Jun 14, 2011

New biz card

After playing with this idea for a couple of days, I was able to Photoshop myself a new business card. I like the way it came out. Much more hip than my previous one. The orange, white and black colors stem from my Baltimore roots (Orioles colors). The wings and chainring on the front represent the freedom cycling continues to give me. And the back of the card is framed with the view finder of a Pentax K1000, .35mm camera - the camera I first learned black & white chemical photography with.

Jun 9, 2011

Origin8 48T ring

I put in 20 miles on the fixed gear today and let me just tell you: It was damned hot today! My goal was to find a decent 48 tooth single speed chainring and eighth inch chain. I ended up going with an Origin8 48T track ring and a simple BMX chain. I really like the rugged beefiness of running a robust drivetrain on the fixed gear. I don't trust standard chains under the kind of torque this bike gets. This weekend I'll swap out the rings and put the new chain on. The bike should be running dead silent again; I can't wait!

Jun 7, 2011

Fixing my hood

Last night I took a nice spin around my neck of the jungle on my favorite city bike; my fixed gear. I've been riding my Bianchi Pista since August of 2004. Yesterday evening I wiped all the winter salt from the frame and took it out for a joy ride around my neighborhood and fell in love with the bike all over again. Although it rides great, it's drivetrain is a bit shotty. I'm running a 48 X 16 set up and the teeth on my chainring are completely whooped. There are no flats at the peak of each tooth, instead the flats have worn away to severe points. This also makes the bike a bit noisy. With a proper drivetrain this bike is dead silent. So, I believe I will be replacing the chain and chainring this weekend. The 16T cog on the rear hub is practically new so that's all good.

My major concern with this bike is the frame. During the last bottom bracket replacement, I noticed an considerable amount of rust dust built up in the bottom bracket shell. I really need to spray the inside of my frame with Frame Saver. I suppose some internal rust is to be expected after riding this bike to work through rain and snow over many years. Link

Jun 4, 2011

Picture of the day

Taken at 2:30 this afternoon on the boardwalk at Coney Island with my Canon S90. 1/1250sec @ f/2.8, ISO 80.

Jun 1, 2011

Three days on the West Rim Trail

What an awesome three days of hiking. Spoiler alert: we didn't complete the whole West Rim Trail. We did however, put in an average of nine miles per day. In order to complete the whole 30 miles of trail, we needed to cover about 13 miles on the first day. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. We all had a good time though, and when I say "all" I mean: Rob (who invited me along), Evan, Kristen, Shaggy, Lucky, Jess and myself. Here's how it played out:

Our plans to compete the West Rim Trail were foiled when all seven of us missed a turn at mile six of the trek. Where the trail just about doubled back on itself, we trudged forward in what seemed to be the right direction. Geographic features matched the contours of topo map providing a false sense of security. A couple hours later, after walking reluctantly along logging roads and not seeing any trail blazes, we knew we were off track. Much to our dismay, the GPS on a friend's iPhone revealed our true location: miles west of where we were supposed to be. Though we got turned around the first day, the views of the canyon, river and wildlife were quite amazing.
After hiking back to the trail we decided to call it a day. We had hiked about ten miles and we were all feeling it. Here's the strange part: while collecting fire wood we discovered that we were camping in, pretty much, the exact spot where we took the wrong trail. We set up camp, got a nice fire going and all sat around cooking dinner, talking and goofing off in general. The bugs weren't bad at all and we all fell asleep to the sound of a babbling creek next to our campsite. At about 4:00am I was woken by the sound of an animal brushing up against my tent. I think it was a raccoon. A loud shout and some hand clapping scared it off. After a few minutes I pulled my boots on and stepped out into the early morning to take a look around. I was expecting to see a raccoon staring down at me from a nearby tree, but no luck. I stood by the creek for a few moments before headed back to my tent.

Since our plans to complete the entire West Rim Trail were out the window, we decided to hike about 5 miles further south, camp for the night, and then take a shortcut back to the cars on Monday morning. Sunday's hike started off with grueling climbs, unforgiving switch-backs and nettles that poked your legs and made you itch! On the plus side, the scenery was excellent. The forest was exceptionally green and lush with vegetation. We hiked through sections where the ground was completely covered in ferns. Several overlooks presented themselves along the rim of the canyon and we all took a few moments to soak in the sights when the bugs weren't too aggressive. At times, the bugs were so terrible that you could hardly stand still long enough to fetch an item from your pack!

We set up camp in a secluded little campsite a little bit off of the trail. Another great creek flowed through the site and made for a great little resting spot. We sat on the banks of the creek dangling our toes in the soothing yet frigid waters. In the evening we ate and sat around the fire. A few rumblings of thunder got our attention and when lightening began to flash we knew we were in for a storm. As I laid in my tent with my head near the screened entrance, I looked up into the tree tops which were illuminated by the flashes of lightening. Inevitably, the patter of rain drops put me to sleep and I was out cold.

By 7:00 we were up and at em'. We wanted to carry a fast pace out to the cars so that we could all get home at a reasonable hour. Rain from the night had soaked our campsite and made for a messy clean-up before leaving camp. I flicked slugs from my tent as I rolled it into a heavy wet mess. The sun was shining brightly and sent "God rays" down through the tree tops while mist rose from the creek creating a truly beautiful site as we hiked. I really didn't want to leave. At the same time, my mind was fixed on getting home, taking a shower and ordering a pizza. We cranked out the last 8 miles in about 3 hours.

When we were finished we all stopped into the Smoking Barrel for lunch. Greasy food never tasted so good! I'm sure we were the slinkiest, dirtiest people in the bar but we didn't care. Looking around the table I kind of laughed to myself while I looked at the mud, scratches and bug bites all over our bodies. We were a motley crew. I am looking forward to conquering the West Rim Trail either later this summer or next spring!