Re: Resurrection

Rouleur Magazine

Time to get my blog to its roots. I read THIS article today. It’s a journal entry on Rouleur Magazine’s website. It had tremendous insight into one of the greatest cyclists and certainly Classics riders, Roger De Vlaeminck.

I love history, especially cycling history. To hear these words in such a raw form is certainly a blessing. One very interesting fact I noticed concerned the downtube shifters on Roger’s machine. His (and probably others) had downtube shifters with protective rubber on the ends not only to protect his knees when out of the saddle but, so he could shift with his knees. How wild is that? In this age it’s hard to come to grips with this as part of normalcy. This simple instance displays the resourcefulness and the tenacity Roger and his counterparts had in the 70′s. There are a few other examples of this type in here too. And this gem when asked what has changed in cycling equipment over the years.

“Let’s say there have been two innovations that have significantly changed cycling: clipless pedals and ergopower shifters. The rest is questionable.”

Really fascinating piece. Certainly not my first cycling history read but interviews are always special. With reading this, I’ll grind just a bit harder tomorrow and not shift gears as soon as coming up onto a hill. What? That’s what you did as a kid too right?

Original piece by Rouleur Magazine

 

2014 Errandonnee Challenge

My first Errandonnee Challenge is complete. The challenge focuses on doing everyday errands on your bicycle. (Note: pronounced Er-RAND-onnee.) It is a play on Randonneuring – a certain cycling enduring challenge with it’s set of rules and challenges. This whole challenge was a concept drawn up by Mary at ChasingMailboxes.com. Basically, the rules are you complete 12 errands in 12 days and ride at least 30 miles by bike in that span of time.

Normally, there are control points in a randonneuring race where you prove your progress. In this challenge however, I had to take photos to prove my “controls”. Here are some photos that proved my control points. In each photo I submitted to the organizer, I had to tell what I observed and what my mileage was for each errand. Head on over to this Flickr Set to check out these additional details.

Taking Walt on these errands was fun for him and I. It wasn’t just doing the errand itself though, I’d usually combine the errand with a park or caboose visit if taking him. By myself, I’d combine miles just for fun. Case and point – my Georgetown Waterfront visit was a 51 mi. venture, normally only being 15. Another thing – bringing the bike inside PETCO or Walgreens was nothing big to the employees. Just have to have the nerve to do so. No bike rack? No problem. I’ll bring my car inside. In total, I did over 108 miles for the challenge.

Find other people’s experiences by using the #errandonnee hashtag on Twitter. Here are my photos of the challenge.

#errandonnee lunch entry

Georgetown Waterfront Lunch

#errandonnee entry #4 Work

Work

#errandonnee grocery store entry

Grocery Store

#errandonnee #6 entry - Breakfast. Look close, the burley is back there!

Starbucks

#errandonnee entry #10 Dinner at Popeyes. Bike in the background!

Popeyes

#errandonnee #5 Work. Blah!!

Work

#errandonnee entry #11 Spokes in Vienna

Spokes Etc

#errandonnee entry #8 Mail drop Wild Card

Post Office

#errandonnee entry #9 PETCO - bring the bike inside ed.

PETCO

#errandonnee entry #7 Lunch at Maggios!

Maggios

#errandonnee library entry

Library

#errandonnee entry #12 Walgreens in Vienna

Walgreens

New Gear Photos

I’m excited for my new gear on the Campeur. Some photos and short review:

Rear Flap handcut.

Flap_Rear

Rear_Flap_2

Grand Bois Cypres tires.

GB_Label_Flap

Shimano 11-32 cluster.

11-32_Cluster

After a few rounds on Vienna’s most tough hills, I’m happy to say the combo of new cluster and faster/lighter tires is incredible. The bike planes more uphill, almost propelling it at times. Really fun and just what I imagined this new combo to achieve. Read HERE on some details of these items if you’d like. Thanks for reading.

Front_Angle

Answers from W&OD

Recently, I haven’t had the pleasure of riding my local trail to work consistently in some time due to snowy and icy conditions. It’s been better most recently but another snow event tonight will undoubtedly keep me off the trail through the rest of this week and perhaps next. Fingers crossed though.

Lately, I’ve been taking to Twitter to express my frustrations with why the trail isn’t plowed or treated to combat inclement conditions. But, I decided to get some formal answers to questions from the only folks who could answer them accurately. Some excerpts of the email I sent to those responsible to the trail:

For not treating or plowing:

…the main reasons for not plowing is that the plow would do damage to the asphalt trail and the thermoplastic markings we have all along the 45 mile stretch of trail. In addition, we do not apply salt to the trail since again salt would eat away and damage the trail.

Their priority:

…our first priority is to remove any downed trees/limbs from any snow event. It took us about 2 1/2 days to remove all the debris from the snow; by that time the snow had mostly melted. In a couple of trouble areas we put down sand to help with traction.

Possible solution:

…we do have a snow blower that we very well may use if we get 6+ inches of snow like they are forecasting. If that is the case we’ll deploy it next week to help clear away the snow.

I’m a little disappointed the snow blower isn’t utilized more often but at the same time understand that one single snow blower is impracticable for a 45 mile trail. I have questions about how terrible the plowing would hurt the trail though, especially because the Custis Trail (a critical connector trail to the District) not far away gets plowed in each snow event, or at least parts of it. That trail is far more bumpy, and I might be wrong, but plowing a more bumpy surface should be a more difficult task, right? Further, I don’t see irrevocable damage to that trail. If anything, the tree roots along the trail are doing more damage than any plow can.

I’d be interested to hear what others think about the plowing aspect comparing that to their own trails. By posting this, I wanted to share this information to my local bike friends and don’t mean to bring down these folks from this post but, post for pure informational reasons.

Thanks for reading.

Tonight's Pre-Snow Shot

Tonight’s Pre-Snow Shot

A New (Temporary) Ride

So I secured a backup bike from a friend during some work that is going on with the Campeur. The new rig brings new challenges and enjoyment. It’s a hybrid cruiser from Trek with fenders (awesome) and a rear rack.

Some good things:

  1. Turning responsiveness – the bike reacts very quickly to obstacles
  2. Short wheelbase – a little bit more livelier feel compared to the long stays of the VO Campeur

Some bad:

  1. Index shifting – is it bad this is on my bad list? I find it hard to get used to shifting by index, I can only shift one cog at a time. Do other performance shifters react this same way? I chose my friction shifters based on longevity and ease. I can downshift from the largest cog to the smallest in a matter of 1-3 seconds. Index shifting on this bike lets me do it in about 10. Maybe it’s me needing to get used to it and me being ridiculous.
  2. Straight Handlebars – only one hand position, the extensions are too long for me
  3. Toe Clips – I’m fine with clips but they are so large I broke a piece off while I was taking off at a light and not securing the foot, whoops.
  4. Doesn’t plane

Although, there are some things to get used to for riding a new bike I like the fact it is making me more aware of different bikes and how they react differently than mine. Since, the Campeur is my only bike, one naturally would get very comfortable with it and its intricacies. I do wonder about index shifting and whether I will ever make the switch if just staying with a steel bike where I can get away with it (mostly appearance-wise). Some folks are really surprised to learn I friction shift a 9 speed cluster. Perhaps one day I’ll throw on some real shift levers.

It’s all what we’re used to. As for now, I’ll enjoy breaking in the back up bike a little further and let it teach me some new tricks.

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