Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hey suburbs, way to NOT dissappoint low expectations!


Bump to this for the unlikely possibility that I have any Barrington Hills readers. Get to your city council! Dang!

I'm sure it's okay to take a full lane if you are in a car going 20 in a 30 (grandmas of the world, take note, it's okay!), but heaven forbid anyone as fragile as a bicyclist on a bike should get in the way of automobile traffic. They have important places to be dammit!

Monday, February 16, 2009

coupla new builds


Well, I've finished off a couple of new builds for friends in the last week. The first is a red Schwinn Sprint frame I built up for my friend Ted. It's sort of a half MTB/half road bike hybrid. It has flat bars, SRAM MTB brake levers and cyclocross tires on a road frame. 700c wheels on a frame made for 27" allows plenty of clearance for fenders. I had to get some new Tektro long-reach brakes to make that work, but dang, they sure work good! Mixture of parts on the drive train: Shimano 200-something cranks (can't remember that number, but from the Bio-Pace era), Shimano 600 FD, Suntour VX RD and Suntour stem mount shifters. Kind of a fun, weird one for me. The picture isn't great, I only remembered to take as I was about to hand it off, but it's on the road now and getting good reviews!

The next one is for my pal Amy. It turned out to be what I would describe as the classic Chicago hipster bike (no value judgements intended!). It was literally one bad day from the scrap heap though, so I'm pretty proud it got saved! This was a Schwinn Traveler frame that I bought from a kid down in Pilsen while I was there to buy something else (wheels?) and he threw it in for $25. It had been spray and hand painted a number of times from the look of it. I didn't know what I'd do with it, so I threw it up in the garage rafters and didn't think about it until my friend Lee (who has gone perhaps even more bike building mad than I) told me he had a good deal on getting a bunch of frames blasted and powder coated. I got it down, extracted the decrepit bottom bracket from it and sent it off. What a difference! It came back looking so pristine that it was hard to touch it as I was always leaving a nasty grease smudge on the bright yellow finish. I built it up single-speed (freewheel!!!!) with some Velocity wheels I was sort of using but didn't really need to be using (i.e. needed to thin the herd). Some one trying to make a crazy fixie bike or something had, in a fit of idiocy, shaved off the brake cable hangars, so I had to acquire these pretty classy old-school clamp on ones, which I must say, do look really nice. She already liked the cut off drop bar style deal from her last bike, so we went with that and I came up with some Sugino 170mm cranks, a 46T chainring, some older sidepull brakes with new pads, some NOS Specialized road tires from a guy on craigslist (nice tires!), and a really nice Terry Butterfly saddle and Voila!

How about that duotone color scheme, eh? Pretttttttyyyyyyyyy prettttttyyyy gooooooooood.

In other news, I'm addicted to watching the Tour Of California. They are having some serious technical difficulties with all the inclement weather, but when it's on, it's really fun. You can watch the video right on the website with this sort of flash page "control panel" style window. It has video, commentary, GPS tracking, etc. etc.

Good stage today. Must give it up for Levi Leipheimer, and good going Tom Peterson!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spring is faking us out


I KNOW it's not going to last, but the last 3 days we've had temperatures starting in the 30s and going up. We hit something in the low 50s today and there is talk of 60s tomorrow. IT'S GREAT!!!!! I did have a moment of realization this morning that I'm sure I'll still shovel a few hundred pounds of snow before we're done this winter, but I'll take this now.

I rode about 20 miles on Saturday, none on Sunday (played indoor soccer though!), and about 20 more miles today (Monday). I'm going to try and get at least 20 miles per day in for as long as this lasts. I'm back on my Paramount and it's so fun to zip around at 18-22mph. I can pass cars in afternoon traffic for a good part of my ride. Wheeee!

On a random note, check out this craigslist gem from a week or so ago!

It's a Schwinn Paramount Tandem!!! There's something you don't see every day! It's all Campy Record too!
Here's a link to the full ad. It might still be available!

In other upcoming news, I'm going to try and take a trip to the Northbrook Velodrome sometime soon. It's on my radar now. Stay tuned.