Wednesday, April 28, 2010

There's No Such Thing as a Bad Bike Ride

"There's no such thing as a bad bike ride!" That's a quote I've been very fond of using when anyone asked me how my ride was. It was just my way of saying to folks that it doesn't matter if it's raining or shining, windy or still, freezing or scorching - if I'm on the bike, it is a good thing. It was my subtle way of suggesting that I'm made of tough stuff.

After my ride home yesterday afternoon, I have but two words for that flippant quote. It is one, great big, humongous, smelly pile of "BS".

After more than 20 years of serious bike riding, I finally experienced a bad, really bad, ride. I work for a large manufacturing company. As such, there are a lot of employees at the facility. At quitting time, the masses rush out the gates, jump in their cars and jostle for position. Typically, I avoid this fray by waiting at least a half hour before leaving work. Unfortunately yesterday, I had someplace I needed to be that necessitated my taking part in this maddening, rush hour dance. To make matters worse, a massive thunderstorm descended on the dance floor just as the music reached it's peak. I found myself slap dab in the middle of a Mosh Pit.

I will spare you the harrowing details of that ride. Suffice it to say, I was squeezed, cut off and almost run over more times in that 15 minute interval, than a person should endure in a lifetime. I arrived at my destination unharmed physically, but mentally and emotionally spent. My hands shook as I locked up my bike. I leaned against the light pole, breathed deeply and attempted to compose myself. If someone had approached me at that inopportune moment and asked my how was my ride, I would have stared at them in wide eyed wonderment and exclaimed, "IT F***ING SUCKS - I HATE IT!!!"

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cargo Bike - Part 3

With the idea conceived, the plan developed and the new components dutifully installed on my old Schwinn, there was but one hurdle standing between me and a new Cargo bike.

Cargo bikes carry stuff. How do I outfit the old Schwinn to carry stuff? This minor difficulty was easily surmounted, thanks to the kind folks at While they sell a complete longtail style bike, they also sell a conversion kit called a Free Radical designed to transform any bike into a longtail cargo bike. A few clicks of the mouse and like magic a giant box shows up at my front door.
I wasted no time installing the kit on my old Schwinn.Before I knew it, I was the proud owner of my very own Cargo Bike.I opened the fridge, took out a beer, took a long, satisfying sip. My harem was now complete. I have all the bikes I will ever need.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day - I Like to Ride My Bike

In celebration of Earth Day, I thought I'd link to this awesome video. It of course is not one of my making, but it captures perfectly my reason for riding a bike.

Cargo Bike - Part 2

Having given birth to the idea of building my very own Cargo Bike, it was now time for the execution phase.

The first order of business in converting my old Schwinn into a bonified cargo bike was to upgrade it's components. While my old Schwinn may have been the cat's meow in her day, her components had grown outdated to say the least.

After examining her closely, I concluded that other than the wheels and frame, everything else would have to be replaced. Some if the stuff I already had, such as cranks, seat and handlebar. The rest I would have to buy. A few clicks on found a box arriving full of - new shifters, new brakes, cables, tires, tubes, etc.

It was off with the old:

.And on with the new:
Before long the makeover was complete. My dilapidated old Schwinn...Now stood poised and ready for her conversion to a Cargo Bike...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cargo Bike - Part 1

A couple posts back, I alluded to my Cargo Bike and then it dawned on me, I have yet to enlighten my readers as to this new addition of my Harem.

A couple months back I was standing in my garage, sipping a cold beer and admiring my doll babies. Along the west wall of my garage they hung gracefully: my Road Bike, Fixed Gear Bike, Touring Bike and Mountain Bike. While gracefully leaning on it's kickstand, beneath them all was my Light Roadster.While any man would consider himself exceedingly lucky to have such hotties attending his every whim, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing. As this nagging realization tugged at my heart, I glanced to the other side of my garage and noted my Old Schwinn hanging all alone and neglected.A pang of guilt pierced my already troubled heart. The nagging and piercing combined to put me in a state of melancholy. To keep the pain at bay, I opened the fridge and took out another beer.

As I sipped slowly, a solution to my dilemma slowly dawned upon me. Why don't I convert the Old Schwinn into a Cargo Bike? I was so delighted with my genius, that I opened the fridge and got another beer.

I then sat down among my Harem and began to formulate a plan to make this new dream a reality. For your reading pleasure, I will chronicle this creation in the next couple posts.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

NAHBS - Part 5 - What Really Turns Me On Is The Twist

Wheel building is a highly tuned skill. Building a fine set of wheels requires the proper tools, a knowledge of basic concepts, a methodical approach and loads of patience. The wheel builder must possess these basic things along with a healthy dose of touch and feel and intuition. Yet up until I walked into Black Sheep Bikes booth, I never considered wheel building to be an art form. That all changed when I cast my eyes upon these beauties.I studied these wheels intently in real life and since in pictures and I fail to see the practical and functional point in twisting spokes in such a manner. In my humble, engineering assessment, twisting spokes like this takes gobs of time, complicates the lacing process and is wholly unnecessary. However, I don't think it matters, nor was it the driving motivation on the part of the builder. These spokes were twisted because they look cool that way. I think that was the only thing that mattered. How twisted is that?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Big Bang

Now that's a blowout! The Bestest/Worstest I ever had.

It was a beautiful day for a bike ride, so this past Sunday Morning, I took the Cargo Bike to the store. As I approached an intersection, I gently applied the brakes and KA-POW!! The explosion was so violent that my ears rang for nigh on an hour afterwards.

I dismounted and noting the tire jammed between the brake pad and rim, immediately ascertained the cause. I obviously had not seated the bead of the tire fully in the rim. Upon pumping to 80 psi air pressure, a small portion of the tube protruded, unbeknownst to me, between the tire and rim. I applied the brake at just the moment that said protrusion circled past. The combination of tube, tire, rim and brake pad trying to occupy the same space at the same time proved too much for the system to bear and wah lah, there you have it.

Being a scant half mile from home, I opted to forego breaking out the tire changing gear and pushed the bike home instead. It was a beautiful day for a walk.

Friday, April 2, 2010

NAHBS - Part 4 - Capital Ale House

For lunch on the Saturday of the NAHBS in Richmond, VA, I wandered a few blocks from the convention center and happened upon the Capital Ale House. They had a billion beers to choose from. All the American craft beers on draft were 2 bucks a pint. Could it get any better than that? Oh yea - step aside Swedish Bikini Team - the bar had a built in ice strip to keep the beer cold. Sweet!!- A nearly unlimited selection of beer to choose from - Clever
- $2 a pint - Smart
- A mini ice skating rink for beer - Pure Unadulterated Genius