This Space for Rent

Nov 30, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Waiter, there's a dust mite on my saddle!

Dust Mite tries out a new saddle.

A tight fit, but the other way around

Front V-brake

When I built up the project bike, I arranged the front rack so that the fork crown stay wrapped around the cantilever brake cable without much clearance. This was a good plan, because it meant that when I pulled the cantilevers and replaced them with direct-pull cantilevers (aka “V-brake™"s) it meant that the straddle cable ended up running just barely over the top of the stay (if I’d used mini-Vs, this would not have worked, because the Travel Agent would have fouled against the stay.

Nov 29, 2012

It’s that time of year again

It's that time of year again

Citrons are back in the grocery store, so it’s time to start baking (vegan) fruitcake!

Nov 28, 2012



I was thinking that I’d ride a 100k on Friday (probably the Estacada 100, because it’s got a bit of climbing) and then go back to Ripplebrook on Saturday, but, geez, this isn’t exactly the best sort of weather for it.

My feet are already wrinkling up in anticipation.

It looks like I’m gonna have to liquidate my IRA

If I have surgery to patch my shattered shoulder, it will take me off the bicycle for 4-6 months. Having a functional shoulder would be a nice award after this 4-6 months were over, but as of right now I’m using bicycling as one of the crutches that keeps me away from a terminal black despair, and if I end up not being able to ride for six months the results are likely not to be pretty.

I could probably use an appropriately modified (to put all of the controls and steering on the left side so I could put my right arm into a sling when riding) tadpole trike to keep myself away from the edge in that period of time, but I’d need to build up a suitably fast trike so I could avoid unfortunate encounters while I’m wandering around. And that would take money, of which I have none (one of the side effects of the deep depression I’m in is that I find it impossible to work – I am struggling to get an iPad project done that should be trivial even including having to familiarize myself with Objective C – without falling into despair over anything that involves more than one step.)

I suppose I could always just leave my right shoulder crippled, but I’m getting more than slightly tired of it hurting all the time and would love to have that stupid clavicle tied down instead of trying to burst, Alien-style, out through the skin on my shoulder.

So, to get a tadpole and retrofit it I’ll need money, and the only money I’ve got is the remains of my retirement account (and this has the bonus that it might be enough so, if I decide I want to ride any organized brevets, I’ll be able to afford trainfare down to the Bay Area to do SF Rando events, which I think are far enough away to ensure that I will not run into anyone from the PNW rando community.)

So goodbye retirement, hello some strategically placed purchases that will hopefully keep me going while I’m laid up for the first half of next year.

1 comment


Overloaded porteur bag

The porteur bag runneth over.

Nov 27, 2012

Bicycle picture of the day

Pittock view project bike

I had to do some shopping at Trader Joe’s, I needed to go to Kobos to get some more tea, and my friends Ed & Michael were planning on going for a sociable ramble up to the Pittock Mansion, which is more or less between Trader Joe’s and Kobos. So I decided to kill three birds with one stone; first I went to Trader Joe’s, then I climbed up the steep way to the Pittock Mansion, and then I went to Kobos.

I added “climbing the hill to Pittock Mansion in my big ring” to the short list of climbs I’ve done in the big ring (Portland-Ripplebrook-Portland, the High Rock 300, One Big Hill & Silver Falls; the first two were done on the mlcm, which is geared somewhat lower than the 48×26 – about 50 gear inches – of the project bike) this year. No, I’m not sure why I did this, except maybe it’s because I can.

I’m around 11,500 miles for the year, with 11394km’s worth of RUSA miles (thanks to the ride down to Silver Falls on Sunday.) 900 miles, more or less, and I’ll be at 20Mm for the year with a comfortable margin over 10Mm in RUSA miles.

Nov 25, 2012

Bicycle photo of the day

scofflaw project bike

The project bike willfully breaks the state park rule about no icky bicycles close to the South Falls Lodge at Silver Falls State Park.

(I went out and rode One Big Hill again today, this time with my friend Lynnef – this was more of a social ride, so it took a bit longer than my usual breakneck pace – and managed to do the whole thing in the big ring, even on this not-built-up-for-randonneuring bicycle. Though “not built for randonneuring” is a bit of a joke for me, since all of my bicycles have been taken out on brevets, and all of my bicycles have been used as errand bikes. The extent of the preparations I did to set up the project bike for randonneuring was to, um, load it with a couple of water bottles.)

Nov 23, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Wheelbuilding mite

Dust Mite is about to do some wheelbuilding.

Nov 21, 2012

R is for Ripplebrook, E is for eight

Ripplebrook Project Bike

After over a month where the longest ride I took was 110km, I finally rode another 200k. And, of course, it was another run up to Ripplebrook (the 14th time I’ve been up there this year, but I’ve only ridden Portland-Ripplebrook-Portland eight times) but on the project bike instead of the mlcm because the mlcm is still laid up waiting for me to braze a new rack (though I have figured out how I’m going to mount the front fender now; I’m just going to braze two fender mounts to the rack and attach the fender to the rack and the fender stay while keeping it well away from the fork crown and any evil daruma) and it was, as expected, a fairly slow loop (it took me 4h31 to get up to Ripplebrook, which wouldn’t be so bad except I tweaked the route to do a direct run south from Milwaukie & Bybee, then made up for it by adding a couple of indirect loops on the way back. Unfortunately I can’t be sure if that worked because my GPS flaked out and needed to be reset early in the route) but I can’t blame that on the project bike, because there was a stiff (20mph) headwind almost all the way to Estacada (the Clackamas gorge blocked most of the wind on the 28 mile leg up to Ripplebrook, thank g-d) followed by a constant cold rain the rest of the way up to Ripplebrook.

My therapist (who is located way out in East Portland) was wondering if I’d be up for making the 11 mile run out there when it was cold and rainy/snowy, and after today I believe it would be no problem. Riding up to visit the psychiatric clinic isn’t exactly the same as a brevet, but still, after riding up 224 for a dozen miles in the pouring rain, I found myself being not exactly joyful, but contentedly happy to be winding up along the river even though I had sopping wet gloves, sopping wet feet, and was wet, but warm, everywhere else.

It’s been a little while since I last rode up there, and it’s been a while since I’ve done it alone. It’s nice to go out by myself on a horrible November morning and climb up into the foothills of the Cascades, then turn around and return to my warm house. It gives me plenty of time to listen to music, think (music directs my thoughts so I don’t brood,) and, at least as far as I can when rain is lashing against my face, sightsee as I creep along at 15-16mph.

And I big-ringed the entire loop again. More of an accomplishment on the project bike than on the mlcm because 48×26 is a slightly higher gear than 50×28, but it wasn’t all that hard to do, and yes I’m including the climb up Judd Road and the Broadway ramp in Estacada. The big long ramp just south of Ripplebrook was easier than I remember, but I wasn’t pushing it nearly as fast as I’ve done it in the past, but just winding upgrade at 5mph hoping that the Ripplebrook Guard Station would be open (it wasn’t, but while I was sitting on the covered porch eating my lunch one of the staff came by to retrieve something and let me go in to warm up and buy some snacks; there are benefits to being a regular up there!)

The trip back wasn’t nearly as rainy as the trip up; while I was warming myself in the store the bank of storms moved off and I returned to Portland under 98% clear skies (with one 4-mile exception where it dumped hail on me and soaked all the non-jacketed parts of me to the skin.)

I got back into Portland 10h01 after I left, having travelled somewhere between 200 and 203km (stupid GPS. I kept trying to mentally calculate the distance I travelled and don’t exactly know what the total distance actually was, though I think it should have been ~203km) and bringing my milage up to 11,375 and 11,194 RUSA km. I would have liked to do under 9 hours, but that idea fell by the wayside when I stayed an hour at the Ripplebrook Guard station!

I’ll have to finish that new front rack (and maybe a decaleur so I won’t have to use the VO one I’ve got installed right now) and get the mlcm back into service before the next 200k (unless the next 200k is on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. If it’s one of those days, I’m stuck with the project bike!) But this trip means that now all of my bicycles have brevetted their way up to Ripplebrook at least once in their existence.

Nov 20, 2012

Number Seven

Estacada is sunny, but the bank of clouds to the north is starting to look fairly unhappy

November is here, and along with November comes my usual collection of things that keep me off the bike. There were two good weekends at the start of the month, but, alas, the first one was eaten up by staffing the closing control for this year’s running of the Verboort Flat Tire Extravaganza! (volunteering to do this was, in retrospect, maybe not the most sensible decision I’ve ever made; I would have avoided collapsing into a suicidal depression if I’d instead just taken advantage of the weather and ridden down to Silver Falls that day) and the second one was spoiled by chest pains that certainly felt like a heart attack, but which just turned out to be stress-related chest pains (see my previous comments about suicidal depression; I dealt with the suicidal depression by not actually killing myself, but instead riding the fuck out of my bicycle – six 100k’s in seven days, or it would have been six if I’d not instead gone to the emergency room for EKGs, and a valium-assisted blood draw to look for heart attack proteins in my blood (I am extremely needle-phobic, and getting stoned on valium is about the only way to settle my head enough so that people can poke needles into me. And, goodness, it kind of hurt when the nurse was poking around in my arm trying to find a blood vessel that was not CLENCHED COMPLETELY SHUT from the residual terror about OHMYGODANEEDLEGETMEOUTOFHERENOW! One of the reasons I want to get a tattoo is that it involves having a needle ramming ink into my skin approximately 100,000 times in quick succession, and if I can do that without having my heart explode from terror the idea of single needle pokes will, hopefully, become less overwhelming.) And so, it’s been over a month since I’ve done a ride longer than about 80 miles (I’ve done, um, 12 60+ mile rides in that month; it would have been more if not for the heart scare and then it DUMPING down rain the week after that, with the exception of last saturday, which was merely drizzly but I couldn’t bring myself to get out the door at 8am.)

Well, I didn’t do more than 80 miles again today. Instead I rode the project bike up to Estacada on my Estacada 100 populaire for the seventh time. This time I wasn’t trying for a sub-4 finish, which was just as well because the weather forecast said there would be a 20mph SW wind and there was, which made the climb up Springwater Road even slower than it usually is.

I didn’t check the weather forecast for Estacada before I left (I checked Portland, which said showers and maybe a thunderstorm, and I checked the Cascades weather which said snow down to 4000 feet – not nearly low enough to get snow at Ripplebrook) and ended up being pleasantly surprised, after passing through a band of showers as I was transiting Gresham, by the clouds intermittently breaking up and giving me honest to g=d sunshine as I passed through Barton, crossed the Clackamas, and worked my way, against that annoying headwind, up Springwater Road to Milo McIver Park and the descent down to Estacada. The headwinds were, um, impressive; normally, when the project bike descends Amisigger Road I can get it up to 42-43mph depending on how aero I can make myself (the mlcm descends this ramp at about 45mph, but it doesn’t have a huge porteur bag in front) but today I only got up to about 35mph on the steepest sections, and the climb up Springwater, which I normally drop down to about 12mph by the time I reach the summit, saw my speed dropping below 10mph on more than one occasion.

And then, on the way back, I ran into what had become a line of thunderstorms just west of Barton; it had started to drizzle as I reached Baker’s Ferry Road, but by the time I’d climbed up out of the gorge the drizzle had become a light rain, which then, in quick succession became a moderate rain, then a heavy rain with a little bit of hail, and by the time I reached Carver I was soaked and my fingers and toes had become tiny cold sausages. My body was fine, thanks to two layers of wool jersey, but I was wearing fingerless gloves, which became sodden fingerless gloves, which became evaporative coolers as I chugged my way towards home, and my knee-high woolen socks had become wicks which carried water down into my shoes and around my toes, where it became, you guessed it, an matched pair of evaporative coolers.

This slowed me down a bit, which sort of spoiled the tailwinds I was enjoying on the way back from Estacada, and I ended up arriving back at home 4h22 after I left. I’ll have to wear shorter socks tomorrow (to keep the wicking effects down a bit) and HTFU about my lower legs being cold (and I’ll also tuck a couple of spare pairs of socks into the porteur bag, just in case.)

~11,250 miles for the year, 10991 RUSA km, and a few pictures.


Nov 19, 2012

A lower shade of trail

A lower trail MLCM

The midlifecrisismobile with the new fork properly installed. I lose the nicely chromed fork crown, but I gain a whole bucketload of clearance around the tire (thanks to the 70mm wide cyclocross fork and the mini-V brake I put on instead of a cantilever) and drop the trail from ~60mm down to ~30mm.

Now to bend, cut, drill, and braze a rack (I’m going to put a somewhat stouter rack on the mlcm and move the existing rack over to Silas’s Shiromoto so he can have an appropriately light rack for his light little bicycle) to put onto the thing, and then decide whether to keep the existing VO decaleur or to braze up a better one (I should also braze up a steel stem with a bell mount, but stem failures are one of those “but I like my teeth” failure modes.)

I like the look of the black fork. When the existing front wheel demises and I replace both rims with Archetypes I may just go crazy with black components (well, for some version of “crazy” that doesn’t involve spending any more money than what it will cost to lace up a pair of new wheels) and go for a black+red look.

Nov 18, 2012

Bike hacks

Yay, we've got fender clearance!

The front fender clearance on the mlcm has been a source of increasing annoyance for most of the last year and change (ending up with my pulling the fenders altogether and riding this last summer au naturale.) It finally got to the point where I sidelined the mlcm and started riding the project bike on brevets in its place.

Well, last week I fabricated a mandrel for fork bending, then went down to the hardware store to get the hardware I needed to fasten it to my workbench. I also found a ½" conduit bender, which, happily, is basically the size of the tubing on the lower parts of the fork blade. I reraked one of my scrap forks as a test, and was pretty happy with it, so I went out and got a cyclocross fork (which has clearance for days, but pays for that with a substantially longer crown to axle distance) and reraked it to bring the crown to axle distance down to a more reasonable amount (and, not exactly accidentally, to give myself a low trail fork that I can test ride a bit.)

After more of a battle than I thought (I’d last disassembled my old fork last year, and since then there’s been approximately 10,000 miles of me riding (and sweating on,) which meant that all of the spacers and the headset caps were stuck pretty firmly onto the steerer tube) I removed the old fork and dropped the newly reraked cross fork in place of it. And while I was at it I dumped the caliper brake and bought a mini-V to replace it with (still need to buy a travel agent; as it stands, I /can/ brake with the mini-V, but it takes pretty much all of the lever pull to do it – I can tighten up the arms of the brake, but then it becomes /very/ difficult to pop the brake cable loose so I can remove the tire.)

I still need to cut the steertube, tighten the stem down, put the fenders back, braze up a new porteur rack (that can take advantage of the rack mounts on this fork), and then decide whether to try and internally route the power and signal wiring up the inside of the fork, but it’s nice to be closer to being able to ride a bicycle with good front clearance again.


Nov 16, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

That's not vegan!

Dust Mite lurks in the refrigerator.

A festival of close clearances

Mocked up with 1.6" tires.  Which don't fit.

I mocked up Silas’s Shiromoto with the only 26" wheels I had in the house – the wheelset from the ten-ton-trek, which has 1.6" road semi-slicks on it right now – and discovered that the clearances are close enough so that 559×50 wheel sets are, not surprisingly, too big (if 650×32b doesn’t fit, something that’s 13mm larger diameter won’t fit either.)

So I need to stick with 559×25 (Ritchey Tom Slicks, or similar, which will give me barely enough room for tire + fender) or consider dropping down to one of the three 24" sizes (whichever one has tires that do not suck; there are a bunch of bmx tires out there, but, alas, no bmx-dimensioned Resist Nomads :-( ) instead.

Nov 15, 2012

New bicycle day!

Stripped down to frame + fork + headset + octalink crankset (ugh)

Well, not so much a new bicycle, but a new (to me) frame; a Shiromoto Triathlon Special with an extremely short seat tube, purchased from Kevin Brightbill just this evening. The frame came with a bunch of other stuff attached, most of which has been stripped off and dumped into my parts bin, but the crankset remains attached because I don’t have an octalink remover and haven’t gotten up the courage to try the self-extracting bolt on the nds :-)

This frame needs

  • 26" wheels
  • dangler (not the heavy Shimano 105 dangler that it came with)
  • low-profile seatpost that can be dropped all the way down so it will fit Silas
  • A Silas-compatable saddle
  • handlebars
  • shifters
  • fenders
  • front rack
  • lights
  • brakes would be good, too; it came with a pair of single-pivot calipers, one of which I managed to mangle the return spring on when dismantling, and I’d rather replace them with dual-pivot calipers or center pulls.

The wheelset is likely to be the most expensive part of the bike (given that I need to build new wheels for the midlifecrisimobile and trek already, so I’ll just get some good components for this one while I’m at it.)


Nov 14, 2012

Number Six

Looking west in the general direction of Highland Butte

Another day, another run at the Estacada 100; this one with my friends Kevin and Lynne. It took 4h39, mainly because we were moving at a more sedate pace than my usual breakneck run up to the summit of Springwater Road, and I didn’t actually put on the gas until we reached Estacada and I realized it was already noon (at which point I made hasty excuses and attempted to go into hyperdrive for the 31 miles back to Sellwood (I sorta went into hyperdrive; I averaged about 18mph down to Oregon City, then was slowed down by the bumps and traffic controls between there and Sellwood. ~16mph total for Estacada->Sellwood) to get back into town in time to retrieve Silas from Llewellyn. I actually made it into town fast enough to deposit the project bike at home, pull out the trek and lug Silas’s ten-ton Trek mountain bike over to Llewellyn so he could ride it home (I’m buying a teeny 650c bicycle – to be rebuilt as a 26" fast road bike – and once I get it built up I’ll be able to return the ten-ton-trek to the Sellwood Cycle Repair consignment merry go round. But until that’s done, he’s stuck with the ten-ton-trek :-( ))

~11,100 miles, 10,887 RUSA km

The house of death

Another mac died today – Julie’s work mac went spinny cursor, shut down, and then came up to a blinking question mark folder, which, of course, meant that the disk had died. Option confirmed this; after a loooooong time it popped up an absolutely empty disk selection menu (just the mouse cursor.)


Our house now contains, in the department of dead macintoshes;

  • One macbook with a dead battery (I let it run down and left it for a week, so the battery decided it was dead) and a crumbling case.
  • One powerbook with a dead hard drive (I have not yet had the patience to do the 50 step process to take the machine apart down to the level where I can replace the drive)
  • One macbook air with a dead keyboard (it had water spilled on it, so it’s possible I could just clean the keyboard and get it back to life, but, once again, it’s a 50 step process to take the machine apart down to the keyboard)
  • One first-gen macbook pro with a dead nvidia chip (that died 4 years 2 months after it was purchased, so Apple’s extended warranty for the chip is no longer valid)
  • One macbook that I’m looking at for the parents of one of Silas’s friends (super-dead battery, plus a dead wall wart)
  • Julie’s work macbook, which will be returned to PPS (and probably returned to her with a different ancient hard disk, ready to die)
  • Another powerbook, this one with the dreaded video chip liftoff syndrome. I bought it in pieces, so it may not count, but it’s still dead.

Before the first macbook died I managed to shatter the screen once (I bought a replacement on ebay and replaced it); before the macbook air died it managed to shatter the lid hinges (which, fortunately, were replaced under apple warranty because this was a known defect); and before I shattered the first macbook’s screen the battery died and was replaced under warranty.

Ugh. That’s a lot of dead computers. Admittedly a bunch of them were donated to us after their previous owner upgraded to newer macs, but it’s still a lot of dead computers.


Nov 09, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite, reraking mandrel, and sacrificial cyclocross fork

Dust Mite helps me with my framebuilding efforts by supervising as I fabricate a fork blade bending jig.


Russell's bicycle is now in compliance with Oregon 650b bicycle law

It’s official now – I’m not a 650b randobro. I put a couple of (used, but still in excellent shape) Hetres on Russell’s Kogswell to bring that bicycle into compliance with Oregon law regarding 650b bicycles, and then had to take it out for a test spin to see what all the fuss is about.

Um, I think I preferred the ride of the CdlV’s that were on it before. I found that the Hetres (at ~40psi) felt kind of squirmy and had a ride feel much like the Parigi Roubaix tires I used briefly last year, plus they seemed to make it harder to steer the bicycle :-(

I still want to get Silas into being a 650b randobro, but as for me, well, I’ll stick to 700c and Resist Nomads for the immediate future.

Nov 08, 2012

Winter is creeping closer

Banana panda

I ran up to Sandy for some donuts this morning (and, as a bonus, to get another 100km’s worth of RUSA miles) and, my, it was kind of chilly out there. I had three layers on on top (wool baselayer, cloud chamber jersey + arm warmers, Portland Cyclewear longsleeve jersey) and it was still a battle between my metabolism and the damp air to see if I was warm or cold.

An interesting discovery I’ve found in the last few cold-weather loops is that I get congested and need to breathe through my mouth at speed. It’s not normally a problem, but if I need to eat I end up having to eat + breathe through the same orifice at the same time, which usually results in my slowing down. This does not combine well with the anemic climbing I do on the project bike – today I started to feel somewhat peckish on Bluff Road (I was burning a lot of energy trying to keep up with Kevin on steeper ramps) and pulled out a banana to snack on. But first I wanted a no-handed photo, so I used the next level spot taking a photo, and then peeled the banana and started to eat it, just as Bluff Road pitched up on the longish ramp up to the junction with Kelso Road.

I’m not sure how long Kevin waited at Kelso Road, but we’ll just say I wasn’t climbing very fast what with the combination of the project bike, trying to eat a banana, and trying to breathe. (I have a new lots-of-clearance cyclocross fork in hand now, and I’m waiting on enough time to assemble a fork-raking jig so I can shorten it by making it into a low-trail (65-70mm offset) fork, and when that is done I’ll be able to reassemble the mlcm and start using it instead of the project bike.)

But, even with this, and with stopping at Joe’s Donuts for a cup of coffee and a half-dozen donuts for Silas and my parents, we still managed to finish the loop in 4h17 (including a 20mph sprint down the unpaved part of the Springwater Trail; the Nomad 35s do a pretty good job of eating up the bumps on the gravel/dirt/rock there), which brings me up to ~11,000 miles of riding with 10783km’s worth of completed RUSA/ACP brevets/permanents.

I was thinking of a night-start 200 for tomorrow (leaving for Ripplebrook at 5am, which would get me back into Portland by 3pm – i do not think the project bike would be well-suited for attempting a sub-8 Ripplebrook run) but I don’t know if I could bear the idea of waking up that early and staggering out into the 35°F predawn with my current cobbled-together attempts at winter wear. Instead I’ll probably just hide inside and wait until Saturday morning to go out and freeze my way up into the mountains.

Nov 07, 2012

Bicycle photo of the day

Small bear & modern architecture

Silas rides towards home from Westmoreland Park

Tipping points

Stuff can only build up so much before I snap and have to do something about it.

This year, I abandoned my vow to not vote for any Democrat. Why? Because the GOP doubled down on racism, and spent many many months doing everything but bringing out the N-word. There are differences between the parties (I do not understand the new GOP plank of “we oppose what the Democrats are doing today, even if it was our position last week”, and their traditional hatred of women, teh gay, and the browns, but I am impressed that they managed to overcome at least some of their institutional religious bigotry to campaign vigorously for a Mormon) and the Romney campaign was pretty consistantly telegraphing that they’d take all the offensive features out of the Obama government and turn them up to 11, but I find the whole war criminal aspect of the Obama administration disgustingly offensive and was planning to just not pull the lever for any of the national races.

And then the Romney campaign started cheerfully pushing the “he’s not a real American” (as well as a collection of other equally offensive racial slurs) nonsense, and all of the Republican talking heads took up that “you wouldn’t vote for a NEGRO, would you?” line of talk.

That’s an interesting question. And my answer is, yes, of course I will vote for the Hawaiian negro, despite his being as much of a war criminal as George W Bush is, because the Hawaiian negro and his party aren’t being the big tent for bigots. (And, even though they were forced into it by circumstances, I will give the Obama administration a lot of credit for doubling down in favor of equal rights when they could have plunged a shiv into the back of the lgbt community and picked up a small segment of the homophobic voters bloc.)

I would still support war crimes trials against the Obama administration (and whatever members of the Bush administration have not fled for South America to escape war crimes prosecution) but if it comes down to supporting a known war criminal or supporting (either actively or by omission) a racist party that will continue the war crime tradition that the USA has developed, I’ll vote for the war criminal.

My motto for this year was “Vote for the war criminal, it’s important!” and that’s what I did. Straight party line vote for every state and national office I could find, because they aren’t racists.

And that was a good reason to vote for the lesser evil, not just against the greater evil.

Nov 06, 2012

Once more up to Sauvie Island

No-handed antidangerpanda

Kevin Brightbill and I rode his Cuthbert Binns populaire today, and for once it felt like winter is coming along; it was chilly the whole way, with a cold south wind holding us back on the return from the Sauvie Island Road outandback and the loop around the south of the island. It’s gotten cold and damp enough so that I’m now layering something under whichever cloud chamber jersey I’m wearing when I go out (today I was wearing the black one) just to reduce the amount of rapidly moving air that makes it through to my body.

Not very many pictures, but I did manage to retrieve the punctured inner tube that fell out of the saddlebag when I last ran up to Sauvie Island (it was sitting on the gravel road up by the nude beach turnaround; it must have slipped out when I hit one of the gravel drifts and started fishtailing. I didn’t fishtail at all today, because I was riding even slower than I was last time and picked a line on the wrong side of the road, but Kevin hit a drift at 16-17 mph and his Hetres cheerfully started skating sideways across the loose gravel. I suspect that the only tires that wouldn’t fishtail on this gravel would be 23mm or narrower, which might just sink down into the gravel as if it was lumpy sand.)

And there were large quantities of no-handed riding while I was on the island. Maybe 4 miles worth? My quadriceps can take maybe a mile’s worth of no-handed pedaling before they start to ache from the unfamiliar sitting position, so I was doing a lot of popping up from the drops for a while, then dropping right back down after it became painful.)

4h23 (which feels slow these days) to finish the loop, and my ytd totals are: 10886 miles, 10680 RUSA km.

One annoying side-effect of the cheap plastic saddle

After only 3 100s (two actual 100s plus 100km of transit moves out to and back from the west side on Saturday) I think I’m developing, for the first time in my life and after riding leather saddles for about 34,000 miles in the last 4 years (and 10,000 miles in the last 10 months) without any of the traditional bikey butt-protective devices, a saddle sore.


Now this is a dilemma. There are a lot of plastic saddles out there, and I don’t have the slightest idea of which ones would actually work as a good replacement for the Berthoud I’ve got on the midlifecrisismobile right now (that Berthoud is still on the mlcm, of course, and it’s not going to be replaced until it disintegrates, but I’m less likely to put Berthouds on my other bicycles ‘cuz vegan.)

I suppose I could take a plastic saddle, strip the cover off, and fabricate a cover of my own that’s got some sort of breathable fabric along the areas where my bottom is currently expressing it’s displeasure with the current state of affairs. But, at least for the short term, I’m going to put the midlifecrisismobile back into service as soon as I install the cross fork and braze up another front rack to fit onto it (I need to beef up the fork crown mount considerably, and think it might work better to do it on new steel than the existing one) and relocate my butt onto a somewhat more breathable if less waterproof saddle.

Nov 05, 2012

Once more to the well

(don't) look, ma!  No hands!

As promised, I went out and rode the Estacada 100 again this morning. I did not scrounge 13 minutes, though; I shortened my loop time by 20 seconds. Sigh.

I think that part of the problem is that after about 50 miles the project bike starts to feel very heavy and it rapidly becomes exponentially harder to shove it up even a short ramp (this, however, has not stopped me from big-ringing the Estacada 100 twice in a row); I’m going to take it up to Sauvie Island tomorrow morning, though, and I’ll see how well it runs on an optically flat 110k loop (wednesday, on the other hand, is going to be a no-brevet day because I’ve got a collection of errands to run, including a trip to the LBS and King Harvest.)

But, despite all that, I managed to continue to work on my new trick of riding the project bike no-handed. I’m getting more confident when I’m riding no-handed, as you may be able to tell from the photo. I’m still having some trouble switching to no-handed riding (the project bike lurches a little bit when I sit up and lift my hands from the bars, and that’s often disconcerting enough so that I grab for the bars again) but once I’ve got my balance I can ride for a mile or so before my legs start to ache from the unfamiliar position.

I’m now up to 10815 miles & 10570 RUSA km for the year.

Nov 04, 2012



When I reached Estacada on today’s loop of the Estacada 100, all I needed to do to get a sub-4 finish was to maintain a 16mph average for the return leg. Sadly, this did not happen :-(

But, despite all that, it puts me up to 10,750 miles and 10466 RUSA km. And I’m going to reride it tomorrow morning to see if I can finesse those 13 minutes away while riding the project bike.

Project of the week (for a week several months in the future)

Porteur-randonneur frame kit

I can’t start it right now, because there’s an ipad app that has to have the buttons light up and talk to the backend threads, and there’s a suicidal depression that needs to be medicated into submission, but soon there will come a week where I measure the mlcm, measure the project bike, and merge the geometries together to see what falls out of the collision.

Rim brakes, sorry; disk brakes have a lot going for them, but I’m used to rim brakes and I want to minimize the surprises that might happen with a homemade frame. (700c, too; I considered 650b, but you can’t get 650b Resist Nomad tires yet and I’ve not found anything more baller than Nomad 28s yet (sure, 650b has Grand Bois Hetres, but they’re $60/each and are compared favorably to Challenge Parigi-Roubaix tires, which I found to be uncomfortable to ride, even though they coast for days; Nomad 28s don’t coast so well, but they’re really comfortable, really fast, and are very sure footed.)

The requirements for this frame will be

  • clearance for 45mm tires + fenders (not so I can use 45mm tires, but so there will be plenty of room to fit fenders around Nomad 28s and, possibly, Nomad 35s)
  • elongated top tube so I can put a short stem (to clear a rando bag) and pair of Cowbell bars and not have to squash myself in between the saddle and the drops. The project bike has the bars in a good place, but they’re a little high for my tastes and I might have to bring them closer to the saddle if I drop them at all.
  • ports for internal wiring
  • 3 sets of bottle cage bosses
  • pump pegs on one seat stay
  • canti posts for v-brakes (I considered Paul Racers but they suffer from canti disease.)
  • shifter cable bosses suitably placed on the downtube so the shifter cables can arc around a rando bag without tight bends until they have to actually go into the shifters.
  • fender mountpoint inside the fork crown so I don’t have to dick around with some stupid daruma
  • rack mounts on the fork crown (the Pacenti Paris-Brest crowns have them, but the crown is $38, so it would have to wait until I’d brazed up, then cut apart to examine how far the bronze penetrated the joint, a couple of cheaper forks.)

I’m still trying to decided whether to do GT-style hellenic stays (I’ve grown fond of them after riding with Kevin for 10 or so permanents/brevets) or regular old fastback stays, and I probably need to be talked out of putting the rear brake on the chainstays instead of on the seatstays.

Someone else is going to do the fork, because the failure case for a fork involves going head-first into the pavement and i’ve grown kind of fond of my teeth and face. It will probably be low-trail, just so I can compare low-trail to one of the many high-trail cyclocross forks out there.


Nov 03, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Hammer Time!

(slightly delayed because the co-lo where gehenna lives went to hell just as I was ready to do this post, some 45 minutes ago. Grrr.)

Nov 02, 2012

This is obviously not my week for speedy finishes

Sigh, this is just not the week for speedy finishes

I changed the front brake pads on the mlcm last night, and apparently jostled the brake so it rubbed against the front wheel and jostled the rear fender so it rubbed against the rear wheel. So when I headed out this morning to do a loop of the Estacada 100 (to make up for not doing it on Wednesday because the mlcm’s front tire went flat after Tuesday’s run up to Sauvie Island) they held me back for the first 13 miles of the loop (I was running up the Springwater Trail, but moving very very slowly and was down to about 12mph before I decided to stop and look for dragging brake shoes and the like.)

It took me 35 minutes to realign everything so it wouldn’t rub, and, alas, I managed to munge my front rack in the process (it ended up cocked off to one side about 30° – I pushed it back into line, but I’m afraid the fork tang may not be long for this world.) so that pretty much guaranteed a relaxed loop time.

But, on the bright side, once I finished the repair and went out into darkest Clackistan, the clouds obligingly rolled back and I rolled out to Estacada and back to Carver under sunny skies (it clouded up between Carver and Oregon City, then started to rain as I crossed Portland city limits.

I have decided that the first frame I make is going to be a porteur/randonneur frame (dunno what I’m going to do for the fork, since the failure case for a fork involves high-speed face plants; I’d probably be better off bothering some of my framebuilder friends to make me one or two) with room for 45mm tires and fenders (not that I’d use 45mm tires, but I want room for 45 or 50mm fenders so they’ll have a lot of breathing room around my 28mm Nomads) and with canti studs so I can put v-brakes onto the thing (Paul Racers are an appealing alternative, but they are very expensive and I suspect the front one would have the same sort of squeal problem that cantilever brakes have) because I am getting very tired of caliper brakes squeezing my front fender off to the side.

No pictures today, sorry; I forgot to bring a camera and only had the iphone, which was too busy pumping anti-depressant music into my ears to be used as a camera instead. But the vital statistics are 10,626 miles and 10,362 RUSA km for the year, plus my weight has, for the first time in over a quarter century, dropped under 170 pounds (juuuuust barely under, but it still counts. A target weight of 165 is now seeming feasible, and then maybe I’ll be able to consider maintaining a 10mph average speed going up Mount Hood next summer/fall.)

1 comment

Nov 01, 2012


One unfortunate side-effect of having the tube in my front tire spontaneously split at the weld was, apparently, that it chewed up the sidewall on my front Nomad. I discovered this this evening when I used my floor pump to inflate the tire to 100psi,only to have the tube explode shortly thereafter. And when I checked the tire for damage, I found an inch-long tear in the sidewall just above the bead.

So that’s my first dead Nomad (since it was the front it still had 99% of the tread, even after 2500 miles of use. That’s annoying.) Ah well, it was only $20 and I got more use out of it than I’ve gotten from the $50 Parigi Roubaix tires that are now being used as emergency spares in my rando supply pile.

Railroad picture of the day

The northbound Coast Starlight sails past Doyle McCormack's ex-Utah RSD-5

A pair of twinkies sail past an RSD-5 at the new ORHF enginehouse.

If it’s not one thing it’s another

Sunlight on the far short of the Multnomah Channel

When I last rode the Cuthbert Binns populaire it pissed down rain for almost the entire loop and I finished in 4h12. Today I rode it again and it not only didn’t rain but the sun actually came out for a while.

It still took me 5h47 to finish the loop :-(

There are probably three reasons for this;

  1. There was an increasingly strong south wind that manifested itself when I was looping around the southern tip of Sauvie Island; I ended up crawling that 5 miles at maybe 13mph, dropping a couple of times down to under 10mph when the wind was particularly strong.
  2. The rear tire ate a michelin wire outbound on highway 30, and most of the air leaked out in the next 25 miles, finally forcing a tire changing stop about 3 miles south of the nude beach gravel section (the drifts of gravel are still treacherous, but this time around I slowed down to about 15mph and followed a line on the wrong side of the road, which only had one or two fishtailing drifts.
  3. When I was about 4h10 into the ride, and 4 miles out from the closing control, my front tube failed and forced me to, after an attempt to cement the two tube sections together, to cyclocross-carry the mlcm a mile and a half to the downtown REI, where I bought a tube and was able to limp home from there (my minipump appears to be failing; I couldn’t get more than about 30psi into the front Nomad, and unlike a fat tire a 29mm Nomad does not deal well with such low pressures.)

The headwinds coming back were particularly bad on Sauvie Island, but highway 30 is tucked in against the bluffs for most of the way back into Portland, so the headwinds were knocked down to a dull roar and I was able to make about 19mph for most of the transit from Sauvie Island to where St Helens splits off from Highway 30 (St Helens is more exposed here, so the headwinds could build up a head of steam and reduce my forward speed to ~15mph.) I did not take more than one picture of the scenery, because when I had a tailwind I was trying to keep my speed above 22mph to compensate for the headwinds to come, and when I had a headwind I was too busy cursing my way along to take pictures unless I saw a particularly interesting railroad view (and then, after a while, I was too busy staggering slowly along to notice much.)

The Sauvie Island Road section up along the west side of Sauvie Island always seems longer than it actually is, and, even with a headwind, the return to Reeder Road always seems much shorter than it actually is. And the run up to the nude beach on Reeder Road twists and turns enough so that I never really notice how far it is, because there are very few long vistas where you can see the road several miles ahead of you.

And one thing that really annoys me about headwinds is the nonstop howling of the wind in my ears. I think that this slows me more than the actual pressure of the wind, and I should probably build a couple of airfoil earflaps to push the wind out away from my ears a bit. As is my modern tradition, I avoid thinking by having my earphones in and pumping music (P!nk’s Try is my goto song of the week and I’ve been playing it on continual loop whenever I’m riding a permanent) but even with the volume turned up to eardrum-shattering levels I can’t get away from the howling of the wind, which makes me want to just stop and wait for the wind to die down before continuing on.

I think that if I had not had the two flats, and, even if the second flat had not been the sort of catastrophic failure that it was, I could have finished in a hair under 4 hours. Better luck next time, after I’ve done another loop of the Estacada 100.

Pictures are on flickr, and I am now up to ~10,550 miles (1877 shy of 20Mm) and 10258 RUSA km for the year.

1 comment

Well, that’s a type of flat I’ve never seen before

Asploded bike part of the day

I was riding, for the seventh time, Kevin Brightbill’s Cuthbert Binns populaire, and when I was about 4 miles away from the end I rolled over a rough railroad crossing and instantly was slithering around on a completely flat tire.

When I pulled the tube and inflated it to look for the hole, I noticed a large quantity of air escaping from under a partially lifted patch. And when I peeled the patch off in preparation for replacing it, the tube fell apart.

I’m sure there are other bizarre bicycle component failures out there, but this one is a pretty good contender for the weirdest hardware failure ever.