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!


Spinning on the Beach

Aside from family, friends and four days of the most amazing food I'll eat all year, Thanksgiving was wonderful for an amazing sunset walk we all took on Nauset Beach this weekend. The tide was approaching dead low, there was no wind, and it was about 50 degrees out. The entire sky was pink and the yellow grass on the tops of the dunes was gold as the last rays of sun lit it up. There were numerous birds and seals out on the water, a few surfers, and lots of people like us out for an evening stroll to work off their meals. People say "hi" to each other, and share a knowing look: this is the place.

If my description seems clunky or inadequate, it is because it is. This place on the edge of the earth is different every time I come to it. If you have never been, you need to go there. If you can find a calm sunset on a low tide, all the better.


The Benefits of Commuting by Bicycle: More Road Find

Anybody who says they have enough clamps is a liar. Found this one on the road yesterday:


The Winter Bike in Pictures

The complete winter rig. It's my old mountain bike from college, with extensive modifications for winter riding.  This thing weighs well over 40 pounds and is a total pig compared to the usual bikes I ride. It makes winter riding tolerable and even a little bit enjoyable, though.  Details in the following shots:
Bar Mitts. These things are horrible in a crosswind, but they mean warm hands in light gloves on sub-freezing days. Hope you like riding up on the hoods, because the drops are useless. Note, I have medium hands and bought medium mitts. I'd probably go for large if I had it to do again. 
Cockpit. Shimano bar-end shifters, all cables under the tape, El Cheapo LED flashlights, and a view into the warm caverns of the Bar Mitts. Local Motion "Pedal Harder" stickers as finishing tape for motivation. 
In addition to the normal front and rear lights, I have a strand each of white and red battery powered  Christmas lights on the milk crate cargo box. Red only in the back, white only on the front, and a mix on the sides. Say you didn't see me there in the dark, just try and say it. You can't. Also zip ties. 
A little hacksaw time rendered these cable guides full-housing-run compatible.  Yes, that's another zip-tie.
I am the zip-tie king, I can do anything. That's a 9-speed 11-34 back there. Full cable run all the way from the shifter to the rear derailer. 
Studded Rubber. These Innovas are about the junkiest studded tires you can buy, but they are fairly cheap. Just plain steel, no carbide, half of the studs are gone after a couple of seasons. Surly steel fork replaces the bombed-out Rockshox that originally came on the bike.  
The super-high straddle cable means lots of modulation but not a whole lot of braking power. At least it clears the fender. See also the plastic clamp holding one side of the rack stay because the bolt on the frame was frozen in and I gave up even trying to drill it out. 
I inexplicably had these really nice Salsa rings in my parts bin(s) amongst all the usual garbage I hold on to. A 36-46 double up front is just fine for what I need. That's the original crank and front derailer for the bike on there.



Brewing Journal: Batches 11 and 12

Racked Batch #11 Hard Cider to a 5-gallon secondary vessel with an airlock. Did not take a gravity reading but did taste a sample. Very similar to last year’s batch so far, a little stronger on the apple esters and maybe a touch more sulphurous. Clarity should be improved by secondary, I may also cold-crash the secondary before racking into the keg to avoid more sediment. I’m still thinking about two pounds of lactose (milk sugar) for this batch instead of one, like last year, for more body and a little more sweetness.

Racked Batch #12 British Bitter to a keg with 1/2 cup cane sugar for natural carbonation. It smelled great but I did not take a gravity reading or taste a sample.

My schedule on these brews is a little slower than planned, so I doubt we’ll be drinking Bitter in a week for Thanksgiving. Oh well, time always seems to help rather than hurt.   


Further Machinations

It was supposed to be a pretty simple project: Build up an old mountain bike frame with a wide range of gears, studded tires, fenders, and a rack.

It's never that simple. A bike with that much "stuff" on it gets pretty cramped. Derailers run into fenders. Chainrings want to hit the frame. Brake straddle cables hit fenders. Then you get the whole thing together and the riding position, (with the saddle at the "right" height) ends up resulting in a 15 centimeter drop to the handlebars, which is, shall we say, a wee bit aggressive for a bike that is meant to be mashed through a season of Vermont roadside snow.


I got most of the thing together. Ran out of electric tape to finish the bars off. The front brake is wonky. The shifting on the chainrings sort of works.

Here's an in-progress picture:

Final pictures to come.

Meanwhile, in minivelo-land, I wrote a long post recently about all of the changes I made to it (mostly cosmetic, changing cable housings and bar tape from black to white to match the saddle). But I didn't get a picture of it until this weekend:

Sadly, though it isn't visible in the picture, the rear tire is flat. Again. Even though I put a rim protection strip in it. I'll have to take a look at it. The little bit of riding I did with the bike this weekend was a joy though, and the new gearing (with the big 56-tooth ring up front) is excellent. Too bad nasty weather season is about to be upon us.

In other news, I'm back up on the rollers indoors and the nice weather has held such that I can stay on the 460 fixie for another week or so before the winter rig truly needs to be put to use. Even though we did have a little crankbolt incident the other day that resulted in a hasty office-supply repair to get me home:
Yeah, that's a zip-tie.

It's all better now.

If course, the basement is a total wreck now, with bike parts and bits of cable slung every which way. I'm looking forward to getting the shop all cleaned up, and I hope to build an actual workbench over the winter.