Sunday, June 28, 2015

From the Frame, Up

So Bike the Bend was great. Everyone had a great time and only some pride was hurt as a few riders found themselves Walking the Bend on the uphills. The Police presence was more than expected but still not what was needed. Volunteers stepped in to help. This meant that you had individuals, families, and even older kids themselves, giving up their time to help out at intersections and make sure everyone got safely across. Over all it was a good time and everyone is grateful that so many people helped. On the same note: I had happened to pick up my own Fly 6 tail light/camera the day before so I took it for a test ride on the 30 mile route. 

More of that to come in a later post where I hope to review the product thoroughly, but that will have to wait because this is more important.

Yuck :P

Trust me when I say; If your bicycle is growing hair, you are doing it wrong.
 Seriously, whatever you are doing, STOP doing that, and do the opposite.

 The only difference here is that the TREK in the top picture is aluminum and cleaned up very nicely all things considered but the Jamis...

Nah, it's done for. Steel IS real and it will rust in a heart beat if it sits on a damn trainer under some sweaty ass dude with a high pH. That stuff wreaks havoc on your small parts and stops moving parts dead in their tracks. 

That derailleur is stuck in the "Big Ring" because he drinks high fructose corn syrup and pours buckets of sweat down his seat tube. 

If you want to own a steel bike then it starts at the frame and how you treat it.

As I would with any of my steel bikes, I immediately applied frame saver to this frame in order to protect it from corrosion. This Velo Orange Polyvalent frame is taking the place of my beloved commuting bike as it will allow me a better wheel size and even more carrying than I currently enjoy.
 That means it will be subjected to inclement weather, potholes and the like, on a daily basis and it likely won't get cleaned much. It will however, get lubed when needed in between major service intervals every two years. 

So where did I get this lovely Bicycle? I am glad you asked ;)

Our shop recently became a Velo Orange dealer which made me happy as a clam because now I could afford to replace my frame! So I chose the Polyvalent because of its low-trail design and 650b wheel size.

With 50mm fenders, I am able to fit a 42b tire which ends up being wider than I had on my Hard Rock! 

The wider tire inspired me to go wider on the rim and I am glad I did. At 45 psi, the bike is plush and stable due in part to these Velocity Cliff Hanger 650b rims.

Velocity really hit a Home Run with these rims. They built up extremely well and have a tight bead hook which is great for keeping the tire on at low pressure. 
The front wheel I built uses a generic alloy high flange hub and the rear is a Deore with a feehub body. The tires are by Compass.

For the most part, I built this bike with things I had laying around. Mostly to get it on the road but also because another bike was not really in my budget. I had some help from a friend who is in to the same style riding, so he had some parts to lend in the mean time and honestly, this all started because I had a set of PAUL cantilever brakes that I got for free from a good friend and thought 
"Now I need a bike to put them on!" 

I used a VO 1" threaded headset and basic Shimano bottom bracket because I had a Deore triple crank set laying in a bin. The derailleurs could have gone any way. Originally, I wanted to transfer my Campagnolo 9 speed stuff from my Hard Rock yet a friend tried to convince me that this bike was "screaming for down tube shifters." I wasn't having that so I compromised when he offered up his SunTour bar cons. That basically allowed me to spec it with what ever I had laying around and believe it or not, the Shimano 600 front derailleur (has a unique up-sweep when it pulls) shifts dead-on through all three chain rings.
For the rear I used a NOS Shimano 200GS (of which there is surprisingly little info) that was itching to be used on a wide range triple.

Sprinkle in an assortment of sundries such as a Brooks B17 Imperial (with titanium flask holder), a Nitto front rack with a Velo Orange Champagne Bag, 50mm Hammered Snakeskin fenders, my favorite bell, and my front and rear lights and you have got yourself a bike.

It will likely go through many changes like any good bike does so I may keep you posted but for now, at least I can ride it. 

...and the ride is awesome.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bike the Bend or Die Trying

Bike the bend is tomorrow and let me tell you, motorists are PISSED!

For those of you who do not know what "the Bend" is, it looks like this...

And you bike it like so;

A family bike ride that celebrates the use of the bike and shared use paths that our cities have built, and for one day pretends that anyone gives a shit about cyclists.

The Motorists are still having none of it. Seriously, I am going to spare you the details because the end of the story is better than this part, but you know me as an honest guy, right?
So you are just going to trust me here as I have none of this documented except the links you click. Regardless, this is me talking. ;)

Bike the bend is kinda cool. You and your friends, and yes...whole family, can ride about 30 miles on streets unencumbered with the help of local law enforcement keeping cars at bay from 6:30 am to 11:30 am on a Sunday morning. Problem is, Only four cops signed up to do the event, and some people are a little concerned. 
As they should be.

On a post that has since been deleted, a local news affiliate reported via the Book Face, the same thing I just told you and the very first damn comment was some jerk who spouted off some anti-cycle speak which I can paraphrase thusly...

"well, ya shouldn't be on the God damned roads to begin with! You don't even pay wheel tax..."

Well first of all, you kinda sound like this Bitch

I pay wheel tax on three cars ass hat, how many fucking times do I have to say it?

I wish I could say that it ended at that but sadly it did not.  See, cyclists are not fond of being called out for simply riding bicycles and are no more happy when you tell them to "get on the fucking sidewalk." At which time the motorist made sure we knew that he would be using those "blocked" roads that were sans Officer to get where he was going and that we "better watch out."

I kid you not that one person (anti-bike) actually threatened physical violence upon another (pro-bike) to the point that several people began wondering if their safety was in jeopardy.

Truly unacceptable to say the least, but the whole thing can be summed up like this: for a couple hours on a Sunday, they close some of the roads so people can explore the city by bicycle.
The money raised helps build more infrastructure but it also pays almost $10,000 dollars to local Police officers for the event yet no one wants to do it. Now they argue that they are overworked, etc... what with the South Bend 150 festivities and all but are you really saying to me that you do not want more double time hours directing traffic for bicyclists for 5 damn hours? Shit, you could still be home in time to drink beer and watch the NASCAR race!

Where do I sign?!
This event in itself is meant to bring awareness but all this advocacy means NOTHING if I still get yelled at on the road. Secondly, it gives me little hope for what type of awareness we are creating here if this ride is the kick off of "Bike to Work Week," and before we put foot to pedal we are already being threatened by drivers. You have heard me tell stories about "BLOWING" red lights, but you will be happy to know that I now follow ALL rules and regulations relating to myself as being considered "traffic" when I ride in the road. Not only for my own safety but to further bring awareness that cyclists need to follow the rules of the road (as much as it kills me to say that). That means that by law, I am to use the roadway like a car when on a bike.
Unfortunately, one of the dick turds that did not get the memo ran up on me during my commute home last night and it did not go so well.
 Let me paint for you a picture;

(literally Microsoft Paint ;)

You have me, riding at about 25 mph and then sitting up to coast towards the red light at the intersection. Using the whole lane to come to a stop like traffic would (as I have begun doing since this has been happening more and more) it was then that a fuck stick in a KIA Soul thought it wise to cross the center line to go around me to which I responded, "Fuck You" and went back around him just as stopped traffic began to move.

Not one to be deterred, he waited until we were back up to speed before passing me again, this time from the left hand turn lane whilst screaming "find a fucking bike lane ASS HOLE!"

This was the first and so far only time that I have actually threatened a motorist with physical violence. Not only did this jerk off put me in danger but he committed a moving violation to do it at a relatively high speed putting everyone around us, who wasn't aware of what was unfolding, at risk as well.
Without thinking I sat up with both middle fingers flying and "asked" him to "get out of the fucking car mother fucker" (or something like that) and I meant it. Not only is there NOT a bike lane any where near my route;

but really, ass face?! You want to go there with ME? REALLY?!!!
Well, needless to say I was a bit more than furious and while I have had the evening to simmer down a bit, I still wish I could have pulled him out of that shit box and broke my foot off in his ass. 
Rest assured that I will be looking for that same KIA Soul on my commute yet this morning and the week to follow because nothing make a person want to "Bike to Work" more than revenge.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Killing Me Softly

Honestly, after the last six years wrenching in this biz, I am starting to think that you want me to have an aneurism when you keep bringing me shit that looks like this:

I mean, how else can I explain it? I have explained, at length, the proper way to lube a chain to damn near everyone within the reach of my voice so at this point there is no Earthly reason why One's equipment should look like this and the fact that it does leads me to believe that this person not only wears a helmet whilst cycling but may also be required to wear one by law at all times. 

...and they keep seeking me out too because I am too damn nice (believe it or not) to look them in the eye and tell them to "get lost." So what happens when another bike shop thinks it "beneath them" to help out the ones who probably just need some guidance? They send them to me. Literally, they give them my name and send them to the shop at which I work. All because they were too damn lazy to clean some crud out of a derailleur pulley or two. Oh well, could be worse I guess...

Regardless of my efforts and no matter how clean I can make a bicycle, the next jack ass in line is just as bad.

"So, I broke this a while back but the tape seems to be holding just fine."

Yeah- Good luck with that dip shit.

All I am saying here is that by simply giving ONE, just one solitary "Fuck,"
you could avoid paying more than you should for me to tell you that you suck at bikes. Still, the attitude that you give me is a little more like this:

Well, I call bullshit.