Sunday, February 27, 2011


Today was a gorgeous day, in fact the whole weekend was nice. Yesterday I spent the day helping Martha & Brian move, but today Kathleen and I went out for a ride. This was the first ride this year where shorts were appropriate, temps in the upper 50's :) . We rode out to the start of Herring Run Park, here is the groovy maintenance shed on the bike path.
Here we are a little further along the bike trail, pretty soon all the trees will turn green again (I hope).
We continued on up to Lake Montebello and took a lap around the lake, lots of activity there as usual.
Then we swung by Martha & Brian's new place, they are still unpacking, but settling in. After that a quick trip through Hampden, then down Falls Road towards home. Here is Kathleen catching up to me on Guilford, another of my no-look action shots.
Then it was back to the homestead to get cleaned up. After that we went over to Life of Rielly for dinner, a fabulous Bleu Cheese Hamburger was just the ticket.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


It was a nice day today, after yesterday's 30 mile an hour winds, so I went out for a ride. I originally was thinking I would head up towards Lake Montebello, so I went down Baltimore to Washington Street. I got to the light at Washington & Fayette and decided some water was in order, only to find that I had spaced on filling a water bottle and putting it on the bike. So I looped around to the house again and got a bottle. Leaving the house again, I made it almost to the corner of Collington and Pratt when a loud boom came from under me and the rear tire went flat. I pushed the bike back to the garage, thinking I would change the tube and be on my way, but when I got to the garage I saw this.
That put an end to the patch and fix plan, so I went in and changed so I could run up to the bike shop for a new tire and tube.
Back to the house I swapped the tire and tube, there were two large holes in the tube, so poor mister 6 patches went into the trash.
This is the first blowout I have had, usually the flats are a little slower in happening. I am back in business now, hopefully it will be nice tomorrow morning.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wow, what a change

Well, at the beginning of this week it was just about freezing, today it was 70+ degrees out. I decided that it wasn't going to get to be any nicer of a day for a ride, so off I went this morning. I went out and around the Inner Harbor, then up Key Highway because I wanted to see the new branch of Race Pace Bicycles' new location in Federal Hill (we really like them, we bought Kathleen's bike there, and lots of accessories as well, they have a great women's cycling shop as part of the main shop). They are right on Key Highway across from the Baltimore Museum of Industry, there wasn't much to see, they are still doing the build out, but their truck was out front. I took this on my way back from Fort McHenry.
Then it was back toward the house, but low and behold, the same truck that I had to go up the curb to avoid getting run over by, in the bike lane of course, had decided to stop and block the whole farking lane to unload.
I guess that is better than the cop cars and cabs that drive in it the rest of the time. Tomorrow is supposed to be super windy, but Sunday is forecasted to be 50 degrees and calm, so hopefully I will get out for another ride then.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A warmer day.

Today was in fact a little warmer, about 50 degrees in the afternoon. Therefore, it was time to go for a ride. Kathleen and I rode down through the Inner Harbor, then out past the stadiums to catch the Gwynns Falls Trail going towards BWI, with the original thought being that we would ride around the airport and back. However, the promised partly cloudy weather never really materialized, instead it was cloudy and blustery, and we both are pretty sure we saw a few wayward snowflakes. It was still good to get out though. After passing through the Inner Harbor, we got stopped by an epic freight train passing through.
It was going fairly slowly, giving us a chance to admire the graffiti on some of the cars.
Once it had passed it was off towards Brooklyn. We rode out to the end of the trail in Brooklyn, where there was somebody feeding the seagulls in the parking lot at the hospital there.
At this point, I wasn't comfortable continuing on our current path towards BWI, mostly because it meant having to ride on Richie Highway, and there are a lot of douchebags in that neck of the woods, I am going to have to figure out another route out there, but I have some ideas for next time. So instead we opted to head back around towards the city again. We ended up looping back around and eventually rejoining the other part of the Gwynns Falls Trail at Washington Boulevard. We rode around Carroll Park, checking out the Mount Clare house, then meandered our way through the West Side a little. Coming back towards downtown we spotted this at the University of Maryland complex.
A little further on we found ourselves at the foot of the Bromo-Seltzer Tower, it realy is quite skinny.
After that it was back to the homestead to clean up and contemplate dinner.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Continued Cold

It has been a while since my last post/ride, and the weather has been brutal. More cold, a couple of snow/sleet/freezing rain storms, and a trip to Miami have kept me off the bike. But all is not lost, I have spent the downtime combing through all of my old hobbies in the basement, and selling off the remains of them (RC Car racing, slot cars) on Ebay. I then turned that money around into my current hobby in the form of converting my bike to Campagnolo from the Shimano drivetrain it came with. I had been accumulating parts for about 2 weeks, and finally got them all in a couple of weeks ago, so the conversion was on.

Here is the bike up on the stand to start the stripping down process.
I ended up getting new wheels, as Campy doesn't use the same cassette (rear gears) pattern as Shimano does. As a bonus, these wheels are about a pound lighter than the stock ones they replaced.
At this point in the evening I was rolling right along, all the while it was snowing outside, but then I got to this point.
This is the bottom bracket, and like everything else, Campagnolo and Shimano don't use the same mounting so it had to come out. I spent a pretty goodly amount of time trying to remove it, but had no luck. The last attempt was to put the tool in the vice, set the bike on top of the tool, and use the frame as the lever to turn it out. I started to turn and all of a sudden this huge bang, I was sure I had just broken the frame, but in fact this is what broke.
This brought my project to and end for the evening, it was time to take it to a pro to have it removed. Here is the scene on my bench, that flat metal thing is Kathleen's kitchen scale, as a total geek, I weighed all of the old and new parts to see how much weight I was saving. Also there is my copy of Zinn and the art of road bike maintenance, very handy for this job.
The next morning I put the bike up on the car, and drove through the snow to work, figuring I would run out on my lunch hour and get that done. Well the snowstorm from the night before had caused quite a mess on the roads, there were cars like this all over the place.
The storm had hit the afternoon before at rush hour, and there were hundreds of cars abandoned on the roads and freeways, several of my co-workers had commutes home that lasted 4-8 hours. Luckily, the guys at 20 Twenty Cycling had made it in to their shop, and with one guy holding the bike and the other one standing on the wrench handle (their wrench was more sophisticated than mine, but since I saw theirs, I know how to modify mine for the future), they got the old bottom bracket out.
So it was back to work that evening installing new parts, here is the Token carbon fiber crankset installed, pretty sexy don't you think.
Here is the rest of the drivetrain installed, including the Campy Veloce front derailleur, and the Carbon Fiber Centaur rear derailleur.
At this point it is starting to look like a whole bike again, but in reality there was still quite a bit more to do, as those are the Shimano shift/brake levers still on the handlebars. But since it was getting late, I stopped here for the night.
Continuing on on Saturday, I stripped down the handlebars and removed the old shifters, this necessitated a trip to the bike shop for new bar tape, the old tape ripped while I was trying to (carefully) remove it. But I did get them stripped down.
Then the new Veloce shifters went on.
Once I was happy with their placement, I stared the cable routing, the Campy shifters route the cables under the bar tape.
Once I had gotten the cable routing right, and the shifters/brakes adjusted, it was time for new bar tape.
At this point the bike was ready to ride again, so I wheeled it out of the garage for the official picture (drive side out, chain on the big ring in the front, small ring in the back, in front of a white garage door).
Unfortunately there was no hope of going for a test ride with it, when I took that picture I was standing in 8" of snow and slush in the alley. So back into the garage it went, and off to Miami for work I went. While I was in Miami my last ebay purchase arrived (from Taiwan no less), a set of Mr Control Brakes. Kathleen sent me a picture as a tease.
Unfortunately, I was still facing a week of 18 hour days in Miami before I was going to be able to do anything with them. Here I am at work, learning a new skill, I am operating the video switcher here for an evening breakout session, 25 years in the production biz, and I have never touched any of this kind of stuff.
I survived my week of work, and spent part of a day in South Beach with Kathleen (she came down mid-week and enjoyed some sunshine and my hotel room while I was working) before we flew back up on Superbowl Sunday evening. While Kathleen soaked in the tub that evening, I went back to work in the garage getting the new brakes installed.
Then this morning I got up early and finally went out for a ride. I went down to the Inner Harbor, and saw the evidence of the continued cold, I have never seen this area iced over before.
It was still farking cold out, the phone said 34 degrees when I got up, and as a result my hands were a little cold, so I made it a fairly short ride and headed for home to get ready for work. The good news is that all of my work actually worked, no problems shifting or stopping on the shakedown ride, and I ended up shaving shaving a little more than 2 pounds off the bike weight by changing all of the components, plus I went from 18 speeds to 20 speeds. The Campy stuff shifts like butter, very smooth gear changes, and the Mr Control brakes did in fact stop the bike. Hopefully the weather will warm up a little soon so I can get out again.