Saturday, September 17, 2011

Captain Kangaroo meets and drops El Shiv

So hey it has been awhile. Here is the low down:
I gave up trying to reach unattainable goals. Lose weight? Screw that. Log 1500 miles? Again with the screwing of that.
As many of you know, it has rained here in central PA all Spring. Summer couldn't end soon enough. It was one of those blazing hot affairs ... not unlike Vietnam in the late 1960's. But what really drove the nail in the coffin for me was the last time I was on my road bike ... allow me to elaborate:
I was somewhere between the earthquake and Hurricane Lee. I headed out early one weekend morning. I felt pretty good I must admit. I wear a mirror on my glasses as many cyclist do. In my mirror I notice some coming up behind me a fellow cyclist in  a bright yellow jersey. He was coming a ton. Or as some friends say 'eye balls and assholes' (I can't explain the latter, but it sounds good). Anyway, I'm moving along at a decent clip but 'Lanc'e is baring down on me big time. I suddenly hear 'Passing on your left'. I think 'here it comes' ... much to my surprise the guy passing me weighs about 250 pounds, the yellow jersey turns out to be a yellow t-shirt, and the bike is an old DUI Trek from the mid 1980's. Now comes the good part. The rider was the spiting image of Captain Kangaroo. Yeah, you know Bob Keeshan ... he played Claribell the Clown on Howdy Doody .. yeah that guy!
That's when I decided, NO MORE goals, no more expectations. Let my miles end where they may. Let my waste line be what it is.
I'll still run and ride and try to be smart about my routines but screw trying to live up to anything other than what I put on earth to be.
So kids, be good to one another, help a stranger in need. Be slow to anger ... even if Captain Kangaroo drops you like a bad transmission.
Peace out yo!
El Shiv

Saturday, April 9, 2011

'Man .. I need to log some miles!' OR 'What the Hell is up with this weather?'

I have this thing about over using the word 'Man' in conversation. 'ah man' or 'Look man, what's the deal'. But lately what really gets under my skin is people who say 'like' every other word or 'Then I said' every other sentence. English ... people ... learn to use it. Not that I was an English major man, like cut me a break. Then I said 'Man, it it ever going to warm up? Like, this weather is putting the kybosch on my Spring training'.
Really, all joking aside, if you really want to get bummed out about the weather in Pennsylvania in April ... go to Florida in March. It was 80, I was on the beach drinking BL Limes. It was awesome.
Fast forward not 4 weeks. It has rained every other day and not gotten out of the 50's! I rode Thursday after work. Again, in the 50's. I thought 'Huh, this ain't bad'. So I headed out with no arm warmers. About 10 miles out and I'm cruising along ... no worries. When you guessed it, it temperature dropped about 5 degrees and the wind picked. Up. Rain was headed my way.
So I high tailed it back to the barn fighting a really weird cold head wind. All the while I'm dressed for July mid-day riding. Not good. If I hadn't had my head firmly implanted in my keister and would have had my cell phone with me, I would have bailed on this one.
So long story short; I have 60 miles on the year and a Metric Century coming up in 3 weeks. It needs to be Spring real soon or my early cycling season is looking dismal man. Like, you know, like, really not good man.
Enough rant!
Peace out!
El Shiv

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Project 'Bluto' the 29er Single Speed Road Bike is (wait for it) .... DONE!

So I said I was going to re-task my 29er Mountain bike into an Urban Assault Vehicle. Well it's done! It was actually pretty easy and inexpensive to complete. 
I had a set of 42mm road (drop) bars and an old 3T stem ... on they went. 
I had to buy a set of Tektro single speed road levers for less than $20.00. 
The Disk Brake Wheels are a Craig's List find. And since the original front wheel got taco'd in our basement wall collapse ... I needed wheels anyway. I paid the kid $50.00 for these with the 11 tooth cog. They are most likely a $300.00 set of wheels. The downside was I had to drive to Jarredsville Maryland about an hour and a half away. No big ... I dig rad trips.
The disk brakes are cheapo Nashbar manufactured by Avid ... less than $40.00!
Cheap cork tape for the bars ... $7.00
A couple of cable housings and a brake alignment at World Cup Ski and Cycle ... $24.00
So less than a hundred and here we go. I have an extra wheel in the basement to a fixed gear hub will be built sometime in the future.
I have to tell you, I just road the thing for the first time and it is even trippier than it's straight up mountain bike former self. I think I'll shop around for some 29er passive road tires and take her on a club ride. It is ubber fast but climbs like an old Rambler that only has third gear! But hey, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!
Peace out!
El Shiv

Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh No there goes Toykyo Oh no Bike-Zilla!! The fixed-gear chronicles

I've groaned the last time I posted about wanting a fixed gear Cyclo-Cross bike. I just had to have blah blah blah.  Well, as most things do in my life, the answer slapped me right in the skull. I have a single speed 29er hard tail mountain bike. It has mechanical disk brakes and that is about it. It's  blast to ride. But I'm telling you ... she WILL get your attention! Big, heavy, no gears ... yeah, you know what I mean. BIKE-ZILLA!
So anyway ... during my most recent brainstorm, I figured out that I would convert my 29er into said fixed gear.
The first thing I did was strip off the sissy mountain bikes bars and put a pair of drop bars on. I'm going to add road bike brake levers. Yeah, I'm a wuss ... I need brakes.
The thing I ran into was you can't put a flip-flop hub on a bike with disk brakes! Ah but I have a work around. I'll build a fixed hub using an old wheel and just run a front brake. When i want a fixie .. on goes the new wheel. When I feel my age I'll pop on the wheel with the disk brake. Genius! And to think I used to party like it was 1979! But that was back in the late 70's.
So join me in my saga .. I'll post as I go.
Here is a picture in her raw state.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

To Fixie or not to Fixie ... that is the question.

You know what a Fixie is right? It is a single speed track bike with a fixed hub and no brakes. That means that if the wheel turns, the cranks/pedals turn. Brakes are an option ... a smart option. They are a trick to ride. The second you feel like coasting it bucks you out of the saddle reminding you that yes, this is a fixed gear bike. 
This time of the year they make great training bikes. There is no way I would want to take one on a group ride ... but think about it. It would whip my sorry butt into shape in no time. No gears, always spinning, braking with your legs? Yeah that'll work.
Here is my thought: A fixed gear Cyclo-Cross bike! My wife likes rail trails .. so her eon a mountain bike and me on a fixed gear Cyclo-Cross bike! GENIUS!
I can see it now ... a sick, tricked out, colorfull Fixie! Yeah baby YEAH!
Now I need to figure the where and hows. Money doesn't grow on trees ya know. My thing has always been not to take money for toys out of the household budget.
So I'm hoping for a killer good 'Yard Sale Picker' year. There have been years where I've done 3 grand sitting on my hands! Last year was an off year, so I have high hopes for this year.
The other thing I would like to do is get rid of this PC and go MAC. Face it, a good sharp pencil is better than a PC. I'm tired of Mr. Gates and his 'Planned Obsillesense' It and he suck! Of course Mr. Jobs likes his money ... so a bargain priced MAC has never and will never happen.
Time will tell.
Ride on my brothers and sisters, ride on!
el Shiv

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Humility and the Expensive Bike

To say I've been humbled a few times in this life is like saying 'Yeah, Jimi Hendrix could play guitar'. It's often had to strike me hard over the head. It turns out,  most of my life I've either been oblivious, indifferent, or just a block head.
Granted, I look way down my nose at bikes I deem as sub-standard. 
Example: A girl in our office was so proud of the Christmas bike she and her husband had bought their son. 'A really nice Mongoose' she told me. But I'm thinking 'Wait a second, there is no such thing as a really nice Mongoose!' There may very well be such a thing but only if you're a snake and said Mongoose slinks past you offering a pleasant 'How-ja-do'.
See I ride a nice bike. So what if it cost north of 5 grand. So what if it's worth more than my car. I ride it. It's not a trailer queen that I show up on at group rides or metric centuries on only to disappear early in the ride. No sir, I ride it and in the long run, I'll get my monies worth out of.
So you bought him a Mongoose ... OK. It's never going to be a 'really nice Mongoose'. That simply doesn't exist. Buying a kid a Mongoose is a wise investment. He'll ride the wheels off of it and it'll end up in the trash in two years.
So on to the humility portion of today's rant.
A couple weeks ago while attending our local Bike Club's annual maintenance clinic, I was ask to participate in the Tour De Cure by a really cute girl. I though 'Neat, something with 'Tour De' in the name and I can ride in it? ... I'm in'. A moment of weakness for sure.
Then it dawned on me that I would actually have to do something other than just ride. I would have to raise money in order to participate. Oh great!. I'm now one of 'THEM'. You know the ones ... the ones who beg for funding on the various forms on NPR. You know them. With the guilt trip ... yeah .. THEM. Or the fellow office worker who comes around with a sheet 'Will you sponsor me?' To which (more than once ) I've said I'll give you $5 to go jump off the roof''.
So here I am ... I'm the one having to 'Tin Cup' OH GREAT. So I sent out emails and posted on Facebook asking for help. I committed to the ride (the easy part) ... now I have to fund raise. UGH! 
Much to my surprise, a day after I started, I'm half way to my goal. I swear, I'll never run and hide when a co-worker comes near me with the dreaded pledge form ever again. I know what they're going through.
I'll never again judge a friends choice of words when describing a Christmas bike. Hey to that kid It's more than just a Mongoose. It's his rig! He'll get Mom's monies worth out of it. At least he's not glued to a Play Station while eating Ding-Dongs! Best yet, He'll remember that bike the rest of his life as 'The really nice Mongoose.
So there it is. Mother Karma warning me yet again to be kinder and gentler guy. 
Lesson learned Mom!
Peace out!
el Shiv
P.S. Here is the link to my donation page ... think about it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The long cold cycling off season

Who was I kidding. There is no cycling in central PA in the heart of Winter. I  had all intentions of trying to ride at least once during the week. Yeah right! The roads have been treated and are covered in a filmy white substance. Every hill and corner has mounds of either ice melt or cinders (or both). So it looks like my Winter cycling is on ice until at least March ... pun intended.
It's a freakin' Winter Wonderland out there. Hey, if that's your thing ... good for you. I've been standing outside wasting aerosol can after aerosol can. 'Come on Global Warming!!'
There are a few bright spots however. One is a friend of mine who is an avid skier and works part time at a local slope insists that this region is in for a major warm up in February. He says that the powers that be at the resort consult the national weather service and this is what they are being told.
The other thing is I just received my tickets to see the Phillies beat the Pirates in Clearwater in March. At least it will be warm in Florida. We are so going to be a Corona commercial on the beach in March!
So as for today ... It is 8 degrees outside as I type! I'm off to work at the second of three Bicycle maintenance clinics offered by our local bike club. My name tag tells the world that I am an 'Instructor'. Opinions vary on that count. I can change a mean tire and keep my rig clean ... 'POOF! You are now an instructor'. Gee thanks Mr. Wizard!
Peace out!
el Shiv