Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just a little ride last night, but it really felt good. Found some new trails I had not ridden before, and we planned a bridge on a downed tree. This is cross a must walk part of the trail, and should be nice and safe to boot.

A little bag of goodies from Tomi came today. Pics when completed. Cheers.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Week in advance.

Going to talk business with this guy this week. Should be good.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Long slow short distance.

Last Friday was an exciting day, our long awaited Bikes at Work trailer came. First impression, "Wow, this thing is built really well." Second impression, "Holy crap, it's huge!" Thinking ahead to the summer and two bike race setups, we opted for the long version of the trailer. This will really help us with set up for the July 4th Crit, where hauling barricades around has been a bit of a nuisance for years. Weeighing only about 35lbs, it's a hugely efficient way of carrying large of bulky loads. The cargo area on the trailer is about 18" x 96". That's right, it's 8 feet long, ten from the yolk to the end! Words really fail to describe the looks you get from people when pulling this attached to the Xtracycle'd Klunker. Fully kitted out, it is close to a 18' long vehicle.

With the gorgeous weather we've been having, Sunday was perfect for the trial run of the new setup. The floor under our 4 season porch has close to no insulation under it, making it really cold in the winter. The $35 solution to this, (temporary,) was to place straw bales around the porch, then cover these with snow. This proved to be an ideal fix, and worked incredibly well. Now that it's warm out though, I'm left with 12 soaking wet bales that weigh about 100 lbs a piece. We live in a condo, and our small gardens cannot absorb the amount of straw that was there. They'd have to go somewhere else.

Meg and I have been doing a lot of work on her mother's home, which is where we'd eventually like to build a house. It's a 140 year old farmstead on the other side of town. The lot is great with many reminders of what has been there before. The old barn foundations, the old well, and some of the best soil I've seen make it a perfect canvas to start trees and gardens on. I have been cutting down and splitting old dead elm trees all winter. After this, and clearing the under brush, I'm left with a lot of very fertile, black soil just waiting for weeds to sprout. The trailer provided the necessary solution to this problem. I hauled three bales at a time up to the house, spread them out as mulch, then loaded the trailer with split wood on the way back. It's only about a 2.5 mile trip either way, but with a large hill at either end, it made for a good little run.

The Xtracycle conversion here is not to be over shadowed either. Both worked better than I would have hoped. While the larger load was unquestionably on the trailer, the bags on the bike really kept everything I needed organized. In addition to the extra clothing, food, and water, they held the straps for the wood, sprayer for the deer repellent, (natural and chemical free of course,) loppers for trimming, and a couple of refresher beers for afterward.

Overall, I have to say that it's been a hugely liberating and rewarding experience. In two days, I moved about 1100 lbs of straw bales, and about 600 lbs of wood. I was pretty happy with that considering it didn't really take all that long, and it was really enjoyable. The thing that surprised me the most was other people's reaction to the scene. It drew so much attention it was amazing. Whether the bike was parked at the shop, in front of the coffee shop, or just moving along, people never ceased to look, point, comment or ask questions. By virtue of the necessary uber-slow speeds, it's a pretty enjoyable ride as well. It really forces you to really take things in. You're really going to slow not to notice little things that you would normally miss. All in all, it was a great way to spend the my few afternoons off. I got a bunch of large projects out of the way, got a great workout, and I got to spend some good time in the garden with my mom. I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend than that.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Errands and bike builds

Pretty simple day today. I've got to run some old RF cranks to the powder coaters for stripping and a black redo. I'll also be picking up the coupler bike that they have finished.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Been a while...

Been a while since the last writings. It's been pretty hectic at the shop the last few weeks. Combine that with planning for the wedding, and it's been busy on the days off too. Weather has been hit or miss here lately, it's been hard to ride a lot because of it. I am the first to admit that I am a fair weather rider, at least when it comes to cold and wet. I have the damnedest time keeping warm on wet, cold days. Looks like it's going to be like this for a while, but since it's been busy, I haven't had a lot of ambition to get out there anyway.

Other new things at the shop include bikes and frames from OS Bikes. The brainchild of Mark Slate of WTB fame, these bikes combine classic design elements with modern geometry to make for a pretty original product. From the curvy back end, to the quality standard Reba front, the parts spec on the stock bike is great, with no nonsense parts selected for optimal performance for the dollar. We will be receiving two frames, as well as a complete bike by the early part of next week, so stop in for a test ride! Look for better pictures of the bikes as we get them in and built. I'll be building one of these up as my personal bike, so we'll have one to loan for actual trail rides when they dry up.

The travel bike is also finished and has been dropped off to the powder coaters. It should be ready sometime next week. That's all folks.