really enjoying it.  Couple shots from Friday's commute.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Mr. Pondero Comes to Washington

A modified Leesburg 'Loop' for me on my one day ride-along with Chris "Pondero" and company.
 My pictures and words won't do this day justice at all.  What a treat.  Chris aka Pondero had let me know month's ago that he planned to be in the area visiting his new grand child in the October time frame and told me he'd keep me in the loop as his bike riding plans developed.  A great many fortunate happenstances later I found myself meeting Chris in Bethesda last Tuesday morning bright and early for a coffee to kick off what was for me to be a full day of riding and for him was the start of a several day mini-tour up the C&O Canal Towpath.

Chris it was such pleasure to meet you, thanks again for making your vacation and family time accessible to so many local folks who know you from the Riv Google Group and your excellent blog!

Not pictured is the reason for the abrupt end of my trip in Vienna, rest assured it was planned!  My wife Erika wasn't able to join in for the full day of riding but given the splendid weather and my plans she hopped on her bike at Vienna after work and rode towards me on the W&OD trail.  It worked out so well, she ended up with about 30 miles herself and we ended the day with a double whammy hitting Caboose Brewery for beer and snacks then Vienna Inn for a delicious Chili Cheese Dog.  I couldn't really script up a finer day.

Check out the pictures and captions.

Mr. Pondero as we roll out from Bethesda.

I honestly didn't take enough bike detail shots, I was enjoying the conversation way to much for that.  But I did manage one buddy shot of my Saluki (right) with Chris's A. Homer Hilsen.  Chris's bike setup was a big influence on my own as you can see from many of the details.  It was super cool to get to ride with Chris and see his gorgeous bike.

The crew at Fletcher's Boat House on the C&O. Turned out to be a good meeting point.

Tom "Pudge"s one of a kind black, rolhoff'd, double TT Bombadil.  Sporting Thunder Burts of course.  Cool looking bike, another bike I've admired from the web and loved seeing in person.

Steve's Hilsen, in front of Jeff's Hilsen, next to Ken's Saluki...  felt like a Riv showroom at Fletchers!

Ms. Chasing Mailboxes and Mr. Pondero.... when bloggers meet! :)

The whole crew together at Fletchers.

Rolling out from Fletchers. Pretty healthy size group!

Jeff, Chris and Carey riding up the trail.

Getting closer to Great Falls.

Google Maps calls this spot 'Widewater', not sure if it has a proper name other than that but it is stunning.  One of my favorite spots in the DC area period.  The approach from the south on the C&O is excellent to, you come around the corner and boom there it is.

The crew coming up towards Great Falls.

Tom "Pudge" Allingham.  Tom sold me my blue Bombadil almost exactly a year ago so this was the second time we met and I was thrilled to get to ride with him.  Absolute gentleman and great riding companion.

I loved this shot even as I took it.  Pondero doing what Pondero does... well, when he's not lounging in a hammock or enjoying a coffee outside.  Chris recording the C&O Locks.

Great Falls was ANGRY... swollen with the significant rainfall created by recently passed Hurricane Joaquin.  Cool site for the out of towners to get to see so much water pounding through the rapids.

The Saluki at rest

Seems to be starting a pattern that Whites Ferry is about the end of the photo's on a Leesburg Loop day...  ~ 45 miles in for the day and my impulse for photography is overcome by other sensations.  :)  Awesome day, even better people.  I hope to do it again soon.