Saturday, April 27, 2019

2019 Tour De Lopez

Are we going for a ride!?
This post almost didn't happen because this ride very nearly didn't happen.  I was home sick on Tuesday and Wednesday with a stomach bug and if I had been able to cancel my registration for a refund I would have, but the deadline had passed so I was still in the game.   I checked the forecast Friday night, most of the week it had been indicating rain on Saturday and if that had been the case I would have most likely bailed, I saw nothing but Sun in the forecast so I prepped Friday night for an early Saturday departure.

I got up at O dark thirty Saturday morning to drive 90 miles north and catch a 7:30 am sailing from Anacortes to Lopez Island.  The forecast had not lied to me, it was freaking gorgeous out and I would have regretted missing this ride.

Early on I was just enjoying the fact I was doing the ride, that the bike was working as expected and I was even getting up the modest hills in the the middle ring and of course taking in the lovely Island vistas.

I did take advantage of rest stops as I was in no hurry and not in tip top shape.

I had the opportunity to turn for town early and ride the very short route which is what I did in 2017. Instead I pushed on and was rewarded with a cool gravel section through the woods, this would have not been so fun in wet conditions but on this day it was perfect.

Mostly I got up the hills, but there was one that was steeper than anything I had ridden to date and I didn't have an issue, or much choice lol, walking it - you can see above I wasn't the only one.

I got to the Village having ridden 20% farther than my longest ride to date.  I had been so efficent that I was there before they were set up to serve the BBQ that was included with the registration, it helped I did the short and not the medium or long routes.

Fortunately for me the beer garden was ready ahead of the rest of the food, this day just keeps getting better!  Hand crafted local micro brew.

I started out with the IPA and when I ordered I asked for the Hester Prynne, they just looked at me blankly.  Philistines!

Since I had the time I went back for the Lager which I mostly got just so I could say Highway to Helles.

Another reason for the 2nd beer is that I had already run across the Island transport.  It wasn't part of the original plan but for $5 getting a ride for me and the bike seemed like a great idea.  I made the early ferry I wanted, didn't extend the ride beyond my fitness and sidestepped the one mile climb that would have ended the ride back to the ferry.  The van was packed btw.

I ended up doing the green and purple parts of the ride although I started from the top of the island where the ferry lands.  I was very happy I went a bit farther than last time, saw some new parts of the Island, but stopped at enough rather than pushing on to too far.

I saw tons of bikes but no old steel until I parked near this old Peugeot in the waiting area for the return ferry.  I suspect this is an Island bike that someone with a getaway on the Island leaves by the ferry so they can walk on in Anacortes rather than drive on -which is much cheaper and doesn't require a reservation.

bye Lopez

It was a great day.

Ride in a beautiful place on a beautiful day. Drink hand crafted beer. Grin. Repeat!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Refreshing the Bianchi Ibex before selling it on

I obtained the 1990 Bianchi Ibex for last years Clunker Challenge and also because I had never worked on a Bianchi and I was hoping to find a replacement for the 1986 Miyata Trail Runner I'd had to sell while unemployed.  I liked the Ibex but it never fit quite right and I decided that I wasn't in love and so in a effort to thin the herd I am going to sell it on.  I am nearly tripping on bikes around here these days lol.

I am not going full spa treatment on this bike in fact I am mostly doing a clean and sell job, but, there are some things that are going to get changed.  The bike came to me with mismatched wheels and tires, they were perfectly functional but it bugged me.  Now the front and rear match,  Araya 26x1.50 rims of the same approximate vintage.

I think new, matching tires really freshen the look of a bike, so I spent $40 on a pair of Vittoria Evolution 26x1.95 tires from Amazon.

I think it looks allot better with the matching rims and matching beefier tires. 

When I got the bike it had the rear fender mounted and I was given a front one to take with the bike, I took off the rear fender for the challenge and it has been on my porch ever since.  It got wiped down, cleaned up and re-mounted with the new tires and I was glad to see they worked together.

The front fender doesn't match the rear for color but at least its the Bianchi Celeste green so it plays off the saddle and bottle cage.  The Araya  front rim is wider than the wheel it replaced so I had to do some brake adjusting but a Park Tool video proved helpful for that and it all works as expected.

I am mostly done, I want to flush the rear shifter with WD-40 and make some adjustments to the index shifting - I found a great Park tool video for that too, and clean and lube the chain.  When I am back from the Tour De Lopez ride I will list it on CL for what I hope is a quick sale.  Someday I will find a lugged steel mountain bike that I will love and that fits and that I have room for.

Ride. Reduce the fleet. Smile. Repeat.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

One week out from the Tour De Lopez

The Tour De Lopez is next Saturday, April 27th.  I am not really where I envisioned I would be, crashing on March 12th didn't help any.  I thought I would have more miles, longer rides and more hills that I have and that I would have dropped some more pounds.  That said I have been riding, done some modest grades and even riding a truncated version of what I thought I might do is still riding the event.  And I've paid for it and there is beer.

I had been putting the majority of riding in on the newly acquired Trek 520 which had the bonus of adding Kilometers to the clunker challenge, however lately the human bike interface has been rather unpleasant.   To the point I wasn't sure I would be doing the ride at all.

On Friday the shorter seat binder bolt for the Novara arrived and it still has space between the two halves so I am getting it tight on the post, unfortunately the cool Shimano 600 post I picked up has a long narrow areo section that means I can't get it low enough in the seat tube, so I am back to the stock seat post.  So much for all that sanding.  I really should have know as I have to have my seat posts set pretty low on a 58 cm frame, less than the classic fist full, for the fit to be right.

I was able to take the Novara on my 4 km loop this morning and like most West Seattle streets it has its share of expansion joints, potholes and ruts, in other words plenty of opportunity for the post to slip if it wanted to.  It held firm.  And although the saddle new and leather and hard it was not as problematic with my derriere as the saddle on the Trek.

Trek stock narrow bars

Novara 44 cm VO bars
No surprise I find the wider bars more comfortable and don't notice the tightness between my shoulder blades I get with the Treks bars.

My feet also much preferred the sneaker pedals on the Novara, the stamped steel pedals I slapped on the Trek tend to trap my feet into one position and I just like the wider platform of the MKS.

In the next week I hope to get a longer ride in on the Novara, tackle Avalon, my mile long 6% grade gold standard hill, and to wrap the bars on the Novara. And fingers crossed the seat post remains firmly in place.

Ride. Smile. Repeat

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Return to Fender (Novara Randonee)

In my second ever post on this blog I was removing fenders from the Handsome Devil.  That was nearly six and half years ago and I haven't really had a fendered bike since.  I live in Seattle.  I have a literal fleet of bikes.  No I am not sure what my problem is, but I decided it was time to change that hole in the quiver.

The Novara came to me with fenders so it seemed the logical choice but the plush 27 x 1 1/4 Panaracer Pasela's I put on it didn't want to play nice with the fenders.  I decided to go ahead and order some Kenda K36 Skinwall 27 X 1 1/8 tires, as that was the width it had when I got it.   A pair of Kenda's cost just slightly more than one Pasela so it wasn't a huge outlay.  1 x 1/8 converts to roughly 28 mm, as you can see in the real world with inflation to about 80 psi they are more like 26 mm.  Replacing the tires was step one.

I remembered seeing this trick in a Rivendell video for bending back the tab on the fender mount so it doesn't interfere with the headset cup.  If your fender mounted in front of the fork you would bend the other way.  That was step two

With the new narrower tires there was tons of clearance under the fender.  Since I was installing fenders that had already been sized for this bike step 3, actually installing the fenders, was pretty easy compared to installing fenders from scratch.

Front fender line is acceptable and most importantly the tire spins free.

Rear fender line looks fine and the tire spins free and I used a shorter bolt with washers on the drive side fender stay attachment so it would not stick out (to the inside of the stay) and interfere with the chain.  That's also in the video in the link above.

Now if the new seat post binder bolt I am waiting on doesn't fix the seat post slippage issue I will feel silly for expending this effort but I'm optimistic I have a fendered ride in the fleet once again.

Ride in the rain.  Don't get a skunk stripe. Smile. Repeat.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Project Lazarus: Alas it was only a Grail shaped Beacon

Excuse the Monty Python reference.

On Sunday I fitted the replacement fork but first I wanted to do some comparisons, you can see the side by side above.

And in profile, ah there is that nice fork rake I have been missing .

Checked the width at the Canti -posts and it was the same.

Then I checked the length of the steerer tube and huh, the replacement fork from the Schwinn Passage is about 2 cm longer than the original Cresta fork.  Well how big of a deal could that be?  Note that the length of threaded section of steerer tube is the same for both -about 3 cm long.

Tange 6J
Tange 5I
Hmmm the Tange marking on the fork steerer tube is different too, and I recalled having a conversation about the markings on Bike Forums so it was knowledge I had and forgot but to be fair I was convinced the Passage fork was from an identical sized frame so I think I would have bought it regardless.

So in the end I had a replacement fork with threading that didn't go far enough down the steerer tube to allow me the snug up the headset, no matter how I sliced it I had a gap and a fork that didn't work.

I reached out to a long time frame builder, 45 years in Seattle, Davidson Hand-built cycles  to see if adding more threading to the Passage fork was an option.  Their reply

Sometimes you can add, but most times it doesn't work well. When it had to be done
no matter the cost and perfectly we have had a machinist do it at a cost of about

Not the answer I was hoping for but also not unexpected.  Working on vintage bikes can be allot like life; you live, you make mistakes, you learn, you forget, you pick yourself up and keep moving.

So I plan A is to keep searching for a replacement Tange, 27" wheeled, canti fork where I will ask for more info next time and seek an exact match to the original Tange model 6J fork.  In the meantime I can ride the Cresta as is with the runaway mustang feel and if I get tired of searching for a canti fork I can always get a replacement non- canti fork, mount a center pull brake up front and see how a franken-Cresta handles.   And I can probably recoup some my cost of the Passage fork by selling it.

Ride. Continue the Search for the Grail. Sigh. Smile. Repeat

In the meantime I keep putting Kilometers on the Trek 520.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Weekend Puttering

Its been a weekend of short rides and lots of small projects.

Trek 520
After doing a 5 mile ride of incline repeats, I can't really call them hills,  I was up to about 15 km on the Trek 520 Cirrus and decided it was time to do more than just put air in the tires and reconnect the front brakes.

I started with de-glazing the brake pads with some fine grit sandpaper and then pulled both the stem and seat post to wipe down the old grease and apply fresh.

There were a number of allen bolts that had collected rust like the stem bolt that I spend time staring at when I ride.  My Dremel with a fine brass brush is just right for this job.

And did the same for this canti brake bolt..

and finally on this brake lever rivet, that Dremel is worth every penny I paid for it!  I also cleaned and lubed the chain on the 520.  It will get the spa treatment after the Clunker challenge is finished.  I took it for a ride this morning on a short 4.2 km course that I have been using as a fitness gauge,   On my first ride on the road, post crash, I took the handsome devil on this route just riding causally in about 21 minutes.  Later I rode it on the Moto_GT in just under 18 minutes.   I clocked under 17 on the Cresta GT with re-bent fork yesterday and this morning came in at 16:09 on the 520 for a course record.  I think that means my fitness is getting better but now I really need to do longer, hillier rides.

Novara Randonee
While waiting on a new, narrower, seat post binder bolt the Randonee is in dry dock but that didn't stop me from puttering.  I test fit the fenders with not much hope and found that the 27 X 1 1/4 still didn't want to play nice even with the stock brakes.  To that end I ordered some inexpensive Kenda 27 x 1 1/8 tires to mirror what was on the bike originally as I would really like a fendered bike option if I am going to maintain fleet.  I think the Pasela's on it currently will end up on the Trek 520 when it gets rebuilt.

I cleaned up the kickstand, added some intertube bits on the chainstays to protect them from getting scrapped up and mounted the kickstand.  I know some people find them heavy and unnecessary but I think they are useful and miss them when I ride bikes without them.

After testing the zefal pump to be sure it worked I put the umbrella clamp back on the seat tube and mounted the pump.  I really like the modern Leyzene pump as they are smaller and I think more efficient, but if you have a working vintage pump you might as well use it right?

Nishiki Cresta GT

I wanted to take the Cresta with repaired original fork on a longer ride than just around the block to test my initial feeling that it rode different than before.  As I mentioned above I took it on my baseline 4.2 km ride and I didn't dislike how it felt, but it was different.  I wouldn't go so far as to say twitchy but the handling was certainly lively and I felt like I needed a firm hand on the handlebars to keep the bike from getting away from me.  I would not want to try riding it no handed.   To sum up it handled more like a race bike than with the stable, stately ride of a tourer that I remembered.  Not bad per se just different.

what the fork!?

Ride. Smile. Repeat.