Friday, July 29, 2011

More Stuff Than You Can Shake A Stick At

This weekend is shaping up to be a pretty busy one. To follow up from something earlier in the week, I got my road bike out of the shop. It was a simple repair (installing a new spoke), but I could still end up with problems down the road. I told y’all that I was considering a new roadie wheelset, and as soon as I got to Bike Line to pick up my repaired bicycle, I starting looking at stuff to buy. I had a hard time making myself look for road stuff, but I knew it had to be done. My current wheelset would be fine if I was some skinny little full time roadie guy, but that will never be the case. Anyway, I finally picked out a new set of wheels, and took them home that night.

A new set of Mavic Ksyrium wheels, in white because it makes them look more “roadie.” They are pretty nice wheels for the price, and I actually kind of like them. They make my not so top of the line road bike look pretty sweet.

Anyway, I haven’t tested them yet, but I guess they should be fine. I don’t ride my road bike that much, so I didn’t figure I would need a trial run or anything. I’ll find out the next time I hop in the saddle and hit the road, I guess.

Tonight is the big one for Little Miss Sunshine. She’s kicking off the 24 Hours of Booty tonight, and I plan on heading out there to watch (and hang out with my other cycling friends.) Her goal is 100 miles, and I think she can do it. After all, she has twenty four hours and nice, smooth pavement. If you are local to the Charlotte area, come on out and cheer on your cycling peeps while they ride for a good cause.

I guess I’ll get a chance to test out my new roadie wheels, since I am hitting up the local Bike Line group ride again this Sunday. It was fun enough to make me want to go back, and short enough not to bore the shit outta me. This time though, I won’t be on call for work. Now I can actually ride from my house to the shop, do the ride, then ride back home. That will give me a few extra “training miles”, and make it somewhat of an adventure. So exciting.

Last, but certainly not least, this weekend is another Tarheel Trailblazers Kids Ride. This time we’ll head down to Colonel Francis Beatty Park. I hope we have a decent turnout, because I love seeing the little ones out on the trail. This will also be the last Kids Ride that Lunchbox will miss, since he is due to return from Florida next weekend. It’s about time.

Hopefully I’ll be back on Monday with a recap of my cycling adventures, and hopefully they won’t bore the shit out of you. See you then.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So Rad

Yes, Jesus on rollerblades is rad, but I’m talking about bike-building. I am finished. Little Miss Sunshine’s new 29er is complete, and I must say that it looks pretty cool. I actually have a few odds and ends to take care of, but it is rideable in it’s current condition.

Here is the newest addition to the family:

It came out really nice, in fact I was pretty surprised at how good it looks. Now for the details.
Of course, I told you that it is a Niner Air9.

Little Miss Sunshine just had to add some orange blingy parts, so she went with some Crank Brothers stuff:

She had to use her all time favorite seat, the WTB Speed She. This one even makes it a little girly.

I mentioned the Kenda Slant Six tires and the Stan’s wheels:

She picked this crankset out all by herself, a TruVativ FireX:

And just for the cool factor she went with Lizard Skins lock on grips:

With custom orange lock rings that say “Sunshine.”

Man, I love this bike. It almost makes me want to build up one just like it for me. I think I might be good on bikes right now though, so I’ll let her enjoy this one. It might be a while before this bike actually sees a trail though, since she is riding in the 24 Hours of Booty (thanks to those of you that donated to her by the way.)

I know she will enjoy riding her new toy, which I could tell when I saw her riding up and down the street on it after I finished building it. This should give her miles and miles of singletrack fun, and she deserves it. Now, if you will excuse me, I think I’ll go give my bikes some love. They are jealous.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“Little” Big Wheels

There is yet another new bike here at the B-43 Worldwide Headquarters, but this time it’s not mine. With two thirds of my household riding 29ers (not including the pets that don’t ride bikes), it was only a matter of time before Little Miss Sunshine became “big-wheel curious.” We always thought that she would be too short to ride such a large-wheeled bicycle, but lots of little people ride them. The little lady figured, “Why not?”

After a couple of rides on a demo bike provided by our local shop, The Cycle Path, Little Miss Sunshine started seriously thinking about switching over to a 29er full time. And why not? Niner Bikes was having a sale on some frames, so it seemed like a good time for her to jump on it. The Cycle Path does a lot for our local scene, from support of the Tarheel Trailblazers to trailbuilding, so it seemed like a no-brainer to let him order one for her. While we were at it, we ordered some wheels too. It didn’t take long for the frame to come in.

Let’s have a peek inside:

Yep, it’s a tang Niner Air9, in a very small size. It’s the same frame she rode on the demo bike, but in a bright orange. I had a few things in the shop to use for her new build, but she would have to collect a whole mess of parts to have a complete bike. I had a slightly used RockShox Tora fork, some Easton bars and a stem, and that was it for my contribution. She started gathering up some stuff after the frame was ordered, but it wasn’t quite enough to build a bike…yet.

That thing is gonna be hard to ride like that.

Eventually, parts started trickling in so I could get my build on. I love building bikes, so seeing a pile of new parts made me happy.

I couldn’t wait. I had already pressed in the new Cane Creek headset and installed the fork, stem, and handlebars. The wheels finally showed up (handbuilt stock wheels from Stan’s), so the only thing I was missing for the build was a set of tires. Luckily, I had a set of Kenda Slant Six tires shipped from Bike29, and they arrived lickety-split. George always takes care of me, and as always I am impressed with his customer service skills. And I’m not just saying that because I ride for him, either.

I set the wheels up tubeless, which was much easier this time now that I’ve had some practice. They were pretty cool too, especially for “stock” ones. They sealed up pretty quickly, and I was happy. It was time to get to work and finish the build. Little Miss Sunshine couldn’t wait to ride it, but she had no choice. I wanted to take my time and do it right. I always say that there are two ways to do things: right, and right now. Right now would result in a shitty bike that would fall apart. I know she wouldn’t want that.

What about the finished product? Did I finish it? Why, yes I did. However, since things are a little slow around here this week I’ll come back tomorrow for the conclusion of the “Little” Big Orange Bike Build. I know you’ll be back. What the hell else do you have to do?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Training Ride

Sometimes I decide that I want to be a serious cyclist, and that means I should actually do some real “training.” I ride as much as I can, but I normally do it without any sort of plan. That’s fine with me for the most part, since I’m into this shit mostly for fun (and the added benefit of being able to drink as much beer as I want.) Anyway, a few years ago I bought a road bike to help with my mountain biking, since I thought that’s what all the cool guys do.

At first, I rode quite a bit. It was fun, and most importantly, different. After a few close calls on the road by cars though, I started rethinking the whole “roadie thing.” I decided that I would rather take my chances with trees on the trail instead of stupid ass drivers on the road trying to kill me. Also, I started to get pretty bored riding alone on the road. I’ve done a few rides that were pretty cool though, including charity group rides and pedaling along the Blue Ridge Parkway. That wasn’t enough to help my mountain biking though, since I did those things so infrequently. My road bike spends more time hanging in the garage than it does on the pavement. I was fine with that, since I am a mountain biker first anyway.

A few weeks ago though, Little Miss Sunshine piqued my interest with a group ride she joined. It was a ride with the folks from one of our local shops, Bike Line, which is really close to our house. It was a twenty one mile “no drop” ride, which was meant for cyclists of all abilities. I’ve been looking for a group ride that was easy to make it to, since some of the others were kind of a long drive (or ride if I chose to.) I could ride to this one if I wanted, so I made plans to attend. I finally found some time this past Sunday to go, so I got my shit together. I planned on getting up extra early to ride from my house to make it to the 8:00 a.m. start time.

Plans change, and my plans were no exception. I was on call for work, and I had to take care of something before I headed out the door. By the time I was finished, it was too late to ride to the shop. I gathered up my stuff and drove over there, and I was just in time. Everyone was getting ready to go.

They asked if anyone was new to the ride, and I raised my hand. Then they asked what kind of pace I keep, and I had no idea what to say. “I’m not a roadie, I’m a mountain biker”, I said, much to the dismay of the roadies in attendance. I guess they thought I would be a slowpoke, so I ended up at the back of the pack. Fine by me…at first.

When we took off, I could already tell I was going too slowly. I carefully and politely made my way through the group, and ended up with the guys up front, better known as the “A” group. What the hell was I thinking? I can ride fast and power up climbs, but I wasn’t sure if I could hold that kind of pace for the whole ride. The plan was to ride about eight miles and regroup, and then we could split off again. My plan was to survive until we regrouped, and fall back with the slower folks.

I eventually got into a rhythm, and found myself in the top three. It wasn’t race, but these guys were keeping a fast pace (especially on the climbs.) I liked it though, and I wasn’t even getting tired. When we got to the rendezvous point, I knew I could hang with the big boys. I’m no roadie for sure, but I was riding well enough. When we took off again, the lead guys invited me along. This time though, I got in the lead for a while. We took turns up front like roadies do, and I only dropped back to let the guys that knew the route lead us through the countryside. It was a nice, hilly, scenic ride, and I had a blast. When we were less than a mile away though, I heard a sound I had not heard since…

Shit. I broke a spoke (again.) It’s been a while, and I had all but forgotten that I had done this a few times before. I stopped for a minute to hide the broken spoke with its not broken friends, and finished the ride. I left my bike at the shop to have the wheel repaired, and got to talking with the owner.

He pretty much said that those wheels aren’t strong enough for me and my Clydesdaleness, and that I should look at getting another set. I have a hard time justifying the expenditure of money on road stuff, but I did see a few things I liked that wouldn’t break the bank. I guess I’ll be getting a new wheelset soon, reluctantly. I like getting new bike parts, but road stuff just doesn’t excite me.

Where are the rest of the pictures from the ride, you ask? Well, since I was so busy trying to pretend I was in Le Tour de France (without punching spectators like a little sissy), I didn’t break out the camera at all. Hell, I didn’t even get a picture of my broken spoke. I suck. I did run the GPS app on my phone though, and liked what I saw.

Click here to see the map so you can zoom in and junk.

The details:

Distance: 21.19 miles

Calories: 1367

Average Speed: 16.8 m.p.h.

Max Speed: 33.0 m.p.h.

Active Time: 1:15:30

I’m still no roadie, but at least I had fun. Oh yeah, I guess that counts as “training” too. See y’all tomorrow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Demo Daze

I had a lot of bike stuff going on over the weekend, so I guess I can work my way backwards. Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending a bike demo, put on by Niner Bikes and our local shop The Cycle Path. There were lots of bikes to try.

Mark was busy setting up bikes:

While Mike from Niner was making fun of Mark for his bike mechanic skills:

They had a pretty good turnout, and when I got there about half of the bikes were out on the trail.

I started looking around, thinking maybe that I should try one out for myself.

I finally found something, the Rip9.

Since I ride a hardtail big wheel bike now, I wanted to try a squishy bike. Yeah, I still have a squishy bike of my own, but it has little bitty wheels. This was my chance to see if I would like a big boy bike, in the comfy version. Mike started setting the bike up for me.

I hopped on and took a ride. It felt weird at first. The rear end of the bike was kinda all over the place, but I soon figured out why. Since I normally ride a hardtail, I stand up a lot. That didn’t mix well with a full suspension bike, so I had to learn to stay on the saddle. Once I did that I was fine…and fast.

Oh, I did pedal. That thing could climb so well, and I had fun sitting down on the descents. Other than the suicide squirrels out there, my ride was trouble free. I really liked the full suspension thing, so maybe there’s one in my future. Stay tuned.

I hung around for a while, and saw something cool on the Niner trailer. Check it:

Man, those new Bike29 stickers are everywhere. I wonder how that one got there?

I don't have a whole lot of time today, so this is all you get. I have to get to work a little earlier. I'll be back, of course.

Friday, July 22, 2011

On A Boat

I was on a boat. And yes, I’ll bore you to death with more of vacation photos too. After driving a little bit, Little Miss Sunshine and I ended up on Harker’s Island, the gateway to Cape Lookout. We had to take a little boat ride to get there (it is a lonely island), but it was worth it. First though, I had something to take care of.

After a short ride across the water, we saw yet another lighthouse. Since this is one of the little lady’s favorite things to do, she was happy that we made it.

We got off the boat (and yes I thought of that song a lot), and walked over to the lighthouse. It is one of the most unique designs, and I thought it was pretty cool.

There were quite a few people hanging out there, so we decided to take a walk along the beach to get away from them. After a few minutes, we were all alone. The lighthouse was still watching us though.

There we signs of life out there though, but we didn’t see much of it. I found these bird tracks in the sand:

They travel single file to hide their numbers.

After a couple of hours of solitude, we caught another boat back to the mainland. This time though, the captain stopped alongside a nearby island so we could see some wild horses, which are said to be descendants of Spanish Mustangs that survived a shipwreck.

After getting back to land, we hopped in my truck to drive for a bit (to catch another boat.) This time we were headed to Ocracoke Island, to see if we could find Blackbeard’s treasure. Little Miss Sunshine was hanging off the front of the boat like she was on the Titanic, so I had to take a photo of myself.

It was a two and a half hour ride, ad we saw nothing but water for a long time.

All I could think about was the boat sinking with us (and my truck) on it. The sun was starting to go down, so that distracted me a bit.

Before we knew it, we saw the island. I was relieved.

After knocking on the door at one of the island’s many inns, we found a place to stay for the night. We unloaded our crap and hopped on our bikes to see the lighthouse (of course.)

We had some dinner, and headed over to the store for provisions for the night. The little island store carried New Belgium’s Ranger, so I was in heaven. I installed a rack on Little Miss Sunshine’s commuter bike just for this occasion.

We picked up some drinking water too, but the safety of the beer was more important. I decided that I would carry the water the best way I could.

The next day we took yet another boat, this time for a much shorter journey to Hatteras Island. We stopped for lunch at some grease pit, and found some good food. They had random stickers all over the seats.

Have a closer look:

Yup, there is a B-43 sticker, and one of those fancy new Bike29 stickers. Even the islands are showing George some love.

Our next stop was (surprise) another lighthouse. This time it’s the famous Cape Hatteras light. It’s the little lady’s favorite, so we had to check it out again.

Back in 1999, they had to move it closer inland. Not a small task, and in this next photo you can see how far it had to go. I was standing on the spot where it used to be.

After that fun filled adventure, we headed back to Ocracoke Island. Again, we got on a boat. There is no other way to get there unless you have an airplane or you can swim really far. I was digging this boating stuff.

We got a chance to see the Ocracoke Lighthouse in the daytime, and it is a wee little thing.

We even took a peek inside:

We rode our bike around the island, and it was so nice. Carefree island life felt so right. We went to the water’s edge and watched the sun go down. I even managed a smile.

After a day of lighthouse viewing and riding bikes, we headed to the local watering hole for some beer and grub. They even had bicycle parking.

The next morning it was time to go home. We had to stop one last time so Little Miss Sunshine could have her picture taken by a sign on her favorite road.

On our way home, we found one more lighthouse. This one is was out in the water long ago, but the local townspeople built a replica to display on the riverfront.

We got to go inside and look around.

We even climbed into the the “lantern” room.

Getting out on the upper deck was a little difficult though.

After that, we made our way home. I didn’t want it to end, but I know you probably want this blog post to end. Now that I am fully relaxed, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. This weekend should be chock full of mountain biking adventures, and maybe I’ll even talk about a new bike that’s being built here at the B-43 headquarters. See y’all Monday.