Saturday, October 24, 2009

DIY hitch rack

As seen on Yurtle the Turtle

Sunday, October 18, 2009

+3 Network

Met +3 Network at a cyclocross race today. They gave me a Garmin to borrow to track my race and then uploaded it for me. Interesting company. I chose the Project Rwanda as my charity.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Google Street View goes off-road - San Jose Mercury News

Google Street View goes off-road - San Jose Mercury News

Shared via AddThis

Got some place that you want Google streetviewed? Is that someplace a bike can go but a car can't? Let Google know. They've got a new off road capable streetview tricycle.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just did my first race with a timing chip. The race promoters used an RFID chip from Times-7 strapped to our forks. The chip is clearly meant to strap on to your left fork blade, but since this was cross, it had to be put on the right fork blade resulting in the text on the unit being upside down. I'm sure some users got it backwards and had that thing dig into their backs or fall off while shouldering the bike. The mounting process was simple and the double sided tape left no residue and was easy to remove from my carbon fork. Not sure how the timing function worked though since the posted results had only placing, no times. I'm guessing they just used it to back up the spotters or resolve podium disputes.

Either way, as cross racing gets more popular (and there has been record attendance at every race I've been in so far this year), we may see more and more of this.

Something to think about from time to time...

"Technology has passed me by, and I will forever be at a disadvantage just like my friend Slaughter, who rides a steel bike with downtube shifters and clips-and-straps and won the Derby this summer against a bunch of actual pros and aspiring pros half his age and national-caliber riders from all over the world all on carbon wonderbikes. If he’d had the sense to upgrade to a carbon bike with clipless pedals and convenient shifting, he would have won the Derby by several more feet."

Bike parts are shiny, beautiful, functional and fun, but don't forget that the better rider will be the guy (or girl) who rides the most, complains the least and keeps his head up and off the gadget on his handlebars.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New CX Disc Brake Configuration

You may have noticed, but I have a small fascination with disc braked cyclocross bikes. They're not UCI legal, but I'm more Graeme Obree than Lance Armstrong so I'd run it. I saw a Fixie Inc bike this weekend that has replaceable derailer hangers on both sides to swap between geared and single speed configurations. This allows the force loading to be communicated through the derailer hanger to the seat stay and chain stay in a more controlled manner than a mountain bike style disc tab which usually requires a gusset to be welded in the crotch of the triangle you see below. This is all well and good as long as the hanger and it's connections (two M6 bolts it looks like) can bear the loads of braking. It looks aluminum and it looks quite cantilevered so I'll give it one, maybe two seasons. However, its owner knew the guys that made the bike and had a ton of confidence in it. More interesting, is that Fixie Inc is making their own road disc hubs. That could be huge. Their web site is a little avant-garde for me. If you find the hubs, let me know.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Scattante on the Morgul Bismark

For Front Range cyclists, the budget bike brand, Scattante, is using what looks like a scene from the classic Morgul Bismark course as their advertising banner:

I'll give it to them, that's a pretty authentic backdrop for a bike parts ad.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

For the love of the game

I heard on the radio the other day that Chicago lost its bid to host the summer Olympics to Rio. Too bad for Rio. I vistited Barcelona a couple of years back and the enormous infrastructure they created for their Olympic games is now a crumbling hulk with rusty fixtures and herds of stray cats. I'm assuming that Salt Lake City had to somehow dispose of a curling arena, unless taxpayers wanted to keep it open for some reason...

Anyway, the Olympics used to stand for sport. Well, that's what they stood for anyway. Even in the pre-pro era they were plauged with politics, violence and intolerance. Today, doping and commercialism.

But anyway, my thoughts lead to sport and why we do it. Then, I had an idea.

No more professional sports.


Not even cycling.

Imagine a world where the only athletic events you could watch were the ones happening in your local town. A high school football game on Friday night, a senior citizen's track meet, or a fall cyclocross race. These events would bring communities together and I doubt anyone has even been trampled to death at an AYSO soccer match. The athletes would be people you know. Your coworkers, neighbors. The butchers play the bakers with the winner playing the candle-stick makers for the title. I'm more inspired by a working mother of two who gets back into shape to play her favorite sport than a football player with a multi million dollar contract who's biggest achievement is overcoming a hamstring pull in college. Who would you rather root for? A guy who takes up a sport to stay fit and teach his kids about sportsmanship, or this guy? No more obesity epidemic. Public money would go to build playing fields and gymnasiums that all of us could use instead of giant stadiums that benefit team owners and concession conglomerates. No huge wads of cash at stake, no more cheating. No more cheating, no more doping. No more doping, no more ruined lives. Who's going to dope to win an after-work softball game?

How do we do this? Ban the advertising of goods or services through sport. Just like we banned cigarettes commercials on TV. Then all sports would be self supporting. You either have to make it interesting enough for people to pay to watch or gather money from the players like in a local league, keeping things real small and the athletes really dedicated. Quite frankly, college football is a joke too. There's just enough ad and merchandising money in it to make it corrupt. No more college football, no more 'sympathetic professors' and 24 year old freshman in bullshit majors who graduate with a bachelor's degree and can barely read.

It's a pipe dream, but one that I think would make the entire world (or at least the USA) a better place. Thanks for letting me rant.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Giant TCX Cross Bike

You know how I was ranting about tapered cyclocross forks? Well, I tried one, and it wasn't half bad. In fact, it was mostly good. This thing was so stiff, it carved like a scalpel. I bet it could really rail a grass corner with the right set of tires at the right pressure.

Unfortunately, it had an integrated headset. The beating that a cyclocross fork takes on a jungle-cross course drive the bearings into the soft (relative) aluminum head tube, eventually yielding it, resulting in a throw away frame. For this reason, traditional headsets are the best choice for longevity since most of the stresses of riding are internal to the headset itself and when and if it fails, it can be replaced.

Other details about the Giant TCX cross bike that may be of interest to our readers:
  • It came with Kenda Small Block 8 tires which seemed to work great during a limited ride

  • All top tube cable routing

  • A nice flat spot for easy shouldering
Of course, all that stiffness comes at a cost in the form of less compliance on rough terrain. Less compliance results in more bouncing which means lost energy. So, if you're used to riding hard and fast trails, this bike and fork would make an awesome rig. Roots rocks and other such things? Maybe steel with a traditional straight carbon fork.

BTW - this bike I rode had a ~60cm frame and the name Vanessa on the top tube. Vanessa, whoever she is, is a big girl.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Budget Bike Mount Video

As done with this...

The maker says this:

"I did a full lap, plus a little bit to show how it performs on different parts of the course. It's really shaky on some of the rough stuff, but I think it does pretty well for most of it. My camera does 1280x720 res video, so it gives a good fullscreen to watch while I'm riding my rollers.

The mount is just a reflector mount with the reflector removed, a 1/4" thread bolt and a couple of steal washers and a couple of neoprene washers. I got the reflector mount for free, so the total cost was about $1.50 at Home Depot."