Thursday, November 19, 2009
My LBS suggested a B&M fork mounting bracket as a possible work around for the sidepull brake issue. The bracket is intended for use with Brompton folder bike. It is also designed to hold a light having a euro mounting tab, which the Supernova E3 lefty does not have (though there is a verision of the E3 light that is properly equipped). Despite these details , the bracket seemed adaptable and at $6 I thought I could afford experiment with it.
Miraculously, the light mounted without too much fuss after I found the right spacers. I'm happy to report that the bracket pairs solidly with the light. While the bracket is not intended for a light as substantial as the Supernova E3, the whole thing feels sturdy enough for me. At the theoretical risk of a cracking the bracket with the long term impact of low level vibrations, I am going to use it anyway.
There isn't a ton of extra room between the bracket and the headset crown race, but it's enough. The whole thing stays put without any disconcerting rattling or shaking. The on off switch is within reach. Most importantly, the light on the road from this new position is much better than the light available from a higher mounting position on the handlebars. There is a small wheel shadow right in front of the bike, but it hardly detracts from the performance of the light.
I am very happy with this setup, especially considering that it avoids the annoyance of mounting a front rack for the sole purpose of positioning a light. As you can see, the handlebars are also a bit less cluttered (please forgive the sloppy cabling), and the light is tucked neatly away ready when needed.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Even better, there is still room to keep the SKS P45 fenders on. This set up may not be for those who are fender worriers; those who lose sleep over thoughts of junk jamming the tire in the fender. I could probably adjust the fenders a bit to get more space, but it's just fine the way it is. Without fenders, the frame could easily swallow a much larger tire.
I wouldn't use these tires all the time because moderate slick tires are more than adequate for a wide range of conditions, but for commuting in the fall fat knobby tires make sense. Thick layers of leaves cover rocks and holes and make it difficult to avoid the nastier parts of roads and bike trails. Having a little more cushion and grip between me and the ground makes that difficulty quite manageable. I think they give the bike a nice sturdy appearance too.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I've been hoping someone would make a dedicated steel single speed cyclocross frame without those cheesy semi-horizontal dropouts with derailleur hangers... and downtube shifter bosses. I like a bike built to a single purpose rather than to many needs a la Cross Check. There are few or none out there in the steel single speed cx category. Could I have canti brakes and track ends please? Can I put an honest fat tire in there too? The current off-the-shelf options are either low quality or aluminum, no thanks. A custom could be anything you ask for, but that is a very expensive can of worms. The recent Kona Major One is ss - made of scandium. That's a step in the right direction, but I am holding out for steel. Think Gunnar Crosshairs with track ends or Rivendell Quickbeam with tighter geometry. I'm not the only one looking for this, right?
Now, finally I hear about the Traitor Crusade due out in early 2010. A good one-er cross bike, fat tires, canti's and just one cog. It's a committed single speeder. Bravo. Look at the tidy drop out situation, isn't that nice? Someone is paying attention to my wishes. My only complaint is that it has a carbon fork instead of a steel fork with a proper crown. I bet it rides nicely still. The mustard orange color is terrific, probably wears dirt well. Overall, I'm optimistic on this development since Traitor can make a decent bike. I'll be all ears for any news.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
It follows that I'm quite excited that Ergon, a fine grip maker, is coming out with the Ergon BioKork in 2010. As with other Ergon grips, they fasten to the bars with a simple clamp. They will also have that familiar shape that is so comfortable. If that's not enough, they are made of earth friendly materials and are notexpensive. Pinch me. My Rivy will definitely get a set of these.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Here is one interaction that I spied the other day. I generally think it's tacky to narrate pets' and babies' unspoken thoughts. I'm going to do it anyway, and I promise I won't do it again:
C - Hi dog, are you going to eat me today?
R - Perhaps, you have fattened up nicely and you taste better each day.
C - True. I'm delicious.
R - Maybe we can work something else out... Shake on it?
C - Deal. Let's keep this our little secret. Act cool.
R - Sigh.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I too like to do a few things myself, but I am able temper the tendency only because I lack the time to do more. Though I am occasionally reminded that the do-it-yourself gene runs strong throughout the family tree. Cousin Adam's wedding occurred recently on a very rainy Saturday in the family barn and adjacent tent. That wasn't exactly the plan, but that's what they came up with when the skies opened up. It was very pretty.
We soon realized that the power supply in the barn could not handle the lights, the cookware, the DJ, and everything else. The circuit flipped every five minutes until....
Cousin Aaron jumped up from the table without a word and disappeared only to come back twenty minutes later announcing that the problem was solved and the lights were just fine.
He did not have to look far to find a readily available extension cord to run to the house...400ft away. And that wasn't even the long cord. Out from the tent, into the other barn window...
...neatly plugged in, amid the garden of redundant industrial grade tools and the tractor. Yes, the bride and groom did go for a hayride. Well done. Admittedly, running some extension cord is no engineering marvel, and it was not made more complicated in any way. The interesting observation is, however, that in any situation any of the family households would be well-equipped to fix whatever might fall on the occasion. Had the roof started leaking, it would be quickly patched, and patched in a way that no hurricane would ever dare challenge the quadruple strength reinforcement. Do it yourself, overbuild it, and make it complicated if at all possible. That is the way of things. Thankfully we didn't need to break out the chainsaws this time.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Vintage cars are not my thing, but I think this an MG TD model from the early 1950's. I like the proportions of this car. The hood extends way out in front of the driver and tapers toward a tall chrome grill. The round head lights float at the front of the car. The driver sits practically on the rear axle in a minimal cockpit. What a neat looking car.
It turns out that style is the only thing this car has going for it. Tom and Ray from Car Talk describe it vividly. "The driving experience is frightening. So frightening, we recommend you wear brown pants whenever you set foot in this car." They go on to say that it's an all around terrible car - unrealiable, dangerous, noisy, hungry for oil and without practical comforts. It's is redeemed only in that it has classic looks and is somehow undeniably fun. It looks great standing still on a sunny fall day. I'm sure the owner, local no-doubt, had a nice drive yesterday.
Monday, October 5, 2009
We now have more evidence that this earlier notion of moving north is not entirely crazy. Seems our little peanut would meld nicely into the maple fabric. What's more, grandmom seems to see it too!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Today was different. He again sat beside me for a trip across town. This time he approached the open window and seemed satisfied to peek out a bit. As with his usual low-energy style he made use of the window sill for a chin rest lest he expend any unnecessary energy taking a look around. I think he likes it. Rigby still shifts trying to find that comfortable sitting spot, but the outside keeps his interest in a most dog-like manner.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
There is just something so perfect about the early morning. It is far and away my favorite time of day. It would literally make my day to stop the clock at 9 o'clock and loop those first few waking hours over and over for the remainder of the day. Groggier folks may think this is lunacy, but other morning people know exactly what I'm talking about. Everything is quiet and fresh. No one is around and the world is yours alone; there are precisely two people and one dog that make good company at this hour. The air is pleasantly chilly. My sneakers get damp with dew at the toes when I bring the dog to park. Coffee is at it's best. The light is low and shines through the trees gently. It's simply the best time of day, and maybe this clip captures some that quality.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The Weston town common was fluttering with flags in remembrance of each life lost on Sept 11.
The Battle Road trail near Concord was bright with yellow sunflowers leaning toward the morning light.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
I set about sprucing up the Poprad a bit with a good scrubbing and new cables, brake pads and bar tape. I rode it a bunch in the last few weeks just to reassure myself that the bike is sound. It survived some long road rides and rougher trail runs. In fact, the bike was terrific. I hate to brag, but I did a great job putting this bike back together. It works better than ever before; perhaps I have improved my tinkering skills over the years. I'm so pleased with it that I am a little sad to see it go, but I'm reassured in that it's new owner will ride it plenty.
List of likes and dislikes on this bike for posterity:
Likes: accommodates fat tires, fenders and a rack, climbs quickly, nice 853 tubing, good road feel, Vittoria Randonneur tires, Ritchey Biomax handlebars, cantilever brakes.
Dislikes: flexy around the bottom bracket which makes trimming the front derailleur a moving target, too short a top tube for my proportions, wimpy rack mounts, unicrown fork = ughhh, cantilever brakes.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The strangest things are often laying at the side of the road - I've seen a few blog entries about such oddities (thanks for the idea). Shoes are not intrinsically odd, but a single shoe in the road is odd, and that is where I found this one. Why do I care? A shoe in the road invites speculation. How did it get there? Where is the left one? Is someone walking around with a bare foot? This shoe is quite close to the gym near my office, so it's possible that it leapt out of a gym bag, maybe from someone riding in a convertible. However, the shoe is really more of a boot - not the kind of footwear that you see in the gym. That undermines my initial theory. No, I didn't pick it up. A single boot is useless and a mysteriously found boot could be a little funky for my taste. Though I wonder if it will be there tomorrow.
Friday, September 4, 2009
I'm fortunate in that my office is located within spitting distance of Cutler Park. Therein lay miles of trails for riding. Once you get away from the main entrances, the trails become winding narrow single track with just a few technical challenges. There are a few long raised boardwalks and some rooted sections that break it up. One of my favorite things is that you can make a nice loop of 10 or 12 miles and probably more if you explore.
The other day we took a longish lunch to go out riding, and one of us had a GPS on board to document the route. We start from the Kendrick Street entrance in Cutler Park and followed the trails several miles back to the Needham Street side which I think is basically in Dedham. This loop would be counterclockwise in the above map starting in the upper left area. A few sections were overgrown but still quite passable. (Remember to pick the greenery out of you derailleur and watch the thorns!) In the interest of time we skipped all of the trails that meander to some otherwise worthwhile shorter adjoining loops. From that end we hopped over a sidewalk along several hundred yards of busy roads (route 109 and the VFW) and then picked up the return trail in Millenium Park in West Roxbury. The section in Millenium Park is fairly unremarkable going around the hill. But it leads you back into the woods in the abutting Brook Farm reserve. This next section of trail is wide and well maintained, but still wooded; we hauled through there heading back in the general direction of Wells Ave. This pops out right down the street from where we started - loop completed.
I've been over this loop a few times. I've noticed that there may be some silent stewarts maintaining some of the trickier sections with new boards traversing water sections or cutting back the bushy spots. Thank you to whoever you are. There are also some little kickers here and there which are fun. It's definitely a great local area to explore, especially with others who may know something new about it.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
However, there are few things I like more than a bike project. This bike was actually pretty nice and had lots of potential. So I set to sprucing it up for a good around town bike - something a little less sporty for bumbling around the neighborhood or for a quick trip to the store.
Cleaning it up and replacing the rusty bits was the first order of business. There is something extremely satisfying about stripping crumbling cable housing and attaching new set of cables to bring the brakes and derailleurs back to life. The front skewer was also a mess, and seatpost binder bold was just plain ugly....both replaced.
To make the front end more comfortable and ergonomic, I added a set of On One Mary handlebars which have a very natural hand position that's a little higher and a bit closer to the saddle. They are indeed easy on the hands and wrists.
And last but not least, I replaced the broken pedals and rusty cargo rack with a spare rack and some spare MKS pedals. The bike turned out great. It is 100% better than the dusty rusty mess I started with. I'm really excited for my wife to take it for a spin. I think she'll really like it.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Perfect beautiful snow, it's a rare thing. For the record, not all snow is created equal. Most of the snow that falls around here is wet, heavy and dense. It's the stuff that we get when it's just barely cold enough to turn from snain (aka wintry mix) to snow. Heavy snow still provides for winter sports, but it's barely tolerable. Every once in a while we get a good dump of cold dry snow that piles up so gently with a magical weightlessness. Even less often does it stay cold enough after the storm to preserve the fluffiness long enough for me to enjoy it.
This weekend about 6 inches of the good stuff fell, and it's still cold and fluffy today. I skied around in the woods at lunch today. There is a pocket of winding wooded trails near the office with plenty of routes for a short romp. It was perfect. There were a good number of tracks on the ground - boots, paws, snowshoes, etc. It didn't really matter because the persistent loftiness of this snow remained there for me. Additionally, last week's baked cruddy snow shielded me from the rocky rooted trails underneath. Gliding through the cloudy layer was flawless. It was sunny also. There aren't many bluebird powder days around here, but I certainly won't miss any of them.