Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017 Tour De Lopez

I went to bed Friday evening thinking that it was only about a 10% chance I would get to do the ride on Saturday.  I didn't even bother to set an alarm to get the really early ferry's.  Despite stretching and using heat strips my back was still very tight on Thursday and Friday and I realized no bendy no ridey.  I had been advised by a friend who teaches dance on getting the heat strips and when I went to the store to get some where were they?


Yes of course put the remedy for people with sore tight backs on the lowest possible shelf.

Anyway I woke up Saturday and I still had back soreness but wait a second it seems like its not as tight? could it be....I grabbed the Handsome Devil which was handy and tentatively raised my leg as if to throw it over the top tube..yes! I was bendy enough to ride.  Despite my pessimism the night before I had prepped all my stuff and I knew there was a mid morning ferry I could catch and I had plenty of time for the 90 minute drive the ferry terminal.

waiting on the 10:35 sailing
Traffic was fairly light leaving Seattle just before 8 am and I got up to Annacortes in plenty of time to park get my ticket and wait with the other bicyclists for the mid morning sailing.  As I was to realize later, I  left the map of the ride safely on my car seat..D'oh.

Lopez landing
Lopez Island welcomes cyclists with a nice long uphill slog which by some miracle I was able to ride all the way up.  I was also reminded that training on smooth flat bike trails is not the same as riding chip seal roads in the real world, but I was doing it! I was doing a ride I had been planning for since February:

  • Sign up for the ride you have been thinking about for a decade - Check
  • Build up 30 year-old touring bike to ride the event - Check
  • Do enough training to do the ride without passing out - Check
  • Have troublesome lower back loosen enough to throw a leg over a top tube - Check
  • Cycle down the back roads of a lovely Island in Puget sound - CHECK!
I have been going to the Sister Island of Orcas for about 30 years and have been to the biggest Island in the chain, San Juan, a handful of times but this was my first experience with Lopez and it is deserving of its reputation as a bike friendly place, quiet roads, no brutal hills (that I encountered) and lovely scenery, both pastoral

 And seaside

And the ride organizers did a great job, I found the course - my abbreviated version anyway - well marked and the set up in town for the included BBQ was very nice.  A big field for bike parking

Food tents

Live music from a quintet (drum set, congas, two guitars and a xylophone)

I opted for a brat

And a local beer

 I ended up doing almost exactly 20km on this ride and did some walking especially at the end on the long hill just before the downhill back to the ferry landing, and my granny gear definitely got a work out.  I think that with not too much more fitness and saddle miles the longer rides on the Island would be very doable.  I might just have to come back.

I was fortunate that I was only sprinkled on a few times during my ride as it rained steadily from late afternoon into evening.  As I waited on the ferry home I was treated to a nice selection of bagpipe tunes as the ferry landing operator practiced in her down time.  I also had a very nice conversation with a brother and sister of my age group who were riding Rivendells - A Rambouillet and a large Atlantis - he was about 6'5".

I got a number of nice compliments about the Passage during the day which was gratifying, including a funny comment from a nice young lady who it turned out worked at REI who was next to me as all the cyclists waited to load on the return ferry.  She pointed at my shifters and said "hey his flipper-doodles are there" I replied that yes my shifters were on the um down tube, where they had been on most bikes from about 1930 to the late 70s -which got some smiles from the over 50 crowd.  She had a nice Salsa Vaya and we talked about our REI experience as we waited to load.  All in all a very good day and one I was grateful to have experienced, I am paying for it today as I sit here with another heat strip on my back but I am glad things worked out for yesterday.

As I waited with the rest of the cyclists at the back of the ferry for the cars to exit I took one last look at the sound and Islands and then we got the call to exit.  Definitely a day to Ride and Smile and someday I will go back and Repeat.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Passage in the Wild and front rack challenges

For Wednesday I wanted to do some hill work, nothing too steep but I needed to work on my climbing.  I did some repeats on the mild rollers on the bike path, remembering some old strategies like ramping up my cadence to "power" over the rises, practicing my down shifts etc.

For my "big" climb I went about 1/3 of the way up Avalon which is about a mile long at 6% very steady.  This shot above is from my turn around point looking back down what I had just climbed. I didn't go too far, 10km but did get alot of hill, incline and roller practice in.  And being out in the sun was a good excuse to get some "glamour" shots of the Passage.

Non-drive side view

Drive side view

Rear 3/4 view

Front 3/4 view.

I also realized on this ride that I wanted to make a minor adjustment to the cockpit by rotating my handle bars up just a hair but still, overall, no real complaints yet at 25km in riding this bike.  Post ride it was time for some protein to stave off muscle cramps...yeah.  A nice Musubi at Marination Station.

hmm spam

 Unfortunately later in the day my back started to stiffen up -similar to what happened in the fall that I worried would prevent me from finishing my final coffeeneuring ride.  I had intended to do a 20km plus loop from home today, rather than driving to the flat lands,  and indeed the sun is out to mock me.

yeah stop driving me everywhere ya wimp!
Instead I did some back stretches this morning, which helped marginally, and will do some hot and cold therapy this afternoon and will repeat on Friday.  I am hoping, as happened in the fall, my back issues will resolve themselves in time for me to do the Tour De Lopez on Saturday.   Worse case scenario i can't ride and instead I've made a donation to the Lopez chamber of commerce, I can always go ride the route another time and now that I am in job seeking mode my schedule is flexible enough that I could even go mid week when the roads should be quieter.  We'll see what happens.

Sunlite Front Rack
Since I wasn't riding and my back was feeling slightly better, I could actually bend a bit, I decided to mount the front rack.  Btw the Sunlite one page instruction sheet that is for both rear and front racks that a 10 year old created may not be the worst set of instructions ....but its not far out of the running.   You may recall that modern canti-brakes (Tektro CR720s) didn't work up front because vintage bikes have narrower fork blades than modern bikes.....

.....yep that is problem for racks too as you can hopefully see, the rack left side L bracket is pretty well lined up with the canti-post and the  right side- not so much.  Should have seen that coming.  I have decided to just go with the current rear bag set up for now, but have a few ideas on making the front rack work.   I did some bending and one idea is to get a big zip tie to tighten up the distance and let it sit for a while, my other idea is to find a hardware store L bracket that has a longer slot that will reach to the canti-posts from both sides.

L bracket
Then again  I may just use one of the rear racks I have laying around as the trunk bag can work either front or back.  That will be a project for later.  Hoping to have an organized ride report for you next time.  Ride.Smile. (fingers crossed) Repeat.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Passage Refit Part IX Shakedown Part Deux

I had a few things to take care of before loading up the Passage for the second Shake Down cruise.  Namely I needed to install the new step down ferrule I picked up Sunday and while I was at it I put on a longer rear derailleur cable housing.

With that taken care of it was off to Alki to see how it would all work.

This time instead of going 150 yards I was able to go nearly 15km.  And I have plenty of observations but no real complaints.  It is early days with only a short distance but it will do for a start.  Some observations:
  • I like the sneaker pedals - nice and roomy
  • I like the wider 27x1 3/8 tires 
  • I like the sprung leather saddle although its going to take a bit more breaking in
  • The shifting performs great although the operator could use some work
  • And unless I set the speedo wrong I am faster on the Passage than on the Handsome Devil
I also climbed a very slight incline, not so much to try the low end gears, which worked fine, but more to see the brakes worked under speed going down hill - which they did.

I did make a stop to enjoy the sunshine, and to have a nice espresso shake.  And get some shots of the bike.

With the shakedown complete I could wrap the bars, and this being the Passage project there had to be a hitch.  With the wider bars the Deda cork wrap I was using didn't wrap all the way with one strip but since I had a second box I used both cork strips to wrap one side of the bars.

When I opened the second box, however, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

Same brand, box, color but different styles, I did find the perforated style could be stretched far enough to cover a side with just one strip.

This morning I undid the cork side and evened things out.  I am only meh with the results as I couldn't wrap as tightly as I would like in order to cover but it will do for now. I still have the front rack to receive and mount and I may mount the Velo Orange fenders that used to be on the Handsome devil but that's for later.

This project has come a ways from a bike that was rideable but not really refubished.

Down to a frame

And built up again

With a few upgrades along the way (yellow new, blue mix of old and new):

1986 Schwinn Passage
Part Original current
Frame Columbus Tenax Chrome-moly double butted main tubes, forged dropouts same
Fork Tange Hi -Tensle steel, forged dropouts same
Headset Tange SE-II sealed same
Crankset Sakae SR CXC-T 310 170 mm forged alloy 30/46/50 Same crank arms new 26/36/46 chain rings
Front Derialleur Suntour XC Sport same
Rear Derailler Huret Duo Par the bike had a shimano light action on it which I replaced with a Shimano Deore LX MD 581
Pedals SR -SP-250semi plaform MKS Sneaker
Freewheel Mallard Atom 5 speed 14-16-19-23-28 IRD Defiant 6 speed 14-17-20-24-28-32
Brakes Dia-Compe 960 Alloy Canti Original up front, Tektro CR720 in the rear
Brake lever Anatomic hooded alloy drilled  It came with some Shimano SLR areo levers which I replaced with Origin 8 drilled areo levers
Handlebar  SR Custom Alloy 42 cm  VO Grand Cru Chris's Rando Handlebar 48cm
Stem SR Custom alloy 80mm Nitto Technomic Stem, Tall, 26.0 Clamp 100mm
Hubs/Rim Mallard hubs 36/40, Weinmann alloy Sta-Tru alloy hubs and rims 36/36 
Tires Schwinn Passage dual hard 27x 1 1/4 skinwall Came with Specialized Tri Sport 27x1 1/4 blackwall I replaced with Kenda K40 27x 1 3/8 tan walls
Saddle San Marco Touring Anatomic VO Saddle, Model 5, Sprung Touring -brown leather
Seat Post SR Laprade Alloy Micro adjusting 26.6mm same

And so with that  I declare today, April 25th 2017 to be NEW BIKE DAY! Ok so its a 30 year-old frame but I think there has been enough work and new parts to be close enough for me.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Passage Refit Part VIII stumbling toward the finish

I mentioned at the beginning of the last post that I had done a shakedown ride of the Passage and it had been rather short, more on that in a bit but first to continue the thread of refitting the bike.  On Thursday I had resolved to do the drive -train and brake cabling and since I felt like I needed a refresher I went over a very good article on cabling by Saint Sheldon the Brown.  Thus informed I cabled up the brakes as you can see above.

Before running the shift cables I wanted to set up the chain, and little did I know this would turn into a Goldilocks experience.  I had purchased a Wipperman nickel chain a while back with what I assumed was a standard master link but instead I got the link pictured above.  And despite reading the directions and fiddling with it I could not get it "just snap on" so after bagging the Wipperman chain up for later use I grabbed another chain in box -too weird.

After removing the second chain from its packaging I realized it was a chain pin connector type, hmm I had moved away from this kind of connector years ago and didn't know I had any left but well lets give it a try.  After about 10 minutes of frustration I clearly remembered that I HATE these effing pin connectors!!!! So I tossed it in the recycling and took a deep breath or two - too aggravating!

And finally I reached for the SRAM 8 speed chain with a normal quick link master link.  It was on the bike in minutes - Just right!  Next time I will just start with the SRAM.  With the chain taken care of I ran the cables for the down tube shifters and got them snugged up.

One thing about running the rear derailleur cable is that I can use the new step down ferrule that I just bought that goes from 5mm to 4mm and I thought would be useful on older bikes
I had first seen them on the Velo Orange site but they wanted to sell them one at a time which is an expensive way to go so I found them elsewhere by the bottle.  I had that bottle knocking around for weeks except now that I actually wanted to use one I could not for the life of me find it!!! really!?  So I said screw it and did the cabling with out the benefit of a ferrule on the chain stay braze on.

All this fussing with cables, chains and lost ferrules was giving me a literal crick in the neck and driving me to drink.  So I poured a glass of Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale, in addition to tasting good the brewery donates a portion of its proceeds to Jazz education, which as a former High School Band Geek I can appreciate.  After this libation time out, I got back to it with some accessories.

It is almost a crime not to use the frame pump peg on the Passage but the the Lezyne pump was less expensive then a frame pump and I have used one for years on the Handsome Devil and it works great.

And no old steel bike is complete for me without a bell so on goes a nice Crane brass one.

As a stop gap I am using this old Banjo Brothers Minnehaha Canvas Barrel Saddle bag that was on the Handsome Devil for a few years but has been on the shelf for a while.  I need to be able to haul tools and spare tubes etc. and for now and this bag fits the bill.  I do have a front rack on order that is identical to the one on the HD so that in theory I can just swap the Baggins trunk bag and its contents from bike to bike depending on which one I am riding.

And by days end on Thursday things were looking pretty complete.  I like to hold off on bar tape until the bike is dialed in so I don't get it all greasy or worse I have to undo it if the cabling ends up needing attention after a few rides.

And so Friday dawned and rather than take a ride around the block first I loaded up the Passage on the bike rack anxious and optimistic to take it on a longer ride on the Alki trail.

Shake down about to commence

I had not gone far when the back wheel started to slip as if I was riding over an oil slick, or ice or loose sand.  Hmm that shouldn't be happening, I dismount and walk the bike back to where the car is parked.  I stop and on impulse grasp the rear wheel near TDC and gently move it side to side.  It moves -much more than it should which explains the slipping but why!!?
re-enactment of the rear wheel test

As I am walking my mind is racing with reasons that rear wheel is slipping:
  • could it be the free wheel, some people have complained about the IRD Defiant free wheels
  • is the spacing from nut to nut on the axle different from what it was on the original 40 spoke rear wheel causing slop?
  • Could it be the bearings aren't tightened right - nah I just did them -right?
  • If a fix eludes me in the short term I could try the original rear wheel (not rebuilt yet) or use the spare wheel set I have for the HD with a not so fat set of tires for the ride on the 29th
  • Did I leave the porch light on...?  Wait what?  back to bikes slacker!
Well for today (Friday) I need to get a long ride in so I drive back home swap for the HD and get a 20km ride in.  I have other things to tend to on Friday and Saturday and frankly I need to take some time away from this project.  On Sunday morning I remove the rear wheel and start checking for slop.  I get the quick release and FW off and when I check the tension on the bearings I realize the Mook who serviced them a few days ago didn't tighten the bearings like he should have.  I reassemble everything and now the rear wheel does NOT move back and forth so I take the Passage down for a test ride in the alley.  In the short sample -no more slippage..hoorah! I do notice that the rear derailleur cable housing is not staying put due to its lack of ferrule which is adversely affecting shifting.

Since its Farmers Market day I make a stop at the LBS to see if they have a step down ferrule and while I am at it pick up some shift cable crimps, I have about a hundred brake cable crimps but none for the shift cables.  The bike shop wrench finds what I need but waves away my inquiry about payment, I say "how about a beer?" he declines saying he's more of a cider guy.

My next stop is the Beer junction so as I order my traditional Sunday sipping beer I ask the bar man for a cider recommendation.  After hanging out for a bit and enjoying my selection, a wee glass of Old Rasputin Imperial Stout,  I head back across the street to drop off the "payment" at the bike shop, after all no good deed should go unpunished.

Old Rasputin Imperial Stout
The plan now is to redo the rear derailleur cable with ferrule this evening or in the morning and then do Shake Down part Duex Monday and hope it goes better than round one.  Here's to Riding.Smiling and (fingers crossed) Repeating.