31 December 2012
2012, well, wrote a novel, remained useful at the stuff I actually get paid for, may have figured out a non-bending drivetrain solution for cycling, saw some birds, and had the number of people I know for whom my weird brain is unreservedly a feature go from one to two.
2013, well, I hope more cycling. And some more birds. And another novel, because the setting has momentum.
11 November 2012
No more, no more, no more forever, shall love or gold return the fallen.
30 October 2012
Tubus Carry rack, via Peter White Cycles; Arkel GT-18 pannier, via my inestimable local bike shop, Cycle Solutions on Parliament. And they fit! They fit like they were made to fit! (Even if I might want to tighten the bungie up a bit.)
This is one of those extremely cheering things, when one was guessing based on dimensioned drawings and hope.
16 September 2012
A530 pedals; presuming they don't collapse in a heap sometime in the next 5,000 km, they're made of win. Not fangy, easy to clip into and out of even with SH-51 cleats, not quite as thick as the M324s, and generally better support around the cleat.
High Sierra cranks -- wow. A 17% increase in the pedal circle diameter makes a difference, or maybe a 30mm spindle and good bearings makes a difference; legs less sad, average speed up, comfortable rowing-along speed way up. (Must figure out where to ride that isn't chock-full of people strolling about line-abreast in oblivious groups, though. Fewer ten pound dogs who figure they can take me and the bicycle would also be welcome.)
Less good -- something about the whole process rattled the pluperfect out of the fenders and racks, so that I lost the left side front fender stay bolt, the left side rear rack bolt to the dropouts, and the left side rear rack bolt to the seat stays was about halfway out when the rubbing front fender clued me in that something was wrong. Right side bolts were somewhat loosened but nothing like as bad as the left side. More power transmission means more frame flex? I have no idea. I'll admit I use lots of anti-seize on the rear rack bolts but the front fender bolt was into a nyloc nut with no grease whatsoever; I'm kinda surprised it rattled loose! (Had enough spares with me, but need to carry more.)
Also, first time down the new and improved Pottery Road; hit 52 kph while braking. Less obviously suicidal than the old version, but still not a source of joy. (that the up side is a separated lane is very much a source of joy.)
13 September 2012
and this the taken-to-component-pieces view.
I'm told Campy cranks work this way, with the central spacer and bolting together. It took a bit of fiddling to get the spacer to play nicely, and I was very glad I had the correct extension for the 6mm hex driver socket, but it did all go together and get torqued to the specified 50 Nm.
Pedal clearance seems OK, too; the spreadsheet on the Sheldon Brown cite suggests I'd hit at 64.13mm, and the tip of the crank arm is 70. So it's tight, but it's not too tight, or at least it doesn't seem to be so far.
Seat went down a bit, so I probably want to move one of the spacers up on the stem, too.
Also, to go for an actual ride and see if anything in the drive train bends, but so far, so good.
12 September 2012
02 September 2012
So, I've been developing this bad habit of bending chain rings, to the point where I began to suspect the cranks, or, rather, that one of the arms of the spider was out of flat a bit, and Not Helping in consequence.
Getting 180mm cranks involves a substantial wait for things to be put on a boat; given that, throwing money at the problem means there's no difference between 180 and the 195 various proportional-crank advocates say I (or, rather, someone with my leg length) should use.
Everything I've seen suggests crank length has nothing to do with total power output (at least over short periods of time); that is entirely about pedal velocity. I am hoping the larger circle will lead to less fatigue, since I'll get more time per unit of pedal distance in terms of muscle recovery.
So, back on 30 June, I ordered some 195mm cranks from High Sierra.
They showed up, due to High Sierra having a bunch of supplier problems involving spiders, on the 29th of August.
With one arm of the spider poking out of the box; it looked a bit scuffed, but otherwise intact, so I was an idiot and didn't think anything of it or try to complain to the post office.
The spider arm as was poking out of the box? Its chainring bolt hole was just a bit out of round as it arrived.
So back the whole thing goes, where it shall presumptively get a new spider.
This, on the other hand, is managing to fit the third water bottle cage with 35mm tyres and SKS longboard fenders, which took me three tries and a lot of fussing.
19 August 2012
05 August 2012
04 August 2012
To keep the penguins company, there are a bunch of other austral waterfowl, including some Great White Pelicans.
03 August 2012
11 July 2012
Exchanged emails with the custom crank provider concerning expected delivery date.
Things will be another two to three weeks because, for some inexplicable reason, their whole current batch of 110 BCD spiders is bent and it will take that long to get new ones.
This does indicate that their quality control is good. I am hanging on to that awareness just as firmly as I am able.
30 June 2012
At least relatively speaking.
After much flailing about online, much peering at catalogs at the LBS, and subsequent discovery that any 180mm SRAM crank that isn't carbon (that being the shifters and the bottom bracket and I really like the current setup, if only it wouldn't bend in inappropriate ways) would have to come by sea from Taiwan as a special order per the available distributors, I went and looked at the Experiment standing there with no cranks and snapped a little. (I am paranoid about carbon and the prospect of carbon fibre slivers gives me the cave creeps in a comprehensive way.)
The combination of a crank and BB from High Sierra and chain rings from Praxis will either not bend or I'm going to have to find a new hobby.
And yes, I know, it's almost certainly something like one of the spider arms on that particular rival crank being ever so slightly proud and greatly encouraging the chainrings to fold, rather than an instance of the Everything Is Fragile problem, but that's just not how I'm feeling about the whole thing right now.
(and, also, yes, I know; it's an issue of materials that I can afford to fix. Tiny subset of first world problems, problem.)
And July is generally not good cycling time due to risk of poaching or poisoning anyway, and I shall keep telling myself that.
28 June 2012
The answer to "how long does it take Graydon to bend a Blackspire chainring" turns out to be "about 80 km".
Suspicion has fallen on the spider integral to the particular Rival crank all those bending has been happening on; it's possible one of the arms isn't quite flat with respect to the others.
And certainly the guy at the LBS was nicely flummoxed, which is something.
24 June 2012
So I got Hugh Black of True North Cycles to repaint the Experiment this spring; this was about the only way of getting the car-scuff from May of 2011 off. I also got him to retrofit the ability to use SON SL hubs into the front fork. (These feed up through a wire in the fork and take the return via the fork, so there isn't a concern about removing small connectors before you can take the front wheel off. Figuring out how to connect the existing light to the fork for the return was interesting, but ultimately successful.)
And then I had to get it back together, something that was happening while I had the poor forethought and planning as to move. (Although the new quarters have way more space for doing things like working on bicycles. And wider doors.) So the basic re-assembly took rather longer than planned, and I managed during that to totally botch the rear Berthoud fender install, and realized that the front fender daruma bolt wouldn't work; there was no way to keep it from crushing the in-fork wire, which emerges from under the fork crown. So I gave up:
Getting there had the unfortunate consequence of managing to bend the 50 tooth chain ring; since I'd acquired an Avid steel ring over the winter to hopefully avoid that happening, I was kinda sad.
I got to keep the third water bottle position, despite larger tyres and new fenders, by resorting to a very minimalist Avid water bottle cage. The front two are Lyzene, which have the advantage of working well with the Lyzene back-of-the-bottle-cage pump mount (you can just see it lurking back there) and holding ferociously; the bottles do not rattle whatsoever. Which means the finger rings don't hit the frame and make me wonder what's about to fly off the bike.
Now if I can get some weather that avoids humidex or smog advisories...
17 June 2012
15 May 2012
23 April 2012
15 April 2012
25 March 2012
That Axiom rack I still think is very pretty, but it's out of production for an obvious reason after I went to put it on the bike; one has to dismount the deck and then get creative.
I still need the non-temporary summer tires, to figure out which of the possible water bottle mounts works with the locks in the lock holders, to add some kind of decking for the front rack (I am less and less thinking that a slab of plywood is a good idea; it seems very likely there will be far too many angles from which that's just a sail), and the thud-buster seatpost. Got in a very pleasant and uneventful 12km test ride, all the same; the Alfine 8-speed hub is making me think of putting a Rohloff on the Experiment (not very hard, but the silence, the shifting, and the shifting while stopped has much to recommend it), and while the overall directional stability isn't as good as the Experiment (meaning that the front end shakes if I try the "shift track to one side at speed by swinging my legs" trick, rather than behaving as though there are rails in the road) it's pretty good in an absolute sense.
Oh, and to find the actual Berthoud klik-fix mounts for the seat; there are two of them around here somewhere, and I went and put them in a Safe Place.
18 March 2012
The front platform rack for the town bike. I'm referring to this bike as the rickshaw, since much of the goal in having it is to be able to take Aoife for bike rides. (She appears to really like this, and it makes her much less determined to bolt outside, which I consider a net win. Cats smart enough to figure out you can't reach through parked cars and to sit there contentedly while you try to entice them out with treats can be very bad for getting to work on time.)
So I'll need to make a deck and a lid for the rack; the deck should be pretty easy, and the lid may well be lamentably like a challenge.
15 March 2012
14 March 2012
Getting a better look revealed a pair of gadwall in indirect light, which is solidly in at-least-they're-not-mallards territory but not quite as exciting as teal in Corner Pond.
13 March 2012
12 February 2012
Having got it apart, picking up the frame gave me a "is this real?" moment; 150 grams difference between the whole frame and the fork. Not something I'd ever noticed before, since the combination is under 3kg and the total assembled weight—fenders and racks and gps, but no bags—is just about spot on 17kg.
It's going to be interesting getting it all back together.
22 January 2012
It was a pretty good afternoon; all three merganser species, both scaup (greater and lesser), and more ruddy ducks (15+) than I've ever seen in one place before. No snowy owl and no shrike but really quite a good day anyway.