Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No bike today! Frogs or not!

I brought the Land Rover to work today...big dollar investment in both gas and parking. Rover gets about 15mpg in the city, and my commute is about 12 miles round trip. Rover takes premium gas which runs about 4.25 a gallon, so we'll call it 4 dollars in gas, and then 6 bucks to park the pig. 10 bones! I could have bought another Knog Frog! Need to drive to take home a few boxes of personal stuff so when I pack in my gig I don't have to carry too much to the door! Ha!

Tomorrow I'll bring the road bike in to the office and then after work, weather permitting, I'll hit the bridges for a bit of hill work with the roadies. The MS150 is right around the corner and I need to get my ass hard for the ride or I'm going to hate life. I already ditched the sexy but painful Flite Titanium saddle, that all Italian steel road bikes deserve. That thing was the shit to look at, but truly shit to ride. Sold it for 90 clams on the fleabay. Bing!

I've been so focused on the work stuff, related to bike advocacy and other projects, that I've not been on the bike more than just a few commutes a week. Factor in the weekend in Tampa, and then two weekends in Michigan, and I'm damn well fat and lazy!
Pic ganked from

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Knog Frogs!

My trusty Specialized After Burner Comp blinky light bit the dust last night, so on the ride home yesterday, in the rain and the darkening skies, I stopped by the local shop and picked up 4 of these little buggers (2 white and 2 red...all clear jelly bodies). They are pretty spiffy little bits, and seem pretty well made. As I'll only be using them as commuter "please don't hit me, thanks!" lights, they needn't be terribly bright, but the Frogs belay their diminutive size with some pretty good lumen or candlepower or whatever the hell its called. Two thumbs up for the Knog Frogs initially, we'll see if they last as long as the After Burner.
Yeah I ganked the photo from the Knog website...head over there and buy something and keep me out of jail!

Cheers to you, Retrobike!

The fellas on the retro uk board, Retrobike, have opened up a thread on the board regarding blogging, so to those of you cross-pollinating over to my blog...CHEERS!

To those of you who have no idea what Retrobike is...get your butts (or 'arses' as the cats across the pond say) on over to and check it out already!

Thumbshifters live on!

Monday, July 28, 2008

a week on the farm...part 3

The rest of the week we spent with Big Momma's grandparents who have a farm in the Ionia/Sebewa area east of East Lansing. The lifestyle on the farm, at least for one just visiting rather than one working, is so relaxed and peaceful. Big barns, tall corn, soybeans, rusty cool old pick-up trucks with big attachments for clearing snow or working the earth. There is a community center not far from the farm that was built on the site of a one room school house that had been recently torn down. The original swing set for the old school is still there and in working condition, so we would walk each day with the baby to the swing and see-saw. The baby learned new phrases on the farm.

"Want to Swing?"

a week on the farm...part 2

We also did a little sightseeing with Big Momma's sister and her family. We went to Sleeping Bear Dunes where the baby and I trekked up the sandy slopes to get a peek from the heights at Lake Michigan way in the distance. The baby sucked down all our water and I carried her most of the way anyway. By the time we reached the summit of the dunes the view was fogged in. We paraded down the slopes, taking monster steps in the sand and sinking to our calves in the soft earth. At the bottom, my shoes were so packed with sand that they hurt from being too tight!

When I was a boy, our housekeeper and babysitter had a son who ran a dredge and fill business in Pasco County, and he would drop a load of white sand off for me to play in with my Tonka Trucks. I haven't had that much fun in a big honkin' sand pile until Sleeping Bear Dunes.

a week on the farm...part 1

Well, half a week.

The three of us went to Michigan to visit Big Momma's family this past week. Her mother lives in a retirement facility in an old farmhouse in the middle of a cherry orchard. We stayed in Traverse City and then motored up the Lake Michigan coast to Lake Lelanau to visit her and take her in to town and visit with the grand baby and such. It was a very nice time and I know big momma appreciated seeing her mother (bigger momma?!). I got to gorge on cherries straight from the trees...yum.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

PooPoo in toilet!

Last night while Big Momma was out at a neighborhood association meeting, the baby proclaimed that she wanted to sit on the potty, and then proceeded to Poo!!

I have never been so proud of a bowl full of crap in my life!...and I lived in the dorms for 4 years in college!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'm ready


Mongoose update!

Not really deserving of an exclamation point, I mean it is just a Mongoose. But a bike's a bike I guess... They all deserve some exclaiming...even the little steel ones destined to be trials beaten.

Put on some Race Face cranks and a Salsa ring and bash guard, Race Face bar and Profile stem, Kalloy el cheapo 26.2 post (might be a 26.6, actually...seems loose when the clamp isn't snug), SDG saddle and my dodgy Altek black levers. I had the Altus front hub and Mavic 217 already, and I bought an STX-RC rear hub and some new 14ga spokes and built up a used 217 for the rear wheel. Tires were sitting around too. The bike will be up and running soon, and then I'll fine tune some of the parts for things more trials specific. Right now the goal is getting it moving and using the thing. Looks like it will be a good time. Unfortunately the next two weekends are booked so I won't have much of a chance to use it, but there you go. Married with children.

PeePee in Toilet!

Yesterday night after we drove home from Tampa. "PeePee in Toilet!" She declares, so we pull off the diaper and sit her on the Elmo seat and...she peepee in toilet after all! Mark the calendar! July 14th, 2008! 19 days shy of two! I'm so proud!

Now if we can just get her to poopoo in there...

Friday, July 11, 2008

No bike today!

Drove in with big momma. Taking a half day today to drop Henrydog off at the vet at noon. Lots to do so I'll have to catch up at a later time.

There. You are not ignored.

(This picture is from May 2001, Utah at the Nantahala River in North Carolina. I miss you, Utes!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I picked up this undersized steel frame from the ol' fleabay for the purpose of building it into a trials bike. Back in my time, stock trials pretty much meant having a bike with 26 inch wheels that you could hop around on stuff with without fear of pranging it. I really have no fear of that with the 'goose, first because it was cheap. Second because I always thought Mongoose and their little fellow pretend BMX brands were cheap. Finally because the gwat I bought it from took an eon to ship the POS and on top of that packaged the thing for shipping so badly that the head tube poked through the box and was dinged! I returned the tube to round with a hand doll and a metal facing hammer from grandfather's box of old toys and pressed in a deep skirt steel headset so there are no structural issues and it surely won't creak. Please people, if you sell on ebay, be fair on the shipping costs, box the stuff well, and ship in a timely fashion. If you're too busy to box it right and get it in the mail then you're too busy to sell on the fleabay. Period.

Positive note...the bike is pretty neat and I think it will make a nice play-toy for the back yard. After I get it built I'm going to use the last of the wood from the porch to make a few simple trials obstacles for the back yard and then I'm going to see if I can break my clavicle.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rush update!

Cannondale has determined that the creak from my Rush is in fact a manufacturing defect in the "hotbox" after all. They have placed an order for a white swing arm to be sent to my local dealer and then I'll do the swap and get it all sorted. Seems that all the components for the swing arm are tabbed and slotted and 'pre-assembled' in an alignment jig prior to welding, and that the welds on some of the arms aren't deep enough to tie in the slot/tab juncture. As a result, the juncture makes a creak when loaded laterally. Hell, my Rush would creak just sitting by itself alone in the dark chained to a wall! I could hear it in my sleep!!
Say what you want. Make all the 'creak' jokes you want. I don't care. Cannondale has always, in my experience, done a wonderful job supporting their bikes after the sale. Thanks Cannondale for doing the right thing!

Faulty swing arm...that would explain why I was pulling (whats left of) my hair out trying to find the creak!

Monday, July 7, 2008

"Vintage" jerseys. Yeah, I use 'em!

Nary a bike under my bum!

Or something to that effect, translating to mean that I didn't ride a whit this weekend. I did enjoy some HoneyMoon seasonal from the Blue Moon Brewery, a few Hazed and Diffused's from the Boulder Brewery and a few other tasty treats. Hey, it was a holiday, and I made hamburgers and brats and dogs on the grill all weekend, so lay off it, MOM!

I spent some time on Friday repairing the blue EWR. Checked the cranks and the bottom bracket for damage from my loose arm experience, and thankfully found none, so a clean and a grease and that's all sorted. Then I migrated to the front tire and sorted the flat, found a small hole in the tube and patched her up, looks to be from a thorn or a shoot of some type. Puncture damage, which follows that I was on a trail loaded with vines and bamboo....hmmm.

Then I got a little industrious and pulled the 8 speed SRAM cassette (and the New Succes derailleur and Sachs twisty) from the blue EWR and replaced it with the nine speed drive train from the TST. The gear spacings on the cheap SRAM 8 speeder are just too spread out to make that option viable. I have the 9 speed stuff, and it's clean and ready to go, and the shifters and rear derailleurs for the 9 are SRAM X0, so that will save me some weight, so why not. Retro be damned!

Found a Cannondale Pepperoni fork on eBay with a steerer tube long enough for the Beast. The poll on Retrobike has about 90 percent in favor of me pulling the Kona fork for the Pepperoni, so I guess I'll agree, as I always brainlessly do with what I read on the web, and swap those next.

I also put the Cannondale Rush in the stand to find the source of an irritating creak that is about to make me chuck the thing off a cliff. Pulled the pivot and the shock and greased up all the attachment points, but I can't get it to shut the hell up. I hate full suspension for just this reason. Sure its like riding a sofa on the trail, but I demand that it be a quiet sofa. My bike shouldn't make a sound, and if it does, (and mine does), and I can't get rid of it (and so far, I can't get rid of it), and the shop is clueless on how to solve it, (they are looking), then it's off to the eBay gods with you. The Rush is on probation...

What do you know, I DID do a lot this weekend after all, even if no bike/miles were involved!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

San Felasco, Part 3!

Itchy Bottom Lake. This always happens when I wear lycra. Maybe I should see a doctor! Or it may just be an alergy to birds...

San Felasco Deer

My friends from the day on the trail. They were everywhere!

San Felasco State Park

I took a mental health day on Tuesday, and went to San Felasco State Park just north of Gainesville in Alachua. I normally take my birthday off of work and do something alone like hit the trails, but with the birthday falling on a weekend, I didn't want to miss out on family time so I pushed my day to Tuesday. We also had all that crazy rain barrel flooding weather last weekend that Tuesday turned out to be the first really dry day in quite a while.

The State Parks system has added on to the San Felasco Park since I last went, and the new trails do a lot to add to the diversity of the park. Used to be that a major percentage of the park was pine uplands, they have now added some lower more technical trails, and some fast woodland sweeper trails too. I took the camera and snapped a few pictures.

The amazing part of the day though were the deer! I lost count at 25! There were bucks with 4-5 points, does and even a few fawns! There were more of them than there were squirrels! That was neat.

Then...disaster of sorts. I had forgotten my pump (foreshadowing) and my drive train developed a bit of a creak. About as far from the parking lot as I could get, I ran over something that punctured my front tire, and the creak turned out to be a loose drive side crank arm. Well a walking I would go. 8 miles back to the car. Total ride distance about 25 miles, and then another 8 walking, and the deer and I got to know each other pretty well. They would let me walk right past them within 10 feet or so, and only spooked when I reached for the camera.
A good day. The bike issues and the walking were my fault, as I built the bike but then took the tools for another, so I had no pump and no 8mm allen. Lesson learned.