Thursday, August 29, 2013

rust happens

So - do you know what happens to your chromoly-steel Crank Brothers 19 multi-tool...

... when you leave it in your non-waterproof seat bag, and get caught riding in the rain a few times, and then get it out of the bag a month or so later when a rider who can run rings around you gives you a good suggestion about adjusting the position of your controls, and you want the multi-tool to make the adjustment?

It sure didn't look like that picture. Even now, after close attention with steel wool and a wire brush, and a perhaps-too-liberal application of metal polish, it looks like a tool from the US Zombie Team.

For my next tool, remind me to get one that's rust-resistant, or to keep it wrapped in plastic in the seat bag. Or both.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

demanding recovery ride, and tew makes a purchase

After yesterday's Lake Nockamixon Century, Ken told me he was going to do a recovery ride with only one big hill: Lindbergh Rd. You can see that hill at this link to the ride data (on the elevation graph, it starts about halfway though), but you can also see it was far from the only hill... and Ken's idea of a flat ride evidently includes anything with less than 3000 feet of climbing in 50 miles.

That said, it was a great ride on a glorious day. None of the ills of yesterday's ride were apparent today. Bruce and Bob joined us; we went down to the Washington crossing, and up the river for a bit (and passed a car being taken over by the weeds):

 then up to Ringoes and to Peacock's at the foot of Lindbergh... where (wouldn't you know it) Ken ran into a woman he knows.

It's becoming a running piece of comedy business; no matter where I see him, he runs into people he knows.Here's Ken, probably trying to explain how it's just a coincidence:

More pictures at Peacock's:

That above is Bruce, who is going to be whippin' me up the hills by the end of the season.

Pics at Lindbergh & Ridge Road. Here's Bruce:

and Ken & Bob.

Good ride, despite my complaining. And at the end, there were cookies! How often does a ride leader bring goodies along to share?

...but wait; there's more.

Thursday night, The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I went to Hart's Cyclery for her to do the Guru fit. I initially pooh-poohed the idea, but the more I thought about it, the better I liked it; Regina would be much more confident on a bike that fit her, and it would be much more likely to be fun for her. So off we went, where she sat on this neo-torture device.

You can see a saddle and handlebars, and a rack of other saddles & bars on the wall (I have pics of TEW actually ON the device, but they are on my phone, and the technology to get the off the phone onto someplace useful has eluded me). The spiffy thing of the Guru fit machine is that you can set it close to the perfect fit, and then, with whirring and humming, you can adjust the fit while you are actually spinning pedals. You can swap positions back and forth and see which is more comfortable. And you can do it "on the fly" so that you don't have to remember what something felt like before you got off and changed position.

Then, when the fit is "dialed in", the machine checks the database, and spits out a list of bikes, with saddle heights, spacers, saddle-nose-to-center-of-steering-tube distances, and whatnot, getting you to within a millimeter or two of the perfect fit. I was impressed, and TEW was so taken with the fit system, and with the estimable Ross Hart of Hart's Cyclery, that she called to see if he was going to be around so she might buy a bike this weekend.

He was, and when she got there, he had one made up and set to go. We took it out for a spin; she loves it.

There's TEW, with the blue-and-white Cannondale behind (assembled here in the US, doncha know!). It's a great bike for her. I'll put on a computer and make a few other tweaks... but it's really just about perfect for her.

Well done, Ross.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

a tale of two fifties: the lake nock century 2013

Ken G's post on the Princeton Freewheeler Facebook page said:
Good morning all, I am pre-registered for the Lake Nockamixon Century Ride this Saturday. 8/24. Anybody from the club want to meet in the parking lot and form a group (maybe B/B+ pace)? I was expecting to do the "Hilly 107" but could probably be pretty easily talked out of that since I haven't broken 60 at all this year...
How come I was the only one who responded?

After Ken put up another post, and way too many emails back and forth, we agreed to meet n Pennington at (good heavens) 5:45am for the 7:00 start in Doylestown. I was taming demons all week; Ken is a stronger rider than I, and I was SURE I'd slow him down, or he'd leave me in the dust. But that's not the way it happened.

A 5:45 start precludes my early-morning bagel (the shops don't mostly open until 6:00), so I appeared at Ken's with a Dunkin' Donuts muffin on board, and rode to Doylestown in his car, getting lost when his phone lost signal and couldn't do the GPS thing. On the way, his easy chat allayed  my fears, and we started on the ride. We agreed to do the 107-mile hilly century.

The first rest stop was at about mile 14, and we expected to blast past it, but all my parts are as old as I, and I decided to stop for a toilet break. Well, that meant we had to look at the baked stuff (mostly homemade, and mostly excellent). And the Lake Nock ride is famous for two other things at the rest stops: tomato pies (for those of you not from this area, it's pizza without the cheese) and boiled salt potatoes.

We noted on the first half of the ride, though, that Ken was having trouble; he said his legs felt like bricks. He was behind me on the hills, and took some time to catch up. By the second rest stop, at about mile 47 (and why so long between stops?), we decided to cut it to the 75-mile route, which cut off about two miles further.

As we cut off for that part of the ride, I saw another cyclist calling for a SAG car to come pick him up; he'd had three flat tires, and he was done. I noted he had the 75-mile cue sheet, and begged it off him; a moment later a SAG car came up. We chatted for a bit. As we did, Ken went on slowly. I caught up with him further along.

He was much stronger. I later learned he had soft-pedaled for a while, then stopped and massaged his legs - and that seems to have made the difference. He was far stronger on the second half than on the first. (The was also the not-unattractive gal in the orange jersey with whom he was chatting for a few miles; I maintain my belief that she had a non-trivial role in his recovery.)

He was stronger, I was not. Going up a tough hill at about mile 60, I got a cramp in my left leg; the first I've had on a ride. Ken had electrolyte pills; with the Gatorade I had in my bottles, these helped, but I had twinges, and had to slow down on the serious uphills for the rest of the ride (although I could still do those long, shallow uphills that I can speed up).

The next rest stop was at about mile 73. At that point we decided to do the full 100 miles, but not the extra bits with the extra hills. That piece of the ride came into NJ; Ken says that the Eastern Pennsy folks know that if you want serious hills, you have to come to the Garden State. I was hurtin' on those hills, and I was glad, when we got back into Pennsylvania, that we were not doing a particular hill that ken said was demanding.

The last rest stop was at 90 miles, and I knew I could make it from there... despite the serious climb that started right out of the gate from there; how can you begin such a serious climb from a standing start? We climbed up towards Doylestown,. and when the route flattened out, I tried to increase my average, which had fallen sadly. (Ken had done a meatball wheel true for a rider there; more on this later.)

Here's the route info (I guess that average is OK, for that distance and climb). Ken said he didn't want to stay at the end long, and I think he meant it... but Ken's been riding in this area (indeed, several places around this country and elsewhere) for decades, and while it's not true he knows everybody, He knows a LOT of people, and began to check in... and then maybe we WOULD eat something... and that massage looked good (he assured me later that it was, but it's just not my thing). So we were at the end for about two hours. While there, we talked to the wheel-true fellow, and Ken pointed out that those wheels were sold at Pure Energy Cycling. And on the way home, we stopped there, and Ken met ANOTHER guy he knew. I was in no hurry, and it was good to tag along and meet these folks, and I can talk bikes (and other stuff) with Ken for hours anyway.

The title of this post was Ken's suggestion; the "two fifties" are the first half of the ride, when he was hurting, and the second half, when I was. I'm not entirely sure he wasn't sucking out my life force by the end of the ride; I wouldn't rule out voodoo.

Pics below. First rest stop:

Second rest stop. There's Ken on the left, talking to some more people he knows.

The lady in the orange jersey makes a cameo towards the left of center, below.

The excellent SAG vehicle. There were others.

A spiffy Schwinn - a SCHWINN! - at the last rest stop, followed by a lug-porn-and-new-old-stock Coppi:

The last rest stop.

Ken's computer. PROOF!

they're escape

Brilliant. From today's Oddman.

(I've turned into an urban-fantasy fanatic, ever since I read Neverwhere. I just finished three of the "Courts of the Feyre" series [they're better than that name would suggest]; and I'm currently working on Rivers of London.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

rider down

Today was the last of those alternate-Wednesdays that I could ride with the Old Guys (my schedule is changing), so I was eager to go today.

On the Ride To The Ride, Bob Wood was in a collision with an oncoming driver turning left into a driveway. He was alert and oriented to time, place, person, and situation immediately after the accident, but he was unable to stand on his left leg. He was taken to the ER at Princeton hospital. I rode today, but I'm a bit shaken up.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

hot date to bartram's garden

The Excellent Wife (TEW), who doesn't ride anywhere near as much as I do, insists every now and then on having a daytime, weekend, outdoor date that doesn't have to do with cycling. Can you imagine?

This time, she found a neat trip. Patriot Harbor Lines offers a trip along the Schuylkill from downtown Philadelphia to Bartram's Garden, the home of an 18th-century botanist and naturalist. You get a half-hour boat ride there, complete with tour, a tour of the house and info about the gardens, and the boat ride back. The three-person crew of the boat is eager, friendly, and knowledgeable, and it was just that kind of quirky date at which TEW excels.

I got to see the river from a new perspective. The guide pointed out that "Schuylkill" means "Hidden River", and it certainly has been to me.

We got to the house and gardens after a half-hour. The house is a nifty stone structure:

There's TEW lookin' all summery:

Unlike most of the 18th-century historic houses we've visited (and their names are legion; TEW is a fan of early-American history), Bartram's house was of stone. And, even into his 70's, he did much of his own stonework: the window details and tiles below were done by him.

I love the detailing around the window frames.

The design on these tiles became the logo of the preservation association for the house and gardens:

Bartram was a Quaker, and before the Quakers got that radically-welcoming, revelation-is-ongoing thing down, he was read out of meeting (which is the Quaker version of excommunication) for denying the doctrine of the Trinity. On his house, he put up this plaque:

"It is God alone, almyty Lord/ The holy one by me ador'd." Take that, polytheistic Quakers.

Bartram traveled the colonies, and beyond, to collect plants (he went north to Maine, and south to Florida, back when Florida was undeveloped Spanish territory). On one trip to Georgia, he came upon a grove of these trees, and named them Franklinia, in honor of his friend Benjamin Franklin. When he went back to find the grove, it was gone - and now, all of the Franklinia trees in the world come from seeds that he saved. Here's a Franklinia flower below:

Other neat stuff in the garden:

Did you see the bullfrog in the one above?

Three hours for the tour, then on to the Reading Terminal Market for dinner. TEW has an unofficial plan to patronize every booth in the Market between the time we first started going and whenever we're too incapacitated to get there. Since the individual vendors keep changing, she marks off the locations on a floor plan. (We've still got quite a few to go.)

motorvator bike motor

Dave H sent me this; there's a page on IndieGoGo if you want to invest.

I don't. It's noisy and fugly. If I wanted something like that, I'd go with a Vespa or something.

But, as I post this, there's probably still time to get in on the funding, if you hurry. (It's been up for almost three weeks, though, and so far, nobody's put up any money...)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

purple cow ride 8/18

Edit 8:55 am: It's raining as I write this, and the weather prediction does not inspire hope. I'm cancelling the ride.

We're going to re-do that road ride from the Blackwells Mills/Six-Mile Run parking area (just below where Blackwells Mills Road crosses Canal Road in Franklin) to the Main Street Cafe (Yummy!) and back. It's just about 17 miles, and the pace will be set by the group; NOBODY gets dropped on these rides.

This map of the starting area shows the parking lot entrance; it's that little bit of dead-end just below the Canal House.

As always, the Purple Cow Ride is the lowest-pressure ride offered by the club: no attitudes, lots of stops, nobody dropped, and the only lectures will be the safety lecture (which I always flub) and the ORAM (Obligatory Rant About Mirrors), which I've edited down to about sixteen pages or so.

The Excellent Wife will be on a hybrid. I might be, too, if I can figure out why the tube keeps puncturing on that rear wheel. Road bikes welcome, but at this pace, you'll be able to do it on pretty much anything that could reasonably be called a bicycle.

Start at 8:30; plan to be there by 8:15. Bring helmet and water bottle, per club rules (the rules don't say what, if anything, is supposed to be IN the bottle).

Monday, August 12, 2013

common problem?

I call it "comparing your insides to other people's outsides", and it's not fair to you OR to them. (It doesn't stop me from doing it anyway.)

From today's Oddman.

updating the ultra-geeky linux computer

Over the weekend, I decided it was time to update the operating system on my home computer (I built it from parts, and it's been running various flavors of Linux, instead of Windows, since I built it in 2008). The most popular Linux versions expire after several months, and aren't supported, so to maintain security, ya gotta upgrade.

I'd been running Linux Mint, which comes as a "ready to roll" version: for example, it comes with software so that it can play sound and video files, even though these files are proprietary instead of free (free, as in free speech, is a big thing in the Linux world). However, the emphasis is on stability, not on novelty.

For the upgrade, I tried Fedora Linux, where the emphasis is on the new stuff.

A mistake. Fedora uses software designed to make the programs usable on new (touchscreen) devices, but these changes made it extremely hard to use on my old-style, mouse-and-keyboard computer.

I'm back with Linux Mint. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, and every couple of years, Ubuntu comes out with a long-term-support version, supported for two years (probably to come out next April). When that happens, I'll probably stick to that.

If you've been thinking of messing around with Linux, and you're using a standard computer, I suggest Mint or Ubuntu. Stay away from Fedora.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

repeat/no repeat ride with ken g

Tom Hamill was leading a flat 100km around the pine barrens today, on which most of my friends were going... but Ken G was leading what I thought was one of his last Sunday rides today*; and he's turned into kind of a friend; and even though he can cook me, he doesn't (although it's a challenge keeping up), and some other stuff you don't get to know about was goin' on... so I went to Pennington for Ken's ride. I had high hopes after last week's ride; it was a good group and well-matched.

But only two of that group showed up today (other than Ken): me and the fellow below in the Cofidis jersey, whose name I misremember (so much for repeaters from last week!). I suppose it's one of the risks of a new ride: people aren't used to it, and it's hard to get regulars. We had six up to the break at the usual stop in Hopewell (the route started out as one we've done the other times I went out on this ride; due to road surface issues, we didn't do the Carter/Crusher loop, and went back to Hopewell a different way after the break). At the break, one fellow who had done mostly flat rides begged off and asked for a short route back; two others (including John, who has the nifty old Serrotta in the last picture) claimed time pressures and left the ride at the same spot, more or less. So the three finishers were the three from last week... and we did the second part of the ride faster than the first, adding about a half-mile per hour to the average.

(*It turns out Ken is planning to lead through September. He may divide his rides into faster groups on Saturdays and slower on Wednesday nights... I'm trepidacious about keeping up if he does that; he can cook me now - what happens if he gets a faster crowd? )

Route and rate info are here. We did that nifty, terrifying descent on Hopewell-Amwell again, and I got my top speed up by a miler per hour. Then up out of Hopewell past the dinosaur... at which point, I nearly bonked; a couple of miles from the end, Ken asked if we wanted another hill, and I said I didn't have it in me. We got back, and I met the eponymous Ross Hart of Hart's Cyclery (and spent a little money). The fellow who'd had the trouble on the hills was still there, and we had a short discussion about bike hardware and fit (do I ever have a short discussion about these things?).

Pic's below:

(I like that picture above more than I have any right to do.)

Lug porn! A better pic of the bike in the pic above, with lugged-steel Serotta frame and nifty old Campagnolo parts, including that enclosed brake - later discontinued because, while it did keep sand and bugs out of the brake doings, it's heavy. Pretty nonetheless, though: