Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sekai lives on

I've managed to part out the components from Sekai - the fenders and some slightly-used tires to a co-worker, and the drive train and the practically new Schwalbe Marathon tires to Jason. Of course, there were many parts that were just transferred to the Bleriot.

Both of the components recipients eventually elected to have our local bike shop do the installation. The mechanics recognized the parts immediately, and are highly amused. So I'll get to see most of my former bike on many future rides.

But wait... I was in the shop yesterday, looking for a rear-reflector solution. The one I've got at the bottom of the rear fender is a compromise. And yes, Mark had a box of rear reflectors that folks didn't want, so we found something suitable. But then he pointed toward the tool box, and the other mechanic (new; I haven't met him yet) pulled out their newest tool. A cheater bar, which is used to extend the lever of a wrench to get more oomph. A blue cheater bar, with a Sekai decal in the middle.

Jason had left the frame with them to recycle after they pulled the bottom bracket for him, as I didn't need it back for anything. Rather than recycle it outright, they thought they'd make a tool from the seat tube!

I can visit it any time I want.

On the Bleriot front, I did a better installation of the rear mudflap/rear reflector combination, and appear to have eradicated the fender rattle at the rear fender bridge, by stuffing strips of old inner tube between the fender and the bridge. The last thing to do is to swap out the headset spacer with the headset spacer tapped for the bell, which I'll do on the way home today.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Had a nice weekend

We had our somewhat-annual St Patrick's Day open house, and lots of folks showed up. I spent a lot of it taking folks out to the garage to see the new bike. My dad thought I should just have set it up in the living room :-)

The kids came home for the weekend (they are both away at college), and it was wonderful to see them. The younger will be here for most of the week; it is his spring break.

It was also my birthday, so I slept in, had a lazy bagel and coffee, visited with my sister-in-law who dropped off some birthday chocolates (she makes them, and they are wonderful), then my brother came by later with their youngest so she could sell me some plants for her Girl Scout fundraiser (off to My Chalet this summer), THEN we took Rebecca to the airport, then came home and invited my parents and cousin Phillip over for dinner. I'm now prepared to ride in downpours (not that I didn't before); I got a Showers Pass Elite jacket for my birthday!

Brian gave me a hysterical card - it has a picture of an, um, older woman with baggy jeans, sneakers, a tshirt, sunglasses and a sideways baseball cap, holding a skateboard, with the caption "Maturity Rocks". I'm also now older, wiser, and much cooler. That one gets tacked up outside my cube at work.

Then we got out for a bike ride. Fitz didn't want to commit to riding any further than Sylvan, but we got there and he felt ok, so we summitted Council Crest, and he STILL felt ok, so we did the Fairmount Loop and came home. 15.71 miles, NICE day; lots of other cyclists and runners had the same idea!

I'm really enjoying the ride of the Bleriot. Still need to kill that rattle in the sliding fender bridge, but I'll get around to it one of these days. The tires (Nifty Swifties) make that nice ripping-off-Scotch-tape sound.

At that point, it was 20 minutes until dinner, so we pulled out all the leftovers from last night and set the table. Hey, the house was still clean.

The Birkie Brevet is this weekend. Hope I'm up to the 126.1 miles. I keep telling myself it is just Seattle to Winlock, but the 3 week break in my riding is a bit disturbing. The right knee (the one that had the outstanding bruise) is still tender - it doesn't hurt when I run or ride, but it complains afterward. And my ribs are still a bit tight on the left side. So, if you have a moment, think positive thoughts for me!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bleriot Rolls Over the First 100 Miles

May this be the first of many!

Being Portland, it was in a heavy rain.

Good things:
  • The Honjo fenders kept my feet from getting drenched without a mudflap in the front
  • The brakes made the bicycle stop predictably

Bad things:

  • None :-) I really don't mind riding in the rain.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Friends of Cecil Ride

My friend and riding buddy Cecil was getting up a ride for this Sunday. She advertised it as "40 miles, 2 teenage girls, 1 out-of-shape rider, and me". The start point was 10 miles west of my house; she was riding to the start from HER home (add another 10+ miles).

After, say, 10 microseconds of thought, I asked if she wanted 2 out-of-shape riders, and did she want to meet me at the barkdust place at the top of my neighborhood. My thought was that if I could do the ride plus the out and back from my house, it would be 60+ miles, and I'd see if the Birkie Brevet (http://www.orrandonneurs.org/sftest/2007_BirkieBrevet_Info.html) would be a real possibility. I was certainly on track until my crash 3 weeks ago, but it has been uncertain since then. Plus I'd get to give the Bleriot a REAL ride!

She was game, and we fixed the meetup time for 9am. At 8:40am, I went OOPS, filled up my hydration pack, made some Gatorade and a pbj sandwich, grabbed a banana, put all on my bicycle (fortunately I had gotten the bike ready the night before), and zipped up the hill.
Not only was Cecil waiting, but there was also the bonus of Nat! We headed west, crossing Hwy 217, down Park Way, west on Walker, north on Amberglen, west on Evergreen, left on 235th, where we found most of the riders, except one who missed a turn getting there and was retracing. We also acquired Jeff, who thought the Portland Velo ride started at 10am, rather than the 9am start, so he elected to join us (many of us are PV members, but this wasn't a club ride).

So off we all went on a standard Washington County 45 mile loop - heading through North Plains (regroup point), Roy (regroup point), Banks (wait for the flat tire to finish up and catch us here), west on Cedar Canyon, then down to Forest Grove, only to find Maggies Buns CLOSED :-( Well, now we know. A brief interlude at the Grand Lodge, snacks and a stop. There were lots of front yards filled with daffodils. All the trees had that fuzzy spring look; some were blooming pink and white. Many freshly plowed fields. Then back to Longbottoms Coffee and Tea, and they were STILL OPEN :-) Till 2:30! Scones and juice. The morning had started off in the 50's - cloudy, occasional very light drizzle, then went to sun. It got warm. I may have to start using sunscreen.

As Nat was riding on the threads (I've never seen tires that worn in my life), he and Cecil elected to ride back the way we came in - reasonably clean road surfaces and not a lot of glass. I had company, and that was nice.

And, you might ask, how was the BIKE? The bike was very fine. I have finally gotten used to the helmet mount mirror, and no longer flinch when I drop to my granny gear - the chain does not stick between the chainrings, causing a sudden cessation of forward motion. I might drop the handlebars a bit more. Chipseal and railroad tracks are more tolerable with the fat tires. I don't worry about whacking my toe with the front wheel much anymore. I'm starting to get used to how it handles, and am picking up my speed on curves and descents.

65.5 miles, in total.

Oh, and I came home, and registered for the Birkie Brevet :-) Stay tuned.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Today Was a GOOD Day for a Ride!

(the above is usually said in Worf mode, on days when it is cold, windy and raining)

Today, the sun came out and the temperature at this moment (6:38pm) is 74 degrees. It could be summer!

Spring fever was running rampant at work. I was not immune. As my options for interaction with co-workers were rapidly diminishing, I thought I should just go with the flow and do that Fairmount Loop/Council Crest ride I was planning on anyway.

My usual cycling partner was up for the ride, so I rode home and changed into lighter cycling gear, and he pedalled over from his house.

Nice warm sunny late afternoon! We rode up through the neighborhood to the Sunset bike path, and then east to the Sylvan interchange, passing the cars sitting on the freeway. Then looping along Hewett Drive (very low traffic, fun curves), up Scholls Ferry, and right into the Council Crest neighborhood proper and up to the park. Lots of folks were out enjoying the view, many with picnic dinners. All the mountains were visible.

Here is Mt St Helens:

And Mt Hood:

After a brief round of picture taking, we headed slightly down the hill to ride the Fairmount Loop, a 3.5 mile road that circles Council Crest. It is quite curvy as it wiggles around the hill, and goes slightly uphill and then slightly downhill. A fun loop to do laps on, when I want to get in miles, but don't want to go very far from home. The view is outstanding all the way around!

I didn't take the curves as fast as I might have on my Lemond; I'm still getting used to how this bike handles, and how well the tires grip the road. Then out of the neighborhood, back onto Hewett (whee!) and back home. It wasn't the slowest I've done this route.

Counting my commute, a 24 mile day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

First Real Ride Since the Crash

It was SUCH a nice evening that when I got home from work, before cooking dinner, I went for a little ride from my house (right by the intersection of Hwys 217 and 26) up through the neighborhood on the Sunset bike path to the Sylvan interchange. It is a climb the whole way. I did some standing and it didn't hurt. I did starts from stops and it didn't hurt.

Then I had great fun coasting back down, and messing with that Take-A-Look mirror. I'll get it right one of these days. More riding no-hands, too. And here is a slightly fuzzy shot of the bike after the ride. You can see that it is pretty happy about this, too!

Next, some rides where the odometer will read some number greater than, say, 10...

Best Picture Ever of Bleriot

So, this is the new bike with fenders and rack:

I call it the best picture, because it doesn't have all the accessories attached - a glamour shot, if you prefer. It now also has a pump and a water bottle cage, lights and a computer. And a rear mudflap with a Hawaiian flower print. I'll post another picture when I finally get out for a ride.

On the getting better side, I've gotten out for a run three days in a row, so things must be slowly improving. I'll have to give riding another try very soon. The upper body twisting thing pushing off from a stop didn't work so well last time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Long Live the New Bike (RIP old bike...)

Update on the New Bicycle - it is rideable! Not DONE, but you know how that goes.
The photo essay is here.

I was wondering how I could do the assembly with a minimum of downtime for my commuting bicycle, Sekai. As it turned out, that was taken care of for me. I was on a ride on Saturday, Feb 25 on Sekai that ended rather abruptly with a crash. I thought I hit a bump, but the reaction of the bicycle itself was all out of proportion to that. The frame buckled and failed big time. So there were paramedics and ambulances and the emergency room and all that. The actual falling happened on grass, so no road rash. Just probable broken ribs and some amazing bruises. I'm very, very lucky.

That said, Sekai was going nowhere fast, and I knew my frame would be back from its S&S coupler installation this previous Friday (March 2). So once I could move things around without major discomfort, I set up a work area in our living room, and started stripping off the parts I was planning to install on the Bleriot.

I arrived home on Friday to find a small box outside my door - Bleriot, all in pieces, nicely wrapped up in frame protectors. So Saturday am found me at Bike Gallery, tin of homemade cookies, frame, fork, and headset in hand. Mark installed the headset for me, and I subsequently had a nice visit with the president of our cycling club, who was out "buying some milk". Uh huh. The "milk" will show up later this week. :-)

Then home, to finish taking parts off Sekai - I had to break the chain to remove the front derailleur, and just didn't have the oomph to do it. So I cleaned up the kitchen and did laundry, waiting for someone stronger to show up. Fitz came home from his bike ride and broke the chain, then I pulled off the derailleur. Jason showed up with his chain tool and cable cutter. He installed the bottom bracket while I cleaned up the front derailleur (just because it is a USED part doesn't mean it needs to be a DIRTY part). Looked really nice, too.

Then I put on the crank, and Jason said I really needed a newer seatpost. So Fitz, Jason and I decamped to Bike Gallery to get a seatpost. I also showed them the "milk" Carlo was looking at.
Back home. No, that seatpost didn't work either. Got the spec off the internet, went back, exchanged the seatpost. Jason had to take off at that point.

Installed the brakes, derailleurs, stem, handlebars, brake levers, shift levers (bar ends). Seatpost still wasn't right, so set that aside. Put in all the brake and shifter cables, including installing the cable splitters (these are SO COOL - the bike comes apart, so most of the cables need to split as well). Adjusted the brakes. Went out for dinner somewhere in there.

Next morning, after a leisurely breakfast and newspaper read, figured out the proper chain length and installed the chain. Installed the pedals. Cut the shifter cables to a reasonable length, then put the seatpost and seat in a bag, pulled on my cycling shoes and went back to Bike Gallery.

Mark determined that the seatpost wanted to be yet another diameter, and produced one of the appropriate size. He adjusted the derailleurs (someday I'll learn how to do that, really), tightened up the headset, and lots of other things, then we made sure that I didn't need to cut off the steerer tube or seatpost.

On the way out of the store, a couple on a Co-Motion tandem pulled in, and the guy was all over my bicycle ("wow! Is it French? Look, you've got the 650b wheels!", etc, etc). His stoker said "enough bike talk, let's go inside". :-) Funny.

Home again, where I taped the handlebars. Then I went for a short ride around the neighborhood, stopping at my parents, then a big loop, then to my brother's. I can ride it no-hands, too. :-) Cool :-) This is a beautiful bike :-)