Friday, October 28, 2011

New wheels..

I love my Catrike and I love Mavic rims sooooooooooo, now they're together. I've been using Mavics for a lotto' years and they're on all my bikes. It's easy to find a nice Mavic rim in 26" and 700c sizes but not so much in the 20" size. Luckily, there is one on the front of my Tour Easy and I just bought a stockpile of them so the XY's are flowing like water around here.

I measured the ERD of the stock Catrike rims and the Mavic XY rims to see if they could be swapped out without buying new spokes.....As luck would have it, they match up very well.

The XY rim and the stock rim. The XY rim is twice the width of the stock rims and this spreads the tire out better and makes for an improved ride. Made in France with supa' high quality.....Oui. 

This is an easy way to do a straight rim swap. Bread ties keep the spokes in place. Another way is to tape the rims together and move the spokes over as you take them out of the old rim. 

Here's what the bread ties do. I use beeswax on the spoke threads when lacing them back up. 

Mmmmmmm, harmony.

Catrike family

I enjoyed building and test riding my wife's Catrike Villager so much that I started looking for one of my own. We bought her trike as leftover stock from a bike shop in Wisconsin. That shop had two of the old style Villagers but I just didn't like dealing with them. Luckily I keep an eye on E-Bay and found another "new old stock" Villager for $500.00 less than we paid for Jetaime's Catrike so I ordered it.

As strange as it may be, my Villager also came from Wisconsin.....That means that I couldn't find any of these anywhere else but I know there were three of them sitting in bike shops way up there in the dairy state so I did my best imitation of a socialist and redistributed some of that Catrike wealth to this time zone. Actually, capitalism redistributed the Catrikes because I paid for them with my hard earned money.

Jetaime and I went on a Catrike ride around town and it was a blast! There was a short steep hill that was so easy to climb simply because we could go as slow as we wanted. We experienced this because at the base of this hill is a cross street and the traffic separated us as I started up the hill so I simply slowed to a standstill to wait for her and it was very cool.

Catrikes, herbs, and marigolds

Sugino cranks, MKS pedals, Kleen Kanteen, and Suntour Barcons. 

Close view of the Suntour shifters.....They are completely serviceable and I have a box o' parts. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011


My home state has a reputation among touring cyclists.......Many who travel the entire Transamerica Trail remember this state as having way too many dogs out on the roads chasing after the cyclists. That's not flattering but I must admit that I'm used to it. Being a good bike handler gives me enough confidence to battle off the dogs on a daily basis

Because of my youth revolving around bicycles, it just never occurred to me that a person who is less than 100% confident in their handling abilities might be scared of a charging dog. My wife became a pretty serious bicycle commuter well into her adult life and never built up the skills of a freestyle riding, dirt jumping, downhill mtb racing youth. She's confident with dogs of any sort when she's on foot but she's MUCH less confident if they pursue her while she's on two wheels. Where I might kick both legs towards the dogs while simultaneously squirting them with a water bottle, she worries more about simply staying upright. She's a very competent rider but this variable of a dog that can hit her front wheel or otherwise knock her off balance is just a little too much of a worry. She has helped change my own attitude towards charging dogs.

Back in the old days, I would ride along and ignore a charging dog. Never got bit but I did get rammed a few times and even accidentally ran over one dog but it was okay. Now that I'm more aware of how uncomfortable a dog can make a cyclist, I've changed my methods. Now I actively train people's dogs for them. One thing to use is "Halt!" dog repellent and it works well. It actually does train the dogs if you regularly ride that area. Another thing I've used is a frame pump. These things aren't that tough but I have used them for a swift whack on the snout. Another method I've used is direct conflict with the owner and this could easily lead to fisticuffs so I don't suggest it. Honestly, any of these methods can lead to a fight with a protective owner so it's all done at your own risk. Weigh the pros and cons to see if it's worth it to you.

 I'm training all the local dogs for the sake of my wife being able to ride with confidence and others will probably benefit too. There is no good reason for a dog to pursue/attack anyone on a public roadway so it's a no-brainer for me to help them stay in their yards.

In this photo you can barely see a busted Zefal frame pump poking out of the Carradice bag because it had a meeting with a dog snout. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Here's how they roll....

Now this is a motorcycle gang that looks like they have a sense o' humor.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Papers please.......

Just read about a stolen bicycle retrieval plan in England and it made me frown. Normally, I'm all smiles about the police helping us get our bikes back but this one doesn't sit well. Lancashire Police can stop a cyclist and ask him/her to prove ownership of the bicycle. If sufficient proof is not provided, the bicycle could be confiscated and taken to the police station where the rider will need to bring proof of ownership to get the bike back. Acceptable ownership documentation is a purchase receipt, a photo that shows said rider on the bicycle, or some sort of insurance documentation like a homeowner's policy that has the bicycle listed. If you can't provide these......Well, the friendly officer might seize your bicycle. Now, the good thing is that these checks are targeted and aren't completely random, plus not all bicycles are seized but that's a tiny little nibble of goodness with a big serving of badness syrup poured over the top. 

The only times I have ridden my bicycle with ownership documentation have been the couple of times I rode a brand new bike straight from the bike shop. Other than that, I don't carry the receipt or vanity pictures of me on my bike. I also don't insure the bike because I take maximum precautions against theft (I've never had one stolen) and I hate insurance and insurance companies so I don't support them any more than absolutely necessary. It's a personal feeling of freedom to not need to insure or register my bicycles and it just appears that the cops have too much power in this instance. I'd like a lil' help with bike theft but this doesn't seem toooooo helpful. If my bike were confiscated, I might not even be able to get it back because my bicycles are bought, bit by bit, through mail order from companies all over America. It's ironic that one could potentially do everything right to prevent their bike from being stolen and then have the police confiscate it. Seems like this could easily lead down the road to mandatory licensing, insurance, and user fees for the folks who produce their own transportation power. 

I read about this story on a blog page at . The writer seemed to be enthusiastic about the program and they even said that they had an ownership check by the police but the story doesn't say how ownership was proven. The fact that this is happening in England may explain folks being okay with too much intrusion. I really don't know how everyday, practical life life goes in that part of the world and I'm not familiar with most laws and the attitudes of the people since I don't live and work there. It would cause an uproar around here though.  

I'm talking "extremes" in this post but from where I sit.....This just isn't the way to fix the problem. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Getting around by bicycle...

There is a festival in our town that shuts most everything down for a few days and it's known as the Apple Festival. We live in the shutdown zone and it's impossible to conduct normal business or go about our daily routine. The town's population swells by about 500% during this festival and that's a lot of people and traffic. The good thing is that there are food booths that are operated by the volunteer fire departments, churches, schools, and some others. The fire departments and churches make the majority of their yearly operating budget at this festival. The extracurricular school activity booths that are put on by groups like cheerleaders and little league are also helped tremendously by these sales. This festival gives us all a chance to support the organizations and groups we care about while getting various oddball food items in return. I only buy from volunteer fire departments, schools, and churches because those are at the top of my list of importance. At the bottom of the list are the political booths. I'm sure everyone has a different list of "booth priorities".

Our God son and Jetaime were to ride on a float in the parade and that sounds alright......Until the day actually comes around.  The floats are first judged (there is prize money at stake) and later they head out on the parade route. Sounds simple, but the crowds and timing complicate matters. The judging and staging area for the floats is across town. The judging took place in the morning with the parade in the afternoon. This meant Jetaime and Ian needed to get across town and back two different times. Thanks to Big Muddy I was able to transport them there, back, and then back again in a quick and efficient manner. It was by far the quickest way to travel and there were probably tons of jealous people on the sidelines.

I love knowing this big bicycle secret that few seem to get!