Friday, January 28, 2011

almanzo100

Ride 100+ miles of crushed rock through scenic southeast Minnesota. Takes place on May 14th and is hosted by one of the most thoughtful cyclists you'll ever meet. Don't be fooled though, if you're a winter slug like me, May 14th comes up quick and those hills will kick your ass. Registration closes at the end of January. All you have to do is send a postcard to Chris, Get on it! details here
NOTE: Chris works hard to keep this race free for everyone, so don't forget to click the "donate" button on his site. 

wheels... done


Done. So, the hardest thing about about building wheels after not having done so in a while is remembering how to get started. Making sure that everything is lined up right so that the hub logo lines up with the valve hole in the rim and the spokes go in the right way, I guess you could say I needed a little help.
I did manage to build the rear wheel by myself: Lined everything up properly, stressed it multiple times, dished, round, thread locked the spokes, double checked the tension. I think I can say that I'm ready to build a set all by myself, as long as too much time doesn't go by and I forget everything again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

indy fab


Independent Fabrication is hitting the road, read about it here. Who knows what this means for everybody on team IF, sounds like initial fall out includes Clint and Joe. I guess it's important to keep in mind that a cool little bike company started by Chris Chance in Somerville, Mass. went out of business back in 1994, those people needed to find something else to do and the rest is history. Best of luck to the gang and enjoy your new home. Pour a little out for Hobo Heaven.

wheels

It's time to build some new wheels. I am not a wheel builder. I've built a couple, though I had a good support system to make sure I didn't go too wrong. This set, however, I'm determined to do by myself, we'll see how it goes...
The set up: White Industries hubs with their H3 Campy 11 speed titanium freehub. DT Swiss 465 32 hole rims laced 3 cross front and rear with DT Swiss double butted 18/20 spokes and, of course, brass nipples.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

mafac


Mafac "Racer" brakes (the word 'racer' just looks right in italics) were the shit back in the '50s. They often get a bad rap, but it's because brake levers sucked back then. These things worked and still do, they are very adjustable by varying the straddle cable length and they have room for wide tires and fenders.  This front one is going on my cafe/bar bike, I may even add a rear brake just to use the set. If you feel like throwing around some dough, go get the Paul version, they are sublime. His canti brakes (also based on an original Mafac design) are the best cyclocross brakes ever made, despite the euro-trash versions that everyone seems so keen on these days.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

bridgestone

Back in the day (read 1989-1992) I used to spend a fair amount of time at the Kenwood Cyclery and The Alt lusting after mountain bikes that I couldn't afford, tops among those bikes were Ritcheys, Breezers, and Bridgestones. Times have changed, and none of those brands have much interest to me in their current incarnations, though Bridgestone is still producing some cool track stuff for the Asian market and their family tree extends to here and here but they no longer distribute to the USA.
Among the useless paraphernalia that I tend to collect, I recently acquired a Bridgestone quick release hub demonstration stand, these were produced  for shop employees to show their customers the proper way to use a wheel's quick release skewer. I have no idea when they were produced, or how many of them are out there, but my friend Hurl has been sitting on a couple of them for a while, and now he has one less. Thanks, Buddy!
If anyone has any detailed info on these things, please share.

Friday, January 14, 2011

car



I recently purchased a new car, and by new I mean 14 years old.  As a cyclist I definitely have a love/hate relationship with cars; on a beautiful fall day it is unquestionably more fun to cruise around on the bike getting errands done while enjoying the fresh air and getting a little exercise. But this is Minnesota, it's fucking cold out right now and, well, I'm just not up to slogging around on my bike in six layers of clothes to get the mundane stuff in my life accomplished.  
The worst thing, for me, about owning a car is that I like German cars. Since I make no money, this means driving around in constant fear of the next $400 repair bill, but, fuck it.  Life is short and I've owned smart, practical cars a couple times and, although they don't break down and they get great gas mileage, I hated them, they just didn't make me happy. So now I own an Audi A6 wagon with 170,000 miles on it. It is comfortable, pleasing to sit in, drives like a car should and I like the way it looks. On top of that the all-wheel drive rocks the MN snow.  The only thing I don't like about it is the color.  It's red. But I have come to terms with that by deciding that a Richard Sachs "Cross Fucking Rules" sticker looks really good on a red car. Oh, one of the best things about owning an old car: Analog clock, ATMO.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

26

I was rummaging through  piles of tying materials yesterday and came across an unopened packet of size 26 dry fly hooks.  I have no idea where they came from and I can assure you that I didn't buy them myself.  For those of you that aren't familiar with hook sizes, a typical dry fly is between  sizes 12 and 16 (smaller #s being larger hook sizes).  A small dry fly (think mosquito) is maybe an 18 and a tiny fly is a 20.  The smallest dry I ever tie is a size 22.
When fishing small flies, in say the size 20 range, you often can't even see them on the water.  What you have to do is try to focus on the general area you land your cast and follow the current bubbles as they meander downstream, raising your rod if you see a trout disturb the surface, hoping that it may have taken your fly.
Frankly, it's borderline retarded to even try fishing a size 26 dry fly, however, I have stood knee deep in a particular spring creek in Montana where I  watched 20+ inch brown trout sip tiny midges off of the glassy surface all day long as they ignored my size 22 baetis imitation floating directly above them.  So, I decided I'd test my finger dexterity to see if putting a size 26 hook into the vise, without dropping and losing it amidst the remnants of feather, thread and elk hair scattered all over the desk, was even a possibility.  15 minutes later, I was pleased to have successfully completed my first size 26 dry fly:  A blue wing olive imitation, tied with light yellow thread, an olive thread abdomen wrap, medium dun tail and hackle, and a few strands of white polypropylene yarn as a wing for just a bit of sparkle.
Now, to finish up five more and then tie up half a dozen in grey with a black wrap and I'll have a dozen flies at the ready for that Paradise Valley, Montana spring creek.