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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Jackson’

First Ride on the Fixed Bobby J

Right, then…

First, I’m typing this on the iPad as my MacBook died and I left my work MacBook at…well…work (don’t like taking that on a bike commute). So, if this is poorly punctuated, or spelled, you know why.

Anyway, maiden voyage on the Bob Jackson after I converted it to fixed.  What’s nice is that the FG muscle memory from 5 years ago (yes, it’s been that long) stuck around, so I picked it right back up, no problem.  As suspected, however, the 15T cog is geared crazy tall, so it was a push on all surfaces except the slight downhills.

Uphills are a thing…I mean, they alway were, but now I can’t drop down to a 34T cog and go for it. Also, did I mention I live on the side of a hill?  Nothing massive, but enough to that I have to stand on the pedals to get up them   Hell I have to stand on the pedals to get going from a stop while on the flats.  If there’s a stop sign going uphill, I check my 9, 12 and 3 and go for it.  Pisser with that is that I lose my moral high ground when it comes to other assholes that regularly blow stop signs.

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Dig the groovy red seat.  Also, I realize that the derailleur cables are still there   Those are coming off, soon.

Also, I fitted a Wald medium basket to the front.  I noticed that when I have full panniers on the back, it gets light in the front, so now I have a way of balancing it out, a bit.  Small challenge was that the basket it just barely narrow enough to fit between the drops, but I was able to mount it low enough to make it work.  The few pounds up there do seem to make a difference, handling-wise.

So the verdict:  I like it!  I missed riding FG.  While I’m overgeared, I’m inclined to gut it out with this configuration in order to get in to shape.  Maybe after a while, I’ll either get a bigger cog or even one of those slick Surly dingle x cog things.

 

 

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Because I am a masochist…

…I built up a fixed gear.

Right, then…

So, to be fair, fixed gear and masochism are not always linked.  Fixed gear and living on the side of a hill and cycle commuting with about 15 to 17 lbs of stuff, plus being on the heavier side anyway….that’s masochist.  Also, did I tell you that I’m running 42/15 for a sweet 2.8:1 gear ratio?  That’s great for the hills, no?  Because I’m not an idiot, I put an 18T freewheel on the other side.

To be fair to me, I set out to get something closer to a 16T rear cog.  But once I got to Walt’s, they were all out of 16’s (I guess that’s a popular size).  Channeling my inner Veruca Salt, I wanted it now, so I said “Screw it” and got the 15T that was on the peg.  Using the magical Sheldon Brown Gear Calculator I figure I got 75.6 gear inches with the 15T; 63 with the 18T freewheel.  I think I’m over geared.  But at least I have a fixed gear bike, again…though I might be pushing it up some parts…  They say that you gain fitness by riding fixed…I sure hope so, or I’m about to subject myself to some serious torture for no good reason at all…

I also have a basket on it, now.  I ordered one of those Wald medium baskets because when I put fairly loaded panniers on the back, the front gets light.  So maybe I can put some clothes and shoes or something up front to even out the load.  It’s a bitch as the handlebars are a little too narrow and they rub on the basket, but I think I mounted it low enough that I might be OK.  The bummer is that the clamps for the basket took up the little free bar space I had for a light and bell. Regardless, I look forward to trying to ride with a load on the front to see how differently the bike handles.

As for training, I’ve found a loop that takes me from the girlfriends house along a routed with varying hills for 22 to 25 miles, depending on if I turn or do an out-and-back.  Last Sunday, however, a friend and I did 32 miles through Woodside, primarily on Canada Rd. I was on the Raleigh, which has taller gearing than the touring bikes, so it was a decent workout.  One day, I might be good enough to do that on the fixed gear.

Also, members of the bike tour group signed up for the 100K Tierra Bella route at the end of April.  That’s going to be interesting, I think.  I figure that if we can complete the 62 miles, then we’re in pretty good shape for the bike tour.  I got 2 months to get in to shape. Oiy.

Updates, El Nino, This and That

Right, then…

So, since Christmas there have been some new developments:

As stated earlier, I bought a rigid Jamis Diablo frame with designs to build it up as an adventure bike/commuter/whatever.  That’s about 80% done.  I dropped the frame off at Bronson Silva and had a bunch of braze-on’s added (rear dropouts for racks, front drop outs and mid-fork for racks, bottle bracket underneath down tube and a couple of others that I don’t rightly remember).  I fairly gutted the FSR of all of it’s rotating equipment and bought some random parts (stem, handlebars, thumb shifters, etc…) from a place called Changing Gears Bicycles on Alameda.  Changing Gears is a charity place – they take in donated bikes and parts and have a community work shop area to train underprivileged kids skills about repair and such…so not only do they have stuff for cheap, but it’s for a good cause.  Anyway, it’s mostly built and I was out riding up and down the street last night….I have some things to dial in (shorten the chain and tweak the derailleurs) but I think it’s coming along.  Once I get it sorted, I’ll head back down to Tahn to talk about racks…then we’ll work on the powder coating.  I always thought of keeping it rattle can black, but my mind wants a metallic burnt orange…which, of course, will be too nice to fuck up, so I’ll be afraid to ride it.

Got the front wheel back on the Dawes and lemme tell you:  That new hub is the shit!  Something called and SP-8 – fairly new to the market, I think.  Fairly cheap – I think I paid $130 or so for it – and, most importantly, I can’t really detect any rolling resistance.  So, now not only do I have a full-time headlight, but it also now works great in the rain!

Speaking of rain…  So, I’m cycle commuting more (I’ll get to my reason, next).  Last Wednesday, I roll out in 60 degree weather, take the train to Palo Alto and then proceed my ride in to work.  I knew that there was a storm coming in that night, but the forecast showed some rain later so it didn’t seem that threatening.  As it was warm, I forgot my rain jacket.  The ride in was somewhat glorious – great weather, and Google Maps was routing me through these great neighborhoods in Palo Alto (not like there are bad neighborhoods in PA, but still).  So, work all day, and start to head out.  As I’m wheeling the bike out of the building, I get hit with a few drops and it’s windy.  No problem – a few drops is not a thing, so I head back to Mt View station.  About 2 blocks away, the rain gets heavier.  I remembered that I had stashed a backpacking poncho in my handlebar bag to try out, so no better time, right?  No.  I learned that a poncho in 15 to 20 mph wind works like a goddamn airbrake…so that came back off.  Now it’s windier and rainier and I’m just battering into it.  Normally, I like to ride to Mt View station so I can get a few more miles in, but on this particular occasion, temptation got the best of me and I gave up and went to the closer station in Sunnyvale.  Once I get to my home station, I was going to ride the final 2.5 miles home.  And it’s a pissing rainstorm with stronger winds.  Also, I live on the side of a hill.  Survey says:  Fuck that.  On the taxi line, there’s a minivan.  “Will you take me and the bike?”  “Can you fit it in?”  “I will”.  Best $18 I ever spent.

So, why am I riding so much, again?  Well, a friend is having a milestone birthday and to celebrate, we’re doing a Backroads Tour through Glacier National Park.  Each day is roughly 30 to 50 miles.  Day 2 is Going to the Sun Road, which is something like an average of 10% grade.  So, I gots to get in shape.  In addition to training rides on the weekends with others, I’m getting my legs back in shape by cycle commuting.  So there’s that.

To help with this, I’m building up a fixed gear bike.  This will be the Bob Jackson that I recently spent money on to get cabled up.  When I lived in Santa Clara, I had a fixed gear bike, but when I moved to hillier terrain, I tore it down.  Now, I’ve learned that fixed gear + hills = good fitness.  Having more money that I did when I built up the original FG, I’ve ordered a set of Sun CR18 rims with Formula hubs (which I’m told are just fine, despite not having snob appeal), the rear being flip flop.  So now, I’ll have the bailout option of a lower gear and freewheel, if needed.  Not sure what I’m going to be doing with the cranks as I’ve half a mind to do a 2×1 or 2×2 setup to give me more bail out options…time will tell on that one.

One final thing:  Sometimes the gods speak to us and we ignore them at our peril.  On Feb 15, I roll out to go in to work.  About 3/4 mile from home, I flatted.  Having the skills and materials, but not the time, I head back home to swap bikes.  Now, I make it all the way down to the train station.  While I’ve missed the earlier train, one should be expected in 15 minutes, or so.  I check to see when it will arrive and the website mentions a “Saturday Schedule in light of the holiday.”  Holiday?  Aw, shit – it’s President’s day.  The next train won’t be there for another hour.  Can’t hang out that long.  So back up the hill I go, shower change and drive in to work.  The gods were speaking to me when I flatted; I need to get better an listening to the gods.

A Teensy Bit of Progress

Right, then…

A couple of days ago I mentioned building up the Bob Jackson frame which would basically be a mash up of newly-acquired (but not necessarily new) parts, and parts from my two existing Dawes’ – the fixie will be stripped of parts and will be going out of commission/sold/donated; the touring bike will swap out some parts and be reincarnated as an upright townie bike.

Welp, I finally got off my ass and made a move – the FG has been torn down.  The BB is now on the Bob Jackson; the frame and the Dawes fork will be dropped off at Willow Glen Bicycles to have a headset installed (and have the steerer tube shortened and threaded).

The main purpose of this is due to the fact that I’m moving.  I already fell silly with five bikes (only two of which are in regular rotation; the other two are in occasional use and one (MTB) is hanging in the rafters).  I did not want to show up with six bikes, so I figured now would be a good time to start the project.

Also, the focus now is to see how cheaply I can build up the Bobby J, using existing and used parts.  Granted, some stuff will need to be new.  It’s more of a challenge for me, now.

The bad news is that I no longer have a fixie…sooner or later that vacuum will need to be filled…along with a Mixte and 17 thousand million other bikes.

Thing’s are a-changin’

Right, then…

First off, summer is here [finally].  After some bullshit weather (rain, cold) into the beginning of June, it’s officially been Hotter Than Balls the past couple of days.  I think it will continue through tomorrow, then go back to normal temps.  But at least it’s not raining, which is good.

So, now that we have good weather, I should be out riding and running, right?  Well, yes, that is what I would normally be doing, but I’m back to this stupid fucking chest cold again.  This is the third time this year I’ve had this.  I think I had this in April, then it came back in late May.  Then, my concern was that I wouldn’t be well enough to ride Tour de Cure in June, but I got better right before that.  Rode the tour, then started a great week of running (logged 21 miles) including sprints and some distance.  The plan was to then shift back to the bike and get some hills in (my normal Foothill/Moody Rd route)…

…then, I got sick again.  Fuck.  Of course, now that I know one should not exercise with a chest cold I’m back down to doing nothing, which sucks.  Frustrating in that it seem that whenever I start to make progress, I get sick again.  The reason I’m working out and not drinking and all that is to avoid this shit – now it’s happening more often.  Bugger.

So that’s that.  I mean, I’ll get better and be back on the road soon enough, but I just had to bitch about it.

In other news, I got a room in a house up in Millbrae.  I originally was going to head back to Fremont, but someone suggested the peninsula would be a nice place to live, to which I agreed.  I chose Millbrae as it has a BART/CalTrain station right there and is generally a nice place to be.  Near the house is a reservoir (drinking water, so I can’t paddle or swim in it) that has trails that I can bike and run.  Better still, we’re only about a 15 min drive (1 hour bike ride) to Pacifica.  I guess it’s time to take those surfing lessons I’ve been threatening to take.  Also, Millbrae has a little downtown area, down the hill.  As for hills, I’ll definitely be able to get my hill repeats in – a check of MapMyRide shows that Millbrae Ave has a steadily increasing hill starting at 0 and increasing to 13% grade over 1.6 miles.  That will get the heart going.

In other words, I’m moving.  There will be an overlap in July which sucks, but that’s life.  I’d rather do that then try to be out of one place and in to another all in one day.

In the meantime, I’m looking at stuff I need to get rid of.  I see no point in storing anything as I’ll wind up paying more for storage than I would just buying new stuff whenever I get my own place again.  A yard sale is in the works to get rid of the big stuff (desk, storage cabinet – I already sold the table and couch to some friends) and small stuff (electric guitar, other assorted items).

The move has caused a desire to de-clutter.  Also, as I’m trying to watch my dollars closer (getting out of debt would be nice) I’m looking at the minimalist/frugality aspect of things.  It’s interesting.  Not sure how far I’ll go in to this, but some things are worth trying.  I mean, I don’t see myself reusing paper towels or anything, but I might try some new things.

By the way, minimalism and frugality are not synonymous.  Minimalism is more about the aesthetic of not having a lot of clutter; cost is not a concern in this case.  Contrarily, frugality is getting maximum value out of an item; in this case cost is a point of consideration, but only in relation to the objects longevity.  More to the point, the difference is this:

Minimalism:  I simply must get an iPad so I can read books.

Frugality:  I can check books out at the library

I go through this every now and again, but wind up abandoning it when I’m hurried for time.  Then again, I’ve changed in recent years, so maybe I’m at that point where I can make it stick.  Regardless, it’s always good to declutter – less stuff to lug about (and dust).

On to bikes.  The Bobby J is still sitting in the corner.  My overarching goal is to poach the good stuff from the Dawes and make the Bobby J my randonneuring bike and the Dawes my upright tool around bike.  As I’m moving, my goal now is to strip the desired parts off of the fixed gear Dawes and put it on the Bobby J – the purpose of which is twofold:  1)  It’s cheaper, and 2) the sooner I strip the Dawes frame, the sooner I can possibly sell/donate it and thus not lug it up to the new place.  That’s the thought at least.

Well, enough of this.  I probably should be getting about my day.  Lots of stuff to do…

Updates and Whathaveyou…

Right, then…

So it looks like it’s been almost 2 months since I last posted.  In my defense, I was traveling most of April for work (with one week of vacation).  By the time I hit may, I didn’t want to see the inside of an airplane ever again.  Lots have been going on.

The living situation.  The one roommate that is getting married finally found an apartment and is in the process of moving out.  Right now the remaining roommate and I are still in limbo as he’s vying for a job in Novato – if he gets it, we all move out; if not, we stay.

The job situation.  It looks like I’ll be picking up another 2 day/week gig up in Berkeley.  So if I wind up moving, I’ll be going back up to Fremont.  That would put me at the end of the BART line for when I need to go to Berkeley, but will be 20 miles from my Santa Clara job, which would help me get my weekly riding miles in.  If I wind up staying, then I’m riding to Fremont BART at Bitch:30 in the morning on the days that I ride.  So we’ll see how that shakes out.

Riding.  Naturally, my miles in April were off.  My miles in May really weren’t better due to work, fatigue and general malaisiness.  It’s frustrating in that I was doing quite well and in the groove before April, but this always happens:  I get a good routine down then something comes up and jacks it.  Right now I’m just trying to ride it out until I get back into the swing of things.

Bikes.  As part of the Berkeley gig, I know that I’ll be riding some hills from the Downtown Berkeley BART to the site.  Not just wanting to rely on the Dawes, I converted the old mountain bike from single speed back to multi-speed.  This required some parts, so I wandered down to Willow Glen Bikes.  Upon arriving Tahn asked of my whereabouts and informed me that he had something for me.  It seems that when Shaw’s closed down, all of their excess inventory was purchased by Phil Wood, who was now selling it from their shop in downtown San Jose.  When Tahn was there, he came across a Bob Jackson (hand-built lugged Reynolds 531 frame – very desirable) for – get this:  $20.  It’s a bit big for me, but not nearly as large as the Dawes – I think the Dawes is 63cm and the Bobby J is 60cm – so I have an extra inch of space.  My original plan before all of this was to refurbish the FG Dawes with upright handle bars, flip/flop wheel, wider tires, powder coat the frame, etc…  Now I’m going to convert the other Dawes to an upright single speed and move the drivetrain, racks and such to the Bobby J.  So there’s that.

Drinking.  Last Sunday it has been four months since I took a drink.  Proud of that, but it’s still hard at times.  I mean, it’s not like I’m white-knuckling it at all, but there are times when I just want to go and tie one on…but I don’t.  I’ve been doing some substitution still, so I’m trying to get that under control.  But I’m still better for it.

Aging.  Whilst on vacation, I had a Pirate Looks at Forty moment.  Sue and I were driving down the freeway trying to locate Everglades National Park.  She was driving and I was reading the map.  I was trying to read some printing and realized that I was having a hard time…so I borrowed her Dr. Dean Edell glasses.  “Welp,” I thought, “There it is.  Aging.”  Further during that week, I noted more eye strain and headaches.  When I got home I tried to find some glasses at the CVS, but none seemed to be right.  Finally today I stopped by the Optometrist at Costco and had an exam.  The good Dr. told me that right now I’m on the cusp of needing glasses:  Glasses help, but they’re not necessary.  For now, at least – in 6 mos, I’ll need them.  He gave me a prescription for a low-powered lens (0.75 left and right) and sent me on my way.  I wasn’t ready to blow $150 or so on such a light prescription so I just ordered some pre-fab ones off of the internet (CVS glasses start at 1.00).  So we’ll see how that one shakes out.

So lots of stuff, but boring stuff.  It will be interesting why my life will look like in 2 mos.