Chloe strips the Fisher frame

Chloe finally got to get her hands dirty as we stripped off the old running gear from the Fisher mountain bike for our singlespeed build project.  She’s biting at the bit to get her hands on the grinder and knock off the cantilever brake mount points.  I may just have to claim jurisdiction over that operation.

Chloe holding her frameA couple of folks have already asked how I plan on mounting the brakes – especially the rear one.  In truth those details haven’t been totally worked out.  It may require a little custom-bracket making.  I’m giving serious consideration to actually moving the rear brake down to the chain stays instead of the seat stays.  We’ll see…

Single speed project for my daughter

Just picked up this “gem” at a garage sale for $15:

Fisher on Work Stand

I think we’re going to try and make this into a single speed (non-fixed gear) for my daughter.  She is itching to become “all mechanical” and really get her hands dirty working on a bike.  This particular frame seems like a good candidate because: Keep reading →

Quill stem conversion

Not too long ago, over on VeloReviews.com, I was casually discussing the possibility of swapping out my forks and quill stem for a threadless set.  My initial intent was to replace my aluminum forks with a carbon fiber set and change the stem type at the same time.  Well, turns out that conversion got expedited when I ripped my stem apart while riding home from work.  With something of a timeline looming over me (this bike is how I get to work) I opted to move forward with the a conversion of the quill stem by using an adapter to allow the use of a threadless stem.  The forks will remain the same.

In the top of this picture you can see the pieces of the original broken quill stem.  On the bottom, the more modern Bontrager stem pieces.  And finally, on the bottom right, you’ll see the adapter that will allow me to mount that Bontrager stem. Keep reading →

Hey soccer mom – meet cycling family!

I’m sure many of you have seen the collection of stickers on the back of an SUV that depict the entire family – including the cat and the dog – in various poses indicating their respective interests.  So boy was I excited when I spotted the following stickers on a mini van traveling down Market St in San Francisco.

I gotta get one of those!

My only question is – did Dad just drop the family?  Not cool, dad.  Not cool.

Riding across the Dumbarton

Part of my Sacramento to Palo Alto commute has me transferring to a bus that drives me across the bay into San Francisco.  Unfortunately, the company that Amtrak has contracted for the bus service has removed the bike racks from the front of their busses.   This is a little frustrating given the fact that they finally just got them on 6 months to a year ago.  It is further frustrating because they took them off so that they could install the FastPass transponders that tick when the go through the toll booths.  I’m not exactly sure why the entire front of the bus doesn’t allow for both the 8-10 inch transponder and a bike rack, but whatever. Keep reading →

Bloody cyclists & Celeb cyclists = Bloody celeb cyclists!

In my newly conceived (and doomed to fail) endeavor to somehow beat Cyclicious in the celebrities on bikes photo race, I’ve been keen to find something of my own.  So – while laughing my ass off over my morning coffee to yet another Bike Snob post I happened across not a photo – but a video!  Sure – the celebrity isn’t exactly on his bike here – but that is only because it was on his bike before finding the back window of a taxi cab.  And he is bleeding! While celebrities on bikes are indeed cool, nothing will ever top images of bloody cyclists (like this, or this, or even this.  But especially this).   And it is not just pictures – it is video! Keep reading →

The Saxodus continues

The Saxodus continues as more and more people confirm that they are leaving Saxo Bank for other teams.  Here’s a quick rundown of current migrations:

  • Frank Schleck – “I’ll go where Andy goes!”
  • Andy Schleck – “I’ll go where Frank goes!”
  • Frank-n-Andy Schleck – New Luxembourg team.  Sponsor still TBD.
  • Jens Voigt – Confirmed to be leaving Saxo Bank.  Most indications are that he is going to join the Frank-n-Andy endeavor, but that has not been confirmed at the time of this writing.
  • Jakob Fuglsang – Moving with Frank-n-Andy
  • Steuart O’Grady- Moving with Frank-n-Andy
  • Matti Breschel – Transfering his accounts from one bank to another, Matti is moving from Saxo Bank to Rabobank.

That makes six out of the nine Saxo Bank riders in the 2010 Tour de France that are heading for other teams – 5 of them apparently to the same new team.  Fabian Cencellara still has one year remaining on his contract with Saxo Bank, and of course Alberto Contador has signed on to the newly names Saxo Bank-Sungard team for two years.

Diabetics get an advantage in the pro peloton … maybe

Cyclicious (www.cyclelicio.us) has a knack for finding cycling stories outside of the mainstream.  Well, that and being Johnny-on-the-spot for photos of celebs on bikes.  So it is no surprise that he would find a story about the US Military (DARPA) working to fund research into drugs to dilate blood vessels.

The body produces nitric oxide and releases it into the bloodstream to dilate the blood vessels when increased blood flow is needed. Dr. Stamler plans to research ways to deliver nitric oxide to the blood through inhalers.

The Case Western Reserve School of Medicine notes potential non-military applications to enhance blood delivery such as with “heart failure, ischemic heart disease, stroke, sickle cell disease and diabetes,” though I can think of a certain other class of users *cough*enduranceathletes* who might see a use for an inhaler that can increase blood flow and improve their athletic performance.

http://www.cyclelicio.us/2010/military-funds-blood-doping-research/

This could, however, create something of a moral delimea for me.  It may put into contention my desire to remain healthy as a diabetic (something I deal with now) with my desire to race competitively (something I hope to deal with shortly.)  It may present a real situation where medications that may help diabetics could also be banned for use by athletes due to performance enhancing characteristics.

Tip: Keep your bike parts attached!

It was a normal commute home. I’d gotten off the train, was making my way home, warm night, light traffic. There were an unusually large number of folks riding their bikes too. It was sometime around 9:00 or so.

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That’s when I found myself at the intersection of W and 11th, heading towards Riverside Blvd.  I go through this intersection a lot, so I know the timing of the lights on this particular stretch of road.  If I hit the pedal really hard and sprint all the way to Broadway, I can just make it through the light at Broadway and Riverside Blvd.  I’m feeling kinda spry tonight – so I’m gonna shoot for it.  I’ve got a perfect track stand going – no need to be delayed by clipping into the pedals.  I’m totally gonna make this light.

As soon as the light turns green, I’m hard on the pedals.  One revolution – I’m in a fairly high gear, so sorta slow launch.  Push harder.  Two revolutions…  Three revolutions…  Bike is leaning hard to the left.  Wait… What?  I’m on the ground! I’m on the ground!  How the hell did that happen?

I’m in the middle of the intersection, laying on my elbow. A car slowly moves around me through the intersection, so my immediate thought is to get out of the road. I start to stand up and realize that I’ve still got the “sprint grip” (not to be confused with the “death grip”) on my bars. And that is when it hits me. I’m standing up with the bars in my hands, but the bike is still laying on the ground. The freaking bars are no longer attached to the stem.

At intersection, immediately after incident

Apparently I apply a fair amount of force to the bars when I attempt to sprint. I’d snapped the quill stem completely apart right at the weld point. Seriously something of a predicament. I had about 5 miles or so to go to get home. Walkable maybe, but not an easy walk. Especially difficult with a broken bike. Clearly I’ve got to call the SAG wagon for help. Or, as the rest of you may know her, my wife. Only problem is – no answer. Ummm… what do I do now?

D’uh! You take pictures and post them to twitter!

Well crap. Now how do I get home??? http://twitpic.com/2bpr49

Ok – then I try and call SAG… er, I mean my wife… again.

I get an answer this time, and she is already getting ready to come and get me when she asks, almost as an afterthought, “What happened?  Are you OK?”

“I kinda ripped my handle bars right off my bike.”  I reply, trying to make the situation sound all the more dramatic.

“Oh.”  That’s pretty much the full response.

Well, a few minutes later the car, complete with all three kids, arrives at the gas station just past the intersection where “the incident” took place.  The kids seem pretty excited about the fact that my handlebars are all the way down by the hub of the front wheel – hanging by the cables and swinging around aimlessly like a broken limb.  I manage to get the bike on the roof of the car and, after making a couple of half-hearted attempts to somehow contain the swinging handlebars, decide that we’re not going that far or fast so it’ll be just fine.

It's just a scratch...

We get home and Melissa helps dress my elbow.  There was a small patch of abraded skin that was bleeding all over the place but not especially painful.  The fact that the whole thing happened after just a couple of pedal strokes was nothing short of amazing luck.  Things could have been a whole lot uglier if I’d crashed after I’d gotten up to speed.  Road rash is not something to look forward to.  However, the bar had been set pretty high in the “crashes won’t stop me” category, so I scrubbed out my elbow abrasion extra hard – just because.

On the ride home in the SAG wagon the Prius, I actually realized that just a couple of days earlier I’d heard a creak coming from the bars when I took off from a light.  At the time I didn’t give it much thought as it is not entirely uncommon for the bars or stem to creak as bolts slowly loosen up over time.  In retrospect, though, it was likely a harbinger of the eventual failure.  If only I’d recognized it as such.

One somewhat coincidental part of the whole thing is that I’d already been planning to get rid of that stem for different reasons.  Might have to expedite that project now.