Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday WTF: Dandy Horse Race

   Check out this race held in Germany - It's a good old fashioned Dandy Horse race! The Dandy Horse is the pre-drive train bicycle, originating in the early 1800's in, you guessed it, Germany:

This town was celebrating it's 300th anniversary with some fine racing action!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sweet Mountain Bike Resource

   Thanks to a work colleague, I found a pretty great website for all you mountain bikers out there. This site is a sister site of a rock climbing site called where users add information on rock climbing. The mountain bike version allows riders to add maps, GPS, rules and history of trails. Here's the site layout:

Site layout

   The site offers some really neat features:
  • Length
  • % Singletrack
  • Elevation gain
  • Altitude (high and low)
  • Map and elevation profile
  • Conditions
  • Adjacent trails
  • Pictures
  • Social network stuff
   All in all, this site has a ton of information, all user submitted and vetted. Plan your next ride here!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday WTF: Exploded Chainring Edition

   Got up early last week to go mtn biking, but my chainring had other ideas. What's happened here is one of my chainring bolts was loose, fell out, and then the chainring failed. This is due to poor maintenance. 

Top view

Side view with parts

   With only 3 of the 4 chainring bolts, the chainring was being pulled to the inside of the bike more than normal, and it caused it to fold over.

Chain in blue

  Lesson learned: Give your bike the once over every now and then. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hydraulic Shifters, The Wave of the Future?

   Get it? Wave? Hydraulic? Liquid? nevermind...

   I suppose it was just a matter of time. We have been seeing hydraulic brakes creeping into the road market, as shown here. It makes sense that we'd start to see more innovation with hydraulic technology. Enter A-GE, a company that is making some bad-ass derailleurs that are, you guessed it hydraulic.

   Here are a couple shots of the parts. If you love finely machined parts, you are in luck:


   The shifter is a one lever, push-pull design.

Rear derailleur

Front Derailleur

   If this system is anything like the electronic shifting, it will deliver a smooth, nearly effortless experience! There are two hydraulic lines, one for each direction of shifting, that means no spring in the derailleur.

  • No cables to stretch
  • Same shifting resistance through all gears (no spring, no resistance increase)
  • (claimed) Weight savings due to lack of springs and parts
  • Silky smooth shifting
  • Price, nearly $2k for the full shifter set
   These are a lot like the electronic shifters, in that they are the adoption of existing mechanics into a new source of power. I had a chance to ask Leonard Zinn once why we weren't seeing new derailleur designs now that electronics and hydraulics remove cable pull restrictions. He replied that the existing technology was well tested, and that one change at a time was enough. Makes sense, but I'd still like to see some shifting that takes advantage of the increased power provided by electronics and hydraulic systems.

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Bars on the Road Bike

  As some of you surely remember, I replaced the handlebars on my CX bike with some Shimano PLT bars when I put new shifters on it. After riding that bike some, I started to like the way they felt better than my carbon BBB bars on my road bike. Fast forward a few months, and I decided to buy myself some new matching bars for my road bike. Here's the install!

The new bars

   Since the cable run internally through a guide in the old bars, I had to detach both shifter cables and both brakes to remove the old bars. I took the opportunity to inspect and replace my shifter cables and clean out and gunk around the brakes.

Unwrapping the old bars

   The curve of the new bars makes for a much more level place to hold onto:

How the hoods look and feel

   I much prefer a flatter gripping area, and these bars provide that really well. These bars also came with some markings on them that made it really easy to be sure they were lined up.

Markings on the handlebars

   Since there was no internal routing or cable guides on the new bars, I taped down the cables to the front of the bar. Once they were in place, I wrapped it all up in Handlebar tape (not shown)

Before taping

After taping

   I have taken it on a couple rides and the new bars feel great! In fact, the allow are a touch lighter than the older carbon bars, so everyone wins!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Kids Bike Roundup

   With the new addition to the family, I have been thinking a lot about what Calvin's first bike will be. Not unlike his high school dating experience, he will have tons of options. Here are some of the more interesting ones that I've come across:

The classic alloy Strider

The classic Wood Skuut 

Another cool alloy bike

KTM balance bike, for Grandpa

   And these last three are the coolest, in my opinion:

Pre cursor to the Trek 69er?

For cruisin'

For hauling ass

   Keep in mind Calvin is only 3 weeks old, so it'll be another month or two before we have to decide which bike he likes best...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WTF men's health?

   No one is claiming that Men's Health is a metric on cool, but this certainly solidifies their place as 'dorky'. They had an article recently on the best summer sports stuff. Here's the list:

1. Tennis racket
2. V-Lite trail running shoes by Hi-Tech
3. Squash Racket (my faith in this list begins to falter here)
4. Cricket Bat
5. Mammut Jacket (slightly redeeming)
6. Taylor Made Driver
7. Keen Cycling sandals

Let me repeat that last one for those not listening:

7. Keen Cycling sandals

I'm no expert, but sandals and clipless pedals go together like oil and water THEY DON'T.

Best is a loose term here...

   Hey, we all love getting our toes smashed by rocks and sticks. Truth in advertising:

   Think this is a good idea? This is you:

"Where's ma bicycle at?"

Monday, May 13, 2013

House Project: Side Table

   Hot on the heels of the announcement that we have a new member of the Hecht Cycling Team, Here's another house project: The side table for the glider in the baby's room. I got this idea from some image searching on Google. Here's what we started with:

Printed out plans for the table

   I drew the table up in Sketchup and then printed them out 1:1. This way I could trace the shapes that I wanted to cut out.
   Once I had all the pieces cut out, I started glueing and clamping them all together. The wood glue worked great for this, creating a strong bond! Not unlike the strong bond between a baby and parent...

Table legs clamped

   Here I am glueing the legs to the base. The important thing when glueing like this is to have the glue set under pressure, so I would often put weight on the top of the parts. You can kind of see the clamps in the middle, holding everything together.

Legs glued on

   The final product:

   The result has a few rough edges, but still functional and not bad looking! And most importantly, it functions nicely as a table. Holds stuff off the ground really well. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Where the heck has Adam been?

   Rumors of my death have ben greatly exaggerated! As you may have surmised from a few of my older posts, Natalie and I have been expecting an addition to our family! Well, last weekend that addition came home:

Future cyclist!

   Say hello to Calvin Christopher Hecht. He's happy and healthy and mom is also doing well herself. The last week or so have been very busy and tech free, so the blog updates have been left by the wayside. Prepare for a few more child friendly posts in the future.