Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


A Big Pile of Bike.

Nick's new bike in all its disassembled and half-cleaned glory, tilt head 90 degrees for proper photo orientation:
The frame has since been stripped and sealed, reassembled and test ridden- all systems are go except a very nasty wobble in the front wheel. I messed around with truing it a little last night, but some kind soul had already rounded off most of the spoke nipples I needed to turn. I have plenty of spoke nipples, but by Sunday night I had run out of motivation and needed to get my laundry done besides. Perhaps tomorrow or Wednesday, I'll get to the wheel.
Before I describe the trials and tribulations of this project, why put all this work into an old beater? Well, first off because it's for Nick and more importantly it's for Nick to pull his son Sam around in. And Nick's a pretty cool guy, who hasn't ridden a bike since he last put down his BMX when he was 12. Riding this bike in its initial state could be a whole other turn off to biking, and you don't get that many chances to give somebody a good impression of the sport. Besides, we want Nick on group rides sometime soon, because he's easily a head taller than the rest of us- we'll put him at the front to pull, and the rest of us can draft like motorpacing a semi.
So, what have the trials and tribulations been? Well, first off, this thing was covered with obnoxious stickers, which needed to come off, and the paint was pretty dinged up underneath, so it had to come off too. Out came the stripper, the steel wool, and the wire wheel on the drill. Once that was done, then came paint- clearcoat in this instance, mostly because I thought it looked cool and also because it gave a certain "Mad Max" look to the rig (pictures of the assembled beast soon, I promise). The Mad Max (Beyond the Thunderdome) reference is also relevant in that it's how Nick and Sam were referred to (as Master/Blaster) at my 30th birthday party last fall, when Nick had Sam up on his shoulders in one of those baby backpack things while we played Bocce in the August sun. Ok, back to the bike: the front derailer (red underline it all you want, Google, the spelling's good enough for Sheldon and it's good enough for me) cable had been sheared perilously close and was a real bugger to tension properly, especially considering the giant triple crank it is supposed to span. The cantilever brakes came apart when i took them off, and it took a while to figure out that there was indeed both a right and a wrong way to put them back together with the springs oriented properly. Oh yeah, and despite the obvious presence of a master link in the chain, I still had to use a tool to separate it somewhere else (OK about two links away) because I didn't notice it was there. Not necessarily a problem but it made me feel silly.
So tomorrow I'll swallow my pride, unmount the front tire from the rim and true it right, and hopefully soon we'll all be out on bikes together.


No Excuses

No excuses about not posting now, we finally got Internet access at home. The sweet part about it is we got it through Burlington Telecom, a local public/private utility that so far has been far easier to deal with than any of the faceless giants we have had before. So, currently, I'm waiting out a morning rainstorm for what was to be some sort of inaugural group ride with a bunch of the guys. One of the things I was most bummed out to leave behind in Missoula was the little REI group ride that I got started. It took some doing, and there were a lot of days it was just two of us out there, but by the time I left for Vermont there was a pretty solid crew out there every Sunday morning. I hope we get something going that is that regular. Yesterday was a beautiful day, so Kate and I headed down to Monkton to drop off my latest bike project for my dad. I didn't take pictures, so here's the project in a thousand words or less (skip italics below if you could care less about bikes): 1987 Univega road bike, 12 speed, purchased 12 years ago so my dad and sister could have a road bike to split. Nobody wanted a road bike back then anyway, so it was a steal. Dad wanted new cables, and I offered to install them. Got the bike home and while functional, it looked like a bit of a basket case. Looked like it had been sprayed with motor oil and rolled in sand. Took everything off the frame except the headset cups and simple greened like crazy. Rear wheel needed a spoke, tried a donor spoke I thought was long enough, trued the wheel, but it potato chipped in my hands when I went to de-stress it. Figured out the donor spoke was way too short, and I had tensed the wheel really weird to make it work. Dad had a new donor spoke that was a little longer. That one worked, so I rebuilt the wheel and got it pretty true. Bottom bracket was all bound up- pulled it and there was a missing bearing on the drive side, happened to have a cartridge bb lying around that fit perfectly. Pulled crank bolts off my fixie to finish the project and ordered new ones. Added black bar tape to replace once-red now pink stuff that was pretty worked. Put about 100 miles on it over a couple of days of testing. Cleaned everything and lubed the chain. It's a great little bike now with index shifting in the back, friction in the front and dead precise with the new cables. Dad was really happy with it and noted the smoothness. Kate and I continued down from Monkton to Bristol and Lincoln and spent the afternoon exploring swimming holes in Lincoln, then back to my parents' for dinner along with Nicole and Hans. Then home, and took in Everything is Illuminated- nice movie, I liked it. Good sleep, good breakfast, Nick's bringing another bike over today for me to "have a look at" today so that might be another fun project. Maybe ride later when the rain gets past us.


Happy 4th

It has been a great 4th so far.  Our friend Katie is up for the weekend.  We caught the Burlington fireworks Thursday night, rode from our place all the way up toward South Hero on the causeway yesterday, and I got the storage area/bike shop/"man room" cleaned up and organized.  I'm redoing an old Univega for my dad right now, so that will be another project to post soon.  Today's agenda involves berry picking and BBQ.  I slow roasted some baby back ribs last night and sauced and stored them today- so they'll be sweet on the grill tonight.  Still internet limited to coffee shops etc, so please excuse the terseness and wandering thoughts.  Things should be back to normal by the end of next week.