Monday, June 29, 2009


Friend of nippleworks, Ross-i-tron, just finished his Surly Cross Check touring / Colorado winter commuter. Hell, given how it rains many afternoons there, the full fenders make it a good year round commuter. Gonna put studs on that thing? I've asked him what's up with the rack stays that go down to his canti brake bosses, since it looks like he has seat stay rack bosses. I'll post his explanation when I get it.

Update: according to Rossitron, the rack is an Old Man Mountain model that was originally meant for his mountain bike (which didn't have seat stay bosses) and it got a new lease on life as part of the Surly.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mobile blogging from the track

Big time racing comes to Hellyer Velodrome.  Picture is of the warmup.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

World Class Customer Service

Back in April I blogged about the fantastic service I received from Blackburn regarding a failed tire pump hose. The quicly honored their warranty and sent me out a replacement hose. Well, they've done it again. Read the emails below. I had a Blackburn tail light whose clip failed to keep it on the light strap of my seat bag and caused it to slingshot into traffic, turning it into tail light kibbles and bits. They're going to send out a replacement. Easton Bell is a great company with good products. If you need a bike accessory, buy from them because they invest as much in customer service as you invest in the purchase.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tire Slits and Patch Kits

Got a slit tire on Sunday, I think I hit a piece of glass. The tube slit was easy to find and patch, but I was worried that the tire would open up on me before I got home. Stupid me, I didn't have a tire boot with me. Not even a dollar bill to put in the tire as a boot! (I fixed that by throwing one in my seat bag last night). So, I put an instant patch on the inside of the tire and blew it up just enough to keep the rim off the ground. What do you know, it held. I replaced the tire before riding it again, this time with a Mr. Tuffy installed. Better safe than sorry on a touring bike. I would have liked a 25mm Kevlar belted tire, but non in stock at the LBS.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Bamboo - @ Nevada City

Saw another bamboo bike, this time under an Organic Athlete chasing Lance around Nevada City.

Sex and the Sidi

Women in the city love their shoes. They're out on the streets, sitting at sidewal cafes, their shoes get noticed. Not so for the country girl in her cowgirl boots or the suburban woman in her practical footwear. This urban rider snapped by the SF Examiner is no exception. Although she's riding a department store mixte bike that she probably bought second or third hand, she's sporting her Sidi Genius women's shoes which probably cost her double what her bike did.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Go Ped brand bike motor

The people from Go Ped were also at the Tour de Nez (exhibiting in the somewhat slim expo area). You may be familiar with their powered push scooters. This product looks much like the deck and battery of their push scooter driving a friction wheel and is attached to a bike via a beefy seat post / seat tube clamp. It's a much more compact and elegant solution than some of the kluge bike motors out there, and creates a rack that (I'm assuming) could be used for some light cargo. As with any bolt-on solution, it faces integration and fit issues. Unless you have two fist-fulls or more of seatpost showing, you're not going to be able to get this thing mounted. Also, to disengage the friction wheel from the tire, you must reach back and pull it up (as demonstrated to me by a company representative). Reaching your hand under your butt towards an unseen high torque motor mechanism seems dicey. But, there's too much namby-pamby business keeping alternative transportation off the roads already. Good on them for this attempt at something different.

By the way, I heard something profound on NPR the other day. If a European and American see a Smart-Car demolished by a Hummer in a crash, the American will say that the Smart-Car is unsafe. The European will say that the Hummer is unsafe. Totally different paradigm in a place where people have lived in close quartered civilization for several centuries longer than we have here in the USA. Of course, Hummer is a business failure right now whereas Smart-Cars are seeing success. Maybe the capitalist way of sorting out the winners and the losers is working.
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Smooth Moto Official

Just got back from the Tour de Nez finale at Northstar ski area near Truckee, CA. The racing was pretty good with a slighly smaller field than I expected. Well, it was the third day of the Omnium, maybe some racers dropped out. Besides the expo and the racing, I enjoyed watching the moto's, particularly this guy:

Besides perhaps Mario Cipollini, this guy is the most suave character I have ever witnessed in a bike race. During the Men's P12 race, every lap he carried a different woman around the course on the back of a classic looking BMW boxer motorcycle wearing a buttoned up blue blazer, white slacks, white leather gloves and a cardigan.

Almost like a character out of a Wes Anderson movie.
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pro bike intrigue

Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and an assortment of pros and friends of pros have been riding in the Colorado Rockies, training fo the upcoming Tour De France. I've explored some of these roads in the Roaring Fork Valley myself and would be riding there now too if I could. Lance has been documenting his rides on Twitter and in one of his latest pictures, I noticed that he and Levi are riding completely unbadged, all black Trek Madones:

A pic from training yesterday w/ @levi_leipheimer, @maxtaam, ... on Twitpic

-Is this a due to acrimony over the Astana team finance issues?
-Or just to look really, really cool?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Great reading

If I were working for a great internet bike shop and getting paid to do this blogging stuff, I'd aspire to write blog posts like this:

Each post is hours of cycling entertainment. Racing news, classic bike stuff, tech info, intrigue, it's all there.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Restored Bianchi

Reader Mark recently restored a Bianchi road bike with decals he acquired through us here at nippleworks. Mark, it turned out brilliantly. He used a powdercoater for the new red finish and also polished the lugs. Note the Brooks saddle and pro style front downtube shifter. Here are some before and after photos for your enjoyment and edification:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monkey Lights

Brought to our attention - Monkeylectric Bike Wheel Lights. I'd buy just for the name.

Looks like the designers have put a lot of thought into making them waterproof, probably hoping that they become all the rage in Portland.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Self inflating tire invention

-D- came across this a while back and forgot to send it out. A company has developed a self-inflating tire consisting of a peristaltic pump between the rim and tire and as the wheel rotates if forces air into the tire, with a valve dictating the pressure. Good use of existing movement and maybe a way to keep your commuter bike tires constantly inflated instead of having to break out the pump every few days. Too heavy for a road bike, probably not durable enough for a mountain bike. How much power does it sap? I don't know. I'm sure a sports car company will want to figure it out though.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Front Wheel Bearing Project

The front bearings on my touring/commuter bike were making a crappy sound, so I figured, time to look into replacing them.  First step - figuring out what parts to get.  The Shimano web site has drawings for all the hubs with details on the bearings and cones.  However, Wheels Manufacturing cones are sold for a lower price through mail order.  You have to go to their web site and use a cross reference chart to figure out what the right cone to use is.  Bearings are pretty standard and can probably be purchased at your local bike shop.  You can see in this picture, how pitted and ruined the original cones were:
After removing the cones and axles, I tried something new.  I once read about Belgian bike mechanics putting grease ports in hubs to force grease into the bearings from the inside out.  So, with that in mind, I drilled a hole that I could later tap, or jam a syringe into in the middle of the hub with a flexible shaft die grinder:

I then taped the hole over, blew out the drill debris, cleaned out the cups with a cotton swab and applied a liberal amount of grease to the bearing surfaces.  I used lithium axle grease.  If it's good enough for car axles, it's good enough for your bike.

All that grease makes a nice sticky place to put those bearings with a tweezer and make them stay.  After putting in all the bearings, I tightened everything up.  It took me multiple iterations to get the cups and cones not too loose and not too tight.  It always does.  I guess if you're a full time mechanic, you get a feeling for this.  At some point, maybe after 1k miles or so, I'll try injecting grease into the port until it squirts out the sides, wiping off the excess.  I'll let you know how it goes.  Until then, they spin like a new set of wheels and should carry me to work and play many more times.