Monday, April 6, 2009

Wow It has been to long

I have entered a new level of commuting. I have purchased a rack and a set of panniers. Wow what a difference it is to have the weight off my back. The rack that I got is nothing to fancy. It will carry about 55lbs. The bags were the money takers on this purchase. But they are some of the best around, so I have been told. These are the ortlieb bags. I really like how well they fit onto the rack and the adjustable rack points of the bags. It is very nice.

I also told my lady that I will need to ride 225 mile in order to pay for the bags and rack. I have ridden three miles this morning so that means I still have 222 miles to go. So 225 miles divided by 6 mile a day means 37.5 days. I ride roughly 20 days a month or so. That means if I ride Monday through Friday it will be may 27 when I have ridden enough miles to fill the deal. For every dollar spent a mile is ridden.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Not a whole lot

While I know that some parts of the country have it much harder then I do here in the PNW. The snow and cold are getting to me. This is also the first time that I have taken pictures while out riding. I must say that is it kinda fun.

I did go to my first bike swap. That was really cool. I was able to pick up a new chain ring for a buck. Something that would have cost me 36 or better anywhere else. So I can say that I will be saving money for the next one. There were so many cool parts and pieces and frames. OMG it was really cool. I wish that I had taken the camera to that. It would be fun to post a few of the madness there.

Well keep on turning those cranks.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Middle ground

So in my last update, I made mention of the new parts. It turns out that the bash guard was causing some of my headache, but not all of it. The 16T gear does not seam not allow the chain to roll over it easily. My chain will pick itself up and then slam back down under heavy torque. So I changed over to the 18T. Let me tell you that a 32x18 gear combo sucks ass on my commute. I feel like I am going no where fast. This gear combo would work good if I was in downtown Seattle and going up and down all the hills everyday. The problem that I face is that my commute if flat. However on the flip side of this problem is that when I tow my trailer with my son, the gear combo works good.

I am still going to get myself a 36T chain ring. And that reminds me. While I was trying to figure out how to fix the bash guard problem, I remembered that I had an older chain guide. I took the bolts out of the chain guide and used then on my crank arm. It worked like a champ. I guess being a pack rat at times does pay off.

I don't know if anybody reads this blog and also reads the Commute by bike site. I was reading on that site about letting those kids ride by themselves. Now my son is not old enough to ride to his school yet. And it has nothing to do with his ability to ride a bike, it has to do with the traffic in this town and that there are maybe 6 of us that commute by bike. When I first started to ride my commute I was 16 miles away. And I would fight everything from throttle happy suv owners to big rigs, buzzing by me on a two lane black top with no shoulders. I have moved now so that my commute is only 6 miles round trip. But I still fight these same kind of people. This town has no respect for anybody that does things different. So I deal with that. When my son turns 7, I will let him ride his bike to school. But I will be there with him. I will do this for two reasons. One is that I want to make sure that he makes it there in one piece. Two is that I am not afraid to put myself in front of that truck or car and make sure that the driver knows I am there. I ride very aggressively due to the environment that I live in. As my son grows and matures and gets the skills he needs to ride better in traffic and knows when to fight and when to back down, then I will let him do it on his own. I feel that age has a part in this but also how well the parents educate their children.

As a father and a cyclist I agree with both sides. I am not sure how I will deal with a situation like that. And it is not to say that I won't. My son lives with me full time and his mother lives in a different state. So would she throw something like this at me. Maybe. So while I agree to a point with the father I also agree with the mother and BF. I do think that there is a way to find middle ground on this one. If I was the mother and BF I would look into morning programs so I could bike with the kids to school and still make it to work on time. Sometimes people just go out of there way to make it hard on others, and I feel that this is what the father in this case is doing. So I say find the middle ground. This is one of those times a fight is not the way to go.

Keep it greasy side down

Thursday, January 29, 2009


So you know when you get new parts you just can't help but put them on. Well I got a single speed kit, chain ring, and chain. Being that my old stuff had more then a 1000 miles on it.

The stock ring was 36T the new is 32T. The gear in the back was a 15T and now is a 16T. I am running a 1/2 x 1/8 chain with a quick link. The problem that I am facing now is that the bash guard that is on the crank arms is to thick for the new chain, but I need it on the crank arms because without it my bolts won't tighten down and hold the chain ring. Now with the wider chain, the chain rubs the guard and with that quick link the chain rides up on the guard and I end up skipping or jumping teeth. A very big pain in the ass when you are also towing the trailer with you kid in it. So I was semi-forced into taking the car today to work, most because the gear is new and I don't want to trash it because I am want to ride.

I think what I can do is take some flat bar and drill out the holes for the bolts to go through and then cut the flat bar down to size. Basically making a spacer that will fit were the guard would bolt down. If it works I will be very happy. I have no reason to think that it would not work. This is one of those times that I wish I had a friend that worked in a machine shop and I could get access to the lathe and turn my own guard. That would be the best of both worlds. Having a guard and giving it the right amount of clearance are the chain ring.

But on to the new parts. I was only able at this time to get the ROCK WERKS single speed kit. It looked a little cheap, but it did go together very well. The only question that I had was at what angle to set the chain tensioner at. I just got onto the net and looked at a couple of pics and kinda guessed were it should go. I believe that I have it in the right spot. As far as putting the parts on the bike. That was very simple. Getting the cog in the back in the right spot was a two try process for me. But it did line right up on the second go. I also found out that the kits don't come with a locking ring. So I had to use the last cog from the cassette as well as my lock ring. I have a sram cassette and I would assume a sram hub. I am not sure if the other company's are different but I got mine to work and it works very well other the the guard issue. But like I said above I have an idea.

I am sure that I am not the only dad out there that takes his kid to school using a bike trailer. Boy you think your legs are in kind of good shape until you start towing that trailer. It was amazing to me how heavy he has gotten. Last summer we took him out in that trailer and would go for rides. I don't remember him being that heavy. Yes I know that kids grow and gain weight, and then add in the weight of my bag and his bag, holy crap.

Keep is greasy side down.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A new dawn

As a new dawn arises, a new quest begins. I start taking my son with me on my commute. I have this older burley trailer that I stuck a bell tail light on. I know that it has reflectors both front and back but I felt that they were not enough. I am not sure how well this light will hold up against the weather. I hope that it gets me through the next couple of months. I know that when you buy cheap, you get a steaming pile of shit, most of the time. I will still have my tail light on but it will not be blinking, I will leave it on the solid beam.

His new school is on the way to work for me. So in the mornings and on my way home I will take him with me. I think one of the biggest problems that I face is whether to ride on the shoulder like I normally do or ride on the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk kills me. I hate going up and down with the driveways. I think that I can get a way with riding on the shoulder because I leave the house everyday at the same time and I see the same cars go by every morning. I am hoping that they will slow down just a little bit more now that I have the trailer. I would really like to have an xtracycle right about now. And yet in the other hand the trailer saves me money because I don't have to go and buy anything or go out and buy Buddha a stack of new clothes so he is water proof. So I am thinking that the trailer will work out very well for now.

I am also hoping that if my son his riding with me I can instill in him that riding a bike can be both fun and the best way to get around. I hope that he will look back as he gets older and thinks to himself that I should ride instead of take the car. I look back and think about how my dad got to and from work. For several years, more then I care to think about he walked, or he drove a little motorcycle. Know he has a company rig and drives everywhere. His job does require him to drive a lot. What is really funny is that I am following in his foot steps. I am also in outside sales. So I ride to work, drive at work, ride home.

So how do you encourage riding a bike when your ol'man drives for work. I guess you do what I am doing. Taking him with me. Showing him that you don't have to have a car. I am hoping that in a year or so. I am only out on the road once a week or so. I am hoping that my company will catch on to this thing called the net or even the ol'phone as a way to reach out and get new customers. Having said that I must say that nothing beats a hand shake and a look in the eye to say I can deliver, and I am a man of my word. So I do feel that it is required to drive once in a while. My company provides for people through out my state and the country, so at times I will drive to get the job done, or to look someone in the eye and tell them I can get the job done.

So as dawn approaches I will start this new day with hope that my son will be better then I and he rides more then his ol'man.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So this morning like many mornings, I sat down to watch the news and eat some breakfast before shoving off to work. While listening to the news they tell me that the fog is heavy and is a freezing fog. So that means black ice in spots. What a deal, they said that yesterday and I found no such thing on the way to work. However this morning I did find it.

While I was breaking the law and cutting through the parking lot of an abandoned restaurant, I go to make a left turn and go through the drive through. Well as I go into the turn I felt that very slow slide out. The one that I have felt before. Knowing what is next I unclip my left foot and kick it out there only then to remember that that big ol'cleat on the bottom will do nothing to stop what is happening. If anything it will aid the fall. Sure enough it did, down I went. The ice patch was long enough that I went on sliding away from my bike, while it went into the bushes. As I got up and slowly walked over to the bike, very slowly, I felt no need to slip again. I noticed that I broke a piece of my bash guard off, relocated my front fender to the right bent the back fender up a little bit. O' what a morning. I have to say that my rain gear that I wear did fair pretty well sliding across the pavement.

So the lesson that I can take away from this morning is that sometimes the weather gal is right and I need to be a little more careful.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009 needs to slow down

I can't beleive that we are in 2009, and the world has not ended. I am just joking. It is hard to believe that I have only ridden to work twice this year and it is the 14th. I guess I could come up with all kinds of reasons on why, but they all would be bullshit.

Over the last month of 2008 I quit one job started with a new one. Walking into the unknown is hard, and walking into it without any clue if it is going to work makes it that much harder. Then add in the weather and the fact that I was not ready for all 18 inches of snow. I figured that this year would have been like last year and we would not get that much snow, boy was I wrong. And the town that I live in has no snow removal equipment, makes it that much better.

Overall I have to say that 2009 is starting off a little rough. Not riding as much as I want, to many changes, and lots of stress. So I will ride my bike as often as I can and hope that by feb I am riding everyday again. I will tackle each problem one at a time to find the answer, and hope for the best.