Friday, May 30, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Where is Adam?

   Hello faithful readers, I recently took a trip to London for work, spent some time in the town with my brother, and got back yesterday.

A nice warm lager

   London is sweet, our trip was complete with...

Big Ben

The London Eye

Buckingham Palace

The Tube

Outside bathrooms

   We were even able to rent some bikes, but that will be its own whole other post. Now that I'm back, Green Bird will resume the regularly scheduled programming. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Baby Cage

   Our house has a great little space that Calvin has all his town and stuffed animals and things in. The problem is he can easily escape this area. Good thing I'm smarter than an 11 month old. Here is what his play space looks like:

Kitchen adjacent

   After some practice with cardboard:

Early stages

.. I went ahead and built the real deal out of wood. Here's the SketchUp model:

Frame and sheathing

   No project would be complete without a trip to The Home Depot for wood. It was great to have the guy there cut it because their saw made a bunch of equal and straight cuts.

Hard at work

   We have a nice soft rug in there the little wall had to go over the top of, so i notched out the wood. This kept the wall level, and kept it from sliding around. 

Notched part

   The thing is about 20" tall, so Calvin can stand up to it and see everything going on without escaping climb over. It also keeps the dog from coming in and licking the baby too much. 

From the inside

From the kitchen

Monday, May 19, 2014

First Race of the Season and Some Cool Tech

    A couple weeks ago I went to Littleton and raced in the Battle the Bear.  This was a different race than normal for me as it was an endurance race. Not a lot of technical stuff, but long! This one came in just under 32 miles (that's nearly 4000 road miles).


   The format was 3 ten mile loops, which was really cool. I liked knowing what was coming in the last lap. Other than that, it was a fairly flat and fast race. I took 26/38 in the 30-39 open. Acceptable for first race of the year.
   One of the cool thing about this race was the timing system - a chip integrated into your number plate. It was a little throw away piece that was embedded in a piece of foam on the back.



Chip pulled out

   So much better than a strap around your head tube! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday WTF: Cyclocross Shoes?

   Came across this on eBay: Puma shoes made to look like bike shoes, right down to the velcro fastener, and faux cleat screw holes. 

Puma Cyclocross

   The listing: "Take a modern spin on the traditional weekend sneaker with the Cyclocross from Puma."

New Puma Mens Cyclocross White/Black fashion-sneakers US 13 NIB

   The thing that gets me is:
  • CX racers use, you know, mountain bike shoes since you have to get off and run and the ratchet system is more secure
  • CX racers use mountain bike cleats, like SPD or TIME, not a 3 bolt pattern road cleat
   Swing and a miss, Puma. 

Puma marketing dept hard at work

Monday, May 12, 2014

Rim and Brake Pad Wear

   Knowing when to replace your brake pads is an important thing. Safety aside, worn brake pads are a fast way to ruin a rim. This is what a worn set of brakes looks like:

New                             Worn

Worn pad vs new pad

   Most pads have a groove in them to show you when they are worn. When the groove is almost gone, the brake pad life is almost over. Rims also have a limited lifespan, and similar indicators. What prompted this investigation was this image on the popular website, someone was asking what the hole was for:

Imgur image

   This is a wear indicator hole, it is a shallow hole in the rim that lets you know when your rims are worn to a dangerous level.

              New            Worn        Indicator hole     

Worn rim  

   Some rims also have a wear groove, which is a shallow groove all around the braking surface that serves the same purpose.

Wear indication groove

   Why is rim wear an issue? When rims get worn, they get weak. They are more prone to collapse, and can even be crushed by the pressure applied through the brakes. It's all fun and games until catastrophic wheel failure happens! So check your pads and rims every now and then. Read more about rim wear here.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday What The Awesome: Carbon Strength Edition

   The guys over at Ibis are hard at work building some awesome mountain bike frames. In a recent tour of the factory, some guy took a few cool shots of them demonstrating the strength of one of their carbon frames:

And a video also!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Single Speed Mountain Biking, as Told by Beer

   There's an old adage: "Not drinking in mountain biking is like doping." It's true, mountain bike riders love their beer. I'm going to give you 9 tips on single speed mountain biking, split into three categories: body, bike, and style. And I'm going to speak the language of the mountain biker: beer.

Your body: It's like going from a stick to an automatic - you just keep reaching for those shifters, but there's nothing there. Here's what to do to compensate for the lack of gears.

Standing Wave Pale Ale

   Like sitting? Bad news, you're going to be standing a lot more than you do on your geared rig. The gear ratio you choose is some compromise between spinning like a top in the flats and grinding your knees ligaments to mush up the climbs. Standing up on the climbs will make them more manageable. 

Strong Arms
Strong Arm Ruby Red Ale

   Got wimpy arms? That's about to change. You will be using your whole body to muscle your bike to the top of a climb. Your arms are the mast of your single speed ship and must hold the sails true. While you're rocking the bike back and forth on the climb, your arms are going to be keeping everything under control.

Big Lungs
Dr's orders Iron Lung Black Imperial

   Like breathing? You're in luck because you're going to be doing it. A lot. When I'm riding up a hill, and there are no gears, I sound like a bad Darth Vader impression on fast forward. Get comfortable breathing heavy!

Your Bike: In addition to different body movement, you'll be tuning your bike a little different form your XC bike.

Tire Pressure
Pressure Drop Pale Ale

   Since a single speed is a hard tail endeavor, running lower tire pressure in the rear is common. This will smooth out bumps, and increase traction on hills and in corners. You might lose a little on the pavement, but you can't go that fast with a 32 / 16 on the road anyway.

Fat Tires
Fat Tire Amber

   Running a slightly larger tire on your single speed is going to make up for a lot. It will gain you more traction with a larger contact patch, and a smoother ride with more rubber between you and the ground. I prefer a tire with a lot of close together knobs. This means a good combination of climbing and cornering, all with little rolling resistance. 

Wide Bars
Double Wide IPA

   As a monkey armed rider, I run pretty wide bars. If you're the kind of rider that likes a narrow bar, you may find yourself putting away the hacksaw with your single speed. In addition to your new muscly arms, you'll need a big lever to move that bike around with. Longer bars give you the control at low speeds to muscle your bike over the largest of obstacles.

Your Style: You got the bike, you got the body, now put it all together with these tips and conquer any trail!

Momentum Pale Ale (not currently bottled)

   When it comes to climbing technical sections, keeping moving is key. Get those pedals spinning and don't stop! You can plow over a surprisingly difficult terrain with enough speed. Your front end is less likely to wander, and you'll be closer to the ideal power range of your gearing.

Session Lager

   Practice makes improvement, and riding a single speed is no exception. Ride that trail until you can recall it's every turn and bump. Soon you'll be looking for a challenge and not bothering with trails that once caused you grief.

Reasonable Expectations
Vivant Hubris Quadrupel

   Last but certainly not least: be prepared for defeat. Now I know you're all pros, and aren't used to getting passed like I am, but don't be ashamed to get off and walk. Single speed riding takes time, and you might have to work your way up to the difficult and prolonged climb. But keep at it! Nothing feels better than throwing your Popeye arms in the air as you successfully finish a climb on your wide barred, flat tired single speed. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Crazy Bike of the Day

   Right after I got my mountain bike, I put some impact absorption tape on the down tube to protect it form rocks and dings. I noticed that the package had an interesting silhouette on it:

Shelter frame protection label

   It took me a while to find this bike, At first I thought it was a Lapierre, since they do some weird pierced seat tube stuff:

Lapierre X-Race 900

   I also looked at the Specialized FSR, since the suspension goes through the seat tube as well:

Specialized FSR

   ...but that isn't it. Eventually I stumbled across the Pronghorn Racing cycle:


   We have a winner! This company is from Denmark, mostly found in Europe. Apparently it rides like a tank. Not too fast, but stable. All I can think about looking at this design is...


Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday WTF: Lock your wheels...

... but also lock your frame!

Yikes no bike

   Bonus question: Why cut all the rear spokes? To steal the hub and cassette, I guess.