This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Red bikes are add some RED!

    For the SOMA lovers out there I thought I should share my experience with a pair of their fenders. After two years of enjoying my Buena Vista, I found myself using it more and more.  The best thing I could do to improve it was add fenders and SOMA still had "Rain Dogs" in that color.
They are (almost) exactly like SKS fenders right down to the hardware
and fender stays. Except that the Soma brand has a simpler cap for the stay.
The front stays lack safety releases the SKS have.  But the stays are so much alike they fit right into a pair of unused unused tabs from the parts bin.
Everything else was easy as can be.  The extra bridge on the seat stays of the mixte frame has a boss built in to the underside so drilling a single hole 
allowed  flush mounting with a bolt and washer.
 I happened to have a "Sheldon's Fender Nut" in the bin 
which makes mounting the front a breeze.
The end result is a near perfect fit without fumbling, 
awkward stay adjustments
.  These are the 45mm fenders with 32 mm Panaracer  T-serv tires
 and fit perfectly as I could hope.
Now the bikes redder, I know I'll go faster!

Monday, May 15, 2023

      Didn't have a thing to do for a few days and the weather was cooperating for a change.  There were a few passing rain showers on Saturday morning but not the thunderstorms predicted.  I decided to make a ride to the coast for dinner.  

The Hunq needed some exercise so I loaded him and wandered out to the bike show in the middle of town where presenters from different shops and  bike enthusiasts had set up presentations for their organizations. 

Our local bike club, the KBC, was there
Everybody was talking bikes and rides and riding and showing off their latest.  It was a good turnout and I hope it grows as an introduction to Bike Week activities every year.
     After an hour or so of hanging out talkin' bikes, it was time to ride and the weather was great, the wind was mild and helpful (remember that), a passing downpour caught me just as I reached a small shelter on the trail.  But the trail was a casual afternoon ride with friendly passing groups all the way to South Haven 
which was busy with tourist traffic, not thronged, but busy, and people looked relieved to get out after the unpredictable spring weather we have had.  There were groups on the beach but not many in the water this early.
The restaurants were not so busy you couldn't find a seat and I reached the most popular right during the dinner hour.  After some much deserved well presented calories supplemented with Oberon, it was gettin' on late evening and I moseyed back down the trail to Eagles Point to find the campsites open and had pleasant evening with the trees and birdsong providing the background score to the forest and wildflowers.
     Refreshed in the morning I started the ride back with moderate temps and sunshine to enjoy on the 40 mile ramble home.  It's a good thing I wasn't in a hurry.  Remember that wind thing I mentioned?  Well, as meteorologic events go, it kinda sucked.  It was a beautiful day and a good thing I had nothing to do because the 15 mile per hour wind was directly in my face all the way back to Kalamazoo.  
     Then there was this.  Faced with a 15 mph wind against a consistent 1 1/2 per cent grade, on a 70 lb bike,  they remind you EVERY 1/2 mile how little you travel.  This is cruel and unusual, like water torture.  I wouldn't notice it in July or August but today I would.  It's nothing I haven't done before, just gear into a comfortable cadence and keep going.  It was an exercise in patience but I did run across a couple of friends, Gordy Vader and Paul Guthrie out enjoying the trail as well.  I finally got to town and turned the corner out of the wind and have to admit it was a great overnight ride on a wonderful weekend.

Monday, April 3, 2023

New shoes

     After weeks of gut wrenching I caved and bought new tires for the Sam Hillborne. I loved the Rene Herse 44 mm tires I put on the Hunq, it was a trans-formative experience. The Hunq rode like a different bike, faster, smoother, more nimble and much more comfortable.
  I had to see if the same would be true for Sam. The past year I used Gravel King slicks on the bike and, although they were quick and sturdy, the ride quality is stiff compared to the Panaracer Pasela I've aways used.  After mounting the new Bon Jon Pass tires I took a quick 10 mile ride into a really obnoxious wind and came to no conclusion except that they were seated properly. I'm running them with tubes like the Gravelkings and inflating them between 50-60 psi.
    The next day I took a casual ride around town to test them a bit more. I rode a bit through town to get my hair cut, then headed downtown to have lunch at one of the deli's.  

After a great Rueben I headed across town to the mall to find myself a new pair of shoes and meandered through town to get home before the raindrops fell (just in time in fact). So, I put about 35 miles on the tires the last couple days and they feel really good. Not a game changing feeling like I had on the Hunq, but they are as fast as the Gravelkings on asphalt and a much nicer ride than either the Gravelkings or Paselas. The Pasela gum sidewalls are pretty close in ride quality but the Rene Herse produced no vibrations or chatter to my hands, so they were rolling much more efficiently. Bear in mind that Panaracer manufactures all three tires and if I could compare them I would say the Rene Herse Bon Jon Pass combines the tread of the Gravelking slicks with a refinement of the Pasela sidewall.  
     The dilemma is the price. On the Hunq it wasn't such an issue, I was already spending 50-60 dollars a tire on the Hunq, so upgrading to standard sidewalls on Rene Herse was only a $15 jump for a huge increase in performance and pleasure. Pasela's and Gravelkings go for around $40-45, so that's a bigger jump, but I wanted the extra light casing on the Sam for the luxury ride. Rene Herse tires with the xtra light casings are $94. Ouch! They are a little faster and a bit more comfortable than the Pasela's. The question is, "Are they worth twice as much?" We'll see. Time will come to replace them, but you know the life of a bike addict; once you get a sniff, you're a slave.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Two days of dry weather and sunshine are some things to celebrate in Michigan, in March.  Monday night was near 50 for a Monday Night ride with the KBC.  I ended up with about 40 miles in the blustery evening.
Tuesday afternoon was more beautiful without the wind for a relaxing  20 mile roll around the Portage trails.  Of course that's over, it's Wednesday, and snowing.