Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Crater Lake 2014

Recently, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon has been hosting specific days during the summer in which parts of the route going around the lake are off-limits to motorized traffic. Essentially, for a short period of time, the park becomes a haven for cyclist. Despite being particularly windy, the lack of cars really made for a dreamy day.

We drove in to Bend, OR the night before and arrived around noon time. Already, the parking lot was filled with cars; obviously many people had already set out on the trail by the time we arrived.

The majority of the riders out were on traditional road and tri frames. Lotsa aluminum and carbon. However a good number of folks came on whatever they had; 80's MTBs, old steel sports tourers, townie bikes, tandems, at least one recumbent, newer disc brake laden MTBS, and so on.

I believe I was the only one on a randonneurish type of bike. Generator lights and fenders did little on such a pristine day, but neither seem to create a deficit on performance for my own sake. I was both passing riders on fast carbon bikes and being past by stronger riders--particularly on the hills.

Speaking of hills, the ride is anything but flat. Nor do the hills 'roll' gently between up and down; if anything, the climbs and the descents lasted for very long periods of time and were physically draining. There were many outlooks along the route that functioned as breaks for many riders, and I overheard many people discussing the amount of elevation gain they were measuring with their smart phones. 

I enjoyed the challenge, as each meter climbed made the view of the lake that much more spectacular in the end. While I wouldn't recommend it for folks with little to no experience with longer distances, it was by no means the most difficult route I've experience. The climbing is tough, but I think the descents are what I would worry the most about for inexperienced riders. 

I found myself reaching very high speeds on the downhill. I could tell that the vibrations from the road were putting my mechanical skills to the test; I began to worry about a fender coming loose, or a straddle cable coming undone at a critical moment as prepared for a sharp turn. The Grand Bois Extra Leger tires were doing a great job of mitigating any problems generated from the road. 

But my worries proved ill-founded. The bike held up splendidly; only the wide 'q-factor' of the Deore cranks prove to be mildly annoying for my personal preferences. Having a third water bottle would have made me felt more secure, but wasn't necessary. 

I highly recommend this ride if you get the chance when the snow melts. The views are amazing and the lack of motorized vehicles is a nice change. The diversity of different riders makes it easy to set your own pace without having to feel ashamed of your own speed. I also noticed that the gender split was far more even than it usually is for these types of occasions, at least partially removing the 'boy's club' feel.

For dates, check up with for when the next closures are. The National Parks website is also another good resource to check.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Gift Bike: Gran Sprint

This was a craigslist score that a few people bought to replace a bike that someone got hit on. Person is fine now, but the frame was totaled.

Did what I could for the fender line. 25mm tires with fenders was tight.

Though I don't advocate for skinny tires, I still enjoyed this bike. Broken dust cap.

 Not forcing my 'front-brake-on-the-right' agenda, that's how the crashed bike was sent up...

Can't argue with Cyclone. Just can't.

Who doesn't like painted windows?

Black parts and 'coral' paint job are a nice contrast I think.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lotus Classique Update

Haven't had much going on in my bike life besides a few rides here and there, mostly solo, some with friends. So I forget that the Lotus exist and is still pretty cool despite all the awful things I've done to it.

This is more or less the final fate of this bike. I've had some stupid ideas that I have subjugated this bike to throughout the years and still it really isn't where I want it to be... But it functions well none the less.

I really need to reposition the front light... The fender isn't long enough to keep all the run-off water from hitting the back side of the light--right where all the wiring is. Some day I'll get off my ass and deal with it. Also metal fenders wound be nice.

The rear light wiring goes from rack > downtube > non-drive chainstay > lower fender stay > light. All held together with electrical tape. Keep in mind I never wanted this bike to be pretty as it gets locked up in some pretty shitty places. I'm trying to keep the attitude that people with a lot of tattoos from their youth have, where "each tattoo is a reminder of who you were at different times in your life" or something like that. In reality, I look at those canti post and shutter in my own little pool of shame. Not that cantis aren't cool, I just did such a bad [rushed] job on them. Oh yeah and when I got merged into by a car, one of the post snapped off.

Anyway, I like this bike despite my shit talking. Can't wait to get new tires...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Schwinn Mirada - Mom Bike MKII

I found this frame at the Evergreen Shop a year or so ago and kept it hanging around the house. What caught my eye was the single top tube that merges into two additional stays in the rear, just like the French  constructeurs would do. In a way it is a very peculiar build. It has the heart of a 80's mountain bike with a build mixed between beach cruiser and French city bike.

The majority of the parts came from this Schwinn of the same era. The problem with the original build was that the seat tube was at a fairly steep angle for the upright riding position.

Since she'll be riding this mostly in Sacramento, there isn't much need for wide gearing. With only the front ring in the front, I took the liberty to add a little flair.

The fork crown is kinda amazing. I'm not a huge fan of these Tektro cantis, but I think they're a good match for the rider and purpose.

Not the best way to route the rear brake, but it is certainly an improvement over most step throughs that require a caliper brake with the housing coming from the reverse angle. Sadly, the braze-ons necessitate the housing running the full length of the cable...

Wheels were freebies and look the part. Maybe some day it will get generator lighting and racks.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Prelude

The blog has been noticeably quiet for the past half year or so. Truth be told, I haven't really been doing anything bike-wise other than saving money and getting parts. But after 8 or so months, I have built the prelude to the dream machine. It started as...

This was the photo I saw in August on ebay. I can't remember how much I bought it for, but I was so excited to find a touringish frame above 63cm that I just couldn't resist. Problem was that it pretty much emptied my bank account out, and then I got in a bike accident which left me jobless for a month and in debt. Luckily my bosses are kind of the greatest and were super supportive during that time, so I was back on the parts hunt again. Fast foward from November to now (April) and we have a a complete bike.

Though dressed up as a fancy randonneuringish bike, it's simply a large touring frame with a small amount of rake added to the fork. It's a 67cm c-t-c Takara Challenge--mid 80's Japanese touring frame. The paint was in bad shape when I got it as the original owner tried to remove it. Soooo I sandblasted the who thing (didn't want it looking too shiny) and then spray painted it. Nothing fancy, but didn't cut any corner either.

Despite have an almost cohesive aesthetic, there are a lot of weirdo things going on. In fact, I change my plans for what I originally wanted from this bike multiple times, but the end results are satisfying. I call it the 'Prelude' because I wanted to test out a number of things on this bike that would later inform a custom project that I have down the road.

One of the most important aspects of this bike is lighting. All I really have to say is that I'm so tired of battery-powered light systems. Suitable for rear, totally unreasonable for the front. Also the Grand Bois front rack means I will be able to have luggage in the future.

The Edelux light is wired to the SONdelux generator hub. This guy is laced 2 cross to those shiny new Pacenti  PL23 rims--though the 700c version.

The Grand Bois 'Extra Leger' tires are filled with Stan's No Tubes. Probably the smallest possible tire you can tubeless safely. Seriously, these 30mm tubelessed tires are more supple and comfortable than my tubed 38mm Pari Motos. And those things are a dream. It doesn't make any sense really... I will say the 40psi limit on these things are not ideal--heavier folks beware.

This is the first bike that I've built where I had someone else build the wheels for me. Though I built over 50 of them at this point, I can say that my work is below what I come to expect from the wheels I ride. This NOS 36h XT hub is race-laced 1 cross drive, 3 cross non-drive. Different gauge spokes on each side. Black and silver mish-mash because I dgaf. Bracing angle and torsional load, that's all I'll say.

Despite being exotic, this derailer was merely a piece of nostalgia for me, and a nod to my days of MTBing where I worshiped anything CNCed and made in the USA. Aside from all the pretty looks, it's Shimano 8 speedish stuff. The real weirdo part?

Thanks to John Speare and Elephant bicycles, I thought that it would be cool to try the 10 speed Campy, 8 speed Shimano hack. It totally works and I love it. Though I have had multiple comments telling me how out of place these brake levers are...

I've got some more things I wanna change, particularly putting my TA cranks on and getting a bag, but I will keep this updated as I get there. Hopefully that means more post???

Monday, October 8, 2012