Monday, November 30, 2009

Mud flap

I made and installed a DIY mudflap, made out of an old shampoo bottle, yesterday. Instructions (in German, but you don't really need them anyway) can be found here. Of course, today it was raining, and therefore I can say: they do work. They look a little goofy because they're Fructis-green but finding a black shampoo bottle is not exactly easy. Function over form.

Pictures will follow shortly.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm a Roadie now

So I've already briefly mentioned my latest ebay purchase. Here are some more details: It's a 2002 62cm Gunnar Roadie frameset. The price was just under 400 dollars (including shipping) and this was as much as I was willing to pay. Right now--of course--I'm making plans on how to build it up. For lack of funds, I'll go the used-but-good  route and have already spent a large part of the day on ebay. Some decisions have been made: SPD pedals to match my current shoes. Shimano 105 or better for the drivetrain. I already have a front wheel and will build up the rear wheel with a used hub on a new Mavic Open Pro rim. But the rest is pretty much unclear still. 9 or 10 speed? Compact or triple? Saddle? Handlebars? Brakes? Brake/shift levers?? Lots of choices to make. But I'll go slow as I definitely have more time than money.

Riding through the night

I'm not a big fan of winter (especially of the kind of winter we have here in Upstate NY) but I must admit that riding in the winter does have its appeal. I went for a quick spin out to Trumansburg yesterday and worked for a while at Gimme. By the time I started my way, via Enfield, it was totally dark and riding through the night on quiet backroads is pretty cool. The experience is quite different from daytime riding because you focus almost exclusively on riding. Something I tested for the first time yesterday were chemical foot warmers. I have serious cold/numb foot problems and so I thought I'd try something new. The combo of wool socks, foot warmers, summer cycling shoes, and neoprene booties was pretty good. I still ended with numb feet but it was much better than usual. I might buy more.

On a different note: I bought a new frame on ebay! More on that later.

Odo bike 1: 2654 km

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Flat tire, or rather: flat tires

My first flat with the Conti GatorSkins. Last Tuesday I was riding to the Cornell Orchards and hit what probably was a little pebble. This was followed by a clearly audible hissing sound and to both me and a pedestrian standing nearby it was immediately clear what had happened. Pinch flat. Fortunately I always carry a spare tire and so this was not a big deal. I even made it to the orchards and back to a meeting in time.

Unfortunately, three days later I realized that my tire was somewhat flat again. I didn't have time to check it and just put in more air. So this morning I checked again, and yep: it was pretty flat. My immediate suspicion was that the first flat maybe hadn't been a pinch flat after all and that I had missed something in the tube. But the water test showed that this was not the case. Instead, the valve was slowly leaking air. This really sucks, as it was a brand new tube. I'm now down to no spare tube and will ride out to the LBS on Monday and see if they'll replace the tube and/or get new ones.

Odo bike 1: 2601 km

Starting anew: chain, lights, front wheel

I had set up this blog a year ago or so, thinking I'd blog about my riding and other bike-related stuff. Well, obviously it didn't happen. So this is a new start, with a more limited goal: keep track of my maintenance, new acquisitions for my bike, kilometrage.

My total kilometrage count is somewhat off because I accidentally cut off the wire of my bike computer and it took me a while to get the spare part. But now all is good an running.

Latest maintenance:
  • new chain (SRAM with PowerLock): 18 $ The old chain was getting to 0.75% elongation and I thought I'd better change early and do the switching technique to keep my cassette alive for longer. So I'll keep the old chain and put it back on once the current one has reached .75%.
  • installed BUMM Toplight Line Plus rear light (about 30 $). This light just was introduced at the last Eurobike and so far it looks very good. There have been rumors about a recall of faulty lights but no definitive info on this yet. I'll be really pissed if I have to exchange them. The installation on my Jandd rear rack required some improvisation. The Toplight has two horizontal mounting bolts, spaced 50 mm, whereas the rack only has two vertical holes in the center. Solution: I cut a strip of metal out of a bean can and drilled three holes into it. I'm not sure how durable this solution is but for now it works great. I had checked the local Lowe's for appropriate pieces of metal but the metric spacing makes it difficult to find anything. Yeah DIY.
  • truing and tensioning: A while ago I built up a new generator hub front wheel. Shimano DH3N-80, Mavic Open Pro 32 hole, DT Swiss 14 gauge spokes. Initially I didn't have truing stand and only used zip ties for truing. This worked more or less but I still got a truing stand and re-trued the wheels. This made them more true but I could clearly see that the spoke tension was rather uneven. Thus I decided to also invest in a Wheelsmith tensiometer (50 $ at LBS). Using the combo of truing stand and tensiometer was an interesting experience that taught me some things about proper wheel truing. Achieving both perfectly true wheels and even spoke tensions isn't possible but I think I've achieved a good compromise. I'll test the wheels again in 500 km or so and will see how they held up.