Friday, December 21, 2007

The Evil Streets of Seattle

I bent my rear rim on this devil of a pot hole Wednesday. I normally go around this hole but for some reason I was spacing out, watching traffic or something. Maybe it was the fact that it was raining and full of water. Anyway, I saw it at the last few seconds and tried to bunny hop over. I only succeeded in lifting the front wheel off the ground. The rear wheel and all my weight hit the far edge, and hit hard. Knocked me out of my toe clips. I didn't think to much of it until I was coasting down the other side of the Lower West Seattle bridge and heard that little sound of a wheel, out of true, rubbing on the rear brake pads. It wasn't so bad so I continued to work knowing I would have to get it trued the next day. Upon my ride home I felt a distinct flat spot each time the wheel turned around. At home I saw one of the eyelets had pulled out and I thought for sure that that spoke was broke. The next day my bike mechanic said the spoke is not broke, the eyelet has an inner and an outer and that there really shouldn't be a problem with the outer one missing and he could true it up. But upon closer inspection he saw that I had bent the rim. "Yeah, this rim is shot!" Surprised I didn't get a flat. This means that I will have to get the rear wheel rebuilt again. He was able to push the rim back out and get the wheel almost completely true. Said I may even get another 1000 miles out of it. So I should be able to put it off until after the holidays. For those of you wondering this hole is on Fauntleroy, between Alaska and Avalon, going Northeast.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Tim recently moved to West Seattle and now lives only about 1/2 mile away from me so we've been riding to work together whenever possible. We were working late Friday night and had to be back at 05:00 for a breakfast shift. He said he'd meet me at 04:15 in the usual spot for our ride in to work and I said, "You wanna race?!" Tim agreed and the competitive banter ensued for the rest of the night and the ride home.

I got home around 22:00, took a shower and shaved so I wouldn't have to in the morning. Stripped off all the unnecessary gear from my bike and lubed up the chain. Laid out the cloths I would wear and went to bed by 00:00. But I couldn't sleep. Maybe it was all the chocolate I ate the night before, maybe it was that my usual bedtime is around 02:00. I don't normally work those early shifts. In fact, I can't remember the last time I had to be at work before 09:00. Finally around 01:00 I left Christine with the whole bed, went out into the living room, and watched the Fellowship of the Ring. An hour before our rendezvous I started getting dressed and had a bowl of cereal. A half hour later some coffee. At 04:05 I left.

Here is the route - Race

A few minutes later I was riding across the Alaska Junction, where we would meet. It was cold out. About 30 - 34 degrees. I had on a thin head, face and neck hood thingiee, a t-shirt, thermal top, long sleeve shirt, long sleeve bike jersey, gloves, tights loose shorts, and long knee socks. This kept me warm, fairly sleek and intimidated Tim a bit. He was circling the intersection and as we both rolled over the far crosswalk the race, unofficially, began.

Tim stayed right behind me down Alaska, onto Fauntleroy and then Avalon. There are a few ways to go from there. Basically we have to get to Delridge to access lower West Seattle Bridge. You can shoot down Avalon, onto Yancy, then 28th Ave and SW Andover but that involves a few tricky little tight turns and blowing a stop sign at the bottom of a steep hill. Either a little dangerous or slow. Or you can fly down a super steep hill on Genesee straight to Delridge. I regularly do forty down this hill and I know that he doesn't really like fast descents. But Tim knew Genesee would be my preferred route and he blew past me, around the corner with a hoot.

I let him go. There were a few bumps on this hill, and it was dark. If he went down he wasn't taking me with him. We dropped 130 feet in less then 1/4 mile. My computer said 41 mph as we started to ascend the 40 feet on the other side. At 26th Ave SW I hung a left. To get to Delridge Tim would have to climb another 25 feet in the next block plus as he looked back he had no idea where I was.

One quarter mile. Now a right on Andover. One block and a left on Delridge. I'm ahead, but not by much. Up to the Lower Bridge and he's right behind me. I pull away a little on the west side of the bridge. From all past experience I've got Tim beat going up hills. It's the flats that he might take me. He's somehow able to push those big gears when I have to downshift. On the other side of the bridge I know he will continue straight on Spokane until he gets to East Marginal Way. This will work for him if there's traffic but not at 04:30. I cut across the empty street to the bike trail. Interesting note; at this point some guy on a tall bike passes me going the other direction. The bike path swings me around onto Marginal. I see Tim is now about 100 feet behind.

This is where it gets tricky. I've got my secret weapon; my heart rate monitor. I figure I'm in better cardio shape then Tim. I was definitely in better shape 9 months ago but Tim has been riding more and lost some weight. Still, I know I can hold my heart rate at 170 beats per minute for at least 25 minutes and I'm hoping Tim will wear out long before that. One and 3/4 miles of flats with a slight headwind and he still seems to be falling behind. At one point it looks like he's 250 feet back! I'm feeling like it's in the bag. A few cars go by and I try to catch a draft off them. No good. I look at my heart rate monitor. 172. The voice in my head says, "No harder. Just keep it at 170." But he starts catching up. We're getting near a turn off point. He's only 10-20 feet behind me. I swing out so he can't draft off me. He calls out, "Pretty good!" Pretty good?!? What's that mean? Is he trying to psych me out? I don't reply. Nothing from me but hard, cold determination. That's what he'll get. Cold as the air we are riding though.

I turn right on to King street. Then left on 1st. He follows. We start the long, slight climb of 1st Ave. We're crossing Seneca now. It's an off ramp for the Alaskan Way via-duct and a delivery truck is using it. I make it with no worries but Tim slipped behind a little and has to slow and wait. My heart rate is still at 170 beats per minute. About 90% of my maximum heart rate for my age. Maybe I pushed it to long. I can't power up this street like I normally do and the grade is getting steeper. Tim turns right up Union. The grade is worst this last block before Pike. My heart rate is now 175 bpm, 95% and I can feel it. With an authoritative yet calm voice two words come into my mind, rest now. I heed the command. Just 1/2 a block to level ground again.

I turn right onto Pike now just in time to see Tim pull out from 2nd. He's almost a block ahead! I'm waiting for my chi to come back. I get a little bit but it's not enough. Tim beats me to work by about 10 seconds.

We're in the garage now. Panting. I'm walking around in circles on a natural high. Tim is leaning up against a wall, hunched over.

Me - "Awwww that was a good ride!"
Tim - "Pant Pant Pant"
Me - "Dude! Are you alright!?"
Tim - "I gotta sit down.
He really pushed it. Good job man.

My time from the house to work was 21:42. This goes down in 3rd place for my record time to work. Although the fact that they relocated the bike rack may be adding a few seconds, but the standings remain. Other stats are as follows-
  • Average speed - 16.3 mph
  • Distance - 5.92 miles
  • Max speed - 41 mph
  • Total descent - 628 feet
  • Total climb - 552 feet
  • 457 calories burned; 25% from fat
  • Max heart rate - 175 bpm; 95%
  • Average heart rate - 162 bpm; 88%

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Another Ride Home

It's been a while since I really pushed myself so tonight I did and I beat my old record by 2 minutes and 4 seconds. It was chilly and pretty clear, about 41 degrees. Very little or no wind. Light to no traffic and all the downtown lights stayed green for me.

From work -
  • Distance - 5.91 miles
  • Average Speed - 13.7 mph
  • Max Speed - 25.5 mph
  • Time - 25:55
Odo - 5401.3

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tucson On Two Wheels

I think Tucson has something really good going on here. Tuesday Night Community Bike Ride. It's like making the point of Critical Mass without breaking the law. See the article in Tucson Weekly -

Monday, November 05, 2007

Removing the Decals

I removed some of the decals form my Bianchi Pista today. I'm not ashamed to ride a Bianchi but that was just too much. I'd seen pictures of Pista's before with this done and they looked really nice so I did a little search and followed the directions I found on this bike forum. Only instead of using Jasco's sealer and adhesive remover I used Jasco's paint and varnish remover. It just seemed right. The decals are laying under a clear coat. The product worked great. (Watch Jasco's stock go up as thousands of hipsters with Bianchi Pista's rush out and buy it.) At first I let it sit for about 5 minutes, as per the directions, but it dried out and was hard to remove. So I ended up globbing on coat after coat until the decals and the clear coat just turned into a big gray goopy mass which I then wiped off with a cloth. I didn't do the whole bike but on each tube that I worked on, I did the whole tube so there was no definite line where the clear coat started. I then rinsed the bike with water, dried, and cleaned up with Brasso. Some of the decals I left on. Once again, I'm not ashamed it's a Bianchi and I left the "Pista" decal as Pista means track and that's just plain cool. I'm not sure if I will re-clear coat or not. It's my fair weather bike so it should never really see any rust and the chrome looks so much brighter without the clear coat. Little update on the clear coat - A guy at my bike shop says a little automobile polish should do just fine in keeping the pits out.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tucson Critical Mass

Looks like Critical Mass is stirring up the pot in my old stomping grounds. Here are some recent articles - (see my comment #15) (see my comment #143)

All of which I've been finding out about through this great little blog -

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fixed Gear Part 2 - Bianchi Pista

I picked up my new, and first ever "fixie" just over a week ago. The Bianchi Pista I posted about. Picked it up at Velo, up on Capitol hill. I had them put on a front brake and clipless pedals. The brake cost an extra 65 bucks and the pedals 35 but they didn't charge labor. The guy I talked to was real cool. We went over the whole bike, the differences in riding fixed verses "regular" bikes and what the best route would be for me to take back home, on it's virgin ride. I don't know if they do this for everyone but they gave me an Allen wrench (fitting most of the Allen nuts on the bike) and combo 15mm socket (for the wheel nuts)/pedal wrench. No quick release here. Halfway home I adjusted the tension on the clipless pedals. To tight for me.

When I got home I took off all the extra "junk". Reflectors, extra decals. There were eight decals on each wheel. I want to keep this bike as simple and minimalistic as safely possible. Bianchi placed a one of those protective chain stay decals on this bike. This makes no sense. It has no shifters and only one gear. The chain will never hit that chain stay. It's just more marketing.

I've since made some more minor adjustments -
Flipped over the stem. Not quite as cool looking but more comfortable giving the bars a little extra height.
Added some Mr. Tuffy tire liners, just in time as I'm already pulling glass out of the tires. I swear by those things.
Changed up the front chain ring from a 48 to a 44 to make it a little easier on the hills.
Changed the handle bar tape with a diamond weave of black and gray cloth tape and shellac.

I also picked up a Guppy head and tail light. I'm really impressed with these little lights. They clip on almost anywhere, weigh almost nothing, and are brighter then my Planet Bike Spot and cost 5 bucks less.

Compared to Musette (my 2003 Fuji Ace), the bike is super light. Weighing in at 21 pounds. Not bad for an all steel frame. Riding up the hills weren't as bad as I had thought, even with the 48 chain ring. After riding about 20+ miles on a fixed gear, switching back to a bike that coasts became odd in itself. Musette felt almost "broken". This last Friday I made the mistake of riding the new bike to work when I new the weather was going to be bad. 100% chance of rain but when I looked outside there was a break and the streets were dry. I thought I could make it. Thought wrong. Halfway to work I got thoroughly soaked.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fixed Gear

It looks like I may be finally getting a fixed gear bike. I have been fascinated with fixed gear bike for some years now as it is just about the simplest form of the bicycle you can get. Here is a brief description for my friends who have no knowledge of a fixed gear, courtesy of Wikipedia -

A fixed-gear bicycle or fixed wheel bicycle, is any bicycle without a freewheel and usually only one gear ratio. The sprocket is screwed directly on to the hub without a freewheel mechanism. A reverse-thread lockring is usually fitted to prevent the sprocket from unscrewing.

Because there is no freewheel mechanism, fixed gear bicycles cannot coast. Whenever the rear wheel is turning, the pedals turn in the same direction. By resisting the forward motion of the pedals, a rider is able to slow the bike to a stop, with
out the aid of a brake. They can also be ridden in reverse, although the forward-oriented geometry of any bicycle makes this more of a stunt than a practical technique.

More can be read about fixed gear cycling on the Wikipedia web site here.

Fixed gear bikes have a bit of a cult status to them although they are becoming ever more popular lately. This is fortunate for me because more companies are producing fixed gear bikes and I don't have to go through the conversion process on my own. The bicycle I have settled on is a nice, shiny Bianchi 2007 Pista.

I gave one a test ride yesterday and, having never rode a fixed gear before, I can truly say it was wild. Having the pedals push back up on your feet gives the feeling that the bike is a living creature. You push down and the bike pushes back up. Also, extremely surprising to me is how light the bike is. Especially for a steel frame. I would have to guess it's somewhere around 18 - 20 pounds.

There are a few changes I will be making right from the get go. Although the bike is now in it's beautiful, true, simple form, without all the extra derailleurs, shifters, brakes and levers, I will be adding a front brake. The stem I will change to give a slightly more comfortable riding style. The handlebars will become bull horns or possibly the mustache style. Plans for the handle bar tape too but that I will reveal later. (Update - I'm keeping the bars as they are. With the larger frame it's easier for me to reach the drops which means I use them more. Plus they have beautiful curves.) The gear ratio will probably change so it's easier to get up the hills but this I will figure out after some experience riding it. The pedals will become clipless. And, one day the saddle will be a Brooks.

I'll be keeping my trusty 21 speed, commuter, road bike, "Musette". The fixie is mostly for fun, "Musette" is my utility bike.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Nothing New

Nothing new on the bicycle front for a while now. About 3 weeks ago I broke 5000 miles on the bike odometer. The weather is changing. I put the fenders back on the bike. Oh yeah, got some new bike shoes.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Train Derailment

As I was riding to work the other day I noticed some utility trucks up ahead. As I got closer I noticed the derailed freight train next to me. There are about 4 lanes of track side by side used heavily in our ship to rail seaport area. I asked the one of the Seattle City Light workmen what had happened. (The train had taken out some power poles as well.) He told me that he wasn't quite sure but that they think someone may have switched one of the rail switches before the whole train made it passed. Someone really must have not been paying attention if that is the case. All the switches I've seen involve a large lever and a padlock. If someone was standing there throwing the switch they should have clearly been able to see that the whole train had not passed yet. Interestingly I cannot find anything on the internet about it. Perhaps there were no injuries and the fact that it's freight.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A year and 3000 miles.

It's been a year since we moved back to Seattle. During that time I rode about 3000 miles, most of which were to and from work. I survived. I survived the traffic, the buses, trucks, taxi cabs and idiots telling me to use the sidewalk. I survived the 15.37 record setting inches of rain that fell in November making it the wettest month in Seattle history. I rode through wind storms that shift direction with every block downtown. I rode through hail, on ice and snow, in the dark and the cold. I rode through allergy season and diesel exhaust. Up hills. Rats! People crying, passed out, and sleeping in the street. Protesters. Knee and shoulder pain.

And 99% of the time . . . I liked it!

For I also rode through beautiful, crunchy, autumn leaves and a rainbow of spring flowers. Snow! Mysterious fog. Summer afternoons past a brilliant blue bay. Over bridges, along rivers, past rock bands, through festivals, kids playing, and Saint Nicholas. Through and around traffic while traffic was gridlocked. Down hills. With the wind. Pumpkins! Past lazy cats and playful dogs. Past the Golden Rooster. Through savory scents of coffee, pizza and the sea. Protesters. Critical Mass and bike to work month. Calories and euphoria.

I made it. I made it through a whole year.
Now I'm going to do it again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cantilever Brakes

A few weeks ago I upgraded Christine's brakes from her old crummy center-pull cantilevers to newer direct pull cantilevers. I don't think that center-pull cantilevers are bad in general but the one's on her bike were. The whole project cost me $76 plus some chump change. That included brake levers (one of hers was broke), brakes, cables and housing. I'm sure a bike mechanic could do the whole thing in less then 30 minutes but I didn't want to pay the extra bones. I took my time, probably 3 hours in all. That included adjusting and test riding. The brakes work wonderfully. For what it is, her bike is starting to shape up. Now we just need to look into that bottom bracket.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Drivetrain & Chain Wear

Over the last few weeks I noticed that in certain gears my chain sort of skips. This is the only way I can explain it. It's not slipping to another gear although it sort of sounds like it. There were no problems with the shifting or the derailleurs either. Well the problem has been getting steadily worse and it happens in all my favorite gears. Thus we now enter a place that I really knew nothing about - Drivetrain wear.

I know the importance of keeping your chain properly clean and lubed. I knew that chains 'stretch' and will eventually wear out. What I did not know is that the chain rings and rear cassette wear out. Seems pretty obvious eh? Metal parts, constantly being used, they gotta wear sometime. I started to look into what the problem could be and came across a great article on Sheldon Browns website - and the sub article, with some great photos examples - In a nutshell, all the little teeth on the cogs start out with nice even little valleys and flat tops, sort of like a castle embattlement. After a while of the chain wearing on the teeth, the nice little valleys become little slopes and as the chain is wearing and 'stretching' at the same time it will start to ride up higher on the teeth. And you end up with problems like I was having.

So with my new found knowledge of what might be the problem I rode down to the local bike shop and had them look at it.
Bike mechanic - "What's the problem? (or) What are we looking at? (or something like that.)
Me - Well, I think my drivetrain may be going.
Bike mechanic - then grabbed a few links of the chain, squeezed and pulled on them, and said,"Yep your drivetrain is shot. You let it go to long."
As he did this even I could easily see the play between the links and tell that inside each one of those pins had a little worn spots on them. As a result the worn chain had done more damage to the cogs. He told me that I should come in once a month and have them check my chain. If the chain is replaced in time the rest of the drivetrain will last longer. I asked how long drivetrains normally do last and he told me somewhere between 500 - 1500 miles but he's seen them last much longer. I've had mine for 4500 miles now so I guess I got some good use out of it. We replaced the middle chain ring, the rear cassette and the chain, which with labor cost me about $136.00 and took about 20 minutes. I've put about 2600 miles on my bike since last June so it looks like I could be doing this sort of thing once a year.

Odo - 4459.1

Monday, June 11, 2007

Field Fix - Cut Tire

I found this on the REI website.

Expert Advice Imageour tire's blown, your handlebar busted, your chain broken. But if you think you're in for a long walk home, think again. There are fixes to almost any problem you can encounter in the field.

The Problem: Your tire is cut and the tube is trying to sneak through.

The Solution: Welcome to the strange science of booting. Take a power bar wrapper, a dollar bill (they're made of cotton and linen, not paper), the baggy that was holding your sandwich or any other similarly strong substance that can withstand some wetness and wear and tear.

Place the boot material inside the tire over the cut (after making sure that any sharp objects that may have caused the cut are removed).

Then, pump up your tube and ride away. But be sure to replace your tire as soon as possible.

Bonus Repairs

The Problem: Your tube is blown and your patch kit seems to have left town.

The Solution: Mole Skin can be used to patch a tire casing. It has an adhesive backing to keep it in place until you can replace the tire. Mole Skin can hold tire pressures up to 65 PSI. Posted by Larry.

The Problem: Your tube is blown and your pump bit it on that last drop-off.

The Solution: Believe it or not, you can pack your tire with leaves, straw, or grass and limp home that way. Posted by Tim.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ahhh! My knee is feeling pretty good now. I got a new record time riding to work Saturday.

Distance - 5.8 miles
Average speed - 16.5 mph
Maximum speed - 31.0 mph
Time - 21:00

17 seconds off from my last time. Last time I had a killer tailwind pushing me. This time I was fighting a slight headwind. This was also at about 4:30 in the morning with no traffic.

Odo - 4315.9

Sunday, June 03, 2007

May's Critical Mass

Last Critical Mass had a great turnout. I was having a good time until my chain slipped off my highest gear and got stuck between the gear and the frame. I had to take the back wheel off to get it out. By that time everyone was gone. I rode around downtown a little while hoping I would see them to no avail. It's amazing how fast that many people on bikes can disappear. Especially when their hooting, hollering and beating on drums. Yeah their are some bicycle drummers in there now. Anyway I took a few pictures this time.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Christine's Mystery Bike - Part 2

We took Christine's bike to our local bike shop for some "triage". We still don't know what type of bike it is except that it is a cheap bike from the late 80's. Unfortunately "triage" showed that soon we will be needing a new bottom bracket. They said that will cost about 50 bucks. We did get some new commuter type tires that raised the coolness factor of the bike and made it a little easier to ride. A little while later after we left the bike shop the rear brake lever broke.

We went out for a slow ride on the Burke - Gilman trail anyway. We rode 20 miles! A walk in the park for me but I was very impressed with Christine. After 10 miles I noticed an old familiar pain in my knee although not nearly so bad as before. Today I pushed it pretty hard, up the hills, on my way home from work with no problems.

Odo - 4291.1

I've since replaced the brake levers/brakes.  Soon after her bike went into storage and never gets rode.  :(

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Shellac Handlebar Tape

My old cork tape wore through already. I guess that's what riding through a rainy Seattle winter will do. I was looking for a simple black and white stripped cork tape and finding none. So I chose 2 colors of cloth tape and overlapped them. I was told that cloth tape would absorb rain, rusting your bars and sweat from you hands and eventually smell bad so I did an old technique of coating the whole thing with shellac. The shellac is just painted on and seals the whole thing. Plus it gives a nice shine. These bars look like candy now. I used 4 coats of a clear shellac which only slightly darkened the tape. The first picture is just the tape. The second is with the shellac.

You can see another persons version of this here -

Of course that night after I finished I saw this beautiful diamond weave pattern, which had I seen before I would have done -

Also an example here -

I wonder if I were to take apart, re-wrap, and re-shellac in the diamond pattern how it would look. What would happen to the old shellac?

Aside from the tape -

I've given up on riding in the STP. My knee is still giving me trouble and I don't think it will be able to make it on a 200 mile ride less then then 2 months from now. I will transfer my registration form to someone else.

I rode on the Ride of Silence and I must say it was quite uneventful. I suppose if I knew someone who was hurt or killed on a bicycle this would have meant more to me. Plus there was something about most of those people that I'm not quite agreeing with. Or maybe it's just a mentality that is taking over cycling in general. Example - Two people are talking and one man says he got the latest, greatest carbon fiber thingiee for his bike reducing the weight by like, an ounce. Now if this fellow really wanted performance he should loose the 30 extra pounds of weight he's wearing as body fat! Also all this spandex has really gotten out of hand. Yes I confess, I have a few jerseys in my closet. They look cool, they have some slick graphics on them, but why are we really wearing them? Are they cutting down on wind resistance enough to really make a difference? No. Not for the common recreational cyclist, commuter. There's a great article on the Rivendell site about this. Special clothing just to ride a bike? Are you sure? Here's a small excerpt - "In America, cyclers who are otherwise normal wear spandex shorts and skin tight jerseys with psychedelic geckos, skulls & crossbones, wilderness murals, flags and serious-looking bald eagles, and advertisements for the local coffee shop or podiatrist. The message it sends potential riders is that without special clothing, they’ll have a substandard experience on the bike, but of course that’s not true."

Update - I told my friend Tim about the diamond weave pattern and he went ahead and did it on his De Rosa. Here are his pictures -

Update 2 - See also my diamond weave pattern on my fixed gear.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Christine's Mystery Bike

About a year ago my wife's father gave her his old bike. I didn't think much of it. Just some old bike I would have to get looked at and tuned up for her. But it was free and a good bike for her as she only rides once in a while for fun. Now I've been meaning to get it fixed up a little for her and it's starting to become a project. The more I look at the bike the more I like it. I really don't know what brand it is as it has no markings or serial numbers that I've been able to find except for the number 930se on the down tube. I know that Trek uses numbers for their bike models and suspect it might be one. But what year? The frame is lugged.  I know that Trek also used to produce their bikes with lugged frames. The wheels have 36 spokes. Seems rare to find a bike wheel with over 32 spokes these days. The rims are stamped with Van Schothorst, 05 93, Made in Holland. Is 05 93 a date? Bike Biz stated in '05 that Van Schothorst changed their name to Rigida. My friend, Tim, read on some bike forums that Rigida has a reputation (among the 'touring' geeks) as one of the most sought after makers of true and solid touring rims but I don't think there's anything special here.  The derailleur is a Falcon XT which I know nothing about. It's sort of a trail bike but I plan on making it more of an urban vehicle. I'll change out the fat knobby tires to something a little lighter and smoother with less rolling resistance. Christine likes a more upright position so she lowered the seat almost all the way. I'll might give her a taller handle bar stem. Then she can raise the seat back up, still sit more upright and comfortable, and have the proper leg extension. Then possibly some new handle bar grips, better brakes and make sure that derailleur is working right.  Also the paint is pretty beat up. 

Here are some photos of the lugs and the rim stamp.  

A recent search shows that this bike is a Free Spirit Dynasty.  Apparently the Dynasty decal on the downtube was removed.  Nothing special.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bike to Work Month - Part 2

Week one of the commute challenge has passed. Looks like we won't be winning any prizes. :( We've only logged 200 miles. Boeing logged over 700 miles. City of Seattle parks logged 900 miles. Group Health Co-Op (one of the companies putting on the contest) logged 1200 miles! Microsoft has logged 1300 miles!! Microsoft's team members are doing commutes of 40-60 miles a day, round trip. My round trip commute is a mere 12. But it's all good fun anyway. Two girls on our team have rode a few times and they are new commuters which is really what this is all about anyway isn't it? Getting new people to bike to work instead of drive. There are somewhere around 8,000 to 10,000 people commuting to work by bike in this contest and so far, just in the first week, based on miles logged we have saved a total of 123,749.6 pounds of CO2 from being produced. This is in Seattle alone during one week. Not to mention the health benefits of riding a bike.

On more of a personal note now I only rode 62 miles this week. My knee was feeling better during the first day of the week and so I went and pushed it to hard to fast again. The soreness came back. I rode to work for the week anyway but took it real easy. I've had the last few days to rest and I'll take it slow this week. Hopefully this doesn't last long.
I did my weekly/bi-weekly cleaning and lubing of my bike (what I do during the rainy season) and take a look at the glass I pulled out of my tires. Just goes to show how puncture resistant those Schwalbe tires are. I recommend them to anyone.

Odo - 4048.3

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bike to Work Month

The Cascade Bicycle Club and Group Health are having their Commute Challenge. So I formed a little team with the people at work. Teams can have a maximum of 10 people and I was surprised to find more then that. Now I'm looking to see if I can get the extras to form another team. I noticed a lot more cyclists today with the commute challenge going on. Yeah! Where were you people in November when it was pouring rain?!

Also I just surpassed 4000 miles on my bike odometer. That's 2300 miles since July when we moved back up here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Critical Mass/Seattle/April

I finally got Tim go ride a Critical Mass with me. It was a pretty good one. Most of the riding was criss crossing downtown and ending up in Volunteer Park. The weather was nice, cool and overcast. There was a huge turnout again. Highlights . . . cycling drummer and everyone singing to one of the stereos. The ride was about 8 miles and I rode 16.79 miles total. I snapped off a few pictures with my camera phone. The first was an accident but I kept it anyway. I think Tim's in for the next one.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Longest Ride Yet Of The Season.

Odo - 3943.9

Since I've been working so much lately my training routine sort of went down the drain. Today I had the day off and I figured I better do a long ride. The plan for this week was to do a long ride for 6 hours. I didn't do a full 6 hours but I pulled off 60 miles which I haven't done in about 3 years. I made sure to eat and drink enough so I didn't bonk this time. I ate something about every 10 miles. 2 bananas, 2 Cliff bars, a turkey sandwich which I split up, plus I refilled my water bottle twice with an energy drink and once with just water. I felt pretty good after the ride except my knees are a little sore. I think it's a tendon/overuse soreness. They weren't quite ready for that much yet. I rode round trip from West Seattle, to downtown, Fremont, Burke-Gilman Trail over the top of Lake Washington, to the Sammamish river trail, down along Lake Sammamish to I-90 and back to West Seattle.
  • Ride time - 4:39:21 (total time was about 5 1/2 hours)
  • Average speed - 13.2 mph
  • Distance 61.34 miles
  • Max speed - 35.5 mph
  • Calories burned - 3650

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Who Needs A Car?

Some things I hauled on my bike today -
30 pounds of cat litter and a bag of cookies.

3 cubic feet of potting soil and a 12 inch pot.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Head Set Blues

Odo 3856.6

Just as I made it to work the other day I noticed my head set was loose. It's threaded so I tightened it down as best as I could, by hand, for my ride home that night. The next day, before work, I got out the wrench and started adjusting. Then the lock nut stripped. "C**p!" So I rode 2 blocks away to Bike and Brew, which is going out of business but still open a few more days. The owner/mechanic still happened to have a spare nut. He replaced it and adjusted the head set for me. But when I got to work it was loose again. "What the h*ll?" Like the day before I tightened it by hand and rode home, got out the wrench and, once again, the lock nut stripped.

I had to take the bus for 2 days. I'd get to the bus stop early and wait while the bus came late. I watched some cyclists go by and, although both forms of transportation take about the same time, I realized again how much I love the bike.

Two days later I started out to local bike shop. Just as I left the house one of my front spokes broke. How convenient. A slow mile down the road, my front wheel now rubbing on the fork, trying to avoid any bumps to prevent further damage to the wheel, I arrived at the shop. My mystery head set problem was fixed. Inside the head set is a washer with a little bump on it. I believe the bump fits into a channel on the steering tube. But sometimes it can get turned and the washer with the bump can wind it's way around the threads. You can't see this from the outside and the head set can be "set" only to become loose later when the washer moves. An easy item to overlook but these guys are good. That and the new spoke cost me less then a tank of gas.

Thus concludes the story of my head set blues.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I had a killer tailwind pushing me to work the other day. Gave me a new record -
  • Distance - 5.79
  • Average speed - 16.1
  • Max speed - 32.5
  • Time - 21.17

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Week 2 - Century Training

Odo - 3786.5

Spring is in full force today. It's incredibly beautiful here. I think it got up into the 70's. Unfortunately so my allergies got right up there with it. Riding, except for the sniffling, my is one of the best ways to keep my mind off it. I forget about my itchy eyes and don't rub them. I can breathe better. But I know it's just exposing me to more pollen. Oh well, I can't stay inside through spring.

The week was pretty rough on my legs. They got pretty sore, right from the start, with that threshold interval ride. Monday and Tuesday I just rode to work, then Wednesday I beat my legs up again by doing 10 hill climb intervals and then donning 60 pounds of armor and attending my medieval fighter practice with the SCA. Something that I haven't done in about a year. Had a good time though. Made for some real good cross training. Took Thursday off which was nice and did a 47 mile ride today with Tim. I really need to bring some food on those longer rides. Burned about 2600 calories again. Total mileage for the week was slightly less at 111.35

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Threshold Interval Ride

Odo - 3698.7

Today is the first day of my second week in training and the first time I did threshold intervals on flat terrain. It was an extremely tough day and I'll tell you why.

The Plan - According to the routine I was supposed to warm up for 15 minutes at 60 - 70% (111 - 129bpm) of my max heart rate. Then ride threshold intervals where I get my heart rate up in the range of 70 - 90% (129 - 166bpm) for 4 minutes followed by 2 minute recovery periods back in the 60 - 70% range. Repeat this 10 times.

The Experience - About 15 minutes into the intervals I was thinking to myself, "Man is this hard!" and "I'm never going to be able to follow this training routine to the end." About 35 minutes into it I had long given up on the intervals and just stayed in the heart rate range for the allotted time period but I got a new burst of energy when I realized I was 1/2 way done and that I had already rode 11 miles. When it was all said and done I was proud that I stuck it out to the end but not as proud as I would be when I got home. Sitting a few hours later, having uploaded all my information from the heart rate monitor to the computer and looking over my training routine, I realized something . . .

The Mistake - I had programed the heart rate monitor wrong. The result being instead of riding intervals at the 70 - 90% range and recovering at 60 - 70%, I rode the whole time at 80 - 90% thus my heart rate never dipped below 148 beats per minute. I started out trying to ride the intervals near 90% and recover at 80%. There were no intervals, just one long threshold ride.

Here is some information from the HRM about the ride -
  • ~1335 calories burned, 35% from fat
  • Max heart rate - 91%, 168 beats per minute
  • Average heart rate - 147 bpm
and the bike computer tells me that I rode 23.63 miles.

Fortunately my heart felt strong the whole time. I never felt like I was pushing it to far and, of course, I would have stopped if I did. Sure my legs were tired but my heart was fine. And next week, with the monitor programed correctly, I'll have a much easier workout.

Friday, March 30, 2007

"Long" Ride

Odo - 3675.1

Everywhere I looked there were cyclists. The first week of my training program is finished. Today's training called for a long ride of 3 hours at an easy pace/heart rate. I exceeded the goal by about 1/2 an hour and rode 41.5 miles. The heart rate monitor estimates that I burned 2690 calories. My path took me from West Seattle, through downtown, up the Burke Gilman Trail almost to the top of Lake Washington and then back again. On the way back through downtown I hooked up with Critical Mass. There was a huge turnout, but I was done riding for the night.
115 miles total for the week.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Century and STP Training

Odo - 3616.1

I've committed to ride in the STP (Seattle to Portland). I even went so far as to register. One of the guys that Christine works with is also riding in the STP. He and his cycling buddies have been juggling emails about the ride. They've included my email address so I get to read all of their chit chat. The other day one of the emails said that anyone riding in STP should be up to about 100 miles a week on the bike by now. I know I wasn't up to that much riding to work and back. I think I've been averaging about 60 miles per week.

I needed to do something about it so I broke out my old book, The Lance Armstrong Performance Program, by Lance and coach Chris Carmichael. Now I was looking through the book and the different programs and sort of half a** deciding on when and what type of rides to do and I remembered . . . the Polar website (makers of my heart rate monitor) has cycling programs for training. So I set one up.

It was easy. The program has 6 weeks of exercises (rides) laid out on a calender for me to look at. I just click on the day and it tells me what type of ride to do, the duration, and what zone my heart rate should be at. After my ride I upload the information to the web and can compare the target times in certain heart rate zones with my actual times and heart rates. I can also drag the exercises from one day to another to give myself a little leeway with work. This first week is a great one to kick things off, though, because work is really slow. Tim has been joining me on these rides as he has been getting in less cycling then me.

The first day, Monday, called for a slow easy ride for 1-1/2 hours at a heart rate of 60% to 70% of max. At this percentage this really was an easy ride. I think we over shot the time and rode for 2-1/2 hours which turned out to be about 25 miles. The photos on this post I took on that day. Tim and I both have Nikon cameras and tried out each others lenses. I got to get one of these wide angles someday. Yesterday, Tuesday, called for uphill intervals. We were supposed to ride uphill for 3 minutes sitting and 2 minutes standing while keeping the heart rate between 70% to 80%. It was hard keeping the heart rate below 80% until we found the perfect hill, just the right angle with little traffic. Then you rest for 5 minutes and repeat the interval. The plan said to repeat this this 8 times and we did. I used to hate hills. Thankfully, I don't anymore. You ride, the hill is there, you just keep riding. Much slower, but you just keep riding. Today is an off day. No riding scheduled. Tomorrow calls for 1 hour of spinning intervals, high pedal cadence and Friday is supposed to be a 3 hour long ride.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bicycle Zen

A good friend of mine , David, and his wife went on a bike ride the other day. It was 90 degrees and he drank water, a lot of water. Check out his blog to see his experience with water intoxication. And remember while riding to not only stay hydrated but stay fueled and keep your electrolytes up.

A Zen teacher saw five of his students returning from the market, riding their bicycles. When they arrived at the monastery, the teacher asked the students, "Why are you riding your bicycles?"

The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad I do not have to carry them on my back."

The teacher said, "You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do."

The second student replied, "I love to see other places and watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path."

The teacher commended him, "Your eyes are open and you see the world."

The third student replied, "The fluid rhythm of pedaling frees my mind, as well as my body."

The teacher praised him. "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly-trued wheel."

The fourth student replied, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with nature, the environment, and all sentient beings."

The teacher said, "You are riding on the golden path of no harm."

The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle…."

The teacher replied with a pause, and then, smiling, sat at the feet of the fifth student and slowly said, "I am now YOUR student!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Maximum Heart Rate Readings

Odo - 3535.4

I discovered some things about the HRM (heart rate monitor) over the last few days. First, there is no way my maximum heart rate was at 201bpm (beats per minute) when I rode home the other night. I rode home pretty hard tonight. With as much effort as I did then and my maximum heart rate was only 181bpm. And then only for a few seconds or so. I think a 201 might have killed me. I started a ride yesterday and had to restart the HRM twice because it jumped from about 135 bpm to some crazy number like 220 and then back. The manual says that strong electromagnetic signals can cause erratic readings. Possible sources of these signals include high-voltage power lines, traffic lights, car motors, bike computers and cell phones. Before I read the manual I thought that it was the cold wind blowing through my sweater that was effecting it. After I put on my jacket it this didn't occur. But the operating temperature if the HRM is well below the outside temperature that day, even with wind chill. Could it be that the jacket was shielding the HRM from outside electromagnetic signals? Or maybe I had just moved away from what ever was causing them. Or (and this is probably way out there) could it be that the sweater was generating a static charge that the jacket somehow conducted away. It did hail on me as I put on the jacket. Maybe I was in the field of a possible lightning strike.* Or maybe the government was aiming a new electromagnetic weapon at me or it could have been aliens!!** Anyway I believe something happened, on my way home, the other night causing the maximum heart rate (201) to be false.

According to the HRM I burned about 900 calories riding to and from work today. I just missed my record time home by 13 seconds even though I was fighting a head wind for about 2 miles.

*No I don't believe I was about to be struck by lightning.
**No I really don't believe it to be aliens or the government.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rail Bikes

Just when I thought I'd seen it all in the bicycle world I stumbled across these rail bikes. - Looks like a great way to see the country side. Railroads are generally not steep and it should be quite a smooth ride. Of course they should be road on abandoned lines where there are no trains.

Apparently the idea is not a new one.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Emergency Wheel Fix

I found this on a fellow bloggers web site. He is showing that it is possible to straighten a wheel in the field. Ah . . . just enough to get you home. You will still need a new wheel but at least you are not stuck out somewhere. I never would have even thought of this.
Free advice on how to fix your bicycle: EMERGENCY WHEEL FIX

90's Apartment to OroValley

Back in the early 90's I lived for a short period in an apartment on the south side of Tucson. I had, during that time, purchased a Specialized Hardrock "mountain bike". It was nothing like their Hardrock of today. All steel. Not even front shocks. One day I decided I would ride to my parents on the north side of town and back. I remember it being such a long, grueling ride. It was 15 miles one way. Ha! A walk in the park now days. I uploaded the route as best as I remember it here - 90's apartment to Oro Valley.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Heart Rate Monitor

Odo - 3496.4

I picked up a heart rate monitor by Polar to use while I'm riding. The idea here is to figure out your maximum heart rate and then a target zone that is lower then that to work out in. The heart rate monitor tells you when you are in that zone. I haven't read the whole manual yet but I got a basic set up done. The monitor was telling me my target zone is between 145 - 160 heart beats per minute (bpm). At about 150 I felt pretty comfortable. Going over the lower West Seattle Bridge and up the hill I push myself pretty hard and the monitor was beeping like crazy at me. When I looked at the summery, after my ride, it showed my max heart rate to be 201 bpm and my average to be 147 bpm. The 201 max was surely a fluke.  It also showed that I burned approx. 433 calories. It made a difference to. I got home 31 seconds faster then ever before and this is on Friday when I should be the most burned out for the week. It was a pretty warm, clear night. About 54 F with little or no wind.

From work -
  • Distance - 5.92 miles
  • Average speed - 12.7
  • Max speed - 22.0 mph
  • Time - 27:59
Odo - 3476.2

I had a dream I owned a horse. I was riding and proud that I had become so competent in my horsemanship skills. At some point the horse became a bicycle.

From work -
  • Distance - 5.90 miles
  • Average - 12.4 mph
  • Max speed - 21.5 mph
  • Time - 28:30

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Odo - 3451.2

To Work -
  • Distance - 5.87
  • Average - 15.6
  • Max speed - 34.0 mph
  • Time - 22:16

From Work -
  • Distance - 5.96
  • Average - 12.4
  • Max speed - 25.0 mph
  • Time - 28:37

Monday, March 12, 2007

"A" Mountain Ride

I was just remembering when when I lived for a while at Ajo and I-19 in Tucson I did a ride up "A" Mountain. So I posted it on Bikely. My 90's apartment to "A" Mountain loop.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Alaska Junction to Downtown

I uploaded my daily commute route onto Bikely. Here it is - Alaska Junction to Downtown. My total climb each day is about 169 feet and the decent is about 357 feet. Coming is basically just the reverse. For my Tucson friends I've compared this to a ride I used to do - Oro Valley to Tucson Mall. Almost the same distance, slightly less climb.

Best commute data going to work for is as follows -
  • Distance - 5.82
  • Average - 14.6 mph
  • Max speed - 33.5 mph
  • Time - 23.53
I've also come to find out that my bike weighs in at 30 pounds without rack, pack, lights and lock. Oh what it would be like to have a 15 - 20 pound bike.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bicycle Mud Flaps

Odo - 3430.6

I have seen several people riding with home made, custom mud flaps attached to their fenders. While full fenders will, for the most part, keep you dry, the mud flaps really help in keeping dirt, mud off your chain and chain rings. Once dirt gets in there it just grinds around, shortening the life of your drive train, until you clean it. So I chose to make my own. I went down to the store room to get my tool box and happened to find just the perfect piece of scrap leather. I know that the leather will eventually rot but it's almost 1/4 inch thick and with the amount of mink oil I put on there rotting will take a long time. I used another piece of leather to act as a hinge, attached to the main flap with 2 copper rivets (like those you might find on a Brooks bike saddle) and 2 pop rivets to attach the whole thing to the fender. I've been in medieval reenactment for 15 + years and I know with a little cleaning and oil this leather should last a long time, even with the water hitting it all winter long. However if you don't want to do such maintenance there are other options. Many people use plastic from milk cartons or anything. This website recommends stair tread leather - Bike DIY Mud Flaps. I'm sure this will double my time between drive train cleanings and it's keeping my shoes, socks and pants dryer too!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Downtown Ballard Locks Loop

Odo - 3390.4

I rode 25 miles today. My usual commute to and from work plus the weather was so nice that I rode another 12 miles between shifts. The 12 mile ride was, of course, a loop to and from work. I rode down to the water front, through Elliott bay/Myrtle Edwards park, up 20th ave. 20th becomes Gilman ave. Gilman becomes Government. Up into Magnolia. At Government and 32nd you take a right. This sneaks you down to a foot bridge across some train tracks and drops you right on the Ballard Locks. I walked across the locks. You have to. Took a right on 54th/Market, right on Shilsole, left to NW 46th, right on 9th, picked up the Burke Gilman trail, slipped onto N 36th street through Fremont, across the Fremont Bridge, left onto Westlake passed Lake Union and back downtown. It's a sweet little ride. Seattle is such a scenic city. I uploaded it onto Bikely. You can see the route here - Downtown, Magnolia,Ballard,Fremont,back downtown. Another cool feature I found on Bikely is in the upper left corner you can click Show and Elevation Profile.

My muscles must have recovered over the weekend because I flew home from work tonight. So I feel this is a good time to start some new commute stats to our new place.

Commute data from work -
  • Distance - 6.37 miles
  • Average speed - 12.6 mph
  • Time - 29.51
  • Max speed - 24.0

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Post Chilly Hilly

Odo - 3328.5

Well we did it. My friend Tim and I rode the Chilly Hilly as we said we would. It rained almost the entire time. We were chilled and, as they claimed, there were plenty of hills. Fortunately my knees held out and I didn't have to walk up any of them, as many people did.

The night before I cleaned my bike and noticed a noise coming from my front hub. I took it up to Alki Bike and Board to have it checked out. We decided the bearings, cones were in OK condition but the grease looked a little watery. I figure this is going back to the car wash incident again. The guy (owner?) was real cool and didn't charge me. He said you know where to come for your grease and parts. I took the wheel back home and decided to re-grease it. Now I've done this before without a problem but it wasn't so easy tonight and when I had it all back together I overtightened the quick release and broke it! Another mechanic, we'll leave nameless, told me before that that type of quick release had to be put on tight for some strange reason, but I guess not that tight. Now it was eight o'clock at night and I had to find a shop, again, for a quick release skewer. It didn't look good. Most shops were already closed and would not open until noon the next day. The day of the ride! Some would not even be open at all because of the ride. Finally I called REI. They had the part, would hold it for me and were open until nine. I jumped in the truck and made it with only ten minutes to spare. Seven bucks and thirty minutes later I had my wheel back on. By now I'm sure I had drove Christine crazy, fussing over my bike all night when it would have been fine had I left it alone in the first place. To top it off I never really got the hub put back together right. Half way through the ride, at the chili stop (15 miles), I noticed a lot of play in the wheel and it had been lightly rubbing the fender the whole time. Lucky for me REI had a tent set up with mechanics. Saved by REI again. They opened up the hub and put it back together the right way while we ate chili and baked potatoes. Best of all their work was free. Now the wheel was smooth as silk, had no more play and didn't rub the fender anymore. Eighteen miles to go. After our break we were cold but climbing 260 foot Baker hill took care of that.

The finish was uneventful. I know it wasn't a race but it was hard to tell we were even at the finish. You would think they would have a finish line, banner or something. No. Just a few tents set up again with people selling stuff. We hit up the latte stand, stood around for a bit and caught our ferry back to Seattle with about 300 other cyclists. There were about 4000 people in the ride but multiple start times based on which morning ferry you took.

Back in Seattle Christine picked us up and we dropped off Tim. I felt all right. My legs felt good, my knees felt good, but we went to the grocery store and I just wanted to eat everything right off the shelf! The next day I did a short ride to Alki and back and today I rode to work. My legs don't feel sore but I can tell they need to recover. Tim and I are still talking about our next ride so I guess it wasn't too bad.

2 hours and 53 minutes.
Total distance was 33.5 miles.
My maximum speed was 41 mph.
And my average was 12 mph which I'm sure would be higher without the hills.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Back in the saddle

Odo - 3239.5

Chilly Hilly is coming up fast. This Sunday. I was off for 2 weeks one of which we spent in Mexico. So there was no riding for me. Then to top it off I caught a cold and took the bus for a few more days. Now finally I'm riding to work again, plus I did a 17 mile ride today. I think I'll be OK for Sunday.
We moved into our new condo so my commute is a bit different. It's about a mile shorter. I don't have to ride down Delridge and that's a good thing. Although I have about a 320 foot hill to climb on the way home.
So . . . yeah Chilly Hilly. Then maybe I'll try the Flying Wheels Summer Century, the Seattle to Portland (STP)(that will be the big one!), Seattle to Vancouver and who knows, if I got the time and money I've always wanted to ride El Tour de Tucson, being from there.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cycling in snow

Odo - 3091.1

We had the rare Seattle snowfall so I had to try riding in it. Riding a bike on/in snow is surprisingly easy. Mind you the snow here is only about 2-3 inches thick. I'm sure it would be much more difficult in a foot of snow. I rode a whooping 3 miles to the Starbucks and back. There is still a slippage factor. If a hill was to steep forget about it. At least with my current tires.  Then there is the unseen hazard. Is there a grate or a huge pothole under the snow, who knows.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Chilly Hilly

Odo - 3088.05

Well I did it. I signed up for the Chilly Hilly Bicycle Classic. A 33 mile ride around Bainbridge Island on Feburary 25. The ride is only 33 miles but has a total elevation climb of 2675 feet. So I guess I better start riding up some hills.