Saturday, March 27, 2010

Learning to ride a bike!

I rode the Thorn Nomad MK2 (still no name for the bike) to White Rock Lake and back. I have not rode a bike with Mountain bike tires in a while. This bike has 26"x2.25" Schwalbe Marathon Extreme tires on it and it is especially meant for off-road touring. So, there was a little bit of a learning curve. I also had to get used to using the Rohloff. I did a total of 50 miles today.

Here are some of my observations:
  1. Riding in 20+ mph wind is not as easy as it might seem from inside the house.
  2. Riding 50 miles on an expedition touring bike, while it is fun, is a bit of a workout, especially for those soft in the middle :)
  3.  
  4. Rohloff were serious about giving the rider all the gear ratio gain advantage possible. I climbed hills on which I would huff and puff like Big Bad Wolf, relatively easily. No, the MK2 bike ain't light compared to Gikma.
  5. Starbucks Pike Place coffee is pretty good, especially if you drink it black and no sugar/sweetener.
  6. Wind can mess-up your beard, especially if you wear it long :)
While I was out riding, I think Shaggy might have done something like this!
How was your Saturday?

Peace :)

Nice bike song!

I first saw this at Solo, with others! Enjoy!!

Charlie Winston "I Love Your Smile" (Official video)
Uploaded by ATMOSPHERIQUES. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

Peace :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bicycle Lock


I saw this Kryptonite lock at Wally World tonight. It wasn't too expensive, about $20. I thought of getting it initially for locking up some of my bikes, I thought I would read the reviews online.

What do you think of this lock?

Aaron of 2whls3spds has made some really cool recommendations for locks on CycleBabble as well. I plan to read a bit more on them soon.
I plan to ride to White Rock Lake tomorrow. I will stop by REI and checkout the locks they have as well. I need a really good lock or two.

Peace :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Thorn in the mail is better than a thorn in the tire!

While I haven't named or completed all of the assembly the new addition yet, here is a sneak peek!
 Peek-a-boo! Underneath all that packaging lies a Thorn Nomad MK2! Phenomenal packaging job by Thorn! Bravo!!
 I see you!
Time to take the pieces out and lay'em on. Brooks B17 and front fork with SKS P65 Chromoplastic fenders and Thorn front rack!
Hey, where is the rest of my frame?
Goody bag with extra zipties, my Tshirt, skewer, spacers etc!
Where is the other half of the frame and why is the frame in two pieces? :)
I get it now. This is how you put together a S&S equipped frame! I simply hand-tightened the couplers before using the special S&S tool provided by Thorn!
After hand-tightening the S&S Couplers and attaching the two pieces of the frame, I had to ask for help from my beloved wife. She held the fork while I attached it to the frame.
Then, I attached the handlebar to the bike. Much of this was prepped by Thorn and I simply tightened some nuts and bolts!
Time for the Shimano PD-MX30 DX ATB Flat Pedals!
Pedals Installed!
Schmidt 32 hole dynamo hub!
Brooks B-17, nice and shiny! Yet to be broken!
Close-up of the S&S couplers!
Busch and Muller rear dynamo-powered StopLight attached to the heavy-duty Thorn rear rack!
Shimano Deore brakes with Swissstop blue brake pads for the Andra CSS wheels!
Tungsten Carbide coated Andra CSS wheels!
Ergon GC-3 grips for added comfort on the Thorn Comfort Handlebars!
Schwalbe Maraton Extreme HS402 Folding Tires - 26 x 2.25!
And, to top it all off, a black Rohloff 14 speedhub!
I still have to make sure I installed the brakes, fork correctly. I think I got the Rohloff cablebox installed correctly. It shifts properly! In addition to this, I will have to make sure I properly connect the cables to the dynamo and the rear light and if need be crimp the cable ends.

This how much I could assemble, given I have never really assembled a modern day bike from ground-up!

I will post more about this bike in the coming days after I have actually ridden it --- no I did not ride it tonight as I was not sure I have the brakes installed properly. Moreover, it was way too late to be riding the new ride before all things checked-out.

I will take the bike to work tomorrow where I have a great coworker who has promised to look over my installation and make sure it is all good!

Can't wait to ride this baby!

Now it is time to read the owners' manuals for Rohloff, Thorn Nomad and Schmitt Dynamo and the lights!

Peace :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nutcase Union Jack Helmet

I bought my UVEX helmet on ebay in 2007. It has been used quite a bit and I still like it. But I know I have dropped it a bunch of times and I wonder if the critical features of that helmet have already been compromised.

I picked up the Nutcase Union Jack helmet at REI Dallas last night. I especially like it as the colors are bright and I hope they make me more visible on the road. It fits quite well, for a BMX type lid, and I like the fun design. The real dealbreaker would be if a) if I get tired of the Union Jack design too soon, and/or b) I can't fit all my lights and my rear-view mirror on it. We shall see!
BTW, Nutcase makes a bunch of really cool designs. They offer what I consider a break from the traditional helmet designs. Nutcase also offer a "Patriot" design, which has the colors of the American Flag.
 
Peace :)

Stuff!

Went to REI tonight and picked up a bunch of camping related stuff. All except the camp cooking gear is from REI Dallas. Goodies are pictured below:
Goodies pictured above include:
  1. MSR Fuel bottle
  2. Clikstand Sawtooth Combo
  3. Marmot Sawtooth +15 Sleeping bag in a dry bag
  4. Denatured Alcohol
  5. Trangia Alcohol Stove (part of 2)
  6. Nutcase Union Jack Helmet
I was gonna check out the gear tonight on the patio, but it looks like it might rain cats and dogs. So, I am holding off till tomorrow night to check out the sleeping bag in my tent.

May be Shaggy will join me. Well, I think if I told him I will fix breakfast when I wake up Sunday morning, he will! I will try to cook something with the Trangia stove and see how that goes. I have never done this sorta thing before. So, I am quite excited to say the least!

Another project I have to work on involves setting up the Nutcase Union Jack helmet like my old UVEX Helmet. I will only keep the Nutcase Union Jack helmet if it works well, obviously!

Stay tuned for further tests and critiques!

Peace :)

Pictures from N900

All pictures in this post were taken using the camera in the N900. This camera comes with a Carl-Zeiss lens!
I setup Meera with a milk crate basket in the rear. I basically zip-tied the milk crate to the rear carrier. I used it for the first time today and it seemed to work just fine.
Meera at the parking lot at work!
Canal over by Royal and Sierra!
Birds and sunset on the Campion Trail!
Think this picture would have turned out okay, if I had gotten a bit closer and gotten out of my truck!
Think this picture would also have turned out okay, if I had gotten a bit closer and gotten out of my truck!
Overall, I am satisfied with the pictures, especially ones taken during the day. I will have to experiment with night shots!

Another thing to test is the video feature of the N900 camera. I will do that soon enough and post about it.

Peace :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kornheiser supports running over cyclists!

I saw this very important post on Change Your Life, Ride A Bike. It is an important post. I encourage you to check out the video in the post! For your convenience, the video is presented here as well!



Y'all be safe out there now!

Peace :)

Nokia N900

I became a proud parent of a Nokia N900 yesterday.
There is more information about this device here and here.

I have been experimenting with it since yesterday. I am still in learning mode.

I will do a quick review of its features and give my 2 cents soon!

Mobile Post 2

Rambo - Hard @ work!

Mobile Post

Click here for untitled

Testing this new plugin for my phone!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tres ciclistas y sus bicicletas!

Today, three cyclistas, Yours Truly, Saman and Sothea, rode to the outskirts of South Lake and back from my home.

It was a different kinda ride. The three bicycles were different. I rode Gikma. Saman rode his Surly Steamroller Fixed-gear bike which has no brakes. Sothea rode his Specialized Mountain bike.

Here are some pictures of the bikes!

Saman's spiffy Steamroller, with a nice Brooks B-17. This ain't no run-off-the-mill fixed-gear. Saman picked some really components for this bike. Chris King Headset for instance!
Sothea's rugged Specialized Mountain bike with serious off-road tires (26x2.10)! It is an excellent bike for the single track.
We had a great time on this trip and learned the following lessons:
  1. A fixie without front brakes is not an ideal bike for riding on hilly roads. Dove road which I take to ride to Roanoke, TX, is the same route we took today. It was a tough one for Saman because of the hills and no brakes.
  2. Rolling resistance is real, especially when you have mountain bike tires.
  3. Bikes with shocks in the front might are really great for Single Track but not necessarily for paved surfaces.
  4. Headwind kicks some serious butt.
  5. 26 miles, lots of laughs and camaraderie is not something you can buy with MC.
A nice video to celebrate today's great joyous ride!


And, the three ciclistas from this post!


Special thanks to Saman and Sothea for the photographs used in this post!
 
Peace :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chip in for Chipseal!

In Ennis, Texas, Chipseal's car-free, environmentally friendly lifestyle is in jeopardy! Please visit Let Him Ride for more details.

If possible, please donate to help pay for Chipseal's defense. You can do this from my blog (click on the Donate button on the right hand side) or from Let Him Ride.

When you help Chipseal, you are creating history.
You are not only helping Chipseal but you are helping all cyclists!

Remember, tomorrow you or I or both of us could be arrested, for driving our bicycles on the road, if we don't protect Cyclists' rights to roads.

I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your generous help.

Peace :)

PS. I am NOT a wordsmith. I sincerely hope you help Chipseal's fight for what is right, in spite of my writing style! Again, thanks!

Monday, March 8, 2010

What's new in Roanoke, Texas?

On Saturday (3/6/2010), I was itching to ride a 50 miler. I thought of riding to WRL and doing a couple of rounds around the lake, and heading back home. This might have given me the mileage I was desiring but I decided to go some place I haven't been in a while and it was a great decision. I rode to Roanoke, Texas and back - roughly 53 miles. This is the route I used!

Things that made this ride interesting were:
  1. I rode Gikma, which is always fun!
  2. She was partly loaded. I loaded my Bug and the Utility Basket.
  3. Majority of the route is on Dove Road, which runs through Grapevine and some nice neighborhoods in South Lake. Dove road has a few nice climbs, not the kinda grades I saw during the Ramble though.
  4. I saw two roundabouts in Grapevine/South Lake. I have seen these in my past life. I find them fun to maneuver, especially on a bike.
The Bug carried my tool kit in my stuff sack, my Burley rain jacket. In the Utility Basket, I simply carried my bike lock (which is not a light weight object) and a couple of odds and ends. I was glad I left some room in it and you will see why as you read on :)

BTW, Burley don't make the Nor'wester Recumbent Jacket anymore. It is a great jacket. It breathes well and you get complete protection from any kinda rain. I have had mine for close to 3 years now and I love it. I think I have grown a bit since the purchase and I bought a size S, women's, because I got a great deal on it. I could use a size men's size L, I think.

On my way, I rode by the USPS Coppell Sorting Center. It is a nice looking, office building, don't ya think?

After passing through Grapevine and South Lake, you will suddenly find yourself in the middle of a country-like setting. Here is a bunch of tall grass. Wonder what's hiding inside the grass :)
Not sure what to call the next few pictures, really! I think they all look beautiful in their own right.
Awww...puffy clouds and an azure sky!
 Here I am just about to cross Highway 170 and enter into the City of Roanoke. Mind you, this is a quaint little town with lots of potential!
Highway 170 was busy even on a Saturday afternoon!
While I have ridden to Roanoke, at least once before, I never bothered to check out the town itself. Shame on me! This time, I rode into town and I found all kinds of interesting places. My first pleasant surprise was The Book Carriage.
The Book Carriage, which is an independent bookstore, offers a decent selection of books, great coffee and some snacks. The store has a downstairs and an upstairs. I love independent bookstores and try to support them as much as I can. They are refreshing than many chain stores. In my opinion, the independents tend to carry a more eclectic selection of books, not just the bestsellers.
The upstairs offers nice seating and quieter reading area.
In addition to books and snacks, The Book Carriage also sells all sorts of knickknacks. I found some very nice greeting cards for some upcoming birthdays. I also found at least five books on Bicycling, including one on Bike Touring (which I purchased) and one on Commuting. The books I bought were on sale, 35% off.
Back in the day, when I used to read lots of books, I always had at least one good bookmark. Talk about a nice bookmark!
Did I mention The Book Carriage sells chocolates for the chocoholic in us? I bought one but saved it for someone else.
Although the town of Roanoke is small, it has a few nice places to eat. Mi Familia, for instance!
Babe's Fried Chicken --- not my cup of tea but still favored by many!
A very nice painting on the wall of one of Roanoke's finest eateries!
I found a shop that sold homemade fudge, all kinds of'em, including Chocolate Peanutbutter! Yummy!
Well, I suppose the idea is to eat a bunch of good tasting food and go shopping at the Chic for a fancy outfit.
What are you in the mood for today? Some Cowboy food may be?
How about some fine German cuisine at Gerhard's? I hear they have a live Polka band at dinner time.
So, if you haven't ridden to Roanoke, I would recommend it, especially if you have the option to ride Dove road. It is simply a great ride and Roanoke does have some fun things to check-out!
Peace :)