Thursday, November 29, 2007

..approaching terminal velocity

Team awesome. Product Bloggin. Clothing rides. Ice on the bike routes. Stuck in the computor. FIST FITTING. Hand built bike show. Minibike whatever. Bridge battlez. Ratchet trouble.

Gah. Too many tracks to keep straight. Its like Granville island in here. Converging and diverging, just a centimeter above the pavement. Lift the front tire and slide the back. Holy crap. My life is exploding right now. I almost want to steal the Kisby format and throw this shit down in chronological order.

One. Team Awesome. Don't look too awesome at the start, in fact, they look like regular hipsters. However, they're planning on riding from Portland to Florida on their fixed gears. Having done SOME fixed touring, I know its a biatch. I wonder if they're BOBbin, panneirding, or credit card touring. Either way. it looks like an awesome ride.. though I don't know how cycle friendly the south will be to them. Not sure how many of those little toe tags they'll be handing out down there.

Product blogging, I had something in mind for this. I could be talking about a sick new machined part, or hyping up someone else's stuff, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment. Perhaps it could be about the clothing, and the rides.. Down in LA they have this ride called 'The Wolfpack Hustle', and from what I understand, its the equivalent to our 'Fast Nights'. Just a quick non spandex group hoon through the city at night. Wait.. its NOT JUST A QUICK RIDE. For their one year anniversary, they just did a Century around LA, at night! That's pretty sick!

Now.. they've gone and branched out, teaming up with some clothing manufacturers and made some Wolfpack hustle gear. I really like this idea in theory. They came up with a cool logo and everything.. the only thing I don't like about it is the branding. X-Hustle top tube cozy, reversible to just display the XLARGE brand? Gross. I like riding in cotton as much as the next douche, but all these hot collabs with skatewear brands are gettin under my skin. Mash*Stussy everyone? I thought Stussy died long ago.

Cadence? They're jumping in and making some nice stuff, and it is pretty original for the most part.. and they're doing it without major brand power behind them. I guess I'm alright with that. Its more like Simon's midnight mass patches of last year. Dee Eye to the Y. Their new line is in the thermal department. Arm warmers and toques. Not bad.

Tuesday was not the day to have misplaced my toque. Perhaps if it had some graphic hand screened on it, it would be easier to find. It was sheer ice on the commute. The ride had me counter steering, weight shifting, and generally easing on the pedals in either the forward or reverse direction. What was normally a routine ride was suddenly technical and challenging.

I made it through off camber left corners, wavy intersections, and neighbourhoods where people were holding onto their cars while trying to scrape the ice off. Coming down the hill I gently dragged the brake while fishtailing every half crank rotation, and managed to bring the bike to a stop before the stop line at Marine.

Feeling like hot shit I pretty much opened it up for the final flat towards work. Along the very last stretch of North Fraser Way I said 'Hi' to Sergiy, who just stepped off the bus and was about to cross the street.. then I leaned into the left hand corner to get into our parking lot.. forgetting that I was still going over 30km/h on ice.

At that moment I performed what can only be described as a break dancing ninja turtle slide alongside my bike as I sailed past the entrance to the parking lot, along the centre of the road. I quickly stumbled to my feet, collected my orientation, and dragged my Bianchi off the road like a rag doll.

Sergiy was laughing, and so was I. Its not often I get to do something so spectacular in front of people who will appreciate it.

That being said, I'm hoping for more bad weather. Enough to scare off the rest of the commuters (There are significantly more these days it seems). Enough to drive the bicycle dance groups underground. Enough to stop everyone but me and Mander from riding in the Bridge battle (THIS SATURDAY!) Enough that I can justify buying studded tires? Enough that I gear down my bike and put 45mm fenders on it? Enough that even I don't want to ride? Yeah.

And what will I do if I'm not riding? I guess I'll be sitting on the computer, stuck in this modeling program again, trying to figure out how to do a certain type of circular cut. Its really been bugging me lately, and has impeded my progress, but whenever I sit down to work on it, I don't seem to have the mental capacity to figure it out. I end up looking for solutions on the internets, then looking at bike stuff. (Like FIST FITTING! be hated on at a later date)

I need to be able to attack this stuff first thing in the morning... and I won't be able to do that until Dec 17th or so.. when I accidentally get up at 5am and get dressed to ride to my non existent job. I'm honestly scared I'll do that. I'll probably make it all the way to the door of the building before realizing I don't have a key card anymore.

One of the reasons I am so keen to learn this program is to get some of the ideas in my head, onto 'paper' .. in time for the NAHBS. I plan on attending, networking, and generally whoring myself out. I have this vision of the perfect trip to Oregon in February..

I ride to Bellingham on the Bianchi, hop on the train.. I get off in Portland and meet up with friends. We go to the show. I then spend the next week there, couch surfing and visiting bike builder's shops. Then it happens. The Zoobombers kickoff their Minibike Winter Olympics and all hell breaks loose. I'm not looking to top my last years experience, as I doubt I could. I'm more looking to expand upon it, and immerse myself in it deeper. I'm hoping that my love will drive down to meet me and spend the MBW weekend there.. and perhaps we could hit Anvil beach in Astoria on the way back. Can things really work out that perfectly?

I want to come back into Vancouver mid February a new person. With new passion and zazz. This is the start of something really big. Both my head and my heart are exploding right now. ..approaching terminal velocity.

Okay.. Did I cover everything?

Oh.. the ratchet troubles.. This is killing me. I have rebuilt my BMX's skipping ratchet for the second time now, and if my newest solution (a dab of grease UNDER each pawl) doesn't work, I'm going to have to contract someone to make me a new C clip to my dimensions.. either that or go to Princess Auto and caliper up some springs until I find one with the dimensions I need. Or just kill myself. Or buy a new driver and sprocket and go micro (last resort).

I hope to find out Friday, when a bunch of us hoon up Critical mass on twennies=] Video courtesy of The Source)

It seems I was beaten to the punch in the product blogging world.
BSNYC does it better, and I left this in the editron for almost 24 hours.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm going to miss this

Liquid Ice hangs in the air.
CABC0308 has lied to me.
5°Centigrade my ass.

There's frost on every car, and the asphalt sparkles under the streetlights. The air is heavy, and it permeates my sweater.
Standing to power up a hill results in a loss of traction.

I nearly collide with a stealth cyclist in John Henry's park. My lights don't seem to reflect off anything. Cars, signs, the Prostitute at Gladsway. They've all got a thick matte finish of nearly frozen condensation.

All six windows of the Corolla behind me are opaque.
It seems to be navigating by my LED alone. Stalking me in 2nd gear.
I wonder what would happen if I turn off my lights.

Normally the fog density is inversely proportional to one's altitude.
Not today. Its thick all the way up until the south slope. ..and I only notice because I realize I can see the infared cameras on the corners of the new McMansion.

I get paranoid about flat tires. I would hate to have to remove my mittens in this.

I'm almost at operating temperature by the time I have to slow my descent

Remember when...

Filed under the category of "remember when...": an indicator on your rapidfire thumb shifters told you what gear you were in? To think that I'm currently in love with friction shifters, having owned a number of bikes with "more advanced" systems, seems archaic in a good way.

Sepia photo of Herb Werthers, currently getting atrophied from lack of use. Let's ride BMX this week!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The CL and the Morons

Andy and I went out to look at one of these peoples' bikes in "Coquitlam". Turned out it was Port Coquitlam, more like Mary Hill Bypass. It was an older Nishiki, which didn't look too bad for a conversion considering what Andy was looking for.

We headed out there, and took the thing for a spin. A significantly dented front 27" steel wheel, making for sketchier than stock braking, and the kicker: a bent left crank arm. I got off the bike, and proceeded to inform the sellers about the problems they had not disclosed.

Since then, Chris the Biking Penguin has hooked Andy up with Raleigh St. Clair, which he is riding regularly and enjoying learning about bike mechanics with. Much better than a misrepresented piece of crap from shady people in shady locations.

The Nishiki that we looked at was later reposted at the exact same asking price with no mention of the bent crank arm. What a bunch of maroons.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

November Rain

Jets of steam are rhythmically expelled from my face as I watch the hand flash. Its solid. 5, 4, 3, 2,.. crank! The last of the left turners scoots through across my path. My front end skips across the grooved intersection like the needle of a turntable bumped by a drunk girl dancing up front. I'm completely out of harms way and halfway down the block when the machine I last challenged cuts in front only to be blocked by another. Around on his left. Its safer this way. The machines in front will not be merging back left, but have an infinitely larger number of opportunities to cut right. Into a parkade, halfway. the nose of another nudges out trying to establish space. I steal that space for 500mS, pet the nose, and continue on. I don't have time to hang around in your line up. If you fit through you wouldn't wait either.

An obscure handsignal as I brake in anticipation of the slick white lines. I lean in, and expectedly both tires have lost adhesion. A quick weight shift, and I'm on the front tire. The back end will have to wait to the end of the corner before it can lay down the power again. This is a bike lane? The manhole covers are just as dangerous as the white lines, thankfully they're mid block. Mid block is blocked by more machines. A south road bar width gap appears and I steal it before its gone. Onto the next.

A fine German machine passes, starboardside. The owner visibly upset that I should be faster than he. Why else would he be charging straight through from a right turn only lane. His machine makes him misbehave. Rather, its the other way around. Given the chance, that machine would rather be on a winding mountain road, with only frost heaves and guardrails to worry about. Instead it is locked into the life of city drudgery at the hands of a master who doesn't understand the physics behind a properly apexed corner. For a brief moment, the German machine's master is triumphant, and can freely accelerate. Three Red brake lights remind him that time is up, and his machine comes to a halt behind an american one. I get a view at this 'master'. He doesn't look happy. He doesn't look like a master of anything. I probably don't look like much to him, So I flash him a large smile and thumbs up. At least I'm enjoying the ride. I'm definately enjoying myself more than he.

I'm also having a better time than the souls trapped in the 135 omnibus. I can see them stewing in their own heat through the glass, as I pass by mere centimeters from them. They cannot feel my presence as they're emersed in the sounds and smells of the diesel and flesh. I hope their leader can sense me, but I don't count on it. I duck as I pass under his mirror. He's now aware of my presence as I accelerate on, past his next group of followers, 0.5watts of light emitting diode pulsing further into the distance.

I'm jolted awake by a pavement seam that caught me off guard. Was I daydreaming, or simply watching the other machines around me? No matter. My machine is a spring, and after the harmonics subside and the rattles cease, everything is stable. I am stable and spinning somewhere in the neighbourhood of 130RPM. Somewhere in the poorest neighbourhood in the lower mainland.

The machines are more docile on this side of the city. Their masters are scared. Scared that those without machines will suddenly do something to put them (or their machines) in peril. Nothing is sudden around here. The zombies move in slow motion. Everything moves in slow motion.

I'm almost out of the heart now. My trip into the city has not been entirely successful from an erranding perspective, but has been perfect emotionally.

So never mind the darkness,
We still can find a way.
'Cause nothin' lasts forever,
Even cold November rain.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A header quote worth eternalizing.

To start, a couple for the B-tionary.

monstrumental: a combination of monster and instrumental; an instrumental monster.

ratchet: a modern four pawl BMX freewheel, which sounds like a ratchet strapped to your hub.

Herbert Werthers and his older bro the Megatron were monstrumental in the Proj-B summer manual sessions. Lyle and I are both manualing through two lane intersections. Next up, hop to manual - I'm eyeing the north downhill grind box at Confederation Park. Anybody up for a Confederation adventure that doesn't involve John A. MacDonald, contact Project B. The fall air is great while one-wheeling a ratchet through First and Commercial.

What a great time to get your first real BMX; it looks like n1ck is going to be rounding out P-B's fleet of twenties, after respectfually passing up the '98 S&M Next Gen Dirt Bike. That guy deserves a BMX by now, even if he's only most likely to find another nerve ending that doesn't comply with what Cru Jones would have called freestyle riding. Duncan, Mr. 700cmx, has a Fit that n1ck's soon enough acquiring. Too bad it doesn't fit Duncan; I wonder if he'd be better on a bigger frame.

Though I haven't been riding 700cmx lately, I have been geared hooning on the Marinoni, and have decided that I don't want to think about 7 speeds; I want 6: 3 low and 3 high. And, if the deal for the 600 shifters goes through, I'd not have a choice whether I ran friction with a 6-speed freewheel. The seven speed freewheel does dangle in front of me, though I so dislike the still-large range and contrasting black colour (paintable, maybe?) of the 28 tooth big ring. Sometimes makes you want to ride a single speed freewheel, which happens to look like the Sekine's next incarnation - which would be great as a guest bike.

We'll finish up with a quote from Trent, currently seen in the header quote: "in hindsight, hot-knifing shitty allan keys on my stove to burn a hole in my rim tape for the valve stem might not have been the most straightforward solution." Classic, Trent. You're right, the drill probably wouldn't have worked very well either. Nice score on the Drago.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"unholy and merciless good times"

In this post is my race report from the four horsemen's All Hallows Eve Race, with a few anecdotes along the way. You know it's on when your keys are confiscated at the beginning of a race and you're essentially not allowed to look at anything but the ground for the 5 minutes prior to the start. Who's got my key?!
Thought I'd first post up a recent deal on the CL Bikes: recumberant STATIONARY BIKE (yes, email is the preferred form on communication). What I wonder is whether the mini backhoe has multiple forward and/or backward gears. If anyone would like to enlighten me, may Satan sing your praises.
"this bike was used short term for therapy(6 months), heart rate monitor, several programs of difficulty speedometer"

If only I'd had a several programs of difficulty speedometer for last night's race. The evening's tasks started with a key swap clusterfuck, and ranged from assembling and lighting kerosene torches with a lit menthol dart in the mouth at Prospect Point to an incoherent and babbling sayer on the worst hill on Adanac. All parts of this race were done fully; all players played well.

The people who won were those who made it to that last (and, in scoring, only) checkpoint and worked their asses off getting there. Like Indiana Jones searching and discovering a goblet, the freshly-returned Midnight Simon picked up the elusive Phil Wood low flange hub and 17 tooth 3/32" cog, courtesy of Darren at Dream (a little more on that shortly, though). I'm sure that at least the hub will be put to good use on an upcoming project.

As I just hinted at, the scoring of this race was not in completion of all tasks, but in the completion of a single task. Though Brock didn't hit all the checkpoints, he went hard and even had his pedal go missing during the escapade. He ended up with first prize, a "custom" courier rat style IRO in crashed-up orange.

DFL deservedly went to Rob, who raced on a borrowed mountain bike as, after being screwed by the random key swap, he was given the task of carrying the four-foot upside down wooden cross. As Ranae and I pedaled up the Causeway, we came upon the martyr with an overshifted chain threatening to be jammed into the spokes with any pedal movement. Projektaru-B race team kicked in, and the chain was back on the cassette in 10 seconds flat. At Prospect Point, I remember him yelling "this is why I'm never buying a bike with shocks!" Score: A PAC Bag.

Now, back to Simon's cog score: Why Darren continues to push 3/32" fixed drivetrains is beyond me. With 1/8" drivetrain parts easily available in track lines and compatible with road front rings, would it not make sense to run the strongest chain possible when it's often your only source of deceleration? I'd like to see a better selection of 1/8" 130bcd chainrings, if only for the sweet noise they make.

On the topic of performance, though, my Marinoni performed flawlessly after hinting at withholding use the big ring on the way down to the start. Yes, the new bike is fast - faster than I appear to be able to ascertain just yet; Ranaynay kept up like a champ, even though, as Lyle stated and I responded:

as i knew you riding 5.0 would be Ranae riding 12.3
yeah, so I rode 5.0 and waited when I got far enough ahead
called lights clear for her

With that performance, she could totally be captain of the Asthma Olympics team. Girl pushed for about 35km before a flat ended the night as the group hoon unfortunately lost track of her, 1.6km from the Cobalt at Adanac and Clark.

Fuct Up and Fixed hammered us from start to end, and it was well executed on our end apart from a maligned attempt to hit the "foot of main Bridge at the lions" and a complete overlooking of dialing the reaper (should have called right when we got that manifest).

Of trick or treat, treat seemed to have resulted in some much appreciated chalice and gas mask treatments, while trick was mostly pushups and jiffy marker.

The post-race festivities included a roman candle fueled trackstand contest, only made better by the fact that normal roman candles appear to be made of unobtanium these days, leaving us with giant $4-5 hand-held rockets. Matt A. took it after a smoky dispute over the calling of "one foot" and subsequent showdown with Skylar. Bottle of Wisers to victor.

The ensuing show at the Cobalt had a very appropriate air to it, and was surprisingly mind-clearing. Might be why I listen to a lot of metal, hmmmm. Had yet to see Bison play live - definitely enjoyable.

The Four Horsemen didn't just put on a good show on race night; their wake does the same in the surrounding weeks. The race was cheap (about $10 total), and well worth the ass-kicking it delivered. So far, five pages of drama on fixedvan... kinda makes you wonder, What is Stephen Harper Reading?

Thanks to NikC for results recap, and Damon for photos of the start.


Rhiannon: sorry lyle
that's just retarded!
why would anyone want a STEAM BICYCLE!?!?!
It's not even useful
stonehenge 2 at least provides shade!!!

me: its beautiful and dangerous

Rhiannon: lyle, if you start building steam-powered anything, I'll either marry you or kill you
not sure which yet

me: helicopter.
is there anything more dangerous than a steam powered helicopter?

Rhiannon: steam powered coffee maker?

me: too easy

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by NBC Universal

"Oh shit. You're going to catch on fucking fire, dude."

UCI safety regs be damned, at least two of us ran it. Fucked it up huge, running out to Waterfront Station instead of killing the two Chinatown checkpoints and booking it out to Prospect Point.

At least one of us also aborted the mission upon exclaiming "I don't fucking ride to Commercial and Adanac unless you pay me for it."

Duncan of all people was visibly alarmed at my choice of costume, and I am unrepentant about swallowing a DNF upon reviewing manifest #3.

The last thing I really remember was Kelly shotgunning fireworks into the air behind the Cobalt. And someone left two tall cans of Faxe tucked into my bed.