Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Ride

I like to go for bike rides on Christmas. My second favorite kind of ride (second to single track, of course) is neighborhood exploration riding.  I headed out for one of those rides in the afternoon. I don't get to ride south of the river much, so I wanted to take full advantage of the light traffic and go get lost in city for a while.  It had the potential to be one of the crappiest rides of the year, but I'm going to have to put it in the top 3 for 2011.

I lost a good pair of pants to this ride. Good pair, as in 'the pants I don't wear to the shop' kind of good. Exactly at the moment I thought "Oops. Forgot to roll up my pant leg..." passed through my brain, I heard a terrible ripping sound and my bike stopped dead in the middle of the road.

Then I noticed a gash in my monster truck tire. No flat, but a slice big enough to stick your thumb through (maybe not yours. I don't know how big your hands are). Not to worry- I had a pocket full of tire boots with me.

Later it started raining. 40 degrees, spitting rain, no fenders (I don't care what you say. I don't like fenders. And I keep my bike clean without them.), and I lost my rain pants 3 weeks ago. It could have been a recipe for a miserable ride home, but I couldn't seem to keep a big dumb smile off my face (it helped that my hands and feet stayed warm and dry). I even took the long way home. I shouted holiday greetings to the only other biker I passed, but he didn't seem to be enjoying himself as much as I was (understandable). It wasn't an epic day of riding. You won't find any videos posted about rides like this- slow, around town, without a single bar spin. If there was a video, I promise it would be too boring to watch. Still, it was fun. Really fun.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Trial Run

I did a quick trial packing for my trip (17 days to go!). I still have yet to load up the bike to see how it handles (and how slow I'll be...), but that'll just happen when it's happens, I guess. One of my panniers still needs some repairs- the one I found on top of a trash can (not in it. I promise)- other than that, I'm ready to roll.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Good Holiday Gifts

I have two suggestions if you need a holiday gift for the bike nerd in your life. Specifically the mountain bike nerd in your life. And even more specifically the lady mountain bike nerd in your life.

Have you heard of the GBNEMBA Ride Like a Girl/Wrench Like a Girl series?? No. Well, the ride series brings Pro/Expert local riders and coaches together with beginner mountain bikers to teach skills to build confidence on the bike. Thus creating new gnar shredders, making the world a better place.  The wrench part of the equation happens here at Hub (keep an eye out for 2012 dates coming in Feb/Mar). Clinics cover basic maintenance, to help these women keep their rides shred ready. The final component of this collaboration is fundraising for The Elizabeth Stone House. Here's where the holiday gifts come in. First up- a very cool women's 'Ride Like a Girl' limited edition jersey:

100% of the proceeds from this mountain jersey (think- no pockets or zippers... mmmmm, comfy) benefit The Elizabeth Stone House. We've got 'em in women's sizes XS to XL. $40

 Next up is the Wrench Like a Girl Trial Side Fix It Kit (the name may need some re-working...):

Included in this kit is, a SRAM PowerLink (for chain fixes), a tube (for flat fixes), a few zip ties (for MacGuyver fixes), and a Park MTB-3 multi tool (for every trail side fix). This kit is gender neutral, so you can get it for everyone on your list. $30. I'd also like to note that everything in this kit was donated- so 100% of the $30 will go to The Elizabeth Stone House! Come check them out!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trusty Steed

I meant to do this post on Sunday- which was exactly one month away from the start of my trip, but time got away from me. I've been meaning to do a number of things in regard to this bike trip, that haven't quite happened yet. Like putting some miles in on the bike... That seems to be the theme of this weblog- not riding bikes enough. Good thing this arrived today:

I have, however, managed to get a bike put together. The Brown Machine had been sitting idle for a while, and it has proven its worth over long distances. So that seemed to be the most logical frame of mine to hang some parts on. I'm going with a 2x9 drive train (no granny gear, but I won't have much in the way of elevation change to deal with), hand built wheels (natch) with Michelin tires, and my fave seat and pedals combo.

I'm going with the Surly Open Bar for the handlebar. Not a very conventional choice, but this guy has really grown on me. I think it's very comfortable, and it gives a couple of different hand positions. Will it work for me over a month of riding? There's only one way to find out...

I'm still on the fence about the front basket. I really love this guy (it's a Takeout Basket from PDW), but I'm afraid it won't fit enough stuff. I do have a nice CETMA front rack I could put on there for maximum cargo carrying, buuuut- it won't fit in the bike box I'm packing up in (like the Takeout will), so I'd  have to find some other way to get the thing down to FL. I don't want to brag, but I'm a pretty efficient packer (the last time I checked a bag was 2002), so I hope I can put those skills to good use here. I'm going to test those skills this weekend with a trial run/ride. I'll let you know how it goes. Keep your fingers crossed for me.