Saturday, August 29, 2015

easy, flat pickup ride with tom h

Tom H and company have apparently had it with climbs for a while. He sent out an email to some of us about doing an easy, flat ride today. I replied in an email that I figured it would be a god ride for the heavy, steel Krakow Monster; when she saw that, Laura OLPH thought she'd bring Gonzo, her newly-reconfigured steel beater. Dave C has an old Bianchi, similar to one he rode decades ago, that he restored, and (not to be outdone) Joe M figured he'd bring his venerable Heron, which apparently is his around-town bike. (Others rode their usual bikes; this was not a steel-bike ride, although there are murmurings about such a thing.)

We gathered at Mercer Park East picnic area for 8:30.

Below, Dave and his Bianchi:

... and Joe's Heron. In the second picture, I like the moustache-y handlebar and the way he has the cockpit set up.

We wound up doing this ride. Some little hills (not many), not a real fast pace, but not as slow as I thought we would be either. We stopped at Roy's, my new favorite stop.

As we were on the way out, we saw Don S coming in; he was the vanguard of Ira's ride out of Cranbury. A little later, I saw Dennis W on his bike, taking it slow; he hasn't ridden much since a couple of episodes of vertigo on the bike (I think).

Then up and out, around through the Assumpink and back to Mercer.

When we got there. Laura decided I needed to get pictures of the reconstructed Gonzo and the new rear wheel, with the neat red hub, and the alternating red and blue spoke nipples (can you see 'em?).

It doesn't come out in the picture, but the frame has a neat colorful metal-flake effect under the black. Nice ride.

Friday, August 28, 2015

"got it wrong" ride with the old guys

Today is Friday, and on Fridays, the Old Guys, "Team Social Security", ride out of Etra. I drove to the start (I had an afternoon appointment with employee health about the new job), and found that Al P was leading today; Dennis is a bit under the weather. Al was coy about the route; I later discovered he was improvising as he went along. At the start:

On the way to wherever we were going, somebody noticed that Don S's chain was hanging; it turned out he'd missed the orientation of the rear derailleur when he took it off and replaced it. We took a little time to fix it. When we got going again, he discovered he had a brake rub that needed attention, and by the time he and I got riding again, the rest of the group was not to be found. We guessed they were going to Roy's... but they weren't. Here's Don laying down the law to leader Al P's voice mail:

After some missed communication, we heard that the rest of the group was going to Woody's in Allentown, so we went there... and found no bikes or riders. Here's Don, quoting chapter and verse again.

We decided to head out along Ellisdale... and saw, first Al L, then Lynne... then the rest of the group. We'd beaten them to Woody's. So we fell in with 'em, and I laid low while Don and Al had words at first, and then made peace. In Allentown:

Some of the folks decided to go straight back, the rest continued with Al the long way. Don and I wound up doing this route (I have no idea what the others did).

Back at Etra:

I'm going to miss this when I have to go back to work.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

ice tires

It's the wrong time of year for it now, but I stumbled across this article in the National Post* about how to make your own studded tires for riding on ice.

No, thanks.

*Apparently a Canadian magazine; the article is from 2011.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

bike book gifts

For my 60th birthday, a few months ago, Laura OLPH and Snakehead got together to get me a couple of bike history books; shortly thereafter, Tom H gave me one from is library. With the idleness that has come from unemployment, I've had a chance to go through all of them.

On Your Bicycle was the gift from Tom. It's a pretty comprehensive history of the early days of cycling, including precursor vehicles and discussions (in way too much detail for anybody who's not an enthusiast) of all of the early forms through the "Safety". Everything after about 1920 is relegated to the last two chapters. Admittedly, the book was published in 1987, but the book gets to the Draisine in the beginning of the 19th Century by page 14.

I enjoyed it, but unless you have an interest in the early history of bikes, you might find it slow going.

The History of Cycling in Fifty Bikes is a bit of a misnomer; there are fifty bike-related stories in the book, some of which are based on particular bikes, but others are based on riders or technologies. It was a lot of fun. It's a book for dipping into and enjoying, not for bike scholars (sheesh, are there really bike scholars? Well, I guess you can count Sheldon Brown, Jobst Brandt, and Gerd Schraner...).

I thought it was great.

The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles is nothing less than brain candy for those of us who like lugs and shine. I can pick this up and page through a couple of the articles, or lose an hour going from page to page. It's just a delight; just enough mechanical info to let you know what you're looking at in the glorious pictures.

Thanks to Laura, Snakehead, and Tom.

Monday, August 24, 2015

pseudo-hilly ride with the old guys

During my unemployment, I've been riding with the Freewheelers who go out three times per week during the day; they're largely retired guys (they call themselves "Team Social Security"). Some of them have been marvellously supportive during the worst of my blues with this unemployment, so I had to go today and let 'em know that I had a job offer. There was a proper mix of "sorry to see you go" and "get back to work, you lazy slug".

In many ways, these are the kinds of guys I'd like to be in ten and twenty years.

We met at Etra:

Sixteen to start, and yes, it really was that foggy and misty (and HUMID! Hard to breathe all that muck!). Al P, de facto leader when Dennis doesn't come, had a route he pulled out when Dennis didn't come; it's too hilly for Dennis (although it's not really a hilly ride... but these are riders who would just as soon drive through the Sourlands, thank you).

On the road:

We have a range of abilities, and got spread out; I swept (Al is gracious enough to say he'll miss me when I start working again). Most of these guys don't really need me to sweep; they know where they’re going, and, although they may not be fast, the will get there just the same. They remind me of Terry Pratchett's golems, that go at an unremitting four miles per hour: they're not fast, but they never stop... they'll get you eventually.

We stopped at Phil's.

It looks like I have a few more rides with these guys, and I'll miss them when I go back to work, too... but I will be glad to get back working again.

Route and ride data here.