Nov 30, 2009

Mountain Cycle

I spent 8 hours in a car today. I drove 530 miles and got to fondle a DH frame in the middle of it all. All while simply doing my job.

I had to take a piece of rail car to a lab for analysis. The company I subcontracted to do this work is amazing. IMR Test Labs in Lansing, NY has some amazing equipment and gave me a pretty in depth tour of their facility. They have a scanning electron microscope capable of over 5000X magnification... that's amazing.

When I walked in the door of IMR, I was shocked to see an old Mountain Cycle DH frame on display along with some other cross sectioned equipment which the lab had performed analysis on. When I inquired, they told me that this particular frame had broken during a DH race and Mountain Cycle hired them to perform a failure analysis, with specific attention to the welds. They told me that the welds ended up being fine, so I wonder what the hell happened...

Nov 29, 2009

Thanksgiving was excellent.

photo by Dave
I haven't had a chance to blog about Thanksgiving until this moment so here we go: Thursday afternoon Dave and Marianna came over to consume mass quantities of delicious food. My wife's, keeping with tradition and culinary excellence, cooked yet another delicious bird. Good gawd it was good... oh so juicy! I played a small part in the preparations; I helped to brine the turkey and like to think that my accurate and consistent slicing of the celery & carrots was crucial to the perfection that was the home-made stuffing.

We had a great time stuffing ourselves, dancing,taking photos, enjoying a few ales and then strolling around my neighborhood so the little dog could do her thing. Yes, even Doris had a thanksgiving meal of turkey, potatoes and squash. Dave took some really spectacular photos from the evening and you should check them out on his flickr page.

And so now, I sit on the couch, polishing off the last of the gerkins, tapping away at the keys of a laptop wedged firmly in place against my dunlop, thinking about tomorrow's ride at Sprain Ridge. I can't wait. I have a little bit of maintenance to take care of the morning (want to see if I can take a couple links out of my chain) and then it's off to the trails with Dave & Alex. It's been a fantastic vacation.

Nov 27, 2009

Mobile Post

I've taken the China town Bus from Baltimore to NY a million times. When I used to live in Baltimore I used to love to throw my fixed gear under the bus and zonk out on a $20 ride to the big apple. Today, on my way to DC, I decided to take Bolt Bus. The rumored electrical sockets and wifi were attractive luxuries. Wow... friggin' awesome. So, as I roll down 95, I am giving props to Bolt Bus. I'll be taking this bus from now on.

Nov 22, 2009

Highbridge Park

Well, this morning I met Dave over at Highbridge Park for a very light ride. We took our DSLR's with us and didn't do a whole lot of riding at all. Didn't do much photographing either actually. Evidently, Sprain Ridge had kicked both of our asses quite thoroughly yesterday. It was nice to be out in the woods though. One thing I will say: Highbridge is seriously neglected. It's in dire need of trail maintenance. I might just buy a rake and head over there next weekend. Someones gotta do it. The last time I was riding there, I came around a bend in the trail and almost ran over a make-shift tent, smack dab in the middle of the trail. I don't mind the litter on these trails. I expect it. I mean, hell it's right in the middle of the city; that shits going to be there. I just don't dig the condition of the trails. Serious love is going to be given soon; by me.

I must say that I love being able to hit at least some sort of singletrack just 7 blocks from my door. I love NY.

Photo by: Dave

Nov 21, 2009

Sprain Ridge Park - Yonkers, NY

What an awesome day of riding at Sprain Ridge Park in Yonkers. Dave, Alex and I rode for a few hours on some excellent singletrack. I loved all the drops and steep roll-downs. Got a real good work out on the hills as well. The end of North Brother's Loop totally kicked my ass! I can't wait to hit this place again when I get my new Cannondale. (Gears & suspension baby!) I'm thoroughly exhausted from the ride. A good night's rest will do me good.

Thanks to Dave for the awesome photos!

Nov 18, 2009

Chris King

Chris King components amaze me. I installed a CK 1" threadless headset in my Bianchi Pista back in 2005. I think in 2006 I overhauled it, though it didn't need it. Today I decided it was time, although it felt smooth as butter. Upon removing the top cap from the upper stack I simply marveled in disbelief... it was immaculate... there was still red lithium grease from the overhaul I performed three years ago. Wow. There wasn't a spec of debris to be found. The inside of my steerer tube was filthy of course, but the headset was impeccably clean! I'll be installing a CK headset on my singlespeed first chance I get.

Nov 17, 2009

Holy Rusty BB Batman!

Wow. So today (day 2 of being sick at home) I made a guide for replacing bottom bracket cartridges. I like the way it came out. Have a look for yourself.

I've been meaning to replace the BB in my fixed gear for a really long time now. I knew it was going to be rusty; I've heard the sound of rusty debris jingling around inside of the frame each time I took the bike down from its hook.

This is how much rust was actually in there: (what's in my hand was only a fraction of it all)

Funny (but not) right? But, perhaps more worthy of snickering is my "inovative" solution to removing cranks by using the wrong tool. My splined drive cranks require the crank extractor tool with the larger sized head than the standard one used for square tapered cranks. Without this tool there's nothing for the extractor to push against. I decided to drop a couple of dimes down inside the crank arm and let the crank extractor push against them... it worked! (like a charm I might add) Only cost me $.20 per crank arm!

Nov 16, 2009

Lubricate or die

Following up the headset overhaul guide I made yesterday, today, I made a guide for lubing your bike. It covers about 70% of the bike; I still need to cover hubs & bottom bracket. Take a look.

I really enjoyed making the guides. I'm going to continue making them. I don't kno why I didn't make them sooner. Stay tuned...

Nov 15, 2009

Site Update

All of this recent mountain biking has prompted me to put more mtb content on my site. After all, I chose the name "phattire" out of love for my fat-tire addiction. So, yesterday morning, while overhauling my headset, I snapped some photos along the way. I've added an "mtb" menu button at the top of the site and if you go there, you'll eventually wind up here. There will be much more to follow I'm sure!

Nov 13, 2009

2010 Cannondale F1

I'm doing my best to be patient until I get my 2010 Cannondale F1. This will be my first Cannondale. I was never a fan of them in the past. In all my XC racing I steered clear of them; even turned my nose to the sky when I saw them. I felt they were trendy, weak because of the sanded welds, and their extended chain stays at the rear drop outs (on really old ones) just looked ghastly to me.

But now that I'm back in the mtb scene (and loving it) my addiction has resurfaced. I'm, once again, reading every moutainbike magazine, website and message board and getting filthy dirty on the weekends. My lovely blinglespeed which brought the passion back into my life has made me want more. By more I mean: Gears and suspension! My elbows will thank me.

Nov 12, 2009

New Pedals

Picked up a new pair of pedals for my mountainbike. I'm a HUGE fan of Crank Brothers pedals. I've used their Candy pedals on my mountain, cyclocross and fixed bikes. Hell, I even have them on my road bike right now. I've always wanted to try a pair of Egg Beaters, so I picked up a pair for my singlespeed. I'll let you know how they work after this weekend's ride at Blue Mountain!

A Retroactive Post

Boy, I've been one busy guy. My website and blog have seen absolutely no love. I'm sure my readers are extremely disappointed! (both of them) I have been doing a lot of riding these last few weekends despite the very slow recovery of my elbows. They ache pretty badly these days, but only when in use... is that a good thing?

I wanted to throw up a few snapshots from a couple of great mountainbike rides I recently took with a couple of friends. So here we go:

November 7, 2009 – Cunningham Park , Jamaica Queens.

Another great day of riding. It never ceases to amaze me, just how excellent the singletrack is, at Cunningham. What's lacking in quantity is made up for in quality. It's chuck full o' tight and twisty trails with lots of jumps, dips and dives. I love it.

Alex carving a turn at Cunningham park

November 1, 2009 – Blue Mountain Reservation, Peekskill, NY.

Great day of riding, although it was jam packed full of stops. We spent the entire ride trying to figure out just where the hell we were. There were so many leaves down that the trails blended in and disappeared. GPS tracking later told me that we spent about 85% of the ride in Depew Park. Nevertheless, we had a great time and the singlespeed was a blast to ride.

Click here for a giant panoramic view of a swamp we came across.

My singlespeed pleasure machine