20130531

Any Araya Experts Out There?

I'm usually pretty okay at tracking down info and history of parts, but this one's got me stumped.
Tell me your secrets.
It's an old Araya disc wheel that has come to live with me, and that's about all I know.  It also needs a new tire, and I believe it might be made of aluminum.  


Aluminum...honeycomb?
I do remember reading about aluminum disc wheels some time ago, but I can't find the article or any info.  It has a Dura Ace Skewer though, so that's nice.  


Other side.
Any one have any history on this wheel?  I'm not sure if I want to hold onto it or not, but I'd like to know at least a decent amount about it nonetheless.  

It's shaping up to be a lovely weekend.  Ride and enjoy it! 

20130529

A Chico Ride

The road where I was staying up in Chico was one of those roads that was just screaming to be ridden, so that's exactly what I did.

There were lots of other cyclists out on most days, but I ended up going out during a slight drizzle, which here in California causes most people to go into panic mode and give up leaving their houses and driving anywhere, let alone riding.  It was cool, quiet, a little wet, and beautiful out on my ride.

Also I found a waterfall.
I'm always shocked at how much more I notice when I ride a bike instead of sit in a car - my family and I had been up and down this road more than a few times with all of the graduation madness, yet this was the first time I noticed things like this little waterfall.  Or the rocks that someone had neatly stacked in small piles.  Or the super crazy hyper religious signs that plastered the lawn of one house in particular (Jesus is apparently very pissed off at the "lebrals").  The road twisted through the woods with views of the buttes (you read that as butts) and the bubbling of the creek, and then it opened up to something else entirely.

Now this is how you mark a bike path.
A bike path that connected to the road I was on was very clearly marked with a rather clever entrance (and the same exit, as I later found).  The chainrings were even marked with the number of teeth!

Looks like they didn't opt for a compact crank.
Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be in memory of a local cyclist.  He seems like he was a pretty cool guy, and seeing something like this done in memory of someone gives me a lot of respect for this town.


My ride continued until I got to a point where I realized that I was about to get lost, so I turned back to our little cabin in the boonies.  Around this time I remembered that I do, in fact, have Strava, which I turned on, and then proceeded to stop and take more photos like I always do so my average speed is nothing short of terribly embarrassing.  I really should stop doing that.

Not quite 130 BCD.
During this little jaunt of a ride I was on my fixed gear, which I'm really falling in love with.  There were hardly any climbs on this ride, just a tiny bit of elevation change, so it was the perfect bike to take.  Its silent drivetrain also let me hear the rain and the sounds of the forest as opposed to a hub, which made the ride all the more zen.  

There were a lot of cars sharing the road with me, so my obnoxiously orange wheels helped me be seen a bit too.
I also saw some excellent prints when I was out walking around town, but the store selling them had closed for the day.  Despite that, I grabbed a few photos through the glass - I would love to own these prints, so if anyone know of the artist's website, please let me know!

EDIT: The artist is Jake Early!  His process is pretty neat, check it out here.


I would have loved to have done more rides, but time just didn't allow for it.  Perhaps next year I'll give the Wildflower Century a go - I've wanted to do it for a while, but finally riding up in Chico made me realize how lovely it would be.

And alright, I wasn't really in the boonies.  I was 12 miles outside of town.  I'll stop complaining now.  

20130528

There Is No Internet In The Boonies

I didn't know that I would be sans wifi until I got up to Chico, but on the bright side I was mostly too busy to write anyway.  

I went up to Chico for my sister's graduation, but since Chico is pretty big into cycling I got to see a lot more than just caps, gowns, and drunken parents celebrating the end of paying lots of money to send their kids to school.

I'm going to split this into two posts since it's late and I require a massive amount of sleep to be viable during the day, but the coolest thing that I saw when I was there had to do with the fact that Chico State University decided to commemorate their 125th anniversary with their very own bicycle.  I like Chico just on its own as a town and a school, but I have to give them props for doing this.

I grabbed some photos of the display bike.  There are plenty more under the cut.

The Wildcat Cruiser itself. It was designed by Felt, with the logos designed by a graphic design student.

20130522

Finally

First and foremost, this is the coolest underpass ever.

Second, I actually had a moment while there was sunlight outside, so I did this.
Because nothing says classy photo shoot like a two tone fence.
There are many more fancy angles, but I'll keep them under the cut so you don't miss the two beautiful lo pros under this entry.  

20130521

Rychtarski Alert!

This listing has ended, though it appears the reserve was never met.  If it is relisted, I will let you know.  

One more for you lo pro fans, also currently on eBay.
Different type of clamp.  I don't know much about Rychtarski, but it looks well made.
Beautiful frame.  58cm according to the listing, so a bit big for me. 
Via Pedalare!Pedalare!

20130519

20130514

My Kitchen Smells Like Frame Saver

I'm not sure if most of the Frame Saver ended up in my frame or on my face, but frame, fork, and stem are all properly frame-saved and now drying after the second application.  It was only after I finished everything that I noticed the bottle has a warning about doing everything outside and wearing eye protection, but I haven't died yet, so I'll consider it a victory.

Once the headset arrives, that will be the next step.  

In all of its paper towel stuffed glory.
Another victory today when I was pointed to this site.  Their jeans are currently sold out, but they have plenty of shorts for both men and women.  Along with some other really cool gear, they have a neat try-before-you-buy policy, where they don't bill you until you confirm with them that you're keeping your order.  Otherwise, you send it back to them in the pre-paid packaging.  

I've no idea how I've managed to go so long without discovering this awesome Tumblr, but now I'm worried on what else I am missing out on.

If you're in the Bay Area, Commute.org is doing a thing where you can pledge to take alternative transportation at least 8 times during May and April.  This includes biking, walking, trains, boats, what have you.  You get prizes, so sign up.

I'm a sucker for bike related household objects, so I will probably break down and get one of these bike plushies because it's adorable.  And speaking of awesome Etsy finds, here is a wonderfully offensive bike poster (safe for work, unless your boss has zero sense of humor).

Probably most of you know about Chainlove - a Woot of sorts for bike components and gear (with some tri stuff thrown in) but if not, now you do.  You can get some killer deals - I got 3T Ergonova Team Bars for something like sixty percent off.  My coworker told me that they had a full SRAM Red group early Sunday morning for $1200, and I told him that if that ever happens again and he doesn't call me we can't be friends anymore.  Regarding this - I try to buy locally as often as possible and support my lbs, which I do often, but if I find a killer deal, I take it.  

Next few days are going to be slightly nuts, so in the meantime here's a pseudo black and whiteish photo (I have no shame) of my cat guarding my District Carbon.  
He always knows when I'm about to leave and gets mopey.

20130512

Small Victories

//Super awesome update: I wrote to Novara about how awesome they are, and in less than a day heard back from the Product Line Manager, Cyndi! Here's some of what she had to say in her e-mail (used with her permission):

"This collection was conceptualized back in October 2011 – yes, that’s how long it takes to bring new product to market. The buyer, designer, and I (all women) collaborated to put the collection together, then the designer worked her magic to bring it to life. Our developer (another woman) like the rest of us is a cyclist. We all wore the samples as much as we could to make sure they fit and were comfortable."

"We are doing a full length jean for women for fall. Look for it around August.
We are also adding a car coat length quilted (primaloft) jacket in red and long sleeved plaid shirts that like the short sleeved version have a reflective thread woven into the plaid design. We’ve just finished our spring 2014 line and are well into fall 2014 development. I can’t talk about what’s coming yet, but stay tuned as we’ve got more fun styles on the way!!!"


Cyndi, thanks for being awesome and for being kind enough to write back to me! I'm excited for what exciting things are to come (through 2014, I might add) and will be checking back for cool new designs and the fall and winter gear in August.

//Update End

I've bitched a lot about the lack of women's clothing for commuting.  It's a subject that will send me into a crazy feminist rage way moreso than any sandwich comments, kitchen jokes, or 1950s housewife similes.  Today, however, I have good news for my fellow commuters.
A friend of mine last week showed up to dinner wearing women's commuter jeans.  No, they weren't men's jeans.  No, they weren't overly custesy and lacking functionality.  And no, she didn't have to travel to the ends of the earth and collect the tears of orphans to get them.  Intrigued, I went to the source: REI.

As it turns out, REI's Novara brand has launched commuter lines for men and women alike.  But the best part - the very best part - they are 100% equal.  Men have nice commuter shorts made for them, and so do women.  Jeans?  Got 'em.  Jacket?  Yep.  Nifty t-shirts?  You bet.  In fact, everything offered for men was also offered for women, and with just as much style and functionality.  That's right ladies - no more ultra cutesy jeans that sacrifice function - these clothes are built for commuting.  You can't see it, but I'm doing a victory dance.  

I would personally like to thank the person who realized women also ride bikes.
Everything is available online, but still I recommend going to your local REI and reveling in the fact that the men's and women's rack look identical - though I was informed by Novara that some stores don't have it available yet, so call first.  If you can't get it locally, I can let you know that things run pretty true to size.  Don't be fooled though - the clothes are definitely made for women and not just rebranded as "women's."  Usually I have to go up a size to get jeans that fit my legs, but the shorts and jeans I tried on were perfectly made for my 20-mile-a-day thighs.  And well made, too!  Reflective bits and pinstriping, quality fabric, U-Lock holders, a bit of a liner that doesn't make you look like you're wearing Depends, and a higher rise on the back so the rest of the world doesn't see The Eye of Mordor make these a must have.  

It's the little things.
Though I fell in love with just about all of the clothing, I settled on two pairs of shorts to get me through the inevitably wicked summer, but I do plan to go back for the jeans when California stops spitting out 100+ degree days for the year.  The shorts themselves are also work friendly - they can convert from cargo or Bermuda style to a shorter inseam, but worn either way are long enough to not be considered offensive by people who have nothing better to do with their lives than to judge everyone else.  Also, they're pretty flattering.  Pretty much the best of all words here.  

A reflective Novara logo on the dressier capri style commuter pants.  These were not only well made, but classy looking enough for a semi formal workplace or gathering. 
The t-shirts had some nice designs as well, and were printed on quality shirt bases (is that a thing?) with good inks/silkscreening/whatevers.  Here are a few of the offered designs for women, with a similar or same design offered also for men.  Really, the only non-equal thing was that there is a skirt/skort option for women, and a long sleeved overshirt for men, which is pretty unisex anyway and has the nifty reflective pin striping and I want one.  
A real road bike, not a "cutesy girl bike." Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's refreshing to see this!
One of my favorites.  I love the derailleur!
My plan is to wear the crap out of the shorts I got and do a formal review, but don't wait for my opinion - ladies, if you need commuter clothes, go check them out for yourselves!  And gentlemen, I recommend you do the same.  

On that note, Happy Mothers Day!

20130510

Guys. GUYS. It Was Bike To Work Day

Love it or hate it, it's happening today.  And seeing that this is really the only day a year that I get food, goodies, and lots of friendly greetings on my ride in, I'll take it.
Plus I get to hang out with other bikes.
Speaking of goodies, I was a bit bitter last year when I rolled up to an Energizer Station only to find that I was too late for anything except one of those overly crumbly granola bars.  It was at that moment that I wished those of us who biked to work every day got some sort of special recognition, but with sadness and crumbs I accepted my loss and vowed to get something cool next year.  Which is why, with much protest from my sleep deprived body, I set out at about 6:15.
I GOT ONE. Worth it.
Despite the fact it was too early to function properly, I saw quite a few people heading north.  I had a bit of fun playing "spot the regular" - and it seemed to be about half and half in terms of daily commuters and those that were just out for bike to work day.  There were far fewer people heading south though, and I was one of the very few.  The early morning cloud cover and fog probably didn't help get people out of bed to ride all that much, but I love it. 
Stopping by the San Mateo Bridge to shed some layers.
I reached an Energizer Station located near Oracle and was shocked.  Usually, these stations are little white tents set up with a volunteer or two and some bagels.  This station was multiple tables with a full breakfast spread, tons of fruit, coffee, orange juice, hot breakfast, and lots of goodies.  I got my swag bag and spent a few minutes there with people, of which there were all kinds.  It was nice to see the die hard roadies mingle with the classic commuters - everyone was enjoying themselves, taking a quick break from their rides to talk bikes over a glass of orange juice and going through the various gadgets in the Bike To Work Totes that were handed out.  


Bags!  Each tote contained a Caltrain Tag, Chico Bag, various cycling brochures and information, and a few other things.
Quite the spread!
This area near the Oracle Bridge is a major hub.  Many thanks to the volunteers for putting this together!
Continuing on, I only saw a few more people on my ride in, but it was still pretty early.  I arrived to work just as the gym was setting up their special event for Bike To Work Day, complete with free bike tune ups, more food, and massages.  I was one of the first to get there, and spent a bit of time talking to the mechanic there and eyeing the Felt bikes for sale (nice marketing strategy!) and also talking to the few people that were trickling in.  Some were regulars, some were not.  Some did this ride every day and were happy to offer advice to the newer riders, and others who'd never ridden in before were trying to figure out if they were really going to ride home. 
Bike demos and free tune ups.  Great marketing strategy!
Hanging out with some cool people and pretty bikes.
All in all, there were lots of people out there.  While I can't speak for how packed the trains must have been, the Mayor of Mountain View definitely made it out, and the people at SV Bike Style got some good photos of a few riders.  Hopefully some of the newer riders will stick with it!

But wait - the Bike to Work Day Afterparty is also happening.  And, there are prizes being awarded for a few lucky people registered on the Bike to Work Website.   The night is young!

20130507

Not How I Wanted to Start My Tuesday

My soul was crushed today when I went over to Biking in LA and saw that there won't be any posts for a while.

If you've never been to Biking in LA, you're missing out - it is, in my opinion, the best source of cycling news for Southern California AND just about everything else.  The author goes to great lengths to source stories, articles, news, and information regarding everything related to bikes.  I discovered the site when living and commuting in Los Angeles, and any information or questions I ever had about events, places, infrastructure - all answered there.  

If you're an avid reader like I am, and can't stand the thought of not having this awesome site updated and truly appreciate the hard work that goes into Biking in LA, there is a Paypal set up where you can donate something if you can afford to.  And really, this isn't something I do often or lightly.

Unfortunately, I get home just after daylight, so no pretty frame pictures just yet.  I did manage to snag a photo of the stem that shows some of the sparklies.  

Not all of the sparkies.  Just some.  
Bike to work day is Thursday, for those of you for whom bike to work day isn't every day.  If you're going to be riding in the Bay Area, I'll see you out there!

20130506

How To Guarantee Rain

Step One:  Wait until it's been 80+ degrees for the past two weeks.

Step Two:  Remove fenders, clean bikes, put away winter gear.

Step Three:  Wait two days.


I'll take this over 80 degrees any day. 
I actually really enjoy the rain.  And I also have an Ass Saver handy!

Those of you in the bay area might be interested to know of a framebuilding class and various lectures that are coming up.  Apparently the class is pretty good, and the lectures seem rather interesting.  I'll be at the one on Technology and Innovation!  The frame building class looks pretty nice, but I'm going to be focusing on starting my own little shop here, which brings me to...


And they say powder coating makes lugs look bad.  Pssh.
My frame came back from the powder coater today.  It looks absolutely stunning, which is why the one asstastic cell phone picture is the only thing I'm posting.  That sparkly charcoal paint job needs to be photographed with something that can capture its beauty, so when I get some good light I'll bust out the DSLR.  These powder coaters were killer, by the way - all threads and contact areas masked, perfect and even finish, and for a great price.  If you're in need of powder coating, go to Maas Brothers.  From now on that's where all of my frames are going.  

The box that it's sitting on with the barely visible "heavy" sticker - that's my new-to-me frame alignment table.  I'm serious about this framebuilding thing.  Go big or go home, right?  

The biggest question now is: black or silver headset?  

20130503

Life is Like A Box of Bike Parts

On Monday before I dropped off my frame at the powder coater in hopes it would return to me safely, I sent out an e-mail to my fellow cycling geeks who work with me to see if anyone wanted to admire my (shoddy) handiwork before it was covered up.  The best part about this is taking a few minutes to geek out about bikes with my coworkers - we talked about parts, frame materials, brazing, and a little bit of everything else, which is always a nice mental break when things get a bit crazy at work.

One of my coworkers, however, delved into his glory days of riding and working on bikes, and told me all about how he used to ride and work on his bikes.  Then, surprisingly, he asked if I wanted any of his old stuff.  I was completely taken aback, and said I would buy whatever he was willing to part with, but he insisted on giving me just about all of it (though I did give him money for those lovely Campy tools and promised future bike repairs - it's the least I can do!!).  

The next day, a large box of goodies showed up at my desk.

It's like Christmas, but for people like me.
Going through everything was like travelling back in time.  Everything was vintage, though all in excellent condition - the tubular tires are still good, and the rims and wheel that was also included in the bunch are very well cared for.  

They're quite nice...dare I say they're Superb.
I was most excited about the various tools, since I'm working on bikes most days of the week and am always finding the need for extra tools.

Headset and bottom bracket tools!  Whee!
Yep, Campagnolo alright. 
Along with the tools, there were a few tubular tires and a well broken in saddle.  I don't know much about the saddle's origin, but it seems to have a decent amount of life left in it.

Ideale, Superbe - maybe they were on to something...
A chainring and freewheel, still in the box.  

There were a lot of Campy boxes and manuals in my goody box, but this was the most colorful and complete.
Next was a really nice looking Suntour Cyclone derailleur, along with the matching Superbe rear hub, the bearings on which are still impeccable.  A Campy C Record front hub was also among the bunch, as were the Campy levers.  The hoods are a bit distentigrate-y, but the levers themselves are great!  My coworker took great care of these parts.

Apologies for the ridiculous depth of field.  It's dark and I'm impatient.
There were lots more tools, little parts, bearings, spokes, and more.  I found a chain breaker, crank puller, a few chain whips, skewers...it was magical.

The bag contains Campy downtube shifters.
I still need to finish going through the box.

Lots of these parts I will use, but anything that I can't will be donated to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.  

Most importantly, I always try to pay awesome acts of kindness like this forward.  Many thanks to my coworker - if you're reading this, you've no idea how happy you've made me!

It's Friday night.  Time to get greasy and work on bikes.  

20130501

A Brief History Lesson a la Suntour

I'm probably looking at your bike.  If you see me awkwardly staring in your direction with a glazed over look and my mouth hanging slightly open, it's because I'm analyzing the parts on your ride in my head.  Because of this social awkwardness (or awesomeness) I tend to notice little parts and bits on bikes that are more unusual than others.  I complemented a guy once on his twisted spoke lacing and he said I was the first person to notice it - I just thought it was cool.

So it was no surprise when I ran into a rather nice fellow commuter and noticed his brakes (or rather ran into him because of his brakes), which he was gracious enough to let me photograph.

Now that's interesting.
Having rarely seen this sort of brake and never before with a Suntour logo, I had to ask about it.  I learned that apparently a man named Charlie Cunningham of Marin had developed these types of brakes, known as roller cam brakes, and that Suntour had made them for a short while.  Roller cam brakes are interesting in their own right, and these especially caught my eye as they were nothing like what I was used to seeing from Suntour.

Apparently they did other parts too.

I didn't get a great look at the stem, but he said it was also a Cunningham/Suntour design.
This gentleman told me that people often offer him large sums of money for his bike, which has all original stock.  He says he's had it for years and just loves to ride it.  

I don't know if these really are rare, or if this is a well known fact, but I certainly knew nothing about it.  I love that I can learn something about bikes just about every day.