Thursday, June 30, 2005

What Is, and What Should Never Be, Part II

It's the Circle of Life. I, UN-92, must now return to the Earth. You, UN-73, must take my place!
Guitar Ted Productions

Another good one for ya! Check out the pic. Yeah, that's right, the spindle snapped in two! Yep, while the guy was riding it. And get this, the crank arm/ pedal slam into the back wheel, which happened to be a three spoke composite wheel, and smashed the spoke structure, so as to render the wheel useless. Cool! ( No humans were injured or killed during the failure of this part) Yeah, it's all good. This customer is huge, and he can take it! (dirtram- if your reading this, you know this dude! clue= steroid) Also note, the rest of this bike is thrashed! Toastito-buritto! Done! In other words, another example of a death sled! Stay tuned for more death sleds as Europa Cycle and Ski continues on the "05 Motorcade of Death Tour"!

Death Sled From "the bay"

It says "Caddy Up" on the downtube. At least that's what everyone tells me. All I can see is "Death Sled"!
Guitar Ted Productions

Oooohhh yeeeeaaaah! This gem has caused much head wagging at Europa Cycle and Ski. Thanks to that on-line market place, you know.... "the bay"! We have this to terrorize the bike paths 'round here. I wish you all could see this close up, because just about every part is so lame, so utterly useless, that even though this is a new bicycle, it is worthless! I'll just pick on one of the many glaring faults. (This is just too easy!) The linear pull brakes are comprised mostly of plastic! Yes, plastic! Stop a moment and think of it. Approximately 350-450 "el-bees" comin' atcha down the bike path, with only two sets of mostly plastic linear pull brakes between you and certain death! I'm not wanting to be there! Who thinks up these rigs? Have they ever heard the term "product liability"? Do they even have a brain?

Well, my only hope is that the owners realize what a crappy ride this is, park it in the deepest bowels of their garage, and forget about it. Just imagine, in 2075 a guy comes into a bike shop. He says, "Hey, check out this really old tandem I just picked up at an estate sale. How much do you guys think it's worth?" Yeah, just imagine it!

Purple Goodness!

Purple is the color associated with royalty. I'd have to agree- these hubs RULE!!
Guitar Ted Productions

As you can plainly see, these hubs are now in my possesion! YES! I will be sportin' the goodness soon on a trail near you! I am pretty sure these will be built up for the Karate Monkey, and rightly so. My favorite colors all on the same bike. Purple and green! Wheel shots will be a little while in coming, as my Schwinn High Sierra project is painted and I must get that one done first. Stay tuned for pics of that as well!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

WTB StreetSmart Ti Saddle Review

Well, it's been four months now that I've been riding the WTB StreetSmart Ti saddle. I thought I'd pass along some more of my experience with it to you all. First, a recap of the pertinent info! This saddle was designed with the commuter in mind. The idea being that some commuters like, or want a lightweight high performance saddle to commute on without all the gee-gaw embroidery, high-vis nameplates, and garish colors that alot of "racing" oriented saddles have. Something that might more closely match the shape and performance of such saddles, just on the down-low. Well, this is what they came up with. A leather covered, narrow, lightweight, kevlar bumpered saddle that weighs in at a feathery 195 grams!

The shape of the saddle was a little misleading to me at first. I thought it looked as though it was a little flatter than most recent WTB offerings of late. Most of their current lineup is indeed narrow to medium width, but feature a pronounced bucket area in the middle of the saddle. Kind of a depression, where you would normally put your sit bones. I thought this StreetSmart saddle looked a little flatter, kind of like a classic Flite Ti saddle, okay? But when I rode it a few times, and it started to break-in, I was surprised to see that it truly was a classic WTB bucket shaped saddle after all! The culprit turned out to be the "Comfort Zone" technology of the base. Underneath, you can see where the nylon-like base material is cut away in the middle part all the way up towards the front of the nose section. This voided area is filled in with a softer material that has alot of give to it. When I rode the saddle, this area would yeild, thus creating the infamous bucket, or depressed area in the middle section of the saddle. The overall width and length of the saddle was much like a Rocket Stealth model. (Also a WTB saddle, for those of you not familiar) Maybe a centimeter shorter than most racing saddles, and a little on the narrow side of racing type saddles as well. Just a little, not alot! I mention this because you can notice it by looking at it.

The construction of the saddle is top notch. Right up there with any Italian make as far as I have seen. Very nice seam work, and tidy looking underneath. Tubular titanium rails keep the weight down, but I was a little worried that it wouldn't support my rather clydesdale-esk physique! Kevlar material surrounded the back edge, and corners in a nice understated black. In fact, the whole look of the saddle is low key, retro-ish, and classy. I liked it. A refreshing change from the normal look at me! I'm a saddle! type of equipment.

As I've said, I've ridden this saddle consistently for four months now. Here are my impressions:
1. Commuting was great, but then I don't have a particularily long commute, so longer rides were called for. That said, the saddle saw rain, mud, snow, cold, hot, and just regular ridin' conditions during the commuting portion of the test. It shows no sign of wear at this point, other than the printed WTB logo on either side is a little faded.
2. Longer rides at first showed that at about 3 hours, the saddle became a little uncomfortable. I thought, perhaps, that it was a bit too narrow, but I made a slight heigth adjustment, and attitude adjustment to the saddle, which proved to be good. Further rides at this length proved to be more comfy! Just goes to show how important positioning on the bike can be!
3. Climbing up on the nose of the saddle was comfy, just like most WTB saddles. They have that nice rounded shape, and plenty of give there, although you wouldn't want to ride up there for very long!
4. The rails of the saddle are surprisingly strong! I thought for sure I'd bend them, but they will not yeild to me yet! I had to posistion the saddle all the way back on the rails, as I am using a zero offset post at this time. The rails are quite generously long, by the way! So far, no bendage!

Conclusion: A very fine saddle,(if you're into narrow saddles!) that out performs alot of high end racing saddles out there. If you like classic good looks, light weight, and very good performance in a bucket shaped, narrow-ish saddle, look no further. While it's true that no one will probably notice this saddle on your bike, do you really want them to? Hmmm.....I guess it's not for the flashy, matching guy, team kit dudes, but I aint one o those anywho! A good saddle! Buy one if yer so inclined!

Thanks to Chris Schierholtz at WTB for providing this saddle to test! Thanks buddy!

Wilderness Trail Bikes StreetSmart Ti Saddle
Guitar Ted Productions

Monday, June 27, 2005

What Is, and What Should Never Be

This is Dan. Dan is a smarter cyclist than I. He carries an inflation device!
Guitar Ted Productions

Well, today was to be a looonngg day in the saddle. It turned out a little differently than I had hoped. Things got off to a good start. I did some pre-ride hydration techniques that seemed to work well. I left the house at 8:00 am. That gives me a good shot at getting in 80-100 miles before I have to be home at 5:00 pm. (I'm riding a singlespeed, by the way.) So, I'm on my way out of town on the Seargeant Road trail when it happens. A flat tire! Grrrr! I get the tube out, and curiously, the puncture is on the inside diameter of the tube. I check the rim strip. Yep! There it is! The rim strip had been applied a little too far over to one side, allowing the tube to come in contact with a spoke holes edge. Got that remedied. New tube, install it, reach for the trusty Blackburn frame fit pump, and.......and.......where the %#@* is the pump! That's right! No pump. Well, while I was contemplating who I should call for a ride, along comes Dan. (pictured above) Dan stops to see if I need a hand. Got a pump? Yep! He hands me his Topeak
Morph pump. It works flawlessly! Dan proceeds to tell me that he rode up for Stugis Falls Celebration, and that he was headed out to Ames. Then maybe over to Cedar Rapids, and back up this way on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. No hurry! He doesn't have to be back until August! (how very nice!) Any way, I thank him, and then head back home to retrieve a pump. Well, by the time all of this occurs, I am out of it- time, that is! Now there is no way to get in those miles and be back home when I need to be. Plan B goes into effect. I mow the lawn!

Now I've got some other errands to do, and I think I know where that frame pump is! Gotta check dat out! I'll be toolin' around town on my bike, doin' errands. That isn't so bad. Late!

Check out the pic below! Mad scramble looking for a non-existent means of inflation!

Not a good sign!
Guitar Ted Productions

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Marathon Sunday in the Bag

Ever had one of those days that when you reach the end of it, you're glad it's over? Yeah. That'd be today! I won't go into detail, but this day was whack! Work went okay. We were busy enough that it kept my mind off of the time, but not so busy as to be crazy. Took my two children out to a farm after work to see farm animals and such. That was pretty cool. What wasn't cool was that I didn't get to eat after breakfast until 7:00pm! I'm afraid that may come back to haunt me tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow, I have decided to head South. The winds are supposed to be from that direction, so I am going for the tailwind kick home. Looking forward to several hills, as there is nary a flat chunk o ground in that direction. I've got some hydration tweaks to try tomorrow, as well. Gonna need it in 90 degree heat!

Congratulations to Jeff Kerkove on his impressive 2nd place showing at the 12 Hours of Thunder! Way to go, Jeff! Do click the link in my sidebar for a detailed race re-cap! ( Jeff: At least you laid eyes on Crazy Horse! $1o.00? A small price to pay to fund creative dynamite blasting techniques!)

Well, it's off to bed for me! Ride report late tomorrow, hopefully with pics!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Just Wondering.....

I'm sitting here listening to the thunder roll in, which got me to thinking, I wonder how Jeff did in the 12 Hours of Thunder in the Black Hills? The race should be over by now. I hope he did well!

Work was a wreck! Rained all morning, so no customers. Then it quits, so everybody shows up at once! Of course, due to "scheduling errors" it was total mayhem. Then calm, then mayhem! Arrgh! We just couldn't get to everybody! Hopefully, a little wisdom was gained today! The upside was that our "part time employee", Ron Saul was in today. He informed me that possibly I may get my frame/fork project painted in a sage green color. Now, that would be cool! I also got Ron hooked up with some Elete electrolyte replacement today. I expect a full report, Mr Saul!!! Ha ha!

I left the owner/operator in control of the operations, as he is the owner of the operation, afterall. See, I had to leave early to go gig in our church band. Things were a little on the ragged side for me, as I was a replacement for the regular guitarist in that group. I guess it went pretty well, actually. After all of that, I came home after a long day. I get to do it all over again in reverse tomorrow. Playing first, then working. No time for the bike this weekend!

That will all change! South winds are predicted for Monday. The course is being plotted! Stay tuned for a ride report!

Hey, check this site developed and maintained by Jeff Yeilding! Pretty cool work here. Way to go Mr. Yeilding! Good luck on the rest of your season!

Still wonderin' about Mr. 24, though, hmmm...................................

Friday, June 24, 2005

Late Edition: Weather for Mr.24

Just checked out the latest forecast for Jeff's 12 hours of Thunder Race in the Rapid City S.D. vicinity. Looks like the race may live up to it's name! Forecast calls for late afternoon t-storms, with 25-30mph. winds. At least it won't be so hot there. Forecast high is in low 80's! Ha! We'll be sweltering again here tomorrow! Lucky dawg! At least I won't have to sear my lungs on scrabbly, loose, sketchy climbs in the Black Hills all day, with the wind whistling in my ears! Naw, I just get to hang out with Leans On Wood all day!

We got some MUCH needed rain this evening, and it cooled things off in a hurry too. That's good! Now, I just am hoping that Monday is going to be as nice as they say, so I can get out on my bike for another long day in the saddle. Speaking of saddles, I am about to give the verdict on my WTB Street Smart Ti saddle. Be on the look out for that review. Also coming up soon, a review of the Ergon Grips that I have been using. I'll give you a hint- I LOVE 'EM!! Jeff hit me up with some samples of the Elete electrolyte replacement product which I will give my initial thoughts on, and also on some other endurance related stuff. So, lots coming your way in the form of product reviews, very soon! Remember, I am not affiliated with any of the products that I write about in any way. I will not sugar coat, or leave out any flaws, downers, or concerns relating to any of the products I write about. I want to give everybody the straight scoop!

Okay, so that's it for a late Friday night. Hope ya'all are having yourselves a great weekend out there! Ride your bicycles! Spend less time in a car! Hug a loved one! Go Jeff! OUT!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Mail Call! and Sweaty Thursday to Ya'all!

A package for Jeff! (grrrooooaaan!) NOT again! I NEVER get ANYTHING! WAHH!!!!
Guitar Ted Productions

Jeff just missed getting this "package" as he left today for the Black Hills. Oh well! That just means we get to play, "Whats in the Package?" Post your guesses in the comment section!

Another sweltering day in North East Iowa. I noticed on my commute that things are getting a little on the too dry side. We could use a little rain. The weather also makes customers a little sparse, at least until they get used to it.

The shop was running fairly smoothly today. I got to help a lady buy her first bike in thirty years. Awesome! I like to help out these kind of people get back into cycling. It makes the job fun!

Purple hubset update: I found out today that the special limited edition hubset from Surly was almost out of stock. Apparently, I will be getting one of the last two remaining sets! Let's see, the word went out on Monday, and they are probably all gone by now- Thursday! I'm guessing- but I'd say they didn't make too many of those! Whew! Glad I got mine coming!

Okay, I've got tonight, and tomorrow until noon before the two and a half day run. Busy,busy, busy till Sunday night! Not much room for anything but work and church band! Ahhh! But then I get Monday off! Beautiful! Don't try to reach me, as I'll be riding my bike ALL DAY!

"....your one twisted sister!"
Guitar Ted Productions

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

More Trans Iowa Coverage

Check out the story that ran in last Saturdays edition of the Iowa City Press-Citizen here

Pretty cool stuff. Picture is of Ira Ryan as he rides into Algona. He was the eventual race winner. Interesting tidbit on his bike. He built the frame himself, and didn't have time to paint it before the race. RAW! I suppose this is all coming up again as we approach ragbrai. Cycling being up on Iowan's minds right about now.

Today's Up and Down Meanderings

Experimental fork installation straight from Mall Wart. Test riders needed!
Guitar Ted Productions

Wow! Today definitely had it's up and downs! Here are the samplings on offer......
1. The above pictured Schwinn brought in to be repaired. Fork was being ridden backwards! Looks like the bike came from the "big box" store like this. Also, the handle bars were at a wonky angle, along with the ubiquitous bad derailluer adjustments, poor brake setup, and wheels out of true. What a gem!
2. Got to work with Mr. 24 one more time before he left for the Black Hills to race a 12 hour. Good times as usual! Go Jeff! (And don't forget my dirt-in-a-bag from S.D.)
3. Surly customer! Had a customer pick up a 30 day check on a sidewalk type 20" wheeled bike dolled up to look like the full-on ramp park rigs that cost 500-800 bucks or more. This rig went for the princely sum of $140. So, yeah! A poser bike for sure. No big, right? Rrrrrrroooooonnnng!!!!!
It's always the part of the story you don't know that bites you in the hind end! What I didn't know was that this gals "son" is 6ft. 3 inches, and is using this bike to do all those cool tricks he saw on X Games! Well, the rear wheel was the first thing to die, along with the tire. Then, today she hauls in her "son's" bike, and the bottom bracket has come all undone, from "just riding around in the driveway". (Her words, in quotations) Beautiful!
4. I found out today that Ibis Cycles is coming back in business! That's awesome, as they built some mighty fine steel, and titanium bikes back in the day. Get on their e-mail list at . Hooray! Maybe they will get into building a 29er!
5. I'm hopefully not to late to score my purple annodized Surly singlespeed, disc compatible hubset. I put in my order this morning. I think this is the first major offering of the purple goodness since about '95, or there abouts. Can't wait! I'll definitely be posting these beauts when, and if they hit my trembling, sweating with anticipation, dirty little guitar playing fingers!

Well, that's enough excitement for one day! I will be hittin' the hay soon! Ahhhhhh!!!!

Garage Bike Classics

Garage Bike Classic: 1978? Trek Model 536 Ishiwata tubed, Shimano 600EX equipped "Barn" built in Waterloo Wisconsin.
Guitar Ted Productions

Today's bike is a "barn" built Trek from approximately 1978. (At least my research on shows it to be this vintage) Apart from the ghastly water bottle cages, and positively hideous ragbrai sticker covering the brass headbadge, this is a fine example of an unadulterated late 70's racing steed. Curiously, there are no braze ons to mount a water bottle cage, so the owner can be partially forgiven this faux pas. Additionally, the Shimano 600EX components worked as well as ever. I doubt we'll see current Ultegra 10 speed components in anywhere near as good a working order in 27 years!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Cadence: Gitcher-self Sum!

Close up of bottom bracket spindle
Guitar Ted Productions

Cadence. You may or may not know the term, but if you ride a bike, you have it. It's not a communicable disease, although it is a good thing to get worked on. Your cadence is the rotation your legs makes whilst pedaling. It's usually measured in revolutions per minute. Yeah, like an engines R.P.M.. You are the engine on your bike. The engine works best when it spins in it's optimum power band. (Where it's most efficient) If you choose to run the motor in an overworked fashion, lugging it down, you are going to wear out parts faster, and cause unnecessary failures. Run your engine in the smoothest, most efficient way, and your parts will last longer with almost no failures. It's your choice, people!

A good example came in today. (pictured above, ) This bike gets ridden in the highest gear, almost exclusively. The rider is not smooth! He tends to wrestle the bike as he rides it. All the suspension components were loose on it when it came in. The rear wheel bearings were totally wasted! Not to mention the non-lubricated state of the chain, and how sweat had corroded several parts of the bike. Unwashed heathen riders!

So, it's your choice. Spin or mash! Be smooth on your body and bike, or ride rudely until something fails. Something like your knees, or a bottom bracket spindle. Go ahead, I'll be in my apron at the shop waiting! Mu-wah-ha-ha-ha!

Vintage Trek "Y" bike with bonus sheared bottom bracket spindle. (amongst several other problems)
Guitar Ted Productions

Monday, June 20, 2005

More Alien Technology Appears!

It's nice to know that I've got a friend looking out for me!
Guitar Ted Productions

Once again, a strange occurence at Europa Cycle and Ski. Seems that we have a "friend" or two out there that is looking out for us. ( Or maybe, looking out to get us!) A strange package arrived addressed to me and Mr. 24. Appears that the contents,(pictured above) are adorned with a cutsey animal in order to entice us into using this nether-worldly substance on our nether-regions! Must resist.....the gravitational pull! hole! Ahhhhhh!!!!!!!

In other shop goings on, we were visited today by Trek big-wig, John Burke, and co-hort....I'm know who you are! Anyway! It was cool to meet these guys. I probably haven't made as much money in my whole life as these guys do in a year. Not that it matters! Just an alien thought!

Very busy today with twiddly things, no real big deals. I got to work with Mr. 24 all day today, which has been the odd thing this year. Well, time to get this monkey-butt up and make some supper! (Thanks dirtram!)

"Untitled" sculpture in oxidized steel, by Guitar Ted 2005
Guitar Ted Productions

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Doin the domestic thang today. Yard work, and other chores. Not too much, really. I am mainly concentrating on taking it easy today. I woke up,(if you could call it that, more "zombie-ish" stumbling about, really) and I realized I just wasn't going to have it today. You know, one of those days where you can't wake up. Gotta listen to the body, rest, putz around the house, and get recovered for tomorrow. I'm hoping to get out in the afternoon to do a short gravel grinder, or spin through the Greenbelt, depending on how the legs feel then. We'll see!

Saw an interesting thought or two on the Matt Chester blog, (accessable from side bar) concerning spinning, and not stopping. Spinning regardless of the situation. Spinning at your own pace, not the pace dictated by others. Wow! Wise stuff. Wish I had known it when I used to race. I guess I figured it out, sort of! My plan on the races just before the end of my racing days was to let the fools all go, and just get going at my own rate. I inevitably would catch and pass a majority of the field. I knew back then that it just always takes me a while to get going, and of course, by the time I did get going, the race would be over! Oh well! The XC thing wasn't my thing!

All that to say, don't let your mind, the kid on "the Magna", the guy who just blew by you on the road rocket, or any other thing get you out of your groove. I have to re-learn that up a lot of climbs, or I get cooked! Pace, pace pace! It's pretty important on a single speed, too. Especially on looonnnng rides, like last Thursday. I like to embody it all by saying "Keep moving forward", and "It's my pace, and I'm stickin' to it!" Did someone once say, "Steady pace wins the race"?............

I finally caught up with "part timer" Ron Saul the other day. Got to talk about some powder coating I need done. He got me pointed in the right direction. Right now, I'm leaning toward metallic silver,(which looked bluish-gray on the computer screen?) and finishing it off with powder blue, or flat black panels made from stick-on vinyl. (Like old Bontrager mtb panels were done) This is going to be the scheme for the Schwinn High Sierra project. It's "just" a Schwinn, but it does have roller cam brakes front and rear, so that's why the special attention! I've got a set of beige Panaracer Magic tires to mount up on it, and I am patiently waiting for some OnOne Midge bars to become available for it! (Come on! J&B!!!!)

Well, it's off now to clean out some eaves troughs. Those little maple helicoptor seeds will grow anywhere, seemingly! Later!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Friday: I'm Feelin' It!

Looks like this awesome weather is going to stick around a bit! Great! (That's probably why the shop got so busy yesterday- per Jeff's blog) I'm guessing we'll be plenty busy again today! I'm going to be on auto-pilot today. Still sufferin' from the effects of sun, hills, and dust!

Speaking of hills, you ought to go ride around the Ingawanis Scout Camp. (well- if you are local to this area, anyway) Those hills are tough/ fun! Of course, keep in mind, I was on a single speed! It buuuurrrrns! The downhills were a little sketchy, due to the loose gravel, but that only adds to the thrill of it all! The Maxxis Ignitor tire I have mounted in the rear is not real happy on gravel either. It wanted to squirm around a bit, making it feel like the wheel was loose, or the tire was going flat. Not a good thing when you are bombing down a gravel infested hill at 30mph!

I was happy today to find out what was causing the noise that developed on the Karate Monkey a mile from home yesterday. It turned out to be my chain. It was coming apart! Glad that it didn't snap going up one of those hills out near Ingawanis! I'm always amazed at how I find out what's wrong with a bike when I clean it. I guess I look it over more intently, and completely if I am cleaning it. That's how I discovered the chain problem. I was cleaning off the gravel dust from each link of chain when I discovered it was about to break. That's why Jeff and I say, "A clean bike is a happy bike!" It's not so much that your bike is clean, but that you will notice anything that needs attention while you are cleaning it!

Well, if you don't ride your bike this weekend, YOUR NUTS! (I mean that in the best possible sense!) Also, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, to all those dads out there! Enjoy "your" day!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ride Report: Gravel Grinder

Today was as about a perfect day for cycling as you could ask for. It also was my day off! Wahooo!!! To me, that's like winning the lottery! So, I did a looonng gravel grinder on my Surly Karate Monkey single speed. I started at 8am., and got home about 4:50pm. I went through the town of Waverly, and turned around and headed back home once I got up to Nashua, Iowa. Today's highlights were as follows...............

1. While traveling north out of Waterloo, I had a white Hyundai pass me by going south. No big deal, right? Then I hear a car coming from behind, slowly. It's the same car! A lady is driving it. She's going so slow, that she's holding up a van behind her. She goes about a quarter mile ahead, turns around in a driveway, and comes slowly back! O.K.! I'm starting to creep out just about now! She stops her car in front of me, and I roll up along side, as she rolls down the window. She says,"Say, did I pass you going slow enough?". "Yes, you did just fine!", I reply. All the while, she is staring at my legs! "Well", she says, "I worry that I pass cyclists going too fast. That van behind me was going too fast!" (still no eye contact!) "Yeah, 'spose so.",I say, as I roll away. Weird!

2. I had to go through a section of freshly oiled down gravel, just about a mile later. Man! I hate that sticky, black crap! My legs looked like they had been freshly peppered! Then, about 50 feet later, I get hit by what at first looks like flying grass seed. Nope! They are alive! Great, I wonder if they are nutritious, as I probably inhaled about 50 million of 'em! GNATS!

3. Dogs! I had a stretch of about three miles going north that had a dog at every farm house come out and try to take me off my bike! Just about had to employ my Blackburn, frame fit dog beater! Fortunately, on the way back, they all must have been taking a siesta, as I didn't see one of 'em! Good!

4. Nashua residents: Don't you just love the look on someones face when you tell them where you've ridden your bike from? Priceless!

5. Carlos the Jackal: I actually saw Carlos out teaching a bicycle riding class up at the Ingawanis Scout Camp! I stopped to say hello, and Carlos actually took the time to introduce me, and say some very kind things about me to his little minions. Carlos is so professional! I probably wouldn't even thought of that! Thanks, Buddy!

6. Flat tire just north of town. A real pain on a single speed with disc brakes!

7. CREAK! I heard a creak develope just a mile from the house! Guess I'll have to track that down, now!

8. Wildlife: Saw a deer in the road, a wild turkey in someones driveway, and two big hawks. Thousands of Red Winged Blackbirds are still on patrol! I guess some of the dogs I saw could be classified as wild!

Well, that about sums it up. Pretty toasted from the sun, and tired! Time to eat and relax!


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Trans Iowa Still Generating Interest

A month and a half has gone by, and yet Trans Iowa is still being talked about out there in cyberland. Matt Chester, a renowned fabricator of titanium singlespeed bicycles has revived the topic on his blog, which can be accessed from the side-bar of this blog. I have been compiling all the race reports that I can find out there, also. I hope to make some sense out of all of it, add some of my own commentary, and put together a story. I'm not sure it would be of any interest to anybody outside of the Trans Iowa experience. Maybe it would be. All I know is that I find it all rather facinating. Click on over to Matt Chester's site, go to the blog, and read the reports he has linked there. I have these and way more! If you care to make a comment regarding the possibility of obtaining this story, go ahead. I may become motivated to finish the project sooner if I start to see some interest. At any rate, it will get done, if only for my own enjoyment!

Regarding Trans Iowa 2, (I dislike the Roman numeral system for the designation of our race's consecutive year) work is under way. Route recon starts July 4th weekend. I don't think the route will get finalized until the fall of this year. I have recently recieved all the suggestions Jeff got regarding the events first running, and have several new ideas to work with. Some are minor, and some are pretty major. I will be talking over several of these with people whose opinion I value. Then Jeff and I will have to decide on whether or not to implement those ideas.

The next version of the race should be better. Better run, organized, and researched. I plan on a different type of course that will bring a different challenge to the riders. Sponsors? I hope that we can come even close to the amount of support that we recieved last time! And speaking of support, we will be asking for volunteers this time to help with keeping track of racers on course. So, be thinking about becoming a volunteer! Of course, then their is the weather! Can't control that one! But......could it be any more epic than this year? Hmm........snow, rain, heat, and severe weather could rear their ugly heads! Oh well! The show must go on!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

New Discovery Rocks Scientific World

Archealogical evidence of bicycles existence long before any experts previously thought possible has been uncovered!
Guitar Ted Productions

A new discovery has overturned many experts previously held beliefs concerning the earliest developement of two wheeled transportation. Recently un-earthed in a remote Egyptian crypt, a mummified "saddle" resembling modern bicycle saddles has taken the scientific community by storm with its detailed construction. Using modern X-ray and ultra sound equipment, scientist at the Europa Institute of Bicycle Technology have determined that inside the many wrappings surrounding the object is a well preserved saddle. "This can only be seen as a direct link to the modern day bicycle", Doctor G.T. Head said. Indeed, the graphs and technical data seem to point to another accomplishment by the highly evolved ancient Egyptian society. When asked why a bicycle saddle might be mummified, Doctor Head stated, "It's really not that surprising. Egyptians held that they would be in need of food and other material essentials in the after-life. This saddle was probably intended for the deceased use as a means of traveling in the after-life. Perhaps it was the individuals favorite saddle, as cyclist are rather picky about such equipment."

Perhaps, but for now, the mere thought of bicycles in ancient times has been an earth shattering discovery for some experts. Officials at the British Department of Antiquities have issued a statement saying that modern society has to totally re-evaluate the history of the world based on this new discovery. Strong words, but such power is often wielded by such simple things as bicycles. Perhaps it's time you rocked your little world on one!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Movie Review (?!!!) Napolean Dynamite

Okay, this is going to be a rarity on this site, a movie review! Jeff, and Adam thought I should see this. ( Jeff practically insisted I watch it) So, here are my impressions of Napolean Dynamite. Remember, I am in no way a movie afficianado, buff, or even a fan of the motion picture in any way!

Well, I've got to say first up that this movie is pretty obscure, and comes off as a rather abstract piece. Especially at the begining. Not a movie for folks who have to be told/ shown everything to understand a story. I think you either get this, or not. So, not an easy movie to grasp, even if you wanted to, which alot of people probably wouldn't. I would not recommend this to someone I didn't know very well, for instance.

That said, I think this is a pretty typical "nerd" movie. ( Think Revenge of the Nerds for a genre) Nerds get pushed, shoved, made fun of, and generally degraded until the audience takes them to heart. Then the nerds become victorious over their societal oppressors. This movie is no different. Some of the scenes work on a nostalgic level, bringing you back to the cliquishness, cruelty, and monotony of adolescent, high school, coming of age times that most small town Americans may have endured. There are some good inside jokes, and innuendo that are humorous if you are in the know. And that's the problem with this flick. That's why I said, you either get it, or not. If your left on the outside, then this may be just another Dumb and Dumber experience for you. Make sense? On the positive side, it's a rather "clean" movie, with no real gratuitous sex, violence, or language. That's refreshing. Vulgarity is not art to me, you can and may disagree, but I liked this about Napolean Dynamite.

Bottom line. A weird, arty, abstract, obtuse, take on the oppression of small town society, with a bad climax that wasn't as well thought out as the begining of the picture. About as highschool-ish in it's composistion as the plotline. Mildly amusing from an anecdotal point of view. I give it a D for a overall grade.

Well, I hope I wasn't too hard on this flick. There were some good parts!..........yesssssssss!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Weekend Review

What a great weekend, weather-wise! I hope you all enjoyed a great ride sometime in the past few days. My weekend was rather busy, so no riding for me. Anyway, with the sunburn I got during the R.A.S.H. Ride wrenching, I haven't felt too good most of the day. Note to self: sunscreen, goooood!

I'm not sure, but was like everybody recreating today? Wyth was packed. The "East Lake" was full of boats! I'm sure the bike path was stupid busy, as well. It all adds up to everyone outdoors, and no one at the shop. Saturday was dead, and I was in Sunday for a minute, and no one was there, customer-wise. All though, Jeff did say it was madness the first hour they were open. Mr. 24 was doing hotlaps around the shop floor and muttering under his breath. Not a good sign! Perhaps something/ someone was getting under his skin? Dunno! I left, as I had other places I had to be.

The following is a small rant, so be forewarned! I had a bad experience today. It's one of my pet peeves when you are partially responsible for something, and there is no communication, and other "team" members don't know what's going on! Yep! That's right up there at the top o my list of bad things! The leaders were not there for various reasons, which is about the second worst thing on my list of pet peeves. So double whammy! Amazingly, things came off okay, so no worries, but that's all in hindsight. At the time, all I could hear was this loud sucking sound slowly turning to blow! I really would rather not experience that, thank you! Okay, ranting over!

You know, I didn't have my pot of black goodness today. Maybe that had someting to do with it? Hmmmmmmmmm...............Nah!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Abyss: Ride Report, R.A.S.H. Ride III

You know, it's hard, really hard, to not be cynical about the cycling masses here in Iowa once you've been exposed to their numbskull antics! Today's R.A.S.H. Ride III was just such an exercise for me. Billed as a "ragbrai tune-up" type of ride, I really shouldn't expect the knowledgable, experienced cyclist to show up. Cycling is just a secondary evil necessity for the real reason the people are here. That is, to consume mass quantities of beer, cigarettes, and booze. All while doing incredibly dangerous, and inane things while riding a bicycle on Iowa's secondary, and county roads. So, I shouldn't be surprised......right? RRRRiiiigggghhhtttt.

I could write a small treatise on today's events, but I'll just grieve you with some highlights.

1. Most riders were helmetless! One guy said the only time he wore a helmet was on ragbrai!

2. At least one third of the bikes today were department store mountainbikes! With knobbies!

3. At least 2/3rds of the riders I saw maintained a wobbly cadence of probably 30 or less.

4. I never saw any drafting into a long stretch of 25-35mph. headwind. (Come to think of it, that probably was a good thing!)

5. Riders were spread clear across the right lane, riding two and three abreast, even up hills!

6. I saw a woman late into the day, that apparently had a little too much to drink, judging from her swerving from the white line clear into the left lane! The look on her face was priceless!

7. The first bar stop was a mile and a half into the ride. There were a total of seven "oasis" and bar stops on the 50 mile route. That's about one stop every seven miles, and I still saw people stopping along side the road to drink!

They are flirting with disaster out there, folks, and in fact, it struck one poor fellow. Apparently, he endo'ed, and snapped his left arm in two! I hope he's doing okay, but this doesn't surprise me. In fact, I really wouldn't be surprised if someone doesn't get killed on this ride someday! Oh well, I hope I'm wrong about that!

Below, are some pics for your veiwing pleasure! I didn't have a whole lot of time, as they kept me busy today!

Layin' down the "party carpet" for the evenings festivities.
Guitar Ted Productions

Of the many pre-ride activities, such as eating a large, un-healthy breakfast, drinking alcohol, and exposing copious amounts of flabby body parts, smoking a heater was one of the more popular!
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Stop #2, in Littleton, Iowa. Bathrooms here must have been pretty bad, judging by the kybo parked outside!
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Yes, that is a Mercedes Benz bicycle. (Originally built by Amp Industries)
Guitar Ted Productions

Ummm......yeah! There is a stereo inside the cooler. Lots of these at the ride today. Oh yeah! The little cooler on the bike did have some beer in it. Don't ask how I know that!
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The wind caused a little carnage outside my third stop, in Jesup.
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The last stop in Quasqueton, or "Quaski" as most locals refer to it.
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This pretty much sums it all up. Even the lack of focus is correct!
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Friday, June 10, 2005

Alien Probe Lands In Europa Cycles

Jeff!! Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!
Guitar Ted Productions

It was weird! All of a sudden, it was there! We didn't know what it was, but we knew it wasn't of this world! The technology was awesome. It had this strange "vibe", we really couldn't quite put our fingers on it........well, that is until Jeff decided to do something crazy! He wanted to touch it. He said he was strangley drawn to it! I told him not to do it, but he did it anyway!!!! Now his weiner will probably fall off, or something worse! Well, I told him! Not my fault!!!

Anyway, next thing we know...poof!'s gone! Weird! I can't explain it, and you all probably think we're crazy, but it's true!

The only thing we were crazy from was the heat! Must have had half a dozen fans whirring along in there all afternoon! It helped, but the A/C we have would have been nice! But hey! What do I know?

Look for an upcoming review of the consequences of touching alien technology soon!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Roadie to W'loo

Road Trippin' in the "Cube Van" with essential liquids, and cartridge bearing. Beautiful!
Guitar Ted Productions

Got to run an errand today. I love it when you get paid to cruise around, trolling for parts in the "company vehicle". In this case it is an old Dodge "cube" van. Formerly an ambulance, I'd think I'd rather die than get hauled to the emergency room in this ol' clunker! But anyway, it was a welcome distraction, so I went for it.

By the way, no seatbelt shoulder harness in this bad boy! Feels kinda weird not having it, like not wearing a cycling lid. Then again it was sort of liberating, in that 60's-70's sort of way. Kinda like......not wearing a cycling lid! (Not that I promote such immoral behaviour! tsk-tsk!) I always put a helmet on my.......head......yeah, ummm, rrriiiiggght!

Well! On to other things, shall we? Waiting on my new repair stand to show up. I'm a little worried that it won't get here tomorrow, so I can use it on the R.A.S.H Ride. I can't stand the thought of using that ol' Park stand I've got one more time! Jeff tells me that it takes three days for anything to get here from Colorado. I ordered this thing a week ago tomorrow. You do the math! I've got a bad feelin' about this!

Jeff was pretty happy today, at least. He finally got his team threads in. They look cool! I'm sure he'll post up a pic soon of his bad self! Check it out on his blog. (linky in right sidebar)

Okay, so I got busted on the "Man that L.O.W." thing today! 'Ol Leans on Wood caught on this am. and questioned me about it. Don't worry! I "manned up" and owned it, so it's cool! Gotta keep it light, or we'll all lose our sanity!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Spy Shot

Top secret aero wheel project, sssssssssshh!
Guitar Ted Productions

Got out the spy-cam at a recent visit to the top secret headquarters of a well known aero specialist. Seems that the inner disc,( here disquised as P.O.P material) has a dramatic effect on airflow around the front wheel. It's advantage is so great, that all testing is being done with mountain bike tires, so that UCI officials won't get nervous and decree this groundbraking technology illegal before it's debut at this July's Tour de France.

Not much more info now, as you can only spend so much time inside a secret lab posing as a pizza delivery man. Oh well! Look for more developements later!

Missing Persons Post

Jeff and I were wondering what's up with a few of you out there. Here's a shout out to........

1. dirtram.....Did you live beyond the Ears wedding date?

2. Mr. Ron Saul......You haven't reported to "work" lately? Wuss-sup?

3. The Chad.......understandably pre-occupied with "marital" issues. Congrats!

4. Eduardo the Triathlete........recovery got you down? Nice job at Pig Man Sprint!

Any responses can be directed to Jeff's site, or here. Just.....REACT TO ME, HOMIES!!!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Things are Heatin" Up!

This time of the year is a time I always look forward to, but it goes by way too fast!! I guess that might be because there is so much going on. I think my weekends are pre-planned out into July already. BAH!! I've got to learn to say no more often.

For one thing, the shop work has finally heated up. 'Bout time too! I need the cash-ola! However, with it comes all the freaky madness, wanker customers, and twitchy tempers in the mechanics area. So, if you plan to visit Jeff and I soon, be kind! Understand we are in the season of "hay making", and may not be as inviting as say in.......THE DEAD OF WINTER!! (Where are all you guys then?) Besides that, we are in constant sufferage of the man that L.O.W.- (ask Jeff or I, we'll make it infinitely clear as to what that means!)

Also have the distinct pleasure of handling the mechanic duties at this weekends R.A.S.H. Ride, in Independance. I was there for the first one, and this year it'll be the IIIrd incarnation of this, ummmm........errrrr, ride. Plenty o alky-hall will be cun-soomed durin' th' fef-ti-val. Thweeet!

Then I (and your faithful corrospondent, Jeff Kerkove) will be posting on different areas of the Crooked Cog Network. Take a look at my first post here, . Jeff will be helping out with enduro freak stuff on their Bike Blog. Good times! (Guess they'll publish any 'ol trash on this here inner-net! Wa-Hoo!) I tried telling these guys no, but they wouldn't listen! AHHHH! THE MADNESS!

so, yeah! What else? Regular family duties, Sturgis Falls Days coming up, mowing the green salad around the house, and tryin' to find time to re-con for Trans Iowa! Whew!Just to name a few things! Then I'm planning for something down the road. Something I haven't done in a while. I'll let ya'all stew on that for awhile!

Yesterday's site of photography was one of the two ponds located between Ainsborough and Fletcher, along Black Hawk Creek, in Hope Martin Park. Did-ja git it?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Another Mutt From the Stable

There's just something about a classic steel hardtail, isn't there?
Guitar Ted Productions

Take a look at this. It's my "trunk" bike! I call it that because it fits perfectly in the trunk of my '96 Camry. (Well, I do have to remove both wheels, and the seatpost/saddle to get it in there!) I do not have a rack, or any other good means to transport a bike at this time, so if I want to take along a bike, this is the one that goes.

I believe it's a '99 Rockhopper. I helped a former co-worker pick it out, and then a few years later, he sold it to me. Original equipment except the fork, courtesy of Carlos the Jackal. (I may be going back to rigid, I hate having to futz with air pressure before every ride!) Oh yeah! The wheels are different too! I almost forgot! They are off a C'dale mountain bike, and were lighter than the stock wheels. I have got some Bontrager something or other tires on it. It rides pretty well........for a 26 inch wheeled bike! Ritchey Ni-Ti steel tubing helps with that.

Bonus points for any localis that can identify the setting for this picture of my bike!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Resist The Devil and He Will Flee From You

If you see this, turn, hop on your bicycle, and ride away as fast as you can!
Guitar Ted Productions

What is it about these little communication gadgets that have us so under their spell, that we can't be separated from the devils for any amount of time? Why, I used to go riding around for hours and not be able to be reached. I had no fear of riding anywhere without means of tele-communication. What happened? Why can't I ride without the devil in my jersey pocket without a twinge of regret in my conscience? Why can't I be free?

I propose a rebellion. A secession of sorts from the reigns of electronic tyranny. A liberation from the chains of tele-communication. Ride free or die! Cell phones are the devil! Leave the thing at home. Resist, fight, win! Enjoy a ride the way it used to be. Free from the daily grind and all it's responsibilities. It'll all still be there when you get back, I promise.

Oh! And when you get back, check you voice mail. I may have called you from the fiery pit while you were out!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Garage Bike Classics

Today's Garage Bike Classic presented by Russ Clarke. It's's, ummm,.....yeah! A Bike!.........rrrriiiggghht! Brilliant!
Guitar Ted Productions

My boss, Russ Clarke is a bike collecting addict. ssssshhhhh! Not so loud! Don't tell anyone! Okay? Good! Now, take a look at this oddity from his collection, a Raleigh 3 speed commuter bike. It actually rides pretty well, and has some cool details. Tiny wheels, but then you can't have it all! ( I guess. Insert big wheel envy here!) Enjoy! Have a great ride this weekend!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Find the thing that shouldn't be!

From the fine folks who invite you to service your bike using comes this pic of a front brake from their AWD Jeep Rubicon. Riiiiiggggghhht!
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But Seriously now.......

Live Aid, Band Aid, and now.....Bike Aid! Must be a benifit concert to provide bikes for Marlboro smoking, jobless, DWI people or something. Err.......then again, maybe not!
Guitar Ted Productions

What a world! Buy a bike, and get your servicing info on-line! What could anyone desire beyond this? Ahhhh! Let's see now!
1. How about bikes that actually work, ( and are safe- I know! I'm asking alot!) out of the showroom floor.
2. How about a bike that actually fits. As in a different frame size for small, medium, and large people. You don't sell jeans in a one size fits all program. ( Just think of the consequences of that!)
3. How about a bike that's decidedly pavement oriented? Not everyone should ride a mountain styled bike. (I hesitate to call them "mountainbikes". )
4. How about providing a "real" service department to repair, adjust, and fit these bikes. Not everyone knows or wants to know about these matters, and would rather trust a qualified service department to take care of their needs.

What? There is such a place! NO WAY! Tell me what it is. I really want to experience the way bicycling should be!

Yeah, it's your local bicycle dealer, dooode!

WOW! I'll be d@#$ed!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Pehaps this is a clue to the name? Nahhhh!
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