Saturday, December 31, 2011

Winter Bike Mechanics

As a bike mechanic it always amazes me how in winter how much time, energy, and effort triathlete's or cyclist's will put in on the turbo trainer. Or their strength, swim stroke, or running form. Yet they put in zilch during that same period for bike work or whatever else could be done. It's really such a waste.

Sure as a mechanic it's wonderful as I get to crank up the labour costs when I have to use blowtorches and hammers to pull your siezed into the frame BB. Especially since the majority barely do any bike mainteneance.

Winter is the perfect time for you to take your tri or road bike to the shop especially since it will only sit bolted to the turbo trainer all winter. Shops are slower during the winter so the emchanics have more time. Take it down to the shop and have the mechanics pull every bolt, clean, and regrease or loctite it. Replace any cables or housing that is cracked. And can't forget to pull, clean, and regrease your seatpost. The seatpost a common area for bonding to the frame. Now is also a good time to pull the old bar tape and install some fresh tape. By doing it now you get to start the year with a bike ready to go and you avoid the annual Spring panic when everyone races to the shop when the sun finally comes out of hibernation.

The other aspect of this time of year that is good especially with the bikes mounted to the trainers. Now is the perfect time to install the new parts like bars, brakes, derrailleurs, and such. Maybe it's just me but as a coach it makes more sense to use some of that time stuck to a trainer to see if one really like those new aero bars or saddle. Plus in winter it's much easier to take one's time and install parts properly. Less being in a hurry and not wanting to miss ride time because we all know how hard it is to get triathlete's to give up training time.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best and Worst of 2011

24 hours till New Years begins so it's that time to review the year.
Worst Event:
Easy really... getting taken out by a car.
But can't of course ignore that I messed up my foot in a bail in the spring so wasn't able to run at all since the spring.
Best Events:

Dundass Monstercross because ride with friend's and soup post ride. Plus the once a year visit to Cafe Domestique.

Antirace because I got to ride some where new. As well as get entertained by the antics of those who inbibe.

Tour du Buttertar because it's always good to refresh one's memory of suffering.

Getting hit by the car in August. Because it shows that the crash skills I learned from years of hurling myself down frozen ski race courses are still there.

Best Parts:

DMR Cro-Mo bars... strong and tough. After installing and a few rides noticed my right hand and forearm no longer get aggravated. Exellent.

Rear wheel...built myself and bombproof.


Fox Launch Knee.. easy to put on and forget. Saved my knee at least twice.

Core Rat Ballistic Jacket.. bombproof, windproof, and keeps warm when wet.

LG Alpine Canada bibs shorts... has Alpine Canada on it.

Can't really say about the what for next year. But it appears that the Dark Side is calling as have been on the treadmill 3 times in the last week.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fear Factor

So far 3 successful rides of this long ride riding up the incline with 11 fails.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Metal Education

In the last month after making a decision to correct a 4 year old bad decision. I began researching into a more useful frame for road riding. Sure I loved my old Centurion Ironman but the problem is that the fork is dead and it's hard to replace.

After consideration I have decided on a Cyclocross frame. Simple frame to do it all on. I'm not aiming to win a World Cup or keep up with Dave Scott. So I won't be requiring weight weenie light or aero dynamics. But of course with the various materiels available it can be a bit of a mine field. Fortunately I had a source of real world info on frames and materiels. I would ask my Croation boss Jay.

Jay learned everything about bikes and frames the hard way in Europe. Doing his own repairs, racing, and working for various teams. Add to that add in a education on machining and metals to go with it. The guy is a walking library of info you will never see in a book. So over the last few weeks I have been picking Jay's mind about frame material. And it has been a bit of an education. It would surprise most to know that in Europe riders don't flip their bikes like we do here in North America. They will buy one frame and ride it until it breaks. Sounds so much like what we where like in the 80's. But what he told me confirmed what I was thinking when it came to frame materiel.

The only choice for a frame that was to be bought once was.... Chromoly steel. Because once the inside of the frame has been sprayed with oil to inhibit rust. A steel frame would keep going. And knowing my destructive habits towards aluminum frames. Well my only option was steel. Plus for me having seen how much abuse my Chromag steel frame has taken in the last 4 and a half years. Well... why go different and tempt fate? Have the same chain stay failure in 4 years? No thank you very much.

Well when I consider that I'm a father and married I have to put aside my "want" and focus on what frame and material will meet my needs. Sure in an ideal world I would have multiple bikes... DH, 29er, Cross bike, road bike, and a tri bike. but in reality my needs require one bike able to ride road, do a group ride, race occasionally, and a little off road fun. Plus add in the fact I prefer to bash my way through winter riding outside. So when all things are considered a steel cyclocross frame is what is needed.

Plus there is one other consideration not usually mentioned. Steel frames have a bit of give meaning they absorb road shock. This doesn't seem significant but when I have a tendency to large volumes of bike mileage. Then add in a permamently messed up lower back from a bad ski racing crash. Steel doesn't aggravate it... while aluminum has done it every time. And aggravated backs take away from the fun.

Of course I readily admit I do take pleasure during races at beating other athletes on the appropriate bike while I'm not. I raced in the early 2000's on a 1988 Centurion Ironman..Dave Scott edition against guy's on the latest Cervelo's. It's kind of a Tom Warrenesque thing. But that is another story. Though it's really about the fact I want to do this once not replace every 3-4 years. And I'd much rather do this once more and have a frame that lasts for a long time.
So after much research have arrived at the choice of a Planet X Kaffanback frame and fork. The biggest plus being that it comes with disc and cantilever brake mounts. This is provides me options for brake choices and rim choices in the future. It will be interesting to document how this build goes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What Tools Carried

Since I had to clean out the tool section of my larger hydration pack. I thought now was a time to share what old dirt bag type riders carry in their packs on the trail to do trailside repairs.
One has to understand that having grown up in BC and especially starting mountain biking in the mountains. I learned the importance of being able to do your own repairs. Because the reality is if you can't it's a long walk and potentially cold walk out.

Tire levers are always required. Normally smaller plastic but because I use a more heavy duty tire I carry these metal levers. The longer length allows more torque to be applied when prying of stubborn tires from the rim.

Shock pump for when the forks need some air. As having one's fork bottom out easily is no fun.
Spare tube as it's easier to simply replace the tube and patch the damaged tube at home.
Small hand pump for when a flat happens. In some situations this will be supplemented with a couple CO2 canisters.

Gerber Multi Plier.. handy for many things from pulling objects from tire to cutting up energy bars.

You know it always amazes me how many people ride with nothing for tools. Nothing messes up your ride like having a mechanical that can't be fixed because you don't have tools. Plus in some places it can equal a very miserable walk home.

Monday, December 12, 2011