Saturday, July 6, 2019

Ride me out to the ball game -Year 3


For the third consecutive year I have ridden my bike to a baseball game.  It was a chance to try and regain some of the fitness I had before I was sick for 10 days and to rack up some clunker challenge miles on the Rock Hopper.


There was even some gravel to ride along the way, just a pull out but still gravel.


There weren't a ton of bikes in the lock up at the stadium but I did notice this newish Salsa adventure bike with a milk crate on the rear rack that created an interesting juxtaposition of sleek and fast with  utilitarian grocery getter.


I tend to go to games when the local Boeing credit union sponsors half price nights, I can get the experience of a beer and a dog and the crack of the bat without spending a ton and then I don't feel too bad for leaving early to take advantage of the fading daylight on the ride back.


I had fully intended to take the bus for the last couple hilly miles home but due to road work it wasn't stopping at its normal place so I ended up slogging the whole way and made it without walking.  Much like the first Clunker challenge bike the saddle on the Rock Hopper is not my friend.  I also noticed I was getting some hand numbness on my right hand towards the end of the ride. Not sure if it was the flat bars, the lack of cushion in the grips or the feedback from the knobbie tires on pavement but if I change things up on this bike eventually it will be interesting to see if the numbness goes away.  I am also interested to see if the pavement tires improve the forward momentum of the bike.  I have noticed that even after booming down a long hill my momentum quickly dissipated on a small rise.  I don't expect the RH to behave like a road bike but since it has no suspension fork I was surprised by how quickly I lost momentum. 

I was going to get a picture of the bike at the top of the bridge with the city behind but as I stopped to take the picture they started sounding the alarm that the bridge was going to open for boat traffic and I thought better of my plan and quickly scurried off the bridge.

Ride to ball game. Drink beer. Smile. Repeat.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Holiday Puttering



I figured out the 100 days of the Clunker challenge expires on July 12th and that might afford me time to use the Rock Hopper as my second challenge bike of 2019.  To that end I have been trying to ride it regularly since the 30th of June and have thus far gone over 26 kilometers.  A minor theme is to find gravel on my rides.

Lincoln park

Hiawatha Play field

Alley about a block from my Apartment
Fortunately gravel isn't that hard to find even in my urban neighborhood.   On Friday I am going to ride to a ball game and I think there is some gravel near the railroad tracks and then next week I am going to ride a portion of a trail near where I work that connects lake Washington and lake Sammamish that is mostly gravel.


One nice thing about the clunker challenge is it forces you to ride the bike as is before you make any changes.  Since I am Mr. Fill a cart on Amazon before the first pedal stroke that is a good thing. 


Ok, I did order a pair of Schwable city Jet tires for the RH but only because they were under $40 for the pair including shipping from the UK (chain reaction cycles) and although the Performance knobbies on the bike are fine I do find myself wondering how it would ride with a smoother tread.

I have found I only really have about 2 gears in back that work so I am riding 3x2 and it reminds of the 6 months I spent riding a single speed to work, you are never in quite the right gear but it gets you there.  I found a bikemanforu  video that I think will help me fix the gear issue but I want to get through 30-50% of the challenge first.  After all I had two bikes with basically zero issues on the challenge so this is kind of like penance lol.



The other bike that has been occupying my time is the Allez Sport, there seems to be an early 90s Specialized theme going on here.  I have all the parts I need for the the rebuild, I think, including a new BB.  If I was keeping the bike I would use the stock BB which spins fine but since I am selling it on I want to be sure its bullet proof for the next owner and the stock BB will go in the parts bin.




I am addressing the frame on the Allez before I do anything else.  I shot some frame saver into the tubes since the bike is stripped down to the frame.  I noticed the under TT cable guides had rust so I have hit them with two sessions of Naval jelly for 15 minutes a shot and then brass wire brushed them.  I am going to see if I can find a decent paint match and do some touch up to at least protect the metal.



I also used two tools that have been collecting dust in my tool box, a chain whip and a cassette removal tool, they allowed me to get the 7 speed cassette off the rear wheel of the Allez so i can clean them up and take a look at the hub.


My friend Annie over at Anniebikes was discussing the experience of maintaining a fleet of  (5) bikes and I find my self thinking, yep there is always something.  I noticed the Cresta didn't want to smoothly drop into the small ring up front and after fiddling with limit screws it finally occured to me look at the FD alignment to the chain rings and indeed it was just a bit off so I will address that this weekend.  The Rock Hopper has the gear issue I mentioned, the Handsome Devil could use some new bar tape and maybe a brake adjustment and the Moto_GT has a FD cable I think is loose, and so it goes.  Not sure I would know what to do with just one totally functional bike lol.

Thankful my ancestors were ungrateful colonists on this day.

Ride. Tinker on independence day. Smile. Repeat.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Allez refurb: Tear Down


In a continuing to reduce the large inventory of bikes I am trying to make hay while the sun shines and I made a start on refurbing the Specialized Allez Sport with a tear down.  In addition to selling the Ibex, I just sold the Schwinn LeTour and the Novara is on CL so its starting to get a bit more roomy around here.


For fun I decided to start with only 3 tools just to see how far I could get.


According to Alexa it only took me 7 minutes to run out of things to do with my Y wrench, I could loosen the derailleurs but without a chain tool I couldn't remove them.


It didn't take too long to get down to a box of parts ......


....and a frame.  The tear down is always the fastest part now comes the real work.


One thing I wasn't sure about was the bottom bracket.  This one is sealed and so not really rebuild-able without a vice and a really big socket.  If I was keeping the bike I would probably keep the stock bb as it still turns nice and smooth, however since I am going to sell it I have ordered a new Shimano UN55 in the correct size.  The stock one will go into the parts bin.

Ride. Rebfurb. Smile. Repeat.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Randonee: On the Block


Due to a number of factors I have decided to list the Randonee on CL.   First of all its summer and therefore the prime time to sell bikes, I have sold the Ibex and I have had some interest in the Letour but I have a ridiculous number of bikes and the Novara is the closest to being ready for sale.  My other bikes are either keepers or projects that need the full treatment.  Also while I like the Novara it is overlapped by multiple other bikes (520, HD, Cresta, 420, Moto_GT) in the stable.


I decided to be a bit smarter than I have been in the past and I removed the nice VO leather saddle and replaced it with the Vetta that was on the Cresta GT,





I also removed the Sneaker pedals and swapped them over to the Handsome devil and took the platforms from the HD, originally on the Trek 420, and put them on the Randonee.



For now I am leaving the updated cockpit in place and pricing the bike high enough so I recoup those costs, but if the bike languishes on CL for multiple weeks then I can always swap to the stock cockpit and lower the price.


Another reason to get a bike on CL is that I have been hearing allot of grumbling on Bike Forums about how soft the Vintage bike market has become.  I have never been in this for making $$ but I like to at least break even.  A soft market might be good for me in that I could pick up bikes I am interested in for less but I do have a glut currently I would like move and not take a total bath on.  Time will tell.


Ride. Reduce. Resell. Repeat

Friday, June 21, 2019

Randonee: shifting gears


The ebay Suntour Downtube shifters arrived Thursday as anticipated.  I toyed with the idea of ordering replacement hoods for the ends but the Rustines version Velo Orange sells would cost me more than the shifters did so they will go bare for now.


I got them mounted on the bike with no issues other than I started out with them upside down lol,  I was lucky the Symmetrics had been mounted on a clamp band because there was a stop on the backside of the downtube that also works for the banded DT shifters, some bikes mounted Symmetrics via a braze on bolt hole in the center of the downtube which would have been more problematic.



One nice feature of my Park PCS-9 work stand is that you can loosen the knob on the back of the clamp arm and that allows you to..


Rotate the bike to the desired angle.


That allowed the RD to be at close to chest height when I ran the RD cable which is a bit funky on the Suntour Cyclone as it runs through the center of the derailleur body, rather than underneath.  With the bike rotated I didn't have to crouch to try and run the cable.


I got the shifting to work fine in the stand, now I just need to shake this stupid cold so I can take it for a road ride and then return it to work.

Ride. Power Shifters Rock, smile. repeat

Thursday, June 20, 2019

1993 Specialized Rock Hopper Comp


I am still not sure what I was thinking.  I followed this bike for a couple weeks on CL and maybe it was the color/decals combo or my yearning to make a late 80s/early 90s MTB work for me but when it was approaching 3 weeks on CL I made an offer and after some back and forth agreed on $65.


To their credit the seller, who was selling the bike on behalf of a boss who had left it behind, noted in the ad that not all the gears worked.  He did make it sound, however, like most gears worked and only a few didn't, the reality is a few work and most don't lol.  The front shifter is fine but in the rear I can only move back and forth between the 4,5 and 6 cogs so its effectively a 3x3.  That should make test ridding it interesting, I haven't yet because I picked it Monday evening and woke up Tuesday with a cold I have been fighting for the rest of the week.  I did do an extensive WD40 flush of the rear shifter but it has made zero difference.


Another gotcha was that the drive side crank had no bolt!  I had noticed something odd in the CL photos but forgot to look when I arrived as I was thinking about stuck stems and seat posts which were fine.



Fortunately not only did I have a spare crank bolt in the parts bin but its just about a perfect match, that issue is resolved.







In addition to the paint and decals being in good shape for their age the bike has full Shimano Deore LX components, not as high zoot as XT but nice stuff.





The wheels are stock, and matching, Specialized rims laced to Deore LX hubs, and the tires while not what I would pick are not dry rotted and are a robust 26x1.95 size and will certainly do for test riding the bike.


If I decide this bike is a keeper then I think I got a decent deal, if I decide to pass it on I may have to spend at least $25 on a basic pair of Shimano 3x7 shifter brake levers to get the shifting working again.  I have a few ideas about what to do if I keep it. but it needs to be ridden to see how the fit and feel are.  I am toying with the idea of riding it as clunker challenge bike # 2 in all its 3x3 geared glory.  It might fun, challenging and certainly would give me a feel for whether I like the bike.

Ride. Smile. Repeat.