Thomson X2
Thursday January 28th 2010, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Photos

Originally uploaded by prestashrader

Winter Garb
Sunday January 17th 2010, 3:21 pm
Filed under: Commuting,Photos

The weather has changed for the better the previous two days. Compared to the bitterness we’ve had in this area the past several weeks, I really hope these 30˚+ temps stay around a little while longer. A stay from rain may be asking for too much, but I’d appreciate that too. (No such luck today). What do I know though, it’s not even spring yet.

See, I ride my bike to work every day. It’s my only mode of transportation here in Louisville; am I a commuter? I guess I am. I really don’t call myself that though; all the multitudes driving their cars to work everyday, do they call themselves commuters? My mode of transportation to work isn’t who I am. I commute to work by bike though, yes. I also run all my errands by bike, and I pretty much occupy my leisure time by bike. My work is bikes, sometimes even my sleep is bikes. Is it an obsession or a passion? Hard to say. Anyway, enough about me, back to this weather!

The past few weeks have been seeing temperatures in the ‘teens but a “feels like” between -1˚ and 6˚so when the mercury skyrockets to 28˚, 32˚, or like yesterday 36˚ the layers start to shed—and thankfully too!


Click the image to get the details of my laundry

Sometimes I justify not riding on the weekend when the weather is less than ideal because I ride everyday when the weather is less than ideal. Is that so “non-cyclist” of me? Am I  being a wuss? At any rate, people riding in inclement or uncomfortable weather has sprouted an enormous market for winter cycling apparel. I’ve been remiss to dive full on into that consumer cesspool. There is certainly an article of clothing that is made specifically for an individual weather system, pinpointed to the day and hour of its occurrence. But who’s got the wallet for that kind of pigeonholing?

As seen from the above photo, I’ve got a few essentials and a few items that swappable dependent on what it looks like outside my door, but for the most part, I’m wearing pretty consistent stuff. That Chrome hoodie has been a godsend. Is it space-age synthetic material to keep the wind, water off of me? No, it’s wool and does just the same. I don’t mind wearing it any other time either, I could just as comfortably be wearing it right now. Even though this one is green, what other piece of clothing do you have that makes you feel like a ninja? Wool socks, wool-like skull cap, wool glove liners. Wool!

For the most part, this isn’t a edict on the benefits of strict wool use; I really use a combination of materials. For instance those Chrome pants, they’re durable (over four years old), they’re comfortable (thicker in the rear-end), they dry quickly, and they’re synthetic. I’m also using other none wool bits. What’s my point?  None really I guess, it’s just me blathering on about what I wear in the cold, how I’m not necessarily an advertisement easily seen in Bicycling magazine (perhaps an ad for Chrome though, eh?). I hope I don’t have to put all this shit on very much more this year, I’ve got the process nailed down to a quick five minutes without over-heating, but still….

Ripped & Torn
Sunday December 27th 2009, 11:35 pm
Filed under: News,Photos

Yesterday I took a ride on the Coppi with my wife and a few other people, it was a nice leisure thirty miler. Recently I discovered a grinding noise in the—suspected—bottom bracket. So the night before, I removed the cranks and found that the Chorus sealed cartridge bearing was loose, happily finding the culprit of the noise, I reassembled and confidently took it out for Sunday’s ride with the plan of replacing the bearing during the overhaul I was intending on performing in the next few weeks. Fausto had plans of another sort for me though. On Sunday’s leisure ride, a different noise made itself apparent to me, it seemed located up near the stem or headset. During the ride, periodically I pushed down on the handlebars to recreate and emphasize the sound hoping to pinpoint it better. After the ride, as I was hanging it up, I decided it’s probably just the stem/bar interface and that I’d take care of it during the overhaul.

It was at this point the creaking sound that had been bothering me during the ride revealed itself visually. Hanging the bike up gave me a distinct view of the underside of the top tube—my stomach sank from what I saw: a hairline crack a quarter of the distance from the headset on the top tube, right at the front internal cable routing hole.

Seeing this, a whole slew of thoughts flashed across my mind. First was sadness and mild anger, disappointment across the board. Next was a series of questions, how? When? Who? Me? How and when did this happen? Someone must have sabotaged it, dropped it when they shouldn’t have even been looking at it. Ugh, it was too much to bear—but I overcame all that quicker than I’d imagined; I’m still calm about it too somehow. I love that bike, how it looks, how it rides, and it’s “heritage”. A brief sense of relief was also considered; relief that I didn’t have to get hospitalized at any point on that thirty mile ride. Images of the tube separating while riding, sending me painfully off the bike somehow made me thankful I noticed it visually on my storage rack rather than “physically” wondering what happened as I lay bleeding on the pavement.

Irony is telling me right now that I should have performed that overhaul I’d been planning much sooner. Especially the left side of the bike; this all makes me wonder how much the left side of a bike gets neglected. Who knows how long this crack has been progressing. There is a very small showing of rust on what I would assume the start of it would be; this is obscured however by the brake cable housing entering the port. I only wrecked once on this bike through the three years I’ve had it, and that over a year ago. A thorough inspection was performed afterwards, and nothing was found; perhaps, considering the location of the crack, the beginnings of it were overlooked, a small minuscule stress point that grew in time to the fully compromised crack that showed yesterday. It is nearly half the circumference of the tube, the crack itself looks like it’s literally tearing, probably increased every time I “stressed” the handlebars on the ride yesterday. Wanting to rip and separate completely.

This experience has made me question the integrity of steel for a minute. Especially such thin high-performance steel, like the Columbus Genius grade the Coppi was crafted from. Is it ill-advisable to ride such “vintage” steel like this? Fifteen years isn’t exactly vintage per se, but the question crosses my mind nonetheless. Historically, were internal routing ports like these prone to this type of cracking? Do they offer an easily developable point of stress? In other words, do they weaken the tube? This tubing is thin to be sure, thin and light. At least it didn’t suffer the same fate as my friend’s Coppi: so sad. But some explanation as to what exactly happened would be nice, only the bike knows. Had I jinxed the bike by having thoughts of upgrading/replacement, that’s definitely the only realistic explanation I can come up with.

One of the benefits of steel that I always tout to people is it’s repairability. This, I’m pretty sure, can be fixed. I can get a new replacement tube brazed in. I’d opt to get a new decal set and a pro paint job reapplied. However, just writing this sounds expensive; it’s likely going to be a far far back-burner project unfortunately. So a replacement frame is in order—I’ve begun looking already. Considering the bottom bracket needs replacing, the new frame doesn’t have to be threaded Italian—that’s a silver lining I guess. Maybe I don’t exactly need a crit bike either. Research to be done, decisions to be made.