Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saturday Ride Details

Just a short post today.


Meet Saturday at 9am in front of Cup of Joe in Cedar Falls. Then using Marks suggestion go up to the entrance of Black Hawk Park and pick up Ford Rd. Do that up a few miles and head East. Go to Leversee, head north to the Camp, Go north on Hilton and reprise some of the T.I.V3 route over towards Denver. We could refuel in Denver, and then head West on Marquis to Leversee again and back into CF. That should get us an easy 30 miles with some decent hills in the middle.

30 mile gravel grinder of New Years goodness. Feel free to call me 616-460-4333 or email with questions.

1.1.09 UPDATED: Mark went out onto some of these gravel roads yesterday and says that some of the tentative route aren't really rideable. New route is a great possibility and might have more pavement than gravel. I'll post more tonight or tomorrow morning.

1.2.09 UPDATED: i
f it starts in raining before or right at 9am, NO RIDE. Water on ice is a recipe for disaster. Hopefully it works out though.

1.3.09 UPDATED: Radar looks good until noonish, if you're from around the Cedar Valley hopefully you can make it but be safe and consider the drive home if you have to drive to ride. Hope to see you at Cup of Joe.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Limited Edition NDJR Manifesto T's Now Available!

That's right folks, you read right. No Drive now has the first of what we hope to be many shirts. Each will be limited edition, meaning small runs of original designs and styles. For our first shirt it is called the 'Manifesto'. It was conceived over a conversation and written as a late night rant [with run on sentences and all] of what we are about and what we believe in, even if we screw up from time to time. The shirts are printed on American Apparel shirts, which are 100% sweatshop free and MADE IN THE USA.

The manifesto is located on the back right shoulder of the shirt, allowing it to be visible even with a messenger bag on and the No Drive logo under the left arm.

These first shirts like I said are extremely limited and I am selling for $15.00 plus $5.00 if needed to be shipped anywhere in the US. Please feel free to email me at with questions or for ordering.

The manifesto reads as follows:

'This is my manifesto. I will not claim that any of it is original, most is likely rewritten or reworded language of our past. The world in which we live is changing. We are surrounded by pain, war, doubt, hate and a multitude of problems often with no solution in sight. Those who choose to take the high road and ignore these problems drive by in their SUV, driving their venti-decaf-double mocha-half calf-with a twist, while talking on their cell phones about how to solve this global problem, yet miss the local reality that is happening on their very own street. I want change. I want to break free of this cycle. I want hope, yet I do very little to enact a real movement. Simply put, I just want a revolution. A revolution that is no longer lost in lengthy talks, but seen in real action to bring about the world I desire so badly to see here and now. Slowly growing, slowly moving, gaining momentum in the subtle actions of the masses. These are the things that bring hope, that usher in real change... the person choosing not to drive but to ride; the person giving instead of taking; the person letting go instead of keeping. There are great deal of simple solutions to the complex problems facing us today, and it may not look like much now and may seem trapped on a t-shirt; but I am not alone. We are bringing about this revolution.'

*A special thanks to Joe for being my stand in model

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Thoughts.

Stage One, complete. Sorry only teaser pictures right now on Red's transformation. Call me selfish, but I really want to make the final unveiling some thing special. What I will say though is sitting in front of the devil box today watching House [which if you didn't know is the new Law and Order thus being on ALL the time] I won't lie, it's beautiful but I was amazed by the amount of times I saw some sort of ad for the next fitness gimmick... oh the New Year resolution season.

I also received another frame for the stable... an old Fuji track frame, circa 19-something, 70's-ish. I got the frame, fork, headset, seatpost, bars, and stem. Guess who just so happen to have some other parts floating around... this guy! I'm going to run it brakeless with toe cages, I'm pretty much done working on it until spring comes around.

Looks like the ride details for next Saturday are starting to work themselves out via the great G-Ted. The more the merrier, final details will be posted soon.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mark Your Calendars! January 3rd. 2009

Here's what I'm thinking...

January 3rd.


20-30 mile Gravel grinder... and this is where I need help. Since it's been awhile, I need someone else to take the lead on a route and the best possible meeting place.

Any volunteers?

Clear details I hope to have by Wednesday the 31st.

Email me at if you have questions or thoughts. Or head over to Facebook and let me know you're coming.

Monday, December 22, 2008

So it begins...

Just a quick post before I head into work... with all the snow that Michigan got the last few days, Sunday really didn't amount to much of anything productive unfortunately. BUT! I was able to begin Reds transformation...

Just a teaser for now, with no explanation.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I have a confession. I'm jealous of a few people... sure from the picture you might think it's Jeff Kerkove. Yeah, I'll admit Jeff has got a few things going for him... a sweet rig, pimping killer product, he's a highly respected rider and blogger, not to mention just an all around great person... wow, ok, I have to say it bluntly and straight forward, I do not have any sort of man crush on Jeff Kerkove.

Now that I've made that clear. The reason I posted a picture of Jeff was simply the fact that almost daily his blog reminds me of the fact that I cannot use ear-bud headphones. And that is what this post is about, my jealousy of anyone who can wear headphones while riding. Yes, of course I could argue the safety issues with doing so but we'll save that for another day. Tonight, I need advice. Any headphones I've tried simply fall out at any movement... I've tried two different Apple earbuds, the Stereo Headset and the old version of the in-ears. I've also tried the JVC Gumy Stereo; all with no luck, all leading to the same response.

Sure I'd love to jump into and get some thing like the Bose or some other high end in-ear with great sound but then end up never being able to use them. Thoughts? Insights? I also want to avoid any sort of rap around version also, so keep that in mind. What do you ride with?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Red's Winter Transformation

A month or so back, I decided that I was finally going to give Red a bit of a face lift. I haven't posted much for photos since this post back in April but she does have new wheels, she got the white Velocity Fusions with black spokes and rims; and I have recently also added a little bling by adding red anodized chain ring bolts. Let me tell you, it's pretty sweet. I'll give a full pictorial once she's complete and probably end up finally submitting it to Fixed Gear Gallery to top it all off. I'm not going to give all of my details but here is on my shopping list:

I won't say for sure what color I'll be using for all of these but I will hint that one of these will have multiple colors mixed and the other two will only have one. But I have to take my time on this transformation, which is often very difficult to do since often once I have it in my mind to do some thing I'll do it pretty quick.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On A Fixie: A Case for 70 gear inches

As part of the on going 'On A Fixie...' Series, this time I'm going to attempt to tackle the mysterious system of thoughts dealing with gear inches.

Gear inches if you were unaware is defined by Sheldon Brown as...

'One of the three comprehensive systems for numbering the gear values for bicycle gears. It is the equivalent diameter of the drive wheel on a high-wheel bicycle. When chain-drive "safety" bikes came in, the same system was used, multiplying the drive wheel diameter by the sprocket ratio. It is very easy to calculate: the diameter of the drive wheel, times the size of the front sprocket divided by the size of the rear sprocket. This gives a convenient two- or three-digit number. The lowest gear on most mountain bikes is around 22-26 inches. The highest gear on road racing bikes is usually around 108-110 inches. Unfortunately, the handwriting is on the wall for all inch-based measurement systems.'

Clear as mud? That's what I thought. If you want to be more confused go here. In normal person terms, gear inches is simply how far the wheel rolls on one full rotation of the pedal.

Now, there is a lot of questioning and playing around with what is the proper gearing on a fixie. Most people simply think about the front chain ring and the rear cog and talk in terms of that. Take my fixie, Red, she has got a 46x17 respectively. Which if you put in to a gear calculator comes out to 71.4 inches [note: if you are using this gear calculator be sure to switch the 'gear units' from 'gear ratios' to 'gear inches']. Which is the closest I can get to 70 gear inches without changing the front chain ring [which is typically the more expensive of the two options].

You might be wondering, ok Adam, you've made your point about being aware of what you're running but really haven't made any real point on why 70 is the magic number... and to be perfectly honest, I have to give credit where it is due. Geoff basically insisted on this as the magic number. Why? BECAUSE IT WON'T KILL YOU! It is what I'd consider to be the perfect gearing right out of the box for climbing and giving you a solid top end speed. I started out with a set up that put me around 59 gear inches and once I got up to stop speed I would literally be hopping in the saddle becuase I was spinning so fast. Sure climbing was super easy but what is really necessary is a solid balance of both.

With the 70 gear inches, it won't kill you on the hills and won't slow you down on the flats. As one begins to ride more, ones legs become stronger going to a tougher gearing could be some thing to consider, or an easier one if you're looking to be the ultra cool hypster skidder... but really, it gives you the most control.

NOTE TO ALL OF YOU WHO WANT TO GET YOUR HANDS ON THE 'MANIFESTO' T's: They are very close to being done and then I'll be taking orders for them. I'll have some with me when I'm back in Iowa at the first of January and would love to get them your way then. Michiganders and everyone else. I'm hoping that the No Drive Website will be transformed shortly to be able to handle orders, or we can always line up a time to meet up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

1,000 words

It is said that the average woman uses 7,000 words in a day... and a man only 2,000...

... and since Geoff convinced me today that a picture is worth a 1,000 words I believe that this puts me at about 6,000 and I'm spent. Shirts are close to being done.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

For Blue

For Blue... So yes, now it's big time.

You've been warned... next week, I'll be back in full force.
[Queue 'Gonna Fly Now' by Bill Conti... that's right the Rocky theme song]

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter Thoughts...Bolivian Coffee...

It's definitely winter here in West Michigan. It's unbelievably cold outside, my room mate is playing some Christmas music on vinyl, and I'm sitting here with my Mr. Potato Head (Christmas Edition) enjoying cup after cup of the planet's best coffee.

You did read that correctly. I may just have found the best coffee I've tasted thus far in my life. It's called "Bolivia's Best," and it's 100% fair-trade goodness straight from the Andes Mountains. Aside from generating some pretty kick-butt coffee, Bolivia's Best is all about helping the orphaned and abandoned children of Bolivia. I heard all about Bolivia's Best from Mallory Timmer, A recent-and pretty rad-friend at Hope College who gave me a bag to try. The Timmers are actually the family who started the operation, and you can read all about it here. Needless to's great coffee, it's for a phenomenal cause, started by a truly amazing family.

So try it! Click here and order some fo' yo'self.

On the other hand, I've found myself in some sort of a small dilemma. Winter is here, and I've taken the Rig apart, planning on building up a wheel set before next season. Another change I plan to make is a fresh new Carbon flat bar. This is precisely where I find myself stuck. The dilemma? Indecisiveness. There are a few that I can go with, and mostly it's going to come down to color. Care to help me Decide?

The Bontrager Race XXX lite || The FSA K-Force XC Flat || The Salsa Pro Moto Carbon

Those are the choices...for some reason I couldn't upload pictures...Hope College tells me I've exceeded my bandwidth.

Also. The Day the Earth Stood Still comes out today, and I'm most definitely seeing it tonight.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Merry Advent

It's that time year again. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, Yuletide carols being sung by the fire, and folks dressed up like Eskimos. (everybody knows.)

It's Christmas time! Well, Advent, to be exact. So in the spirit of Advent, I thought that while I sit here at work (bored out of my skull I might add) I might start flipping through our books and get a few seasonal gift ideas for the cycling folk, assuming that a new bike is out of the question.

Any Hoot. Here are a few gift ideas I found.

The Trek Time Watch. It's a nifty little watch that simply snaps onto most handlebars, and comes in a variety of colors. It comes in a cycling computer version also, complete with anything that you'd find on your every day cycling computer, but I thought that this was a great idea. Most people in the world don't use a cycling computer at all, or if they do, it's for telling time, anyway. This is a perfect solution to this! No more taking your hands off of the bars to check your cell phone or watch, and crashing into a wall, a dog, or a UFO. It's cool, its hip, and it's about $25.00.

The Surly Jethro Tule. What is it? It's freaking awesome. A double-sided 15mm box wrench is perfect for most bolt-on hubs. It's great because it's small enough to fit inside your saddle bag, but it's ergonomically designed to give you enough leverage to really crank those wheels to the bike. It's lightweight, hangs on your key chain if you please, and it's a little over $20.00. Oh yeah, did I mention it has a gnarly bottle-opener?

The Six One Six Sandal. This one is really cool. If you're looking for a great way to ride around town without having to change into your cycling shoes, pick up a pair of these. They're an SPD-compatible, lightweight pair of your dad's old Disney world sandals that let you clip in to your pedals on a hot day without putting on those sweaty cycling shoes. Sure, they look a little tacky, and you want to be a rebel wearing your ...but after all, tacky is back-ie, and there's nothing more conformative than rebellion. (think about it for a minute.) These will set you back about $75.

The Knog Colored Frog lights. No, they're not actually frogs, so you won't get warts...bUt you will get STREET CRED. These nifty little things are super bright LEDs that are encased in a stretchy silicone body that wrap around your handlebars, your seat post, or most any part of the frame. They come in a variety of colors tho match your bike or personality, and they're small enough to stick in your jeans when you aren't using them. A single button on top turns it on, switches between the steady and flash modes, and shuts it off. How much? Mid $20 range for the pair.

....That's all for now, folks. More to come later in the Advent season...there'e a lot of neat bike stuff out there.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday Ride: No Drive Style.

Last night, Tom and I... well, more so Tom rallied some of the troops and did a little Wednesday night ride [which worked out great considering, I found out this morning, that the normal Wednesday ride was a no go]... 5 bikes, 6 people... you do the math.

The beast got an unusual late season workout, inspired by Bottke no less. Here are a few photos from it. For all of the pictures check it out here.

If you remember for my birthday I received a bike from a co-worker... Well, if you know me well enough you know that I can't just leave things be and I must alter and tinker. I have resolved that I won't be naming another bike but I must say I was influenced greatly by the new Salsa Fargo...

as you can see...

I'm not finished tinkering yet, but I'm close. Be grateful. Be thankful. Ted said it best yesterday...

'Tomorrow we stop to do something that maybe we all ought to take pause and really concentrate on. Giving thanks. Yeah....there are lots of reasons to grumble. Jobs lost, stocks losing value, and a general fear has gripped many. But, do you realize there are millions that would take your place in a heartbeat? Millions that are suffering far worse fates than you who may have lost part of your retirement, lost a job, or a house. We still are a rich, rich nation folks. In the overall perspective of things, we have so much to be thankful for that we should, and could go on about that all year long. If you are a cyclist, and you can get out on a ride in the next few days, clear your head of all the cultural hoopla for a bit, and give thanks for the blessings you have. Can't think of anything? Here.....let me help you out! Check out that thing you're riding, and think of your ability to ride it. There's two things to be thankful for right there, ya ninny!

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday!'

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

But That's Not What a Road Bike is For...

...Indeed it's not.

The seemingly exponential rise of the sport of Cyclocross in recent years has lead many to believe that Cyclocross, CX, CCX, Cyclo-X, or just plain 'cross;' is a new sport. Indeed this is false. It's older than you!

Cyclocross traces its origins back to the very early 1900s. One of the most popular stories as to how it was formed tells that in their off-season, European road racers in the 1900s would race each other from town to town to stay in shape. The catch was that they could use any means to get to the next town first. This meant cutting through fields, jumping over fences, and running through streams. Since then, CX has grown from an off-season training scramble to an International cycling phenomenon.

So...what exactly is Cyclocross?

To put it in simple terms, Cyclocross is everything you weren't supposed to do with your bike when you were little. It's riding your bike anywhere you have to. Many courses take the racers up and down steep hills and stair sets, across streams, through thick woods, and the paved jungle. Many times the rider has to dismount, jump over an obstacle, and get back on the bike in one smooth motion. As difficult as this is, the pros make is seem effortless. Races are run many times around a relatively short course, and most races take 30 to 60 minutes to complete. As far as the bike?

Well. A Cyclocross bike, to a bike geek, is just plain fun. Wider tire clearance for knobby tires, and cantilever brakes, as well as lower gearing are characteristics that define most CX bikes. Some come with disc brakes, and some even have a single chainring to prevent throwing the chain on the rough stuff. Some even dare go singlespeed.

Cyclocross, to sum it up, rocks your face.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On a Fixie: Knickers

For our next topic in the 'On a Fixie' Series, I will be diving right into clothing. That's right... knickers, man-pres as I prefer to call them. Now, before we get into things I'll admit, my knickers are a normal part of my bike attire and am fortunate enough to be able to get away with wearing them at work.

Sure I get interesting looks from customers when they notice them and yes, I'll probably look back on pictures of me 15 to 20 years from now and say... well, at least it's not neon.

My experience with knicker consists of two different brands. Chrome and Wig, there are number of other companies that offer knickers from Portland Cyclewear or Bicycle Fixation which I hope to one day try both of them to really compare more of them. But for now, the Chrome and Wig brand knicker I believe give enough of review on different takes.
The first pair of knickers I had, I recruited my old roommates girlfriend/now wife to alter an old pair of jeans. It worked but really hasn't gotten much ride time because I invested in the Chrome knickers very shortly there after.

So you might be wondering... why knickers in the first place? Well, they are the best 'casual' rider clothing for cycling. Being a commuter, I don't want to lyrca up just to head to work or get a coffee. I get strange enough looks with my MTB shoes on when I'm cruising around the mall or coffee shop. The first thing that becomes an issue when riding 'casually' is the annoyance ones pant leg getting pulled into the drive train, either staining or tearing the pant leg. Simple solution, cut off the part of the pant that isn't needed so it won't get in the way.

I have found that knickers are perfect for commuting. for warmth on the cooler days and a normal look in the summer months. Most companies offer different summer/winter options. Wool always wins, but I suggest them more for the cooler months of course.

But won't I look like a fool? Yes and no, but you're original. By wearing knickers, it's almost an easy way for people to ask, why you're riding? And then we can continue this little revolution and maybe get another person to consider cycling.

Wait, isn't this a Fixie series? I'll admit none of my reasoning has really explained the fascination with knickers and fixies. Answer. For the hipster, it's either knickers or girl pants. =) Knickers start to look a heck of a lot better considering those 2 choices.

Why Chrome? Well, the price is a bit scary. 140 bones. But it's got a number of things going for them, US of A made, 4 way stretch, excellent sized pockets, and the real sealer... a 'lightly padded chamois', not noticeable when wearing them around when off the bike but very noticeable and appreciated when on the saddle.

Why Wig? $57 online... $65 at a certain shop. This is a great two person operation out of Chi-town. Wendy is the main contact there and shes extremely easy to work with. The Wig knickers are altered standard issue army pants. With reinforced knees and seat. The pockets can hold a u-lock and are extremely comfortable. Of course, they don't have the built in padding but bag for your buck, you can't beat them. I have both the black and green pairs.

Another great thing I've found a use for them is during pre and post race attire. I wore a pair during my warm up lap at the cross race this weekend and we perfect for post race hanging out. Extremely easy to get in and out of, and there is no struggle getting feet through. Not to mention I might be sporting a pair for Trans Iowa. We'll see.

One of the regulars on the Saturday Rides made it to the big time, R2 as he's been referred to in past posts got his Masi on check it.


Well, as I mentioned before this past Sunday I completed my first cyclo-cross race. I use the word completed as opposed to raced or competed for specific reasons. One, I rode, not fast and finished 18th of 23. Fortunately there aren't time posted on the board over at the Kisscross site but there are some good pictures from the race here and some of mine here. Two, for some reason cycling is really the first sport that I love and have very little desire to be competitive. I simply love to ride, I love bikes, all I want to do is finish.

The one story I have to share about the race is actually from where this pictures comes from. This picture was actually taken from the very beginning of the race, granted it's cropped so it's hard to tell this but you'll just have to trust me. I took Geoff's advice and started at front of the line at the start of the C race. The rush of the first start had me going at a pretty good click. The legs felt good, and taking the first dismount and climb up a set of stair steps I hit a straight away and took the lead. Yes, you read that right, I took the lead and pulled a little bit of a gap. I then hit the barriers that you see in the picture and maintain the lead until the final dismount and climb. I then got passed... a lot. As soon as I got on the bike, my legs basically said 'That was fun, I don't hurt but let's just spin a little'. Needless to say my pace slowed. It was great. I might add...

I'm not a sprinter or a climber. But I'll ride and then ride some more... and eventually... if you're patient enough... which you must be since you have put up with run on sentence-writing-style... you'll see me finish.

Which brings me to...

Trans Iowa.

I'm in. Officially. As they say '[Insert choice swear word beginning with an S here] just got real'. I'm a little freaked. Super excited. Bottke is high on the waiting list and hopefully will get in. It'll be nice to have a riding partner although I do know a few of the other guys who got in, I don't know their pace... because remember... I'm not a sprinter or a climber. =)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Simple Joys.

There are a few things that continually make me laugh when I work, and one of those things are when I get the opportunity to put some thing catchy, odd or 'interesting' on sign... My latest conception is above. An old one that have stood out 'Skid on in, we are your fixie shop' and a new one that I haven't exactly gotten the wording down will be some thing to the extent of 'Turning your fatness into fitness'

Today I did my first cross race. It was fun and I'll report fully on that tomorrow morning. But staying on the simple joys theme I was recently emailed from an old friend in Iowa concerning the Cedar Valley Nature Trail and that those in charge are considering not replacing the bridges that were taken out to the record flooding of this summer. For those of you who are unaware of what the Cedar Valley Nature Trail is, it is a 52 mile trail connecting the Evansdale and Hiawatha. It then feeds into the huge Cedar Trails system throughout the Cedar Falls/Waterloo communities.

The idea that not replacing these bridges and essentially allowing this great trail to die is unacceptable. I believe by not replacing these down bridges it will have a greater negative effect than believed, with the loss of potential tourism dollars and trail funding especially to the smaller communities this trail feeds through.

If you are as frustrated by this possibility as I am and want to fight to keep this a simple joy to so many, send and email to the following address expressing your concern:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Saturday Night Ride: In the Land of the Dutch.

That's right.

This weekend, No Drive is in Holland (the one in West Michigan). Why? Well, we really can't answer that until you show up.

So here's the deal:

This Saturday, November 15th. Meet @ 5.30. Ride @6.30.

The New Holland Brewing Co. On 8th St. in Holland. Click here for the g-map.

You and all your real friends, fake friends, Facebook friends, and anyone else you might know.

What to bring:
Your bike.
Some cold weather riding gear.
Lights if you have them.
Some money for dinner at New Holland.

Show up! You'll be glad you did.

Questions, concerns, and/or love notes?
Email me @

Monday, November 10, 2008

On A Fixie: A Case for Cages/Track Pedals

...Props to this guy.

Fixies, as many of you may have begun to realize...are catching on, and one of the prominent contributors this new fixie-fad is the retro/urban throwback status that the bike and its rider attain when seen on the street.

Basically, fixies are cool.

A great deal of the retro-ness (yeah, it's a word, sucka) of any given fixed-gear bicycle comes from the wheels, the paint job, and the drive train. One of the most imporant parts of the drive train, may I remind you, is the set of pedals. The pedals are what connects the rider's legs to the bikes. The engine to the vehicle. THE POWER TO THE STREET.

On that note, one must then be minful of what type of pedals to use. Clipless is one way to go, yes, but many times I find myself riding my bike to a place where cycling shoes don't exactly set the standard for style. Because of this, I often ride in my chuck taylors.

Track Pedals, like the ones on the right, are a great way to get around in style. They provide a stable platform in which to get yo' self up to speed, and one that is generally light enough to not add unwanted grams to your rig, but wide enough to skid all day and night. These type of pedals are great for fixie tricks and the sort, because one doesn't have to twist and snap out of the pedal, just a simple lift of the foot like when you were little. A great set of MKS pedals do the trick, and in combination with some sweet kicks (thats what we call shoes on the street), you'll be rolling in style. Err...riding in style.

What I actually do is use a set of cages, as shown at the left. What these do is keep your foot in the right spot on the pedal, providing they are adjusted right. Too tight, you can't get your foot out; too loose and you may as well just not have them on. They keep your foot straight forward to avoid knee problems, and I like to use them because when I skid around corners, I don't have to worry about my foot sliding off the side.

A drawback to cages, though, is upon startup, I always get angry about having to flip my pedals over to slide my feet in them (it's annoying). So with that in mind, I suppose that the main argument here can be summarized and shortened to fashion on a fixie. I like shoes, and I like it when people can see my shoes, therefore, I hate to wear cycling shoes everywhere.

Gas prices are down. I saw them for $1.95 today.

Riding is still cheaper.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cycling and Celebrations

Well, as my previous post stated. Friday the 7th was my birthday, 27 years old. We had a little gathering Saturday night but there were two things that really made me smile in the last few days.

This first one, a bit awkward I'll admit, on Friday I woke up, laying up in my bed thinking, somewhat evaluating the last year. The ups and downs, the things I've pursued and where life has simply taken me. Somehow in this reflecting moment, it dawned on me. 27 years ago and 9 months ago I won my first race...



Zing! I just went there. Still makes me laugh.

The second thing that has brought a smile to my face [besides all the birthday wishes, and thank you I might add] came in the means of the Schwinn Super Sport you see in the picture above. This was given to me out of the blue by Roon at the shop. Roon simply a great guy and extremely fun to work with, he had brought this in a few nights before and I had mentioned to him that if he ever felt like getting rid of it to let me know, we'd talk. Friday, I get into work and it's there sitting there for me. Not as a birthday gift [he didn't know it was my birthday until later in the evening] but just simply as a friendly jester.

So yes, you might be thinking... what does he need with another bike? And yes, I don't need another bike but... I got it free. She's a pretty one and in great shape. It's pretty much stock, it has a Brooks saddle on it [B15 not 17] and a generator light set. I have no means to get rid of it. But I am going to do a bit of 'tweaking' to it and when I'm finished it'll end up looking some thing like this. I'm currently in search of a silver front rack and am debating making one using this method... any ideas or help in tracking a proper rack down?

Of course, over the course of the next you'll see the transformation. So stay tuned.

Once again, thank you to everyone who sent me emails and birthday wishes via Facebook, it's always difficult to send sincere thank yous and allow people know how much simple messages do wonders, but thank you.

And those of you who are battling the very infectious disease of track bikes, feed the infection by checking out fyxomatosis. 4 out of 5 doctors recommend it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Saturday Night Ride: Adam's Birthday Bonanza

Alright. I'll admit it. I'm taking advantage of the Saturday Night ride and making it a little bit of a birthday bash for myself. I hate doing it but if it gets more people out on their bikes, I'm all for it.

The plan:

Meet at the Burns House at 5:30p.
Ride to Buffalo Wild Wings on 44th in Grandville.
[no reservations will be made so there could be a wait]
Eat and be merry.
Hang out.
Maybe ride to Rivertown for a movie, maybe just ride around some more.

Show up for some, or none. If you care to ride bring: Lock, Light and Helmet.

Email me with questions:

On A Fixie: A Case for Clipless Pedals

The great thing about having another writer and friend who is just as excited about cycling and this little NDJR revolution as much as I am, just in normal conversation, sweet things come about. One of those being a series we're going to call 'On A Fixie', in which we are going to cover a number of topics... from Knickers to Knog, Chrome bags to Brooks saddles, no brakes or odd brakes. It should be fun, maybe interesting. We'll each be taking different topics, probably responding on the other and who knows, it might just break out into a big ol' show down of hipster-ness. Yes, hipster-ness.

The first topic that I'll be handling is advocating for going clipless on a fixie. And so it begins.

The first thing I believe we must understand what draws a person to the fixie or fixie subculture of cycling. For that we will consult a video [beware, PG-13 language to follow].

Ok, you caught me... but this mockumentary and I do apologize for the language but this pretty much nails a lot of things on the head. A few quotes that sum it up well...

'Pretty much the spirituality... if I'm going to ride 20 miles, I'm going to push 20 miles.'

'This type of riding... gets them more in touch with the road and the board.'

It's this that I use as my foundation for the use of clipless pedals for fixies. There is a fair amount of truth to the amount of control, feel, 'intouch'-ness with the bike that occurs when one goes fixie. By clipping in, this feel is greatly increased for the simple fact that as a rider you become one with the bike. Fully engaged with the rear wheel and mass of the bike. Sure laugh about what I just wrote but why is clipless used in other aspects of cycling? Efficiency and control.

Now of course there are plenty of options in using a clipless system. Let's examine 3 basic options:

The first choice would be what is called. The 'Eggbeater' by Crank Brothers.
This is my pedal of choice but not what I would say would be the first option for any cyclist just getting into clipless. Why? Sure, it is a 4 sided pedal making it very easy to clip into but with the lack of any real tension control as compared to the other options it does not make for a very good learning experience, since most will have a close call with falling when first engaged into the pedal.

The second option would be the Shimano SPD. This is my favorite for beginners. It has a number of things going for it. There are many options for style with different platforms and styles, in addition if you are into spin classes you are able to sport the same cleat/shoe and clip in at the gym. This has the tension control that the Egg Beater lacks which allows for a rider to easy get in and out early on when they hit panic mode at stops.

A third option would be the Look or traditional style road pedal. The draw of this style is the fact the the pedal does provide a large platform for the shoe but at the same time restricts the type of shoe you can use, simply a road shoe which is not walkable at all. For everyday uses the type of shoe alone is not very walker friendly and definitely risk falling when walking on tile flooring. This style does have tension control which is nice but not necessarily as easy to get out of as the SPD.

Sure there are a few other styles from Speedplay and Time but for the most part this are not systems that would be all that great for a beginner to get into for everyday or fixie riding for one reason or another. Any local shop should be able to walk you through what pedal/shoe combination will best suit ones needs for riding but 95% of the time, I lean straight to the SPD style.

It's difficult to fully advocate for going clipless on a fixie because of the urban setting and versatile usage of both the cyclist and bike. I will never go away from it, but I'm fully willing to sacrifice sporting my bike shoes over wearing my Chucks or New Balance. Function or Fashion? That's really where this argument will end up landing.

I mean, come on... you could always just wear Lycra and be a 'real' cyclist.