Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fixed gear for one sole purpose

I'm following some websites on twitter showcasing other people's fixie builds.

I used it to get inspiration. As if I needed it. The more I browse through the site the more I say to myself WTF. I like some of the bikes. I predominantly like the simple ones, without flashy color schemes best.

Building a bike is like building a car. You put your personality to it, but most of the times people get swayed in putting what is the "in thing" rather than putting what they really like. Well different strokes for different folks.

I plan on upgrading my road bike, and Margareth will be a fixie. It will be a simple build, just change the rear wheel and remove all the unnecessary stuff (now where do I put my extra hardware). Most other hardware will be as-is. Simple build. Built to be ridden.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Let the conversion begin

 I went to my LBS after work and ordered a wheel build.

A rear wheel build to be exact.
Ambrosio rim, Surly flip flop hub, and a Dingle cog.
I am yet to find a freewheel in 3/32" size or I might totally forgo the freewheel, for now.

My main concern right now is the chainline. My road double (Shimano 105) has a standard 43.5mm chainline (41mm for inner ring, 46mm for the outer ring). The Dingle cog has a weird chainline, some websites say 47mm! some say 42mm! I might not a straight chainline if ever :-(

If worse comes to worse, I will need to ditch the crankset and BB :-(
If I do that I'll get a Sugino, and go 1/8" and then ditch the Dingle cog and attach a freewheel.

Sigh... but it seems fun :-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

3/22 Early morning jaunt

Lazy start actually. Started late (around 6am) so I scratched my original plan of doing a simple mountain loop.

6am is late. This time of the year I can start cycling at 5am. There is already enough natural light! I always want to go out early so that the river paths are still clear of pedestrians and other cyclists. I really don't like being overtaken by other cyclists :-) well they're younger and lighter so they can overtake a fat bloke like me.

5:30ish out of the house and trying to find something to eat. The local coffee shop is still closed (they open at 7:30 on weekdays, but today is a holiday so they might open at 8am). Got capuccino at McDo instead. No seats available so had to sip my cup outside in the cold. Well it wasn't that cold actually, but I was in my shorts :-) I think it was a big mistake not to eat anything.

Just did the usual 60 - 70km loop on the river path. I got overtaken today :-) hahahaha

Past 20km, I can already feel I was loosing power. High 80's rpm 50x17 and I was doing 25kph? Also the friggin' punishin' headwind did not make life easier. I carbo loaded the night before but I was running on an empty stomach this morning (besides the coffee). It was a whole lotta different feeling from last Sunday. Last Sunday, I was still hitting 30kph on the last leg of the loop. I ate a one jell pack, a calzone and coffee that day.

Besides not eating breakfast today, I did the short 2-3km Route 11 run. I take this route "pedal to the metal" at 28-32kph always. Its a mini-TT. I did not do the TT last Sunday so I think I had fresher legs for the whole loop.

Uneventful day on the river path. Saw the usual cyclists still in their winter garb. When I got home I was friggin' dead tired. Just slept, since I had nothing productive to do.

On a note, my shoulder is still hurting.

On another note, I should really loose weight if I want to improve my speed. I should also eat breakfast before doing a morning jaunt, makes the run less painful.

Saturday and Sunday is looking good. I plan to do the mountain loop. Sleep as early as possible. Get up as early as possible. Eat. Ride. Simple enough???

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A day of ifs ...

Was feeling better today... and the 40% chance of precipitation was OK with me. Will be wearing a bib short, a simple jersey and a wind breaker.

As I was leaving the sky suddenly darkened... left the bike outside my room and dawdled a bit in my room. 5 minutes and the dark skies lightened up. Good.

Tried to get coffee at the local shop but they don't open till 8am... yikes... time read a quarter before 8. Instead of waiting I took off, and followed my usual route to Tamagawa. Roads were wet but not enough to cover my face with road muck. 2 short climbs and downhills.

On the 2nd short climb, I was closely following a car up the hill and did not notice a right turning car. Well it was a close call. Good thing I was dilly dawdling behind the car. I was up the saddle for the climb. Close call #1.

At the bottom of the downhill after the 2nd climb, I stopped for cocoa and a calzone. Needed calories to burn. 15-20 minute break. The legs were feeling good.

The Tamagawa ride was uneventful, thankfully. I was, for the most part, alone on the Tamagawa. No other cyclists in sight. The sun was in and out of the clouds. Was good! I took off my wind breaker actually :-) I was also practicing riding on the drops. I felt I can get an extra 3-6kph while on the drops hmmmn that is good to know. I was actually going ~30kph at some parts of the cycle path. I used to run this parts at ~25kph.

At the, maybe 60km mark I got my 2nd close call of the day and I learned my lesson. I was doing ~30kph and almost hit a boy on the path. Locked the rear wheel a bit. Lesson learned.

1) Don't dilly dawdle up a hill
2) Make yourself visible to other riders
3) It's good to ride on the drops
4) but need to slow down when there are people around (I do this most of the time, I guess I got too excited being on the drops)
5) Cover the brakes (but right now I feel I can't reach the brakes while on the drops, need to adjust)

During the ride I also felt pain on my left shoulder area. Hmmn. It's patched right now with Salonpas :-) The legs were feeling good during the duration of the ride maybe I should have pushed more? Next time maybe.

So what if the car hit me? I'd be probably spending my days at the hospital. Worse if I hit the boy. I am focused while riding, trying to look for possible problems but I need to be more alert. Need to put all the lessons learned to practice.