Monday, June 30, 2008

Gitane FrankenBike

Perhaps inspired by my friend Taxi777s new Fixed gear/SS he posted about on, I dragged my oldie out of the garage and cleaned it up.

It was my almost-first real roadie. I got it used in 1976 and, like a kid, thought I could turn it into the bike I wish I had by changing parts one at a time as the years passed.

Here's the spec:
  • Mid-70s Gitane Tour de FranceHad it painted and had braze on shifter and water bottle bosses added
  • Fork had problems, so I added a new one, but Columbus instead of Reynolds steel, and a Shimano 600 headset
  • New brakes (Old Weinmans were awful)
  • New seatpost and seat
  • New bars and stem ( I really don't know why)
  • Campy high flange hub new wheels (36 spokes, dude!)
  • Replaced bar end shifters with real carbon downtube shifters
  • I just ordered new brake levers. What's on there now is an old Diacomp tandem lever that pulls both brakes (Don't ask why). I never liked it.
See a Flickr slideshow of all the exciting parts.

It really is a FrankenBike. It has no historic value. But It's kinda cool and I had a ton of miles on it in the olden days. Plus, I think I can't sell it for much, so I should have some fun, right?

But what to do? Whatever it is, it has to be cheap.
Commuter? But the downtube friction shifters are so....
  • Tour bike? But then I'd want a lot of expensive changes....
  • Single speed? I think all I need is a single speed BMX style freewheel.
  • Fixie? But then don't I need a new rear wheel, or at least hub?

What should I do that's cheap and fun?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Giro di Peninsula 2008

Tricia and I decided to ride the "Giro di Peninsula" the night before the event. Despite the smoke in the air from the California fires we thought we needed to get in some big rides before doing the Seattle to Portland ride.
So we got up a four-flippin'-AM and drove to San Mateo to ride 100 miles with our Bike Forum friends.
We had a total climb of 7194 feet, including the famed Tunitas Creek which has some impressively steep sections.
The ride had no major weirdness to report. We felt lost most of the time. It was pretty, but mostly we followed the yellow arrows.
Good stuff: Well marked route, not too crowded, nicely designed T-shirt, friendly folks at rest stops, wonderfully of massive sequoias on a lot of the ride.
Not as good stuff: Some rest stops were short on portable toilets. The food and shirt areas at the end closed too early. They ran out of the good pasta before we finished.

Our buddy Pete did make a photo of us in our matching hats and jerseys.
Link to elevation profile
Link to map

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oregon Coast

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
See the slide show in size you can actually see.

We just got back from six days on the Oregon Coast with Bicycle Adventures. I'd hoped to blog about it every day, but our days were too full.
  • Great weather. Stunning weather.
  • Fun ride.
  • Best IPA I ever drank.
  • Too much food.
  • Hiking I actually enjoyed
  • Great Pinot
  • Portland Rocks
  • Pedalpalooza events in Portland
Maybe more words and photos later. Maybe not.

Just in Another slide show: Portland and the Pedalpalooza Sexy Bike Ride along with a couple of other Oregon photos involving bicycles.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Climbing with the Velo Girls

On Sunday Tricia and I took the Climbing and Descending class the Velogirls offer. It's one of their few co-ed classes, so we were able take it together.

We started out in a parking lot right near where the Sequoia Century started. We works with getting comfortable on our bikes and finding balance. It was a blast to be a kid again and hang off one side then the other, drop off the back, lean over the front and generally be 10 years old again.

We also worked on cornering. For me the thing that made a big difference was the admonition to lift my chin and point it where I want to go. I'm no neophyte -- I always look where I want to go, but the "lift the chin and point it in that direction" was something I hadn't done. I really made me feel more solid in the corners.

I guess that's the advantage of a good class -- having someone who's seen of a lot be able to give you specific advice.

We then went out and climbed. I'm not sure where we were, but it was very pretty.
The advice I got was to stop climbing on the hoods and use the bar tops. Considering I've been climbing on the hoods for a zillion years it's pretty hard to stop. But I'm working on it.

The hill we descended on was a delight. I don't know how they found it. A reasonable 2 mile climb, but not a lot of sharp corners and not so steep as to be frightening, or even use brakes on. Just a nice 35 mph ride where I could work on rhythm and balance.

One interesting thing that happened: On our ride out I briefly talked with a rider not in our group . Apparently she thought I was turning right and so she, from my left, jumped and cut right, hitting my front wheel. Amazingly we just rubbed and I was able to bounce off and not smack it in. What the heck, I'll give some credit for my survival to the bump exercise we did a few weeks ago in the other Velo Girls class I took.

Anyway, once again I had a great time, and learned a bit as well.

Now all I need to do is get to work on the engine and I'll be really ready to rock.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sequoia Century and Sheila Moon

I wasn't going to go, but when Joyce called and said she'd messed up her schedule a couldn't go, and did I want her registration I said "yes."
Tricia had too much going on, so I went on my own. I had to get up at 3:30 am to drive to Palo Alto for my 6 am start. That is so flamin' early, but I did it anyway. I reminded me of the ski trips I did when I was a lot younger.

The ride started uphill. A long uphill along Page Mill road into the fog , followed by a decent through some amazing trees. I'd have sworn I was hundreds of miles from any city.

That was followed by a delightful run along the coast on the way to Santa Cruz. A tail wind pushed me along the ocean and I was ever so happy. That was all to end on Mt. Charlie. I couldn't believe how steep and long it was. It is the land of rich people in grand houses stuck to the side of mountains. I saw it all as my lungs blew up.

The decent after lunch was so fast.It's amazing how long it takes to go up, and how fast it is coming down. i missed turn and ended up ten miles out of the way. I had to call Tricia and ask where I was. She got me headed back along a very busy road with way too many traffic lights. I ended the 100 mile ride at 122 miles.

I liked, but didn't love the ride jersey. But Shelia Moon, way hip designer, had a booth at the finish. After 120 mile someone should get a jersey, so I bought Tricia a very cool, very "Tricia" jersey with what the cool chicks call a "shrug." A two piece jersey. Who'd a thunk it?It's Tuesday night and I'm still worn out.