Sunday, June 29, 2014

doin' gary w's sunday ride, plus extra miles with ed c

Yesterday The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I went into Philadelphia to meet my sister; she's visiting from Buffalo with a church choir that had an invitation to sing. We did the Wanamaker Organ Concert (part of a series of concerts on the organ throughout the day), and lunch at the Reading Terminal Market, and a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was a great day, and we were happy to see each other... but I was in need of a group ride today.

Of the offerings available, I decided I wanted to do Gary W's ride (especially after Laura had dished him earlier this month), partly to see if I could do it, and partly to see some of the folks who would likely be there. I decided to ride in from Bagel Street in Plainsboro to add a few miles, and, in my early-morning email, there was one from Ed C asking what I was doing. He decided to come along.

 I had every intention of taking a leisurely pace on the extra miles, but we didn't; we made the eight-or-so miles to Etra fairly quickly. We picked up fourteen others, so we sixteen total to do this route (and we picked up two more along the way).

Gary's ride was fast. At least one of the riders didn't know about the reputation, and wound up hanging on the back and catching up at the stops; a few of us took turns making sure he didn't fall off entirely. My average was lower, but I think Ed said he had 17.4mph on the ride. But it was a great day, and I got a few good sprints in (and a few good hills to zip up; fun, but not long enough).

I got to talk to John, a heldentenor who's having career-decision blues; he might be too old for the young musicians festivals, and if he can't get a career in performance, he might like to do music therapy with PTSD sufferers. He's from Nashville, and we had a good time comparing the craziness of the mid-South with that of the Garden State.

We stopped at the Wawa on Cranbury Road, and I think it was after that that someone said Laura OLPH had been spotted, but I didn't see her. I'd thought she wasn't planning to ride today, but it may just have been that a full group ride was more than she wanted t do (or she may not have been there at all!).

Also at the Wawa, I gave a Freehweeler's card to an inquisitive young man who had questions about bikes. Maybe he'll come out - but those cards were a good idea. I think Winter Larry gets the credit for that.

Pictures. At the start:

Getting started:

At the stop:

Father and daughter:

Friday, June 27, 2014

again, more or less

Remember that ride early last month where I did 39 miles before breakfast, averaging over 18, including going up Coppermine?

Well, I almost did it again. This one was shorter, but I brought it in at 18.1, and that was after goin' to my last nephew's high-school graduation last night, with the appurtenant overeating, late to bed, and poor sleep. I WAS wearing the extra-fast Poland jersey; I think that made the difference.

Tomorrow, I'm taking my sister around Philly to see some sights and eat some local food. Maybe a group ride on Sunday.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

john s posted picture of me on facebook

Some of my blog visitors don't go to Facebook, so you won't have seen these pictures of me that John S got on Sunday's ride:

The second is definitely the better of the two. Where did that overhanging gut in that first picture come from?

what i learned about my bike

I'm still not done about that new crank. When I was looking for a crankset to replace the one I broke, one of my choices was that IRD crankset over which I'd been drooling back in April. I thought of going with that one, but I didn't, partly because the small ring was two teeth larger than the compact I have (I don't give a d-mn that the big ring was two teeth smaller)...

... but mostly because it's a pretty thing. I love pretty things. I love pretty bikes, but I don't ride one. My bike is an efficient bike that fits me well. It's done everything I've asked it to do, except keep the front wheel on the ground on a grade over about 25%. And almost every time I've tried to do something pretty with or to it, instead of something efficient, I've been disappointed, or worse.

The most recent offense was the purchase of a Brooks Cambium Saddle. I've had Brooks saddles rattling around in my head for years. But I've also been perfectly happy with the last Specialized BG2 saddles I found in new old stock at the red-headed-stepchild Knapps Cyclery outpost in Cranbury.

Still, I had some money burning a hole in my pocket, and bought a Specialized Cambium (the new "Vegan Brooks") through my favorite cycle shop, Kim's in New Brunswick. I put it on, measured for height, angle (I like my saddle to point 4° left; my right thigh is thicker than my left), level, and setback, and took it on a few rides. And after 230 miles, I can say that, while it wasn't painful every second I was on it (although it was uncomfortable enough), there was never a moment I wasn't aware it was there.

So I took it off, and put my BG2 back on. As I write this, the Cambium is on auction on Ebay.

I rode the BG2 this weekend on Tom's ride, and on my D ride. I had some problems on each... but the saddle was not among them.

Besides... if I had a real pretty bike, I'd be afraid to ride it. Much better to put my efforts into keeping my bike clean and tuned (but especially clean) rather than pretty.

new crank

In an earlier post, I pointed out some maintenance I needed to do. Last week, I took off my crank as part of that, and it broke. I had probably over torqued it, and it finally let go when I removed it.

Discussion with friend Dave C suggested what the problems were; I'd probably been slightly overtorquing, but doing it over and over each time I replaced the crank, and I was probably also reading the wrench wrong.

I've got a new crank, and I'm being much more careful with the torque. I've also marked my instructions with the torque values, in foot-pounds, on the instructions I use. No more on-the-fly trying to convert newton-meters, or even inch-pounds.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

d ride from blackwells mills

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to lead this one after yesterday, but after 11 hours sleep, and more intimacy with a lavatory than I care to relate (albeit sitting, not kneeling), I woke in better shape than I'd hoped. I'd gotten a communication from Sam B, who is interested in leading rides for newbies, and who'd been told by Ira S that my ride might be a good one to come along on (and thanks for the implied back-pat, Ira!).

And the day was fine, and the ride start was late (10am), so I rode out early to get a few extra miles in. If you look at the route, the scheduled part of the ride was just that piece from about mile 5 or so down to Main St, but I went up to Millstone first (there's a piece of Canal Rd with lovely new paving that my tires couldn't resist). In Millstone, I came across the cutest little Morris pickup (I didn't even know they made such things; it looked like a toy), and next to it a beautifully restored Hudson pickup. I had to get pictures.

Then back down canal, where I came upon John S, who was coming to do the ride, and who expressed some concern that riders might not have helmets, but I assured him they would (and they did). At the start, we met Marilyn, who needed her pedals changed (and don't you know John had the wrench to do it?), and The Excellent Wife (TEW), and Sam B. Marilyn had brought her mountain bike, and expressed some worry about whether she'd be able to keep up, but of course it would not be a problem on this ride.

So off we went down to the Main St Cafe.

The ride down was uneventful, except for Sam asking me a lot of thoughtful questions and me trying not to sound too dumb in my responses. I got some over-the-shoulder pictures (only one worked), and zipped up the hill at Rockingham to get some more pictures.

At the Cafe, we ran into a rider who was talking all about the many bikes he had in the past (some riders are equipment freaks); you'll see him talking to TEW below. Then back up to Blackwells Mills, this time with many interruptions by cars coming up behind. Don't they know we wanted to use that road?

Pictures - first, the two trucks in Millstone:

An over-the-shoulder picture of John S getting a picture of me getting a picture of him.

Marilyn and John S coming up to Rockingham:

Sam B and TEW coming up to Rockingham:

TEW learning all about this guy's bike history.

TEW, Marilyn, John S, and Sam B.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

to cocoluxe with tom h

In general, and up to a point, I would rather do a long ride than a short one, and, in general, and up to a point, I'd rather do a hilly ride than a flat one. The choices in my range today seemed to be a flat ride out of Cranbury, the short ride out of the Hamilton Y, a hilly ride led by Peter H (and I'm not sure I wanted to work that hard), and Tom H's ride from (and back to) Cocoluxe:

This Saturday I will be leading a ride from Gladstone NJ. This area is a nice change of pace from our normal riding areas. This will be a hilly ride of just under 50 miles. Total climbing will be around 4500 ft and we will get to the highest point in Summit County. This is a slightly different route than last year so we will see some new roads. There should be no real killer climbs but there won't be any flat spots and a lot of ups and downs. The payoff at the end of the ride will be the Cocoluxe bakery so besides a mid ride stop we will also have a post ride stop.

Tom was not surprised when I was waiting for him at the start, but there's another reason I chose this ride: I suspected that a lot of my regular pals would choose this one, too... and I was right: by the time we left, we also had Cheryl, Blake, Ron S, Marco B, Barry Y, and comparative-stranger-to-me The Other Ken G (not to be confused with the Ken G who leads the rides out of Hart's).

Tom was right about not many flat spots, and we started right off with a climb up Pottersville Road, which gave us something to complain about (and how would you know you were on a Tom H ride if nobody were complaining?). Barry was complaining of back pain, and had a hard time mounting his bike the first time. He complained about some of the rough spots in the road... but he was rollin' up some hills like I've never seen him before!

Blake and I were discussing some of the holes in the road; Blake suggested I send one home... and we got into a discussion of negative space and metaphysics. However, by the end of the ride, we had devolved more into bad puns rather than ontology.

Marco had a bit of a mechanical; he was trying to adjust his rear derailleur and still get out of the house in time to make the ride (yeah, I've been there), but it gave him some trouble; we did a quick road adjustment and off he went.

We stopped at a Krauszer's near Long Valley, who were kind enough to let us use the rest room... and I needed it; I'd had some leftover cream in my coffee this morning, and I suspect that the cream had been leftover just that little bit too long, and a science experiment had been going on inside. I DID leave the Krauszer's a bit lighter than when I'd arrived (ahem). But my stomach was complaining throughout the rest of the ride.

The other thing I did was to bring along some Skratch restorative drink; friend Ed C had given me the mix when he couldn’t stand it. The key thing I can say about it is that in getting rid of it, Ed has proven himself a man of refined tastes and excellent discretion. I poured it out, and replaced it with Gatorade.

By the time we got back to the cars, I just wanted to go home, but I knew The Excellent Wife (TEW) would be interested in some truffles from Cocoluxe... and I was not disappointed; if there WAS to be doghouse-sleeping in the next day or so, the gift of chocolate has removed the intention.


When Tom got to the start, there was a wicker chair in his truck. He SAID he was delivering it to the in-laws... but I note he used it to put his shoes on pre-ride. Hrmph.

At the start. First, The Other Ken G:

On the road, over my shoulder (one of the few flat spots on this ride):

At the stop:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

d ride june 22

This time, we'll do one of my favorite D ride routes: we'll start at the parking lot at Blackwell's Mills on Canal Road (above Griggstown), ride Canal Road and continue down to the Main St Cafe for a stop (and some excellent comestibles!), and then burn off the calories by going back up the way we came.

As always, lots of stops, nobody dropped, and easy pace; if you can keep the bike upright, you can do this ride.

You can see a map of the start location at this link; it's the loop just below the Blackwells Mills Canal House. 10am start. Edit: A smidge over 17 miles.

Weather is supposed to be good. Come on out!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

maintenance i gotta do

Friend Ken G pointed out to me that I've been overlubricating my chain, and told me how to do it better. I checked it out, and at the next chain swap, I need to:
  1. Break down and clean the rear derailleur, including the pulley wheels;
  2. Break down and clean the cogset;
  3. Clean the chainrings and cranks;
  4. Clean the chainstay.
I've also developed a click in the cranks on each pedal revolution. This usually means I need to:
  1. Remove and re-grease the cranks;
  2. Re-torque the bottom bracket (I have the bidirectional torque wrench this requires);
  3. Re-torque the cranks.
And I wouldn't be surprised if I also need to
  1. Adjust the rear derailleur cable.
And I only post this here so I remember to do it. Thanks, Ken. Gott im Himmel, but there's a lot of buildup on that rear derailleur!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

father's day ride with john k

It was tough to choose a ride this weekend: friend Paul was trying out a route, and Snakehead Ed C had one in the book... but I was taken with the invite from John K for a Father's Day ride (not a listed Freewheeler ride, but i got the invitation through the Freewheeler's Facebook page). He was going to lead the local JDRF metric Century route, which passed near his home.

I got an email from Laura OLPH saying that it was only eight miles from her place to his; would I ride along for company? That would make almost 80 miles for the day, which sounded good to me! So I got to her place early, and rode to John's - and THAT was when I remembered to turn on the GPS, so the route data doesn't give me credit for the first eight miles. Oh, well.

When we got there, we saw some fast-lookin' boys were already there, and some others we knew showed up: Blake, Ed & Jen Post, two guys I hadn't previously met: Randy and Jose (see Jose's excellent all-Bianchi kit below). But Cheryl came, too, and John promised we wouldn't drop anybody. Cheryl had some maple-sugar jellybeans for me; they're too sweet for her, and they're almost a test for me, but I assure you I can rise to their challenge.

Off we went, ten of us. Bear Tavern is under construction, and we weren't sure we could get through, but we did (and had some help for the traffic guards helping us with the turns). We were quickly onto the ADA route, and the red arrows helped us with navigation (with such a range of speeds, we didn't always stay together).

We took a roundabout route to Sergeantsville. As we were getting in, Cheryl had some trouble with her rear hub; it would not engage reliably. We had a chat about the possible causes.

This was the first time I've been to the Sergeantsville store with the new owners, an Indian family, who have so far kept the quirky flavor of the place. There are still spring rolls, and some baked stuff, and it's still pretty chaotic. I like that stop. There's a more upscale coffee place across the street, but I hope we continue stopping at the general store. (There were quite a number of other riders there, too; was today an Anchor House training day?)

While we were there, Blake decided he wanted to head back early, and Cheryl went with him. Laura later got a call from Cheryl; that rear hub had given up completely, and she was waiting for a ride to come pick her up.

We continued the rest of the distance. We were eight, and then we were five, as the three fastest disappeared off the front. I dropped a chain, and, in my temporary adjustments, un-adjusted the rear derailleur, so that there were only a few gears that worked reliably; I was fiddling with it, on and off, all the way back.

We got back to John's, where he had drinks and tomato pies waiting for us (nice touch, John! And a tomato pie is such a Jersey thing...). Also waiting for us were two of the three fast boys; they'd been there long enough that one had already changed his clothes!

After a quick snack, Laura and I headed back to her place (so at least I got that part in the ride data), and I came home, for the obligatory shower, laundry, and blog post. Which is now almost done...

...except for lots of pictures! By John's house:

On the road:

Near Mt Airy:

Trouble in the hub?

At Sergeanstville:

Diagnosing the hub:

I had to get a picture of Jose's all-Bianchi kit. It's excellent: