Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cabin Fever will make you do stupid things

Today's plan was for bi-modal* semi-epic in the Waitakeres with my lawyer**, who wants to test out her new compact crankset.

Yesterday, in view of the forecast for thunderstorms, we downgraded to a ride on our fixies to to eat doughnuts at il Forno, but this morning's weather didn't meet my lawyer's stringent trackie criteria for going out at all.

After a couple of hours of housework and sulking I figured decide that things didn't look as bad as the forecast, and headed for the hills on the fixed gear Ritchey.
I got as far as the Hunua Gorge before I had to don my rainjacket, which stayed on for the subsequent climbs over Sky High Rd and Twilight.

I surprised myself by getting over the first two climbs without imploding, though my plan to knock off Sky High Road in the saddle will have to wait for another day.
Twilight was not in the original plan, but I was still feeling good as I rolled into Clevedon, so I thought 'Why not?'. My body had different ideas though, and I crawled, numb-legged, to the top.
From there onwards, it is flattish, and the wind was less obtrusive than I expected, until just south of Papatoetoe when it was all I could do to maintain forward motion. By the time I got my lunch kebab from Lil Abners it had died down enough for a dignified return to the neighbourhood.

Tomorrow will be interesting. I'm predicting sore legs, but a good mood. Might try for a light spin on a bike with gears.
Monday: legs OK, but irritable.

* featuring trains and bicycles
**you never know when you might need one, especially given that its frowned upon to get about with a handgun or a trained attack dog. And if you do either of those things, you'll definitely be needing one sooner or later.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Okoroire Mid Winter Ride in 4 weeks

The Okoroire Winter Fun Ride is on July 27th. A report on last years ride is HERE.
The terrain is rolling but fixed gear compatible.
View Interactive Map on
Usually there is a small but congenial Retro Grupetto.
If you are planning to join us this year, email me so that we can arrange to rendezvous before the start.

Details and a downloadable entry form are at

The only interesting bike race before the Tour of Lombardy

My friend Simon Kennett is racing the is the Great Divide Race, which started last Friday.
GDR is a solo, unsupported(ie carry your own stuff) race from the US-Canada border to the US-Mexico border

At the moment it looks like he is in 5th place, about 5 hours behind the leaders after 480miles (775kms) and 12,000 metres of climbing.

For updates, go to Simon's blog which his wife Sarah is updating. From there, you can also link to other sites, like the Race Updates Blog or the Progress Board.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Kate's Fixie

A quick and dirty repurposing of Kate Mullarkey's Foster track bike for street use.

Frame__________________Foster 48cm
Bottom bracket__________Shimano UN72 107mm
Crankset_______________Suntour Cyclone 160mm
Brake caliper____________Suntour Superbe
Brake levers____________Shimano 600
Front hub______________Campagnolo Chorus
Rear hub_______________Surly
Rims__________________Wolber GTX
Tyres__________________Conti Super Sport 700 x 28
Gearing________________46 x 19 (65.4")
Saddle_________________Fizik Vitesse
Seatpost_______________Easton EA50
Stem__________________Cinelli 1a
Handlebars_____________Cinelli 65/40
Pedals_________________Shimano by LOOK

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fiddling while Rome burns

Part 3 in the Procrastination Trilogy
True to my word, gentle reader, last night I put the Breakaway fixie together, without neglecting my domestic obligations.
Yes, the dishes were washed, dried, and put away, and the dogs got their walk.
I even took a shower.

The finished product already looks a bit dirty.
In my frenzy, I didn't bother to clean the wheels, which last saw duty on the broken Holdsworth, and the early 70's Sugino Mighty 171mm crankarms came from the bottom of one of my less-frequented parts bins when the intended Dura-Ace 7400 arms wouldn't allow a good chainline.
The chain is the first one I found in a mystery pile of chains deemed not awful enough to throw away.

I'm going to use the red Ritchey decal kit that came with the frame, which hopefully will look OK with the red Alex Singer style Cateye cotton bar tape. The white brake cables came from Simon at Multisport Bikes.

Frame_________________Ritchey Breakaway SS/Fixed 60cm
Fork___________________Surly Steamroller, 1"
Headset________________Ritchey WCS 1" in Wheels Mfg adapters
Bottom bracket__________Campagnolo Veloce 111mm
Crankset_______________Sugino Mighty 171mm
Brakes_________________Suntour Superbe
Brake levers____________Campagnolo Athena (early 90s)
Front hub______________Phil Wood tandem
Rear hub_______________Surly
Rims__________________Campagnolo Omicron
Tyres_________________Rivendell Ruffy Tuffy 700 x 27
Gearing________________47 x 20 (63.5")
Saddle_________________San Marco Rolls
Seatpost_______________Suntour XC Pro
Stem__________________Ritchey WCS 4-Axis 12cm
Handlebars_____________Nitto Model 176 Dream bar 44cm
Pedals_________________Crank Brothers Quattro SL

Monday, June 09, 2008

Procrastination is the mother of necessity.

On Friday I took the day off work, and decided to get my Breakaway fixie frame painted.
The plan was to paint it white, like the stock colour scheme, but after pondering the twenty different types of white in the DupliColour stand, I wigged out and went for the fixie-bogan default option of Metallic Black.

By Saturday afternoon the frame was looking pretty decent, so long as you were not strictly sober.
Most of the paint was smooth and sparkly, but there were a few rough, dullish patches. It seems that you need to spray a fairly thick layer of paint to get it to flow out smoothly instead of going orange-peely. Fortunately, the rough bits polished out with White Lightning Metal-Brite, which is not intended for use on paint, but is much gentler than automotive polishes which tend to destroy the gloss on DupliColor.

My masterplan was to leave the frame for a few days, to allow the paint to cure, but last night I fitted few components, in solidarity with CTB who had come round to finish off his Ron Kitching.
Needless to say, neither of us got finished, though Chris managed a test-ride.

Now, the challenge is whether I can get a rideable unit before bedtime.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Procrastination, sport of kings

The recent upsurge in workshop productivity, not to mention bloggage, has been in lieu of more important tasks that require real application, hopefully for real rewards.

Not to worry though.

As well as winterizing the Benson, I got the Ritchey Breakaway back together.
Without the mudguards that I had on it last year, its a fair weather Luxocruiser with Gran Bois Cypres 700 x 30s for a plush but fast ride.
Succumbing to the nagging voice of my inner racer-boy, I cut 2cm off the fork steerer- not totally irrevocable,as flipping the stem will raise the bars by the same amount.

It took a couple of rides to get comfortable.
I seemed to be sitting further to the rear, though the Brooks Swallow saddle was set in the same position as the Swift on the Benson.
After a couple of adjustments, my souplesse, such as it is, seems to be regained.

Frame_________________Ritchey Breakaway Road steel 60cm
Fork___________________Reynolds 531, Pacenti crown, 1"
Headset________________Ritchey WCS 1" in Wheels Mfg adapters
Bottom bracket__________Campagnolo Ultra-Torque
Crankset_______________Campagnolo Veloce CT 175 mm 34/48
Brakes_________________Cane Creek SCR-3L
Brake levers____________Campagnolo Cobalto
Shift levers_____________Campagnolo Record 10speed bar end
Front derailler___________Campagnolo Centaur QS
Rear derailler___________Campagnolo Veloce 10 speed medium cage
Hubs__________________Campagnolo Veloce 36h
Rims__________________Mavic MA3
Tyres_________________Gran Bois Cypres 700 x 30
Cassette_______________Campagnolo Veloce 10s 13-29
Saddle_________________Brooks Swallow Titanium
Seatpost_______________Ritchey WCS V2
Stem__________________Ritchey WCS 4-Axis 11cm
Handlebars_____________Nitto Model 177 Noodle bar, 44cm
Pedals_________________Crank Brothers Quattro SL

Monday, June 02, 2008

Don't cry for me Imelda

I know I'm mixing up my fascist dictatorettes, but the grief of binning two of my favourite pairs of cycling shoes is almost overwhelming.

On the left, my Sidi cyclocross shoes, bought from Belgium 20 years ago.
Used for a few years of mountain bike riding, and then for commuting, I reglued the soles more times than I can remember.
Recently I replaced them with a pair of crappy Diamant cross shoes from Ebay, which are not as comfortable, and probably less durable, but there is not a lot of choice when you are still commuting with toeclips.

The Diadora Euro TCK (size 43.5 in case you have a pair you want to part with), were my #1 pair of road shoes from 1998 onwards, being demoted to retro riding duties when I went back to clipless in 2001.
I stopped using them when the sole started peeling off, and Ebay eventually provided a pair of Marresis that I am growing to like.

This could hurt...

CTB came by yesterday to convert an old Ron Kitching into a ride-to-work fixie.
It seemed like a good idea to take the fork out and inspect the steerer tube for damage, and just this once, caution paid off.
The steerer had broken a couple of inches above the crown, been brazed up by some handyman, and a steel plug pressed into the ID.
It could last forever, or or ruin CT-B's good looks first time out, so we dug up suitable replacement from the back of the shed.