Saturday, October 22, 2016

wheel building book - new edition

Years ago, I got a bootleg copy of Roger Musson's wheelbuilding book, and it was good enough that I bought one for myself (the book is a .pdf download; you can print the parts you need, but I never have). I had read both Gerd Schraner's and Jobst Brandt's books on wheels; they were full of theory, but I couldn't get my brains around how to build a wheel from them, and online guides weren't helpful to me, either (my learning style is such that I learn better from books and practice than from online sources; your mileage may vary [as everyone's does, of course]).

There's a new edition out that I downloaded this morning and have been skimming. It's still good, and there are enough changes that the new edition number makes sense. (See, if you buy the book, you get new editions free. If you don't like it, he will refund your money for up to 60 days.)

Earlier editions were hard to read for me (Musson treats commas as if they cost $2 each), but this one is written a bit better. It includes information on how to make some of the tools you'll need, why some things that sound like good ideas really aren't, and why some of the latest-and-greatest products and techniques don't make sense for most of us recreational cyclists.

About $12 US (Musson's a limey). Worked for me.

(No, you can't borrow mine. It's $12. Buy cheaper coffee for a week and support this guy, all right?)

Monday, October 17, 2016

do they make a jersey like this?

No ride yesterday; I was on an all-clear-liquids diet preparatory to a colonoscopy today (one of the appurtenant travails of age; these older model vehicles may have certain charms, but we do require extra maintenance), and I wasn't sure I could do dozens of miles without solid sustenance. The colonoscopy requires total anaesthesia, and to remind the medical staff to be attentive, patients are issued the yellow armband in the picture below:

I think I might need a bike jersey with that legend.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

derailleur is seriously wounded on metric century ride

That title got your attention, didn't it?

Laura OLPH decided her flatlands bike was getting resentful from neglect (or maybe it was lazy from disuse; I can't always tell), so she decided to use one of Tom H's routes in Burlington County today for a flat 100km/60 miles. Despite scraping frost off the windshield this morning (c'mon! Second time this week, and it's only mid-October!), seven of us decided it was a good idea: besides Tom, Laura, and me, there were Robert N, Jack A, Gordon, and Raj.

Tom did the ceremony of the holy kickstand...

... and, while it did protect us from injury, it's clear to me it was ineffective against mechanical mishap... but more later.

The route (links to ride page) is a modification of one from Tom's book. Today's route took us along Chatsworth-Tabernacle Road, which had a decent surface, but was a bit busier than I would have liked. On the way, we hit the most happenin' event in the county, I think: the Cranberry Festival in Tabernacle.

After escaping the traffic, we stopped for pictures, and, of course, I got pictures of the folks takiing pictures.

We stopped at Nixon's in Tabernacle (if you're riding down here, you're probably going to stop at Nixon's in Tabernacle), where there was a cake sale to support a dog-rescue operation.The woman standing in the picture below rescues dogs from shelters in the South, where the custom is to keep the dogs only a week before euthanizing. She picks 'em up and finds 'em families up here in The Reproachable Northeast. I was glad to buy some junk food and throw some cash her way. (I did not promise to take a dog.)

Obligatory bikes pic:

From Nixon's I was hoping for an uneventful ride back to Mansfield Park...

...but at about mile 50, I heard a chatter in my chain. I pulled over to investigate, and found that the upper pulley wheel had stopped turning and was locked in place. (They're also called jockey wheels and follow wheels, and yes, the terms are interchangeable; don't give me no B.S. about that). By loosening the axle bolt, I got it to turn well enough to get me back to the car, but I sweated about the bolt falling out the whole way back. It held, though.

When I investigated at home, I found the bearing in the wheel had turned to the ball-bearing equivalent of hamburger:

(Hint: All the balls are not supposed to be on one side of the wheel, and the stamped metal dingus that holds 'em in place is not supposed to have twisted shards sticking out like that.)

The new jockey wheels should be delivered Friday. And so much for the Holy Kickstand. I'm goin' back to my grouchy atheism.

Friday, October 14, 2016


I'm dropping my mail-in ballot into the postbox this morning, because I can't imagine what could happen in the next three weeks or so that could change my vote.

In related news, here's one from today's Oddman:

Just deplorable.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

ciclovia, october 2016 - second post

More Ciclovia pics:

Wait... is that Freewheeler John Smolenyak in the picture below?

That woman above was so sweet when I filled her tires and adjusted the brakes.

About this time, a mother and son came in, of whom I didn't get a picture. They had the most beat-up old bike that wouldn't go... but it became clear that this was gonna be the kid's only chance at a bike. I had to un-bend a couple of links of the chain, shape a bend fork, play with the brake... eventually I got it so he could get it to go in one gear (of a 3x7), and I got one brake to work. Later, I rode home on the Krakow Monster, with my toolbox on the rack, and meditated on injustice and mercy for a mile or two.

Above, the replacement team, Tom & Annie. I stayed a bit longer, but I'm glad they came so I could go. With all the up-and-down and lifting, I'm going to be a mess tomorrow.

That was the COOLEST tandem cruiser! Below, I could be wrong, but I thought the woman with all the flowers gave me a wink. Don't tell TEW.

And below, the winner of the best bike outfit, by far. With matching bike.

ciclovia october 2016

Today was the New Brunswick Ciclovia, where the city closes a few miles of streets to car traffic, and people walk, bike, scooter, and skateboard; I even saw one of those hoverboard things, and there was a security guy on a Segway. The New Brunswick Bike Exchange hosts a bike-maintenance station, and I went to help for a while. All kinds of folks come out, especially kids, and kids and families, and I'm just a sucker for it.

This post is mostly pictures, and a little explanation, and I may break it up into two posts. If I do, come back for the other one; there's a little girl with the most excellent bike outfit - you wouldn't want to miss it.


Above, Ben T, my partner for the day. I should EVER have his enthusiasm!

Above, Ben and his wife Rosa. Neither one of them should forgive me for that picture, especially after treating me as well as they did today; Rosa kept me supplied with coffee and food. Below, the start of the stand.

Below, our first customers. Most of what we do is pump up tires, and lube chains, with the occasional tube-change.

Aren't they cute ?

One of the Freewheelers likes to tweak my nose about the supposed high crime in this neighborhood. These are dangerous-lookin' folks, aren't they?

There was a farm stand with a petting zoo for the kids...

... and some of the kids were older than others.

Below, Cuqui, from the parent organization of the Bike Exchange, PRAB.

Ben, earnin' his keep...

OK. More in the next post.