Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wacky Shops part Dos

You'll recall that just a couple weeks ago I tried to order a set of Avid brake pad inserts through my local shop, and instead they ordered me a pair of Jagwire complete replacement pads? And that I told the shop that I wasn't going to buy the pads that they'd ordered for me out of principle, because they had repeatedly insisted on buying what they considered a 'comparable equivalent' if it meant they could order from their usual en mass catalog supplier (read; QBP).

Well, the story gets better. They offered to reorder my Avid pads that I requested, and I accepted. Last week I got the call that my pads were in. This time they were brake pad inserts alright... brake pad inserts for Jagwire brake pads, not Avids.

Strike two.

Or maybe just strike three, or more accurately, pop fly and out, because...

...I was so surprised that they still managed to use their 'judgement' to second guess my order and screw up what would seem to be the most obviously simple special order on the planet, that I speechlessly slapped down my 10 bucks and made those stupid little brake pad inserts the last special order purchase I'll make from that shop. From now on, no question...PricePoint.

Irony: The inserts were 3 dollars more than the complete pads that they originally ordered.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Greenville Zoo

When we went to Greenville to hang with the cronies up there, we dropped in on the Greenville Zoo. It was a funny little zoo, with good sized exhibits to alleviate your guilt about paying money to see great wild animals stuck in South Carolina. It was a hot day though, so many of the critters were huddled in the shade.

Like this poor critter. She was about to burst into flames it was so hot. Huddled in the shade did allow for me to snap a nice close-up picture though. The zoo was good for close-ups.

They also had a farm animal exhibit that provided for some up close and personal experiences with Goats!.. I dig goats.

Chickens too. I dig chickens. Only I would go to the zoo and spend most of my time with domesticated farm animals.
On an unrelated note... Happy Birthday Mom!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Garden Booty!

Garden update!

What in the world are these?


Compare these original pictures to the background pictures in the Yokota finale post, and you can see how much the garden has developded in the last few months. We've had a bunch of tomatoes and peppers, but the corn is not so good! It looks like little cat brains.

Friday, July 9, 2010

De-Singulation and 130mm conversion!

I'm getting the goods collected together, from my bottomless pit of bizarre retro bike parts, to build up the Rocky Mountain. One of the issues to sort is wheels, and while the Rocky will get a proper 7 speed Hyperglide drivetrain, the frame is old enough that it has 130mm rear dropout spacing, so I'll have to do a wee bit of finagling to get together a read hub that is both 130mm and HG. For space purposes, I've temporarily taken apart the white EWR and hung it from the rafters, so I'll use those wheels and modify from there. The EWR was last used as a single speed, with Surly Singleator hub conversion, so first thing to do is pull the guts from the Surly-ed hub, and then use the 10mm Allen to mount up the freehub body.

Here we're done the gutting, and removed the Singleator, and refitted the NOS 7spd HG freehub body, that was originally on this hub before the single speed conversion. The rim here is an older Sun Rhyno Lite, and we all know Rhyno Lites suck big white polar bear wieners, so after I've completed the hub rebuild, the rim goes in the pooper and I'll rebuild the back wheel to a Mavic 717. I've already swapped out the Rhyno for the 717 in the front so the back is due. Rhyno Lites were the worst rims ever made in the 'modern' age of mountain biking. Garbage.

Looking in, you see the fresh Shimano grease inside the bearing surfaces of the hub body, and the splines for the 10mm Allen shaft which holds the freehub body to the hub itself.

This is a low mileage Ultegra 8spd 130mm donor hub. The axle and cones, nuts and spacers for the new 130mm rebuilt unit I'm building up will come from there. The 8spd freehub body itself is the same as Deore XT unit, so it's good for spares. Into the box it goes!

Slather liberally with Phil's grease. All my hub rebuilds get Phil's in them. The stuff is great for bearing surfaces that see water, as a bicycle hub in Florida would. The bearings go in next.

Non-drive side assembled, but no dust shield yet. Here you can see that I've lubed up my balls with Phil's goo and then put them side by side in the hole.
Sorry about that. You have to put a 'lubed' joke in a hub rebuild post. It's the law.

Then, simply insert the 130mm axle, spaced just a smidge over to the drive side for 7 speeds and not 8, and then thread on the cone and spacers and nut to the non drive side and adjust. You can use another 7 speed hub to gauge the axle spacing against when you get to this stage.

Now I'll strip down the wheel and chuck the Rhyno Lite in the recyclers, and order some spokes up and start lacing! I've got a set of 28 hole M900 XTR hubs, and Sun 0 degree Tomac rims in red that I'll also be lacing up. I'd better get cracking if I have three wheels to build and I don't even have the spokes yet! Good thing I don't do this type of work for a living anymore!

After, we cubed a roast, and set up some kabobs with bell pepper, pineable, mushrooms and tomatoes, and then ate like pigs. Good thing I don't ride a bike for a living either!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Those wacky Keystone shops

There's something wrong with bicycle retailing today, down here in my neck of the woods.

Last week I asked my local shop to the north to order me a set of Avid V brake inserts, in the red 'wet conditions' compound. For the unwashed out there, Avid is a company, and V brake is a type of brake, and inserts means the little rubber part, and they are now designed to simply slide on and off for easy replacement of worn pads, without the need for tools. Well, I got a call from the shop on Thursday telling me that the pads were in, and so today after my road ride I stopped in to pay up and take them home, and dammit if they didn't order the wrong stuff... some random red brake pads, complete, not slide on inserts, and from the brand Jagwire and not Avid. This is a pet peeve of mine about this shop, so I told them the parts would not do and I left. They were surprised that I didn't just pay and take them. I know its not a big deal, and most people would have just bought the damn things and most of the time I seem to, but as I've had this problem with the shop before... three times as a matter of fact, the last time it happened I told myself I would never again pay for a part I didn't order.

SO...Note to Bicycle retailer, ORDER THE PART YOU ARE ASKED TO ORDER. I don't want the equivalent, I want what I want. I can get what I want from the Web, and if I never seem to get satisfaction from you guys, even paying Keystoned prices, then I'm going to the Web and I don't want to hear the 'support your local shop' BS.

Round Two...

Related story... I just came home from a trip to South Carolina, where I was visiting some buddies and riding the trails around Greenville. While riding Paris Mountain, on the first day of the trip, I slashed a Continental tire and had to swap in a loaner from my buddy Paul. Finished the weekend and gave him back the tire.

So late this afternoon, I tried to buy a tire from my local shop to the south. They are a Trek store, so that means that essentially the only tires that they are allowed by Trek to stock, are Trek's Bontrager brand tires, in many different tread patterns. I'm mildly irritated at that, as I think Trek is a dastardly nasty company to deal with, and newer Bontrager stuff sucks big green monkey wee-wees. The worst part though, is that the Trek/Buttranger tires they do stock are...get ready...dry conditions and hard pack conditions tread designs! I live and ride in a swamp! YOU sell bikes and parts to people in a SWAMP! I want SWAMP tires, guys! Where's yer brain?

Anyway, off the rant box. I really do want to support the local shops, and I try all the time but they don't make it easy. Either they don't stock anything but crappy heavy shrader valved tubes and little bells and rubber toot-toot horns shaped like tree frogs and little pink pigs, or they only stock what Big Brother Trek says they can stock, and if those reasons aren't enough to spark some hate, they offer to order anything I want, as long as that means 'anything we determine is a suitable substitute.'

Makes me almost want to pay overnight shipping from PricePoint. Almost.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

When Mennonites go bad.

Old Floyd is back at it again...

I don't expect you to read the whole thing, hell I only got to this part of the story when I felt the rug of reality pulled out from under me by ol' Floyd.

In May 2002, Mr. Landis said, Mr. Armstrong told him there was a chance he might be tapped to ride at the Tour. He offered to rent Mr. Landis an apartment in St. Moritz, the Swiss resort town where he was living during the cycling season.

Nearly every day for weeks the two men went on punishing rides in the mountains where, Mr. Landis recalled, he often had trouble keeping up. Mr. Armstrong's training adviser, an Italian doctor named Michele Ferrari, followed behind in an old station wagon stocked with food, water and warm clothes for the descents. At the top of a climb, Dr. Ferrari would pull over to analyze the wattage meters on their bikes that measured how much power they were putting into the pedals.

By June, Mr. Landis had shown great improvement. He finished second to Mr. Armstrong in the seven-day Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, a warm-up race for the Tour de France. After the race, Mr. Landis said, he was packing to leave the hotel when Mr. Bruyneel, the team director, knocked on the door.

Mr. Landis said Mr. Bruyneel congratulated him and gave him the news he'd been hoping for—that he would likely be named to the nine-man Tour de France team.

According to Mr. Landis, Mr. Bruyneel told him that when he arrived back in St. Moritz, Mr. Armstrong would give him something to shorten his recovery time in the weeks leading up to the Tour. Mr. Landis said Mr. Bruyneel told him they were small patches that contained testosterone and that Mr. Landis should stick one on his stomach two out of every three nights before going to bed.

This story just doesn't gel...

So in the story, according to Floyd, a non doping Landis destroyed all comers at the 2002 Dauphine, save for a doped up Armstrong, and finished 2nd. That's quite a feat for a clean cyclist who at that point in his career had only hinted to JB that he would be willing to dope to make the squad, but claims to have not doped yet. If he could do 2nd overall in an event like the DL, then, I'd imagine that if he started sticking testosterone patches on his tummy he'd be able to clean the floor with everyone including Lance.

Not only that, but back in 2002 Lance wasn't nearly the god he is now, and if I were a team manager, in JB's shoes, and I was relying on a doped up Armstrong to win my tours, and then I found this little Mennonite beast that could shred the field and finish 2nd while riding clean, then I'm telling you straight up, JB would have dumped Lance and began pumping Landis with all kinds of illegal crap in hopes of winning 10 tours.

Think about it, if everyone is dirty, and the doping is systematic, then a kid who comes out of nowhere and cranks out a 2nd place finish in one of the most prestigious events in cycling, while riding clean, would truly be THE new star of the show.

Or, he's just full of it. Again.

I don't worship at the alter of Lance, by any means, and I'm not so diluted that I don't believe that he engaged in performance enhancing drugs either. What I do believe, is that the machine around Lance is a lot more organized than these tell-all stories really convey. What's more likely, that either A, Lance has never doped, or B, that he's a blood pumping vampire in the mold of Alexander Vinokourov, or C, that the handlers and trainers of Lance did a masterful job of keeping him training on the cutting edge of science and chemistry, that the anti-doping controls in place to prevent chemical mischief were years behind Lance's 'vitamins'.

I think, C.

See, supplements are in all of sport. And supplements regularly get declared illegal, after champions of the game have enjoyed their benefits for years. Then, the smart champion doesn't keep taking the illegal stuff. Oh no, that's when the big money pros have new and fancy supplements created to offer them increased performance while still maintaining their legal status. As long as you can get vitamin supplements at the supermarket, and shops like GNC are seemingly in every shopping mall, you will have athletes looking for that special legal cocktail for success.

But my god, get past it. Just enjoy the Tour. Understand that people will always try to cheat, and people will get busted for it every year. The event isn't perfect, as no sport is. Not everyone is a cheating pig, and until they get rousted as a cheating pig, then they shouldn't get flagged in public as a cheating pig by documented cheating pigs. Why, years after being discredited as a pig, do I have to read about Floyd Landis over and over and over? If Lance and Hincappie and Rubiera and the others on Tour winning teams past and future, test positive for doping and drugs, then pigs they will be. Until then, though, cycling struggles just like the NFL or most any other sanctioned competition, to keep the game as clean as possible.
Well, OK... except for Major League Baseball... they seem to like it dirty.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mo' betta eBay hotness

The Master Po of eBay auctions...

Wushi Finger Hold

"So you know this hold? And you know what happens when I raise my finger?"