Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rawland Oalf 650b DONE.

Eric is a very happy man. He has a bike back in the stable. One of several to come for sure. This one turned out great. During the process of getting it all together, he thought he was going to go with a more....basic build. As you can see, that didn't really happen.

From The Prairie Peddler

Parts are about as shiney as they come. White Industries hubs, cranks, bottom bracket and freewheel add up to a seriously blung out bike[even more so with the double/double set up]. Not to mention the Thomson Stem and Seatpost. And the Ti railed WTB Silverado with Salsa Bell Lap bars. Avid BB7 front brake, and Paul Touring Canti rear. Nice stuff.

And the best thing? The first words out of his mouth when seeing it: "This'll be the cleanest it'll ever be." Awesome.

Drool on.

From The Prairie Peddler

From The Prairie Peddler

From The Prairie Peddler

From The Prairie Peddler

From The Prairie Peddler

For those curious about the whole 650b thing, feel free to ask away. I've got this bike done, and am currently working on a Surly 1x1 that will be B'd out too[if ever there were a perfect bike, I think the 1x1 is it folks! It can do anything!]. I like the platform, and think that it makes sense.

If you're in the market for a bike like this, I am able to sell Rawland via the interwebs, and will be happy to set you up! My prices are more than fair.

And lastly, lets ALL be thankful tomorrow, and the in the days to come. Be thankful for what we have, and the lives that we're blessed with. We've all got it pretty damned good. Dig in and enjoy the meal tomorrow! I know I will.

And then I'll be back here on Friday, selling away. For the locals out shopping, I most certainly DO have Gift Certificates for your loved ones. If you're in the market for a bike, ALL of the 2008 bikes are 15% off right now. Gotta clear 'em out and make room for 2009!

Listening to: Modest Mouse; The Moon and Antartica

Monday, November 24, 2008

Short one today.

And there's a reason.

From The Prairie Peddler

I got work to do! Eric will soon be a very happy man.

I did manage to get out and ride this weekend to. Ryan and I are both signed up for the Ragnarok 105 on April 18. We'll be doing this 'training' thing all winter.

One mountain ride in a dusting of snow.
From C1X

And one gravel ride in a dusting of lime.
From C1X

Good stuff! Off to wheel building.

Listening to: The Pixies; Surfer Rosa

Friday, November 21, 2008

Testing. Is this thing on?

testing a new format. Something wider. Shows pictures better. After all, this is mostly a visual thing.

From YR GRinder

Thanks to Ed and Jason for the inspiration.

Listening to: Steve Earl Copperhead Road

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

daily [almost] reading

Welcome to the interwebs. Land of frustrated writers and writing frustratedly [me]. Everyone who spends any amount of time surfing knows that there seems to be no end to to this thing. One thing we bloggers typically do is post little links to other blogs we read. I've done that down to the right there. Yep, yust right down there. I do go to almost all of them on a regular basis. I've found a few though that have been garnering more of my attention.

The best of these is pdxcross. If there's one thing you do today, click this link. Especailly if you like photography. And Cyclocross. The two are combined in this photo blog of the Portland cyclocross scene. For the unintiated, Portland OR is what many would consider the center of the US cyclocross world. I'm sure there are some out there who would debate that, but when you look at what they pull in for registered riders, especailly this year, its kinda hard to argue the point. Nearly every race they have held this year has had over 1200 riders in all classes. Yeah, One Thousdand Two Hundred riders. awesome. Lets spread some love to the rest of the country for what could be the most perfect cycling discipline, eh?

Sorry, got distracted there. pdxcross has what I think are some of the most arresting images of the cross world. There are some brilliant shots to be had there. I suggest starting from the very beginning, and working your way to the present. the coolest thing though is that they're publishing a coffe table book. I'm there.

Another blog I read with a regularity reserved only for bowel movements is How to Avoid the Bummer Life. Its full of juvenile humor, bacon, pbr, Danzig and hijinks on bicycles, and could mostly be considered an arm or leg of the marketing juggernaut of Swobo. This is the blog where I've seen possibly the most awesome rawk band to date. Red Fang. YouTube Prehistoric Dog. Srsly.

Fat Cyclist is one I get to about every two weeks. This one is hard. FC is one funny dude. Just thinking about it, I chuckle. Lately though, the funny's have been replaced by something a bit...more harrowing. Click through and read it. Its very hard to NOT get all wrapped up and sobbey. And dammit if I'm not going to support what's happening there. Win Susan!

I like pictures. Alot. I take them [meagerly]. I look at lots. And these are some of the best out there. Anthony was a regular at MTBR not too long back, but tragically [?] left the place. Not really tragically. Its all for the better. He's happy to not have random haters coming down on him. Read/look at his pictures and see if you can't be inspired to either go ride or take that shot you've been thinking about.

Best run. Read and enjoy folks.

Listening to: Miles Davis//Kind of Blue

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Morning dirt!

The last few Monday's I've been lucky to be getting out and getting some dirt under my tires. With the weather being mostly ok, its been nice to get out and enjoy the woods.

I feel pretty lucky to be based where I am. Sure, its not Colorado with its epic trails laced through ever more scenic mountains. Its not California with its hallowed ground trail systems. Nor is it rock infested technical single track like out east. I get a little bit of all of it. Well, minus the hallowed ground stuff....

As I ride out of my driveway, I have 4 miles to get to trails that are anywhere from easy to down right nasty. I still feel like I haven't gotten a full grasp on how long the network is up in those hills. I think I've hit at least 15 miles so far, with maybe another 10 or so to find.

From Backyard Trails

From Backyard Trails

There's lots of ^^^^^roots^^^^ and lots of \/\/\/rocks\/\/\/

From Fall riding

From Backyard Trails

In between there are lots of sections of utter butterly smooth bliss.

From Fall riding

From Backyard Trails

And occasionally, you do get to break out the thick woods and onto an open vista:

From Backyard Trails

The best thing, and the worst thing, about these trails, is that I am almost always the only person out there. Sure a few of the shots above have riders in them, but they're now college kids off doing their own things elsewheres. That leaves me to leading guests through the system, showing them what's up. I'd sure like to show some [more] locals what we have out our back door. It really is some of the best stuff going. Some day, we'll get more out there. Some day. Until then, I'll be happy know at least I can get out there!

Listening to: blessed silence. No screaming girls. No trains. No sirens. No panting dogs. Just an annoying computer hum. oh wait. Now its off too. Yay!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What Eric is looking at: Bike #1

You all probably remember the story I posted about a few weeks back. Bad things: fire + bike storage = melted bicycles.

We've been working here to get Eric back up and running. This is his first rig to come through. A Rawland Olaf SS. This is a pretty unique bike. Its designed around 650b wheels, a standard brought upon us mountain bikers by Kirk Pacenti. Its been around the road scene for a while now, initially with the french as touring bikes in the 50's and 60's, but more recently from Rivendell.

Anyways. This bike is unique. If these wheels look big, it because they are. That's a WTB 2.55" tire on the front. About as big as they come. And it fits this bike. Barely. By like 3mm barely. Awesome. I know it doesn't look like it from the angle of this shot, but that wheel DOES go 'round! We were also playing with bars, seeing what looked like what. Drops, yeah. Low risers, yeah. H-bars? nah. Don't really look right on this bike.

From TPP
The rest of the parts for Eric's bike have been ordered. He was originally going to set it up modestly bling...but shiney parts got the better of him, and it'll be fully kitted out with White Industries(yes, I am a dealer now. If you want some swanky WI stuff, let me know!) and Thomson. This'll be a looker when all is said and done.

From TPP

Hopefully, by the end of the week, we'll have a runner here.

I've got another one here to go on about too. Wayne is a regular customer, and general all around good guy. One of the types that you're happy to have around riding with you. Besides being an enthusiastic bike rider, he's also a fervent hunter. He wanted to combine the passions, and came up with this:

From TPP

Bow mount for the Pugsley. He's really enthusiastic about getting to his hunting spots with this bike. What was a 20-30 minute walk now takes him 5 minutes.

From TPP

From TPP

Sand, snow, thick leaves, farm fields, trail, road, mud. This bike simply floats over all of that in pursuit of game. I love the concept Waynes got here, and will be purchasing a Pugsley for the store and set it up in the window to catch the wandering eye's of local hunters looking for a better way to get out there. A quick google search shows that there just may be something to this. Hmmmm. What about fishing? Ohh. There just may be something to this.

Speaking of H-bars, Jeff Jones created these Ti wonders a few years back. Its taken a while, but they're really catching on now. They're firmly entrenched in the alt bar wars.
From C1X

Titec came out with a licensed aluminum version a couple years back to ease entry into the alt bar world. While that low entry price worked, the bar was admitedly....ugly.

Fast forward to this years interbike show, and Titec done made us all proud and introduced a 'straight' version!

Clamp diameter is 31.8, but the rest is all standard 22.2 fair for mountain bike parts. Nice to see this out there. I have one in the store now for $90, and can easily get more. Stop down and check it out, eh?

Listening to: Tom Waits; Franks Early Years Vol. 1

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Of racing and riding and training.

I've never been a hard core racer type. I'm certainly competitive though. I just don't like driving to all the races, and paying the entry fees. Call me cheap.

But I do get out and race. And have a good time doing it too. I'm maybe a top-of-the-mid-pack-fodder for the most part, but occasionally have a good day. That makes it all worth it in my mind. When everything fit together.

Everything fit together pretty well last weekend at what has now become the traditional 'end' to the season in the area. Decorah hosted the something-ith annual nightshift bike race. A very low key, very fun event. What makes it fun is the people it draws. You'll find shop rats from LaCross, Viroqua, Plattville, Dubuqe, and now, PdC. Kinda cool. Anyways.

I headed over with Ryan after running the shop all day. He generously lent me his Light & Motion Stella light. A small, helmet mounted (THE way to go) LED light. Man that thing just blows away the lights I ran years ago. Halogen? Phhhpyt. Those things are a joke now. So we got there in plenty of time but fiddlefarted around in teh parking lot too long. Long enough to miss the start by about two minutes. So I didn't start exactly where/when we were supposed to. We went the wrong way looking for the start so that ate up more time than it should have. We waited for a few riders to go by, then we jumped in. I felt surprisingly good considering my knee is still acting up from the hyperextension back on the cross race weekend. I ended up riding behind Ethan Hartig from Dubuqe for most of the race. Ethan is a 13(14?) year old ripper of a rider. The kids good. The course opened up a bit and I was able start passing folks on the way to the finish. Ended up 16th over all, and 'first' in class. Both Ryan and I are honest guys though, and gave up our places to those who actually started where they were supposed to.

So that was that. And coming up in the future is this. Probably going to be one of the hardest, if not THE hardest race I've attempted. I sent a psotcard to Issac, the organizer of the Ragnarok 105 race held up in Red Wing MN. The course is 105 miles of gravel road goodness. Like the TransIowa, the coruse isn't marked. At the start meeting, you're handed tulip sheets, or cue cards, with directions printed on them. Getting lost is a distinct possibility. Seeing as how the race date is April 18, getting cold is almost garanteed. Hell, it could even snow. There will be for sure be snow on the north slopes.

So now I have to get a training plan in order. Something to keep me in shape thorugh the winter. Training for a specific event isn't something I've done before, so this'll be interesting.

To that end, I'm looking at doing the unthinkable. Having trainer rides in the shop all winter. Nothing too serious, but something to keep the wheels spinning.

listening to: MPR, The Current.

PS: VOTE! Please. Find time in your day tomorrow to cast your vote.