Monday, August 3, 2015

Pedaling and peddling, new neighbors, plus Fang!

A few months ago Jeny and I moved into what we can only describe as our dream home.

It is not dreamy because it is palatial, opulent, or any other word that translates to big, shiny, new.


It is our dream home because it is small, simple, quiet, with lots of light, and very convenient.

While no place is truly convenient to everything, this one is mere minutes by bike from the things we deem important--like trails, rivers, lakes, and the shop.

On the subject of the shop, I am in the process of clearing out a whole lotta overstock and lightly used stuff.  Whole fatbikes, cargo bikes, lots of wheels and tires.  Watch this space often the next few weeks.

We've also discovered that our new home is really near to a great horned owl family, several writ-large mule deer, and a pile of frogs for Fang to exercise when the mood strikes.

It is not convenient to lift-served bike riding.  Can't have everything...

One of my two new commuters, below.  More on the second, soon.

Jeny getting after it on her new purple pony.

As neat as it was to have these two massive mulies *literally* in our back yard, eventually I had to waltz out and shoo them away before they completely denuded our baby aspens.  Varmints!

Bug season.

"That's close enough, bub."

Golden hour.

Fading to blue.

Thanks for checkin' in.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Her warm embrace.

My guess is that few among us (likely excepting Greg and Trina) could say with specificity when spring morphed into summer.  My hope is that many of us did indeed notice that day, even early in the morning, when our subconscious told our conscious self that there was no need for pants when shorts would do just fine.

Please enjoy a random smattering of moments beginning whenever spring ended and continuing up to and through the present moment.  

The summer season in Colorado is hard to beat in almost every way.  Long days, mild overnight temps, clear skies except during the blessed afternoon monsoons, with trails, rivers, and mountains to explore in every direction.  From where I sit it doesn't seem a stretch to say that summer embraces us almost as wholeheartedly as we cling to her.

Jeny outrunning mosquitoes on the Grand Mesa.

Greg practicing his boof on the Lake Fork of the Gunnison.

Camping under Marcellina, off Kebler Pass.

Brad just after picking himself up off the road, during the Grand Junction Off-Road.

Somehow Jesse didn't swim in the shot below.  Wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it myself. 

Jeny, Rustling.

Ganey in the Snake Pit, Cross Mountain Gorge of the Yampa.

Jeny, Rustling some more.

Greg rolling up after a boof gone sideways, Lake Fork of the Gunny.

Still life with PBJ, atop the Nest.

Ganey getting Osterized, Cross Mountain Gorge of the Yampa.

Milky Way at midnight, Numbers camp on the Arkansas River. 

Moody Marcellina at daybreak, happy Jeny with java.

Fatillac posing on the backyard trails.

Thanks for checkin' in.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Clyde (wheel) Conundrum.

I've built a lot of bicycle wheels--something like 14,000 and counting.  That's my job and has been for more than a decade.

In the course of that decade I've noticed a trend, or pattern if you will: Heavier riders (aka "Clydesdales") need dependable wheels, but rarely seem to have the $ to spend on them.

It took me a few years to understand why.  And I know this doesn't apply to everyone (what one theory does?!) but it seems to fit ~75 or 80% of the clyde scenarios I've seen.

Generally speaking, it works like this:

John (not his real name) either realizes or is told by his wife, doctor, boss, kids, BFF, etc... that he needs to lose some weight.  He agrees, and eventually determines that riding bikes is the best way to shed pounds without beating the crap out of his joints.  So far so good.

So John buys a cheap bike.  After all, he's not a serious mountain biker, so he doesn't need to spend a buncha money just to spin down the bike path or around the neighborhood with his kids.

But then John discovers two things:

1. He likes riding, a lot.

2. He's actually losing weight.

So he rides more, and more.  But because he spent so little to begin with, his cheap bike starts to fail.  Some of the failures are because John is new to riding, not very smooth, and has a lot of mass to put into the pedals.  Chains break, pedal spindles bend, rims get dented, seat rails crumple, freehubs fail, sometimes wheels taco and whole frames crack.

Now John is bummed, because his 'fix' is now broken.  He wants to ride but can't until he spends more money.  This is usually where I first meet 'John', because he'll send me an email asking for hub or wheel advice.  And almost invariably John will say something along the lines of "I don't want to spend more than ~$300 on a wheelset, because the whole bike was only $500".

$300 doesn't buy much for wheels even if you're only ~145#.  $300 for a clyde wheelset is basically throwing away money--money that will then have to be spent again in order to get a durable, long lasting wheelset.

So my advice to John is usually some variant on "In order to get you something that will last, and that is serviceable, you need to spend a lot more than $300".  Sometimes John 'gets it' and we discuss options, other times he throws up his hands and I never hear back from him.

Moral of the story is that most bikes, especially cheap ones, were neither designed nor intended for true clydes.  But that doesn't mean clydes can't happily and aggressively ride bikes all the live-long day--it simply means that they need to choose their bikes and parts wisely.  To that end, doing it right instead of doing it twice is less expensive in the long run.