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.