Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My first video, evar

The accomplice bought me a great b-day present: A Kodak Zi6 mini video cam! So no longer I have to bore you merely with epic ride reports. No, now I can bore you even more with lengthy, shaky videos of NY back roads! Just kidding, of course. Anyway, last Saturday I did a first test on our ride to a BBQ at Treman State Park and this is the awesome result:

I still have to find a movie editor that is better than Windows Movie Maker.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Danby State Forest loop

Just a quick ride report about an outing with Tim: we wanted to do a short, 1.5 to 2 hour ride with a bit of climbing. I thought a short variation of my January ride to Spencer would be good for this purpose -- and it was! We went out to Buttermilk Falls, up Sandbank Road, turning right on West King/Jersey Hill and right again onto Comfort Road. Comfort Road at some point turns into a dirt road but in dry conditions it's very ridable, even with 23 mm slicks. Comfort Road ends in the state forest and we turned right onto Bald Hill. Bald Hill Rd. is a very steep descent and where it becomes a "minimum maintenance road" you turn sharp right onto Station Rd, another steep and gravelly descent. Close to the bottom of the hill, the road becomes paved again and shortly after crossing the railroad tracks, you reach NY34. Riding on 34 from Ithaca into the Spencer direction is only medium. There's quite a bit of traffic, including trucks, and even though the road is never steep it nonetheless is basically a 15km uphill. On the other hand, going down on 34 is really neat. You can easily average 30 km/h and you don't have to brake at all. We considered punishing ourselves by turning right again onto Blakeslee Hill Rd (which is supposed to be a pretty mean hill), but for the sake of making it home in daylight we just continued into Ithaca on 34/96.

35 km, 420 m of climbing

Odo Wolfgang: 4158 km
Odo Gunnar: 1224 km
Odo total: 5382 km

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

BikesnobNYC book

Bike Snob
So I've just pre-ordered BikesnobNYC's book from Amazon. They say that it'll be available in early May but since the publisher, Chronicle Books, has it scheduled for tomorrow, I'm hoping I'll get it a bit earlier. I'm a big fan of BSNYC (one of my all-time favorite posts: Too much irony, too little time) and his various snarkways, so my expectations are high!

Lovely bike pr0n spoof

If it hadn't been for the terminology that was decidedly too post-modern for 1980, I wouldn't have spooted to spoof. If you want some extra fun, turn on Google's automatic subtitles. Via Carlton Reid

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Front Wheel for Gunnar

I don't really have a good excuse for doing this, but I've built a new front wheel for Gunnar. As you might remember, currently he's running Wolfgang's old Alex-DA16-on-Deore 36 spoke wheel. While this works just fine, the internal rim width of the DA16 is 16.3 mm (at least according to their website) and thus technically a teeny tiny bit to small for my 700x23 tires. But I admit: this is a lame excuse for my urge to build a new wheel. An additional boost to this urge actually came from a gift from my friend Löby, who gave me an old but functional dial indicator. The idea is to mount it to my truing stand, theoretically allowing me to true wheels down to 0.01mm. Well, I'm still working on the attachment to the stand which turns out to be a bit tricky.

But I've built up the wheel anyway. It's a 32 spoke Mavic Open Pro with DT Swiss Comp 2.0/1.8 spokes on an Shimano Ultegra HB-6600 front hub. After lacing the wheel the wrong way twice, three times was the charm and now it's all trued and tensioned. Figuring out the correct spoke tension was a little tricky because my Wheelsmith tensiometer's calibration table only gives values for their own double-butted spokes which are 2.0/1.7 and not 2.0/1.8. But since the absolute value for spoke tension is not that crucial anyway (Mavic recommends 1050-1100 N) it shouldn't matter too much.

One final note about the wheel: the Open Pros don't come with a wear indicator. Therefore I've measured the thickness of the rim's sidewall. A trick to do this: attach a little magnetic ball to your caliper in order to get around the flange of the rim. My measurements came to almost exactly 1.5mm. This should give me a good point of reference for judging rim wear.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

FLCC Sunday Ride, Attempt 2

After our somewhat sucky experience with last week's FLCC Sunday Ride, I thought I'd give it another shot, this time not with the accomplice, but with my German riding buddy Tim. We met downtown at 9:45 and rode up the hill to the East Hill Plaza meeting place. There were about 8 people there already, once again all in Spandex and on road bikes. Well, this time I was prepared and had brought Gunnar (no spandex, though). We got going just a bit after ten and the pace was fairly fast, but not too fast for my (or Tim's) taste. We dropped a few people during the first part of the ride but re-congregated at the Warren Rd post office where we met another rider. From the airport on, we had to struggle with a fierce wind from the North and at some point I was feeling a little bonked. Well, fortunately the Clif Bar consumed during the stop at the post office kicked in quickly and I was feeling fine again. So fine that I actually did quite a bit of pulling and ended up in a breakaway group of three people. Our only other stop was at the gas station at the intersection of NY 90 and 34, where we waited for most of the other riders. From there on, the riding-into-the-wind was mostly over and we zoomed down Salmon Creek valley into Ludlowville, up the hill to Lansing and back to campus on Warren Road. After about 3.5 hours we were back at the East Hill Plaza parking lot. Verdict: great ride, awesome route! But don't come to a Sunday Ride if you're not well trained and want a truly relaxing ride on your non-road bike. Unless you don't mind being dropped quickly.

Monday, April 5, 2010

First FLCC Sunday Ride (well, kind of)

The FLCC's Sunday Rides started this weekend and given the lovely weather and the announcement that the first ride would be taken "as a social occasion more than a serious ride" the accomplice and I decided to join the party. When we arrived at the meeting point, however, basically everyone on the parking lot looked pretty serious to us---lycra clad, road bike-equipped guys. Well, we joined the ride anyway but it became clear pretty quickly that we couldn't/wouldn't want to keep up with their pace. Thus we decided to let the other guys do their thing while we'd be doing our own. At a pace comfortable to us, we rode out on NY-89 to lovely Taughannock State Park, up to Trumansburg with a pastry stop at Gimme!, and back to Ithaca on nice, quiet back roads. It was a really nice ride, except for the fact that we had forgotten to put on sunscreen and the accomplice got burned quite a bit.

We might give the Sunday Ride another try, hoping that there will be more like-minded (and like-speeded) cyclists.

Odo Wolfgang: 4004 km
Odo Gunnar: 1048 km

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring maintenance and upgrades

The weather is lovely outside and tomorrow we'll be going on the first FLCC Sunday Ride of the year. Today (and a good deal of yesterday), however, I did a lot of work on Wolfgang. I installed a new granny gear, a new front derailleur, I checked and repacked the rear hub bearings; switched from Ritchey Cross Tires to the Conti Gatorskin slicks; and I wired my accomplice's BUMM Toplight Line Plus rear light.

Switching from double to triple clearly was the most laborious process and actually I wasn't able to complete it successfully. I had bought a Shimano XT FD-M773 front derailleur, a Salsa 26t chainring and a 118mm bottom bracket to adjust the chainline. Using the fabulous Park Tool instructions, the cranks came off, the bottom bracket was removed (required several attempts and a bunch of WD40), threads cleaned and regreased, and the new bottom bracket installed.

As I had to take off the chain anyway and the current chain had reached the .75 mark, I also switched the chain back to the old chain. What I immediately noticed was the difference in corrosion between the two. The old one was an Sram PC 971, the more current one to be switched out a PC 951. Despite mostly fenderless use during the 2008/2009 winter, the 971 was completely corrosion free; whereas the last winter had left significant traces on the 951. The difference between the two chains is just a couple of dollars--and the fact that the 971 is nickel-plated. I'll definitely keep this in mind when buying another chain.

Finally, I put on the third chainring and the new derailleur and started adjusting. This is where the trouble began. I couldn't get the derailleur to clear the small chainring, even when the L limit screw was set to the max. I initially thought I had done something wrong, maybe with the height adjustment. But after extensive consultation with my online friends, I've come to the conclusion that derailleur and bottom bracket just don't go together, even though the specifications and Glenn's expertise implied otherwise. What I'll try next is to re-install the old Tiagra derailleur and see if it's going to work -- apparently double front derailleurs often also work for triple.

Odo Wolfgang 3954 km
Odo Gunnar 1048 km

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March Summary

March has been the first month with a whole bunch of days of good weather. What does that translate into in terms of stats? Wolfgang rolled in at 305 km and Gunnar made 94 km in his first month of outdoor riding. In addition, I also rode about 60 km on my Dad's MTB in Germany. This leads to a total of 449 km (Feb: 398 km). March had 31 days, so the daily average was 14.5 km, just slightly more than February (14.2 km/day). Total annual kilometrage is 1176 km.

Odo Wolfgang: 3954 km
Odo Gunnar: 1048 km