Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chain Whips and You

   For a long time, chain whips have been designed like this:

Park Tool chain whip

   You use this to get a good hold on your cassette so you can loosen the lock ring. Without this handy tool, getting your cassette off is downright impossible. Park Tool has come out with a new design for the tool:

Park Tool chain whip pliers

   With this design you don't have to wrap the chain manually, you can just grab ahold of your cassette and go.

In action!

   I know what you're thinking - how much time does this really save? Well, probably not much, but if you're looking for the cleanest way to work on your cassette, this is it. If you're looking for the biggest hassle when working on your cassette, check out the home made jobs below:

From a cut up crank arm

Some pipe and chain

Copper pipe and chain

   Truly necessity is the mother of invention!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday WTF: Bike Spikes

An Alternative to studded tires, Bike Spikes are a tire chain like device for riding in slippery conditions.


There are a couple really neat features of this design:

  • Easy on / off. Great for snowing on the way in, dry on the way home
  • Light weight. Plastic is forgiving, light and (hopefully) inexpensive
  • Reflective: neat reflective strips making you more visible in these short winter days
   The studs look pretty good, although not a lot on the sides of the tire.

Close up

   And as I said, reflective! Great thinking! 

Reflective strip

   Apparently there is some turnbuckle style closure to tighten them onto your bike. Check out blessthisstuff for more pictures.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

GJ MTB Report!

   With all the snow we have in Boulder now, I like to think back to a time when it was warm and sunny and dry and mountain bikes were all the rage. This August I had a chance to get three full days of mountain biking in. It started with a day in Fraiser with a group of about 6 guys from work. 

Day 1: Fraiser Trails - We rode many trails in the Fraiser valley and it was very fun! I had mostly ridden these in races and it was neat to see them again. 

 Map and elev

   We only got lost a couple times, one minor mechanical with Jason's bike, nothing too terrible. And afterwards we were rewarded with some tasty lunch and beers. 

Taking a break to discuss how lost we were

   Riding in a group like this is so great, everyone was riding well and challenging each other and giving grief when you made a mistake. Rides like this are why we mountain bike!

Fraiser Trails Strava
Distance: 27.4 mi
Elev: 2,563'
Time: 2h 28m

Day 2: Lunch Loop, Grand Junction -  After staying in Fraiser, Bill and I drove to GJ where we rode the Tabaguache trails. I haven't ridden these trails since I lived in Junction years ago, and they were challenging! It was the shortest ride in distance, but the most technical by far. 

 Map and elev

   We rode one trail called Gunny Loop that I had never been on. It was pretty great, but this whole area had me wishing I had more travel, and wondering how I did all this on a hard tail a decade ago. 

Coming down 

  This was a hot ride! The temp was about 93. Afterwards we went to Edge Water Brewery for a well deserved beer.

Lunch Loop Strava
Distance: 13 mi
Elev: 1,721'
Time: 2h

Day 3: Kokopelli's Trail - The last day of the weekend 'o riding, 

 Map and elev

   These trails have not changed as much since I last rode them - still fast, flowy, and beautiful. We got an early start to beat the heat on Horse Thief Loop, complete with the gnarliest downhill of the weekend. 

The drop into Horsethief

   Once down into the valley, we rode along the edge of a cliff that overlooked the Colorado River. We even saw a few raft groups camped out.

Overlooking the CO River

   Riding that close to the edge was unnerving. It wasn't hard, but you couldn't help think about falling off and rolling over the edge. It was controlled riding all around. 

   This was the most serene riding. Fraiser was bar banging, hooping and hollering. Tabaguache was hot and technical. Mary's Loop was just the right mix of technical and fun. A+ #1.

Distance: 22.0 mi
Elev: 2,319
Time: 2h 27min

   After the biking we went to the new Grand Junction BMX track to check out the Race mentioned in this post.  It was really cool to see how my old home track has changed. The new track is top notch. 

Starting Hill

   The action doesn't stop there! On the drive back we had a little engine explosion in Bill's SUV. 

Hanging out with the tow truck

   And Bri came to rescue us!

   An adventure filled weekend!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Future? Self Inflating Tires

   Got sent this form my Father in Law - a system of self inflation for inner tubes. According to their web site:

"Air enters though the valve stem and is pushed around the circumference of the wheel by the deformation of the tire against the pavement. When the tire returns to its original shape, it draws in additional air for the next pumping cycle."

   It deals with very small amounts of air, but each rotation of the tire can add up quickly. The system is equipped with a control that stops filling when a certain pressure is reached. Seems like a great idea for the enthusiast. Kind of like the auto shifting bike, it takes some of the complication out of riding so you can just get on and go.

Check out all the details at pumptire.com.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday WFF: Patriot Edition

   If you're like me, you love Cannondale, The USA, and Spinergy Rev X wheels. Well this post if for you.

God bless America

   I also love helmets.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Bowl of Death and CX Season Wrap Up

  A couple weeks ago marked the end of CX season for me with the Louisville Bowl of Death. Right after the race we took off for sunny California and spent some time with friends. Quite a change going from snowy and cold to this:

Torrey Pines Beach

   Louisville was the last stop for the Without Limits Cyclo X series. Man, these people put on a good series. I was pretty happy with the last race. Technical, challenging, right up my alley. The start led right to a hill that became a scrum really fast. I was fortunate to have a pretty clean run up and be in the top 5 for the rest of the race. Action shot!

Coming over some frozen ground

   There were a couple other spots on course that were really challenging and really fun. The sand pit was so frozen it wasn't like sand at all. I learned that I have some long legged advantage running up the hills that came in handy against the smaller guys.

Topping out on some climb

   I ended up taking 5th, which made me really happy. I'd had a terrible finish at Interlocken, and flatted out at Sienna lake so this was a welcomed result. I ended up the series with enough points to take 3rd overall, including the tiniest plaque on record.

Handsome victors

Series results

   Really excited to get some rest this winter, and then come back next season and hit it hard.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Windy Day in Boulder!

  On my first ride in for a week or so this morning I saw a tree that fell victim to the wind:

It's a pun!

   Take care on Cottonwood this morning!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Low Effort Post of the Week

YourSceneSucks.com offers quite the caricature of young people, and cyclists were not immune: 

I'm looking at you, Zac