Monday, October 20, 2008

winning view

Sunday Gusty Sunday on a simple fixed gear cruiser around Cape Ann. Stopping at Stage fort park to give the hammies a ten second stretch. The ground displaying evidence of last weeks epic battle between Trebone and Johnson.
And I am thinking...So, what exactly is a battle ship doing in Gloucester Harbor? This cannot be good.
Kudos to Mark Babineau for cutting in the run-up on day two. You can't see it but the racers had to jump up a two foot wall and then climb a 30 foot (45% slope) comprised of potting soil.
AP and I watched and drank beer - 'Cross is so much more enjoyable as a spectator.

Gloucester Cyclocross Seat Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.
Gee, why do they call him tree farm again?
Tim Johnson, home town hero, finishing up with style.
I arrived too late for the B-men's battle. From what little I did catch, Jeremy Dunn had things under control on the last lap. Looking strong, sizing up his competition with a focused glance. A powerful lunge in to the back field and kept us guessing. Some bad luck getting jammed up with another rider and eventually crossing for fifth. He got third on Saturday. He'll be on the top of the podium soon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Erkle Bike

Function over fashion. That's my favorite saying. Mainly because my choices in life are seldom fashionable. And this is all about function. The folding Dahon mu xl sport is fashionable however, and well engineered. It also provides a swift and fun cruise to work from the train. Thumbs up for geometry, I find it to be a comfortable ride.
Fresh air and a bit of stress relief at the end of the day are an added bonus.
Folding bikes are the only legal way to board a rush hour mbta train with a bike. Therefore not get stuck in traffic jams. I get my (short) ride in in the morning and the afternoon - and totally veg-out on a north bound train after work.
Though, people along my route from the train to work have offered their unsolicited thoughts on what they obviously consider an odd looking bike for an adult to be riding. I had an apple thrown at me last week! First time fruit was tossed my way. I turned and asked the two Hispanic men why it was they were wasting food. They laughed, so I got out of there before anything else was hurled at me.
So, of the half dozen 20 inch midget bikes I was looking at, I picked the Dahon mu xl Sport. Jamie at Western Cycle ordered her up and she arrived in a week. No assembly required. Out of the box and on to the road.
Some features include, a shimano nexus 8 speed internal hub (works sweet), ergon grips; (very nice addition b/c the smaller wheels ride a little harsh, good to have the wide palm platform the ergons provide). Quick disconnect pedals, (the left one has popped off accidentally three times, I think that I'll be slapping on a regular set of peds soon). Other features include; A kick stand! Kore i-beam saddle, sks fenders, stainless steel chain, an integrated brake handle/bell, and ability to fold in 10 seconds with out tools.
Almost went with a Strida - But the smaller wheels and the ball joint link had me worried. Also, I needed the freedom to jump a curb to get the heck out of the way of a Boston Cabbie. The single speed design and belt drive almost won me over.

Friday, October 10, 2008

whip it good

She's a beauty ain't she? Salvaged from the scrap heap and on loan to serve as my morning whip to the train. The most exposure I've had to a sweet classic Brooks saddle, it's thirty year old leather is just now broken in and the main reason for locking her up.
Gliding out my driveway to meet the 7:19 and sipping on some java. I could use one of these but it's only a half mile, I can ride one handed. The three speed hub has a smooth faint click, she doesn't shift but least it's stuck in the easiest gear. Her mission is to get me there faster than walking, after all, walking sucks. The beauty of this ride is that she's still rolling despite her apparent lack of maintenance. I'm hesitant to inspect the tires, for fear that the tubes are both blowing out dry-rotted sidewalls. If she breaks down plan B will be to lock her to the nearest available tree and beat feet.
I hear the train's whistle at the end of Asbury street and build a head of steam. I've got her at top speed in short order, she's got a wobble and both wheels are hitting the fenders and brakes. Whack Whack Whack. She's making all kinds of rattles and bangs but the chain is holding fast and now time to slow her down. Securing the lid on my travel mug I tuck it in my armpit and grab for the raliegh's available brake power, which I am finding out rather quickly she has none. Needing now both hands and one foot, I've gone to the Fred Flinstone method. I am a total projectile, and on coarse to being someone hood ordainment on route 1A.
Her brakes burn through the first half inch of hardened rubber and finally grab hold, just had to burn off the ten years of dust since they were last used.
Upon my return trip on the 5:48, my neighbor Russell pauses a moment and with a squint and scratch to his head gives a shout , "hey...what'chya down grade'in?" "Naw, she's a workhorse!"

Sunday, October 05, 2008


A gaggle of mtb enthusiasts instinctively flocking from points near and far. The weather triggering the response to gather for a last hoo-ha before fitness fades with the season. The instinctual call from the wild, not unlike the way migratory birds meet in the sky to fly south for the winter. But we aren't that smart. Instead programmed to stay up all night drinking like fools and then attempting to ride seven or eight hours while on a network of the most technical trails on the north shore. Thankfully, the ride typically takes place on the first Saturday in October. That gives us Sunday to recover.