Sunday, January 18, 2015

Winter Weather

Two Tuesdays ago, our first accumulating snow and my first opportunity with the XO-3/Snow tire equipped.  Great ride!

I'm not going to call myself a winter warrior... I rode 4 days out of the last two weeks as we've had very low temps, persistent ice and occasional precipitation. The most attractive precipitation was two tuesday's ago snowstorm which was more than expected but still quite manageable. I had a really good time riding in after meeting Wes for coffee in oldtown.  I was surprised by how much impact the 1-2" of snow had on my speed, it really took alot more effort!

Happy Mothers Day - Birthday - Christmas!

The project that lingered is finally complete!  I'm so happy with the results of my Mom's Lake-Cruiser refurb but I have to admit it took way longer than it should have.  My Mom retired last year and has moved down to a lake in NC.  It is super flat, warm enough to ride nearly all year long and has a nice lakefront road going around 2/3 of the lake (ride reports from Lake Waccamaw here and here).  So it stood to reason that she needed a bike, in fact she has been riding an exercise bike religiously for over a year now and was itching to get outside.

My first idea was to get an old Raleigh 3 speed and tune it up for her, she was insistent on a step thru bike due to recent hip surgery and those old Raleigh's have a nice low slung frame.  I found a complete bike for a great price in the spring and had started servicing the bottom bracket, headset, doing a complete tear down when I realized that the steerer tube was slightly bent.  As I serviced the headset I kept trying to figure out why the steerer continued to be rough.  Anyway I was getting frustrated with all the eccentricities of the 35 year old parts and sizes.  At the time I was over at my local Velocity Co-Op and decided on the spot to donate the raleigh minus several parts (more on that later) and purchased an abused looking Schwinn World step through frame/fork that happened to be in the shop that day.  I was attracted to it's theoretically more modern dimensions (headset got me again!), it's solid, rust free frame and of course it's lugged construction.  On to the build highlights;

1980's Schwinn World stepthru frame
26 3/8" Wheelset, Dyno Front, 2 spd Rear, Schwable tires
Steel fenders and Brooks Saddle from Raleigh 3 spd
Wald Baskets front and rear
Dyno Head and Tail lights
Nitto/Brooks/Rivendell cockpit
Velo Orange Crankset and Front Rack

It isn't tough to nail down the largest transformation, as much as I'd like to (and will) point out the neat parts I put on this frame the powdercoating from Groody Bro's in Hint-O-Mint was marvelous.  As soon as I got the frame, fork and fenders (rescued from the Raleigh) back with that great subtle greenish color I knew it would be special.

The bottom line is that I delivered the bike just after Christmas to NC and my Mom is already enjoying it.  There may be some minor tweaks as she gets used to it but I think it will serve her well in exercise, erranding and just plain recreation for many years!

My Mom with her Hint-O-Mint Schwinn at the Lake!
Humble beginnings, the frame/fork came together, the wheelset pictured is off of the original Raleigh 3 speed I had previously bought.  I was already committed to a 26 3/8" wheelset before I ended up with the Schwinn as I'd purchased new alloy rims and Schwable tires.  With that decision made I figured to just go with it and keep the nice steel fenders from the Raleigh as well.
No in progress pictures, it was a long and frustrating project at times.  Cargo capacity was a definite driver in this build, seeing the way my wife uses her townie-style bike I knew Mom needed room for a largish purse as well as shopping bags. I had my eyes out for a Wald double rear basket for a while and lucked into one on Craigslist from a girl with a fantastic british accent just before Christmas!

Groody Bro's preserved the headbadge and reapplied it masterfully.  Also note how well the powdercoat still shows the lug detail!  The Headset on this bike still gave me fits b/c the bottom cup wasn't a standard size... by process of elimination and having a deep parts bin I found one that worked.  I had a nice VO Grand Cru planned for this build but just couldn't make it work on the bottom cup.

I'm completely smittin with front baskets and this bike becomes the 'forever home' to my VO Constructuer Front rack which used to be on my Trek 650B conversion.  It's nice and strong and supports the Medium Wald basket well.  For handlebars I went with the Nitto Dove from Riv, I used a suprlus city brake lever off an old Peugeot build, a Brass Crane bell from Riv.
I have to thank fellow Riv-lister Tom for the sweet Brooks grips he included in my purchase of his Bombadil late last year.  They really class up the cockpit and my Mom LOVES them!
One of the advantages to making this gift build account for multiple occasions was that the budget kept growing... the main benefit of that was fully wired dynamo lighting.  I went with a Sanyo Sport hub from Peter White Cycles and couldn't be happier with it.  I also included a B&M Lyt front and Spanninga rear.  I wanted my Mom to be able to not limit her riding to daylight only, especially if she is out visiting with friends and neighbors.  The always on simplicity of dyno lighting and the great quality lights available right now made it an easy decision.

I love the fender mounted Spaninga light, it is super bright!  You get a good view here of one of the customizations I had to make to the steel Raleigh fenders.  The tab below the aluminum strut is the original steel strut but I couldn't bend them to match the desired fender line of the tire w/ the bikes rear frame geometry.  So a bit of hacksawing, drilling and digging up a strut from a VO Zeppelin fender and I had a much more adjustable back end.
The VO Polyvalent crank did a great job for me most of last year on the Trek 650B and its clean looks and integrated chain guard made it a perfect fit for Mom's bike.  I left the 46T ring on and removed the 23T granny. I love the look of 1x front end drive trains.  The pedals are MKS Grip Kings.  You also see the taillight wire routing under the downtube, I wish i could have hidden it more but it's out of the way and will be easy to service if necessary.  Given that the bike has no other cables going down the down tube I think it's still a pretty clean look.
The other end of the drive train is held up by  SRAM Automatix 2 spd hub, no shifter, no cables, no problems!  It works as advertised, aside from being a heavy beast I think it's a nice 2 speed solution. I'm not sure that for her purposes a 1 speed wouldn't have worked just as well but the SRAM does include a coaster brake which complemented my desires for having the least number of cables (and therefore adjustments) possible. Riding with a coaster brake takes some getting used to but it does do the job.

More local flair, a cork from my favorite Rappahanock Winery!  Detail oriented observers may note the lack of a lock ring... That's on tap for fixing at my next visit! :)

A Weinmann brake, with a bit of drill work provides the front brake solution with some upgraded Kool Stop Salmon pads.  This is another legacy from a previous project having originally graced my wife's Motobecane Mirage Mixte.

I think that is about it... the brooks saddle is off the Raleigh as well and my Mom was not sure she loved it but decided to stick with it till my next visit in April oh and you'll see the Riv mud flap in this shot as well. The tires are Schable Delta Cruisers in 26 3/8.  Nice tires that should last a long time. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Al's Pix and Vids from Veterans Day

Languishing on my desk I'd forgotten to get these uploaded. I particularly like the video pano of Great Falls, enjoy!

Selfie-style Al with Joe in the background.

The whole crew together for coffee at Great Falls.  Left to right; Al, Jude, Pete, Kevin, Tony, Wes, Joe.

Winter Projects

A recent thread over at the RBW Google Group prompted me to list out some of my bike related projects for the winter... seemed worthwhile to put them up here as well;

Lots of projects lined up in the garage... it's been an odd Fall and start to winter for me as I never really got back in a rhythm after my accident back in August.  So several projects languished for one reason or another.  In any case here they are;

0. Get back to regular commuting and recreational riding.  Winter be damned!  My XO-3 is set w/ fenders and studded tires and the drop-bar'd Bomba is such a sweet riding machine, no excuses!  

1. Re-build the Saluki.  My new fork from Riv is in, it took longer and was 30% more expensive than was quoted but at least that part is done.  Next step is the fun part... re-paint.  I'm going w/ a powdercoat from Groody Bros after being blown away w/ the quality on a project I'm finishing up for my Mom.  It's most likely going to be british racing green and cream very similar to it's original 'corvette green' but not quite so bright.  The build itself will be interesting as many of the Saluki's old parts have migrated to the XO-3 and Bomba.  At this point my aim is to set it up as my primary commuter, 1x8 w/ WI Eno crank, Paul stoplight canti brakes, Alba or noodle - noodle or alba...., hetre's w/ dyno front lighting... I'm looking forward to the 're-birth'!

2. Get rid of some random frames.  I've now got three sweet steel frames hanging out that need either new homes or new purpose, so I may try building them up to move rather than my current/previous strategy of frame/fork only.  The two vintage Trek's, a 64cm '82 and 61cm '81 are both 531c main triangles with great lines and then the unmarked but purportedly Bob Jackson frame is probably a 61-62.  I've got the parts on hand to make either Trek a 700C stripped down fixed gear so I think i'll go that route soon, maybe in my time off for Xmas.  The Jackson is the most intriguing as it's super light, i've already slid on some 650B wheels w/ Hetre's and they fit...  38's would be better.  I'm contemplating a minimalist, Roadeo inspired build for that one.  I've been stalking some 120mm OLD hub and wheelsets on the auction site, not that I'm set on a vintage-correct build but I like building up wheels.

3. Tweak the Tandem.  The Burley Bossa Nova got some decent usage this year, never as much as I'd like but last years winter/spring project was a definite success.  I've got some Paul Mini-Moto's that have been waiting to be mounted for several months now, no excuses... need to do that.  Also need a rack solution especially up front.  The real project here is 700C wheels for the beast, the hub's on there are in ok shape, not sexy of course but I could just buy some 700C rims, new spokes and build away. I think I could fit 35-38mm tires which would make this bike a legit C&O ride for my wife and I.  Two wheel build's are unlikely due to time and budget though so between this and the Jackson it'll probably be based on which one I find a compelling part (or price) for first.

4. Try out the Bullmoose Bars.  My amazing Bomba came from lister Tom w/ the truly large and unique bullmoose bars, I only road the frame once around the block in that configuration before switching to noodles which I in no way regret.  I found that first ride pretty odd and uncomfortable to be honest but I definitely didn't give it an adequate test.  So I want to make that happen, perhaps back on the Bomba or maybe on a random '80s MTB frame (a new one of those showed up same day as the Jackson).  We'll see, should be fun and if I confirm my initial reaction you'll be seeing some Bullmoose Bar's available in the Spring! 

5. Overhaul my wife's Townie.  My very first bike build project is my wife's 1970ish Motobecane Mirage Mixte in pale yellow.  Sweet looking bike, I 650B converted it gave it upright bars, a Brooks B67S, VO fenders and a basket.  She loves the bike and it usually gets alot of attention out and about.  I kept the original drive train for the most part and the long reach brake situation was never ideal.  I want to replace the wheels/drivetrain/brakes with a front and rear, drum brake/dyno/3spd IGH setup... probably SA.  That with some new more albatross-y bars and I think it goes from an 80% bike to a 99% bike.

6. General shop cleanout.  It's a mess really, and it's not crowded with tons of really great stuff either.  I need to consolidate, make some co-op donations and move on from a pile of stuff that is crowding my garage.  With the Bomba, Saluki and XO-3 I'm not really eyeing a major acquisition any time soon.  Anything new would either be wildly different (fatbike) or a direct replacement of one of those three  with the ability to swap parts that are on the bike.  Bottom line is that with 3-4 personal bikes, the tandem, and a couple bikes for my wife if a part isn't on one of those bikes it needs to be pretty special to hang out in a bin for another season.  We'll see how I do w/ this one.

Good exercise, I love making lists!  :)



Monday, December 1, 2014

Winter Welcome Wagon

If you are the meticulous bike sort you may want to stop right here...  my bike is ready for winter, we'll see how the rider does!

I'm not sure if I can cram any more 'beausage' onto one bike... The XO-3 is now my single speed winter weather ride wearing alot of zip ties and pats from all around the stable.

Is this zip tie laziness or are the jaunty angles these zip ties jut out at easy to spot tell tales for when one of the ties is loosening...?

Yes there is a zip tie adjusting another zip tie here... these fenders lost their 'L-brackets' when i crashed the Saluki so zip ties made due for crown and stay mounts.

This medium sackville bag has been languishing since April when I picked it up used... it is pretty much a mess w/ no connecting or closing straps left.  (which is why I got a decent deal on it) Anyway, I went ahead and made due with toe straps, surly junk straps and zip ties for now.  Today it worked fine carting my full size laptop and spare clothes.

Surly Junk Strap and seriously 'scooped' Brooks B67

Seatstay zip ties

The XO-3 was briefly a multi speed bike several weeks ago and I had lost the snap in under-BB cable guide.  This little beauty doesn't make your shifting smoother but it does make it possible.

I do love the single speed cockpit... the brake cables are still a bit long and I need to replace the drive side cork plug.

SPIKES!  Nokian Mount and Ground 26x1.95" Studded tires... They just fit though the front canti posts require them to be mostly deflated to install.

Who said studds don't deserve a nice flap!?!

Making it all possible... THE ENO.

Mud splats no more w/ the SKS fenders installed... this beauty is going to remain on the seat tube a bit longer... at least till the first rain.

Holding down the sackville

Retro-Paul Levers, I love the cable tensioner

I don't use the coffee holder enough to justify it but it's already on there so I'm going with it.

TT view down. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Veterans Day - Videos!

The first video's featured here on DR2DC... Wes got some great sunrise footage w/ his stealthy light-camera mounted on the seatpost. Nice job with the filming and the editing skills Wes!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Veterans Day Leesburg Loop

2014 Veteran's Day Ride
Happy Belated Veterans Day to all those who are and have served!

Six friends and I chose to celebrate with an all day ride here in the Nation's Capitol.  We set our sights high, the 84 mile 'Leesburg Loop'.  I've been wanting to do this ride for over a year after I became aware of Whites Ferry and the possibility to complete a true out and back loop all the way to Leesburg.  We departed my place in Alexandria VA around 0630 with five riders and  met two more in Georgetown at the foot of the C&O/CCT Trails.  It was a brisk but gorgeous morning and the forecast promised warmer temperatures and continued pleasant weather all day.

I'll let the pictures and captions tell the story, I had a great time... the distance was pretty daunting and two of our little band had practically zilch for recent bike experience.  Well done Pete and Al!  Great attitudes and the willingness to do something crazy gets you in all sorts of interesting (if uncomfortable) situations!

From left to right; Al, Wes, Jude, Tony and Pete

Al and Pete speeding along Gravelly Point, both were riding borrowed Bridgestones from my stable.  Al on my wife's silver MB-3 and Pete on my XO-3.

Sunrise over the Potomac, note the crew teams out early.  Great color, I love Nov skies in this area. Morning and evening they offer so many crisp horizons and interesting clouds.

Quick detour for the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial.

Pete at the Memorial.

Quick stop on the spillway

Blow up for two reasons, first to show the Women's Cross Country runners behind us, the girl closest to Pete's shoulder was hauling ass!!! She passed us soon after this picture and it took us a couple hundred yards to catch up, she must have been running at a 8-10mph pace at this point.

Joe in his element (and on his UBI-built custom steel commuter - he still hasn't wrapped his bars!)

Up close to Great Falls this wonderful basin was like a mirror, rock formations on the far wall were also stunning.  

The crew in middle center speeding along towards morning coffee

How gorgeous is this!?! Note the moon... less than an hour by bike from the National Mall, you can't beat this!

The crew enjoying the view.

The first shot of the new ride - say hello to Mr. Bombadil!

How's this for coffee outside, coffee w/ a view even. The Great Falls Overlook on the MD side has an awesome rock formation that offered a perfect stove placement.  Note my new Japanese wire coffee filter holder and Ocean Air Cycles roasted beans.  #coffeeneuring, #coffeoutside

MD side of Great Falls... never gets old!

More glamour shots of the Bombadil

Three bottle cages is pretty sexy... (and useful!)

ok ok I know... gratuitous amounts of Bombadil shots.

Whites Ferry!  We had splendid timing and literally rode straight on and were carried across.

Looking back on the VA side of the Ferry crossing

You have to admit that Pete and the red XO-3 cast a pretty sweet shadow here as we join up w/ Rt 15 to head into Leesburg.

Once on the W&OD the ride did start to grind a bit, we stopped for an amazing lunch at Carolina Bro's BBQ in Ashburn but I think we were about an hour late in getting those calories as it had been a long 50 miles leading up to lunch.  The W&OD's new coat of asphalt was much appreciated though.

Double top tube shadow... I belive this is inside the beltway crossing I-66.  We were chasing the setting sun at this point and nursing our aches and cramps but everyone kept up a good attitude and we finished strong.  Happy Veterans Day!