Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weekend Videos for you

A few videos for your errr.... enjoyment this weekend....

Safety First... always...

After watching this video a few reasons came to mind why one does not mix these 3 cycling aspects: tandems, fixies, velodrome

Knog. These teaser for their 'KNOGuMENTARY' seems to explain why they are called hipster-cysts

A little Lance for you...

And a none cycling related one just for fun... Still can't get over this one...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm not happy with you right now... Red

Tonight was to be a big night and it started out great. I got out of work and headed over to the barber shop to get a haircut and shed the beard that I've been sporting for the last year and a half or so. It was big step for me, I realized that I have friends in my life that have never seen me without the beard and if I do say so myself, I pulled the beard off well.

In the last few weeks, I've felt like I wanted to shave it off. If only to be able to grow it back but I knew if I didn't, the beard might be a life long addition to the face much like my fathers. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I have no memory of my father without a beard and I am convinced that his chin only exists in beard form. Much like Chuck Norris, if he shaved it off there would simply be another beard underneath of it. I needed freedom from it. In a way my beard had become much like a horrible girlfriend that you can't break up with. You know you should end the relationship but the familiarity and although it's bad you know what it will be like, as compared to the unknown of flying solo.

So was my beard, I had attempted to shave it off myself a few weeks ago but ended up just looking at myself in the mirror unable to do so. This time, I paid someone to do it because I knew I couldn't go through with it. When I told the barber this story, she laughed at me as she allowed me to sport a killer mustache for a bit.

Clean shaven and a haircut I decided to take Red out on her maiden voyage. It started out great. The normal sounds of spokes popping as I rolled down the street as they found their place. I headed downtown to meet up with some co-workers before the weekly Wednesday Night ride. Up until this point, it was good but like so many things what started good ends bad. I left Founders to head to the start of the Wednesday right when...

My chain broke. Yes, Geoff you were right, piecing together to chains together link by link does make for a weaker chain. It broke on my first climb and I was suspecting something was up because the chain was making unusual noise. No carnage though! Thankfully. Because I had feared that the chain might do this, I had a spare chain with me in my seatbag. It was already cut to length and all I had to do was push the pin through with my trusty Crank Brother Multi-tool.

I was able to throw it one without any major issue but still was very frustrated with what had just happened. The ride leaves the start at 9:30, I finished the change over at 9:28 and made a sprint in the direction that I hoped I would intersect the ride. Fortunately it's still getting dark around 9pm so I was able to track them down with all the red flashers.

The route was good and ended up swing back to around my place so I broke off from the group and headed home. I wasn't happy about having to leave the ride earlier but in all honesty I didn't trust my bike at this point. I soft pedaled home just to make sure I wouldn't have any other issues because the last thing I wanted to do was to have to walk home. As I rounded the final turn home and road up the neighbors driveway Red decided to take a dive. I still don't know what happened all I know is that I had to bail on her and fortunately I caught the bike before I went completely down and only had the pedals scrape the concrete.

Note: Concrete beats anodized metal.

I'm not too happy with Red right now. The last thing I need right now is more girl problems in my life and needless to say it was unexpected to say the least from her. She's been my pride and joy since I got her together last year and always worked flawlessly. I'm a bit frustrated to say the least and am looking for some thing to blame... which I might blame to Salsa stem on it sense the last fixie it was on, I crashed on. The stem is totally fine but I think some bad karma might be wrapped up in it.

[Sorry no pictures of Red until I decide what's next... she's being punished for her vanity now] you?

Now here's a story...

At the end of last year, I had the privilege of going to Trek World's Backstage with a few of the guys from the shop that I was at. It was a great event put on by Trek and was geared towards shop guys and not so much the shop owners and managers. The reps and the Trek employees were a bit more laid back and we were able to learn up on all of Treks products, go out and test the new bikes and then hang out a bit.

Part of the festivities involved were having a band play, and few beverages, which had nothing to do with one of shop employees deciding to take the ice cream trike over some of the BMX jumps that were set up. Another interesting thing that Trek set up was a tattoo shop to come in and do FREE Trek themed tattoos [and if you look closely at the top picture, who's in the corner of the picture? That's right, this guy!]. Yes, real tattoos. There were some crazy enough to get Mirraco permanently placed on their bodies

Well, one of the co-workers with me was Ryan aka R2 [seen on the left]. Ryan and I were really in quite an outgoing mood for those few days. We were able to find a loop hole from getting a Trek logo stamped on us... We both loved the 1 World, 2 Wheels biker logo which is a Trek design and decided to sign up for the pain. But in working this loophole and getting the design, we went from being 4 and 5 on the list to 12 and 13. Because of that we lost out on getting them for free because the shop was only able to punch out 5 sessions in the time that the band played. We were a bit disappointed to say the least.

Ryan just moved out to Colorado to start some thing new and fresh with the wife but before they headed out, Ryan totally beat me to the punch and got the tattoo done. Pretty stellar to say the least.

On a personal note, Ryan has been a great co-worker, roommate, riding partner and friend since I moved up here to the glove over 2 years ago and although I am extremely happy for R2 and his wife Jen but I do selfishly wish they were still around. In the few weeks he has been away... getting the Saturday rides together hasn't been the same or having someone to bounce off crazy bike projects off of or simply sitting at Founders for a drink or two just solving all the problems of the world are all things that I'll definitely miss. I'm already thinking road trip!

But if you're in the Denver area you must hit him up at his new shop, Littleton Cyclery. He'll take care of you. Which might have the coolest shop website I have ever seen.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

She pur-deee....

It's getting close... real close...

Friday, May 22, 2009

The 'Next' Project...

Just as one project closes... another always begins and the many others remain unfinished. I've stumbled onto this gem a number of times on Craigslist and honestly. I want it. BADLY.

I mean, really, how many people have a spare rickshaw floating around? I don't know of anyone who does, so why not me to fill that void in the universe.

Think about it. Strip it down to frame, get it repainted, new seat and canape [which is a funny word by the way], hook it up with some sweet Velocity B43's, fix the brake and shoot girl! $4,000 later and that's a hot bike. Cruise around downtown GR and make a buck or two.

Now, I just need to find an investor or a sugar-mama!

Seriously, I did just get my hands a Surly Karate Monkey via a trade with Brent [the Head Wrench at the shop] for a Dahon Folding bike and a few other things a couple of days back.

It's the Coleman green that G-Ted's is... but the goal with this bike is to make it the dream commuter/winter bike. I know, we are far from winter but judging how long it's been taking me to get these projects done, I've given myself JUST enough time to completely before the first snow.

This project will be code named 'Night Monkey' in a throw back to the old night crew at Europa in the days of Carl, Jeff, Bottke and a hand full of others. Unlike other projects, less secrecy on this one...

I'll be lacing up some hoops that I've got floating around, the Salsa Delgados. The rear will have a 7 speed internal hub with drum brake and the front will have an Ultrega hub and using rim brakes. I'm undecided on the crank and might transfer over the Race Face that was on the Ferrous that has been taken back down to frame. I also have a Thomson stem and seatpost with an extra B17 on it... so I'm pretty close.

I'm debating on getting it repainted but not for sure on what color might really make it pop and original. So I guess I'm in the market for a headset and that bike might be up before the dog days of summer hit... stellar? I think so...

The Cyclist

Just a short post today. I know that I have mentioned this site before but the Cyclist site has been a favorite of late. It's a combination of what was the Crooked Cog Network but with what I'll call a little bit more 'user-friendliness'. Check it out... Enjoy it.

Cross your fingers but some full teaser photos of Red should be coming this weekend...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Red's getting close.

Now, I must first start off by apologizing for my lack of posts in the last two weeks. Honestly, I was extremely excited to write this month, which hasn't been the case for some time. But as life happens, and when I'm completely honest, I get overwhelmed. And well, life has happened. It hasn't been the greatest of times lately but I've saved you from that until now and so I will continue to do so now...

But with the persuasion of F2 [aka Michelle our resident spell checker,editor, and dedicated Saturday Night Ride rider; and good friend] I've gotten back on the horse a bit. I've had a few bike projects that have been completed in the last few weeks if you've been following my twitter. The first was a good friend of mine's single speed project for his wife. Then it was Michelle's fixie which is HOT!!! [and will be featured here soon hopefully]. Then my roommates bike transformation... this to this.

Needless to say, I've had things going on to write about... then add on bike to work week and day last week, the ride of silence today in Grand Rapids. There are plenty of issues and topics that I should be writing on. But thank you for your patience and understanding that, well, as much as I hate to admit it there is often more drama in my life than I would like and after 27 years, I just now have discovered I don't respond well to that.

Today was a day off for me though, which always helps serve as a time to come up for air, regroup and hopefully shut of the ol' head of mine. Since I've been waiting on a few parts for Red recently I've had time to think about other ways to make her shine... This was the latest...

Now, I am be generous. Normally I have only teased at what has been done to her. But today I gave you as atonement for my lack of posts a full picture of my wheelset. They are Velocity Fusion rims, that I had earlier this spring put red nipples on and now have added 8 white spokes on the non-drive side of the wheels to for a 4 pointed star of sorts... Why you might ask? Because I can.

If all goes to plan, I will have the bike together FINALLY, next Wednesday, just in time to take her on the Wednesday Night ride that happens here in Grand Rapids each week. I might be making a last minute change to the pedals but you will have to wait and see for that....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Go By Bike: Weight Loss

Today's One World, Two Wheels statement concerns weight-loss...

'The average person loses 13 lbs. their first year of commuting by bike'

Now, this is a statement I can attest to. This past year was a big year for me and the bike. I've always loved cycling, loved how the bicycle itself worked but like so many, even though I have worked in a shop since 2000, I didn't make time to ride. I will be the first to admit that I will give up just about everything for the sake of social commitments or friendships. More often than not, I would use that as my excuse from riding or that I was simply burnt out from being around bikes all day [which was a lie].

So back in October of 2007, Brian and I began to talk about a challenge for November, much in the spirit of no shave Novembers but something much more entertaining and less likely to keep the ladies away [hey, I'm single]. From that the first No Drive challenge was birthed. I believe Brian pretty much rocked the whole month and put me to shame, but this month long challenge did make me want to do some thing more drawn out, more long term and with getting Geoff in on it last year, real miles began to be had.

At the start of the challenge [April 2008 I believe] my weight was around 255 to 260 pounds. Like many, I avoid scales so I don't know exactly where I landed on that. My daily commute was 10 miles round trip and with the No Drive Challenge I attempted to drive my car as little as possible. In June, I accidentally sold my car on Craiglist in less than 12 hours. Yeah, I put it on there more to see if I could find any takers or offers. Needless to say, not having a car forced the riding which helped.

I went car-less for around 2 months and it was maybe one of the most freeing times of my life. Money issues weren't a problem, my energy was high, and I looked forward to my rides home on the bike after a long day at the shop since it served as a way to unwind and get all the negativity that we can often carry with us from our job to home to be relieved.

By the end of the challenge in November, my weight had gone down to 220 lbs. I did this simply by riding. I didn't even change my diet which I'm sure would have shown an even greater weight loss. Like many the off-season and winter can be a difficult time not to put on weight and I now come in around 230 pounds.

This season I have around a 3 mile round trip commute at the shop I currently work at and so I'm preparing to be even more intentional about my riding to driving ratio, making more effort to get away from what I'll call the college diet I have been on the last 5 or so years. I'm thinking that come November of this year, I'll be down to around 195 pounds if all goes to plan.

Sure, depending on your body type and the amount of exercise that you currently do the amount of weight will vary but results I promise you will be felt, if not seen for sure!

What's your excuse? Get out and ride!

I'll leave you with a Project Red teaser... more red ano!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Simple Solution

'The Bike is a Simple Solution to many of the world's most complex problems' _ John Burke, president, Trek Bicycles

Now I was starting to put together some things to bounce off John Burkes quote and in doing so stumbled onto this from the One World, Two Wheels blog from the man himself. And figured instead of just saying about the same thing just not as good, why not use his words...

'There is an old proverb that says “may you live in interesting times.” And I believe we do. For the first time in our nation’s history, the average American child has a shorter life expectancy than his or her parents. Inactivity and obesity are compromising our health. Global warming is threatening our future. Congestion is eroding our patience and our mobility. These are truly interesting times.

Looking at these pressing issues; global warming, escalating obesity, increasing congestion - there is one common answer. The bicycle is a cure to much of what ails us. Its is an elegant, yet simple solution to many complex problems.'

The thing I really like about where Mr. Burke takes this idea of a simple solution is that if you break down his 3 pressing issues of global warming, escalating obesity, increasing congestion, it essentially effects every part of an 'average' Americans life of the individual, the community and the world as a whole. Yes, stating American is intentional.

_ obesity = the individual

_ congestion = the community

_ global warming = the world

Sure, depending on where you land on the political spectrum the idea of global warming occurring or not is debatable, but I would then turn that into consumption. Especially in this period of 'economic downturn' we have experienced, we as Americans can not afford financially or personally to live the way that we have been. The 'American Dream' has brought forth a reality that has fostered a Fast Food Generation[s] that demands everything now, viewing everything disposable. How does the bicycle fall into this? Well, it's not hard to see that it goes against the 'everything now' mindset, some times going as far as taking the long way. The amount of money saved riding [maintenance] compare to driving [gas, insurance, maintenance] is drastically less even if one has totally drive-train failure.

The congestion argument is often seen better in larger towns and cities but I think we can all relate at some point to sitting in traffic due to an accident or overly-cautious driver, or even waiting twice or three times in a turn lane as we make are way to the intersection even to make the turn. On a bike, route selection grows tremendously. Crossing intersections is never longer than waiting for the light to turn. And more often than not, the ride only takes a few minutes longer.

The obesity point is pretty much a no brainer... bicycling is exercise.

So I'll leave you with the video below, it's a short film from our friends on the west coast called 'Claire Rides a Bike'. Show's a great transformation [WARNING: Adult Language is used] Enjoy.

Now get out and ride... and start to change YOUR world.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

May is Bike Month

So yes. May is bike month. Most of you within the cycling world I'm sure are already aware but given my recent excursion back to the home land, I haven't been able to really embrace and write about what I hope May will bring with it's 2009 incarnation...

Most of the cycling industry is embracing this 'National' month with more published advocacy, sales and intentionality of reaching out to the public as a whole. Bike month should be a special month here at No Drive, for one, we will finally publish this years challenge, along one with introducing some new contributors and participants.

Which for me is exciting in itself to get other peoples voices and stories out there for all to enjoy. And if all goes to plan we should be covering 3 different states with participants.

Here are a few other things that I'm looking forward to this month on the site:

- Using the One World, Two Wheels promotion as a spring broad for conversation, I will be focusing on a number of posts expanding on a lot of the fact that they present on their site.

- Bike to work week, May 11-15, and day, May 15

- After a winter of waiting, Red's unveiling to the world.

- The official announcement and details of a fall gravel race here in Western Michigan, in the spirit of Trans Iowa

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Trans Iowa Race Report

TransIowa V.V is now pretty much done and over if you've been listening to Ted over at his blog. From what I last heard about 15 of the 53 beginning riders either made it or making their way towards Williamsburg for the finish. Unfortunately, Bottke and I were not able to make as strong of a showing as we would have liked.

If you were following my attempt at Twittering throughout this past week concerning the final race preparations and then the few during the race itself some of this will be review. Hopefully this will add a little bit of depth to the last week that 140 characters can't quite do...

It's story time children, sit back and enjoy....

'adamlorenz... is trying to take bottkes advice and getting better sleep this week. monday night... not so much. tonight? we'll see... sleeping = training' This was from Tuesday. Brian and I had been exchanging a few texts, emails, and phone calls about last minute things we wanted to make sure we had in order. Since we knew that we wouldn't be in contention we were simply trying to work together as best we could to finish well. A few weeks prior we had also resolved that we were in it together: start together, finish together. No pride, simply go and hopefully feed off of one another. Also by this point of the week, I wasn't sleeping, thus the post. Actually, I was sleeping but I wasn't getting any rest. Making sure I had everything, having 3 flats in the last week had me worried about a mechanical during the ride and stress was at a level that I had not seen for a number of years. Any of my friends could attest to my rather, let's call it, 'interesting' behavior around them and with them this week.

'adamlorenz... heard of carb loading before an event? well... try electrolyte loading. game on!' As I had wrote about during my Barry Roubaix pre-ride/only ride that cramping became an issue. Cramping was something I have never had to really deal with before that. Sure I've had the occasional cramp after workout and events but never during. Since at this point I was still very much over thinking everything that was happening or could happen in the next few days. On the suggestion of a coworker I really pushed water and electrolytes. An interesting thing to note about this is pushing liquids often does not help sleeping since well I was getting up a lot to relieve myself but I can definitely say there were benefits to do this.

'adamlorenz... g-ted just made my day listen... and you'll know why/ - peace of mind via new tires... only 3 days before the race. dang flats.' Listening to Mark's audio post about gravel conditions for the race definitely helped settle myself as to what to prepare for. Growing up in Iowa, everyone knows that in the spring, when Mother Nature decides it's time to rain... it rains. A LOT. Then after talking with Geoff, being that he's kind of a big deal and all, helped settle things. He hooked me up with some Bontrager CX 700x34 tires to rock for the race. I did break the golden rule of not changing things on your bike a week before a race but for how paranoid about my old tires suddenly getting a flat I couldn't afford to risk it.

'adamlorenz... - To this... Dang! i love the bd1' Oh dang, product placement! But seriously folks. The guys at Ergon know exactly what their doing and who would doubt them... their German! Jeff hooked me up with this bag back in the fall for the specific use of Trans Iowa. Sure, I use it for commuting but only up until this race have I used it to it's fullest extent. If you're on the fence with one of these bags, jump and jump fast to your local dealer and get your hands on one. You won't regret it. Super comfortable, super reliable, and fits everything but the kitchen sink inside of it. The weight distribution with the Fink Link system alone allows the pack to be carried without interfering with movement, flexibility or adding any pressure points. I can't wait to get my hands on the BC3 next, which is really suited for commuting.

'adamlorenz... First moment of panic... Brian forgot a bag at home... we should be able to fix it' After arriving in Williamsburg, Brian and I were getting our bags and bikes together before the race meeting and well, Brian left his bag and jacket in Cedar Falls, a few hour drive away! Now, if it was me, at this point I would have simply would have found the largest silo and jumped. Brian doesn't freak out all that often and fortunately his sister in law came through in the clutch and got his stuff there by the time we got back from our race meeting.

'adamlorenz... - Getting the bikes ready...' Ok ok, before you read the post, check out the linked picture. The picture is a bit blurry and my bike is on the left. Brian's on the right. Brian had one of the most interesting and creative bike set ups there. Sure, there were guys who rode Fargos, cross bikes, 29ers and the like. But not Brian. Brian took his fixie frame [lugged steel] and built up wheels, changed the crank, bottom bracket, and added a rear derailleur.... and oh hose clamped 5 bottles onto this bike. He easily had the heaviest bike in the field, fully built without any water in the bottles... 32 lbs!

Now the race updates...

I won't copy those over... but the 4am started did originally bother me a bit but in reality it wasn't all that bad. We ended up having Craig [one of the guys at my old shop, Brian's current] brother drive us all to the start line in his truck. We had 3 bikes in bed, 3 guys up front and me, with the bikes. Seriously awesome. For some reason those few minutes in the back really took away all the nervous energy I had when I woke up.

Mark started the race promptly, with his normal brand of humor and we took off. The lead group of riders did set up a pace that the other half of the group did not really take. Brian and I moved to the back keeping our approach of slow and steady being the best. I wish I would have been able to take a picture but seeing all the red taillights litter the gravel a head along with the light glow of the headlight because it was just an amazing sight. I remember turning to Brian pretty early on when it just dawned on me that, riding right then, was exactly why I loved to ride. The Iowa country side is quiet and the stars were out it was just great riding in the dark with no lighting except for your light and the occasional farm house. Riding gravel in the night is the way to go, often during the day when you can see that next big hill or the grade that you are on, your mind often gets the best of you where riding where you can only see as far as your light allows the rider to simply focus on each pedal.

We kept a solid pace to the first check point. My computer decided to work when it wanted to so I have no idea what exactly we were putting for the MPH but it was exactly where we wanted to be. We got into Washington, Iowa the first check point at 7:40am, 20 minutes before the cut off. Brian was able to get some tea at the coffee shop there to settle his stomach. We refilled, shed some layers and were on our way. Oh, I should mention that the volunteers rocked! Super encouraging, super laid back. Made for a stress free stop... that is until Brian and I decided begin the second leg.

We had some issues getting out of the town. The Q sheets where clear and I'm going to mark this one up to us not being able to navigate. If you look at the map below of what we road and zoom onto Washington you can see where there are 2 green arrows and a very short road between the two. Of course, then you will also see the read line not connecting the two and do a few circles. We ended up finding E. 5th and making our way hoping it would connect us up to where we should be. I believe we added about 4 miles in that little detour.

After this little mix up, we were cruising a few miles before we got back onto the gravel. Unfortunately right on the climb, I began to get the hint of a cramp on my left leg on the back of the thigh. We stopped, I threw down some gu blocks, a good amount of electrolytes and slid around on my seat and found a position that after a bit got it to go away. It was then that we started to encounter a good headwind. This of course, effects the pace that we were going at. We started to dip down below 10 mph which was not a concern because we both thought that we could then make it up on downhills and crosswind sections.

We started to realize [ - 67 miles in. pace slowing. dnf probable] that our pace was making the second checkpoint at 150 miles less and less likely. Brian and I mentioned it a time or two, and the seed was planted from there. We had gotten word in Washington that the route was going to be swinging back towards Williamsburg and that started to make more and more sense as logical end with all our stuff, Brian's wife and sister in law there. At the 71 mile mark, we stopped and really finalized the decision to end it. In consulting our Q sheets and Brian's handy cell phone we were narrowing down where the route was taking us exactly. This is where the picture at the top was taken [also marked on the map with the camera icon].

The ending was tough to get to. The final straight away on 280th was filled with a bunch of rolling hills that had a fair amount of grade to them, making the final 7 miles of our ride memorable. Being that my bike was dramatically lighter I was often able to pull away from Brian on the climbs and these were no different. Unfortunately one of the last hills my left leg decided to act up again. I got off the bike and the cramp intensified. And as timing would have it I had just run out of fluid and stretching did not do much to help. I was fortunate that unlike what has happened to me in the past when my leg cramped up badly, it went away once I was able to walk a bit. By the time I was on the top of the hill, I was able to saddle back up and ride the final few hills and finish on the bike.

Overall, Trans Iowa was a great experience. A learning time not only when on the bike but also how stress effects myself personally. I'm looking forward to setting forth a few more goals for this year which will probably entail a few more long gravel rides, all with the intention of coming back next year with better fitness and nutrition and outlook to finish it.

There are thanks that need to be given to quite a few people as I close:

-Mark Stevenson [G-Ted] and David Pals - You guys put on an amazing race and saying thank you is not nearly enough. You are both top notch men and friends. If anyone ever wonders how a race SHOULD be run, look no further than Trans Iowa and to you both. Your love for cycling and for your willingness to sacrifice family time and your own riding time to giving others the chance to do such an event is awesome.

- Jeff Kerkove and Ergon great product. Great resource and friend. Thanks for supplying me with a pack.

- Geoff, Keith, Michelle, Jeff, Tom, my guys at Mars Hill Students, my co-workers thank you for your support and simply putting up with me the last few weeks as 'crazy' Adam came out. Thank you for trying to keep my head on my shoulders when all I wanted to do was freak.

- Brian, my fellow Trans Iowa conspirator. You are a great friend and it was great to hang out for a few miles as we worked out how to solve all the worlds problems, or at least the Church's. Next year we will finish!

- Thanks to all the sponsors of the event. I don't think any of the riders did it for swag but we are greatful for everything you provided... Feepish, Garmin, Salsa, Surly, Ergon, Vassago Cycles, TwinSix, AdventureCorps, Rough Riders,, CycleCity, Epic Designs, WEMBS, Snappy Caps, and Ritchey