Monday, June 09, 2008

Various stuff.

The weekend came and went and I got in an hour ride with the woman. That's it. Otherwise it was on call duty, clean, work on bikes, projects, and avoid tornadoes.

Brady invited me on an early early ride Saturday morn, but I didn't get the message till late. Plus I would have had to turn back after about 45 minutes to be home so I could sit around for my on-call duty. Sucks. In a few months our on call is going to stretch out to once every 6 weeks instead of once every 4. That'll be nice. However this is going to come with other shift changes that'll see me doing the late shift (11am to 8pm) 4 times a year instead of 3. It's all kinds of weird, but we'll see how it pans out.

Bryan had a great weekend at Norfolk. Way to go, buddy! I sure wish I could have been there to race and watch others race, but seriously, I gotta keep chipping away at my debt load. $4 a gallon gas and lack of training motivation has all but taken me out of racing this year.

Aaron Pool is taking up my slack of team representation by doing really well at a UCI stage race in Spain(?). He had multiple top tens, wore the best young riders jersey for a day and says he felt strong in all aspects of his racing. In just a couple weeks, he and a few teammates are flying this way to do the Tour of Pennsylvania. My dad and I are heading out that way for a nice vacation of following the race, visiting family, and riding some rails-to-trails. Fun times!

I mentioned before that I worked on bikes and started a project. Well here's the details, if anyone wants to know, which I'm sure you do, oh yes you do. Actually, don't feel bad about not reading from here on. Topic is dinking with bikes and working with wood, that's it.

So on the bike front, I've successfully stayed away from doing a big purchase. If I think about it, I've made at least one pretty big purchase if not a couple, every year for the past 4 years. It's either been a whole bike, a wheelset, or a bunch of parts. This year, I've bought a couple small items to keep the bikes going, but that's it. And my debt load reflects this. I'm making huge gains on it, and it feels great. So anyway. What I have done to quell my need to get new stuff is continuously change old stuff. I have a bike that my parents got me in 10th grade, so about 14 years ago. This bike was made right when "hybrids" first came onto the scene. It's more of an off-road hybrid since it has 26" tires. It's definitely not aggressive trail riding worthy. I have recently used random parts to make it into a cruiser/fun ride bike that I use on outings with the woman. It has a nice upright position and a big cushy saddle. Very anti-racer like!

The Bianchi commuter I bought last year has also gotten some changes. The stock wheels it came with are heavy, especially with the front hub being a generator. Since the days are so long, I don't really need a generator light, so I swapped out the wheels for lighter training ones. I have my Ree-Lights on these, just to cover any early day/evening rides. I also changed out the rear derailleur and cogset to a mtb setup. The stock was 12-27 on the rear with a single 42th chainring up front. Since this bike is a beast (28lbs with heavy wheels, 26lbs with light ones), I needed something easier than a 42x27 to get me up the hills. Now I have an 11-34 on the back so I could conceivably climb some mountains. I may need that for my Pennsylvania trip since there are some mountains over there. Another little thing I'm quite proud I figured out was my fender setup. If you have fenders on your bike and you ride in the wet, you know that having the fenders fairly close to the tires really helps ward off tire spray. So on the rear fender, there are 3 mounting points usually: a cross brace right next to the bottom bracket, a cross brace near the brakes, and the 2 metal rod thingies that attach to the rear drop-outs near the rear wheel axle. It's easy to adjust 2 of the 3 mounting points. The bottom bracket brace is not so easy. I've heard of people using spacers and longer bolts to move the front of the rear-tire fender closer so it can protect the chain from getting tire spray. When I was going through my parts for a long bolt, I found one of those inner-tube valve stem nuts and got a great idea. I took an old innertube, cut out the valve stem and got a couple more of those valve nuts. I secured the valve stem to the fender, added another stem nut, ran it through the frame's cross brace, then added a final valve stem nut. So now, I can loosen a couple of those nuts (by hand, which is nice since it's a very tight space in there) and adjust the fender for when I might use larger tires. At this point if you still have any idea what I'm talking about, congratulations, you are as big of a bike-wrench-nerd as I am. If not, I might post pics later to show what the heck even I'm talking about.

Edit: here's the pics of said fender greatness:

You can see how it's a valve stem.

Here you can almost see the part that used to be part of the tube.

And here you can see the ginormous pie-plate like rear cogset. Also note how close the fender is to the tire. No spray on my chain now!

On the wood work side, our place has a great/horrible skylight right above our bed. It's great for lighting, but horrible when it rains. The thing acts like a drum for every rain drop and we sleep right under it. It's no fun being woken up by a snare solo at 3am. So my parents were kind enough to give me some spare pieces of wood to create a sort of sound deadening baffle. I started work on that yesterday and will hopefully finish it soon since the rest of the week looks like lots of random storms are coming.

So that's what's going on in my neighborhood. What's happening in your neck of the woods?


Sean said...

I crashed again, but this time it was one hundred percent not my fault at all. So I'm nursing my wounds and taking this week easy. More about that later on my blog!

munsoned said...

That's wonderful news. Oh wait, no it's not. Well at least you aren't out of commission and it wouldn't have happened if you weren't at the wrong place/wrong time.

dale said...

Nice creativity and functionality with the valvestem fender adjustment! Looks nice and clean too.

Sean said...

Nice resolution on that camera, too.

bryan said...

Ladies and gentleman, here he is: MacGyver!

munsoned said...

Sean, my camera would be better if it could hold a charge for more than a couple hours. It's got a bad battery, so it's not very reliable. but it does do some good pics.

Dale/Bryan, I just thought I'd share with others. The good ol' interwebs helps people communificate and such.