Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Can't fix this with duct tape

I took my Ti commuter bike/gravel bike/almost touring bike out for a ride and boom, my derailer exploded/melted/died. It's this bike and derailer setup

I'm not sure what happened. Perhaps I banged it on something and the it hit the spokes when I shifted to a lower gear. But I don't really know.

The good part, if there is a good part, is that it isn't some $800 electronic thing, but a relatively inexpensive item. I even found one on sale and ordered it already. And I do have another bike I can ride.

The derailer I ordered is an S-Ride. It doesn't shift as smoothly as a nice Shimano derailer, but it does handle the incredible wide range of my 11–40 and 46–30 drivetrain. I wish the Shimano gravel derailer could handle a larger cassette. Maybe I could stretch it. But I didn't want to buy a derailer and have it not work and still need to buy a new one. Plus, apparently the are impossible to find. So S Ride it is...

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

It's all uphill from here

I've been here in Watkins Glen NY less than a month. As far as I can tell everything is uphill. Some a bit,  most a lot.

The Catherine Valley trail is slightly uphill for 10 miles. It's a smooth gravel path, 5 miles of which cross no (as in zero) roads. In fact, riding from home we put a foot down only once or twice during  20 mile out and back. 

But the other routes out are brutally uphill. These roads are often double-digit grades that hurt.

My plan: Get stronger or die.

Monday, June 06, 2022

First ride at new home.


Even though we bought our new home in Watkins Glen in October 2021 I didn't totally finish moving in until June 1, having "commuted" back to California to finish my final semester of teaching. But at last I'm totally here. I took my first in-residence bike ride on the Katherine Valley Trail as soon as I could.  After pending 11 days driving a convoluted route to get here and not riding at all it was wonderful to get back on the bike. It's going to be interesting to see how living here changes my riding opportunities. 

Monday, April 11, 2022

Primavera Century 100K 2022


Holy smokes. I rode my first 100K in quite a while. I haven't been riding enough. Between teaching, visiting New York and just being busy with moving, my time on the bike hasn't been what it's been in the past. If nothing else, I'm missing my daily bike commute to work. All this means my simple 100 K ride was completely and totally exhausting. It took a lot out of me. I feel a little silly about that but at least I got it done.

Tricia and I had signed up for the Primavera Century two years ago. But each year it was postponed  due to COVID-19. Now that they finally held it they used our old registration payment so we could ride. Alas, Tricia is in New York while I'm in California. Instead of letting it go to waste, we gave it to our good friend Dan, a.k.a. Lanceoldstrong. He and I wrote it together, me riding as hard as I could and him riding at a very social chatting pace.

I was surprised that they had changed the route this year. We rode out toward Calaveras road from Fremont just as we had in the past, but rather than heading up the access road along 580 and climbing the relentless Palomaras Road to the terrifying no-room-for-bikes Niles Canyon to finish, we instead rode the route as an out-and-back. I'm not normally a fan of out-and-back back rides but getting to ride along Calaveras Road twice made it OK. Although Calaveras Road is weird. It seems like it's uphill both directions. If it wasn't so beautiful it would be downright annoying.

We had great weather, and as always, the support was perfect. But holy smokes was I hurting by the time we got done.

Friday, April 08, 2022

Trek 520 Grando

I installed two panniers on the bike with a temporary rear rack  just to see how it looked. Yes, the bars are rotated up too much. I'll fix that. And add water bottles.


Tricia and I have two self supported rides planned this summer. We've done a couple of rides with just panniers, but not carried food and such. This time we're going full tilt and wanted front panniers as well. 

 I took my gravel-esque titanium bike into a shop near where we recently moved to see about a front rack. (Shout out to Trek Bicycle Geneva NY) and was told "Nope. you don't want to put a front rack on a carbon fork." 

 I lamented that I'd feared that, and told them I'd done research and had thought I'd like to buy a Trek 520 if I could find one, but in these pandemic times I've read tales of people looking for months and then driving states away to get one. I figured I had no chance and that I'd better start working on a "Plan B. "

 They told me I looked like a 54cm size guy and that they had a 520 Grando that would fit me that arrived two hours before I got there. TWO HOURS! 

 So, BOOM, I bought the bike. Right then. 

 I know it's not the usual for touring, but I love brake shifters, which this bike comes with, so I'm thrilled already. Plus, check that crankset. 42-28. An actual useful double! I may see if I can stretch to a 40 tooth max cog in back to replace the 36 it shipped with. I hear it MAY work. It doesn't ship with a rear rack so I ordered a Tubus Logo Evo. I've already swapped the pedals. 

 The rest of my tale is that I got the bike in the Finger Lakes region of NY and promptly flew back to California where I have to finish teaching this semester before permanently moving to Watkins Glen. So I have a new home, and a new bike I can't ride because it's at the new home. It's just sitting there waiting for me until June. 

 But when I do arrive home Tricia and I have planned several rides: The Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany, the C&O and GAP from DC to Pittsburgh and a week in Cape Cod. Can you tell I'll be fully retired in June?

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Bonus non-cycling East Coast cold photo


After a lovely dinner at The Graft Wine and Cider Bar in Watkins Glen we strolled down to the Seneca Lake harbor on our walk back to new home. It was a bit chilly for this newly-arrived Californian, but not too cold to appreciate the beauty and wonder of my new village on the Finger Lakes of New York. It's been in the 20s and I'm too wimpy to ride for fun in this weather. I've been Zwifting in the unheated garage, which is hard enough.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Spring in February on Diablo

Tricia and I are getting as much cycling in as we can before she heads back to New York State. It's been stunning here this February, so we got a short ride in on our favorite mountain, Mt. Diablo, complete with flowers

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Mr. Steve’s Mystery Route to Danville

Tricia rides through the mystery tunnel under Ygnaico Valley Road.
I'm enjoying getting to ride with Tricia, who's back in sunny California for a month before returning to our new home in Watkins Glen, New York.
Today we rode "Mr. Steve’s Mystery Route to Danville," a route through the rich folk neighborhoods in Walnut Creek, Alamo and Danville ending up at Peets Coffee. I'd have never found it again without loading our previous ride into the Garmin. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Once around Diablo

 

I'm back in California under beautiful skies while my family is in 11 degree weather and snow in New York's Finger Lakes area. I should feel guilty, but, well...

I got in a classic Northern California ride with my friends Dan and Steve on Sunday — one lap around Mt Diablo via Morgan Territory. Even at a social party pace it's an effort, but it sure was fun.


Saturday, January 08, 2022

Back in California for a while

 

No, this isn't California. It's from my last ride in New York before I came back.


I'd committed to teaching in the spring semester before we bought a house in Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes. So I'm staying here. I'll enjoy the warmer weather. It was 11˚ in NY and 50˚ here today. But I'm sure looking forward to starting my new life once the semester ends.