Wednesday, July 19, 2017

joe takes a page from tom h, and a bit of bike history

I worked again last Saturday, which means I was able to get today off; I drove down to Allentown to pick up Team Social Security's ride at Byron Johnson Park.


Lynne, above, came out to the New Brunswick Bike Exchange last night; I've been doing my best to get her to make time to come back.





Team Social Security does two rides on Wednesdays (and maybe most days, I don't know); the C+ ride is led by Joe (arms akimbo, above; the other is the back of Bruce), and Ira, below, leads the C.


Joe led us down to Columbus.

But along the way...




... we found road construction. I made the usual jokes about what happens on Tom H's rides, and thought to ask Joe if he was ready for a copyright infringement suit.

But we couldn't get through; there just was't room between the trucks and equipment. If you look at the ride page, you'll see what looks like an appendix in the route just below Georgetown (wait... Jersey has a Georgetown?) where we had to back up and go around. Joe couldn't remember if this was on the route for the event; I'm sure he's checked into it by now.

On we went to the usual stop in Columbus.


Of COURSE there are bike pics.




I like that pic of Joe, below.


In other news, we got (what I consider) a historic bike at the New Brunswick Bike Exchange. Many of us get the catalog from Terry Bikes, but they got their start from Georgena Terry, who is apparently still making custom bikes for women. Before custom bikes, though, she was making production road bikes for women. Smaller women had problems with the high, long top tube required to build a bike with the standard 700c (622mm) wheels; Ms Terry had the unusual, but effective, idea of using a smaller wheel in the front. It was radical enough that I don't think anybody else ever followed the idea. Well, we got one at the Bike Exchange. Pardon the potato quality of the pic; I took it on my phone, and I'm a phone cheapskate:


I just love it. It's got the original saddle. I know the eventual buyer won't give a hang about the history, but I'm glad we got to see it. I'm showing it off to everybody who comes to the exchange, making a real bore of myself... but that's not unusual.

Edit: So many typo's...

Sunday, July 16, 2017

chris c leads almost 50 out of allentown, I fall down and get right back up, and I get a new pump

Both The Excellent Wife (TEW) and Laura OLPH sang the praises last week of the rides out of Jimmy Bruno's in Allentown, so I drove down this morning to do the "B" ride led by Chris C, and to get a pump from Jimmy after the store opened to replace my benighted Blackburns.

Jimmy's got quite the picturesque bicycle graveyard behind the shop:



... which will play a small role later in today's post.

There are two other rides that leave from the shop at about the same time, rated B+ (way too fast for me) and C+ (with whom I'll probably be riding in a few more years), so there were quite a number of riders getting suited up and started, in the lot behind the shop:






... and on the street in front:










Below, the eponymous Jimmy of Jimmy Bruno's; he's in the finals for the nicest bike shop owner in the state (it's a hotly-contested competition, I assure you!).



Six of us were out for Chris's ride: besides me and Chris (of course) were Joe M, Marty, Ken W, and Prem, who evidently has been cuttin' his teeth on C+ rides, and who so impressed Laura yesterday. Chirs started leading us south, on a route that eventually had us in Mt Holly, which was lovely on this gorgeous day. (I didn't get pictures of Mt Holly, but I did get some of our progress there.)



We stopped at a 7-11, with some shade, next to a pond; we went turtle-watching.




There IS a turtle in that picture above, I promise.


The 7-11 didn't have toilets for us, so on the way back, Chris found a park with a porta-potty. The way in was graveled, and graded; at the bottom of the lot, the gravel was deep enough that my wheel dug in and I went over. I got a bit of a leg scrape (that I didn't discover until I got home to shower) and a pain that persists in my hand where I fell on it, but no blood, nothing torn, no damage to the bike - even my bar tape was unaffected. Henceforward, I'm walking on gravel, and I'm forswearing Dutchtown-Zion Road until they pave that last bit; here's my excuse, all pre-wrapped for me.

Other than that, and some seat-of-the-pants navigation that may have added (or subtracted) a bit of the route, we got home without incident on this beautiful day. Chris left us around Crosswicks, but Joe and Marty knew the way back. Y'wanna see the ride page?

When we got back, I stopped in at the store to part Jimmy from one of those Bontrager pumps I'd seen on Wednesday. I bought the Turbo HP tall, and on the way back to the car, I tried it on one of the Schrader valves in Jimmy's bike graveyard, and on the Presta on my bike.

It works great.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

blackburn anyvalve: stuff that doesn't work

A few years ago, I bought a couple of Blackburn pumps; I keep one in the garage and one in the car. When the head died on one, I bought a replacement head; I was impressed enough that I bought one to keep in the parts bin, and I wrote this post, listing it under my heading of "stuff that works".

No more.

A week or so ago, the replacement head stopped working. I used the new replacement I had in the bin... and now the pump won't get air into either Presta or Schrader valves. What's more, the other pump, with the original head, has become unreliable.

The heads pop off the valves; they won't depress the pins for Schrader valves (one doesn't work at all, the other doesn't do so dependably); I've broken the heads off Presta valves. I've been pumping my tires for years, so I don't think the problem is either poor technique or limited hand strength.

(As I write this, I note that the part is no longer available. Perhaps they know something?)

I'm looking for new pumps. I dropped in at Bruno's and the Bontrager there got a good review; I'm also looking for another (at this point, I want to try a couple of pump types). I am NOT gonna pay over $200 for a Silca!

I'll probably post my results... but I'm probably done with Blackburn. Feel free to contact me with recommendations.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

joe leads team social security

I'm back to working the occasional weekend day, for which I get a day off during the week. Most of my fellow staffers take Friday if they're working Saturday, or Monday if they're working Sunday. But I got into the habit of riding with Team Social Security on Wednesdays from Allentown, so I take Wednesdays. It happens that today was one of the Wednesdays (through a fluke of scheduling, it happens that next Wednesday is off, too).

Now, the proverb goes that the man with one watch knows the time; the man with two watches is never sure. I check four weather sites, and I never know what the weather is going to be. Some were calling for storms this morning, so I didn't put in extra miles from Etra... but I did show up a Byron Johnson park in time to chat with Princeton Freewheeler president Ira S (who led a C ride), and to join up with Joe M on the C+ ride.



Above: The Krakow Monster is over 10 lbs. heavier than the Yellow Maserati, but I like it for these rides; with the relaxed position and the downtube shifters, it helps me resist the urge to push the pace or run back to the parking lot at the end.


Below, on the ride:




Note the threatening skies. Sheesh.


We stopped at Roy's, and returned through the Assunpink, where I got all bollixed up: almost always, when I'm going through the Assunpink, it eans we're on our way to Etra (another popular ride start). But I was with a half-dozen folks, all of whom were parked in Allentown, so I swallowed my misgivings and kept pedaling. After all, as I so frequently say, I can get lost in a bathroom, so who am I to question the navigation?

And, as the route page shows, we DID wind up back in Allentown.

I've been having pump problems; both of my cheapo-cheapo Topeaks are giving me trouble about staying on the valves, filling Schraders, breaking the pins on Presta valves, and whatnot. I decided to stop in at Jimmy Bruno's to see what he's carrying. He's got a couple of models of Bontrager pump; I was initially skeptical because the head uses the same fitting for both Presta and Schrader valves, but it got a good review. I may be shelling out some coin to Jimmy Bruno next week.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

no progress on middlebush, & i get dropped by team erudite

After a change in my unit's weekend coverage responsibilities, I had to work yesterday so I didn't get a ride in. With the disappearance of the Cranbury "Back by Lunch" ride, I don't have a default ride for Sundays, so I responded to Snakehead's email polling Team Erudite (his collection of Rutgers professors who ride). We agreed to a start at Six Mile Run at 9:something this morning.

That's late for me, so I got out a bit earlier to investigate the construction on Middlebush:



It doesn't look like anything's been started yet. This is supposed to be done by the time school starts... but a project at the "T" intersection, with one jughandle, at Centennial Avenue and River Road in Piscataway, near where I work, has been going on for two years. I'm not hopeful about this getting opened and closed in six or seven weeks.

On to Six Mile. I potted up to Millstone and back, in time to see Andrew, Rob, and Snakehead (all Rutgers prof's; the average education dropped considerably when I rolled up):


Off we went, starting with my usual Sunday route. We were rolling along at a good clip, in the high teens and low 20's; we picked up a rider on a single-speed who, to my surprise, kept up with our paceline for a bit.

But after about 12 miles with them; I'd had enough; I told Rob that I was going to fall back, and I saw them disappear over the hill heading for Pennington. I turned onto Princeton Road. (I got a text later; they wanted to make sure I was OK; apparently there was a missed communication. I responded I'd see 'em next time).

I did the rest of my usual route, and stopped at that Gennaro's, to which The Excellent Wife (TEW) has taken such a liking. While I sat outside, I tried to get a glam shot of the Yellow Maserati:



When I got home, TEW was all bursting with pride about her performance on the C (Edit: TEW reminds me, with some vehemence, that this ride is rated C plus!) ride in Allentown, and complaining about some fellow riders who'd pushed the pace and disappeared off the front (yes, there is such a thing as pace-pushing and pace creep). She also told me that she'd seen Laura OLPH on Chris C's ride there. I'm not givin' up on Team Erudite, but maybe Allentown is another possibility for Sunday rides. I gotta contact Chris and see what's what.