This past Tuesday’s Team Caffeine ride was a scenic one, with a stop at the West End Overlook at the half way point. It’s hard not to enjoy the view from here, and the only thing better is seeing it with a hoard of bikes at the top!
If you see yourself in one of these photos and want a high-res copy, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll email you the photo.
I’ve had this vintage Concord Pacer S/S 10-speed road bike for a few years now, but I’m finally getting around to fixing it up. It’s a well crafted steel frame, with paint and emblems in decent shape. As far as I can tell, everything on it is original (except maybe the tires).
The biggest problem was the rear derailleur, which was mangled. So I decided to have some fun and convert it into a single speed. At this point, I’m content with keeping the rear cassette and crankset, shortening the chain and just taking off the derailleurs and cables. I have it on the big ring in front and the middle of 5 cogs in the back. I’m not sure what the tooth count is (haven’y counted), but the ratio is perfect for my commute. I’ve ridden it to work once so far and it felt pretty good, although the frame may be a bit on the small side.
I decided it would be smart to get new tires before I ride it again, given the cracking and separating tread of the old pieces of rubber currently on it (see the picture below!). I should also get new brake pads – again, aged rubber tends to not do too much to stop you when you get to a stop sign at the bottom of a hill going ~25 mph.
Here are some photos I took just after cleaning it up (click on the thumbnails for bigger pictures):
I started hearing the metronome-like tick-tick-tick of the bearings down by my feet as I was biking to work the other day. The unmistakable sound of a bottom bracket gone bad. So I removed the bottom bracket to get the part number and measurements (how am I supposed to remember that it’s a Shimano ES25 with a shell width of 68mm and spindle length of 118mm?). Once I got the bottom bracket out, I was surprised the thing still spins at all.
It took me 10 minutes to clean it enough just so I could read the measurements inscribed on the shell. Lesson learned. Don’t be like me. Replace your bottom bracket before it gets this bad.
I’m hooked. I went to the BMC Demo Day put on by the fine folks at Top Gear Bicycle Shop agt North Park today. Instead of riding the trails, which I normally do at North Park, I wanted to try something different – a road ride. I’d only been on a road ride once before, many years ago. And even then it was on my mountain bike.
The fact is, I’ve always considered myself a mountain biker, not a roadie. I love single track, zipping between trees and over rocks and roots. Maybe it’s the adrenaline rush, or maybe it’s the escape into nature, but I’ve never had the urge to take to the road. I guess I thought compared to mountain biking, it would be kinda boring.
I was wrong.
I won’t go into the reasons why I’ve become so obsessed with road riding – I’ll just leave you with a few shots I grabbed after the ride.
The past couple of weeks have been perfect for biking to work. The mornings have been cool enough to keep from sweating on the way to work, and the afternoons have been almost summer like. With days like this, it’s hard not to stop and take some pictures along the route. Below are just a few from along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, just by Station Square.
Riding to work in the winter (especially in Pittsburgh) can be a lonely journey. Not everyone is
crazy dedicated enough to ride through the rain, snow, and single digit temps day in and day out. But Wednesday, I was pleasantly surprised as not one, not two but three of my coworkers joined me in the car-free commute.
This goes to show you that one person can make a difference. And if there are enough one-persons that can encourage their coworkers to bike to work, then the world would be a better place. Changing the world… check.
The other great thing about working with others that ride to work is that going out for lunch is more fun. We biked the ~2 miles from our office to a local eatery (Double Wide Grill). Fortunately, our office and the restaurant are both very close to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, so no worrying about traffic (just walkers, joggers, dogs and baby strollers).
It’s been a rainy winter here this year. In fact, it’s been so wet I’m finally going to break down and spend some of my hard-earned cash on some proper rain gear (pants and shoe covers, to be exact). As soon as I get something and have the opportunity to wear it a few times, I’ll report back on it to let you know if it’s worth the money.
In the meantime, I’d like to keep this post short and sweet, and leave you with a picture I took on my ride home this evening. It was raining pretty steadily, but I managed to find a dry spot under the roof just outside Joe’s Crabshack in Station Square. There was a slight mist surrounding the city, which made the glow of the lights hauntingly beautiful.
(This image was taken with an iPhone 3Gs and has been enhanced in Photoshop)