Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WTF Fat man?!
I've been good; I've ridden my bike twice as far as I've driven my car, yet nothing?

Not a Honzo

 a Tricross

or Super Six

not even a tire lever

or tube

Suppose the love, friendship and good health will have to suffice...

and Buckeyes!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


"Good Morning, Benidorm Bikes" I chimed answering the phone.

"Do you got a minute?" the caller asked.

"Of course, what can I do for you?" I replied.

The barrage of questions began like this:

"Do you know if the issues with slipping have been addressed with this particular brand of carbon seatpost?"
"What experience do you have with the design?"
"Have you read the Velonews seatpost test article?"..."I've ordered this particular model and want to know if it's any good?"

After about a 5 minute conversation about the pros and cons of seatpost designs, and proper installation his curiosities were satiated.

Now my curiosities were raised; I went to the special order book to see who ordered this seatpost.  That's odd?  It's not in the special order book and no one has spoken to anyone about ordering such a post?

Could someone be douche-y enough to order a post online and call a LBS the Saturday before Christmas  for reassurances of their interweb score?

I'm new to Outdoor Retail, but SERIOUSLY?

Monday, December 17, 2012

What Would You Do?

What would you do to avoid standing in line at the post office?

Go early?

How about ride for 2 hours in drizzle @ 35*F (1.6*C)?
That was my choice...

...and it was awesome!!!

I didn't even have to dress in anything more than typical commuter gear:

  • polypro t-shirt
  •  leg warmers
  • bibshorts
  •  LS jersey
  • mid weight cycling jacket
  • cotton cycling cap
  • Shimano MW 81 Winter Boots
  • Pearl Izumi Gavia Gloves
The only thing I'd change is the gloves; the Gavia's just don't live up to their name.  Hampsten definitely wouldn't approve.  My hand was a little shaky writing down the address on my package when I got to the Post office . The PI Pro Soft Shell definitely would have been a better choice.

Oh, well, sure beats waiting in line!

I highly recommend the Collinsville PO too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


On the ride in to work the other day, it occurred to me that between Pete and I, we have quite a bit of knowledge of bicycle commuting.  I thought “Wouldn’t it be great to share this knowledge with our friends and customers?” mentally patting myself on the back.  As I proposed the idea to Jan she replied “Oh, yeah, I saw you riding home the other night, and your taillight wasn’t doing anything (woops!)”.  Seems the batteries were on their way out, and the light was quickly dimming after start up.

The three tenants of bicycle commuting are:
·         get from point A to B in a timely fashion
·         obey the law
·         And not get dead! 
Having a dying taillight potentially violates all three of them.

I changed my batteries and decided I needed a better solution.

We just got (more of) the better solution into the shop on Wednesday, the Nite Rider Solas.  A 2 watt, USB rechargeable taillight. 
Ah, that’s 2 freakin’ watts!
 The best replaceable battery taillights are .5 watts. 
The difference is amazing.   Testing it out behind the shop, it illuminated a good 15 to 20 feet behind my bike. Not just visible, but actually lighting up space.  A quick glance behind me on an unlit road revealed a reassuring bright glow cast on the pavement.
Being rechargeable, I no longer have to worry about replacing the batteries before they are a mere façade of safety.  On the standard 1st flash setting it has a 18 hour run time; on the brighter 2nd flash setting 7 hours.  Once a week charging should give me a sufficient buffer zone to not have to worry about it running low.

Paired with the Solas is the Nite Rider Lumina 650 headlight.  Also a USB rechargeable light.  It offers 4 light levels from walking to 650 lumens, as well as a flash setting. 
When I first got it, my ride home would start before it was dark, and I would progressively toggle through the settings as it got darker.  Since the end of DST it goes right to high.  At 650 lumens it is more than adequate for me on even the darkest unlit roads and has a 1.5 hour run time (up to 18 hours on the walk setting), which is more than enough time to get me home safely.  I run it on my handlebar, but it also comes with a helmet mount which Pete uses (I think he just doesn’t want to mess with the aesthetics of his Pinarello).

So now I’m safe, next we’ll talk about staying comfortable in the coming Winter months.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

12/6/2012 Commute Haiku

Fucking Old Lady
can't you see my arm outstretched
I'm somebody's son

I was going to make it all PG13, but after the ignorant hag almost took off my arm, I was buzzed, and then right hooked.

Be careful out there!

and yes there is a fire in the fireplace.
(no corn cob pipe)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

12/5/2012 Commute Haiku

silence, clarity
tailwind pushing me along
calm before the storm?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Yesterday was my birthday.  I thought my long streak of having my birthday off was going to come to an end, but due to a bizzare twist of fate I found myself with the day free. I didn't mind if I had to work; I had the two adjacent days off and I really like my job an the people I work with.

Did I ride?
Well, I guess the streak was broken after all.

I did re-caulk the tub, cleared the drains, cleaned my shop and filled our dumpster so the lid wouldn't close.

But I digress...

Local trails.  We all have them.  I've written before about how after so many years I'm still not bored riding at the res.  I look at it sort of like a puzzle.  Half the fun is trying new ways to link the trails to keep them fresh.

Today was one of those days.
I didn't want to drive anywhere but I wanted to get in a decent ride.  I could do a TdT, but the weather was not as promised, and I was a little short on time so staying local(er) was the way to go.  I could do a Kitchen Sink, but with the construction there, parts might be blocked off.

Then I got the idea for a Super Sidewinder Loop.  I'd get the mileage, time, elevation gain, and terrain I wanted without crossing RT44.  By varying the order and direction of the trails things would stay interesting.

And they were.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Hit my metrics a day early

Suppose I'll have to go for a little extra credit before work today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Down

The two metric goals for this week are 6000 miles and 500 hours.

Yesterday Mrs. CB2 went to NYC for her birthday with her favorite sister.
That meant driving to work as to be home as early as possible to crack that whip.  Every time I drive to work I'm reminded how fortunate I am to be able to commute by bicycle.

That left me 4 days to ride 13 miles and 7 hours.
The mileage would be inevitable.  Pull the bike out one day and that would be done.

The hours might be a little tougher.  Friday is Benidorm's Holiday party (see how I made that all PC?).  I'll probably have to drive in so I can make myself all pretty beforehand.

So we have (had) Today, Wednesday, Thursday, and before work on Friday.

Today is (was) my day off.  
Knowing it was going to snow had me waking up like a kid on Christmas morning.

Once everyone was out the door, I loaded up and headed East.

Snow can be fun to ride in.  A light snow adds dramatic effect, a little challenge, and some make believe badassitude.

The Inuit people have something like 400 different words for snow.  The stuff falling on Case MT could be called Mid Atlantic Sticky Snow.

It coated the trails enough to obscure lines, while leaving the "peaks" sticking through for the aforementioned dramatic effect.

Amazing how something so slippery could be so sticky.
Crank Brothers pedals are some of the best in Wintry conditions, but they were no match for the Atlantic Sticky Snow.  A foot down was met with a few good bangs before the cleats would engage.

Then my rear brake stopped functioning.

Case in snow without a rear brake...

Not exactly ideal.

Carrying an extra 15 pounds of snow, ice and leaves isn't either.

But it got me over 6K, and down to only 4 hours left to ride before Saturday.

If I ride to work the next two days, bleed my brake and ride before work on Friday, it should be in the bag.

Monday, November 26, 2012


I love numbers and math.
I remember old phone numbers and often easily do the same with new ones.
There is logic to numbers.
When riding I'm constantly doing calculations in my head, often eschewing the fact that all this information is available to me at the push of a button on my handlebar.

Numbers can become goals.
Riding yesterday it became apparent two numbers might be within my reach.  Mini milestones if you will.
Distance and elevation gain.
Many years ago I remember riding around the block to accomplish my first 50 mile road ride.
I wasn't going to go to that extreme,  but if it looked close, a zig or zag might make the difference.

About half way through the number 1 popped up.
1 flat.

I was solo, so this gave me two options:

  • repair and nurse home
  • repair and say fück it. 
 Option B was more appealing

Things were looking close.
Zigging commenced.

Which puts two more numbers in the cross hairs for November.  One is inevitable, the other will be close.
Will I stoop to riding around the block?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Yesterday on the ride in a driver in a Saab honked at me.

"Huh? Saab drivers are supposed to be sensitive architects" I thought.

On the ride home I decide to take the bikepath to avoid traffic.  This route gives me about 10 miles of lightly traveled, well lit roads, 8 or so on the bike path and is about 3 miles longer than just riding the road the whole way.
5 miles from home, I approached an intersection that has two choices; right turn only, or left turn only.  I was turning left.  Very little traffic.  As I pull up behind a car turning left a big pickup pulls up behind me.  The road we are turning on to has no traffic so there is no hold up.  When I get up to the stop sign the gentleman in the 4x4 behind me gets on his PA and shouts "Hey Pal you don't own the road", passing me in a  blue cloud of diesel.

My bubble is slightly burst.
I purposely go out of my way to avoid traffic, and run into this fellow.  I had been convinced that things had gotten a lot better with motorist sharing the road.

I hope it was just a bad day and not foreshadowing of things to come.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Post Endurance Doughnuts that is

Cycle Matrix Coaching highly recommends the use of PEDs.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The other day we got a really cool bike into the shop, the Carve SL SS.

M4 alloy frame w/ full carbon fork.

The only thing is I think Specialized might have misread the market.
The singlespeeders I know are not likely to buy a complete bike.  They are going to buy a frameset and build it up with their choice of parts, probably raiding their parts bins and cannibalizing their existing bikes to some extent.

The pricepoint is sort of weird too.  It's a great value, but it ain't cheap ($1300, there are a lot of complete singlespeeds for under 1k).  The weight weenie who is excited about the frame and fork will be put off by the entry level hydraulic brakes and ordinary wheelset.

If the frameset was available separately, for let say $699.99, I think they'd have a winner.

On another note...


Monday, November 5, 2012

One Of Those Days

The day started with a  vicious headwind on the ride in.

Somehow it did a 180 to become a headwind for the ride home (all be it lighter).  The temperature had dropped more than I expected as well.  A little uncomfortable yet manageable.
This is just one of the compromises of life I thought.  To have this awesome job I need to save money and that means riding to work.  Most days I love that choice; today it was just one of those things.

As I pulled up to the house the cars had been shuffled.  Mrs. CB2 had decided to drive my car today as her's was out of gas, negating the saving money part of riding to work.  As I entered the house I was greeted with an insurance and prescription issue, a clogged sink, a soaked steam filled bathroom, and no hot water.

Tomorrow's another day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Sandy came and hit the East coast pretty hard.

The Res was not spared.

Do to the nature of a lot of wood that falls in high wind (rotted and dead)

I was able to break a rough loop through.

The West side was hit the worst, but, you can ride a pretty normal loop now*.  There were 4 trees down that were too big for me alone; they'll need a man power, saws, and or an engineer to move.

*singlespeed friendly, derailleur?  Well...

Monday, October 29, 2012

"What's that bike doing in the house?"
a shrill exclamation shot across the kitchen.

I grasped for low hanging defensive fruit and shot back
"what's a dinner dish doing in our bedroom?"

Neither here nor there, but expedited my passage to the basement.
(a duh, it's coming in the house so I can work on it, but I'm in slides so I didn't want to walk across the lawn to the hatchway).

What do do when the Governor has struck the fear of god into all around you?
Convert your bike back to singlespeed of course.


It's time to rebuild my new Rockshox.
It has 10 rides on it.
That 10 rides includes one on the bike path, and Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day.


Is that how it's supposed to be?

I chose RS over Manitou based on price and other peoples' opinion and not my own experience, and now I'm regretting it.

After 10 rides.

Going back to rigid and monster truck tires for awhile.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Maybe it's the Moon?

But it's not nearly full?
Maybe it's the warm nights?
Maybe it's the proximity to Halloween?

Last night a gentleman felt such concern for my safety as to suggest I ride my bicycle on the sidewalk.

Other than this being illegal, and the sidewalk ending in about a 1/4 mile, thanks for the advise.

Pete had a similar experience last night.


Backlash from the whole LA shitstorm?

My commute is usually pretty event free; it seems drivers in the Farmington Valley are fairly accepting of sharing the road (i.e. obeying the law).

I've noticed the first nice day of Spring usually brings out the yahoos, but things quickly return to normal.

Maybe it's an anomaly.

I'm glad I was too tired to even think about getting riled up last night.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Looking back at race pictures one thing is evident;
a grimace.

as the year went on it softened

but is quite a contrast to the past

Is it because I'm more intense this year?  More serious?  Focused?


 It's because I've been living with two broken teeth that needed root canals for the past 2 years and finally(!!!) had them taken care of.

The process started in February with a cleaning and exam.  Then Dr. Stephanie repaired some work my last dentist screwed up while we waited for insurance approval for the root canals and crowns.
The heavy work started in June and finally was completed on Friday.

The first thing I did was a buy big bag of nuts.

Now if only I can remember I can chew on both sides of my mouth.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Silence on Blue Mountain

For James' Birthday we headed West to Blue Mountain in Peekskill NY.

Fun  was had by all.

(at least until Frank and Greg each broke their derailleur hangers)

Neal brought "birthday cakes"

and no one said a word.

Nothing was implied.
No allegations or denials.

We just rode.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

You've got to be kidding me?!
I've dropped my chain three times in 10 miles, all on short steep hills!!
What the Fük!!

That's it.  When I get home the WI cranks are coming the fük off!

Uh...maybe your chain is falling off because the quick link is broken.

Looking in my man purse it turned out I only had 1/2 a 8 speed quick link.  But half  8 plus half a 9 (8.5?) held until I got home so.

Really bad timing though.
Quite a buzz kill for me to play with my new toy.

Like running with scissors under a ladder in front of a black cat, I put a shock on my Dirty Little Whore.  A shock with two sides no less.

A Lefty would have meant building a new front wheel.

15mm Thru Axle would have been nice too, but again, the whole build a new wheel thing.
(for the record I love building wheels, I just don't like spending money)

So how does it ride?
Pretty good.
I was a little spent from yesterday's ride, so a couple extra pounds and some squishy-squishy was noticed
But on the descents...

Some days you wish all the trails went down hill.
What a hoot.

It still needs some dialing.
I just need to get it to a Citroën bottomless pit off plushness, that somehow doesn't bob on climbs feel I'm after (is that asking too much?).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Road Ride w/ Alex

Alex has a penchant for climbing.
He also has developed a love of, let's just say, more "rustic" roads.

So when no one wanted to go mountain biking with me on my squishy fork's maiden voyage it was only natural to join him, James and Josh on a tour of rural NW CT, and SW MA.

I knew the roads would be "unimproved".  I knew what I was getting into, but buddy...

this is not a road

neither is this

okay this is

I thought I had the perfect tool for the job,

my Swift set up with 35mm CX tires

but after the Monterey General Store, I couldn't hold a wheel to save my life.  Every time the road angled up Josh would stretch the elastic and I would be off the back.

Was it the bike?
The tires?

(probably the latter)

I was getting dropped on every climb...and I thought I felt pretty good too.

Tried standing...

tried sitting...

but the distance continued to grow.

At one point I thought I was matching Alex's cadence,  in a bigger gear, and I was still falling back?!

Anyhoo, tomorrow I'll test out Aspasia's new toy.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Just thinking

On a frame w/o cable stops...
to set it up as a 1x10...

how about using Ultegra Di2!

Right now I have my 1x8 set up with a 34t chain ring and a 12/32 8 speed cassette, with Di2 I could use the climber shifters
a 32t chainring
and the Ultegra 11/28 cassette
for about the same range.

How cool would that be?!

Friday, October 5, 2012

On my commute at least I've been dodging bullets all week.
It's been drizzly, and damp, but for the most part just moist.

It looked like my luck was continuing on my ride in yesterday.

Until about 6:00 PM.

As we finished up at the shop this evening the rain grew heavier and heavier.  I tried to convince myself that is was tapering off, but I wasn't fooling anyone.

I put on every layer I had brought with me, which wasn't much; my vest had made it's way out of my bag so I was only supplementing my comfort with neoprene booties and arm warmers.

The booties kept me dry until a little after the Citgo; in other words about 500m.
It was warm though and the insulation / coverage of my messenger bag, plus the protection of my fenders kept me fairly comfortable.

But it was wet.
Puddles were unavoidable and momentum robbing.  Axle deep at times.

The rain reached it's downpour crescendo in Unionville, and settled into heavy through Farmington.   As I descended into West Hartford it had tapered to steady.
No lightning though.

Very happy to be home.

The rivulets in my basement confirmed that yes indeed a good deal of water had fallen from the sky.

Days like these reaffirm my inability to part with old cycling shoes; who knows when you'll need another dry pair.

I won't be participating in the "Take Back Farmington Ave" event because I'll be getting my bike back into shape and riding to work.