Showing posts with label xtracycle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label xtracycle. Show all posts

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Bike Parts Swap

Haulin' and swappin'
Yesterday was a big day of getting stuff done around the shop. I have a long, long way to go yet, don't get me wrong, but this made a big dent into a lot of what I needed to get done.

A short list then...

  • Ancient late 90's Manitou Titanium Spring fork off to a new home in Illinois.
  • Old Bontrager wheel set off to a new home in Cedar Falls. 
  • A new-to-me fat bike wheel- (traded for the wheel set and a rigid fork)- Marge Lite, DMR hub, Bud tire. 
  • Restored two wheel sets with fresh sealant.
  • Tweaked the Sawyer back to B+ glory after a brief test with a different tire on its wheel. 
  •  Started cleaning up the Fargo GEN 2 with a fresh set of tires and will be getting the rigid fork back on for Winter, but I didn't quite get that far.....yet!
The fat bike wheel is an interesting pick up. The wheel itself will end up on the son's bike. At some point another Marge Lite will be laced up to a rear hub in red, (his favorite color), and the front re-laced to a front brake standard red ano hub to match. (Then he can have TWO brakes!) I'll get the Bud. That's going on the Snow Dog. That bike is up for drive train updates and another matching Bud for the rear of the bike. Hopefully before the snow arrives.

 Swapping now and plans for swapping later! And then the imminent arrival of the Blackborow cannot be forgotten. It's going to be a good Winter.........

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Utility Bike Dreams

It ain't much, but it gets the job done!
Here's my Xtracycled Schwinn Sierra circa 1987 or so rig that I use for errands. It really isn't anything all that amazing, excepting that it is maybe the most versatile bike I have in the stable. It hauls about anything I've a mind to try to strap to it, but that's not really what makes it so useful for me.

It is perhaps the only bike, aside from my rat-rod fixie Raleigh, that I would leave unlocked anywhere around here. The thing is too ungainly, ugly, and weird for most folks here, so it provides me with an easy solution to just hop on and go down and get some milk, a pint of beer, or whatever. I have Ergon pedals on it, which I've used barefooted, (although I don't recommend doing that regularly!), so no special footwear required here. I don't hardly ever wear a helmet when I ride it, so no special head gear required. It's got some minimalistic tail lights and a head light, so I can go out at night anytime I want to run and do something quick.

So why would I want to change that? Oh........I dunno! Maybe I'm just being a bike nerd. I really should just leave well enough alone. This thing is nearly maintenance free, I got the donor bike for free, and the Xtracycle kit I traded an old touring bike for. I bought some cables and housing, used my old rear wheel from my '92 Klein Attitude, and bought a rear tire for it for under $20.00. The front tire was a cast off from my buddy Jeff Kerkove, who was sponsored by WTB about ten years ago. It's an "EpicWolf" tire, by the way. The model that Specialized made WTB change to "ExiWolf".

Maybe someday.....
So, the old Xtracycle doesn't owe me a thing, and it just keeps on keepin' on. Still, there are times when I feel like a newer, slicker rig would get me to think about using a cargo bike more. Maybe a "real" cargo bike like the Big Dummy, which I could swap my stuff over to and what I don't have, I could source from the parts bin.

Would it really be "better"? I suppose it would function better, but then I would have a bike that I wouldn't feel comfortable just parking outside the convenience store unlocked either. Hmm.............maybe not so convenient? I would have a rig that would handle heavy loads better, with better brakes and better stiffness. But I don't hardly ever use my current rig in situations where those things come up. Maybe I don't need that level of bike?

And then if I do go with a Big Dummy, I have an old, unloved Schwinn Sierra. That's not a good thing, but you know......I suppose I could find a good home for it!

Sunday, July 08, 2012


I guess it goes without saying that it has been incredibly hot outside of late. That has really affected me in the past few days.

First of all, it affected me in a personal/family sense when one of our A/C units went down and the upstairs of this old house of mine became unbearably hot.  I had to do something, and it happened to fall out that I was able to make a trade with a co-worker for a good, slightly used A/C unit.

I got that installed on Friday evening and the house became a bit less beastly, which made Mrs. Guitar Ted happy, and that is a good thing. Next I had the 3GR for Saturday morning, and the heat wasn't going away just yet.

The 3GR ended up being a solo ride. I decided to head out on the typical route to measure it to see how long it was, since I hadn't done that before. I followed a fellow out on the paved section that had a pretty blue road machine, and then hit the gravel. I wasn't feeling too bad going East, holding my speed and everything was working fine despite the heat. Then I turned North.

The 3GR route backwards up Streeter Road is not very smooth , with chunky gravel all the way to the county line and the hills, of course. that combined with a Northerly breeze made me work pretty hard. Okay, still not bad, but I was working hard. The hills up by the Camp weren't bad, and then I saw a few cars in the Camp's South side grassy parking area.

It was Karmen, Alan, and Paul having a little pow-wow concerning the trails. They do the oversight and maintenance up there on those trails. I decided to swing in for a chat. Then I took my leave after about 10-15 minutes and finished out the route. 26.75 miles, by the way. Knocked it out in 2 hours including chat time.

Then I decided to do an errand after lunch with my Xtracycle. The box wasn't all that heavy, and there was a nice breeze, but this was in the heat of the day, and after I got home, I was super-fatigued. I felt like I could have gone straight to sleep, but I layed down and took it easy instead. I never really did recover all the rest of the day. Definitely "zoinked" by the heat!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Pretty Smart" Bike

Sun "Atlas" Cargo Bike
I didn't do my usual routine on Saturday. Typically, I wake up, spend some time with my kids, and then go do a mountain bike ride at the Camp. Not this day though.

Mrs. Guitar Ted was out of town visiting a friend, and so I had to be "Mr. Mom" for the day until our good family friend came over and took the kids to a movie. My turn to get a quick bicycle ride in, right? Not so fast......

I actually had decided that this weekend was my very last chance to get something done that I had been putting off consistently since last summer. The sidewalk leading out from the house had "decayed" just a bit, and that issue wasn't going away. In fact, it actually had been kind of gnawing away at me of late. So, I was motivated by that and the fact that outdoors construction projects were going to be a bad idea in a matter of days.

So, I played with some cement during the afternoon. Fortunately I have plenty of previous experience with cement and my helping out with the Northfield Criterium over the 4th of July weekend had provided a bit of a refresher course in patching with Qwikrete. Job done, I cleaned up just as my kids got back from the movies.

Well, I was going to make some home-made pizza for us, so I needed a bit more shredded cheese. I decided to let the kids know I'd be gone for a little bit, then I grabbed my Xtracycled Schwinn Sierra, and I pedaled off to the convenience store.

I was waiting to pay at the counter when I excused myself and made way for an employee to walk through. She was a cute young woman, and well......that was that, I figured. I walked out with my purchase and here she was standing by my bicycle. She was unsuccessfully trying to light up a cigarette, and I met her eyes and said hello.

She could have just went on flicking that Bic, but instead she dropped her arms and said, "Is that your bike? Did you make that?" I explained that it was a kit bolted to a standard mountain bike. She asked me if someone could ride "back there", and I said yes. Then she said "That's a really smart bike." 

I was chuffed.

Well, as I rode home, I thought about the ol' Schwinn and I have been contemplating the upgrade. It could be the bike in the image above. That Atlas has a lot going for it. 4130 CroMo frame, 48 spoke rear/36 spoke frt wheels with 38mm wide rims. (!!) The back is compatible with Xtracycle bags too. However; the components are pretty cheesy. I could just ride them into the ground, and upgrade later though, so maybe.......

Hard to beat a Big Dummy though. Either way.....they are really smart bikes, aren't they?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday News And Views

Image credit: NCNCA CX Blog
It is cyclocross season and all over the nation folks are getting into all sorts of CX events. Typically the cyclocross season lasts from Fall through the winter months.

Originally it was a way for road bikers in Europe to engage in a winter-time competition when roads and weather were not conducive to holding typical road events. Going through little used pathways, grassy areas, or even cross country off road, the cyclocrosser was not your typical cyclist for many years. That has changed recently.

Now I hear that the Sea Otter Classic, the festival of mountain biking held near Monterey, California, is going to hold cyclocross races as part of its rather large menu of mountain bike and road racing events. Some cyclocross fanatics are aghast. Cyclocross in the spring? 

Well, if Sea Otter lives up to its reputation for wet weather, it makes perfect sense to me. Sea Otter has hills, (many of which are as steep and as long as those in the image at left), and I think a real, epic length, back-country cyclocross race would be superb out there. However; they probably will make it "spectator friendly" and have a compact course that will promote close in racing. Too bad. They could really do something unique and different out there with that layout. Fort Ord anyone?

Since Sea Otter is in spring, it makes the cyclocross season a bit more vague. Should cyclocross be done after winter is over? I guess that when cyclocross is so popular, with a huge amount of grassroots support, why not? Who knows? maybe cyclocross will become a year-round pursuit. 

Do it by bicycle!
Its been heavily promoted that most trips taken to run errands are two miles in length, or less. Because of this, bicycling advocates say that you should consider using a bicycle to do those things.

Obviously, you wouldn't be using a car, and if you did enough errand running, say half of your errands by car, you would save wear and tear on your car, save gas money, and perhaps, maybe become a bit healthier as well. Bike nerds have been saying this for years. Many non-bike nerds have thought bike nerds were "full of it" Well, there was their side and the other side, until now. A scientific side has emerged which lends some credence to what I would say is common sense, but what do I know? 

Here is an article making some grandiose claims, but I think even taken conservatively, the effects are enormous. I know that in my life, the definite "goodness" of using a bicycle is undeniable. Even when it gets cold. Really.

In fact, I can see such a benefit that I have decided to invest in better equipment to take the concept further. When I "Xtra-cycled" the Schwinn, (seen in the image here hauling the green mountain bike), it was just for kicks. I didn't think it would be something I would use as much as I ended up using it. In fact, I am amazed at how I find more ways to want to use it, but the inadequacies of the bolt on unit and old-school mtb combination have been holding me back a bit. So, I am up-grading to a Big Dummy frame this spring. 

Then we'll see some real haulin' goin on!

Trans Iowa V8 News: If you haven't already seen the T.I.V8 post concerning the "Pre-Race Meat-Up" then check it out- We're going back to the Grinnell Steakhouse again. Yup- grillin' and chillin'. I will likely do things like we have the past two years, with a 5 o'clock check in and meeting time at 7:00pm, but I will post exact details later. Just remember- this is a required meeting for anyone that wants to race in T.I.V8 that got on the roster.

Oh yeah......the roster! How do you get on it? Well, details will be posted very soon,  but know this- Black Friday will be the opening of registration for T.I.V8.

Stay tuned...........

Have a great weekend, and ride yer bicycles!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Of Two Rides

Yesterday was about the difference between two rides that I took. One off road, and one on. The off road ride happened in the morning out at Camp Ingawanis. They just had a race out there Sunday, and I had heard that the trails were in great shape. So, I took out the Sawyer with the Gates Carbon Drive Center Track on it to give it another trail test.

Got a Carbon Fiber Kickstand!
The trails were really great, well........except where some big ol' tree crashed down through the canopy and blocked the trail! Right at the furthest west point as you go in, at the turn to the right, where you go down hill for a bit, there it was. It looked very odd. As far as I can tell, the tree, which was very tall and had no real lower branches to speak of, looked to have just rotted in half, with the top portion crashing down through the shorter trees, and breaking some of these off.

The blockage is immense. Not sure how that'll get dealt with, because it would be a massive job with a chainsaw as it stands now. At any rate, you have to bushwhack your way around it now. No two ways about it.

Besides this check, it was smooth sailing. Spiders are making their presence known by stringing webs across the trail again. It is that time of the year when you will get that. It wasn't very bad yesterday, but I bet it will be in the coming weeks. First guy through will get the honors each day!

It was coolish, lower humidity, and bright and clear for this ride. I got done what I needed to get done, and left for home. Legs felt great for the first time since the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational. Powered up the climbs really well on the single speed. Oh! Yeah, and about that Center Track: Good stuff, performance-wise. Very nice. I'll have more to say on this soon.....

This Side Up?
The next ride was a fun, cargo bike ride. I had to box up the Airborne Goblin and send it to the bike shop so it could be picked up for shipping.

I love doing this sort of thing by bicycle. It is so much more relaxing and fun than driving my truck. There is only the issue of the "donor bike" I used to affix the Xtracycle Free Radical to.

It is an old 80's era Schwinn, and really isn't a bad bike to hitch this long tail to, but with the size of the loads I can get to carry on it, I am experiencing a lot of flexy, flapping around. Steel tubes that were never designed for this sort of loading, ya know?  I am pretty serious about committing to doing more of this sort of riding and hauling in the future, so my mind was running across the options today.

I could easily get a Surly Big Dummy or a Trek Transport. The frame for the Big Dummy would easily take the Xtracycle stuff I already have. The Trek comes with some cool features like fenders, swapable dropouts for a possible internal geared hub switch, and the side racks fold up. Plus it has a nice front rack too. Decisions...

Another idea was to look at a Surly trailer, keep the Schwinn as is for errands, groceries, and what not, and do the "heavy lifting" with the trailer, which would fit about any 29"er I have around here.

Well, at any rate, the ol' Goblin boxed up was heavy! I was swaying and wagging up hill most of the way, and then back home empty it was just peachy. Then I mowed the lawn, and that zapped the last bit of energy I had in me. By this time it was hot, and of course, that played into the feelings of wanting to sleep at 4pm quite a bit!

Ahh! All in a good day's work.....

Monday, May 09, 2011

A Pretty Good Day

Saturday was a pretty dang good day. one of those days you don't want to have end. The weather was top notch, and there was lots of cycling involved, of course.

It started out with sleeping in late. I know some of my friends are "early morning" types, and cherish that early morning ride. I get that, but there is something decadent about sleeping in late that I find appealing. So, my day started out with a moderate amount of that.

Then it was off to the shop on the Xtracycle to retrieve the Airborne Goblin 29 I have in for testing on Twenty Nine Inches. It took a bit of head scratching to get it on there safely, but it wasn't anything that a board, a ByKyle Simple Strap or two, and some various bungee cords couldn't fix!  A few test bumps to make sure I had everything strapped down tight, and I was off.

Once I got the Goblin 29 home, I had to take some images of it. So, I spent some time goofing around with the camera. In the meantime, I had my son come out with his bicycle. He wanted to try and ride some. Well, I figured it was time he tried a few new things. First, I had him roll over a three inch diameter branch. Then I took that away, and taught him how to stand and coast. Then I brought back the branch and showed him how to absorb the bump with his legs and arms. He felt the difference, and the lesson was successful.

The women of the house were off shopping, so we had to fend for ourselves for lunch. I took my son on the back of the Xtracycle to get some vittles which we took to a local park and had a picnic with. Then it was back home up some alleyways and finally back home.

After awhile, the women came home, and I was cleared for a shake down ride on the Goblin. The woods were filled with Bluebells and reminded me of one of my first dates with Mrs. Guitar Ted where I took her for a walk to show her the bluebells and fell head long into a mud puddle! Ah! The memories...... But I digress.

I headed back after a good hour and a half of making sure the bike was working correctly. Then I started up the grill and cooked a mess of meat up while I sipped on a cold Negro Modelo on a fine late spring evening. I looked at the westering sun and thought, "This has been a pretty good day."

Yup! One of those I'd gladly repeat. 

The next day was Mother's day, of course, and I visited my Mom and had a great time. Mostly spent the day relaxing. It was another really good day.

Hopefully your weekend went well too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Bit Of Sunshine

Sun Through The Pine Trees: image by Captain Bob and Guitar Ted

The past couple of days have been highly stressful and I've been sort of a wreck. Captain Bob  got ahold of me Tuesday and asked if I would be up for a ride at The Camp on Wednesday. I took him up on the offer.

It was a much needed time on the bike with a good friend. (Thanks Captain!)

After I arrived back home, I conjured up a plan to retrieve some goods sent by Gu Nutrition for T.I.V7. I grabbed the Xtracycle and pedaled over to the shop.

And........I got loaded! 

Well, not "loaded" in the intoxicated sense, but, well....... the image says it all, really!

That's five cases of Gu Nutrition product on there folks. It was heavy! The frame was swaying all over the place and wiggling made it worse. It was like riding rollers- the calmer and smoother you rode it, the better off you were and the "quieter" the frame was.

Mashing even the least little bit on the pedals resulted in a womble that would start to resonate and I never let it get beyond that. I was afraid the frame would break!

Slow and easy was the order of the day, and I made it home without any issues in 40 minutes. Not bad for a commute that normally takes about 20 minutes at "normal" speeds.  Plus, I saved a bunch of gas money, and got a great exercise in form!

I got a few odd looks from passers-by, but as I usually find, when it comes to bicycles, only the children that noticed me were smiling and thought it was really interesting. Adults can be such a bore sometimes!

Snow Dog Down: 50 Days and counting......

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This is the story of a cast off Schwinn Sierra mountain bike. Vintage: 80's. It ain't much, but I like it.

The story begins with Captain Bob and I talking about how we should get a bicycle to check this whole 650B thing out. That was at least three years ago. Well, Captain Bob found, got given to him, or paid little or nothing for- this Schwinn. 

It had a freewheel, horizontal drop outs, and the brakes......well, we'd figure that out sometime. Captain Bob parked it in some shed somewhere and well, it got pretty much forgotten.

Then Captain Bob was cleaning house to make way for a major remodel at his casa. "Did I want the Schwinn?", came the question one day. I said, "sure", and he brought it over one day to my place in its dusty, spider ridden condition. I parked it in the garage, where- you guessed it- I forgot all about it, again.

Well, it sat out there, like a lot of bikes across the nation and like this particular bike probably had, for most of its existence. Such a shame. I mean, there are a lot of people that would cherish this bicycle, really! (Don't be a snob!) I knew that, and I sorta figured one day I'd meet that person and I'd pass it along.

Then "A-Lo" came into the picture. He used to work with me, and now he spends his time hanging around in "The Mitten" working at Velocity U.S.A. and going to seminary. Well, he wanted my old Schwinn Voyageur, and he had an Xtracycle Free Radical kit to trade for it. Cool! I immediately thought about the old, red Schwinn. I sent the Voyageur to A-Lo, and he dropped off the Xtracycle kit. (Read about A-Lo's Voyageur here)

While A-Lo went the whole hog route, and restored the Voyageur to glory, I went the "re-cycled" route. I used as much stuff as I had laying around as I could. Let me tell ya! It wasn't easy, as I divested myself of most 26" stuff a long time ago. Fortunately, there was enough stuff to get the job done with minimal cash out lay.

I found an old rear wheel, which was necessary because the Schwinn was a 130OLD standard frame, and the Xtracycle uses the now standard 135OLD spread. The wheel is definitely worthy: Suntour Grease Guard hub laced to a Ritchey Vantage Comp rim with double butted Wheelsmith spokes. Yepper! One of the last bits o kit from my '92 Klein Attitude I once had. I also dug up a linear pull brake, and got a Problem Solvers "Travel Agent" to make that work with the old style motorcycle-like levers. I bought a new Bontrager commuter tire for the rear from their Eco range, and found an old cast off WTB "Epic Wolf" tire from Jeff Kerkove's old stash he left behind for the front wheel. A little bit of cables and housing, and I was rolling.

Now I look for reasons to use this rig. My son loves to joyride on the snap deck, so we go out for liesurely cruises, or run errands for "Mrs Guitar Ted" when we can. I gave some neighborhood kids rides on it once, and last night, I ran up to the convenience store a mile away in the dark with my lights blazing just to get my Lady a Diet Coke.

It was an amazing evening outside, by the way.

Remember when I wrote that I would pass this bike on to someone who would cherish it someday? Well, I did.

I just didn't know it would be me!