Friday, September 28, 2012

Foggy with a chance of Snot

I had a cold or something like that all week and I didn't feel like riding or much else. This morning I felt much better and rode to work. From one vantage point over the Minnesota River Valley, I could see a fog bank that I would later encounter while crossing the bridge in the distance.
Here's what the fog bank looked like up close. It was a wall on my left and I couldn't see through it until I climbed the hill on the far side of the bridge. I cleared lots of mucus during the ride and that's what it's really all about, right?

Monday, September 24, 2012


I've got a cold and don't feel like riding my bike to work or anywhere. It's too bad because we're having some fabulous weather and it won't last long.

As any Minnesotan will tell you, winter will be here soon. That thinking provides us with the excuse to ditch work early and have fun outdoors. It's funny to hear people use this excuse to leave the office early each day, all week long -- that's fine with me.

For me, my favorite outdoor activity is riding my bike in the crunchy leaves on dirt trails. Although riding the road is great too.

My cold will undoubtedly pass soon and I'll be turning the pedals again.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cross Check Serial Number


2010 Surly Cross Check

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Plastic Simplex Shift Levers are Still Bad After all these Years

Just because a bike part has lasted for 39 years doesn't mean it works right. This shift lever is rubbery and slips under pressure. I found this out many years ago replacing broken ones just like it in bike shops.

I discovered it again this morning while climbing the hill in front of historic Ft. Snelling. For you out-of-towners, I say "historic" because there are two parts of Ft. Snelling: the state park and the old historic fort. They both have noticeable hills.

While climbing the hill, I had to reach down every few pedal strokes and pull the lever back into place to prevent it from upshifting and stopping me. At the top of the hill, I pulled out the adjustable wrench and tightened the fixing bolt. Now I have to apply more force to the lever when shifting. This will eventually cause the rubbery lever to break. Maybe I should replace it before this happens and keep the shift lever as a museum piece (in a parts box in the basement).

2012 Annual Bike and Pedestrian Count

Yesterday afternoon, I counted bikes and pedestrians for Minneapolis Public Works' annual count. So I stood at an assigned corner near my house in South Minneapolis and counted all the bike riders and pedestrians who passed between 4 and 6 PM. How many? Not too many. I'm disappointed because I thought I'd see more and I wish there were more. 

I also watched nearly every car run the stop signs. The only ones that didn't run the stop signs were waiting for the cars that arrived at the corner before them. This rolling stop sign behavior seems to work, because I didn't see any crashes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

1973 Raleigh Super Course Photos

Raleigh Super Course

This past weekend, I bought a '73 Raleigh Super Course at the neighborhood garage sales. So many homes participate in the garage sale that it feels like a festival. My neighbors throw a party in the alley in the evening.

The bike is a nice ride. It fits and rides well enough to become my commuting bike.

Serial number 0038322.

I'll add fenders and double-sided platform pedals.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Offroad Fun

I just had one of best rides of my life on this bike today . Yesterday, I installed Salsa Woodchipper bars and a new rear tire. It's a Novara Buzz and I don't really know what its intended purpose was when they designed it, because I bought it as a frame.

Today, I took it for its first ride of the year and it was great. I worked my ass off and eventually it paid off when I achieved that feeling where I can pick my line between roots and I can flow through a corner with little effort and maintain my speed. It's that feeling when I'm comfortable on the bike -- a settled feeling

I didn't have any way to tell if I was riding faster than normal, but it felt faster and that's the important thing.

The other bike I ride off road is a dual suspension 29er with 2.3" tires. It allows me to ride sloppy. It forgives me when I pick a poor line or lazily roll over a set of logs. The Novara forgives none of my mistakes and makes me focus on the trail more intently.

This is turning into analysis and I've promised myself to ignore that sort of thing when riding and enjoy.

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