Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Bike Friday tikit 2 ride

A few years back I regularly commuted by train from Papakura to Auckland with my Lambert fixie.
By bringing the bike I could reduce my total travel time by about 30 minutes per trip, but at the expense of taking up more than my fair share of room on the train.
I'm fairly adept at justifying my anti-social behaviour, at least to myself, but less thick-skinned commuters, as well as inhabitants of those controversially tiny inner city apartments, might want to consider the Bike Friday Tikit 2 ride.

Click here to see videos of the Tikit in action.

Monday, January 22, 2007

29er updates

After five offroad rides on the 9r, I feel like I'm starting get the hang of it.
Sunday's outing at Woodhill, with Gaz and Chris & Sam Money, was the first that did not include a crash or near-miss. You could put this down to a more relaxed atmosphere without the sibling rivalry of our Wednesday evening rides, but I reckon that the changes I've made to the 9r have also made it easier to ride:

Cranks: the Q factor on the standard Truvativ Blaze cranks is 180mm, about 35mm wider than most of my road bikes. I don't think this is big deal when you are twiddling low gears on a multispeed MTB, but on singlespeed I want to keep my hips, knees and feet in line.
I fitted a set of 180mm Ritchey Logic cranks on a 118mm Kajita bottom bracket for a 155mm Q factor. The extra leverage of the 180mm crankarms is no bad thing either.

Gearing: standard gearing is 32 x 18, or 51.5"in trackiespeak, equivalent to a 2:1 ratio on a 26 wheel.
After a couple of rides I changed to 36 x 21 or 49.7", which gives better acceleration on moderate climbs. I've got a 35t ring on backorder which will give 48.3"

Handlebar stem: the standard 10.5cm stem gave 62cm reach from seat nose to handlebar, which felt comfortable, but put too much weight on the front tyre. After a couple of understeer induced crashes, I fitted a 9cm stem.

Ergon E1L* grips are the only truly comfortable grip I have ever used on a mountain bike.

The Cane Creek* Thudbuster seatpost is good for my back.
I found a 25.4mm Thudbuster on Trademe for $60, and used a Cane Creek shim to fit it to the 9r's 26.8mm seat tube.

*Disclaimer- I am deeply implicated in the importation and distribution of GT, Ergon & Cane Creek in New Zealand.
Nothing that I write about them can be believed.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

South Auckland Selebrity Sighting

Woodhill December 31

Some of my favourite cycling websites are Japanese touring blogs like this one wherein the protagonists take themselves for a leisurely ride, culminating at a restaurant.

This is not unlike mountainbiking with Chris Money, whose lean physique belies his apparent belief that any trip out of the house should be a gastronomic adventure.

On Sunday Chris, his laconic Australian friend Alan, and I took ourselves to Woodhill to work up an appetite, and in my case, lose a little blood.

I knew that Money was turning backflips in anticipation of seeing me suffer on the 29er, and he was not to be disappointed.

In the first 20 minutes of our ride I overcooked my entry to a fast sandy righthand turn. I landed hard on my right knee, but contrived to fall short of a solid-looking trailmarker that would have spoiled the rest of my day. The resultant adrenalin was a boon on the following climb of Uplands, though the 52" gear,and certain aspects of my on-bike demeanour, seem more appropriate to someone half my age.

With Money was bringing up the rear chanting his mantra of "I'm not going to break my collarbone", I chased Alan around a smorgasbord of entertaining singletrack, eventually reprising my early front end washout, but with less pain.

After two and a half hours, (but only 1.5hours riding, according to Alan's computer), we left the forest with all our collarbones intact, heading for Girasol Cafe in Kumeu, where we rewarded ourselves commensurate with out efforts.

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The Boxing Day Ride

In the last years of the 20th Century, Brothers Pete, Bruce and I made a tradition of riding at Riverhead on Boxing Day, in the company of whatever posse we could drum up at short notice.

Except for an outing to Woodhill in, maybe, 2001, the tradition had died out until this year.

Rick Woodward and I collected a bizarely attired CT-B at Western Springs before heading for the official rendezvous at the Westgate McDonalds, where Pete & Bruce, plus Nick, Adam Lovell (wearing the Best Shirt of the day), Dominic and Hugh awaited. A call from Skoda sent us to the Riverhead Forest picnic area, where Ian Batchelor, Ian's Bro in law, and our guide Skoda were disgorged from Ian's Landrover Discovery.

Ably led by Skoda, the 12 strong posse wended its way through the best of Riverhead singletrack, some of which was vaguely recogniseable from my riding there in the '90s.

This was my first off road outing on my Peace 9r, and Riverhead's sinuous, rutted & rooty singletrack is not the ideal terrain for an unsuspended singlespeed, especially one with an Eggbeater pedal with a broken wing. The 52" gear enforced a brisk pace on the gravel climbs, but was a bit stiff to match Skoda as he twiddled his granny ring up the technical climbs.

The 9r and I got separated a few times, the most notable a trip over the handlebars when I underestimated the size of a small log jump in Gordy's Gully.

Returning to the Picnic area via the rooty Nature Trail, I managed another moment of ignominy, tipping over to the left and jamming my arm in a tangle of branches. Fortunately I managed to pull myself free before I was forced to gnaw my own arm off.

Those of us without other responsibilities or obligations retired to the Riverhead Pub, where chips and Riverhead Burgers were devoured.

By the end of the day, possibly only the Riverhead Pub cat was more content than us.

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Christmas Eve Excitement

On Christmas Eve, our tranquil 'hood was disturbed by the arrival of these two knobs who, pissed as rats, parked their car atop of one of the traffic islands in front of our house.

The driver knob at least had the smarts to stand around and look gormless, but passenger knob (in sweatpants) made a fair effort to start a fight with neighbor Clint who had come out to remonstrate with gormless knob about his poor driving.

A few matters arise from this incident:

  1. Don't lend your car to Gormless Driver Knob (in shorts). He is already a disqualified driver.
  2. Don't let your daughter go out with Passenger Knob- he's a dickhead when he's pissed.
  3. If you're in the market for a white staion wagon, DEB528 isn't a good choice.
  4. If you crash your car outside my house, I will do the necessary to ensure your survival, while cursing you fluently and extravagantly. And, make no mistake, the first call I make will be to the Police.