Sunday, February 21, 2010

Afternoon in the Shed

Gina's on a ladies afternoon/night out at a show down in Boston so I of course headed straight to the shed for some project time. I have a few things going right now and its been a while since I've spent some time tinkering. So I grabbed my little space heater, a homebrew, and set up shop!

Bikes, Skis, Homemade Beer, Win

I recently bought some 'dirt drop' bars for my old commuter bike in an attempt to turn it into a more viable off road/touring machine. Dirt drops are a little bit more swept and have less actual drop than road bars. The drops bars I had on previously were old school road bars and didn't really work that well with the geometry of the frame. Worked fine for commuting but I would like to take this bike more places now. I went with the Midge by On One. Dirt drops are surprisingly hard to find, even online. I ended up going with the Midge because its one of the first bars of its kind and it takes bar end shifters (something that a lot of the other bars don't, which I find odd).

I think this new setup is going to work pretty well...I haven't had a chance to really get a feel for the cockpit yet because I still need to get a new saddle but the various hand positions all feel like they will be pretty solid and useful just standing over the bike. I think this bike will turn into a solid/fun back up trail bike.

Tomac would be proud. Drops on dirt, no suspension.

I also decided to get back into actually tuning/taking care of my skis again. I was always on top of things back when I bashed gates and even through college but since I have just bought cheap skis, beat the crap out of them and moved on...wasn't really worth the time. But I like working in the shop and I spend a lot of time maintaining my bikes, might as well suck it up and show my boards the same love. So I stopped into Home Depot and outfitted myself somewhat ghetto and brought out some of my old tuning gear.

Bought a standard 10in bastard file, 1in spring clamp and a simple corner brace for a file guide for edging along with a whetstone for deburring. Granted, at the current time I am just polishing a turd with my current skis, they are basically beyond repair in the big picture but I have a big riding weekend coming up so why not throw whatever edge I can get on there and give em a hot wax?

Then I took quite possibly the funniest / most intense self portrait with a timer I have ever taken. Somehow it framed up in a very dramatic fashion and the look on my face is classic, so intent. It's almost as if I'm sharpening the edges just with my gaze. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What Off Season?

Haven't been able to get on the slopes in far too long so it was time to regroup, shift gears and take advantage of the crap skiing conditions as best I could. The best part is these particular crap skiing conditions are excellent ice biking conditions!

I couldn't find any ride partners to join me for a jaunt out onto some actual frozen water but that is probably a good thing because it was another cold and breezy one today and while sunny it probably would have been pretty brutal all exposed out on the ice. I was able however to meet up last second with Mike, a local rider who I have ridden with once or twice before, for some trail riding at Franklin Falls.

It was definitely a cold one in the parking lot at FFD (which they have expanded by the way, almost twice as many parking spots now. Probably due mostly to CNH NEMBA's efforts to expand the trail system and the resulting spike in use) but once we got into the woods it was actually kinda nice.

this was the only pic my camera could handle before the cold shut it down for the day

The chopper is still going strong (amazingly). In its 5th or 6th incarnation it is currently still SS, although in this pic it looks geared buts its not. I didn't have any cassette spacers to just run one cog so instead I took the 9 speed cassette I had on the bench from my 9 speed and the old partially broken X7 that I busted at Pat's Peak to experiment a bit.

It is currently locked in at 32-20 with the high limit screw and theoretically I could back that screw off a bit and change to a slightly harder gear on the fly and the derailleur would eat up the chain slack. I would probably never want to do that because riding in snow/ice requires a bit more torque and smaller gears are a bit nicer but its an interesting way to do SS especially for longer touring rides where picking that one gear can be problematic.

I thought it might have some issues with bouncing around and jumping gears a bit on me but that was not the case. Never even skipped once.

Mike and I did a few loops and some poking around to see what was riding well and what wasn't. Most everything was riding awesome, there were a few trails towards the north end of the park that hadn't seen enough traffic that we avoided but we got in about 6 miles before my rear tire went soft.

The downside to riding home made studded tires...they grip awesome (better then commercial studs, Mike slipped out a few times while mine were holding strong) but this is my second flat in as many rides, granted the other was last season but I think I may either need to reevaluate my liner to protect the tubes better or maybe look into buying the real deal. They are kind of expensive so I think I'll probably take a down day and try and whip up a better more robust liner.

It would be nice if we got some snow though so I don't have to worry about that fix for awhile....