Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Artistic Cycling

I've discovered a type of bicycling that I didn't know existed -- artistic cycling, also known as gymnastic cycling.

Here's a video of an artistic cyclist in action on Google video.

Here's the Wikipedia link describing artistic cycling.

I watched the video a couple of months ago and was very impressed. I noticed the woman in the video wore what looks like track-bicycling clothing. I assumed she was a track rider. Then I noticed the front end of the bike was really short. This indicated it was built for this purpose.

I didn't make the connection that this must be another niche in cycling. And now I know it's not a new niche either. I've also seen a video of a guy doing similar riding from 1899.

My neighbor bought a fixed gear bike this year and he spent lots of time in the alley trying to ride backwards and in tight circles. I'll have to talk to him about this. Maybe he's working on his artistic cycling skills.

I'm sorry for all the links in this post, but I don't want to merely repeat what already exists in Wikipedia. By the way, I added the link in the Wikipedia page to the 1899 video. That makes me an contributor - yeah!

Old Post -- Jiggly Fat Fun

I tried to post this last Wednesday, but blogger was not cooperating.
I rode my 29er at Lebanon Hills yesterday. I attended a job-related training class in Eagan during the day and brought my bike knowing we'd complete the training early and I'd have time to ride at Lebanon Hills which is also located in Eagan.

The parking lot was full. It felt like a weekend ride with all the other riders out there.

The 29er (with no suspension, remember) rode great on most of the course, but it beat the snot out of me on some rough sections. These are the sections that have eroded into little cup-shaped depressions and ripples in the dirt. After going through those sections, I felt as if I'd lifted weights and operated a jack hammer. My fat felt all jiggly.

Last Sunday, I rode at Theodore Wirth park and didn't have any of the same complaints. That trail is smoother and I really felt like I was carvin' the course. I felt like I was in a groove and a rhythm at Wirth. I never got a good rhythm at Lebanon. I guess that's the reason for owning more than one bike.

I'm traveling to Omaha for Thanksgiving. They built a mountain bike trail near my in laws' house. I'm bringing the suspension bike to ride that trail. I'll have fun, but no turkey.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Don't Merge with Google Blog (or whatever they call it)

I made a big mistake, I think. I merged my blog with the beta version of google blog or whatever it's called. Now, I have to use my google password to leave comments on other blogs. I have to use my blogspot password to login to blogger. Then it tells me I have to login to google blogs to post an entry.

It's also been very flaky. Sometimes when I submit an entry, it hangs my browser. I haven't been able to upload photos very reliably either.

Don't merge. If you disagree, please let me know what I'm missing. I'm open minded about the change, but it has only made blogging more difficult for me so far.

The photo is a plane flying over my neighborhood. I took the photo with the creepcam. Yeah.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Completed Coroplast Fender Set

Here's my completed coroplast fender set. I haven't ridden enough to find any bugs. It looks like a party favor instead of a serious bike. I like that.

I'm going to cover the coroplast in reflective tape. I've got some stashed around the house somewhere.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lunch Time with the Dogs

I took a lunch time ride today at the dog run near Ft. Snelling. This 29er is great. I'm very familiar with the trails in this area -- to the point of knowing specific rocks by name. I found that with the 29er I could ride over the rocks and their friends the roots much more easily than on my 26" bike. I had more confidence and that led to less toe dabs. Some of these trails are off-camber surfaces with roots and rocks all over. I had less trouble with the difficult sections than I'm used to.

If I could find a time when no dogs were out there, I could rip around a bit more, but I don't want to spoil the fun for others so I ride cautiously.

On Sunday, I'd like to go to Theodore Wirth Park to ride. That'll be a nice test of the 29er.

Note: The rear hub sure does look big. I wonder what happened to it?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Coroplast Fender

I've always wanted to build some bike stuff made of coroplast. Coroplast is the material used in lots of political yard signs. I built this rear fender from a Mike Hatch for Governor yard sign.

I had my original inspiration from the recumbent world. Some recumbent owners use coroplast to build fairings and bodies to make their bikes more aerodynamic and insulate the rider from weather.

Another inspiration is Kent Peterson. His name and work are familiar to many internet-connected bicyclists.

The rear fender took about 20 minutes to build or maybe it took an hour and I didn't notice the time passing because I had so much fun. The finished fender is as sturdy as a plastic, store-bought fender and it's much uglier.

Another guy I know recently built a handlebar bag, er box, from coroplast.

I'll build the front fender soon. I think the crazy tires enhance the looks, don't you?

Thank you, Mr. Hatch.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lunch-Time Ride, Acrobat Dog

Riding a single-speed bike or a rigid bike on off-road trails is a more vigorous activity than the alternatives. I reminded myself of this today while taking a lunch-time ride on the Minnesota River bottoms trail with my new Redline Monocog 29er.

I stood up on each rise and hill. I had to use some finesse to get over roots and rocks. My arms and back are more tired than I'm used to after riding this trail. I really enjoyed the ride. The woods are in beautiful shape right now. I recommend everyone get out there and ride or hike or run.

I took a few photos with the mildly CreepyCam. It takes better photos than the original CreepyCam. I added some effects, because I've always wanted to play with that stuff.

I passed a pair of hikers and a dog on the way out and also on the way back. The dog was running so fast I figured it had a rocket pack. It looked like a German Shorthair, but it was white. On our second meeting, the dog was going the opposite way on a parallel trail to mine. She crossed through the woods behind me and ended up on the same trail as me. She changed directions and started to pass me from behind when she hit a pretty large branch sticking out into the trail. She did a complete flip in the air and landed right next to me. I had slowed down to a crawl as soon as I knew she was behind me. As she flipped next to me in the air, I saw her pink belly. She landed, rolled to her feet and bolted, but immediately pulled up limping. The owners were on the scene by then. They said she'd be OK, but I don't know. That four-legged wonder might be limping for a while. Athletic dogs like her are amazing.

I should have taken her picture. Her nose was half pink and half brown.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Redline Monocog 29er

In my last post, I forgot to mention that my new bike is a Redline Monocog 29er. I bought it at Hiawatha Cyclery. They have a few in stock. Mine is a 17 inch.

It's a dull brown color and doesn't really look much better in person than the very poor photo I took using the CreepyCam. I still promise to take a better photo with a better camera.

I've had a chest cold this week and haven't had a chance for a proper ride. I rode it to a park near my house. That didn't tell me much except that I had tightened all the bolts properly.

I'm sure I won't stick with one speed. I've got a few ideas to convert it to a couple- or several-speed bike. I'd like a granny gear and also a bit higher gear for riding to the trail heads. That totals 3 speeds. The MC29er comes with a cassette rear hub that has room for at least three cogs. I tried it out, but the cog spacers I have lying around are all for 9 speeds. The chain is a 7 speed so it rode on the adjacent cog. Tonight I'll go to the Hub Bike Co-op and try to dig up some spacers and maybe a better collection of fatter cogs.

If you are still awake, you may ask, "Rob, how are you going to shift the chain?" Good question. I can do it manually or I could mount a derailleur to do the job. I could use a rear der. with a built-in der. hanger like on cheapo bikes. Another option is a drop-out tensioner with a built in der. hanger. I need to order one. I found a place that has them.

An internally geared hub is the other option. I've got a couple of three speeds on hand that I could try. I hate to sacrifice them though. I hear they won't hold up over the long haul. From what I've read, the Rohloff 14-speed and the Shimano 8-speed red band are the only hubs capable of sustained off-road riding in the vigorous manner that I intend.

And even another option: the Shimano Hone and Saint rear derailleurs mount on the end of an extended axle and don't need a hanger at all. That would be a pretty clean installation and would require another hub and allow nine cogs -- much more than several. Perhaps that's too many gears. After all, this is the 3-Speed Blog.

Lots of options, lots of potential projects. I look forward to them all.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New Bike Time

I picked this up last Friday. It's not a replacement for my other off-road bike(s). I simply wanted it.

It's a single-speed, rigid, 29er. I think you're supposed to say, "Twenty-niner." The rims are the same diameter as 700c. The difference is that this frame is built to accept huge tires -- like the ones that are on the bike. They measure 53mm wide and 29 1/4 inches in diameter. 26 inch bikes have that kind of width, but their diameter is only 26 1/4.

I apologize for the different measurements, but in the U.S., we're stuck between the English system and the metric system. I relate to both and am constantly caught using both systems in one sentence. Don't blame me. I represent the current situation. It's like being bilingual except not as useful.

The reason this tire size is useful is that the bigger wheels allow the bike to roll over rough terrain more smoothly. A bigger wheel gets stuck in fewer small bumps. I've ridden a few of these as test rides at shops. I also rode an un-named riding companion's 29er in Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago. I'm convinced they ride more smoothly over bumps. But mostly, I'm convinced that new bikes are fun -- even if they're old, new bikes. Like the old bike that got me thinking of this wheel size in the first place. The Raleigh DL1 3-speed with 28" (635mm bcd) wheels.

I sold an old road racing frame and fork last night and still have another for sale. These sales are to keep the bike supply in balance.

Rigid: A bike with no suspension.
29er: 700c with extra fat tires and a frame built to accommodate those fatties.
700c: A wheel size that most road-racing bikes have.
Off-road bike: Any bike you ride on dirt trails.
Single speed: A bike with one gear that also allows you to coast, that is, it allows you to stop pedaling while moving without being thrown up in the air like a rag doll.

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