Friday, May 29, 2015

It's A Bit Moist

Here in Emporia and it has been raining off and on since about 3:00am.  Cyclists are buzzing about and chatting each other up   Most of the talk centers around the "big boom" heard at 3:23am. That clap of thunder got all of our attention!

Now we are headed downtown to the expo and
The day should fly by. More later.

It's A Bit Moist

Here in Emporia and it has been raining off and on since about 3:00am.  Cyclists are buzzing about and chatting each other up   Most of the talk centers around the "big boom" heard at 3:23am. That clap of thunder got all of our attention!

Now we are headed downtown to the expo and
The day should fly by. More later.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Disaster Strikes!

Fargo-not
Well, ya know what they say- "anything that can go wrong will go wrong." I guess that's what might explain what happened here. Yesterday, I was availed the chance to ride to work, since it wasn't raining, and I was keen to run the Fat Fargo through some clayish mud back behind a strip of stores I typically pass by on my way to work. There is some construction going on back there and they have made a mess of things with their vehicles and whatnot. Perfect for some mucking about to see how the drivetrain behaves before I find any mud Saturday at the DK200.

Well, it behaved badly!

I was moving along through a bit of tricky mud, and not the first mud I'd found by any means, and then I heard it: Snap! I stopped as soon as possible, making maybe only a half a pedal stroke, but it was too late. Here's my chance to use another tired old saw! "When handed a lemon, make lemonade!"

I decided to use the opportunity to test my roadside repair kit. I would surely find a hole in my preparations if there was one, because the chain was jammed behind the spokes down along the hub shell and the derailleur was...........destroyed! Well, not really, but the chain was jammed so tightly in the cage it wouldn't pass through it. Okay, now to get to thinkering!

I went through a couple of ideas, but when I found my needle nosed Vice Grip pliers, I knew I could wedge the nose against the biggest cassette cog and use it as a fulcrum to make the jaws of the pliers a pry bar of sorts. It worked! The chain was being extracted a little bit at a time. However, that dratted derailleur was now causing me some frustrations, since it was locked to the chain. I was able to find the quick link, so I undid that, and I loosed the derailleur from the cable. All that gave me enough "wiggle room" to finish extracting the chain. Then I could coast the bike.

Now I was only about three blocks at most from work, so I walked it in from there. Had I been at the DK200, my next step would have been to release the chain from the derailleur cage by undoing the bolts through the jockey wheel. Since I had a spare hangar, I could have then replaced it. Then I would have had to repair the cage, replace the chain, and reinstall everything again. The hole in my kit? No LocTite. Usually when you replace a jockey wheel, ya gotta put some LocTite on those bolts or they work themselves out and bang! Back in the pits again with a janky drive train! So....the lesson learned. Pack a little bit o LocTite!

The bad thing here is that I didn't trust that old Ultra 9 speed derailleur after that, and bought a new one at work. An XT 10 speed one. You know what that means? I either run my current shifter in friction mode or try to graft on my Gevenalle 10 speed shifter. I also have to look at the drive side spokes, and if those are toast, I will just have to bail on the whole Fat Fargo thing and go back to the BMC, which I would be okay with.

What did I end up doing? Stay tuned.........

UPDATE: I ended up sticking the Gevenalle GX 10 speed shifter on by swapping levers, then the 10 speed DynaSys rear derailleur shifted properly over the 9 speed cogset!!  I didn't realize that I had mixed 9 and 10 speed until I was test riding the bike in front of the house at 11:30pm! Oh well........it works, and that is all that matters right now.

On to Emporia.

Disaster Strikes!

Fargo-not
Well, ya know what they say- "anything that can go wrong will go wrong." I guess that's what might explain what happened here. Yesterday, I was availed the chance to ride to work, since it wasn't raining, and I was keen to run the Fat Fargo through some clayish mud back behind a strip of stores I typically pass by on my way to work. There is some construction going on back there and they have made a mess of things with their vehicles and whatnot. Perfect for some mucking about to see how the drivetrain behaves before I find any mud Saturday at the DK200.

Well, it behaved badly!

I was moving along through a bit of tricky mud, and not the first mud I'd found by any means, and then I heard it: Snap! I stopped as soon as possible, making maybe only a half a pedal stroke, but it was too late. Here's my chance to use another tired old saw! "When handed a lemon, make lemonade!"

I decided to use the opportunity to test my roadside repair kit. I would surely find a hole in my preparations if there was one, because the chain was jammed behind the spokes down along the hub shell and the derailleur was...........destroyed! Well, not really, but the chain was jammed so tightly in the cage it wouldn't pass through it. Okay, now to get to thinkering!

I went through a couple of ideas, but when I found my needle nosed Vice Grip pliers, I knew I could wedge the nose against the biggest cassette cog and use it as a fulcrum to make the jaws of the pliers a pry bar of sorts. It worked! The chain was being extracted a little bit at a time. However, that dratted derailleur was now causing me some frustrations, since it was locked to the chain. I was able to find the quick link, so I undid that, and I loosed the derailleur from the cable. All that gave me enough "wiggle room" to finish extracting the chain. Then I could coast the bike.

Now I was only about three blocks at most from work, so I walked it in from there. Had I been at the DK200, my next step would have been to release the chain from the derailleur cage by undoing the bolts through the jockey wheel. Since I had a spare hangar, I could have then replaced it. Then I would have had to repair the cage, replace the chain, and reinstall everything again. The hole in my kit? No LocTite. Usually when you replace a jockey wheel, ya gotta put some LocTite on those bolts or they work themselves out and bang! Back in the pits again with a janky drive train! So....the lesson learned. Pack a little bit o LocTite!

The bad thing here is that I didn't trust that old Ultra 9 speed derailleur after that, and bought a new one at work. An XT 10 speed one. You know what that means? I either run my current shifter in friction mode or try to graft on my Gevenalle 10 speed shifter. I also have to look at the drive side spokes, and if those are toast, I will just have to bail on the whole Fat Fargo thing and go back to the BMC, which I would be okay with.

What did I end up doing? Stay tuned.........

UPDATE: I ended up sticking the Gevenalle GX 10 speed shifter on by swapping levers, then the 10 speed DynaSys rear derailleur shifted properly over the 9 speed cogset!!  I didn't realize that I had mixed 9 and 10 speed until I was test riding the bike in front of the house at 11:30pm! Oh well........it works, and that is all that matters right now.

On to Emporia.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Gettin' Real

Yesterday the Dirty Kanza 200 released cues and maps for the course this year. Yep......its gettin' real! They mentioned "contingency plans" for flooding if that is a problem come Saturday, so it sounds as though it's on no matter what. (Barring natural disaster, obviously)

One thing I've been doing is that I have been staying away from most of the banter I have been seeing about the event. It isn't doing anything for me but making me think too much about the ride. That's not good for my mental state, so I have been mostly making myself click away from possibly being sucked in. That said, I did note one comment about the cue sheets that made me shake my head.

Someone was complaining that the cues, as issued to be printed on paper, were bad because they could be damaged by water. Electronic cues downloaded into their device was their preference, or so I gathered. Look.....my opinion is that if you cannot figure out how to keep rain off your cue sheets, you maybe shouldn't be riding Dirty Kanza. Heck, we've been running my dirt bag cues for Trans Iowa since, well forever, and the folks that come to Trans Iowa have it dialed. It's not an impossible task, ya know. But I get it, because folks dumped 110 bucks on this event and they have expectations and demands in return. But still...... Get real man! It isn't that hard. Anyway......

Tony stopped by yesterday and we arranged for our depart time and my pickup. Then the other day, when MG was up, we spoke about our lodging arrangements. Don and I arranged for my support during the event and planned a rendezvous at Emporia for Friday to get briefed. Then Ari and I have been exchanging e-mails all along to keep ourselves sane and on track to ride with each other during the event. Finally, all the DK200 e-mails have been helpful in getting my mind wrapped around the course ahead of the game. It takes an army, eh? For myself, it is good to realize all the connections and that I am not in this alone. I am looking forward to the weekend and crossing that finish line in Emporia Saturday night.

Gettin' Real

Yesterday the Dirty Kanza 200 released cues and maps for the course this year. Yep......its gettin' real! They mentioned "contingency plans" for flooding if that is a problem come Saturday, so it sounds as though it's on no matter what. (Barring natural disaster, obviously)

One thing I've been doing is that I have been staying away from most of the banter I have been seeing about the event. It isn't doing anything for me but making me think too much about the ride. That's not good for my mental state, so I have been mostly making myself click away from possibly being sucked in. That said, I did note one comment about the cue sheets that made me shake my head.

Someone was complaining that the cues, as issued to be printed on paper, were bad because they could be damaged by water. Electronic cues downloaded into their device was their preference, or so I gathered. Look.....my opinion is that if you cannot figure out how to keep rain off your cue sheets, you maybe shouldn't be riding Dirty Kanza. Heck, we've been running my dirt bag cues for Trans Iowa since, well forever, and the folks that come to Trans Iowa have it dialed. It's not an impossible task, ya know. But I get it, because folks dumped 110 bucks on this event and they have expectations and demands in return. But still...... Get real man! It isn't that hard. Anyway......

Tony stopped by yesterday and we arranged for our depart time and my pickup. Then the other day, when MG was up, we spoke about our lodging arrangements. Don and I arranged for my support during the event and planned a rendezvous at Emporia for Friday to get briefed. Then Ari and I have been exchanging e-mails all along to keep ourselves sane and on track to ride with each other during the event. Finally, all the DK200 e-mails have been helpful in getting my mind wrapped around the course ahead of the game. It takes an army, eh? For myself, it is good to realize all the connections and that I am not in this alone. I am looking forward to the weekend and crossing that finish line in Emporia Saturday night.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Capping Off The Weekend

The sky was spectacular Monday evening
The long Memorial Day weekend was good on many fronts, but as for cycling, I was taking time off, resting, and getting myself in a state where I can take a crack at the Dirty Kanza 200, this coming Saturday. Well, at least I hope so. More on that later.....

This past Friday a box emblazoned with "Twin Six" showed up at the shop. Andy, my coworker was ready and willing to take it off my hands, sight unseen, but I told him to keep his grubby mitts offa dat box! Inside was a mean, lean, green machine. It was built up with SRAM Rival and had Avid mech disc brakes. The rig is a test bike for the RidingGravel.com site. So, you'll be able to find all the thoughts I have on that rig there. Well......soon anyway. I haven't written up anything beyond the introduction which is posted here.

I got it out and checked over the rig some during the weekend. It has these new Panaracer Gravel King tires on it. "Gravel King"......a pretentious name for a tire if I ever heard one. It was introduced earlier on with a maximum size of 28mm. That is not a joke either, but it is laughable. Now they have a 32mm, which is what this bike came with. It's an interesting tire, but from a Mid-Westerner's perspective, it is a pretty limited use tire based solely upon the width here. 32mm isn't going to give you a whole lot of volume to play with air pressures, and that can lead to unpleasantries. We'll see how they hold up.........

Fortunately, the Twin Six Standard Rando does have boatloads of tire clearance, so this nit could be rectified should the need arise. Only not with any tire named "Gravel King", which I find pretty hilarious. Mark one down for the marketing department at Panaracer. Of course, they could come out with a wider one, then things might be different.

Barns For Jason: Fresh round bales that smelled amazing.
So, anyway, the tires, being what they are, ride pretty nicely so far. The whole bike does, actually. I got it out at the end of Monday on actual gravel after a shakedown cruise Sunday to tune the fit and drive train. I headed out on the "short loop" which takes a little over an hour or so. I didn't want to get too far out of town for a couple of reasons- One: I wasn't 100% confident in the bike yet, (Would I like the saddle? Are the bars out there too far? etc),  and Two: I wasn't packing lights and the Sun was Westering already, casting long shadows by the time I reached the gravel.

It was windy from the Southeast, so I measured my efforts and concentrated on spinning circles, not wanting to pop a knee or something else stupid right before the Dirty Kanza. The gravel was really good. Despite the rains on Sunday, I didn't see much evidence of any wet roads with the exception of a few spots. It was good that way.

I did see some spectacular skies and smelled some great smells. Fresh cut hay. Animals. Dirt. I also saw some new flowers. Purples and yellows dominated the ditches in places. Turning out of the wind I began to pick up speed and it wasn't long before I was back in town, but that was an excellent cap to a long three day weekend.

Now as for the DK200- this could get interesting. They have had a lot of heavy rain which has caused minor flooding around Emporia, and I would imagine in the surrounding Flint Hills as well. The forecast looks more wet than dry going into the weekend and that will only prolong, or exacerbate the conditions they are currently experiencing. That said, here's a little blurb from the DK200 promoters concerning the situation which they posted on Facebook last night:

As promised, we will release course maps in the morning. If you are pre-registered for DK200, DK100, or DK Lite, you will receive an email from us with links to the maps. If all goes to plan, these will be the routes. If we get enough rain between now and race day to cause a problem, we'll enact one of our many contingency plans, based on the situation at hand.

Capping Off The Weekend

The sky was spectacular Monday evening
The long Memorial Day weekend was good on many fronts, but as for cycling, I was taking time off, resting, and getting myself in a state where I can take a crack at the Dirty Kanza 200, this coming Saturday. Well, at least I hope so. More on that later.....

This past Friday a box emblazoned with "Twin Six" showed up at the shop. Andy, my coworker was ready and willing to take it off my hands, sight unseen, but I told him to keep his grubby mitts offa dat box! Inside was a mean, lean, green machine. It was built up with SRAM Rival and had Avid mech disc brakes. The rig is a test bike for the RidingGravel.com site. So, you'll be able to find all the thoughts I have on that rig there. Well......soon anyway. I haven't written up anything beyond the introduction which is posted here.

I got it out and checked over the rig some during the weekend. It has these new Panaracer Gravel King tires on it. "Gravel King"......a pretentious name for a tire if I ever heard one. It was introduced earlier on with a maximum size of 28mm. That is not a joke either, but it is laughable. Now they have a 32mm, which is what this bike came with. It's an interesting tire, but from a Mid-Westerner's perspective, it is a pretty limited use tire based solely upon the width here. 32mm isn't going to give you a whole lot of volume to play with air pressures, and that can lead to unpleasantries. We'll see how they hold up.........

Fortunately, the Twin Six Standard Rando does have boatloads of tire clearance, so this nit could be rectified should the need arise. Only not with any tire named "Gravel King", which I find pretty hilarious. Mark one down for the marketing department at Panaracer. Of course, they could come out with a wider one, then things might be different.

Barns For Jason: Fresh round bales that smelled amazing.
So, anyway, the tires, being what they are, ride pretty nicely so far. The whole bike does, actually. I got it out at the end of Monday on actual gravel after a shakedown cruise Sunday to tune the fit and drive train. I headed out on the "short loop" which takes a little over an hour or so. I didn't want to get too far out of town for a couple of reasons- One: I wasn't 100% confident in the bike yet, (Would I like the saddle? Are the bars out there too far? etc),  and Two: I wasn't packing lights and the Sun was Westering already, casting long shadows by the time I reached the gravel.

It was windy from the Southeast, so I measured my efforts and concentrated on spinning circles, not wanting to pop a knee or something else stupid right before the Dirty Kanza. The gravel was really good. Despite the rains on Sunday, I didn't see much evidence of any wet roads with the exception of a few spots. It was good that way.

I did see some spectacular skies and smelled some great smells. Fresh cut hay. Animals. Dirt. I also saw some new flowers. Purples and yellows dominated the ditches in places. Turning out of the wind I began to pick up speed and it wasn't long before I was back in town, but that was an excellent cap to a long three day weekend.

Now as for the DK200- this could get interesting. They have had a lot of heavy rain which has caused minor flooding around Emporia, and I would imagine in the surrounding Flint Hills as well. The forecast looks more wet than dry going into the weekend and that will only prolong, or exacerbate the conditions they are currently experiencing. That said, here's a little blurb from the DK200 promoters concerning the situation which they posted on Facebook last night:

As promised, we will release course maps in the morning. If you are pre-registered for DK200, DK100, or DK Lite, you will receive an email from us with links to the maps. If all goes to plan, these will be the routes. If we get enough rain between now and race day to cause a problem, we'll enact one of our many contingency plans, based on the situation at hand.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Remembering those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. I hope that all of you that see this will take some time today to consider what our men and women in the armed services have done for us in the past and in the present. Our freedoms didn't come free.

Memorial Day

Remembering those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. I hope that all of you that see this will take some time today to consider what our men and women in the armed services have done for us in the past and in the present. Our freedoms didn't come free.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles V2: Packing

Sifting through gear and nutrition choices for the coming weekend
It is getting down to it. In four short days I have to have everything packed up and ready to head down to Kansas to give the Dirty Kanza 200 another go. At this point my fitness is what it is. I cannot fix up anything more in that regard. I have my mental state and maintenance with sleep and eating and drinking right up to the event that I can do there. So, with nothing else to work on in regards to fitness, I have turned my attention toward packing up now.

The thing is with me, I have gear over here, over there, and all over yonder Guitar Ted Productions. I have set ups for this bike, that bike, and for a couple hydration packs. Heck, I have stuff that I can't find because it is in some bag or another in some hidden pocket. So, I spent the better part of Saturday evening just dumping out bags and digging through stuff. Sifting and sorting.

Some things were obvious- Lezyne pump, tubes, Remo patch kit. Some things were necessary due to the likely conditions this year- packable rain jacket, wind breaker, lights. Then there were choices to make for a tool kit from the three major ones I have assembled over time. Chain breakers, multi-tools, and special tool just for this event. I also packed in some Hammer Nutritional supplies since they were easy to put in there. Hopefully I don't forget about that stuff while I am out there! Usually I pack stuff in my top tube bag and totally forget all about it until I see it weeks later when I unpack my stuff.
An image published by the DK200 showing a rain soaked road.

I will be packing clothing and more yet today and Monday, but my goal is to be completely ready to leave before Tuesday. Then it will be onward to Emporia, where it has been raining and tearing up the roads out there. They received rain all day on Saturday after this image posted by the Dirty Kanza 200 promotions was posted Friday showing a rain soaked road being rutted up and washed clear of most of the smaller, finer road material.

So, all of that really bolstered my choice in bike along with my friend, MG's. He was up Saturday evening to visit and we chatted a bit about the coming event. We both agreed that since Trans Iowa many of the gravel events have seen their fair share of wet, nasty weather, and that perhaps the Dirty Kanza 200 was going to perpetuate that streak. One thing I know is that with the forecast that is out now, the temperatures don't look to be brutal, as they have been in years I have tried to ride this event. I'm not particularly good in heat. My record isn't too good in events with heat, that's a fact. However; if it sticks to what they are predicting down there, it would play into my wheelhouse. Rain? I'm okay with that as long as it is without violence and lightning.

Whatever the weather is, MG and I, (and my friend Ari), have decided that we're going to ride our bikes all day, have the most fun we can while doing that, and finish the course of the Dirty Kanza 200, no matter what it is.

This will probably be the close to the Chronicles for this Dirty Kanza. From here I will be putting up some random posts, but of course, there will be a full report here after the event is over. Stay tuned.....

Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles V2: Packing

Sifting through gear and nutrition choices for the coming weekend
It is getting down to it. In four short days I have to have everything packed up and ready to head down to Kansas to give the Dirty Kanza 200 another go. At this point my fitness is what it is. I cannot fix up anything more in that regard. I have my mental state and maintenance with sleep and eating and drinking right up to the event that I can do there. So, with nothing else to work on in regards to fitness, I have turned my attention toward packing up now.

The thing is with me, I have gear over here, over there, and all over yonder Guitar Ted Productions. I have set ups for this bike, that bike, and for a couple hydration packs. Heck, I have stuff that I can't find because it is in some bag or another in some hidden pocket. So, I spent the better part of Saturday evening just dumping out bags and digging through stuff. Sifting and sorting.

Some things were obvious- Lezyne pump, tubes, Remo patch kit. Some things were necessary due to the likely conditions this year- packable rain jacket, wind breaker, lights. Then there were choices to make for a tool kit from the three major ones I have assembled over time. Chain breakers, multi-tools, and special tool just for this event. I also packed in some Hammer Nutritional supplies since they were easy to put in there. Hopefully I don't forget about that stuff while I am out there! Usually I pack stuff in my top tube bag and totally forget all about it until I see it weeks later when I unpack my stuff.
An image published by the DK200 showing a rain soaked road.

I will be packing clothing and more yet today and Monday, but my goal is to be completely ready to leave before Tuesday. Then it will be onward to Emporia, where it has been raining and tearing up the roads out there. They received rain all day on Saturday after this image posted by the Dirty Kanza 200 promotions was posted Friday showing a rain soaked road being rutted up and washed clear of most of the smaller, finer road material.

So, all of that really bolstered my choice in bike along with my friend, MG's. He was up Saturday evening to visit and we chatted a bit about the coming event. We both agreed that since Trans Iowa many of the gravel events have seen their fair share of wet, nasty weather, and that perhaps the Dirty Kanza 200 was going to perpetuate that streak. One thing I know is that with the forecast that is out now, the temperatures don't look to be brutal, as they have been in years I have tried to ride this event. I'm not particularly good in heat. My record isn't too good in events with heat, that's a fact. However; if it sticks to what they are predicting down there, it would play into my wheelhouse. Rain? I'm okay with that as long as it is without violence and lightning.

Whatever the weather is, MG and I, (and my friend Ari), have decided that we're going to ride our bikes all day, have the most fun we can while doing that, and finish the course of the Dirty Kanza 200, no matter what it is.

This will probably be the close to the Chronicles for this Dirty Kanza. From here I will be putting up some random posts, but of course, there will be a full report here after the event is over. Stay tuned.....

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Don't Say The "G" Word

The word "gravel" is so divisive that even Twin Six wouldn't use it to name this bike.
I had lunch last week with a good friend of mine that I get to see far too little. But that's another story, and likely you wouldn't be all that interested in our relationship. The point is, he works for a company that is a purveyor of a "gravel road racing bike". They actually use that term. The thing is, this friend of mine related to me, is that not everyone "gets it", or even understands it.

This friend of mine, he is a wise man, despite his lack of years, and he deals with this lack of understanding in a clever way. He asks what the locals call their back roads or unpaved byways, and then he calls this gravel road racing bike the "_________bike". (Fill in the blank with whatever they tell him.) Then they understand perfectly what the bike is all about. Brilliant!

There are many others though, and this crowd bristles at the term "gravel bike", and they blame marketing for coming up with another "unnecessary bike " and trying to get people to part with their money, which, ya know..........is totally evil. Especially if they are foisted into  believing they need this so-called "gravel bike", because, ya know..........it isn't a thing and that kind of bike is evil. Or so we are led to believe by the punters and "Negative Nancys" that populate social media and forums these days. Many whom have pretty, niche bikes of their own hanging from pegs in their garages, apartments, and homes. But never mind those specialized purpose bikes........

Here's an idea for those who don't like this whole "gravel bike" deal- Ignore it.  I mean, how hard can that be?

Anyway, the mere fact that these people that react so negatively to that is telling. In the end, I find it rather disingenuous and sad, especially seeing how many of these same folks are not being consistent in their logic. And I need to take my own advice and ignore all of that. Which I do most of the time. Just consider this a Public Service Announcement to you to advise you that the "G" word may cause an unreasonable and unwarranted negative reaction from some people.

The more you know.......


Don't Say The "G" Word

The word "gravel" is so divisive that even Twin Six wouldn't use it to name this bike.
I had lunch last week with a good friend of mine that I get to see far too little. But that's another story, and likely you wouldn't be all that interested in our relationship. The point is, he works for a company that is a purveyor of a "gravel road racing bike". They actually use that term. The thing is, this friend of mine related to me, is that not everyone "gets it", or even understands it.

This friend of mine, he is a wise man, despite his lack of years, and he deals with this lack of understanding in a clever way. He asks what the locals call their back roads or unpaved byways, and then he calls this gravel road racing bike the "_________bike". (Fill in the blank with whatever they tell him.) Then they understand perfectly what the bike is all about. Brilliant!

There are many others though, and this crowd bristles at the term "gravel bike", and they blame marketing for coming up with another "unnecessary bike " and trying to get people to part with their money, which, ya know..........is totally evil. Especially if they are foisted into  believing they need this so-called "gravel bike", because, ya know..........it isn't a thing and that kind of bike is evil. Or so we are led to believe by the punters and "Negative Nancys" that populate social media and forums these days. Many whom have pretty, niche bikes of their own hanging from pegs in their garages, apartments, and homes. But never mind those specialized purpose bikes........

Here's an idea for those who don't like this whole "gravel bike" deal- Ignore it.  I mean, how hard can that be?

Anyway, the mere fact that these people that react so negatively to that is telling. In the end, I find it rather disingenuous and sad, especially seeing how many of these same folks are not being consistent in their logic. And I need to take my own advice and ignore all of that. Which I do most of the time. Just consider this a Public Service Announcement to you to advise you that the "G" word may cause an unreasonable and unwarranted negative reaction from some people.

The more you know.......


Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday News And Views


Podcast #9: The latest Riding Gravel Radio Ranch podcast is live now. In it Ben and I discuss the scene developing in Montana's prairies, our participation in the Badlands Gravel Battle and the Dirty Kanza 200, plus we cover a bit on some pedals I reviewed and make an announcement concerning something from Twin Six. It is a rambling, information infested hole of doom, so strap on the headphones and give it a listen.

Lube-Off Update
A Note On The Lube-Off:

Once again- Thank you readers for all the feedback and interest in the "Lube-Off". I continue to get suggestions rolling in, and although I may never get to testing them all out, I appreciate all the passion and knowledge being shared.

Secondly, I wanted everyone to know that I have gotten one of the contenders into the mix. Wednesday was rainy, cold, and with me just coming off a mild cold, I thought it best to work on some bikes rather than ride myself into getting sick, possibly, again. That means the the Fat Fargo is now sporting the Rock and Roll Gold lubrication. It was applied as per instructions, so we will also be getting a good idea on how this stuff works soon.

Keep in mind that I already have the DuMonde Tech on the Tamland and I will be riding that bike as part of the testing as well. The other two contenders- Boeshield T-9 and ProLink Gold- will be getting applied to two other rigs here real soon and then we will have all four lubes in play for this test. I figure that I won't have a lot to say about this after that point until a month or so goes by, so sit tight on this and I'll be back with more as Summer gets cranked up.

Notes On The Nano 40 TCS:

Okay, so as many of you may have noted, I moved the Nano 40TCS tires over to my HED Ardennes+ wheels and set them up tubeless utilizing Velocity USA blue tape and WTB valve stems. This set up is still in consideration for the Dirty Kanza 200 and I may be swayed by a potential "thorn" in the way the set up has played out.

After having ridden a nearly 70 mile ride on these, I figured I was good to go until I noticed the front tire kept leaking down. Hmmm...... I don't like any issues at all with a tubeless set up, so I was getting less and less confident in the set up as I tried to diagnose the issue, and yet the tire kept leaking down. In fact, it was getting to the point that the tire wasn't staying up for a day when I finally figured it out. The WTB valve stem has a removable core, of course, and it was screwing out every time I put a pump on it, which accounted for why the tire was losing air at a progressively faster rate. I tightened it down and it seems that it has maintained pressure. So, back in the running then, right?

Not so fast! The commenters yesterday made me think maybe I should consider the Fat Fargo as being the "smart choice. Okay, so that's your Dirty Kanza rig then! But wait! I rode that bike yesterday and discovered the middle ring is shot, and I need a new cassette. Bah! 

All is not lost though. I have a plan, and I'll see about that this weekend as it rains....... 

Okay- ya'all have a great Memorial Day Weekend, and be safe! 


Friday News And Views


Podcast #9: The latest Riding Gravel Radio Ranch podcast is live now. In it Ben and I discuss the scene developing in Montana's prairies, our participation in the Badlands Gravel Battle and the Dirty Kanza 200, plus we cover a bit on some pedals I reviewed and make an announcement concerning something from Twin Six. It is a rambling, information infested hole of doom, so strap on the headphones and give it a listen.

Lube-Off Update
A Note On The Lube-Off:

Once again- Thank you readers for all the feedback and interest in the "Lube-Off". I continue to get suggestions rolling in, and although I may never get to testing them all out, I appreciate all the passion and knowledge being shared.

Secondly, I wanted everyone to know that I have gotten one of the contenders into the mix. Wednesday was rainy, cold, and with me just coming off a mild cold, I thought it best to work on some bikes rather than ride myself into getting sick, possibly, again. That means the the Fat Fargo is now sporting the Rock and Roll Gold lubrication. It was applied as per instructions, so we will also be getting a good idea on how this stuff works soon.

Keep in mind that I already have the DuMonde Tech on the Tamland and I will be riding that bike as part of the testing as well. The other two contenders- Boeshield T-9 and ProLink Gold- will be getting applied to two other rigs here real soon and then we will have all four lubes in play for this test. I figure that I won't have a lot to say about this after that point until a month or so goes by, so sit tight on this and I'll be back with more as Summer gets cranked up.

Notes On The Nano 40 TCS:

Okay, so as many of you may have noted, I moved the Nano 40TCS tires over to my HED Ardennes+ wheels and set them up tubeless utilizing Velocity USA blue tape and WTB valve stems. This set up is still in consideration for the Dirty Kanza 200 and I may be swayed by a potential "thorn" in the way the set up has played out.

After having ridden a nearly 70 mile ride on these, I figured I was good to go until I noticed the front tire kept leaking down. Hmmm...... I don't like any issues at all with a tubeless set up, so I was getting less and less confident in the set up as I tried to diagnose the issue, and yet the tire kept leaking down. In fact, it was getting to the point that the tire wasn't staying up for a day when I finally figured it out. The WTB valve stem has a removable core, of course, and it was screwing out every time I put a pump on it, which accounted for why the tire was losing air at a progressively faster rate. I tightened it down and it seems that it has maintained pressure. So, back in the running then, right?

Not so fast! The commenters yesterday made me think maybe I should consider the Fat Fargo as being the "smart choice. Okay, so that's your Dirty Kanza rig then! But wait! I rode that bike yesterday and discovered the middle ring is shot, and I need a new cassette. Bah! 

All is not lost though. I have a plan, and I'll see about that this weekend as it rains....... 

Okay- ya'all have a great Memorial Day Weekend, and be safe! 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles V2: Vacillating

Taking a good, hard look at this......
I know, I know...... Just last week I said I chose the rig for my Dirty Kanza 200 attempt. But what fun is getting ready for an ultra-long gravel ride if you don't question your choices five or six times before you leave, right? You folks that have done these events know exactly what I am talking about here. Anyway.....

So, here's the deal. Kansas has been getting a lot of rain lately. That will probably mean that the water crossings will not only be running, but that the silt and smaller rock will be washed away. I recall back in '09 or '10 when that was the case and every water crossing was followed with seven or eight riders on cross bikes fixing pinch flats alongside the road. I and my mountain bike tires did not even flinch at these obstacles. Of course, I have tubeless Nano40's now, but that isn't as big a tire as I have traditionally brought to Kansas.

I was talking to my good friend MG, and he is running a fat bike, but he has run cross and mtb tires at Dirty Kanza before. He made some great points to me. One which hit home was that comfort is king when you aren't racing it to win, but to get the finish. The bigger tires of an mtb bike can be light, and still allow comfort and they also give you some flat protection.

Plus I have some intel that leads me to believe that this new course is actually a bit rougher than in the past. That plays into the comfort/fat tires bit as well. We do know for certain that we are crossing private land, so that also leads me to believe that the roads, (if they are roads), are going to be rough.

I rode this Fargo at the DK 200 once, but I was sick that year.
Then there is the Fargo itself, which lends me the capability to carry more water bottles, for one thing, and also a top tube bag to put food in. I can get by on that rig without wearing a back pack, which is a big deal. This wouldn't be on my Gen I Fargo, but on my Gen II Fargo which actually has a longer rigid fork that would be more comfortable than the shorter Gen I fork. That Gen II bike has a triple crank and a pretty wide range cassette, so climbing is not a big deal.

So, there is all of that, but I haven't put the BMC out of the picture just yet. Maybe..... I just have to decide based upon my fitness going in. If I am not all that confident in that, I am going for comfort, water bottle carrying capabilities, and better flat resistance. In the end, weight isn't all that different, but the BMC is not as comfortable in terms of ride smoothness. How could it compete with those poofy B+ tires?  Then there is the titanium Regulator post I swapped over from my Ti Mukluk. I will be riding this, hopefully on a long ride, this weekend and making the final call. I bet it will be ultra-smooth. We'll see how it all goes.

Stay tuned for more last minute Dirty Kanza madness. I'm sure there will be more where this came from!

Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles V2: Vacillating

Taking a good, hard look at this......
I know, I know...... Just last week I said I chose the rig for my Dirty Kanza 200 attempt. But what fun is getting ready for an ultra-long gravel ride if you don't question your choices five or six times before you leave, right? You folks that have done these events know exactly what I am talking about here. Anyway.....

So, here's the deal. Kansas has been getting a lot of rain lately. That will probably mean that the water crossings will not only be running, but that the silt and smaller rock will be washed away. I recall back in '09 or '10 when that was the case and every water crossing was followed with seven or eight riders on cross bikes fixing pinch flats alongside the road. I and my mountain bike tires did not even flinch at these obstacles. Of course, I have tubeless Nano40's now, but that isn't as big a tire as I have traditionally brought to Kansas.

I was talking to my good friend MG, and he is running a fat bike, but he has run cross and mtb tires at Dirty Kanza before. He made some great points to me. One which hit home was that comfort is king when you aren't racing it to win, but to get the finish. The bigger tires of an mtb bike can be light, and still allow comfort and they also give you some flat protection.

Plus I have some intel that leads me to believe that this new course is actually a bit rougher than in the past. That plays into the comfort/fat tires bit as well. We do know for certain that we are crossing private land, so that also leads me to believe that the roads, (if they are roads), are going to be rough.

I rode this Fargo at the DK 200 once, but I was sick that year.
Then there is the Fargo itself, which lends me the capability to carry more water bottles, for one thing, and also a top tube bag to put food in. I can get by on that rig without wearing a back pack, which is a big deal. This wouldn't be on my Gen I Fargo, but on my Gen II Fargo which actually has a longer rigid fork that would be more comfortable than the shorter Gen I fork. That Gen II bike has a triple crank and a pretty wide range cassette, so climbing is not a big deal.

So, there is all of that, but I haven't put the BMC out of the picture just yet. Maybe..... I just have to decide based upon my fitness going in. If I am not all that confident in that, I am going for comfort, water bottle carrying capabilities, and better flat resistance. In the end, weight isn't all that different, but the BMC is not as comfortable in terms of ride smoothness. How could it compete with those poofy B+ tires?  Then there is the titanium Regulator post I swapped over from my Ti Mukluk. I will be riding this, hopefully on a long ride, this weekend and making the final call. I bet it will be ultra-smooth. We'll see how it all goes.

Stay tuned for more last minute Dirty Kanza madness. I'm sure there will be more where this came from!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Freedom To Fail

The Trans Iowa Masters Course I designed last year
With the increasing popularity of back country riding, I have noticed that more and more folks have begun poking around asking questions about route finding, or where they can go to access a route. Every time I see a request I shake my head and my heart sinks. It really makes me sad. I feel like a little piece of freedom gets squashed when I see folks looking to "press the easy button."

I'm going way back now, so please bear with me. There was a time when a certain curmudgeon named Mike Curiak was seen to be posting stuff on-line that had to do with "researching your own stuff", except that Mr. Curiak had a better way of putting that. Anyway, I was a bit puzzled as to why he was being so darn standoffish and seemingly protective about his ways and means for bikepacking. I thought that since it was a small community, (then), and that we were all "helping each other", that it was in everyone's best interest to share ideas, faults, successes, and to have each other's support in all of this endeavor. However; maybe now I am just coming to understand a wee bit about where Mr. Curiak was coming from. Not that I "get it" entirely, mind you.....

Poking around for a way to go.....
You see, there is a certain freedom you give up when someone else does all the "work" for you. You lose the freedom to fail 

That probably sounds like a good thing to lose to most everyone, but I don't think that is how it really is. In fact, I think it is a freedom that makes us stronger if we embrace it, and weaker when we let someone else do "the heavy lifting".  Why? Because when you invest, put forth the effort, and it doesn't quite come out the way you thought, or wanted, you get a valuable lesson. You, (hopefully), learn, and gain experience, grow, and learn something about yourself. When you get that end result just handed to you, without the effort and investment, you miss out on the learning, experience, and there is no depth to what you have been given.

When I was younger, there were kids that had parents that bought them cars. This was a rarity back in those days because cars were something not everyone had. (I know- hard to believe that, ain't it? ) Anyway, those kids, almost to a person, were not appreciative of the gift. They beat those cars, wrecked them, and they didn't care. The rest of us, who had to scrape up a few hundred just to buy a barely running jalopy, were standing in amazement as we spit polished our pithy paint jobs and tried our best to make sure our vehicles were in the best shape possible. We worked hard for what we had, so maybe we appreciated what we got a bit more? Maybe. Perhaps there was something I was missing there.......

Obviously in Life we should seek balance. There is something to having some wise counsel, and to apprentice under a master, that is to be celebrated, for sure. However; I see a culture that is more and more about pushing a button, and getting things laid out for them. Instant results, little to no effort in researching, and not a lot of appreciation for those that did the pioneering. Maybe the "Age Of Information" should be blamed. Perhaps we've lost something in the trade off to have "social networks", instant access to weather forecasts, and  GPS maps.

Paper maps- They are still a thing.
Take the Tour Divide for instance. It's not what it used to be, that's for sure. Yes, it is an incredible accomplishment. However; with all the knowledge that previous folks have built up, disseminated, and with all the "touch points" of social media, well, it is hard to see how it could be the same as it was when John Stamstad did it. Oh......yeah, you should check him out if you haven't heard of him. Point is, the folks riding it this year are riding on the backs of many that went before them that paid their dues. Is that wrong, right, or does it even matter? I think it does matter somewhat, but it is hard to find that balance of just how much it does or doesn't matter. Maybe no one cares.....

Anyway....... What's all this have to do with route finding and what I do? Well, I am not anyone that I would consider in the same breath as Stamstad or Curiak, not even in terms of gravel road stuff. However; I still feel like people look at what I do as something extraordinary. It really isn't all that big of a deal, really. I mean, if you just spend some time with some good maps, even you could come up with a good route, I am pretty sure. But, ya know, that requires time, patience, and you need to go out see things out in the field to make sure they exist. That said, it doesn't take any strange talent or skill to do this. You just decide to do it..... Maybe you fail, or things don't turn out quite the way you wanted. Hey......it's okay. Chalk it up as an experience, learn from it, and apply what you got to the next try.

Someone wanted to know if I was going to run the Trans Iowa Masters Program again. I said that the route was a one time deal, that I wasn't planning on putting that out there again. Nope. This year is about more riding, less route planning for others. The individual in question replied that I should keep them appraised of any future routes I might "put out there". That's what makes me shake my head, and makes my heart sink. Why shouldn't this person, or anyone else, make their own challenge, devise their own route, and "put it out there".

You should. Don't be afraid to fail........


The Freedom To Fail

The Trans Iowa Masters Course I designed last year
With the increasing popularity of back country riding, I have noticed that more and more folks have begun poking around asking questions about route finding, or where they can go to access a route. Every time I see a request I shake my head and my heart sinks. It really makes me sad. I feel like a little piece of freedom gets squashed when I see folks looking to "press the easy button."

I'm going way back now, so please bear with me. There was a time when a certain curmudgeon named Mike Curiak was seen to be posting stuff on-line that had to do with "researching your own stuff", except that Mr. Curiak had a better way of putting that. Anyway, I was a bit puzzled as to why he was being so darn standoffish and seemingly protective about his ways and means for bikepacking. I thought that since it was a small community, (then), and that we were all "helping each other", that it was in everyone's best interest to share ideas, faults, successes, and to have each other's support in all of this endeavor. However; maybe now I am just coming to understand a wee bit about where Mr. Curiak was coming from. Not that I "get it" entirely, mind you.....

Poking around for a way to go.....
You see, there is a certain freedom you give up when someone else does all the "work" for you. You lose the freedom to fail 

That probably sounds like a good thing to lose to most everyone, but I don't think that is how it really is. In fact, I think it is a freedom that makes us stronger if we embrace it, and weaker when we let someone else do "the heavy lifting".  Why? Because when you invest, put forth the effort, and it doesn't quite come out the way you thought, or wanted, you get a valuable lesson. You, (hopefully), learn, and gain experience, grow, and learn something about yourself. When you get that end result just handed to you, without the effort and investment, you miss out on the learning, experience, and there is no depth to what you have been given.

When I was younger, there were kids that had parents that bought them cars. This was a rarity back in those days because cars were something not everyone had. (I know- hard to believe that, ain't it? ) Anyway, those kids, almost to a person, were not appreciative of the gift. They beat those cars, wrecked them, and they didn't care. The rest of us, who had to scrape up a few hundred just to buy a barely running jalopy, were standing in amazement as we spit polished our pithy paint jobs and tried our best to make sure our vehicles were in the best shape possible. We worked hard for what we had, so maybe we appreciated what we got a bit more? Maybe. Perhaps there was something I was missing there.......

Obviously in Life we should seek balance. There is something to having some wise counsel, and to apprentice under a master, that is to be celebrated, for sure. However; I see a culture that is more and more about pushing a button, and getting things laid out for them. Instant results, little to no effort in researching, and not a lot of appreciation for those that did the pioneering. Maybe the "Age Of Information" should be blamed. Perhaps we've lost something in the trade off to have "social networks", instant access to weather forecasts, and  GPS maps.

Paper maps- They are still a thing.
Take the Tour Divide for instance. It's not what it used to be, that's for sure. Yes, it is an incredible accomplishment. However; with all the knowledge that previous folks have built up, disseminated, and with all the "touch points" of social media, well, it is hard to see how it could be the same as it was when John Stamstad did it. Oh......yeah, you should check him out if you haven't heard of him. Point is, the folks riding it this year are riding on the backs of many that went before them that paid their dues. Is that wrong, right, or does it even matter? I think it does matter somewhat, but it is hard to find that balance of just how much it does or doesn't matter. Maybe no one cares.....

Anyway....... What's all this have to do with route finding and what I do? Well, I am not anyone that I would consider in the same breath as Stamstad or Curiak, not even in terms of gravel road stuff. However; I still feel like people look at what I do as something extraordinary. It really isn't all that big of a deal, really. I mean, if you just spend some time with some good maps, even you could come up with a good route, I am pretty sure. But, ya know, that requires time, patience, and you need to go out see things out in the field to make sure they exist. That said, it doesn't take any strange talent or skill to do this. You just decide to do it..... Maybe you fail, or things don't turn out quite the way you wanted. Hey......it's okay. Chalk it up as an experience, learn from it, and apply what you got to the next try.

Someone wanted to know if I was going to run the Trans Iowa Masters Program again. I said that the route was a one time deal, that I wasn't planning on putting that out there again. Nope. This year is about more riding, less route planning for others. The individual in question replied that I should keep them appraised of any future routes I might "put out there". That's what makes me shake my head, and makes my heart sink. Why shouldn't this person, or anyone else, make their own challenge, devise their own route, and "put it out there".

You should. Don't be afraid to fail........


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Guitar Ted "Lube Off" Round Two- Part 3

The field for Round One has been set!
Okay, this "lube-off" is set to begin. I want to take this space to first say "thank you" to all the readers that chimed in on the comments section with all of your great suggestions. I received some excellent pointers on some new lubes I hadn't heard about, and also some great "alt" lube ideas. I think I will get around to checking some of those out in the future, but for now, I wanted to stick to some brands with definite differences, brand recognition, and lubes that were available nationwide at most quality bicycle shops.

The third contender I added is ProLink Chain Lube. I have used this product in the past and thought it worked reasonably well. The product is petroleum based and therefore makes for a good third contender since the other two are wax based in nature.

Now all there is to it is to ride.......a lot!  Along the way I will give my impressions and pass along any notable things that I observe while using each of these. Stay tuned for further updates. By the way, for future reference I am tagging all of these related posts with "Lube-Off", so if you enter that term in the Blogger search box on the header here it will filter out all those related posts to help you keep up on the goings on with this test.

Thanks again!


Guitar Ted "Lube Off" Round Two- Part 3

The field for Round One has been set!
Okay, this "lube-off" is set to begin. I want to take this space to first say "thank you" to all the readers that chimed in on the comments section with all of your great suggestions. I received some excellent pointers on some new lubes I hadn't heard about, and also some great "alt" lube ideas. I think I will get around to checking some of those out in the future, but for now, I wanted to stick to some brands with definite differences, brand recognition, and lubes that were available nationwide at most quality bicycle shops.

The third contender I added is ProLink Chain Lube. I have used this product in the past and thought it worked reasonably well. The product is petroleum based and therefore makes for a good third contender since the other two are wax based in nature.

Now all there is to it is to ride.......a lot!  Along the way I will give my impressions and pass along any notable things that I observe while using each of these. Stay tuned for further updates. By the way, for future reference I am tagging all of these related posts with "Lube-Off", so if you enter that term in the Blogger search box on the header here it will filter out all those related posts to help you keep up on the goings on with this test.

Thanks again!


Guitar Ted "Lube Off" Round Two- Part 2

Contenders:

Yesterday I introduced "Round Two" of the "lube-off" and I asked for recommendations for contenders to the past champion, DuMonde Tech. I received a few good suggestions and from those I am going to choose a couple of contenders, tell you why I chose them, and then I am going to ask a final question. So, first the contenders......

Rock & Roll Gold: Gotta love the marketing machines out there. This stuff is dubbed the "King of Lubes" and in their marketing propaganda, it claims that this will clean and lubricate you chain all at once. The application process sounds a bit "messy" to me, but hey! I'll give it a go and see if what they say is true, or not. This came highly recommended to me by a few mechanic friends of mine, so I have a bit of respect for the lube based upon that alone. Still, the claims are pretty outlandish, and I will be watching this one closely.

I have easy access to this stuff as well, since the shop where I work at sells this product. So, I will get a bit of product testing info to pass on to my customers there as well. That also played into this choice.

Boeshield T-9:

Here's another suggestion and a lubricant I have had recommended to me over the years by several folks. I have never given it a true go on a drive train; however , so this will be a good one for me to try now. Plus, it is also one that is sold at the shop where I work, so I have easy access to this product as well.

It would appear that this lube bases its goodness on a waxy substance that a carrier leaves behind. Again- another lubricant that claims that you do not have to clean your chain before using it. I find claims like these to be kind of outlandish, but again- I'll give this a go to see if there is anything to that.

So, here are two contenders, but I wanted three. I had a couple of oddball requests in the comment section to try out. One was parafin wax- the old roadie standby. I am not going to do that one, since it is like gluing tubulars, only even more arcane. Not that parafin wax wouldn't work, but it isn't practical, and reapplication entails the process be repeated, which isn't all that convenient roadside. By the way, all the other contenders here can be reapplied roadside including the DuMonde Tech.

I found that some of you are not very patient when it comes to lubrication, so the two contenders above will likely appeal to the "low maintenance" crowd. However, I wanted to know if something like White Lightning, Squirt Lube, or maybe a home brew lube might be a thing to throw into the mix here. I also would be open to any new suggestion, but lets get one more lube into the mix here and then we will get this test underway.

Guitar Ted "Lube Off" Round Two- Part 2

Contenders:

Yesterday I introduced "Round Two" of the "lube-off" and I asked for recommendations for contenders to the past champion, DuMonde Tech. I received a few good suggestions and from those I am going to choose a couple of contenders, tell you why I chose them, and then I am going to ask a final question. So, first the contenders......

Rock & Roll Gold: Gotta love the marketing machines out there. This stuff is dubbed the "King of Lubes" and in their marketing propaganda, it claims that this will clean and lubricate you chain all at once. The application process sounds a bit "messy" to me, but hey! I'll give it a go and see if what they say is true, or not. This came highly recommended to me by a few mechanic friends of mine, so I have a bit of respect for the lube based upon that alone. Still, the claims are pretty outlandish, and I will be watching this one closely.

I have easy access to this stuff as well, since the shop where I work at sells this product. So, I will get a bit of product testing info to pass on to my customers there as well. That also played into this choice.

Boeshield T-9:

Here's another suggestion and a lubricant I have had recommended to me over the years by several folks. I have never given it a true go on a drive train; however , so this will be a good one for me to try now. Plus, it is also one that is sold at the shop where I work, so I have easy access to this product as well.

It would appear that this lube bases its goodness on a waxy substance that a carrier leaves behind. Again- another lubricant that claims that you do not have to clean your chain before using it. I find claims like these to be kind of outlandish, but again- I'll give this a go to see if there is anything to that.

So, here are two contenders, but I wanted three. I had a couple of oddball requests in the comment section to try out. One was parafin wax- the old roadie standby. I am not going to do that one, since it is like gluing tubulars, only even more arcane. Not that parafin wax wouldn't work, but it isn't practical, and reapplication entails the process be repeated, which isn't all that convenient roadside. By the way, all the other contenders here can be reapplied roadside including the DuMonde Tech.

I found that some of you are not very patient when it comes to lubrication, so the two contenders above will likely appeal to the "low maintenance" crowd. However, I wanted to know if something like White Lightning, Squirt Lube, or maybe a home brew lube might be a thing to throw into the mix here. I also would be open to any new suggestion, but lets get one more lube into the mix here and then we will get this test underway.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Guitar Ted "Lube Off" Round Two- Part 1

Starting off with the "champion".
About eight years ago I ran a "Lube Off" between three contenders and DuMonde Tech came out on top. Well, now there has been some renewed interest at the shop as to what, if anything, is "best" in cycling terms, for chain lube.

It has been my experience that the subject of chain lube is maybe only rivaled by the subject of tires and tire pressure when it comes to "religious fervor" amongst devotees of certain brands and ideas. Chain lubes are, for the most part, also possibly the most over-hyped product for cycling out there. Many making outlandish claims for "cleanliness" or longevity between applications. There have been "scientific", laboratory based experiments to discover which lubes promote the freest running chains, longest lasting lube for a chain, and more.

This "lube-off" won't be "scientific" enough for those that adhere to such standards, and it won't at all be general enough for most of you to gain anything from. However; along the way I will impart some of my observations on many lubes and types of lubes that might help point you in the direction of success for you. Maybe it will all be a waste of your time, but then again, who else is doing this? At least I hope it will be entertaining!

Following label instructions is paramount to the successful use of any lube you choose.
My test will be on gravel. It won't cover mountain biking. It won't be traditional road cycling. it will be on dusty, maybe sometimes wet and gritty, dirt and gravel roads. I figure that gravel travel is probably one of the most severe uses of an external drive train around. Maybe only wet, muddy U.K. type conditions are more damaging. Perhaps Utah grit is more abrasive, but gravel in the Mid-West has to be right up there in terms of its damaging capabilities. At least In think so.

The test will be starting out right away with DuMonde Tech's "Original Formula" which requires a clean chain prior to application. I started out with a brand new Ultegra 11 speed chain and washed it off until all the "shipping lube" was gone, dried it out, and applied DuMonde Tech "sparingly", (one drop on each link's rollers, smeared on the outer plates), wiped down, and then I let it sit in a rag for 24 hours to "bond" to the chain. The chain actually felt dry-ish when I installed it. Oh- and I cleaned the crank rings and installed a brand new 11 speed cassette as well.

So, stay tuned for updates throughout the Summer. And if you have a lube that you are curious about, please submit a suggestion in the comments. I will add three new contenders based upon the comments, and if there are not enough comments to get three new lubricant ideas from, I'll be forced to arbitrarily come up with some of my own. So- you've been warned! 

Let the "Lube-Off" begin!

 

Guitar Ted "Lube Off" Round Two- Part 1

Starting off with the "champion".
About eight years ago I ran a "Lube Off" between three contenders and DuMonde Tech came out on top. Well, now there has been some renewed interest at the shop as to what, if anything, is "best" in cycling terms, for chain lube.

It has been my experience that the subject of chain lube is maybe only rivaled by the subject of tires and tire pressure when it comes to "religious fervor" amongst devotees of certain brands and ideas. Chain lubes are, for the most part, also possibly the most over-hyped product for cycling out there. Many making outlandish claims for "cleanliness" or longevity between applications. There have been "scientific", laboratory based experiments to discover which lubes promote the freest running chains, longest lasting lube for a chain, and more.

This "lube-off" won't be "scientific" enough for those that adhere to such standards, and it won't at all be general enough for most of you to gain anything from. However; along the way I will impart some of my observations on many lubes and types of lubes that might help point you in the direction of success for you. Maybe it will all be a waste of your time, but then again, who else is doing this? At least I hope it will be entertaining!

Following label instructions is paramount to the successful use of any lube you choose.
My test will be on gravel. It won't cover mountain biking. It won't be traditional road cycling. it will be on dusty, maybe sometimes wet and gritty, dirt and gravel roads. I figure that gravel travel is probably one of the most severe uses of an external drive train around. Maybe only wet, muddy U.K. type conditions are more damaging. Perhaps Utah grit is more abrasive, but gravel in the Mid-West has to be right up there in terms of its damaging capabilities. At least In think so.

The test will be starting out right away with DuMonde Tech's "Original Formula" which requires a clean chain prior to application. I started out with a brand new Ultegra 11 speed chain and washed it off until all the "shipping lube" was gone, dried it out, and applied DuMonde Tech "sparingly", (one drop on each link's rollers, smeared on the outer plates), wiped down, and then I let it sit in a rag for 24 hours to "bond" to the chain. The chain actually felt dry-ish when I installed it. Oh- and I cleaned the crank rings and installed a brand new 11 speed cassette as well.

So, stay tuned for updates throughout the Summer. And if you have a lube that you are curious about, please submit a suggestion in the comments. I will add three new contenders based upon the comments, and if there are not enough comments to get three new lubricant ideas from, I'll be forced to arbitrarily come up with some of my own. So- you've been warned! 

Let the "Lube-Off" begin!

 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Matter Of Millimeters

A new set up - Not far from the old, but it matters a lot!
Many times I've heard it said that a few millimeters can make a huge difference when it comes to bicycle fit. You wouldn't think that a few millimeters of seat height, for instance, could be felt. Maybe the thought of a stem only 5mm shorter seems miniscule and that it would not be a noticeable thing. However; time and time again, I have been made aware that it really does make a difference. Not just a little bit either.

Over the years, I have become particularly sensitive to seat height, for instance, and a slight slip of a couple of millimeters of the seat post downward can be felt. I also have been working a lot with saddle width- not to mention contour and overall shape- which has been a revelation and has been something that has allowed me to be far more comfortable on the bike than ever before. Well, my latest work in progress, the Raleigh Tamland, has just been tweaked again and I think this is another major step forward in the area of fit for me on that bike.

I know many of you readers have seen this bike now for over a year here and you may be asking yourself, "What the heck?! Why does it take him so long to dial in a bike. He's had this for more than a year now." I wouldn't blame anyone out there that thinks this way. However; I am a big fan of doing this long term. Not only that, but I firmly believe in changing only one thing at a time, trying it out, then if that works, move on to the next thing, and so on. I changed the handle bar first, then I swapped out the saddle, then the crank gearing got tweaked, and I left it that way for quite a while. Lately, I've been wondering if a saddle issue was necessitating a new saddle choice. I swapped to a fizik Aliante which was an improvement from the previous saddle, but I was still not sitting in the right place. I tracked it down, by way of comparing to another bike I have, to stem length. I carved out 10mm of length and added a bit of rise. Wow! What a difference.

So, if you aren't quite "there" with your fit, but you love your bike, maybe a bike fitting is in order. However; I always like the careful experimentation method I employ. If it is a bicycle you will have around a while, and you have the patience, I think it is worth the time and money investment to try a different component and see how it affects your riding. In the case of the Tamland, I think I am really close to being "there" with the fit.