Friday, March 28, 2008

Another Snow Day!

Even better snow this morning!

Snowy Cockpit Panda

Snowy Commute in March

The roads were just wet.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Today's Commute

It was meant to be a spin class and weights morning, which means I drive to the gym, work out, change into commute cycling clothes, do the post-workout bagel and coffee meetup, then drive home, grab my lunch and work stuff, and ride into work.

Best-laid plans. We were up all evening before dismantling the computer center so daughter could continue painting the upstairs family room. (This is a story for another time.) 4:50am was too darn early.

Our tradition is that if spinning is skipped, we still do the Executive Workout - bagels and coffee. Rode over to the bagel place by the gym, leaned the bike up against Jason's, and had a great breakfast with John and Jason. Scott (bagel place owner) thinks he should be getting a bike rack. We agree.

John and Jason were doing their electronic tether activity (Treos), when Jason commented that Richard, a friend of ours who lives on Council Crest (highest point in Portland, I think), reported that it was snowing, and he bombed down Broadway in it. I looked out the window - "hey guys, it is snowing here, too!"

The subsequent commute into work had the bonus of snow! Not sticking, and it stopped partway through, but snow always makes me smile.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gitane Update (Happy NOW Uncle Arthur?)

Lately, I've just been collecting parts, tweaking the rear wheel, and plotting what to do next.

Last night was a giant cable and housing installation event.

Cane Creek SCR-5C brake levers installed

Rear brakes hooked up

Shopping list for the next wave of activity:
  • 4 brake pads (I can buy NOS Weinmann brake pads on eBay. Brake pads older than my children? I think NOT!)
  • 2 feet of brake cable housing
  • steel core tire levers (to wrestle the free, slightly-worn Armadillos from Lance onto the rims)
  • 1 tube
  • 1 saddle
  • Velox handlebar plugs
  • fenders (I'm thinking Velo Orange fluted metal ones)
  • cable housing clamps (no stops on this frame)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cupcake's Birthday Ride

Laura organized her birthday ride this past Saturday, a jaunt from The Grand Lodge in Forest Grove out to and around Hagg Lake, and back.

Brief aside: Laura's nickname is Cupcake, because, oh, almost 4 years ago, around mile 80 of the Portland Wheelmen's Spring Century, we were paused and she was, let's say, "discouraged". Her brother-in-law promptly told her to "suck it up, cupcake!". Much to her dismay, it stuck. (I became "Pinkie" a few miles later. Now you know.)

Laura, Ken, and Nat

33 degrees, bright and sunny. Riding were: me, Fitz, Laura, Einar, Ken, Susan, Scott, Nat, Amy and Lance. A real Team Bag Balm outing. I was riding the Lemond, in the mistaken thought that I'd ride faster.

The standard TBB faffing in the parking lot beforehand, then off to Hagg Lake via Fern Hill, Spring Hill, Main (through Gaston), north to the Lake Store...

Early spring, so all the fields are greening up, the trees are blooming or leafing out, and baby animals are everywhere.

We paused at the Lake Store to discuss options. The more speedy among us were contemplating 2 circuits of the lake (10 mile rolling loop), most were thinking 1 loop was fine, and some were saying "I'll go the other way and turn around when I see you".

Hagg Lake

Off to the lake. Fitz, Susan, and I were the "we'll go the other way and evaluate when we see you coming at us". Susan hasn't gotten out much, and Fitz's knees were bothering him. I left them both on the initial climb, kept riding, and eventually saw two riders heading the other way. They were doing 2 loops. I stopped to wait for Fitz and Susan. Fitz came by, but no Susan. I headed down the stretch I'd just ridden up (Hagg Lake is a "y", this was the first arm/tip of the "y"). No Susan. Ok. Went on, saw several of the other riders going the other way, then, as I was approaching the boat ramp and dam, saw Susan coming in from the other direction. We both proceeded back to the group waiting across the dam, and stood around for a bit.

Then back to Forest Grove, crossing Hwy 47 at Spring Hill (no traffic!), north on Fern Hill, and back to the Lodge.

On the way back, Susan asks: "Have you considered doing Race Across Oregon?"
Me: no
Susan: "Can you ride 225 miles in 24 hours?"
Me: sure
(I'm still completely not considering it)
Fitz was riding along behind us, so he now knows that I'm pursuing an R-12, riding Fleche Ouragan on the all-women's team (clever name to be determined), and, well, there might be some ride in the summer of 2011 that perhaps I'd like to do.

Got to catch up with Laura, too. We used to ride together all the time, she roped us all into doing Seattle to Portland in a day, then she went the race route and I went the distance/endurance route.

We got a big table in the dining room, had lunch, and then entirely too much birthday cake (German Chocolate, baked by Nat, Cheesecake, contributed by Einar) and cupcakes (German Chocolate, baked by Linda, who joined us after her 14-mile run).

Then we all waddled home. :-)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Canada Socks Finished!

Canada Socks finished!

Last summer in Michigan, when we were doing a family ride from the cottage to Trick Dog (for their Brazilian French Toast breakfast, yum! in Elberta) to Beulah (because it is at the other end of the Betsie Valley Trail), I saw the Knitting on the Road book displayed in the window of the Yarn Market, open to the Canada Socks page. Had to have it. Told everyone to wait just one minute, went into the store and bought the book (and somehow needed to buy the Lucy Neatby Fiesta Socks pattern as well; looks fiendishly challenging).

Of course, I was still knitting the Philosopher's Wool Tradition sweater and some other socks, so I couldn't start anything new. But I could leaf through the book :-)

Fast forward to this January. The sweater was done, as well as that pair of socks, and the next pair of socks was halfway through. Time to get the yarn. I couldn't find the desired colors and weight of yarn at a local yarn store (granted, I just checked one store, but I'm not driving all over town to find yarn!) Ordered the yarn from Shelridge Farms and waited. Bought a swift and yarn winder while waiting :-) Finished the other socks.

More fun than anyone has a right to have

Early February, all the parts are here. Needles (sz 0 circs, sz 1 straights), yarn, swift, winder, pattern. Had a fun evening winding the yarn into center pull balls, then cast on. Hmm. Need stitch markers, since I'm using a circular needle, rather than double points. Pull out the beading supplies (trip to bead store indicated :-) ) and make some up. Yes, I could buy them, but they are so darn easy to make.

Canada socks are progressing

The Latvian Twist cuff was new and interesting. It looks pretty cool. The colorwork was a piece of cake after that sweater. The clock pattern down the sides was new, but just knits and purls. After that, it was just plain sock knitting.

I knit in front of the tv, and on road trips. And whenever else I find myself sitting with unoccupied hands. Not at work , although I sit in enough meetings!

Cast on sock two, and finished up this morning during the post spin class bagel breakfast.

Yay! I'd be wearing them, but they don't go with today's clothes. Tomorrow, for sure.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

SIR 200km Brevet

Husband: "why can't you stay in Portland and go for a long ride in the rain here?"

Bell Metropolis Helmet with accessories

He was referring to my expedition to Seattle to ride the Seattle International Randonneurs 200km.

Why indeed? (Lynne outs herself here) I needed an ACP/RUSA 200km ride for March, to keep up the string of rides for the RUSA R-12 Award. Cecil and I are pre-riding the Birkie Brevet on March 29, but the ride itself is credited to the official ride date, which is on April 5. Besides, there was the lure of riding somewhere completely different. Somewhere where I had absolutely No Clue of where I was.

I arranged to carpool with Bill. The ride organizer offered up his guest bed. As the ride started right around the corner from his house... Wow. Can you imagine getting up and STARTING your brevet from the front door? Riding two blocks to the start?

The weather was forecasted to be, well, not to put too fine a point on it - wet. Temps mostly in the 40's. Start at 7am (sunrise around 7:30am). So, which piece of new gear did I need for this ride? A helmet cover was indicated. I recently bought a Bell Metropolis helmet, because it has a loop on the back to hold a light, and a nifty little integral mirror accessory. It also has a fitted helmet cover. Said helmet cover has little buttonholes for the helmet brim attachment points to fit through, and is curved to not interfere with the rear light mounting loop. I have a headlight that I attach as well. No holes for that. But I have the skills and tools, so two additional buttonholes were added Friday evening, while I was waiting for Bill to come by.

Off to Seattle (in the rain), with an expedient dinner stop at Burgerville in Centralia. Only on evenings before rides or the ride day, do I get to eat with impunity. Mmmm. Cheeseburger and fries.

Found Greg's house in Kent, no problem. Greg and Mary are really great folks. Their house is just like ours was a few years ago - random teenagers wandering in and out, and one is never quite sure how many will be there in the morning. I think a Guitar Hero session was going on somewhere.

I planned to get up at 5:30, eat my pbj sandwich, and head to the start. Over 100 riders had preregistered. So, proceeding as planned, got up and headed downstairs. I found Mary, their daughter and daughter's friend already up. Made my thermos of Gatorade tea, ate my sandwich and visited.

Then on with the shoes and booties, stowed my sandwiches, put on my wool cap, helmet, glasses, gloves with REI mountaineering shells on top (waterproof! I wanted waterproof!), jacket... and up the little hill. Bicycles and riders everywhere. It was dark and raining, but I managed to find Cecil in the crowd. Also saw Sal and Peg.

At 7am we all headed out; a long line of red taillights (some solid, some blinking) shiny through the rain. Daughter and her friend were out on the sidewalk, in the dark and rain, cheering us on. Cecil and I rode together all day. We followed the crowd. It eventually spread out, and we had to look at our maps from time to time. We rode through Kent, heading west, and along Dash Point (I still do not have an overview of the route in my head; bear with me). Nice views of Puget Sound, there.

Then to our first control at a grocery. Mark Thomas was there, signing our control cards. After determining that there were no functioning restrooms, Cecil and I ate some muffin and headed off. Up a hill (more great views of the Sound), then riding. Cecil started to worry that we had missed the turn onto Enchanted Parkway. I didn't think so, and we all compared odometers. By then Nat had joined us (Nat from the Bingen 200k in October - that was his first-ever brevet). His comment: "I'm sticking with you two because you looked like you were experienced at this!" I'm falling over laughing, because, yeah, sure, I can read a map, and follow navigation instructions, but we were all in completely unknown territory! Nat isn't used to riding where there are actual road choices and lots of urban traffic - he's from the Tri-Cities. After determining that no, we hadn't missed it, we rode on and found it.

Crossed I-5, rode around a little more, and found ourselves in Auburn. Narrow, quaint little main street, there. We stopped for a train. My left foot was not unclipping, and I almost fell over. Embarrassing, that. Another rider introduced himself - he's Gene from the Cascade Bike Club forums, so we've met electronically. :-) He said once we got through Auburn, we'd be out in the country.

And so we were. Many delightful and scenic miles (there was even a period of non-rain) on Green Valley Rd - farms with horses and shaggy, horned Herefords, sheep, goats, flowers. Flat, too. We rode past Flaming Geyser park, where Cecil and I learned that there is indeed a burning swamp gas emission, but "geyser" perhaps overstates it. Probably more like "pilot light".

I recognized the "bridge to nowhere" that John C. has on his flickr page, as we rode past it.

Then a stretch of climbing, of the 8% variety, working our way to the fabled Black Diamond Bakery (and control). I dropped behind on the climb and came around a corner and headed up the hill. I hadn't flipped my map over, and so missed the turn onto Jones Lake Rd. Got to the top of that hill (not THAT long), and checked the map. Ooops. Down the hill, around the corner, up another, less steep and long, hill and there was Mark, signing cards, and Cecil telling me she'd grabbed a table.

Peeled off the overmitts, went in, dumped my helmet, gloves, and card on the table and went to get an apple-walnut-whole wheat-cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting and a hot chocolate. It was big. I really tried, but I couldn't eat the whole thing. Being at a table full of randonneurs, that wasn't a problem. My feet were refusing to warm up, so I put on some chemical toe warmers. Eric and Maggie came in and got real bowls of soup and rolls. Bill came in as Cecil and I were leaving. Mark gave us each a chunk of his enormous (dinner-plate-sized) cookie, and we reassembled, and headed off.

Rode along interestingly named roads (Kent-Kangley, Retreat Kanaskat, Cumberland Kanaskat), working our way to the east edge of Enumclaw. There was a Secret Control on that stretch :-). More riding through open farmland, all still very soggy from the winter rains. Then left onto Hwy 410, where we'd ride to the turnaround point at Greenwater (17 miles). The altitude increased, and there was snow beside the road in places. The rain returned. There were a few climbs, but it was mostly a gentle grade. Nice views, although it is rumored there is an enormous mountain out there, which we could not see. We followed the river on up, and watched the faster riders heading back down. My light, which had by this point decided that it did not need to be on (auto sensor), kept flicking on during the climb parts, which were shaded.

Eventually we arrived at Greenwater, where one store patron pronounced us all "crazy". Bought a Payday bar, and had my card signed by the store clerk. I changed my inner gloves to shortfingers, Smartwool liner gloves and old, beat up ragg wool gloves. Cecil changed her socks and got more handwarmers for her gloves. Maggie's feet were cold, and we offered her some toe warmers, but she passed, because then she'd have warm feet, and Eric and Brian wouldn't.

13 miles of mostly downhill, now. All the skiers, boarders and snowmobilers had decided to head home from Crystal Mountain for the day. Most of them passed us at a safe distance (yet still at high speed), but the occasional truck towing a trailer would not, and that was a little disturbing.

It had stopped raining at Greenwater, and the sun came out.

Finally got to the turnoff onto Mud Mt Dam road. Wonderful pavement, no traffic at all. And then a downhill. Even better. Then into Enumclaw, and to the Circle K, our last on-course control. I was dragging at that point, so I had some Ibuprofen, which I should have taken at Greenwater, Gatorade, half a banana and a caffeine-enhanced Gu. Results were immediately forthcoming.

It had definitely warmed up. All of 45 degrees. Cecil's bike computer had reported a low of 36? at the start, warming up to 40, dropping to 38 at Greenwater. So, not a warm day, by any means.

Cecil and I set out on the last 20 miles. I think we headed north from Enumclaw. I knew there were at least two more climbs in there. Flat horse country, then rollers, then down 212 Way. At the bottom, we found ourselves at the intersection with the bridge to nowhere again, this time heading up Auburn-Black Diamond Road. 1.7 miles. Cecil said it was mostly 8-9% with significant bits of 10%. (She has a nifty-feature-laden new bike computer, can you tell?). After that climb we wandered around some more, then got onto 132nd, and then 240th, for the last climb of the day, with the ride finish at the top.

It was still daylight. Novel! I finished at 7:03pm. Peeled off all the wet and dirty outer layers, and went inside for a big bowl of chili, salad, fruit, cornbread, chips, nuts, cookies...

Got to meet some of the other riders, plus visited with Peg and Maggie, and other riders I'd met on previous outings.

Nat finished, and we all cheered and took pictures. The shower came open, so I got to shower and put on clean clothes. I packed up all my stuff, and took my knitting downstairs to visit and wait for Bill. He finished at around 13 hours.

More visiting, etc. Bill and I finally left around 9:30pm.

I didn't take any pictures - the overmitts preclude getting the camera out, taking the picture and putting everything safely away. But there are pics here:

Jim Carson's pics
Cecil's pics

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Little Pre-Ride Stress

Tomorrow evening I'm heading up to Kent to ride the Seattle Randonneurs 200k Brevet on Saturday. I just "rode" the route via Google Maps; I'll have couple of questions on the route, like where exactly DO we pick up 410? Enumclaw? Or further east?

I am packed. My food for Saturday is assembled. The bike got a Cosmetic Wipe-Off (TM) and some fresh lube on the chain. Air in the tires, too.

Then I read Narayan Krishnamoorthy's pre-ride report. I am now officially tense. He claims he's slow, and he did it in 10.5 hours. 5000 vertical feet over the route. David R says it isn't any harder than the Bingen brevet. It certainly couldn't be any windier.

Oh, and the weather should be outstanding, too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Addendum to the Snooseville Populaire

It should be noted that I rode my bicycle to and from the ride, through neighborhoods and country roads, wearing a mix of synthetic and natural fibers, with tap water in my waterbottle and a homemade pbj sandwich and banana in my bag. While I did not have any flat tires on this ride, I would have swapped on a previously-patched tube, and pumped it up with my frame pump. My bike frame is lugged steel. My bright front headlight is powered by a hub generator. I supported 3 local businesses on this ride. One purchase involved 3 hanks of natural-fiber, sustainably-harvested yarn, which I will use to craft clothing articles for myself.

Take that, Sierra Club...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Snooseville Populaire, March 2008

Headed up the hill just before 6:30am, to find Nat and Cecil headed down. So we turned around and went back up, then went and collected Jason, and continued on west to the start at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse. For me, that adds 9+ miles.

Cecil and I had deliberately chosen to match :-), rather than our standard by-accident method. I'm not entirely sure anyone would have noticed, if we hadn't mentioned it, what with most folks in black shorts/tights/pants and yellow jackets.

We did this on purpose

We had lots of time to visit around, since we'd done all our pre-ride faffing several miles back.

The group headed out west on Evergreen, riding fast. I stupidly rode fast, too, not that that stopped anyone from passing me. I rode alone, then found Jason waiting for me. Through North Plains, past Pumpkin Ridge, then finally north on Dairy Creek. All the nursery stock is being pruned and fertilized. The trees are getting that fuzzy, early Spring look. The llamas are cute. Dairy Creek is still a climb disguised as a flat, with a headwind. The temperature dropped and the sun went away as we got further in.

At the corner of Meacham Rd, a sign proclaimed: "Lost 4H Steer". I'm not sure how you lose one of those. I expect it escaped. We started wondering where all the lead riders were, this being an out-and-back stretch. We soon saw the double-paceline-race-team-out-for-a-training-ride group, then several others, including David (on the Salsa Casseroll), and John.

Past the nice house, and the house with all the dead cars, then right onto Fern Flat. Richard, Nance, and Nat passed us, and, shortly thereafter, Cecil.

The control, manned by Bill, was stocked with nice little snackies (Sesame Honey Bar, yum). We filled in our cards with the answer, refilled our water, took pictures, said hi to Lance, Amy, and Andrew, and proceeded on.

Dairy Creek at the Fern Flat control

Got to enjoy the tailwind and downhill, eventually warming up as we emerged from the cloud cover. Then west up the steep rollers, at which point I decided maybe I wasn't feeling so wonderful. Across Frogger Junction (whooo! no waiting! we got a clear spot and just went!), around the field still trying to be a wetland to find Susan at The Secret Control.

Card stamped, we chatted a bit about the upcoming fleche and next weekend's 200km brevet in Seattle. She was impressed that I scored the spare bed at the organizer's home :-) Clearly the organizer is a really nice guy, to put up with strangers crashing throughout his house the night before.

Off again, through Banks and along the rollers and wetlands (the Killin Wetlands) on Cedar Canyon Road. Jason and I paused at the intersection of Cedar Canyon and Jack Rd to answer another control question. (5 yellow, 2 orange), and have a snack. Several riders had the same thought, as we all munched our sandwiches and bananas.

Left on Hwy 6, then up Stafford Rd, then along Strohmeyer/Kansas City/Thatcher, enjoying the views of plum orchards all fuzzy with spring growth, colorful strips of nursery stock, artistic arrangements of antique farm implements and the Portland Velo Hammer and Nails group flying by us.

Fuzzy berry bushes on Thatcher Rd

Then into Forest Grove, headed for the delights of Maggie's Buns. Jason and I split a sticky bun. We visited with Amy and Lance. The Portland Velo 19s and 17s came in, but, surprisingly, no Fitz. I thought he'd be riding with them this morning.

Then off for the last stretch, the part I can do in my sleep, heading back to Hillsboro, but going a couple of blocks past the Longbottom's turnoff. Still not feeling all that great :-(

Found Susan and Bill in the parking lot, and did the end-of-ride paperwork, and got a nifty new RUSA populaire pin in return. Susan said there were folks inside, so we went in and found Joel, Tony, Daniel, Nate, Mike, and (?sorry) at a table and joined them.

I went for the post-ride strawberry milkshake (Cornelius Pass Roadhouse has many *interesting* milkshakes, but I wanted one without beer) and split an order of tater tots with Jason.

Got to hear more about PBP from Joel, and there was a lively discussion about helmet-wearing and chain lube. I don't think we discussed lighting. Next time, perhaps.


I wanted to check out another yarn store on the way home; it claimed to have the very yarn I was looking for. Jason and I took a slightly northern route to end up at the Knitting Bee, on West Union, just east of NW185th. He thought he'd wait outside :-)

They did have a great selection of yarns; I bought some Lorna's Laces and Schaefer Anne. The Schaefer will be for my Conwy socks. The Lorna's Laces is uncommitted. Nice folks working there, too!

Schaefer Anna - kind of a varegiated denim

Proceeding east on West Union (ick), then into Oak Hills, onto Murray, cross Hwy 26, then into Jason's neighborhood. I left him there, and continued my last 3 miles.

Got home - no Fitz. All the cars were there, and the lawn tractor battery was charging (annual Rite of Spring). Further investigation revealed that his bike was gone, so I concluded he was off riding up to Council Crest. About an hour later, this proved to be the correct conclusion. We still had to jump start the lawn tractor :-)

82.5 miles for my day, at not a particularly amazing pace. We shall hope for a zippier outing next weekend in Seattle.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Errands on the way home

Friday I thought I'd check out a yarn shop on my commute home - I needed wool for the next project (Nancy Bush's Conwy socks). Farm House Yarns is on Farmington, pretty much 2 miles directly south of my work. It was raining a bit. The ride was uneventful, other than traffic does zip right along on Millkan Way heading west (I can see why many cyclists choose to ride on the sidewalk, even though it is two lanes both ways, and not heavily trafficked), and 160th gets very narrow south of the railroad tracks . Once I turned left onto Farmington it was nice, but I was at my destination in a couple of blocks.

Farm House Yarns is indeed a converted house, with a really nice covered porch (locked the bike there), and yarn everywhere inside. "oh, a biker!" as I walked in. Me: "cyclist" :-) They pointed me at the sock yarn room, with the warning that it wasn't as stocked as it would be in a few weeks. That said, I found a small group knitting socks, and a decent selection of yarns.

Visited with the knitting group, and picked out some Colinette Cadenza, which will probably turn into some Thuja socks for me.

Colinette Cadenza

Another nice visit at the cash register - Sandy wants to ride, but just around. She wanted to know if REI was a good bike shop. They are, but I give my money to Bike Gallery - I can easily ride over there there, and the mechanics are excellent.

Headed east on Farmington until I could turn right to get onto Division/6th/5th, which is the peaceful way to ride through central Beaverton. When I eventually turned left onto Lombard, I could see another cyclist coming up behind me in the gloom.

From behind me: "Nice Honjos!"
I turned around: "Nice Ostrich bag!"

And we followed each other all the way to the northern terminus of Lombard, where we went our separate ways.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bottom Bracket Solved, Other Challenges Waiting

The spindle from Joel worked out. While it was really 113mm long, it is symmetric and everything appears to have lined up nicely. The crank was bolted on, and then Mark applied the front derailleur "just to check". Looks like it will work out fine.

Crankset installed


If only that were the end of it. This isn't like putting together a new bike, or even a relatively recent bike. Can't just buy Shimano or Shimano-compatible parts (or Campy, or SRAM), and expect to just bolt them on. French-threaded parts are no longer made; one must track down used or NOS (new old stock) ones.

I did spring for the reproduction decal set, but will build up the bike first, and see if it grows on me before committing to a repaint.

For one thing, the rear spacing is tight. The rear wheel did not want to come out. So when I repacked the hubs, I noticed it had two washers on each side, and removed the extras. Checked it out today when the wheel and frame were reunited. Still a bit tight, plus the frame catches on the freewheel retaining ring. That would explain the extra washers. But the proper thing to do would be to get the rear respaced. Now, other than labor, all the money I have spent on this bike has been for parts that can be repurposed to other bikes. Once we start respacing the rear dropouts... The immediate solution will be to put the two washers on the drive side, rather than one on each side. More cone wrench activity.

Next, the headset did not want to adjust nicely. Mark says he needs all the pieces on to make a final adjustment, so we'll wait that one out.

But should I go for the respace and need a new headset, the bottom bracket would have to come out (and all the supporting parts), and the frame would be, um, not to put too fine a point on it, bent, and new paint might be in the cards at that point.

Fun? Absolutely. But not for the person that wants immediate gratification :-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A New Gitane Restoration Wrinkle

As you saw from earlier photos, the paint job has taken somewhat of a beating. Normal wear and tear, but it adds up. However, replacement decals weren't available. Until now...

Reynolds 531


The bike could Gleaming. Lustrous.

Ack. Indecision.

Bottom Bracket, ongoing...

"Get a new spindle"...

Two bottom brackets

Friend Einar (he rivals Sheldon Brown in encyclopedic bicycle knowledge, plus he loans me tools, and we talk about bicycles Every Single Day as we are stretching from our lunch time runs) thought I should ask the OBRA maillist - "those guys have SO MANY spare parts laying around". So he posted for me, and today, Joel M said he had all the pieces.

Joel and I had a conversation, and he came over this evening with a cup and cone bottom bracket with a 110mm spindle AND an older Shimano cartridge bottom bracket. We talked about bike builds. He's a serious paint matcher.

Stay tuned for when the spindle meets the French cups and the crankset...

On the lighter side...

A bicycling-related comic strip, and

How green is YOUR bike ride? (me, 95 out of 100)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bottom Bracket Fun and Games

Took the Gitane frame, fork, headset, bottom bracket and crank into my LBS to start putting it back together. Mechanic Mark was dubious about the compatibility of the crank (Stronglight Impact compact double 48/34) and the bottom bracket (Sugino 113mm square taper asymmetrical spindle, old, French cups). He was right. There is "old" square taper (the spindle) and modern square taper (any Shimano compatible square taper bb).

"Get a new spindle". Right. It needed to be 110mm and symmetrical. And the proper generation of square taper. French-threaded bottom bracket, remember? Can't just plop a standard cartridge bb in there.

The easiest, and most expensive solution is to get a Phil Wood bottom bracket, with French cups. I could leave that to my grandchildren in my will.

After much searching on the internet, I started seeing references to Shimano cartridge bottom brackets and the Phil Wood French cups. There exists a generation of bottom brackets with both cups removable, not like the current ones.

A tense time on eBay, and the Shimano UN-72 bottom bracket is mine. The spindle is perfectly compatible with the crank:

And wikipedia, (Section 3.3) as well as other sites list this bottom bracket as one with removable cups.

The Gitane forum guys recommend this method as well.

I'm sure there will be other surprises and challenges to work though.

Stay tuned. This bike may be rideable by sometime in April at this rate.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Zipping up the hills

I have a cycling partner (we'll call him "Jason"), who has this incredibly annoying habit of flying up rises and hills like they weren't even there. He doesn't even slow down. As I said, annoying.

I was leading one of the Portland Velo 17's groups this past Saturday... and found myself doing just that. Seated. I'd keep on going, look back, and most of the riders would have fallen back. My. Don't know whose legs these are, but I'll have to keep them!