Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chainless bicycles

I've seen some chainless bikes before. Specifically shaft driven. But now Trek is coming out with 2 belt driven bikes.

The first is the "District". As stated on the Trek website - "Trek’s first production belt-drive singlespeed features an aggressive riding geometry and an edgy appearance. The belt drive is a carbon fiber composite belt reinforced to prevent stretch. The worry-free, lube-rejecting, lighter-than-any-chain-you’ve-ever-owned belt also produces a ninja-like quiet ride. Don’t be mistaken, this is not a retro-styled singlespeed. The District is completely progressive."

If this came out last year I would have saved up a few more bucks and purchased it instead of my Pista.

The second is the Soho. The Soho is an 8 speed via rear, internal hub. It also features disc brakes and fenders.
According to this article - the belt is whisper silent, never needs lubricating, can't be cut (everything can be cut but . . . ) and lasts 3 years - the life span of 3 chains. Now I have to wonder if the life span is based on riding a bike daily for 3 years or a bike that just sits there. Will the belt become brittle after 3 years, just sitting there? Will it ever become brittle and break or will it just wear out. It is said to be a carbon composite. My other question is how much will it cost to replace/purchase such a belt? I can replace a chain for about $20.00. On the other hand, no lube, no cleaning.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Streetlight Trouble Report Form

A while ago, you may remember, I went on my pot hole campaign. Well, as it turns out, Seattle also has a web page where you can report problems with streetlights.
I actually learned of this a while ago but didn't really take advantage until tonight. I got off work a little early, wasn't to tired, so with pad and pencil in hand I wrote down and reported the numbers of 19 streetlights that are burned out on my commute home. All of these in West Seattle spanning maybe a 2 mile route.

Yes, having your neighborhood infected with cyclists can have it's advantages.

Odo - 6672.4

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Drive Train Wear - Part III

As I posted before, my drive train is wearing out a second time. The first time I had a bike mechanic replace it which cost me $136.00 parts and labor. After pulling everything off the frame (with a few exceptions for which I didn't have the correct tools), for the paint job and reassembling afterwards I feel confident I can do this on my own.
I picked up a Shimano 12-28 7-speed cassette to replace the 13-28 I have now for $35.00 and a SRAM chain for $18.00. There were a few specialty tools I needed. I got a Park Hyperglide lockring tool for $6.00 and a Park Chainwhip that was $19.00 but, looking at my receipt, they mischarged me for so it was only $14.00. This brings my total to $73.00 so I've saved $63.00 so far. All I'll need to purchase are the worn chain ring/rings and the next time I won't need to buy the tools. Plus I get the pleasure of doing it myself.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Musette's Modification - Part VII

Ahhhh the Pièce de résistance came via UPS today. My Brooks B-17N Saddle. After a few adjustments to the tilt of the saddle it felt just fine. These saddles are supposed to break in after a few hundred miles so I guess it will be feeling GREAT in no time.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Musette's Modification - Part VI

Over the last few days I reinstalled all the rest of the components, fenders and rear rack, with the exception of the saddle as I'm awaiting the Brooks. My hands pretty much smelled like Phil Wood grease during this whole time period.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Musette's Modification - Part V

As promised the new stem/handlebar wrap job post. (Not that anyone is really reading this anyway but . . . )

It was a sunny afternoon and hot for Autumn as the project began. Sustenance consisted of Birra Moretti and PBJ's. My companion for moral support, Capella Cat. I had all my tools and supplies. Let's begin.
First I had to strip off all that shellac covered handlebar tape. Bye bye, you were good to me. The only way to get the bars through the new stem was to do this. Actually there are other ways but it's not in the grand scheme of things for Musette. Turned out to be quite easy, peeled right off.
Next was removal of the integrated brake/shifters. The brake and shifter cables had to be disconnected and pulled through their housings. I'm replacing the cables and housings because they won't be long enough for the new taller stem. Actually the rear cables, being longer, will be used up front. There is one image showing where the brake cable pulls out of the hood and the next two show where the shifter cable comes out. You may need to shift down to a certain gear to get to the shifter cable. All of this was a learning experience for me. Until now, I had really no idea how these cables came out. By the way this is for a Shimano Sora, 3 speed front, 7 speed rear.
The next image shows us that by pulling the front of the hood you can access an allen bolt to remove the whole assemble from the bars.
The last two images show the new leather bar tape. I went to a leather supply store and picked up two long belt blanks of alternating colors. Then split them in two, lengthwise, and wrapped/braided them around the bars. The bars will be re-mounted on the bike after the paint job is finished and dried.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Musette's Modification - Part IV

Did some light sanding and sprayed the clear coat today. Cleaned some more parts and ordered a Brooks B-17 N (narrow) from Wallingford Bicycle Parts out of New Orleans. That is all.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Musette's Modification Part - III

Today Musette got the color coat. The first image is the first coat, the second is about 8 hours after painting. The second image doesn't do it much justice. The actual color is a little lighter, somewhere between the two pictures. Tomorrow she gets a clear coat.

We also came into a little bit of unexpected money so tomorrow I get a Brooks Saddle. I'm looking at a Swift w/chrome rails in brown. The Swift is comparable in size to saddles I like to ride on but we'll see. I might end up with a B-17 or a B-17 Narrow. This is going to look great with the new paint and the leather wrap on the bars.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Musette's Modification Part - II

I stripped everything I could off the bike last night. This morning I bungeed the frame to my backpack, hopped on Chromie, and headed to the bike shop to have the rest removed. Then I started about 3 hours of paint removal using a noxious chemical paint remover (most likely terrible for the environment) and a wire brush. Here is the beginning of the process with the chemical just starting to work.

Next picture is the frame completely stripped.

And finally the primer coat. (A lovely spray paint also bad for the environment, I'm sure.) That's it for painting today. In the mean time I've been cleaning all the parts that I took off.

Drive Train Wear Part II

Back in June of 2007 I did a post about how I wore out my drive train. While I was at my mechanics, Friday, I had them check my chain for wear. "Too late to replace the chain." they said. My cassette and chain ring/rings are already to worn. If they put a new chain on top of the worn gears it will skip real bad. They told me to wait until wears out (the whole drive train) and we'll replace the whole thing again. Bummer. It's been 2000 miles since then.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Musette is getting a face lift.

Yeah that's right, Musette, my main bike of 5 years is having some cosmetic surgery done. The bike is really too small for me. I had a bike fit done and purchased a new stem to raise the handlebars, thus relieving some shoulder pain. Well, I guess that's how this all started. I have to remove the shellac and cloth handlebar tape to get the bars into the new stem. That got me thinking I want to go with leather over the bars which I plan to match up with a Brooks saddle (my saddle is getting pretty ratty) and some leather panniers that I plan to make myself. Then I got to thinking I wanted to paint the bike, so there it is. I did the handlebar/stem job Friday and will do another post about that soon. Today I stripped all I could of the frame. Tomorrow I'll take it down to Aaron's and have them remove the bottom bracket and fork. Then the painting begins . . .

Odo - 6531.3

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Critical Mass - July 2008 - Seattle

Well I can say I've been on a few Critical Mass rides and have truly enjoyed them but from the first one I was on I saw the potential for this sort of incident to happen - As posted in the Stranger. There are two different points of view, of course, depending on who's side of the story you listen to and what news agency you read/hear from but the whole thing just shouldn't have happened. Drivers could easily sit back for the whole 60 seconds or so and let the 'Mass' ride by, and most do. A lot of people I've seen actually enjoy watching the event pass. But the fact remains that the drivers aren't the one's breaking the law here. As I see it now Critical Mass isn't really benefiting cyclists. It's making more drivers angry with cyclists and not helping to promote our rights. Although some cyclists would disagree, we are not at war with automobile drivers here. The Auto is here to stay. When the oil runs out they will find something else to propel them with. I want drivers to see our side and share the road with us, possibly join us/become one of us someday, not become more angry and spiteful of cyclists. What we need is understanding better infrastructure. Personally I like what this San Francisco resident is doing - Critical Manners.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Bike Rentals - Tourist

To this day it still amazes me how much ground one can cover, in such a short amount of time, almost effortlessly via bicycle. And so, while one is traveling, it is worthwhile considering the rental of a bicycle. Or if traveling by motorcoach/auto, bringing a bicycle with them. If space is an issue, there are several folding bikes on the market.

Recently we spent about 4 days in San Francisco. It seemed there were bike rentals everywhere. A ride from Fisherman's Wharf, across the Golden Gate Bridge and into Sausalito is only about 8 miles. From there if one prefers a ferry can be used for the return trip. As a little side note we tried a tandem bike. This was not nearly as easy as some people make it look. It's like riding a bike with a large amount of weight on the back cargo rack. Needless to say we switch to two separate bikes.

Here are a few more examples which I'm actually stealing from my friend's Beer Brewing Blog (go figure) -
Their bicycle tour of Stanley Park, Vancouver
Cycling around Paris and Napa Valley Wine Tours

So the next time you are going to rent a car in a foreign city to battle traffic and pay for parking, consider the bicycle.

Friday, May 30, 2008

6000 Miles

Rolled the bike computer/odometer over 6000 miles on Musette last week.

Also this month was Bike to Work Month again. Apparently all those people who only come out in May can't attach their bicycle lights right. I've found 2 lying in the road. Kept one and gave the other to a friend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Joe Blow

I used my REI dividend on a new floor pump today. The Topeak Joe Blow Sprint. This is a great step up for me. It has an extra long hose, fits presta/shrader valves, has a built in pressure gauge (which is up high making it easier to read), and extra attachments to fill a sports ball or my wife's exercise ball. It only takes about 15-20 pumps to completely fill my road tires. With my old pump I had to
  1. screw on an attachment for my presta valves,
  2. attach the pump,
  3. pump, detach the pump,
  4. check the pressure,
  5. etc.
With this pump I attach the pump & pump. I'm done.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Rear Wheel

As I posted before, (Evil Streets) I bent my rear rim on a pot hole. My mechanic fixed it up as best as he could but it's has been slowly getting worse and I finally had the money to spend on a new wheel. If my last wheel was strong, this thing is a tank! 36 stainless steel Phil Wood spokes, Velocity Fusion rim, Shimano FH-RM 40 hub. I've read different things about the hub. That it's serviceable but not that well sealed. But the wheel is strong.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Foot Race - Part 4

I went to the physical therapy place and they suggested some different running shoes. He showed me what to look for in a shoe. Also some insoles. Although the whole thing has sort of fizzled out as my main competition, Chris, got a stress fracture in his ankle. So we won't be having the race this year. Maybe next.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Rap On Bottled Water

Bottled water is a joke. It's a HUGE waste of resources. Especially here is the Pacific Northwest. We have some of the cleanest, finest water in North America yet people still continue to buy bottled water. I'm sure this is all out of convenience. I grew up on tap water. We never had bottled water. No one bought bottled water! It was absurd! I fill up water at the tap at work and people look at me like I'm crazy. It's the SAME water. Just as clean! Plus you get fluoride for stronger teeth. Bottled water costs 2400 times as much as tap water. Yeah, that's not a typo. It costs 1/3 of one cent for a gallon of tap water and bottled water is about 79 cents a pint. In 2006 Americans bought more then 60 billion pints of bottled water, requiring nearly 900,000 tons of plastic (produced from fossil fuels) and more than 17 million barrels of oil (hey soaring gas prices), not including energy for transportation. That adds up to more then 2.5 million tons of greenhouse gases generated that could have been avoided by drinking tap water.

(Many facts directly quoted from Seattle Public Utilities 2007 Drinking Water Quality Report.)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Calories burned at work

So last week I rode to work with my HRM (heart rate monitor) again for another cardio workout. And with a decent tailwind I beat my commute to work record by 14 seconds.
  • Time - 20:46
  • Average speed - 17.1 mph
  • Max. speed - 45 mph
  • Distance 5.95 miles
  • ~409 calories burned, 35% from fat
  • Max. heart rate - 172 bpm, 93% of max heart rate
  • Average heart rate - 152 bpm, 82% mhr
Two days before that I rode and when I got to work I decided just to keep the HRM on all day.
Over the 8 hours and 50 minutes of work I did I burned 2511 calories with a fat consumption estimate of 60%. Adding to that the 486 calories I burned riding to work and the 436 calories I burned riding back home we come up with 3433. So I'm probably burning close to 4000 calories in a regular 24 hour day in which I commute to and from work by bicycle. No wonder I can eat so much and not put on weight.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Foot Race - part 3

Went to the doctor today about my knee. They took some x-rays. Says that my knee looks pretty good but wants to send me to a therapy clinic to try running with some different orthopedic insoles to see if that makes a difference. Otherwise he says I may just want to stick to cycling.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Foot race continued.

So I've been running twice now. The first time I went 2 miles but only ran 1 of those. The second, yesterday, I went 3 miles but again only ran 1/2 of that. Both times I had pretty bad knee pain by the end of the running which is why I walked back. I don't know what the deal is. It's only my left knee and it hurts on the impact or walking down stairs or down a slope. Lasts for about a day after. Otherwise I feel fine during the run. I get my heart rate up to around 150 and hold there with no problems. No problems cycling and I've stepped that up for more cardio to and from work.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Foot Race

Last year the hotel I work at got a bunch of us involved in the Susan G. Komen run/walk for the cure. This is to raise money to find a cure for breast cancer. The hotel paid all our entry fees. A buddy of mine, Chris, and I decided we would race. He's a body builder and fitness trainer, aside from our line of work, and he figured if we were to race then it would motivate him more to train. Like the Cylons, I had a plan. My Heart Rate Monitor (HRM). I knew from a botched interval training ride, I did a few months before, that I could stay at 80 - 90% of my max heart rate for a good hour. I figured I would keep my heart rate in that range and that was the best I could do. It's a 5k (3.1mile) run. At the start Chris took off in front but I figured he would push himself to hard and I would pass him by. I was at about 168 beats per minute(bpm)/91% of my max heart rate for the first 1/2 but I felt pretty good. During which time he stayed out in front of me by about 100 feet or so. I knew I had to catch him so I pushed it up to 172bpm/93% and it worked. We ran together for probably the last 1/3 of the race. About 100 yards from the finish I broke into a sprint. I heard Chris groan or say,"oh no" or something and I figured I had him but at the finish line there was a bottleneck. They were checking everyone's number as we went across and had us all form into 2 single file lines. So Chris and I basically walked across at the same time. We called it a draw.

Last years stats -
  • Distance - 5K
  • Calories burned - 526
  • Max heart rate - 197bpm/106% of max heart rate. On that final sprint.
  • Average heart rate - 172bpm/93%
This year should be a little different. I'm going to train. Last year I didn't run at all. I didn't realize the effect it would have on my legs. Even though I ride my bike to work most every day it seems running uses those leg muscles in a completely different way. I was soooooooo fraking sore after the run last year. So I'm going to do some running, with Christine on the beach to get my legs in shape and I'm kicking up my bike rides to and from work for additional cardio. The plan this year is to be conditioned enough that I can leave Chris way behind long before the end.
Race day is June 21.

Did I mention Chris is 10 years younger then me?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Report a pothole. (Evil Streets of Seattle II)

I came across the "Report a pothole" (Street Maintenance Request Form) page on website a few days ago. This page has a form that you can fill out to report a pothole in the city streets that needs repair. You can also report street signs and damaged sidewalks. The page claims, "Our goal is to repair potholes within 48 hours (two business days) of receiving a report. Currently our success rate is 91%." Well I gave it a shot and reported the pothole that bent my bicycle rim. I had no faith in the system and figured it would be weeks before they got to it. After all Seattle streets are terrible. There are potholes everywhere. Then, the next day, just 14 hours later, I shocked and surprised, as I rode to work to see the pothole had been filled! I know of 2 other serious holes on my commute to work and I reported them too. We'll see if they get the same quick response.

Odo - 5580.4