Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hobo Roads half-a-hundred

Hobo Roads half a hundred_Dan

LanceOldStrong, featured prominently in this blog, is well on his way to recovering from his June Mt. Diablo crash. He's been riding again for a while now, but today was his longest since "The Event."

Hobo Roads half a hundred_Erotic Ball and gunsMidland plotted a route, that though not pretty on paper, works out very nicely in reality. He piloted Tricia, Mr. OldStrong and my own bad self for fifty-five miles headed out over the Benicia Bridge, with not much climbing, but a ton of wind. It looks very California, with a nice mix of industry (ok, not the prettiest part of the day,) wetlands, and some beautiful oak-covered golden hills. Dan deemed it the "Hobo Roads Half-a-Hundred" for the parts that passed through the less than stellar areas.

We all had a grand time, and actually worked reasonably hard, as evidenced by our Strava suffer scores.

Highlight of the day for me was a delightful sign informing me I could attend an erotic ball, and go to a gun show. I can only hope I have money for both...

Hobo Roads half a hundred_Tricia
Photo by Midland. Pretty neat jerseys, huh? 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Antioch glass vs Schwalbe

Tired tire goes bomm

Schwalbe makes great tires, but not even their efforts can stand up to the glass littered streets of Antioch. I can't even think of the last time I wore out a tire. They generally get cut and ripped before the tread wears out.

This time I was headed out for intervals when the front exploded. I figured it was just another puncture, but when I looked it was a big hole. Fortunately I had a handy Park Tools tire boot in with my spare tube and managed to limp home, change the tire and get at least an abbreviated interval set in.

Next year I think I'll keep running stats on this blog about flats and their causes, and maybe the number of patches I apply. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Motobecane Fantom Outlaw vs SKS Fenders

Motobecane Phantom Outlaw fender strut spacers
Nylon spacers and bent stays with a long bolt.
When is a bike "finished?" I'm not sure, but I hope I've about got this one done for my upcoming semester of bike commuting, and that this is that last upgrade/improvement for a while.

I started here with a new bike. I didn't like the gearing and ened up getting a new crankset and all that entails, detailed here.

My latest — and I hope last —  change, was to install SKS Chromoplastics P45 fenders and a set of
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires. What a royal pain it all was. It must have taken me eight total hours before I was finished.

The fenders look cool, but because I have disc brakes I had to do all sorts of bending and modification to get them on. I bought nylon spaces and longer bolts at the hardware store. Because I didn't know exactly what I was doing I bought a bunch of things just in case, and now have a collection of leftover pieces.

The stays on the front fender were way too long, which is good as it gave me bending room, but bad because the ends poked out like dangerous knives. I ended up getting a cutting tool to trim them.

The back was even harder. Again, more spacers, and a bunch of stretching the rack and bending the fender stays to get it all to fit around the brakes. It was really a juggle to get everything lined up and tightened down as it was all trying to explode like a wound up spring. The Motobecane has no chain stay bridge to fix the fender to, so I used the front derailleur pulley bolt. It doesn't put the fender in the perfect place, but it worked.

Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires may be the hardest tires to mount I've ever had. What a pain. They are too loose at first and fall off, but the last inch is almost impossible. I pinched tubes twice, and I almost never do that.

I'm hoping the tires will be as bullet proof as they are advertised to be. I am not looking forward to changing a tire on the road.

What a load of whining, huh? But I'm thinking it will all be worthwhile when I ride my pretty, super custom, fully-fendered, nicely-panniered and low-geared, coffee-carrying, MagicShine lighted, way-cool bike to school.

Motobecane Phantom Outlaw commuter bike
The fenders match the bike pretty well, and even look better in person than in this photo.