Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Mostest Favorite Bike Ever.

Remember when we were kids, and bike riding was just a simple, easy way to have fun? Before we worried about work, money, evil managers and deadlines?

Well, here's to Being a kid again. Meet Trixie, my favorite-ist bike I ever did have.

I like bikes.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


My phone's kind of a big deal.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thumbs Down!

A few weeks ago, I did my initial thoughts on my new DVS/Cadence shoe. I was extremely excited to be getting these as replacements for my Adidas Sambas. Since they were designed around and with cycling in mind, I expected that these would easily hold up to the normal daily wear and tear along with my normal riding.

First, let’s look at the pedals I used with these shoes…

Cannondale Grind pedals on my polo bike.

MKS Touring Lite pedals from the Voyageur.

Red’s All-City pedals with All-City toe clips and double straps.

Basic platform pedals on my Racer.

Now, let me let the shoe do the talking.

Keep in mind, these are around a month old and used for daily use, and going as far to be intentional in untying and tying the shoes when taking them off. Not only is the sole of the shoe apart on the side, the bottom of the shoe is coming unglued. The back ‘Friday’ decal on the back of right shoe, disappeared one day, and the seem on the back upper heals of the shoe also have been ‘shedding’. All of this saddens me greatly, these have been extremely comfortable and work great with the toe clips on Red. I have had DVS shoes in the past and have held up extremely well.

I expected more from both DVS and Cadence, I’ll continue to wear these but don’t expect them to make it through the fall. Any suggestions on what should be next?

Friday, September 17, 2010


... and with that I now understand what John Lennon was talking about with Instant Karma - 'gonna knock you right in the head'. Found from Prolly.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to... Tubular Installation.

Ok, the title is a bit misleading. I, by no means, know what I'm talking about when it comes to tubular tire installation. Fortunately, I was able to successfully install my first set of Vittoria Cross Evo XG tubulars on my set of Major Tom's. Before I dive into the installation process, I've got to gloat a little bit about the MT's. Can I say that these have now become my favorite rim/wheels from Velocity. Sure, I work there but like a father and his children, each hold a special place but some seem to rise to the top.

I built these up for the product shots and Interbike display, I had to take my A23 wheelset apart to build them up and thus how they came into my belonging. It's built up to the Pro Build: Saphim CX Ray spokes, radial 24 hole front, 2x 28 hole rear with brass nipples. Yes, I'm a bigger guy but the argument then turns on a few other factors: riding style and where/how I'll be riding to name a few. I'm on the upper end of the scale where going to a double budded spoke could be considered, these wheels will be used for gravel rides/races and the upcoming Kisscross season. I fully intend on pushing these wheels to the limit to see how they handle.

There are multiple different approaches and thoughts on how to glue up tubulars, I suggest exploring around asking those with expertise their thoughts and then diving in. I ended up going with 3M Fast Tack Adhesive for the glue instead of other options, just because of the rave reviews given by a lot of the local legends and roadies here in GR and the followed the instructions on how to install the tubulars listed on the back of the packing from Vittoria.

First I set out everything I thought I might need: the Fast Tack, ample amount of shop rags, and since my kitchen doubles as 'shop area' had degreasers and a couple of different kinds of soaps at hand.

I had let the tubulars stretch on the rim for 4 days at max pressure to help aid in the installation process. Below is Vittoria's 'Fitting the Tubular' instructions [with a few photos from my process, understandably it was a little difficult to take pictures and then mess with the glue and visa-versa]:


Gluing and mounting
1 Lightly abrade the rim base to provide a key for the cement, clean with a gentle solvent, and leave to dry
2 Clean the base tape of the tubular with just soapy water and a gentle cleaner [no solvent] and let dry
3 Spread a thin layer of [glue] over the rim, and over the base tape

4 After 5-10 minutes, apply a second coat of [glue] to the rim only.
5 Leave to dry for 3-5 minutes
6 Mount the tubular on the rim, inflate slightly, and center it
7 Inflate the tubular to working pressure. [Glue] reaches its full strength after about 24 hours

Keep tubulars in a dry place and, importantly, out of the light. After riding, remove debris such as metal, glass, flints, or anything stuck in the tread. Clean with water and mild soap such as washing-up liquid - avoid products containing hydrocarbons, dilutants, or corrosive substances. When not in use, tubulars should be kept inflated to 5-6 bar [70-90 psi] and suspended [to avoid causing 'flat spots']


So how did my experience go? Very well. A few sticky fingers but the Seam Relief Channel the Major Tom has truly helps aid in tubular installation and centering. I could easily see how frustrated people can and do get installing a tubular on rims that don't have such a guide. It also seemed to help in keeping the glue in place.

Two thumbs up! Now to hit the gravel and if all goes to plan the Kisscross race this weekend!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

1 Studio :: 7 bikes

Hi, I'm Adam and I have a problem. I have this thing with bikes. Call it obsession, call it what you like. There is just some thing about this simple machine that gets me. On my last post on the newest addition to the family, SiouxGeonx commented:
[...] Six bikes in an apartment... yea, that's a squeeze! Not sure how I'd give up an Xtra
It dawned on me I could share a little of my new abode to show off how I've done my best to maximize the space I have and store the bikes.

Here are the first 4: the Voyageur, 'Cross bike, Red and the Monkey

The Bike Polo bike, which isn't much go home about, although it's a US made Fisher.

And the Hon.

Sorry for the blurry pictures, my camera was acting up and I didn't feel like fighting with it. In the end, sure, I could get rid of a few bikes which would allow for the remaining to be rode more often. I'm sure you can see why it made sense to part ways with the Xtracycle kit. Although I'll let you guess which ones I might never let go of, each are special... in their own way.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life's a Voyage-ur

That's right, life is a voyage. We're all going some where, we talk to people, make new friends and keep up with old ones. The story of my newest bike is some thing like that. 3 years ago, as many of you know, life brought me to the high five of Michigan after the time came for much needed change. One of the many people I have kept up with since moving is the one and only Guitar Ted. We've exchanged emails, gone for rides when I've made my way back to the homeland, and the such.

Recently, Mark [ask G-Ted] posted on his Twitter that a Xtracycle could be in the future for him. Being in the middle of a move and evaluating what I have, what I need and didn't need. In seeing that, I sent him a little what's up and said that I had a Xtracycle kit that had spent the last year in pieces since taking off the K-Monkey to finally get a mountain bike going. Since I was moving from a house to a studio, space was the issue and with 6 other bikes floating around having the Xtracycle wasn't the best idea.

I told Mark, I was looking for a touring bike and a few other odds and ends. And what do you know, Mark just so happened to have a 1987 Schwinn Voyageur gathering dust in his basement. A trade began to work itself out and through some middlemen the bike made its way here and the Xtracycle kit his way...

Here is what the Voyageur looked like when I got it:

The bike came with Campy barend shifters, Shimano 105 brake levers, Shimano Deore front deraileur, Shimano 6 speed rear, Suntour cranks, Blackburn front and rear racks. To be perfectly honest, I was so excited about getting the bike that I didn't really pay a whole lot of attention while I was taking it down to it's frame for paint. Yes, that's right, paint. I decided that I couldn't deny my desire to update the look of the bike and started on the 'winter' project right way.

I asked around to the guys in the wheel department at Velocity what a classic or pseudo-classic color for the bike might be and in the end I landed on a baby blue. As luck may have it, parts began to compile. As I stumbled onto the actual decal set from Alger Cyclery along with a few year old, yet still in the box 105 crank and 105 rear deraileur. I had the WTB Mountain Drop Bar floating around from my Trans Iowa set-up a few years back and decided that it would be a good way to go for touring. The canti brakes, front deraileur, Campy bar end shifters and 105 brake levers all cleaned up great with a little elbow grease. I couldn't help myself when I had the chance to bring the baby blue down onto the racks. I topped off the touring rig with a Shimano Dymo hub in the front, laced to Halo Dyads [32 hole 3x front, 36 hole 4x rear], bronze Bottle Traps and a brown Chris King 1" headset.

So without much ado, the after:

I'm excited to get this thing out on the road, I could easily see this become my main commuter. Either way, there are 3 rides begging for this bike to be used: the November 13th/14th 200 mile Cadillac and Back installment: honoring the 29 men lost with the Edmond Fitzgerald, RAGBRAI, and my personal goal of riding around Lake Michigan. We'll see what become of it.


I sent an email to Mark, just to show him what became of his rig and he responded with an email that gave the Voyageur even more history and story...

Here's a bit of the back round on this rig, just so you know the history of it.........

This Voyaguer came in as a trade in to Advantage Cyclery when I worked there. It belonged to Jim T. [...] Jim bought the bike new from Ansborough Schwinn. So, I see this bike, and Jim was hemming and hawing about buying a new rig. I needed to find a rig to get my buddy Ryan S. a cheap rig so he could join us on our tour that we took to the Black Hills. Anyway, I finagled Jim out of the Voyaguer and into a Bianchi, which he owned up until recently.

Okay, so Ryan owned the bike for a couple of years, did two tours on it, but basically never rode it otherwise. I ended up taking it off his hands, since I pretty much twisted his arm to buy it in the first place. I used it a few times. Once on the inaugural Trails festival, in 1996, I rode it on the night ride. There was a big blow out party at Bennington's that night, and I was showing off by track standing off one side of the bike and blew out the 40 spoke rear wheel in the process! I maybe rode it a handful of times afterward.

So, now it is in your hands and you get to write the next chapter of its history

Friday, September 3, 2010

I need a translator.

Wow, 2 posts in a week that have little or no English... I need a translator. I don't know what this guy is saying but I'm sure I agree and heck, it looks good. I found this over at Trackosaurus Rex.

CYCLOCROSS by Ken Bloomer from e r t z u i ° film on Vimeo.

Getting super excited this weekend, my mother is visiting and I should have my new Major Tom wheelset up and running as the tubulars have been stretching for a few days. I'll post up how that went on Monday. Although I'll never claim to be fast, I'm really looking forward to this years Kisscross races, we'll see if I can improve! Enjoy your 3 day weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Unhappy Hipster: NDJR edition

No matter how much Jim fought the feeling, the more he compartmentalized his life, the more he felt as if the walls were closing in on him.


One of the many sites I frequent is Unhappy Hipsters and the above was my attempt at joining in on the fun. Maybe it's the uncanny similarity to theirs and my twitter photo [which I must say is purely coincidence] but the sight gives this unhappy hipster quite a lot of joy. The picture comes from the article below from the Seattle Times by Rebecca Teagarden/photos by Benjamin Benschneider on cyclist/designer/dreamer Steve Sauer. Enjoy.

Tiny apartment shows the value of a good fit

Steve Sauer's 182-square-foot Seattle condo shows the value of a good fit, from the soaking tub built into the entry floor to the "video lounge" tucked beneath the "cafe area." Sauer shopped Ikea for many of his home's furnishings, such as a little table, and used tabletops to fashion cabinet fronts.

WE SIT IN the "cafe area" of Steve Sauer's minuscule apartment enjoying the view from the home's only window, street level. Dogs on leashes and legs on humans pass by on a warm Lower Queen Anne evening.

Sauer stands up. This is to demonstrate that at 6-foot-2 he has a no-more-than-needed 2-inch clearance between his head and the ceiling.

Sauer likes this precision. Awkward spaces, wasted places annoy him. Two alarm clocks, two music sources, extra furniture. Needless, needless, needless.

"What I really wanted was one place with exactly what I needed and wanted. Quality is more important than quantity for me, and extra space only a problem," he has written, describing his nearby too-big-for-him, one-bedroom condo.

To me he says, "I tend to like things in their place."

And that explains it: The uber-cool, fully functional 182-square-foot home for two on the basement floor of a 102-year-old apartment building that Sauer is finishing after seven years of work. It could also have something to do with his line of work — airplane interiors engineering for Boeing. And education — a master's degree in whole-systems design.

Sauer's tiny Seattle home is remarkable. But it shouldn't be.

"I wanted to compress my home to squirt me back out to the community," he says, taking inspiration from dwellings in Scandinavia and Japan, places where space is dear. "That was one of the philosophical reasons. I want to be able to shop daily, not store a lot and eat really well."

Homeowners are building smaller in general. It's economical and ecological. But few do it in 11-feet-3-inches wide, by 16-feet-2-inches deep, by 10-feet-4-inches tall (Sauer is very accurate) with two beds, a full kitchen with a dishwasher, bathroom with a shower, a soaking tub set into the floor just inside the front door. On three living levels. There's also closet space, a dining table and storage for two bikes. All of it contemporary and in cool blue, with accents of black, red and white.

Down in the "video lounge," directly beneath the "cafe area," we do lounge — on a seating for two covered in pink-and-orange-striped cushions from Ikea. White lambskin rug on the floor. Straight ahead is the 37-inch TV. An arm's length away, to the right, is the dining table.

"Everything represents 10 to 100 hours of Internet searching," says Sauer. (Faucets, for instance came from a German seller on eBay.) "I wanted a really high level of finish, but small." His approach was a fluid melding of items versus design, "constant circles of making it come together. I don't plan and then do. I keep it all floating around in my head. I pretty much refuse to write it down. I like to pick up the tool and the material and go for it. If you write it down it takes all the fun out of it."

Science fun, he means.

When Sauer couldn't find the things he needed, he designed them and built them: The stainless-steel shower caddy, towel bar. For other pieces, "Ikea came through again." Lighting, cabinet pulls, and butcher block for shelves, the table top and cabinet fronts. The rich flooring, Brazilian walnut, was installed by Matt Messenger. A bureau from West Elm fit to 1/8 of an inch, and so it was ordered.

We move to the dining area. Sauer says, "The greatest innovation anywhere for space is boats. Even more than spaceships and submarines."

Always thinking.

"I've built things my whole life. I have to do something to keep myself sane. Plus, the parties have been fantastic," says Sauer, who reports his finished place holds a crowd of 10.

"My dream is to put 300 of these in a building and not have it be a tenement."


To read more about Steve Sauer's tiny-dwelling project, search for "pico-dwelling" on the Web.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

'Buyers Guide'

Ok, let's put this out there... I like Trek Bikes. I do. Long ago back in 1996 or so, when I was in search of my first 'adult' bike after outgrowing my first real bike, the Mongoose Sycamore [which is still a strange name for a bike that moves], all I knew I wanted was a Trek. I do not know why, sure it probably had a lot to do with a few of my friends having them but then being sold on it by one of my later co-workers, Clay, at Europa Cycle. Side note, Clay to this day, is one of the most inspiring people I have known and just one of the great people who have come out of that shop. I ended up landing on the Trek 6500.

I've worked in two Trek shops in my day, I've visited the mothership once, had the privledge of knowing a number of current and former Trek employees and with that said for as much as I push against big brother, I have a soft spot for most of what they do. Heck, John Burke [president of Trek] has one of my favorite quotes, which has unfortunately turned into a tag line:

Cycling is 'a simple solution to complex problems'

I'll even admit that his quote is on my cover letter in my resume. Some thing about it rings very true to me, even in my daily struggle to embrace it. [Damn the crutch that is my Xbox].

This past Sunday I was able to get my hands on the 2011 Trek Buyers Guide. Which is very much a dose of bike porn that comes once a year as the new products come out around Interbike time. Our good friend and fellow NDJR contributor, Tom from Holland Cycling, hand delivered a copy to thumb through and I figured I'd share a few thoughts on it.

The Good. It's thorough. Filled the the brim with more information most are able to digest. Handing this over to the 'I know more than you' customer should do them justice. In the past, with it's size this might have been called the pitch book that was given out to each Trek shop as to serve as a resourse/tool for sales staff to know selling points and highlights to the new bikes. Hopefully this replaced the pitch book, otherwise I would hate to see how large that is.

The Bad. In avoiding the whole 'Gary Fisher Collection' decision and only saying in the end it makes sense. I'll say this in regards to the buyers guide, for being an 'Eco' friendly company. I have a hard time justifying the amount of paper, press, and resources needed for this to be a disposable handout.

The Ugly [or how does it look?]. Well, all you hipster Christians out there or Rob Bell followers will notice a very familiar format. So yes, it looks good.

Here are the bikes that get my thumbs up... [with the disclaimer, I have not actually seen, rode, or worked on... maybe I should just say I'm lusting over]...

The completely unnecessary District Carbon

Finally the Transport +, a bike that I saw the concept of back at Trek World a few years back.

Ok, besides bikes, what I'm extremely interested in checking out are their Bontrager white Eco tires that are seen on a number of the bikes but I couldn't find any information online on them. Hopefully they will be available and could serve as an excellent alternative to the Schwalbe Fat Frank tires. Might be pretty hot on the cruiser or touring rig, we'll see.