raffi

2017 Bicycling - Neither snow nor rain nor...

263 posts in this topic

Hi all,

 

Yeah - agreed with the cold toes/feet.  I have honkin' big feet (13EEEE, or 48/49).  I have yet to find proper shoe covers that'll fit; about the best I can do are wool socks (Castelli 'Quindici' ) and toe covers.  Those help, a lot, but still limit my 'deep winter' riding to about an hour or so.

 

Stay safe!

JT

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I had to replace my wheels.  Front wheel was loose and actually wobbling.  It seemed to happen pretty suddenly.  Took the wheel off and tightened the cones but that only lasted a short time.  Took the wheels in and mechanic said I should replace them.  He could do a rebuild but new wheels would be better bang for my buck. 

 

I did manage to do the whole changeout by myself. Just took my time.  I was surprised at how much effort to took to remove the cassette from the rear wheel.

 

Have nearly 4,000 miles on Fiare already.  Any other maintenance I should consider?  Mechanic says I should consider changing out the cassette.  Riding in Hawaii is extraordinarily hard on bike.  The dirt is not soil but actually fine lava cinder which just tears everything up.  I took my old wheels apart and I could see where the grit got in there and tore everything up.  The mechanic says that it is often better to replace than to try to rebuild hubs (especially on the lower end) for that reason.

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Meyery,

 

Yeah, I can imagine that volcanic dust is pretty abrasive. Your original wheels - sounds like they were loose bearing/cup and cone construction? If so, yeah, new wheels with cartridge bearings might not be a bad investment. I'd think then that just replacing bearings as needed would get you a long way down the road (so to speak :)  ).

 

Has the chain been replaced? If not, it's probably really worn, and that, in turn will also wear the cassette. Ask your mechanic about drivetrain cleaning/maintenance, and what lube is recommended for your conditions. Invest in chain wear checker if you don't already have one (a really good one is only about $20 ...)

 

Good luck, let us know what you decide to do ...

 

-JT

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JT - The bike shop spoils me lol...

 

I am on my 3rd chain in one year.  I apparently wear them out that quickly.  I do have a chain checker and have done one on my own.  We have had numerous talks on drive train maintenance.  I managed to destroy the bearings in my original rear hub because I would liberally spray degreaser all over everything.  Yeah, I got quite the scolding and a $90 invoice to rebuild the hub.  He had the cups and cones off and made me look at the havoc the degreaser caused.  The RULE is now no degreaser spraying near the bike.  Apply with a rag.  We learn from mistakes and I enjoy performing maintenance.

 

I also get the talk about too much lubricant on the chain but I am getting better at that.

 

When I put my new wheels on, I soaked the cassette in paint thinner.  It was amazing how much grime came off.

 

He has me use wet weather lube since Hilo is so rainy and I ride a lot.

 

Apparently, I have cred there as well too.  The owner was telling me how he sees me all over the place and he admitted to surprise.  His experience is 90% buy a bike and it ends up sitting doing nothing.

 

 

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Meyer,

 

Thanks for the details; sounds like you're doing the right things for your conditions (and yes, we all <hopefully!> do learn from our mistakes).

 

Your chain wear seems about right to me - worst I've had was ~700 miles on the OEM chain on the commuter (Felt brand bike); otherwise, it seems like I get around 1500 miles or so out of one. I've tried KMC and various Shimano branded chains; the performance and wear seemed all about the same.

 

I, too, have been scolded by the local mechanics about too much chain lube :) -- now, when it's time to clean and lube the chain, I mark one link with a dab of orange nail polish (bought at the local dollar store).  That way, I know *exactly* where to stop lubing.  The polish wears off after a bit ..

 

No riding for me this last weekend - too wet, and too many scheduling conflicts for the little bit of dry time ...

 

Stay safe out there!

 

JT

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It was a little warmer this morning and the roads are pretty soft from recent rains, so I took the fatbike (not currently studded). This was a good decision up until I reached town at which point I found out (the hard way) that town is covered in ice. The bike went out from under me around a corner at the edge of town and while there was no damage to the bike and only a little tweaking to me, it meant I was very slowly picking my way the rest of the way to work.

 

Guess I will only ride on studs until winter is over...

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@raffi - I took a spill in some gravel a few weeks ago.  It was at the Mac Nut factory store.  The 12 year old in me thought I would look cool riding across the gravel and that plan worked for about 15 feet until I hit a thick patch of gravel which caught the front wheel and tipped me over.  I couldn't clip out in time so I just fell over with the bike and hoped for the best.

 

Other than some wounded pride and a skinned elbow, rider and bike were fine.  I am now "that guy" at the store and have been compared with the customer that got stuck in the same gravel patch in his electric wheelchair.  This was told to me to cheer me up.  The manager broke out her trusty first aid kit and patched me up.

 

I go there nearly every ride and stop for coffee and so I now am warmly greeted and walk my bike across the gravel :)

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meyery2k,

 

I've certainly taken my share of spills and all in all, I'd rather go down in ice than gravel, having done both, I can say that ice results in less road rash. :) Most of the time, it's the hit to the pride that hurts the worst. ;)

 

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On Sunday - I completed my second statue century.  I planned to do an "epic" ride on Saturday, Veteran's Day, but stormy weather grounded me.  I was all prepped with water and mentally ready so I went for it the next day.  The new wheels on my bike performed flawlessly.  I have noticed that my riding technique has improved much since my last century on Memorial Day.  That and being a little more fit equated to less fatigue.  Unfortunately my average was still only 13.1 MPH but there are some good climbs on my route.  Nothing major but 1000' over 4 miles slows you down a bit :)

 

This century can be a challenge to me since there is a gentle climb to about 500 over 17 miles then downhill to the coast.  Tooling along the coast is fairly flat and then I have to come back up that same hill or take the other road mentioned above.  Either way, what went down has to come back up after about a 50 mile ride.

Edited by meyery2k
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Good morning all!

 

It's been a while since I posted.  So, I apologize for the length of this one.

 

raffi and JT, it sounds as though you're both still doing what you both do! :) 

 

meyery2k, it sounds as though you're becoming quite the accomplished cyclist.  Congrats on your progress and all of the things that you are learning.  I would have never thought about your location being hard on bike components but it makes sense.  I guess that's why ymmv was created. :)

 

I still haven't gotten quite back into line with my cycling.  I think I am out of my "funk" but I haven't got back into riding daily.  My mileage these last few months has sucked.  A lack of cycling has affected other things but hey, I can get back on track.  I know I just need to get my butt out but I'm dreading the cold considering that I haven't gotten out that much when it's been nice.

 

Other than that, let me tell you what I have been up to.  I did attend an Adventure Cycling leadership class.  One was offered close by.  So, I didn't have to drive far.  To be honest, I wasn't really up for it but I had paid my money.  I think being around other cyclists for a few days was just what I needed to get out of my funk. 

 

2 days before my class, I had a good friend pass away.  While he and his family knew for almost a year that he was dying they didn't tell anyone else up until about 2 months before his passing.  He deteriorated quickly and those 2 months were way too short.  I drove back from my class to attend his funeral.  So, it was tough going back to my leadership group and getting back into the swing afterwards.  My friend was also a colleague of 24 years as well as a great cycling mentor and riding partner.

 

I did pass my class and it was only the first step in becoming a tour leader.  The next suggestion was to go on a ACA tour and observe.  My "advisor" suggested that I let her know when I planned to take a tour so that she could suggest a tour that had a leader she could recommend for observing.  While I am still waiting on her recommendations my wife has discovered a tour and has hinted at her willingness to go also.  Sure, it would be twice the cost but I would love to have her ride with me.  The tour is on the east coast around the new England states.  However, she won't go unless the tour is one that my advisor recommends and that will further my chances at becoming a tour leader..  If my advisor recommends a different one, I will be going without my wife.  What my advisor suggested for me, was a short 7-10 day, self-contained, tour, which kinda fits me and what I can manage with work.  Anyway, in anticipation of doing the east cost tour, I have picked up an old Miyata 610 for my wife.  I was going to put some money into it but she suggested that I don't since it will only be used for that one tour.  I have the bike on loan until a decision is made.  Then I can either buy it or return it.

 

Yesterday, I took the second set of brake levers off of my cross (touring) bike.  While some would use the space for a handlebar bag, I am going to put aero bars on it.  I sure do love the ones I have on my road bike.  So, I am getting Betty ready for some adventures in 2018.  Outside of the ACA tour, I am planning a couple of others.  2 guys I met during my class, from Texas, do a 8-10 day loop in Kansas.  I might join them and I still have the Natchez Trace on my list.  This spring I discovered that even though bikepacking (what I call it anyway aka minimal gear on my road bike) may have it's place, I think I am a true fully loaded, tourer at heart.  Our Katy trail ride just felt more comfortable to me, the bike, the pace, etc.  I even looked at a Kona Sutra briefly but Betty does all I need her to do.  So, I'll keep riding her for a while.  She has a little over 27.5K on her but she's been mainly sitting since I got Bea.  I also have a few other trips in mind for 2018.  Some are weekenders, overnights, etc.  Not knowing what the future holds, it's hard to plan but I hope to make up for some lost time and hit it hard next year.  Do I say that every year?  :)

 

Anyway, take care!  Happy cycling!

 

Rick

 

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Hi all,

 

Rick - sorry to hear of your loss.

 

If you pick up that Miyata for your wife - you'll have to post some photos.  Many of the Japanese bikes of that era were quite well made.  I see a few older Nishiki's around - the lug work is usually very well done.  The Miyata should be pretty comparable.

 

Caught a break in the weather, and work schedule this weekend - managed to get in rides both days. 21 miles each day, split between two of the bikes.

 

I had an 'enhancement' done on the Ti bike - had the shop add another layer of tape, with gel pads in between the two. (The bars are smaller in diameter than I prefer - so this nicely added some bulk.  It's not as squishy as you'd think, and that's ok. Photo below).

 

Sunday, took the carbon bike out - verified that the bike shop got the brake squeal and shifting issues sorted all out.

 

Also had the chance to inspect some work by the county - they decided to install permanent 'road closed' barriers on one of my ride routes.  This road routinely floods during heavy rains. I think it was closed 3 or 4 times last winter, for days at a time.  Unfortunately, there are idiots who chose to move (or drive around) the temporary barriers, then got swept into the (quite deep) ditch by the flood waters - needing to be rescued.  I don't think anyone's died there, but it was probably a matter of time. (So, to be clear, the road will only be closed during floods - the barrier is permanent, but moveable).  Like I said - idiots. Oh - there's a bunch of water fowl enjoying the nice "lake" - the true wetlands is on the right side of the road in the photo - the part that floods is near the last part of the road that you can see - about 1/2 mile down. I *have* seen flooding near where this gate is)

 

May get another dry day around Thanksgiving - we'll see.

 

Stay safe, and have a great Thanksgiving!

JT

barrier.jpg

bartape.jpg

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Tradition.... *** opening music to "The Fiddler on the Roof" plays in the background *** tradition...

 

It really is not an option to NOT ride on Thanksgiving day. Had it been a foot of snow and an active blizzard, I would have been on a bike doing my best. So today, only having a steady rain, was not that big of a deal. While I did try to time my (shorter than normal) ride for times between downpours, they were really too close together, so I ended up quite wet. The fact that it was above 50 degrees made all but the higher wind times (driving rain into my face) relatively pleasant.

 

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JT, here is the picture of the bike with panniers and such.  Currently, the racks are on it but not the bags.  I probably don't want the front rack but I might purchase the rear one if we buy the bike.  Also, the panniers aren't included.

 

All, I hope everyone is doing well.  I got out for a few rides since my last post.  I got the brakes redone on Betty and the handlebars rewrapped.  I bought new aerobars for Bea and installed them.  I put the old ones on Betty and went to adjust the brakes better but it appears that my rear wheel is out of true.  I'm not sure how that happened but I will be taking it in to have it re-trued.  I'm anxious to get back on Betty to give her a try.

miyata610.jpg

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Hi all,

 

Raffi - you are a braver man than I.  But at least, I did get out on Friday for a nice 21 mile loop - we're also at about 50F, so the riding was pretty pleasant.

 

Rick - nice - that's  *lot* of seat post :) .

 

For panniers on the commuter, I've got the (ubiquitous, here in PDX) Ortlieb classic roll tops.  I have a love-hate relationship with them.  They are astoundingly well made, and near as I can tell, completely waterproof (well, they are at least impervious to road spray, and the odd sprinkler). The 'hate' part? They are a PITA to load up; the 'back' (bike side, that sits against the rack) has a bit of a frame or skeleton (not quite sure how to describe it), while the rest of the pannier has no support, so they tend to flop around until loaded and rolled up.  Then, they are fine - the latch easily into place, and don't accidentally unlatch, but are easy to remove.  I haven't used any others - so I don't have anything else to compare to.  It's not a major annoyance, but it *is* an annoyance ...

 

Looks like we might get more dry weather this weekend - if so, I'll be out again.

 

Stay safe out there!

 

JT

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JT, yes the owner needed a longer seat post but it has the original on it now and in fact, the saddle needs to be lowered for my wife.

 

The reason why the wheel on Betty was out of whack was because a spoke nipple had broken.  I didn't notice it.  Anyway, I picked up the wheel from the LBS and took Betty for a test ride yesterday. It was a short ride because it started to rain.  It hadn't been that long ago since Betty was tuned up.  So, she should be ready for some riding.  I will need to buy new tires for both bikes before the riding season gets hot and heavy next year.

 

Until later!  Take care!

 

 

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Last August, I did not think there would be any way I could break 4000 miles for the year and I thought I'd be lucky to reach a 10 mile a day average at 3650. As of yesterday's commute home, I passed the 4000 mile mark. This fall has gone much better than I thought it would.

 

Yesterday's commute was pretty slow due to snow and ice. There is no way I can make good time going down the hills when they are in that condition. It really adds to the time. This morning, I took the longer route in. The main motivation for this is that I think my rear brakes are shot and the longer route does not need anywhere near as much breaking. Guess I will be making a trip to the LBS this afternoon.

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Hi all,

 

Quick update - out for 21 sloppy miles on Sunday. Roads were wet, and I started picking up intermittent showers/mist/drizzle about halfway out.  Should have been on the commuter (as it has fenders). ~37F on the bike.  That was *supposed* to have been the drier part of the day (mid-morning, with increasing showers in the early afternoon). Instead, the showers and cloud cover lifted about the time I got back.  Afternoon was mostly clear.  Doesn't it figure?

 

Raffi: nice work on picking up the mileage. I'll be *really* lucky to break 1500 by EOY.  There was such a dearth of riding early on ... hopefully, '18 will be better.

 

Stay safe out there!

 

JT

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The weather guessers have been doing a better job lately, but they really missed it for this morning. They called for lows close to 30, instead it was in the mid to upper teens when I commuted in this morning. On top of that, there is freezing fog to make things interesting.

 

The higher than normal mileage this fall is continuing so my yearly mileage looks like it might actually match last years. Here's hoping that holds to the end of the year.

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Hi Bikers! I'm playing with the idea of buying a bike for exercise and thought I would ask for suggestions on what to look for.  Maybe 5 years ago my wife bought me a cheapo bike from Target or Walmart and I just hated riding it.  It felt like the brakes were constantly on.  Slowed down while coasting on level surfaces. Pretty sure it was too small for me as well.  Eventually stopped and then sold or chucked the thing.

 

I'm just looking to ride on paved trails near our house. No 10-mile treks or anything, just maybe the occasional 30-45 minute cruise.

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JohnShroede,

 

Welcome to our discussion. What I usually recommend for someone starting out is to go to your Local Bike Shope (LBS) and see if they have any used bikes. You can often get a pretty decent bike for very little money. It will also be a way to find out if you like biking and what sorts of specifics you might want in a bike before you lay out a large amount of money on a new bike.

 

The LBS should also be able to match you with a bike for the type of riding you will be doing in your area as well as make sure the fit it proper for you to at least be reasonably comfortable.

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Being fairly new to the sport (1 year in), raffi is spot on.  Look for a GOOD LBS and you might find you get into this more than you thought possible.

 

I started with a Wal-Mart bike which was fine at first.  I did some medium distance rides on it.  In time, I went to the LBS to see what I could do to upgrade it and I was set up with a slightly above entry level Specialized bike.  There is no comparison between the two bikes when riding.  I have done 100 mile rides on the Specialized and I am all over the place on it.  It stands up to the riding.  A good entry level bike would probably be perfect for you.

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Fiare and I had quite the adventure yesterday.  All at home.  I needed to change the chain and the LBS recommended a new cassette.  Made sense to me and it was not too dear.  I already have the tools.  I even picked up the right sized socket to go on my breaker bar for the locking ring removal tool.

 

All went well until I turned the crank and the front end chain ring was all messed up.  Chain rub galore and I could not adjust it out easily.  I loosened the retainer for the cable, managed to loosen it to the point it came apart and spent over an hour trying to put it all back together since a derailleur is really not designed for you to get in there with fingers lol...

 

Eventually with You Tube videos, observation, and luck, I managed to get it all dialed in on the bench but couldn't test ride because I had other obligations :(

 

It was most instructive and I now understand how a front derailleur works which can be very valuable if I suffer a breakdown.  I know those limit screws very well now and why we don't mess with them lol...

 

Set out this morning and I only needed some minor adjustments on the cable tension so we are back on the road!  Metric Century broke everything in.   Hills and all, shifting is great!

 

I have a little over 4100 miles this year.  My goal next year is 5000 miles.  I know I can do it with Fiare.  I didn't get her until late February and I was not conditioned nor had the technique to ride the mileage I ride now.  My goal is now 100 miles a week and I can usually hit that and then some.  If I can get off work early enough, I can do a 50K fitness ride before dark.  Spring, summer, and fall offer enough daylight.  I have lights and can ride in darkness but the other drivers frankly frighten me. 

Edited by meyery2k
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Go morning all!

 

Welcome John!  Raffi is correct about the LBS.  Another thing to consider about the LBS is that they can give you an idea of what you might want, style, size, etc. and then you can look on Craig's List, or similar, for a cheaper option.  Some LBSs are more helpful if you buy your bike from them.  Others will help regardless.  It might be tough for you to determine how much work a used bike might need.  If so, you might have as much wrapped up in a used one as you would a new one.  I understand what your intentions are.  However, most of us probably thought we'd be riding the same mileage as you're predicting, starting out. :)  With that said, I do think I would avoid a comfort bike unless you have physical conditions that prohibit you from riding a road or mountain bike styled bike.  Just my opinion.

 

All, even though I don't feel like I'm in a funk anymore, I am still not riding as much as I should be.  Since I haven't been riding even when the weather has been nice I am reluctant to get out when it's cold.  Also, I'm sure that my outdoor gear may not fit very well.  I have a lot of things I need to correct. :(  I am dreaming of 2018.  I still need to figure out what I need to do to get my head back into the game.  While I have thought that I would try to do more fully loaded touring in 2018 I still have the bug to try to do some huge daily miles.  I'm lucky if I could do 50 comfortably right now.  I also want to start 2018 off right.  So, I need to get used to riding in the cold so that I can be consistent by the time January 1 rolls around.

 

As far as miles, I hope to break 5500 by a little.  I was shooting for 7200, 600 a month.  In March I didn't think I could pull it off but then with some of my longer rides I cached a few additional miles which I used up and then ran out of the last 1/3 of the year.  To date, I have missed 155 days of riding.  Normally for me, it's more like 60-70ish.  Oh well, it is what it is.  2018 is another year!

 

Take care!

 

Rick

 

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Hi all,

 

JohnS - welcome! Given your location, you should have a ton of LBS's to check out. Stop in, say 'hi', and talk to them about what you're looking for. Bad vibe? Don't go back. As the others have said, you'll be a lot happier with a local shop that supports you (and that you support) that can get you set up for what you want to do.  You don't have to spend a ton of money to get a good quality bike that'll suit your needs. Let us know how it goes - we're all here to help - and we like talking bikes!

Raffi -- yeah, freezing fog is no fun.

Meyery2k: Nice work - glad you got it all sorted out

Rick: how cold is 'cold'? Layers are your friend. I'm really fond of 'Champion' brand compression base layers (tops or running tights).  Not too expensive, well made (everything I've gotten from them has had flat-locked seams, so no chafing), sweat wicking ... etc.  And for really cold (below 40F), I have a Pearl-Izumi winter jacket. Expensive, but well worth it.  I've been out below freezing and have been comfortable.

 

For me: still in the middle of a dry(!) but cold spell - out for 42 miles, split between Saturday and Sunday. 36-40 degrees, but mercifully, no wind to speak of. (With this kind of weather, we usually get wind out of the Arctic - very biting).  Supposed to be back to rain by next weekend (of course!)

 

As of today, 1383 miles on the year (bleah!). One more ride will get me over 1400. But now, I'm really depressed. My recollection was that for 2016, I was a hair under 1500. Just checked my Garmin data and see 1663 as my total. (I must have had some rides that hadn't uploaded, right at the beginning of 2017).

 

Rick - as you said - thinking of 2018 now ...

 

Hang in there, stay safe!

 

JT

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