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!


Scenes from This Morning's Ride

I headed out before 6:00.

Down 116 to Hinesburg, Charlotte Road to Mount Philo Road, into Shelburne, Route 7 to the turn off for the South Burlington Bike Path, up to Spear Street and over to Dorset, then home. Two hours, thirtysomething miles, don't know exactly because my computer was acting weird.

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More Road Find

Sometimes it is the mental image of the stuff you find on the side of the road when cycling, rather than actual possession of the item that matters. This week the bike lane in South Burlington plays host to a three foot length of two-by-four. It's pretty unremarkable- it's chipped up and has obliviously been tumbled under some truck wheels and then finally cast off to rest at the curb. The funny thing about it, though, is written across it in black magic marker, large enough for me to read on my way by without slowing down, it says "I want to be a cowboy."

Dream on, discarded lumber, dream on.


The Benefits of Commuting by Bicycle: Road Finds

Today's Road Find:

One of the hidden benefits of bicycle commuting is that is gives you a closer view of what your fellow road users have left behind. Tools are popular along my commute between Williston and South Burlington. In fewer than two years of riding here, I have picked up a nice little flathead screwdriver, a 13mm box wrench, and now this punch. I'm a long way from making up the value of the tool bag I lost off my saddle(with its nice light, Crank Brothers multi-tool, tube, tire levers and patch kit), but I'm confident that I'll get there eventually just by paying attention. 


Return to Bike Commuting

For reasons that escape me, or that I am simply not willing to name (OK, laziness) this week has been my first full week back on the bike, commuting-wise. I'm not sure why it took so long to get back out there, and I'm really glad to have plunged back into it head-on. My good-enough job at rebuilding the rear wheel on the Scattante has held up so far, and the new triple crank has been much appreciated on the one big climb that stands between me and my office every morning.

Still, a regular riding regimen makes all of the little repairs that are needed stand out.

  • Despite my replacing the bottom bracket when I changed out the crank, the bike still has a mystery creak when I push down hard on the drive-side pedal.  I'm writing it off as not fixable for now, and hoping it doesn't turn into a busted frame at an inopportune time. 
  • The stem is installed a little off kilter, something that I didn't notice when I still had a front fender on. I ditched the front fender as it had been the culprit in two trackstand-related fall-overs, including the one that wrecked my rear wheel last summer.   
  • The derailer hanger might be bent.  I haven't replaced it yet with the one that I wrestled out of performance last year. Right now the biggest cog on the cassette is useless to me because shifting on to it brings the scary ting-ting-ting of derailer cage on spokes. No need to wreck another wheel, derailer, and the hanger if I don't have to. 
  • The front and rear wheels could both stand to be trued better.  I can feel pulsing in the rear when I brake and I can hear the slight hop in the front wheel when I get going fast. 
  • The current derailer does not give me enough tension in the small-small gear combination.  I might be able to shorten the chain by a link to fix this. 
  • The drivetrain is noisy- I'm going to attribute this to the fact that the derailers came off a 13-14 year old mountain bike that took a pretty good beating before it got turned into a single speed. 
  • I hate the seat pack I bought for this bike. It is too wide and my legs hit it when I pedal.
That's all I can think of now, but riding in the morning quiet gives me plenty of time to listen to every creak, every rub, and to feel every thing that might be a little out of perfect alignment. It will be good to get everything dialed in a little better soon.    


Brewing Journal: Batch #1, Entry #8; Batch #2, Entry #1 and #2

Kegged Batch #1.  Used 3/8 of a cup of sugar dissolved in 6 ounces of boiling water to prime, racked over with the siphon. Pumped the keg to 30 psi and purged, 3x, then added gas just to lift the needle on the regulator. Keg is resting in the brew closet at 60-62 degrees. 

Started Batch #2. Decided to do a 2.5-gallon boil. Activated yeast pack at 8:00 AM, started to heat water at 12:00 PM. Added specialty grains and steeped for 20 minutes at 158 to 155 degrees. Set the Liquid Malt Extract in a bowl of hot water at the same time I activated the yeast- this made it much easier to pour our when the time came.  I was able to remove some hot break with my skimming spoon- i had not done this with batch #1.  I froze eight bike water bottles in the refrigerator overnight and used this in my water bath to cool the wort instead of buying ice. The wort cooled from boiling to about 100 degrees in 20 minutes. Original gravity was 1.045. Put it in the fermenter with a blowoff tube instead of an airlock. 

Batch #2 Rapid fermentation activity as of this morning. Temperatures in the fermentation vessel at right around 63 degrees.