Monday, June 29, 2009

New Wheels!

I'm TC. There, you know me.

So I got into riding about 3 years ago...when my teen years bike was stolen, and I bought a new one. Began riding to work and a little around town with friends. Well, I had the thought cross my mind that I wanted to get a new bike. Everyone else seemed to have new toys, I wanted one too. But why get a new bike when mine was perfectly fine for what I did? So I continued to push the idea behind the old canned food in the cupboard.

A week ago Polar bear mentioned my frame may be a little too small....Yay! I had a reason! I pulled the idea from the cupboard and blew it up. But then I realized...what do I look for?

I asked, I looked, and I found. I went to Singletrack where I got my bike three years ago, looked at the one step ups for mine, and test rode an 18" 4500 Trek...and it was nice...Polar bear took me on a nice ride around after I paid for it and I could not beleive the differences in the bike. I've only ridden one kind for a period of time, so I didn't know...Twas awesome.

Yesterday Polar bear and I went to the top of Fisher point (I more hiked...) it was a good trail to really see how different the bike handles. It was more of I move, and the bike is affected rather then the bike moves, and I shift to it. Lighter frames do that apparently...and the fork has MUCH more give then I am used to. Need to do more off road now to get accustomed. :-D

The ride awesome and fun, altho the sun did try to kill me. I don't do much day riding so I wasn't expecting that...I could have had more energy if the sun was lower...oh time I leave earlier. Or just get used to it since I will most likely be riding more :-) I have my own new toy to play with ^-^
Mileage: 18 or so yesterday...

Calf meat! *nom nom*

So I was feeling good this weekend, decided to go for a ride out to Fort Tuthill.  Man I was out of shape.  Started off looking to run around Soldier's Loop, but it didn't end well.  About half way out there the Pugsley got hungry, and this happened:

Then my legs gave out.  Not enough steam for the loop, so I just headed to the airport and back into town on the urban trails.  I failed.
Mileage:10 (With some lost time)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Shakedown

Every newly built vehicle needs a test run that stresses all the components. A shakedown. Today was the B-52-B's shakedown. Josh and I rode up and over Mt. Elden, to a series of trails I hadn't done yet; The Catwalk, Hobbit's Forest, and Upper Brookbank. All in all, the (new) bike did fairly well. I just have to learn to trust it, and ignore the odd look of the new frame. New bars really helped with making the bike feel more omfortable, and I seem to have figured out the millions of gears I have now.

I did crash once, but I managed not to scratch the frame, which is disappointing. Scratches add character. I scratched myself instead. All in all, a great ride.

Looking eastward from the beginning of the Catwalk over Doney Park.

Friday, TC and I went looking at bikes, since she was looking to upgrade from her current ride. In the end, we ended up going for a "Let's get you acquainted with your new ride." ride around Buffalo Park and McMillian Mesa. I grabbed a few nice pictures along the way.

The Peaks hiding behind a curtain of rain and the Dry Lake Hills. We ended up getting sprinkled on shortly after.

Pretty flowers.. they were all over the place.

TC's shiny new wheels!

Mileage: 30.2

Thursday, June 25, 2009


The replacement frame from Giant has been at Absolute Bikes since Tuesday, but I haven't had a chance to pick it up until today. I blame having the bottom bracket faced and chased, rain, and a fun ride down to Prescott on the motorcycle. But, today I rode over and picked it up after work, and built it up with a 9 speed drivetrain, an upgrade from the 7 speed on the old frame.

What, how else did you think I'd get it home?

In all, building it up went fairly well, until I started messing with the gears. After about an hour, I decided it was close enough to take it on a test ride around Soldier's Loop. Nothing on the bike failed, which is good, but, I need to do two things. First is find a flat bar to replace the riser bar I have now. The new frame has a very tall headtube, and even without any headset spacers, the bars are so high now that I'm almost upright on the bike, which doesn't leave me much control on technical sections.

The second thing I need to do is find the person who decided to make 9 speed drivetrains an industry standard, and beat him to death with a chainwhip with a 9 speed cassette attached to it. Why is everything nice made for 9 speed drivetrains anymore?

But all that aside, I got my bike back!

My and Alex's bikes overlooking Jerome and the Verde Valley, on our ride down to Prescott yesterday.

Mileage: 14.5

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Now With More Helmet Hair!

TC and I seem to be pushing for longer rides lately. Last week it was a ride around Mt Elden, and yesterday we rode most of the way up Snowbowl road. Why would we push ourselves up this continuous climb through narrow mountain curves and grades? For the blast back down, of course!

Both of us handled the climb pretty well, as we made stops now and then to get blood flowing and rest, and at one point, because of how quiet it was, I took out the iPod and hung the headphones on the bars so we could listen to tunes as we rode.

We ended up turning around a few miles away from the top, because the sun had set, and the light was fading fast. I've ridden Snowbowl road many times on motorcycles, but never on a bicycle, and I have to say, it was much more fun pedaling down. I was amazed at how smooth the bike was, though at 40 miles an hour, I was starting to feel the off-balance of the wheels. I made a few stops so TC could catch up to me on the way down, but I didn't have to wait long, as she was booking it down as well.

Towards the bottom, we got passed by a few cars, one of which pulled into the parking lot at the bottom of the road. I pulled in to wait for TC, and the lady inside with all her kids rolled down the window to ask if I was scared at all. Not one bit! She told me when she passed me she had clocked me at 37 miles an hour. Not bad.

Later on, as I was heading home through downtown at midnight, I stopped at a stoplight. A car that had followed me down the hill pulls up next to me and shouted "I had you doing 40!"

I think his speedometer was off. I try to keep it arund 20 miles an hour downtown. I don't want to pass too many cars.
Mileage: 33.6 (yesterday)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Traffic Jam.

I've long accepted the fact that as a cyclist, I share the road with cars. I do my best to follow laws that I know of, and do my best to be courteous to the drivers of the road. In short, I generally ride my bike on the roads the same way I would ride on of my motorcycles, with obvious exceptions.

I only wish that other drivers would respond in kind.

What annoys me are the drivers that break the rules of legal driving to pass me, harass me, and so on. As an example, cars that try to squeeze past me at an intersection when I'm stopped (Either at a stop sign or a stoplight) in the center of the lane. I'm acting like a vehicle, can't they treat me as such? Especially since even if they can make it past me, they still have to wait for the cars in front of me, or the traffic control device. They're only a whole five feet closer to their destination! With the time they just saved, they now have time to swing by the coffee shop for a danish, and pick up the dry cleaning too! *facepalm*

Another example, is the guy today who slowed down next to me to yell at me for being in the road and not on the sidewalk "where I belong." He had to slow down to yell at me, as well as because of my position in the lane, he was half in the on-coming traffic lane. After I told him that fish like waffles with ketchup, (odd responses tend to completely disarm people in these situations) he sped off. Wouldn't you know it, I caught up to him at the next intersection, and had the opportunity to ask him why he felt the need to slow down and yell at me if he was in such a hurry to pass me.

The other annoying thing is people who break the law to be courteous to me. It is hard to be angry at these people, because they're just trying to be nice. But what they don't realize, is that they are not only putting themselves in danger, but myself as well. I'm sure I've made several drivers angry by not accepting the courtesy they offer because it's just not worth the risk.

Of course, in both cases, these are the minority. More than 90% of the drivers I deal with every day are at least grudgingly respectful of a cyclists rights on the road. And for them I am ever thankful.

In other news, there is a new mountain bike frame on its way to me. I am happy.

Mileage: 11.7

Friday, June 12, 2009

That was easy.

So, after stripping all the parts off the B-52's frame, I took it in to Absolute today with the help of a funky new attachment I built for Henry's rack:

I'm Henry!

It's something I've had planned in my head for a while now, so I hurried up and built it today to take the frame in to Absolute.

The good news is that Giant will most likely warranty the frame once Absolute sends them a picture of the crack in the frame and the sales receipt. This makes me happy and relieved. I should hear back from Absolute on Monday with the final verdict from Giant next week.

The bad news is that I'm without my mountain bike for an undetermined amount of time. I just got it back up and working, too.

I'll live.

Better pictures of the crack after I stripped the frame and cleaned it a little:

Mileage: 7.2 so far.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

That's a new one. (to me.)

So I decided early on that I wanted to go for a ride today. So, after making a new playlist on the iPod, (titled Speed Mix #9) and filling the Camelbak with Sobe, I took off to Fisher Point on the B-52. All went well, I managed to speed out there pretty quick, and made it up the equestrian bypass trail in good time to the vista at the top overlooking the canyon, where I spent about 45 minutes just admiring the view, and listening to the wind, and reflecting on the ride out and how much easier it was compared to the last time, and looking forward to the ride ahead.

Looking southward from Fisher Point

The beginning of Walnut Canyon.

A random barrel cactus under the rock where I sat to have lunch.

But, alas, as I took off to continue the ride along the rim of Walnut Canyon, disaster struck. I was coasting down the trail away from the vista, and rolled off a small drop. As I stood to pedal to power uphill and over the next set of obstacles, I heard a small pop, and felt (and heard) the rear wheel start rubbing a chainstay. So, I stop, and flip the bike over, thinking I broke the rear wheel axle, which has happened twice before to me. This was quickly ruled out, and I started looking at the frame, and found this:

'05 Giant Boulder SE. R.I.P. B-52.

Strangely enough, I wasn't mad at all, or sad. It was very much a "...huh. How bout that." moment. So, I texted Exegete who volunteered to come rescue me once I got to a road he could pick me up on. So, after jumping on the broken stay enough to allow the rear wheel to turn freely, I set off on the 6 mile walk of shame.

Now to see if the frame is covered under Giant's lifetime guarantee.
Mileage: 8.3 ridden, 6 or so walked.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Insert title here.

Friday evening TC and I were out riding around, exploring the urban trail, and I ended up getting some pretty pictures of the sky:

The sky looked neat from the big construction lot on Butler.

After dinner, we caught the sunset.

From Route 66 looking at the peaks.

Today, Josh invited me along on a mountain ride to really test the B-52's new fork. We ended up going up Lower Oldham trail, up Red Onion, up and then down Sunset trail, down Schultz Creek trail, then down part of Lower Oldham. All in all, a pretty good test of the new fork, which did wonderfully. Mountain rides are much more fun with a suspension fork that actually suspends.

At the top of Sunset Trail.

The peaks from Schultz tank parking lot.

Mileage: 32

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fork You.

As noted previously, I've needed a new fork on my mountain bike. But because I've been trying to save money and pay things off, and with how slow work has been, I've been holding off on buying one until I knew for sure I could comfortably afford one. Well, that time came this past week with the arrival of the deposit refund from my old apartment, and I went and bought this:

A Marzocchi 33 TST2. Not the best fork available, but it was affordable, and worlds better than the SR Suntour XC60 that came on the bike when I bought it. I have nothing against the Suntour, for it served me as well as it could for the ~5 years it's been on the bike, but... to be honest, it wasn't that great to begin with. So it is on its way to the long urban trail in the sky. (the dumpster.)

Anywho, upon recieving new fork, I set about installation, and applied lessons learned previously. All in all, it installed nicely, and looks nice on the Giant, which, due to the fact that the new fork has "Bomber" all over it in big letters, Exegete suggested that the Giant be re-named to the B-52. I like it.

Of course, as soon as it was on, I took it on a test ride out to the Soldier Loop trail. I'd only ever ridden it with Henry, and Henry being a full rigid cross bike with road gearing, I wanted to see how much more fun the trail was with suspension. The answer? Lots!

Having never had a suspension fork with actual damping and lockouts, (not including motorcycles) I've never known what it's like to be able to just let the bike roll over obstacles and absorb the majority of it, instead of me absorbing most of the shock in my arms and legs. I think mountain rides are going to be much more fun now.

Other thing of note... the Soldier Loop trail runs right by the Pine Mountain Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill towards the end of the trail. As I rolled closer to the amphitheater, I could hear loud music growing louder. Finally I stopped alongside the trail a few hundred yards away to take a breather, and listened to George Thorogood and The Destroyers doing sound checks. What a great way to finish up the ride.
Mileage: 12.2

Monday, June 1, 2009


Threatening clouds from a few days ago.

So, the past few weeks or so have been filled with weather. Specifically, the cloudy thundery wet weather. It is almost as if the monsoon season is here early. Now, I'm all for rain since the region has been in a long drawn out drought for the last several years. But, it's been interfering with my riding schedule. Oh, I don't mind riding in the rain if I need to, but, when I start thinking about going for a ride, but there are threatening storm clouds overhead, it doesn't do much for my motivation to go riding.

Today, however, was the first day that the storm clouds kept a decent distance. So, I decided that I would go on a fairly longish ride home from work. It was good, especially after a weekend of wanting to ride and being scared off by threatening clouds.

Mileage: 10.9