Reflection, Reparation, Repentation, Rejuvination, and Recreation

Reflection, Reparation, Repentation, Rejuvination, and Recreation
My 2013 Transition TransAm 29

Sunday, August 14, 2016

So I needed new rear brakes. I looked into internet prices, with shipping , w/o shipping...
I found that most hydraulic disc brakes are pre-bled. Meaning that any monkey like myself can install them in a few minutes. Then I measured the hoses on my bike. They're like 200mm shorter than the hoses provided with a new kit. That means that the slack of the new hoses either will be flopping around in front of me or they'll need to be cut down to the correct size. Which means, the pre-bled kit hose need to be re-bled after cutting the hose, which I don't know much about.
Enter the LBS. Seems that just a couple of years ago there were only a couple of shops around that employed a mechanic who knew anything about brake bleeding --now they're all smartenin up....not many riders have the patience, and/or time to learn this relatively simple process. Some specialized tools are needed also( a bleed kit ) I've bled my Avid Elixir 3's a number of times, with my smart, good  friend Wayne's help. He had a bleed kit.
To shorten the saga abit, every time I wanted to change the brake pads, I had to bleed the system. And still the brakes kinda sucked. Not much modulation and too much lever pull just to make them work, I was getting tired of it. This past June, up at NEMBAFEST, one of our local shops, Landry's, was setup in the expo, offering free bike maintenance. I took them up on the offer, told Jared and Brandon my sob story that I just told you. They bled everything and the brakes were cherry for a few weeks. Then back to the way they were. So, when I finally said "enough!", I looked them up again, back at their Braintree store. As I mentioned, I did some internet research, decided on Shimano, and sure, I could buy the pre-bled rear kit for almost 20 dollars less, but there was that issue of the hose needing cut .....
Now onto my real problem with brakes. They don't make me faster, they only slow me down!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

On the road again

Out on the road bike for the first time in abouta year....
My @1993 Specialized Epic Carbon. Yep, that name that has since been re-branded as their popular high-end FSR rig, was originally a carbon and aluminum road bike. Carbon fiber tubing glued into aluminum lugs.
I bought it at Belmont Wheelworks in 1994. Not sure if it's a '94, or if it was NOS from a previous year , but I got it for a sweet 700 clams. At any rate, the salesman told me that in previous versions of the frame , the interface(glue) of the tubes and lugs was prone to react with the materials, breaking down and causing them to separate....but this particular model year they had painted the surfaces first so this chemical reaction would not happen. I believed him, and couldn't pas up on this fully-105- equipped, light weight machine. I test rode it and loved it. And to this day, ( knock on carbon fiber) , no sign of anything separating....
I once or twice tried to sell this beast back in the day of internet bb's, then decided  I wanted to keep it, and for years after kept getting emails about the original posting. One guy insisted on giving me exactly what I paid for it but at that point I had realized how much I loved the ride and that carbon fiber bikes were getting really expensive....
I've really never ridden another road bike ( except for the Reynolds steel bianchi-styled St Etienne with Campy-copy components that I bought in 1975) , so I don't have much point of reference, but the Epic rode like a dream. And still does.
On a warming pre-spring day when the trails were still soaked from 36 hours of rain,  a rare ride on the road was Epic.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Single Speed

Those who are close know that I have been on a singlespeed bent lately. I converted my Redline D460 to SS last year. Didn't take it all that seriously just riding around the local smooth flat loops. Just made me sluggishly topping out my speed  and/ or silly spinning 140rpm's on the local roads in between.  A few months ago, I tried riding the Blue Hills. Never thought I would be able to with one gear.
So, this (non-) winter I stuck with it quite a bit. I had been switching out pedals and shoes so much with the rollercoaster temps that I finally just left the flats on the RL for the sub-45F days, and spd's on the Tranny for those tasty springlike days....
It has not been easy, even with the current 32x21 gearing. Singlespeed nerds will tell me that I should ramp up the gear ratio because I can just 'tractor' over everything even easier and go faster. I think what they're saying is that I'm going too slow....
Anyways, I rode the SS BH quite bit this (non-)winter, and enjoyed it very much. There are some bigger hills in the BH but not many that are too steep for me to climb, gears or no gears. And even though it's mostly doubletrack and non-technical, it's still a challenge going up and FUN going down and there are long enough loops that I can get a great workout in 1.5 hours, or 2-3 hours if I start at home.... I have a great time at Wompy too with the non-hills and lots of twisty singletrack. Even Prospect Hill is fine, especially ambling up the backside over the stonewalls and such. And somehow I feel even better after a good SS ride...
That said, I recently rode Adams Farm 5 miles one sunday morning. Then back at the parking lot,  we joined another group for 8.5 more miles. Adams' 70 acres or so is CHOCK FULL of tight twisty singletrack. It's also a lot like the Cape with lots of little steep uphill grinds. This is where I need some help. Walked a bunch that day. Could be my late night kitchen hours and a 60 hour work week. Could be I'm getting old. Could be my gearing. Could be my diet. The latter I do usually keep a handle on, eating good before and after the ride. The three former 'excuses' may be more likely, with the first two probably more directly affecting how I feel going up hills, which lower gearing may not cure. I know I could use more sleep, but theres something about getting up early on a Sunday morning and forcing my friends to do the same that brings me joy in an S&M type way. Maybe its the tight spandex. Maybe it's the chains and rubber.
Truthfully, it's just getting 'out there' with the roosters and my fellow riders and the ensuing hootin' and hollerin' that brings the most joy. And the fact that I get home late morning, and have the rest of Sunday to spend with my boy.
But getting to bed at 2 am Sunday after a 12 hour non-stop grill shift and waking up at 6 to ride isn't easy. Usually worth it though.
My reason for all this writing was to justify the fact that I don't really want to buy more parts to switch gears. So I'll keep that 32x21 for now, switch it up with the geared Transition for even more fun. And try to find a way to work less and sleep more.
.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Not sure whose picture that is, but it is truth.
We all have time to ride, so thats not the excuse. I work upwards of 60 hours in the kitchen and still find time to ride. So I will keep this short, 'cause this really is my time to ride. Weekday mornings. Wicked early 6 am Sunday mornings, even after working till midnight and not getting to bed till 2am.....Night rides on the nights I don't work. Rides while the boy is at soccer practice. Long rides on days where the rest of family is outta town. Short 20 minute rides when thats all I got in between painting the house and mowing the lawn and fixing the kitchen sink and catching up on the latest Walking Dead episode.......thats all. Ride your bikes kids!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Oh, Deeer!!



Now I don't give two shites about whether they want to hunt or not, but the 'surveying' is flawed.
I do know that most of the 'surveying' was done by local DCR rangers with little to no experience in counting deer populations. Yes DFW signed off on it and were there.  But three nights of approx 4-6 hours per night, to cover 7000 acres? No way. 
As many know, I've traveled the Blue Hills end-to-end many days and nights and I'm lucky to see one deer  each time. Once in awhile Ill see a pack of 8-10 but thats it. 
AND, I've only EVER seen ONE deer on BUCK Hill, and yes, it was a BUCK!
Like I said, I don't really care either way, but I'm SURE there are not 850 deer in the reservation.
I just don't appreciate being told that this is going on without full comment from and consideration of the public and THEIR NEEDS. What THE PUBLIC needs are COMMUNITY ACCESS TRAILS from Braintree and Quincy so people of those towns can ride mountainbikes through the no-no section over to the trails on the west of rte 28. The rules why the east side is prohibited are vague--anything from scared horse riders to endangered snakes to hikers who may want an experience untainted by an occasional friendly bike rider. OK thats it for now. Welcome back to MountainBikeChurch! :-)
Read on ( and please, read the whole plan when if you have time):

The following is an excerpt from  http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/news/public-meetings/materials/parklands/blue-hills-deer-management-plan.pdf

1.3 Deer Abundance Surveying in the Blue Hills
In early May of 2013, DCR worked collaboratively with DFW to conduct a white-tailed deer abundance survey in the Blue Hills Reservation at the request of the Friends of the Blue Hills. The goal of the survey was to estimate (using quantitative methods) the density of deer per square mile within the Reservation. Using distance sampling as a survey method, two crews of DFW and DCR staff gathered observations and data over the course of three nights for approximately four to six hours each night. The survey was conducted along a representative sample of available roads and trails within and around the Blue Hills Reservation and 14 survey routes (or transects) of similar lengths were identified. Both paved roads and dirt trails in areas considered deer habitat were used. As such, about 80 percent of the study area was forested and/or shrubland and considered to be deer habitat.
Following the physical collection of data, DFW staff performed statistical analyses of the information using several models and methods. Based upon the results of this analysis, DFW estimated (conservatively) that there are about 85 deer per square mile of deer habitat in the Blue Hills. It is important to reiterate that this density estimate is believed to be conservative and that the actual deer population density is likely higher.7 For additional details regarding the population survey and data analysis, readers are strongly encouraged to review DFW's technical report developed and published by David P. Stainbrook, DFW Deer and Moose Project Leader .8
Given the results of the population survey and the density estimates produced, it is very clear that deer densities in the Blue Hills are well above DFW's statewide deer management range of 6 to 18 deer per square mile of forest. In addition, DFW’s technical report also noted (citing Tilghman 1989,9 and Horsley, et al., 200310) that this density estimate for the Blue Hills exceeds the threshold density of 18 to 20 deer per square mile of forest where negative impacts become evident in northeastern forests. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Skinny Sunday morning

So I defected once again to the road bike. I know I know....BUT I did it to honor my friends doing the PMC this weekend, AND I needed to clear my head and lungs from the congestion, AND Chickatawbut was closed as it has been on summer sundays.....
I had a bit of fun chasing the few other road bikers I could find on what I call the Unquity Loop a few times  before going back up and over Chicky and back home.
Just kinda perplexed. I had three guys get by me, mainly when I had lost my focus for a few minutes. NONE of them gave any notice, nor did they respond when I said "Good Morning".....I did catch  two of them and proceeded to school them on riding the bumpy roads that they seemed to be afraid of...
The third got about 10 yards in front of me and decided to clear his nostrils. Mind you this was on a stretch of Chicky that was completely clear of anyone else including cars. He didn't get me but I just thought this was weird. Or is this behavior some kind of superiority thing. If so, I don't really care. I'm never going to defect, really.