Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Ride Home

Rather interesting ride home last night.

With threatening skies all day it finally started to drizzle about 2 miles into my commute home.  I had packed a rain coat, but it was so warm and muggy I didn't see a need to stop and put it on.  Gradually the precipitation increased to a light rain.

Feeling a little like a make believe badass; yeah, it's dark and water is falling from the sky, but the road is well lit, it's warm and I only have about 12 more miles to go.  Was nothing like my first commute home from Benidorm in the rain.

One of the biggest intersections I encounter on my ride home is the center of Unionville.  I think from the saddle of a bicycle you have a better view of what's going on as well as a greater sense of awareness (self preservation!).

Waiting for the  traffic light right out of Unionville at the intersection of rt167, a motorist trying to do a guy a solid, lets the guy pulling out of the gas station in.  But the guy is turning left.

I'm thinking to myself, from my own past experiences, this is trouble.

The light changes, gas station guy inches in...

and a guy trying to make the light in the left turn only lane t-bones him.

The guy who let him in took off like a bat out of hell.

I didn't stick around either; if they were on bikes this wouldn't have happened and I had to make it home for my guilty pleasure.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Do you race cross?

I hear that a lot.


Why not you ask?

  1. Well, I tried it in 2010 and liked it well enough, but at the end of the season I looked back at all the awesome Fall weekends that I could have gone on long mountain bike rides that I spent suffering for 45 minutes at a time and regretted it.
  2. Sort of related to #1, all the travel to get to short races that I only kinda like.
  3. Expense on something I only kinda like
  4. I suck at it.  I'm okay at the suffering part, but I just don't have the power for cross.  Maybe if there was a cross race with a few thousand feet of elevation gain I wouldn't suck so bad.

There isn't any anti CX referendum in my little book rules; if there isn't anything better to do and it's not too far I might consider it...

but I'd much rather do this:

*Or rather usually not.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sharing is caring

I thought I'd share my commute today.

The way in...

...and the way home

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Even though the kids didn't have school I was running late.  By the time I pushed down on the pedals I had exactly the amount of time it usually takes to get to work to get to work.
Exactly on time is late the way I was brought up.
A flat tire or some other calamity and I'm screwed.

But as I pedaled along there was a strange phenomenon.  I felt no wind pushing me back.  I think I encountered one of those mythical things called a "tailwind".
Got to work 5 minutes early (my equivelant to "on time").

But since the shop isn't actually open on Mondays for the off season I was actually 20 minutes early.

 As it has been getting darker my ride home in the evening has been getting spookier. Avon Old Farms road in the dark can be a tad sketch. last night I tried coming home the way in (better condition, lighting, wider, etc). Lack of climbing makes for a pretty quick ride.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Maybe it's me?

I was turning into my street.
Two cyclist were pulling out.

Our street has been reduced to one lane at the end due to a construction project.

I signaled.

I waited.

After a little wobbling the cyclists turned out of my street and exclaimed "Thank you for not killing us".


Were they threatened by a signalling stopped automobile?
If someone waiting for you to pull out of a road is call for commotion, maybe you should ride the bus.

Maybe it was just witty banter on her part that I just didn't get.
Maybe she just wanted to talk.

I went for a ride to contemplate these things.

I think I'll have to contemplate these things more...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Today I built my first wheel for Benidorm Bikes.
I've built plenty of wheels, but being the "new guy", the unknown quantity, I've been mostly relegated to the bread and butter work. Basic tune ups, replacing chains, cassettes, chainrings, brake pads, cables, housings, wrapping bars; the essentials.

In my mind, wheel building is a right of passage as a bicycle mechanic, but maybe not so much today.  The world of bicycles has changed with the quality of pre-built wheels, attention to aerodynamics, and other technological advances like carbon fiber and hydraulic brakes.

A lot of the "old school" skills I learned over the years are barely utilized; my first week I got all excited about overhauling a loose ball bottom bracket, only to find it was an extremely early cartridge bearing unit.

I also learned I've been doing a pretty good job gluing my own tubulars.  The two I pealed off of customer's wheels today came off easier than one of my emergency spares put on when I get a flat.

I feel like I'm living the dream; I ride my bike to a place where I get to work on bikes all day.  How cool is that?

Deep Thoughts

I'm not going to race the singlespeed class anymore.  That's not to say I won't race a singlespeed, just not in a class defined as such.

Whelp, the 3 races I did in my age group this year were a lot more fun than the races I did in the SS class.  The SS class has strong fields, but lacks the depth that the Cat1 40-49 has.  It's much more challenging and fun to race a field of 30+ guys, than only a 1/3 of that.

I'm thinking about trying to race a bike with multiple gears sometimes too.
Blaspheme you say!

Maybe.  Some courses, such as Hodges or Winding Trails, I think I'd do better with choices; I'm just not strong enough to push the big gear, or spinny enough to make a smaller gear work at flatter venues.

On hillier courses I still think the SS will be the bike of choice.

I think.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I'm going to start posting pictures of some of the interesting things I see at work.
Here's a carbon Orbea in an orange motif.
Zipp 404 clinchers...

and a bar end mirror.


Yesterday was the oppressed Workers of America Unite! ride.
We headed North to the Mt Holyoke range for some picture perfect examples of New England singletrack.

1 26" HT
1 racy FS 26"
2 26" long travel trail bikes
1 29" HT

Who had the right bike?

Everyone did.

SC wanted to launch and air it out when ever possible so his Carbon Nomad fit the bill.

Fritz was looking to efficiently cover ground making his Giant ideal.

YC wanted comfort and control (something about not dying) and found it on his Nomad.

BV is young and put the Rock back in Rockhopper when the trail turned downwards (he claims all we did was climb).

I was on my Swift set up as a 1x8 HT.  Coming from rigid singlespeed, the Swift as a HT is a Sofa King plush ride good for all day epics.

Same trail, different bikes, win win win.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Maybe it's the Moon?

Things have been a little wacky.

At the shop, customers have been extra chatty.  Bikes are awesome, I get that. I'm psyched for your love and enthusiasm of them.  I just don't think the guy behind you in line is as excited about you telling me about how  much more prepared you are for a flat than your buddy is/was.

Unfortunately there was a little ugliness too.

What a guy thought was going to be a $25 repair had turned into a $1k repair.  To top it all off he came to pick it up before it was even test rode (mis-communication on our part after he had called 3 times in less than 2 hours).

Did you know Dura Ace 7900 front shifters are not compatible with 7700 front derailleurs?
Neither did we.
(up to 1.1K)

He's not happy.  He's falling down a hole made by progress and who knew the rope to get out of it was so expensive or long in coming.

I just hope it's not too long...