January 16, 2010

ON training, and old clunkers

Cycling for me has always been a rather relaxed affair until now. Sure I've raced and been serious about doing my best in the races that I've taken part in, but I've never really trained. I've just gone out for rides and ridden to work and wherever else I go during the week and that has been my "training." This will have to change fairly soon however, since I signed up for a race that will force me to show up in decent shape or I'll get a DidNotFinish. Yes, I've signed up for the Test of Metal this year and will be racing in Squamish this june. I've always been interested in doing this race and now I'm finally doing it. It's a 67km point to point XC race with 1200m of climbing and 35km of singletrack. So I better buck up and start some sort of a training routine. Problem is that I have no idea how to go about this so I'll have to seek advise from friends. I understand that building a "base" fitness is essential and this is achieved by steady, long rides. Therefore the Frankencross will go through a bit of a morphing in the next few weeks. Lime Green Vittoria Rubinos, 50t chainring, left hand bar-con, new bars and front derailleur will go on the bike along with donated gold SKS full wrap fenders (for group rides). So Frankencross will become a winter road machine for a bit. I also plan to take a longer route to work a couple of days a week to give me about an hours ride there in stead of 20 minutes. That should help a bit. The dilemma is what bike I'll be racing. I'm kind of on the fence now, on whether or not to get a new bike. On one hand, the Trek Fuel EX-8 that I currently have would make a nice Test of Metal race bike, if I got rid of the Rock Shox Lyric 2-step for something a bit lighter. On the other hand, The Test of Metal will most likely be one of two XC races that I'll do this season. The rest being Super D and depending on if I get a bike or not, Downhill. The problem is I can't afford to have two bikes and the bikes I'm looking at are six to seven inch bikes more meant for All mountain/Freeride and would be horrible for a XC race. So I have a big decision to make. However, I think I might just get a freeride rig and deal with the TOM when I get to it. Perhaps I can build something up in those 5 months ahead. We'll find out I suppose.
This is one of the Raleighs I'm working on now.
I sometimes buy old bikes when I come across them, either in the shop or somewhere else. I like fixing them up and selling them again to make a little extra money. Since we don't really sell used bikes at Rider's, there's not any conflicting interest there, so the owner does not have a problem with me doing this to supplement my meager income. Right now I've got two Raleighs in the works and an old Columbia built Goodyear Hi-Way Patrol. The Raleighs are usually easy to date since the year of manufacture is often engraved in the Sturmey Archer rear hub of the bikes but in my case neither hubs have a year on them. So I've been trying to narrow down the age of the bikes using incomplete serial number charts and other resources, but I have not yet been able to pinpoint the age. I did find the coaster hub that is on one of them, to give me an estimated year of manufacture to be in the late sixties to early seventies. Not a bad hub if they used it unchanged for 15 years!
Sturmey Coaster 1963-1978!
Sturmey has a great "heritage" site that's fun to check out. Pretty nerdy stuff but I like it: http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.com/history.php Managed to estimate the age of my Raleighs to be between 1963 and 1978. Not super accurate but I'm getting closer.

January 05, 2010

On sci fi and cartoon strips

Avatar is a movie that takes place on the planet Pandora. Humans are mining for the mineral Unobtanium on Pandora, which is said to be the solution to the energy crisis the humans are facing. The main character then has to battle with following his orders or his conscience. The movie is well worth watching but what has that got to do with a bike blog such as this? It does not even have a single bicycle in it! Well, as clever as the moniker Unobtanium may sound, it has already been in use by Rick Smith, the creator of Yehuda Moon, for quite some time now. Weather or not he came up with it before the Avatar guys is another matter all together, but he most certainly published it first. You see, Unobtainium is the Rival Cycles (The Kickstand's main competitor) name for the ultra light but unstable alloy used for the Kickstand's prototype racing bike. This bike was built from a material that the Shakers (The Kickstand's frame builders) named Arborium and is so light that the bike will float away if you don't tie it down, or sit on it. This may cause some problems, and is the reason why the Rival Cycles guys got their dirty mitts on the prototype, copied the meterial through reverse engineering, and renamed it "Unobtainium." This will mean disaster for Rival cycles if karma has her say. But we have yet to find out... Albeit Mr. Smith makes no mention of the energy component of the Arborium, he does let us in on the fact that what makes this Alloy so special is that the Shakers use a meteorite to crate the alloy blend. So who's really to say that we're not talking about exactly the same material here? Who knows? But in any case Yehuda is a must read for every bike nerd.
Arborium prototype ridden by Joe
Unobtainium announced