Thursday, October 8, 2015

fat guy across america

The Excellent Wife (TEW) forwarded to me this article from the New York Times about Eric Hites, a man who got up to almost 600 lbs. before he decided to do something about his life (according to the linked article, he'd lost his wife and was unemployable). He got a $17 bike and started going across the country.

His wife has joined him. The both still smoke, and they only go a few miles per day. But he's lost 70 lbs.

No, I don't want to ride with him (and he wouldn't want to ride with me). But he has my admiration.

He's got a blog he rarely updates.

Good on him.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

new cassette

So after spending an hour yesterday cleaning the cassette (maybe it was forty minutes), I would up with a chain slip and had to put on a new one anyway.  Grump, grump, grump. Good thing I keep parts like that in stock.

Time to get a new one. If I can think of enough things to make an online order, I'll get it from Jenson; if not, I'll drop in at Kim's. (I should probably just get it at Kim's. They're probably starting to slow down for the season...)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

annual breakdown & rebuild

Every fall, I take the Yellow Maserati, my titanium bike, down to parts and rebuild it, partly because the titanium can seize the other parts (although this is mostly a problem with titanium-on-titanium), partly to see if any problems are developing (more later), but mostly because I like to do it. This weekend is predicted cool and rainy, and the Ciclovia for tomorrow has been cancelled, so today was the day. Here's the bike on the rack with the wheels off:

One of the first things I do (because it's a thankless, dirty job) is take off the cassette and clean it. Here's the rear wheel with the cassette on, and the chain whip and wrench:

Beneath the wheel, you'll see a political poster; this one is corrugated plastic and it makes a great drop and parts-and-floor-protector. (It might be the best thing those two particular politicos are good for. Hrmph.)

After some heavy scrubbing and the judicious application of some toxic hydrocarbons, behold a cleaner cassette:

On to the cranks. I took them off to clean 'em up (and to have access to the bottom bracket). As I started to clean the large ring, I noticed the teeth were uneven and worn; I'm not sure you can see it in the picture below:

I had a large ring from another crank that was in better shape and I put that in.

Now to the bottom bracket. It's a sealed Mega-Exo, so it doesn't take much maintenance (I put some black car grease where the crank axle goes across), but I take it out every year to make sure it doesn't seize in place. When I put it back, I use an anti-seize goop called Ti-Prep in the threads; it's got copper in it that does something that makes the titanium play nicely with other metals (and with other titanium parts); you can see the coppery goop in the pic below, before I've re-installed the bottom bracket. (The drive side is reverse-threaded; both sides of the bracket loosen towards the front of the bike.)

After the cranks are back in, I disassemble the fork and drop it out. This steel fork develops some rust on the inside of the steering tube every year; not enough to affect its integrity, but enough that I don't like it, so I use steel wool to get the worst of it off. When I put the stem back on, I put a little white grease between the parts (and around the threads of the bolts) so they'll come apart nicely when I need them to do so. Here's the white grease on the top of the steering tube (I put a bit of black grease around the crown race, where the bottom bearing of the steering assembly is, and at the top bearing).

My aluminum saddle post doesn't need much maintenance, but I take it out to put in a new dab of copper Ti-Prep. You can see the remains of last year's application in the pic below:

My brake pads are still in good shape, so I didn't have to replace them.

Time to cable. The SRAM shifters I use give me a difficult time running the shifter cables, and it was worse this year after the crash. There's  bit of damage I didn't see that I'll have to keep an eye on, although I don't have to replace them right away. Still, the end of the shifter cable was a bit bent up after forcing it through the shifter on one side (it looks like a scratch on a negative, but that bent line is the end of the shifter cable after I was done manhandling it):

The handlebars, after the new cables are on, but before they are taped down:

I found some inexpensive tape in a dollar store. Some of the colors are decent, but that not-quite-Bianchi-celeste does nothing for me... so it's a good color for UNDER the bars:

And for my 60th birthday, Snakehead got me some good SRAM tape in yellow (well, it IS the Yellow Maserati, even though it's usualy decked out in black and grey). Here's the bar in her finery.

(One of the things I'm not good at is wrapping and taping bars. I had to do this twice before I liked the result, and a fussy rider would probably do it yet again.)

The bike's still on the rack; in the morning, I'll readjust the cables to deal with the "cable stretch" (those cables are stainless steel; they don't stretch; it's the housing that shrinks... but I'm getting too pedantic here). I hope to take it out for a shakedown 20-miler tomorrow.

Edit: Blogger won't let me respond to the comment below; so I'll do it here: today, it took between three and four hours.

'Nother Edit: I did NOT replace the chain, which I did about 100 miles ago. I DID take off the bottle cages and clean 'em up.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

rainy weekend coming

It threatens to be a rainy weekend, so I may start the annual break-the-Yellow-Maserati-down-to-parts-and-rebuild process. I'll post pics.

Sunday is supposed to be the New Brunswick Ciclovia from 11-4, and I'm supposed to wrench, but the weather isn't looking good...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

that kind of a day

Shortly after I uploaded that last post, I came across this on today's Oddman:

Sheesh. That's not even on a road blocking traffic. They really do hate us.

(You can see the image better here.)

jealous god

Exodus 20:5 "... for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me."

Girl barred from San Diego Christian school due to lesbian parents 

A kid in kindergarten. Is that what he meant?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Today was the Princeton Freewheeler fall picnic. And I could tell you about Jeff Harmon's B ride, out to Englishtown, but you could look it up on the ride page.

But there is this picture album. In an earlier era, it would have been the equivalent of two rolls of film!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

cheryl m birthday ride

Cheryl M, the Florida Flatlander, was a Freewheeler before she moved south (and still runs some rides when she's there for the Freewheeler Snowbirds). She's been here in NJ for a few months making arrangements to sell her condo, and she's ridden frequently with the Old Guys during the duration. She's got a birthday about this time, and will be going south again soon, so she asked a couple of her friends to put together a 60-mile ride, and invited a few more friends along. I was lucky enough to be one of the invitees.

Eight of us met a Cheryl's condo. Joe M picked a route that he and I had done a couple of years ago, up to Sergeantsville. (I tried to get some en-route pics, but they're pretty bad.) Along the way, we picked up Peter, a quondam Hill Slug, who was out for a solo 45; he paced us for a while.

We went to Sergeantsville via a route that led us the other way on roads I often only use in one direction (since I don't lead and am so hopeless at navigation, I place myself at the mercy of other leaders; they often know where they're going, but they have preferences of routes).

We got to Sergeantsville, a bit less than halfway, to find that the store, while open, was undergoing renovations which meant that the toilet was unavailable. There is, however, an ice-cream-and-coffee place across the way which was accommodating.

I loved that old steel Schwinn (I think) in the pic above.

(We met those three guys on the right two or three times before we met them at the store. They looked and sounded like they were having a great time.)

After Sergeantsville, Tom H went his own way, and we continued Joe's route. I got some pics of the folks on Gulick:

And it was a great day.

We had a second stop at a Quik Chek near the golf course where we turn to go to Pennington.

And from there, the seven of us continued to Cheryl's nearly-empty condo, where we had a celebratory ice-cream cake.

Here's the link to the ride page. We maintained a mostly-easy pace...except when we didn't.

In other news, Nevada has these nifty brakes on her bike; I think the brand is "Gravity". Does anybody know anything about 'em? I really like the looks of 'em.

Friday, September 25, 2015

couldn't have said it better myself

Couldn't have sad it better myself. Neither could Jennings.

(Isn't it a shame he looks so much like Gollum in that picture?)

I found it on today's Oddman.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

mcbride 2015

Since he died in 2010, there's been a ride for Joe McBride every year. The first was a pick-up ride, but since 2011, every fall there's a ride that supports a scholarship in the Social work school at U Penn, where Joe taught.

I don't think I ever met Joe, but he was a friend to people I consider friends. I've made every one of the rides in his memory, and I intend to continue doing so. For the past couple of years, The Excellent Wife (TEW) has come along as well; I do the 50-mile ride, and she does one of the shorter routes.

Laura OLPH set up a team so that the Freewheelers would donate $100, but she didn't list the ride or intend to lead, as far as I can tell. Nonetheless, at the start, we had twenty or so people to ride with Laura's group on the 50-mile ride (Mary F would lead another group at a more sensible pace). Below are some of the folks at the start.

(Even though many of the pictures didn't come out, this is a much more sensible camera than the one I used yesterday. Only one of my road shots came out.)

We started out at a quick pace, and some of the group went off the front, leaving about nineteen. Although there was no hot sun (which was a blessing), there was a heavy wind (and why does it always seem to be a headwind, even when it's coming athwart your bike?), and we got spread out again.

(Along the way, an older gentleman in an orange Freewheeler jersey passed us; it was all I could do not to chase him. I'm only partially successful managing that competitive urge.)
Even on this fairly flat route, we got spread out, and we had maybe eleven or thirteen at the stop.

We mostly kept the group together after that, although we had a range of abilities even in this group. I got to ride a while with Mike, whom I haven't seen in a while (and who's fast!) and Raj, who did the Grand Fondo yesterday, as well as in the back with some of the stragglers. Pics below are some of us waiting for others to catch up (and still others had gone on ahead).

We had eleven when we got back. The others in the group we started with were getting lunch or had already left; other riders kept coming in. I met up with TEW, who was sitting with Dale and Sean, and Terry C. After a feed, there was the annual memorial for Joe, and the announcement of the scholarship. I'd forgotten the camera, and went back to get it for these pics.

Almost forgot... ride page!