Sunday, March 29, 2009


The other day James exclaimed / questioned why I'm still riding my fixed gear.
I just really love riding that bike.
Most of the time I'm commuting on it, but lately it's my bike of choice for my "recreational" rides too.

Indulge me in a little hippy-trippiness for a moment; there are times riding the fixed gear when man and machine begin to work in a harmony tapping out a perfect tempo that is sort of trance and Zen like. When your pedal stroke truly becomes perfect circles.

If there was a special league for racing fixed gear on the road (asphalt and dirt) it would be the series I'd compete in.

The "Old Man Fixed Gear Racing League" or some such nonsense. I envision a field of me myself and I competing for the imaginary podium. This is going to be big in Japan.

But since the"OMFGRL" is still in it's infancy, I'd better start riding this bike because Root 66, is very real and very soon!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A thing of beauty

Today on the hill between the Farmington river flats and T'ville I passed a lady on an ancient English 3 speed.
She was a little over weight, and her long grey hair was flowing in the breeze as she clicked and creaked her way up the hill, with her $5 foot long hanging from the bars. Smiling in the afternoon sun.

That's what it's all about; just enjoying the ride.

Oh yeah, and to the douche bag in the '73 vette who gunned it as he passed me belching out a noxious fart, we all know your car is to compensate for your small penis.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

Ah, Spring is in the air!

Riding down Woodruff Rd. a VW filled with young men pulls up along side me. As it passes, the hooded squire in the passenger seat yells out "Nice Ass!"

Why thank you.

From time to time I do get the occasional compliment to my posterior, but it's usually from women. Maybe it's from bike riding, or sink making( prolly bike riding), but yes young man, I do have a nice ass.

Now, I don't know if his companions share his affinity for the finer things in life, like my ass, but judging books by their covers, or in this case youts by their hoodies, someone is going to be questioned about his sexuality in Southington this evening.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

At least it didn't rain.

Just got to remember a day on the bike sure beats driving.

Reading an article in Bicycle Quarterly about lower tire pressure being more efficient, faster and more comfortable, I thought I'd give it a try.
I lowered my pressure to a little above their recommendation and headed off.

"This is Awesome" I thought as I floated down the road. If it wasn't for hitting every red light, I bet I'm moving faster than usual.

As I turn in to the lot, my front end feels all squiggy.

I flatted!

I never flat; so much for that theory.

But fixing a flat at the shop is so luxurious; warm, dry and clean.

To avoid the heavy traffic and right turn only lanes of Queen St., I take a longer, but more bucolic route home. This brings me through the orchards, and reservoirs of Southington and Plainville, and if you note on the graph, adds considerable climbing to my ride.

Usually this is a good thing.
When you're riding straight into a headwind; not so much.

Mr. Weatherman says I had a 15.5 mph headwind with gusts to 22mph.

I felt like some one had switched my 16t cog for a 14t, yet I was going slower than if I had an 18t.

Coming into Farmington, on Rt 10, slowing to almost a stop, anticipating a traffic light changing, I feel a presence behind me. I glance back and see another rider pulling up.
"Great" I thought, I'll pullover and tuck in behind him to take a break from the wind.
Dude's right on my wheel. I hear his drivetrain squeaking. I move to the right so he'll pull through; nope. Move way over; nothing. The Effer's won't come to the front. He's doing to me what I wanted to do to him!

Well if I'm not getting a break than neither is he. On a little rise, I give a good kick, and shake off the free-loader.

At least it was above freezing.

Makes me admire the pros going out and riding 250k in winds at least as strong even more.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Not Race Wheels"

In the past few months the Fun Machine has become very dear to me. I'm at the point were I'd rather ride it than any thing else on the road. It's pretty fun offroad too.

But it's also quite utilitarian. It is my commuter. I have it set up with fenders and fat durable tires and an array of lights that would make Starfleet proud (hopefully I can ditch the "big gun" soon).

As the weather has gotten a little nicer, I pondered the idea of making a special wheelset for it.
I had an old Record front hub and some Mavic GL 330 rims lying around for ages. I had spokes in-stock, so all I needed was a rear hub and tires.

I really wanted to use a Campagnolo Pista rear hub, but I just couldn't justify the expense (although really wanted to!), so I got a Miche Primato. Same country at least.

For tires, I'd been really enjoying the wider tires I've been commuting on. My racing bikes have 22's, which are fine, but the idea of a plumper go any where tire really appealed to me.
I thought I had been enjoying 28's, so I ordered up some Challenge Paris / Roubaix 27's.

Turns out I'd been enjoying 25's. Oops!

The Paris / Roubaix's are these beautiful handmade plump kielbasa-esqe tires. More inline with a Lithuanian kielbasa than a Polish, but super sausages non the less.
Polish kielbasa is much better for 'cross anyways.

I also had a Campagnolo Centaur crank I got off ebay for something ridiculous like $25, so while I'm at it, I guess I'll swap them for the perfectly wonderful, yet anonymous Shimano's that have been dutifully performing without complaint for years.

So now the Fun Machine is all spruced up for Spring, and the roads are dry, so at least for the weekend I'm ditching the fenders; I love them in the Winter, but I've survived 11 years of off and on commuting without them, and I do have some quick mounts if I wake up to rain.

Now to the good stuff; how does it ride?
Great. More of a good thing.
The wheels and tires are 1.3 lbs lighter than my commuter set, which is noticeable when accelerating or turning quickly.
The way they rolls though; just amazing. The combination of fresh bearing, light wheels, and those big voluptuous tires. I know the roads I'm riding are broken and cracked, but they just glide beneath me as if there is some invisible road crew doing repairs moments before I hit them.

I was contemplating lowering the pressure from the 90 psi I started with, but they handled the dirt road I threw at them with aplomb, so maybe I'll go the other way and ad more?

I probably would have been happy with 24's (if I realized my mistake), but I think these sausages will do just fine.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mark and Tom

Rode with my old friends Mark and Tom today.
Tom is the person who inspired me to get a mountain bike.
I kept on hearing these stories of the great time he and Mark were having riding bikes in the woods, so when I finally had an enough for an entry level Diamondback I was ready to see what all the fuss was about.

Previous to the Topanga (that was the model of the DB, Kim always felt it should be followed by an exclamation point), I wasn't what you would call physically fit. Years of playing in bands and embracing all the vices associated with such had began to take a toll on me.

I remember the first ride with Tom. I was wearing black jean cut offs. That ride behind his house wrecked me! But I was hooked.
Looking back at how hard some of those early rides were for me, really goes to show how fun riding is; why else would I subject myself to such abuse?
What I would consider a huge ride back then is barely a warm up these days.

Many great memories of rides w/ Mark and Tom back behind Tom's house, and the after ride bull sessions that would follow as we would lick our wounds and maybe nurse a beer. Those after ride beers are probably one of the few occasions that I miss beer; nothing like the endorphin & hops cocktail.

Today we retraced trails we've ridden so often before, yet hardly have time to do it together anymore.
Great ride guys, here's to you.

Tom on a rock

Mark taking the easy way out

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Something I Learned Today

Great song, and as I put my head down and rode into the wind, I thought about things I've learned about riding this Winter.

First riding on the road isn't that cold in Winter. I always avoided road rides in the Winter for fear I'd be too cold, but after a few sub 20 F rides on the road, I realized you warm up almost as quickly as offroad. After the initial shock it isn't too bad.

Second, wind ain't that bad. You just put your head down and suck it up. Again, I would take refuge in the trees to avoid it in the past.
Being able to except "it is what it is" I think comes alot from the fixed gear. You've got one gear, and you're only as fast or slow as your legs can move. That's it. Suck it up, and you'll get there when you get there.

That being said, as I was riding down pancake flat rt 10, and looked down to see I'm pushing 15 mph, I decided to not take my usual longer way home.

This just didn't sit right.
So to make up for skipping Old Mt. Rd., I swung onto Hater's Rd. The ol' Garmin says it hit 19.2%. A couple weeks ago I got 20.3%; I must have found a better line.

Great little grunt of a hill, but cut 1.5 miles off my ride. We'll see if I can get over this. If not I'll ride the fixed Soma on this ride Saturday.

Friday, March 6, 2009


On my commute to work, coming down the hill to the light at Miss Porter's School, I slowed to a stop, and was about to un-clip. Before I unclipped, the light changed so I released the brakes and began rolling forward. I guess I must have cocked my front wheel a bit, because my foot promptly wedged into the fender, pushing it against the tire acting as a brake. Prime example of the theorum of objects in motion tend to stay in motion as I flipped over the bars and landed on the pavement in the center of the intersection.

Clipped in.

In front of about a dozen cars.

I got up, laughed, bowed, and continued on my way.
I might have looked like a fool, but I was riding my bike, so it's all good.

Down the road a bit I noticed a car with a "Fender" sticker on the back. Soon after I noticed a truck with a "Gibson" sticker on the cap. Is this to let the theif know what kind of guitar they are going to get when they break into your vehicle? Public service announcement so the would be thief who prefers humbuckers to singlecoils will know which vehicle better suits his taste?

Anyhoo get out and have some fun this weekend.
Ride safe!