Friday, October 28, 2011

Titanium and the Drop Bar

It has been a good week of riding for me. Four days of commuting, for a total of nearly 50 miles, and great North Florida weather for all 4 days. The drop bar TST titanium non-road-bike-road-bike is a great success. As the sun gets lower in the sky and the days get shorter, I will need to update my lights, but otherwise, I wouldn't change a thing. Even the stem which seemed like it may be too long has proven to be very comfortable, although I suspect that if I put in a 60 mile ride on the bike I may feel it in my hands.

I took today off from the commute because tomorrow I will be doing 50 miles in Santos, off road. Resting my butt up for that one.

A few pics of the TST. It is no Potts, but it is nicely made, here in the states, and it rides very well, off road, and now, on road. I've considered selling this bike before, and In all honesty, I'd not been using it at all since the Phoenix took it's place as the geared rigid bike in my stable, but with the drops, it has found a new home. I dig it.

It is not a Triumph. I saved the head badge from my childhood bike and it has lived on this sucker since I purchased the frame from Cambria online, for the closeout price of $350. Can't beat that price with a stick. $350 may get me a Potts fork.

Nice looking drops, and the welds are very even. I've done other posts on this frame so I won't go into the whole who-does-TST-make-frames-for thing again, but lets just say they do a good job. It is a well put together frame with a nice drop to the top tube, thoughtful features and sexy s-bend stays.

Bottom bracket area. Many frames get a little muddles in here as there isn't much room for the welder to work his magic, but the TST doesn't disappoint. I've built up this frame in 3 configurations in the 6-7 years I've owned it, and I've always been pleased.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Road Bike?

When is a road bike not a road bike? When you hate road bikes and people who like road bikes, so you take a mountain bike and road bike - ificate it. And that's what I did, but if you piss me off I'm putting on a set of Nevegals and hitting the trail.

Drop bars and associated stem, bar end shifters and drop bar brake levers that work with side pull brakes.

Drop bar flare. The hoods are nice and level, the picture leans... I promise. Either that or my right arm is longer than my left.

Where's this little sucker?...

S-Works forged cranks. M900 XTR are through the roof, and the equivalent Sugino made models like these Specialized arms, and Ritchey Logic arms, are lagging behind in popularity and price. I buy good stuff cheap. Cheap is good. Your loss my gain.

All in all, 4 days on the commute and I like it. No it is not a road bike, but I can't stand the idea of having all that dough wrapped up in a bike I just hate. Still, aero and slick are necessary evils on bikes meant for pavement. I will conform, if only ever so slightly.

Cost, after marauding through the parts bins? Nitto bar - $60, Civia stem - $25, Dia Compe brake levers - $45. The rest I already owned... bastard road bike ever.

Cheaper than the Turner.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mo No-Flo Culture

We are our own microcosm of inbred weirdness here in North Florida. For example, we may have a million folks in the metropolitan area, but there are not enough educated and employed people to support a Starbucks downtown...


We may know that we want to ride to work occasionally, but we have no idea what off the rack POS we ought to ride on. A knock-off Turner 5Spot? Really?

And we know that you should never bring a handgun into the Federal Courthouse. However, nobody said anything about TOY handguns, as evidenced by this little bit of packaging lying in the landscaping right in front of, you guessed it, the Federal Courthouse.

North Florida is a hoot. You should visit. We have football.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

'Nooga Too!

Tennessee day two... Raccoon Mountain.

A shot of the city from Raccoon.

Old plates. On a modern Audi Allroad.

More hills than Enterprise, and rockier.

View of the river from the generating station lookout at the start of Megawatt trail.

Rocks on Laurel Point trail.

And BED.

Last morning's fire.

Harrison Bay Lake.

The doods.

Nutrition to go. We stopped in on the Terminal Brewing Company to eat on Saturday, and I scored a nice fat growler of their IPA, cleverly named "Magnum PA"! Get it? HA!

Higgy Baby would be proud.

Fall in Tennessee - Part 1

Spent the weekend in Tennessee with the Appalachian peeps. It was a great trip, and the weather was perfect. We were in Chattanooga... or 'The Nooga' as the hipsters call it. (!)

Culture was the order of the day on the drive up. No word on if Chicken Blast is where you eat or what happens to you after you eat it.

We camped at Harrison Bay State Park, right don the road from one of our weekend destinations; Enterprise Park, and not far from the second; Raccoon Mountain.

First stop... Enterprise South trail system. Built in conjunction with the new VW plant in 'Nooga, these trails were a hoot. Not very difficult, but very fast and fun.

Enterprise South is built on an old munitions storage site, so there are these munitions bunkers all over the place. Cold War infrastructure is creepy.

Inside the bunker.

Pump Track right outside the bunker.

Directional trails in Enterprise. A nice idea to keep you from eating the face of another rider smoking up around that blind turn up ahead...

Carbo-loading! "From the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe we tender this beer to you as a tribute to your good taste..."

Fall colors. I wont get to Tsali this fall, so I got my fix in 'Nooga.

Next stop... Raccoon Mountain.