Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bike fit workshop tomorrow

As part of their annuyal sprin seminar series, the Finger Lakes Cycling Club will have a bike fit seminar tomorrow. I'm really excited and hope to be one of the people who will receive a fitting. As regular reader will know, I'm not totally satisfied with Wolfgang's fit and maybe the seminar will help me getting rid of issues like numb feet.

Here's the original announcement:
This Sunday, Feb 28 is the first seminar of the annual spring series. The topic will be BIKE FIT (and related mechanical issues).

We will provide some riders with free fitting, as we use them for demonstration purposes to illustrate the mechanics and physiology of bike fit. I can't guarantee that we will have time to provide everyone who attends with a personal bike fit, but if you attend and pay attention, you will be well on your way to being able to evaluate your own position and that of your fellow riders.

The seminar will run from 10:00AM until about Noon and will take place in the 1st floor lounge (room 128) of Olin Hall Chemical Engineering on the Cornell campus. This building is located across from Gannett Health Center, across from Carpenter Engineering Library, and nearly adjacent to the Campus Store.

All seminars are free and open to the public. All interested cyclists are welcome, so please spread the word to other lists or to friends and families.

Glenn Swan

V-Brakes and Drop Bars

For the record: I exchanged brake pad inserts on Wolfgang, switching from the Tektro stock pads to Koolstop Dual Compound. So the original pads lasted about 4 months and maybe 1500 km (no record keeping yet back then, unfortunately). Given the adverse conditions of winter I guess that's a reasonable value.

The old pads on dirty, dirty Wolfgang

What remains of the pad...

New pads installed

While switching the pads, I also installed a new brake noodle with an integrated adjuster barrel.. This is a nifty way to deal with one downside of v-brakes on drop bars. With straight bars and the respective brake levers, you have an adjuster barrel integrated into the lever, allowing to compensate for the wear of the brake. With drop bar levers, on the other hand, you have to do this compensation by loosening and readjusting the brake wire. This is somewhat tricky/time-consuming, and, more importantly, it's not good for the longevity of the brake wire. The new noodle takes care of this issue and it was only 4 bucks.

© Rivendell Bicycles

One issue I'm still dealing with is brake squeal. The Koolstop instructions advise you to install the pads without toe-in because they're already curved themselves. My first attempt, however, lead to horrible brake squeal. I tried fixing it by adding toe-in but this didn't do anything. What did alleviate the problem was to increase the torque on the brake bosses (in combination with having the brake pads installed as advised by Koolstop). This doesn't entirely get rid of the squeal but it has definitely gotten better.

Odo Wolfgang: 3645 km (this is a late post; brake pads were actually installed at 3560 km)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Upgrade for Gunnar

Courtesy of the yearly sale of German online bike shop Rose, I've ordered a little upgrade for Gunnar. As you might remember, currently I have the old Alex DA-16/Deore wheel from my Cross-Check installed. The upgrade will be a Shimano 32H Ultegra Hub with DT Competition spokes on a Mavic Open Pro hub. That should shave a couple grams off of Gunnar's weight, look nicer, and be more appropriate for running thin tires. But first I have to wait for my Germany visit in order to pick up the components.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ride report: Trumansburg

Quick ride report: Temperature only slightly below 0° C made me jump on Wolfgang and do my standard round to Trumansburg and back. When I started it was very grey and snowing, making the ride to Trumansburg not terribly pretty;.

I love those quiet country roads...

I was, however, rewarded with a nice view of the icy falls in Taughannock State Park.

From Trumansburg ride

The reason for riding to Trumansburg (aside from it being a nice ride) is that it allows me to work for a couple of hours at the Gimme!Coffee there.

Wolfgang parked in downtonw T-Burg

On the way back, I made a quick stop at the lower Taughannock Park (the Gorge trail is open, btw) and at Allen Treman Park in Ithaca to shoot some pictures of the lake.

It was pretty windy

From Trumansburg ride

Not the right time of year for a BBQ

The Cayuga inlet is completely frozen

Ride stats: 48.6 km, 588 m elevation gain, average moving speed 21 km/h

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wolfgang with the new Brooks

I just remembered that I still haven't posted any pictures of Wolfgang with the new Brooks saddle. Well, here it is. As noted previously, so far it has been pretty comfortable but it's definitely not broken in yet. From looking at the picture, I'll probably change the angle of the saddle by a bit and put the nose further down. Common knowledge has it that Brooks saddles need to be angled up a little, but my current set-up might be a bit too much.

Snowshoe fun

From Snowshoe Hike

Surprise, surprise: winter is still not over and another weekend without significant riding went by. So as an alternative, the accomplice and I went to Glenn Swan's Monday night showshoe outing. As always, it was lots of fun and the weather was exceptionally good, too. Around 0° C and clear skies made for a nice sunset and a great 4.5 km walk.

Odo Wolfgang: 3411 km

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Is it spring yet?

Just a quick update:

  • It's still winter. Today the snow has reached us and I might go on a little adventure on the South Hill Recreation Way on my way home from campus.
  • Forecast for next weekend looks comparatively good (high of -1°C), so maybe I'll be able to go for a ride.
  • The new Brooks feels pretty good so far, but due to the weather I haven't had a chance to test it on a longer ride.
  • in terms on working on the stable: I installed an Avid Single Digit 7 V-brake on the accomplice's bike in order to increase stopping power and allow installing the BUMM Cyo headlight
  • upgrade plans: On Wolfgang, I'm going to install a triple front crank as part of a general spring overhaul. In terms of parts and work, this will require something between the ideal of only switching the front derailleur to a triple and  the worst case scenario of a new bottom bracket, new front derailleur, new (longer cage) rear derailleur. Most people who have done this conversion on a Cross-Check seem to be switching their bottom bracket from 113mm to 118mm, but maybe it'll work without that. Certainly worth a try. 
  • My ebaying efforts haven't been terribly successful: The two Oryx brakes were sold for a whopping total of 2.50$ and two of the saddles didn't sell at all. At least the SDG saddle sold for 19.50$ but I'm still awaiting payment. But whatever -- at least I got rid of some stuff.
  • Another potential upgrade: I might try buying a used Zzing USB charger for running my GPS and charging cell phones via the hub generator. There's a good DIY solution out there, but if I get a used Zzing it wouldn't save me much money and my soldering skills are a bit rusty.
  • As you can see on the accomplice's blog, we've signed up for a biking Memorial Day weekend in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks! It's still far away, but I'm really looking forward to it. 
High Peaks of the Adirondacks

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

January summary

No good cycling month. The temperatures were just too low for much outdoor riding and in addition, I had to do some travel. Longest ride was around 70 km and the rest was mostly everyday riding. Overall outdoor riding: 329 km
February is probably not going to be much better but we'll see.

Odo Wolfgang: 3261 km