Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rosaryville Gets Some MORE Lovin'

Rosaryville is one of my favorite trails in the area. Combine well thought out lines, great drainage, and lots of fast twist and turns, this trail has everything you need, (except a good climb). Upon my last ride at Rosaryville a friend and I were pleasantly surprised by the addition of a new trail and some creative work done by MORE.

The new trail (which I am having trouble finding a map of) will leave you sniffing your fingers with delight.

Check out the details of the work being done at Rosaryville by MORE.


Jackson from the MORE forums posted a link to this up to date trail map.'ll want to stick to the lime green trail and the blue. The purple isn't part of the trail system.
Much appreciated Jackson.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bridging The GAP

Urban Velo bounced this article from Newsweek today about one of the last remaining speed bumps in the completion of the historic C&O / GAP trail connection from DC to Pittsburgh.

The douche bags over at Sandcastle Waterpark, "refused to allow the trail to proceed through their property, even threatening riders with arrest who pedal their bike through their parking lot that features a double yellow line for car traffic, forcing riders to take what amounts to a highway around their property and thwarting what would otherwise be the longest continuous city to city trail in the United States".

These shitbirds are missing a golden marketing opportunity to have legions of active outdoorsy types riding and walking right passed their front door for free. Perhaps they just need some bad press to put this issue in perspective, so please forward this along.

Thursday, you're just not Friday enough for me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Commuter Breathes Salty

If you bike commute in the winter, chances are you're familiar with that dirty salt taste in your mouth after a truck goes by and kicks up a cloud of road salt (and magnesium chloride). It takes a lot of water to make that taste go away. This road salt slurry goes several places besides our lungs, the most fun of which are into local creeks and streams. Passing one of our local creeks this morning I saw this silt sludge build up in a tributary of Sligo Creek. This is the drainage point for several neighborhoods near the intersection of Georgia Ave and Seminary Rd. All of which are covered in sand and salt.

I suspect this is what my lungs look like right now.

It would be nice to find mask out there that would work for cyclists. It would have to be something that can filter out the clouds of pulverized salt but at the same time allows a ton of air to pass through. The lycra face mask will have to do for now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Sligo Creek Triangle

Since wrecking on the ice on Friday, I did what I should have done a few weeks ago. I got my Giant (AKA The Girvin) up and running with some grippy tires to give the LHT a rest from the ice and salt. I haven't ridden the Girvin since I wrecked it last June on a bridge not 50 yards from where I wiped out on Friday. I think I've discovered the Sligo Creek Triangle.

When I wrecked the Girvin, the drive side pedal was ripped out of the crank. I was worried that the threads would be too damaged to use again but the new pedal went on with little fuss (or so I thought). It wasn't until I rode it that I noticed that either the pedal is at an angle of the crank or bottom bracket is bent. It feels very strange on that side, maybe I'll swap out the cranks tonight.

Abused since 1995 and still kicking ass

While I was at it, I retired one of my oldest pieces of bike gear. My first year of issue XTR v-brakes. I can't remember when Shimano first released the XTR line but I lucked into a good deal for these at I'll guess 1997 maybe? Anyway, these were my first venture into v-brakes and I remember that first ride being stunned by their stopping power. They were so strong my frame would flex so I put on a brake booster (seen below), which was a 90's thing that I probably didn't need.

The cantilever I put replaced them with are completely inadequate so I think I'll look around for a rebuild kit. I would be nice to have them rocking again.

Just popped open a brand new case of the Mondays...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Winter: 1 - Cycle Jerk: 0

I kept thinking to myself this morning, I should have ridden the Rocky. Why am I riding the LHT when is snowed last night? This thought didn't linger as it was so beautiful out. Blue sky against freshly fallen snow was inspiring to say the least.

There were no ducks today but the sun beams were coming through the trees and lighting everything up. A good morning indeed.

It was shortly after I took this photo that I hit a patch of ice that was hiding under the new snow cover. The front tire disappeared in an instant and over the bars I went. I was able to plant a foot but my other foot snagged the bars and my elbow met the ice at full speed followed by the rest of my body weight.

Sometime during this moment the drop bar on the drive side got jammed under the top tube. I had to hit it a few times to get it unstuck only to see that it made 2 nice dings in the steel.

I doubt that this will cause a structural problem but I am going to send Surly an e-mail to check.

God Dammit...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

At A Glance: The Camelbak M.U.L.E. vs. The Camelbak M.U.L.E.

There are few items in a cyclist's ensemble that last as long or are more important than their hydration pack. I have had two in my life, both Camelbaks, both M.U.L.E.s. The first one lasted five years and the second lasted nine. Below is a photo of the newly purchased M.U.L.E. adorned by yours truly at the 2001 24 Hours of Snowshoe with the rest of Team Iron Lung.

My current M.U.L.E. is starting to show some wear and has a few design flaws that aren't noticeable while riding so I live with them. What I like about the old design is that it has two zippered pockets to separate small items from large ones.

An extra secure pocket helps me keep the smaller items separate from the bigger ones. I don't like to fish past my cell phone and a multi too to get too the pile of assorted extra chain links and drop outs I carry (of which have saved me many times). With the old design, I have the 'oh shit' pocket which I only go to when it's something serious.

Here is a pic of what I have in the Camelback on any given ride. Yes those are two different dropouts, you never know when you might end up on your other bike. The wrench and bolt are to compensate for a design flaw with the Rocky where the bolt holding the rear shock breaks every few years. It's a little heavy but it beats walking.

So on the new M.U.L.E., Camelbak replaced one of the zippered compartments for an open storage space where you can secure a larger object with straps. Even though they already have a larger overflow space that would serve the same purpose.

Another thing I don't understand about the new M.U.L.E. is that like an automobile, every new model seems to get larger. This pack is meant for the day ride, I don't need carry a change of clothes. Are they making everything bigger because we as a nation are getting fatter (because they keep making everything bigger)?

Ok rant over, this is just an initial impression, I can't truly pass judgment on the new M.U.L.E. until I ride with it. Then I'll be able to tell you how the wider straps with the pivoting hinges and the fancy ventilation works out.

It's freakin' freezing outside, go ride your bike.

I just returned the new M.U.L.E. in hopes to have enough to get one of these. With my old Camelbak still showing some fight in it I think I'll keep it in the ring for another season or two.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back To Work: Staycation Ends

I must apologize for not posting much this month. I took a vacation from work and computing for 4 weeks to help my wife around the house, be a dad, and generally get stuff done. For the most part I was successful. I was able to babysit so my wife could get more tutoring in, I did get some general stuff done, and I kicked ass at fathering.

There were some shortcomings though, I had an idea that I would do one errand a day on my bike to keep things in perspective. This didn't happen. I rode a total of 4 times in 4 weeks which is completely unacceptable. The first two rides were indeed to run some errands, the third was a ride with my daughter in the iBert to take advantage of the last warm day of the year, and the last one was on the trainer in my basement just to convince myself that I was still a cyclist.

The real excitement the staycation was the rookie move I pulled the night of the big snow storm. I was putting platform pedals on my mountain bike so I could go romp in the deep snow in my warm snow boots, when the wrench slipped off the pedal sending my fist into the big ring at full speed. Two cog teeth went as deep as they could go into my pinky depositing their payload of rust and grease with them. After the pain subsided a bit I thought about my options. I might need stitches, I'll need a tetanus, and I definitely need to get the grease out of my pinky. The snow was coming down too hard to drive to the ER so I called a nurse friend of mine who came up with a rather clever solution. Boil a water bottle to sterilize it, fill it with a peroxide/water solution and flush out the wound. This was both unbelievably painful and very effective. The next morning a neighbor with a Defender 90 (totally rad), took me to the ER where they glued my finger shut and gave me a tetanus shot. I only wish there was a way to glue my pride back together.

So with some goals met and some not I am back to work, back to the routine, and back to blogging.

The trail is icy today and I suspect it's going to stay that way for a while. Not the best conditions for the Continental Contacts on the LHT (yeah you know me).

Monday, I wish I could quit you...