Friday, December 25, 2009

Shortest and longest ride

Two ride reports in one: As announced previously, there was the Tour de Solstice, the "shortest ride on the shortest day." It was cold, but not insanely so, the roads were mostly clear, and it was great fun to ride around Ithaca with 30 or so other cyclists. BikeIt, the co-organizers have posted a ride report with a bunch of pictures.

The next day my accomplice and her sister went to the spa and I thought I'd dial in a couple more kilometers for December. Following the Finger Lakes Cycling Club's Newfield/Odessa sunday ride with some modifications, I went on a 105 km ride. It was really cold (about -5 C and windy), but my outfit more or less worked in keeping me warm. I wore wool socks and a plastic bag in my cycling shoes and neoprene booties on my feet, bib tights, old men thrift store wool pants, bike jersey, hooded sweater, rain jacket, and a balaclava. As expected, my feet and the freezing water bottles were the weak spots. I had pre-warmed the water bottles and they lasted for about 1.5 hours before becoming all slushy and finally freezing after 2 hours or so. At my first rest stop, the Alpine Junction Dandy Mini Mart, I refilled them with warm water and some coffee. Second rest stop was at the Trumansburg Gimme!Coffee, with a tasty coffee and a vegan date bar. Total ride time was about 6.5 hours, moving time 5 hours, moving average 21.2 km/h, overall distance 106 km.

Last year, after a long and really miserable ride I had promised myself that I'd never do it again. But now, with improved equipment, I actually enjoyed the ride and would do it again.

View Larger Map

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tour de Solstice

Seems like I mounted my winter tires just in time. Next Sunday Ithaca's Tour de Solstice, the "Shortest Ride on the Shortest Day, a celebration of cycling and friendship, an affirmation that every day is a good day for a ride" will take place. I'll see y'all there!

I guess it's winter

We had quite a bit of snow during the last couple of days. This was a strong encouragement for me to finally replace Wolfgang's 700x28c Conti Gatorskin slicks with my 700x32c 'cross tires. I put them on yesterday (front) and today (back) and now should be ready for the coming snows of this season.

A related side note: This summer I had ordered the Crank Brothers Speed Lever. I tend to misplace traditional tire levers and my disappointing experience with the Quik Stik led me to test a new solution. I must say that I'm really happy with the Speed Lever. Only one piece instead of three and it does indeed work fast. The downside: for really tight tire-rim combinations you'll still need an additional lever to get the tire on and off.

Odo Wolfgang: 2748 km

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Quick ebay update: I'm now proud owner of a set of Dura Ace BR-7700 brakes. Still missing: Brifters, cassette, front derailleur. Frame scheduled for delivery tomorrow.


While browsing through my image library, I found this shot of yet another bike of mine, my Peugeot Ventoux. It's a nice, classic steel road bike from the early 90s and I keep it at my parents' place for whenever I'm in Germany. Not terribly light, a little small for me but I love my Peugeot anyway.

Mud Flap Pictures

Okay, here are the promised pictures of my DIY mud flap. Required skill level: only slightly above 0. Tools and material: box cutter, steel ruler, zip ties. It's a bit tricky to get straight cuts on the curved shampoo bottle; thus my mud flap ended up a bit smaller than intended. But, as I've said: it does work and it makes a big difference when riding in the rain.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Shower Power

Whereas US Mythbusters usually tend to blow up stuff or do alcohol-related experiments, the BBC's Bang goes the theory demonstrated how much energy an average British family consume per day by having 80 cyclists generate that energy. Unfortunately, you can't watch the whole program if you're not located in the UK, but here is a small snippet about one of the more evil devices, the electrically heated shower.

Friday, December 4, 2009


As mentioned yesterday, a lot of boxes with bike parts arrived. One Ultegra crankset, one FSA crankset, 105 rear derailleur, stem and handlebar, Mavic Cosmos rear wheel, a couple of tires, and a Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow saddle. Still no luck with brifters or brakes. Frame is scheduled for delivery on the eighth.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It has begun

According to my accomplice, ebayed bike parts have started to arrive at our place. Frame is scheduled for delivery on the eight! I'm quite excited.

Side note: Brifters are much more expensive than I imagined. Wolfgang, my Cross-Check, has bar-end shifters that I really like. But for Gunnar I think brifters are more appropriate (and bar-end shifters plus brake levers are somewhat pricey as well). I hope ebay will produce something affordable soon.

Odo Wolfgang: 2684 km