Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winterized Bike

I installed studded tires on the commuter bike today, because the crappy weather is here. The studs don't show any indication of wear from last year.

While I had the bike in the stand, I installed a "new" rear derailleur, cassette, chain, rear brake pads, and new brake hoods.

The right hood is purple and the left one is green. I bought them as pairs at the Hiawatha Cyclery sidewalk sale and mixed them together. No one has ever accused me of having good taste in colors. But the crazy colored hoods make the bike faster, really.

I also installed platform pedals. The only way I can keep my feet warm in the winter is to use heavily insulated boots and that requires platform pedals.
The winterized machine in its entirety.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday's Lonely Ride

I stayed in bed this morning and missed the HC ride. I went out alone. I found less than an inch of snow had fallen overnight.

I discovered a new trail had been built. It's at Minnehaha Falls Wabun picnic area. Ride up there and give it a try.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Lunch Ride

I rode the Sekai today on the lunch ride. The bike rides great. I need to make a few changes:
1. Replace the saddle. I've got one in mind that I like the feel of and it will match the bike better.
2. Replace the brake levers. I want a set of old Mafacs. Anyone? I started with a set of aero levers, but they looked like grandma using a bluetooth earpiece. The current levers feel wrong and slip. When I tighten them, the lever binds.
3. Tape the bars with tan cork.
4. Install metallic fenders. I like hammered Honjos, but Mellow Velo nearly convinced me they are too fragile for regular bikes.
5. The gearing is too tall for me. The crankset, to which I am attached, has a 47 tooth chainring. If anyone can find me a smaller three-arm SR Custom chainring, I'll be happy. But with a 20 tooth cog on back it is a little steep for me.
6. Build a dedicated single-speed rear wheel.

That's it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How many miles of trails?

Tex69 asked how many miles of bike paths exist in Minneapolis/St. Paul?

I didn't know, but I recognize a good blog topic when I see one.

I spent a couple minutes researching this question. Here's what I found.

The City of Minneapolis website says 123 miles of paths already exist and 45 more are funded for construction in 2009-2010.

I'm already thinking about lunch.

St. Paul's website says they have 101 miles of paths. Neither of these figures include bike lanes and routes of which there are many.

I don't know how many miles exist in the suburbs, but there are lots of paths out there also.

A few of the paths are not very well designed or implemented, but most are very useful. My ride to work is about 10 miles. I guesstimate I can ride on bike paths for about 2/3 of my route.

We have lots of trails around here and I use them when it makes sense.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I created this post in Google Docs.

I rode to work in the daylight today. I like light. I think light is important. It makes photos look better, even from the creepycam like the photo below.
I created this post in Google Docs.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We Like Letterboxing

I regularly read Midnight Rider's blog. He's written about letter boxing and it sounds like fun. I read about letter box locations in my area (Minneapolis, MN) and thought my kids would enjoy it. Today, I picked one location and we found it.

The letter box is located between Ft. Snelling State Park and Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. The directions were a bit vague, but I just followed what I felt was the spirit of the directions and we easily found it.

My kids immediately liked it and planned to search for more letter boxes. They even talked about creating our own.

After finding the box, we hiked around the area. It's right next to the Mississippi River.

We found a benchmark too.

Hiawatha Ride, November 15

We rode to the St. Anthony neighborhood in St. Paul, MN. This took us near the home of Primate Brow Flash. Red Alaska was in town and rode his 72.5 lb Murray cruiser. People from Alaska are tougher than the rest of us.

We stopped at the Finnish Bakery which is co-located with a Dunn Bros. coffee shop.

Nice rack.

They roast their own beans at each location. It's one of my favorite coffee shops.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lots of Icy Bridges

Ice fell during the day and I rode home on mostly melted ice. I don't have the studded tires installed yet so I'm glad I didn't need them.

I noticed something a little different though -- every bridge crossing was still icy and there are lots of them on my ride home. I never thought about how many bridges I use, but without them my ride would be much more difficult and dangerous. The bridges take me over interstates, railroad tracks, busy roads, and water (the Mississippi River).
You can't see the ice on this little bike/pedestrian bridge, but it's there. When I stomped on the pedals to take off after taking this beautiful photo, the rear tire slipped. I cleaned, lubed, and adjusted this bike last night and the ride home was wonderful.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Latest Project

I hastily put together a little project this weekend. I hastily took a few photos of it and was really disappointed with the photos. The sun was setting, so available light was too low for good images. The photos also highlighted some mechanical and visual shortcomings of the bike. So I'm not showing much of it until I correct a few things.

Anyway, here's a single photo. This crankset will stay. This bike is a garage sale Sekai. I really like the ride and so I'm building it up just the way I want it.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday Hiawatha Ride (Nov. 8)

We toured the city and our toes were cold.

We saw these anti-Scientilogists (I misspelled it on purpose) on Nicollet Ave. in downtown Minneapolis. I like their guts and the cops were keeping an eye on them too. "Don't taze me, Bro!"
Later in the say, my wife and I visited the Reuse Center in Minneapolis. This bell is the size of a washing machine. I'd love to add a belfry on my roof and install this bell. I'd get a hunchback costume to wear when I ring it at dawn every day.

Friday, November 07, 2008

More Talk about Bike Trails

On the way to work the other day, a truck driver pulled up next to me and began screaming. He spewed the usual stuff about riding on the bike path and the millions of dollars we spent on paths.

I told him to use the highway and rode off. He passed me and gave me the bird. His behavior exceeded my expectations. I felt really stupid the rest of the day, because I should have come up with better things to say.

Here's some background on this trail. The reason I don't ride that particular bike path is because it's a gloried sidewalk, or at least that's been opinion. I rode the path one time before. It has a railroad crossing that is so rough, my tire bottomed out on the rim. I didn't get the expected pinch flat, but I decided to ride on the road instead. A couple months ago, I stopped to help a rider near the same crossing. His bike had a pinch flat probably caused by the rough tracks. The crossing on the road is pretty nice in comparison. Another reason I didn't use the trail is that they didn't plow the snow on it last year. Also, just last week, I noticed a large construction dumpster parked across the trail. It was there for a couple days.

On the way home, the same day the trucker yelled at me, I noticed some repairs had been done on the bike path railroad crossing. This morning, I decided to try the trail again and found it serviceable. The trail avoids a busy intersection that I feel is dangerous. Using the trail also allows me to avoid a left-hand turn at a four-way stop in the dark.

I guess I'm rethinking my decision to not use the trail. But if the trucker sees me on the bike trail, he'll think yelling at people is the way to get things done.

I'm thinking of wearing a big sign that says, "To the trucker who yelled at me: I'm riding this trail because I chose to not because you yelled at me. And fuck you anyway!"

I think that sums up my feelings pretty well.

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