Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Make an Old Bike a New Bike.

 So, as I mentioned in my last blog post, I was questioning the utility of having two commuters, one being Henry, the other being Bi.

Now, don't get me wrong, they both have their uses.

Bi is a fully racked and fendered fixed gear, with an awesome horn.

Henry has gears and can haul the world.

What's interesting, though, is Henry only weighs like 10 pounds more than Bi.

Now, I'm no weight weenie, but why should I have two bikes capable of bending light with their mass as my day to day commuters? Especially since one of them is capable of hauling trees home, and the other can only handle smaller trees?

So, Henry becomes my main commuter. And what an awesome commuter he is. The basket on front is a luxury I never knew I would appreciate so much now that I have it. It is so nice to be able to just toss stuff in it as I grab it, without having to step off the bike. Mail, milk, logs, children, it handles it all nicely.

But what about Bi? the oldest bike in my stable? The most reliable?

First, I took the rockin' horn and put it on Henry.

Then, I made Bi into a new bike. Sort of.

Bi, as we all knew and loved... in all his racked, fendered, studly glory.

Remove the racks, the fenders, the studs...

29 inches, rigid, and single. Bi is the Dirty Fixie.

With that done... Sunday I went out on the first local singletrack ride of the year, on Bi. It was a blast. Fixed gear off road is challenging, but it also feels like flying. It's amazing how light and nimble Bi is without all the weight. Fun all around.

I think I'll keep it.
Mileage: 9 ish?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Oh snap!

I've been meaning to sit down and write a blog post for a while now. Since... the end of February, I think? But, one of three things always seemed to happen.

1: I forgot. That's a legitimate excuse, right?

2: Things got busy. Things are still busy, but here I am!

C: Why write about riding bikes when I could go ride bikes? Enough said, I feel?

Thus my dilemma. To blog, or not to blog, that is the... well, it's a question. I suppose I should start keeping the GoPro on the handlebars or on the helmet and start ranting at it, but it takes longer for me to edit the footage than to write a blog post. And like I said, excuse number C.

So, with that said, just what have I been up to? Well, I'll let the pictures tell the story.

The bulk of my time has been learning to build a rocking chair for TC. She's having a baby here real soon, so rocking chair!

The happy recipients!

What better thing to do with scraps from the rocking chair than make blocks for the baby?

We got a bit of snow so Bi got to sport his snow-aero rims again.

From a motorcycle ride, for a change.

Finally built the 29er front wheel for Henry, after having the parts laying about for a few months.

Also went nuts and put a basket on, too.

Belt of Venus rising over Mcmillian Mesa.

I had always wondered how one would go about locking one of these Y frames up. Apparently just a loop or two around the handlebars is good enough...

Boxen building.

Aww, Henry thinks he's motorcycles, now!

Observations on Henry with the bigger front wheel: I like it. Henry actually really feels like Bi, which is good and bad. Good, because I like the way Bi handles. Bad, because it really has me re-thinking Bi's utility,  and even worse, thinking "Do I really need Bi?"

Exegete had a great suggestion, though: Pull the racks and fenders off Bi, and go fixed gear mountain bike.


While I think that over, I've got a comet to go try to see.
Mileage: 7

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mud, snow, pavement, and petroglyphs.

So I've been busy, between work, and personal projects. The weather has also influenced this. But, today it was 50 degrees out, and I decided to say "You know what? I'm gonna go on a ride."

So I did.

I aired up STeve's tires, packed a muffin, and headed out, in shorts and a t-shirt.

The plan was to see what the Campbell Mesa trails looked like, and if they were too muddy, head out Old Walnut Canyon Highway.

Obviously, the trails were muddy.

Very muddy. 
 After having my fill of mud on Old Walnut Canyon Highway, I hopped on the Monument Road to head back to Route 66.
Not as muddy here.

Snow on the mountains... Clouds in the sky? 
 As I was heading back to town, I decided to take a bit of a detour.
This is new.

Flagstaff's only natural waterfall.
It had been a bit since I had been to Picture Canyon, and I figured it would be a good place to have lunch. Plus, I could resume my search for the elusive petroglyphs.

So, after poking around for a bit, I picked a rock to have lunch on. Turns out this one had some scratches on it. Man-made, but obviously not a petroglyph. Someone spent a minute scratching at the rock making.... something.


So, as I'm eating my muffin, and studying the graffiti, I looked up at the next rock over.
 I then spent the next 30 minutes crawling all over different rocks, looking for more.

Some of them show signs of vandalism from way back when. I'm glad this place is protected now, and I'm glad I got to find some of the ones that survived. I want to go back and find more now.

The ride home was quick and painless. It felt good to be pushing pedals again after a couple weeks off, in nice warm weather.

It wasn't long enough, though.

Mileage: 31.6

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Winter, and how it affects my riding habits.

It is no surprise that winter changes how, where, and how much I ride. And after just how much riding I did last year, it is especially obvious to me right now.

During Spring/Summer/Fall, going on an after work ride, or heading out on a weekend shred or road ride was almost reflexive. There was no "if I go on a ride," it was more of a "Where will I go on a ride?"

But, once the snow flies, the wind kicks up, and the temperature drops, it takes a real conscious effort to get out and ride more than the bare minimum back and forth to work. "I could go on a ride.... or I could go straight home, spend less time freezing my butt, fighting with cars, and go to sleep, after a burning hot shower."

And don't get me started on shopping, though this year hasn't been as bad as years past. That's a subject for another blog post.

Every now and then, though, an urge strikes. Almost an epiphany. Like riding home, and turning right at the light instead of going straight, and tacking on a few extra miles of snow bouldered and cindered shoulder to the commute home, the first such addition for a few weeks where I ride for the heck of it, not "because I had places to go."

That was a decent enough ride. 
 Then I get a wild hair and ride the Pugsley to work, so I can see how the trails out to Fort Tuthill are.
Turns out they are reasonably well packed. 
 With the tires reading at 0 PSI on the pump, they fairly float right over the packed-by-hikers-snow, and iron out all the bumps. But man are they hard to pedal.
But so totally worth it. 
 Riding by the Soldier's Loop junction with the FUTS, I notice that it seems to have gotten a lot of traffic, and resolve to come back the next day.

The next day was windy with an approaching storm, but I didn't let that stop me.
Not quite sunny singlretrack, but it'll do.

Sunset from the back of the park.

A sane person wouldn't be caught in the snow after dark with a winter storm on the way. Good thing I'm not sane. 
I did end up leaving a few me-shaped splats next to the trail, one of which was a pretty impressive near-endo coming down the Chute. No video this time, I left the GoPro at home.

Yesterday, I woke up to a couple inches of fresh snow on the ground. Having forgotten to swap everything back over to Bi, I hopped on Snowblind again, thinking about doing another ride after work.
It's the Arctic Snow Snake again! It looks to have grown... 
 I ended up getting off work early, so I headed out and did Soldier's Loop again. Never mind the fact that it was only 30 degrees out, pedaling will keep me warm. I ended up being the first set of tracks on most of the trail since the snow fell.
Looks cool, man.
I'll take it.

On a side note... I now know what I should have named Snowblind. While rumbling down the paved road home from Fort Tuthill, I realized why the sound the tires make sounded so friendly and familiar.

It sounded a lot like this:

Mileage: None today.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snow crashing

So yeah. I went out on my first legitimate snow ride today. It was fun, though for the 7-ish miles I rode, it was about as hard as a 20 mile mountain ride. It was fun and pretty. The only problem was I decided it would be a good idea to run platforms on Snowblind, so I could wear my nice warn snowboots.

This was a bad idea.

While my feet were warm, I had no connection to the bike. I didn't realize just how much I had learned to control the bike through my feet. Let alone I couldn't tell where my feet were on the pedals, as well as I had less power (couldn't pull up on the up stroke, I was just mashing.)

Despite that, I made the most of the ride, and next time, I'll be armed with clipless again. Besides, a quick search showed a lot of SPD compatible boots for winter riding. I'll have to look into that.
Winter kickstands are best kickstands.

Snow inside Pugsley rims does funny things when allowed to slowly melt.

The rear was not nearly as impressive.
I also put the GoPro on my head for this ride. Most of it is about as exciting as a trip to Pittsburgh,  and apparently I look down a lot as I'm riding. I think next time I'll put it on the handlebars.

But, it did catch the inevitable crashes.

Good times. I can't wait to do it again.
Mileage: 7.2

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Photo barrage number 42

Other post titles for today included:
Wherein Google makes a liar out of me
Please excuse my absence, I've been busy
Flag Pedals: I survived another apocalypse! edition
And on it goes...

So. I went to make a post a few weeks ago (maybe a month ago, I don't remember.) and Blogger yelled at me saying I had filled my Picasa account with pictures. One gigabyte, filled with pictures. Apparently I take a lot of pictures, and share them on the internets for you all to see. I had a lot going on, so I decided I'd deal with it later.

One gigabyte doesn't sound like much, but you should see all the pictures that don't get posted here. I have to empty the one gig card in my camera 3 or 4 times a year for all the stuff I take pictures of. Some of it is alternate shots of what does get posted, a lot of it is stuff unrelated to bikes. I think I have eight or nine gigabytes of uncategorized images in camera dumps, organized by date. I don't delete any of the pictures I take.

Well, later arrived, and I suddenly had 4 more gigabytes of space on my Picasa account. I don't know where it came from, but hey, I may as well fill it up.

So, starting where I left off:

Exegete and I made our annual pilgrimage to Tombstone for Thanksgiving. We didn't bring bikes this time, but I got to see a couple while I was there.

A tandem, I'd guess circa1890's. Check out the dual steering arrangement. 
 I also saw a penny farthing rolling around on Allen street. Pretty cool to see one in motion.

The tandem was in the old courthouse. Exe's dad and I walked through it. They had a lot of neat historical artifacts on display.
Bells from various courthouses, this one included. You could ring them with provided rubber mallets. Beautiful sounds.

Steam-powered drill, used in the mines. Impressive.
Later, back home, I was riding home from work one day, and got to see a sunset that just wouldn't quit.
Taken a few minutes away from work. 
 I rode all the way out to Fort Tuthill, and there was still color in the sky, so I finally stopped to take more pictures, this time playing with shutter times.

This one came out nicely.
It was about this time that I tried to post with all the pictures above, that Picasa wouldn't let me add them. I ended up going on a ride between then and now, right before our first actual big snowstorm of the season.

I'd had a craving for the singlespeed bliss that is Tri, so I hopped on and rode along the Loop Trail to the Rocky Ridge Trailhead, along Rocky Ridge to Elden Lookout Road, and then up Red Onion to Little Bear.
Tri and I taking a break at the bottom of Red Onion.  
 No turkeys were seen heading up Onion this time.
Looking east from near the top of Little Bear.

Northeast. It looks warm, but it was actually quite chilly.

See? I ran into snow!

Looking back at Little Bear, from more Little Bear.


The further down I went, the more snow and ice I ran into in the north facing drainages. 
 It started getting sketchy with all the snow and ice, as well as cold, so I put the camera away and concentrated more on riding and getting home. I got to the bottom of Little Bear, took Little Elden up to  Schultz Pass, rolled down Schultz Creek (which was in great shape, no snow or mud) and even got to try the new big Schultz reroute, which pulled the trail out of the creek towards the bottom. It's not as technical, but it's fast and flowy, and plenty of stuff to keep you awake if you're moving fast enough. From there, it was the FUTS through town to home.

Now... the snow has fallen, more is on the way, and I've got Snowblind all ready to go do some riding in the snow.
Bi's looking quite... studly.
Oh yeah. Exe, TC and Tina at work teamed up and gave me a GoPro helmet camera.  This ought to be good. As Tina put it, either I'll finally catch that alien abduction, or nothing awesome will ever happen again. We'll see. I may become a video blogger. A Vlogger. Or something.

Mileage: I walked a few miles with Su...