twentynine inches • one gear • zero travel

Monday Randoms

After an absence from riding due to my attendance at the AMB tradeshow in Stuttgart and a less than ideal weekend weatherwise, it was that weather that prompted me to look at the rides I’ve done so far this year. As I save all my GPX tracks from the tiny i-gotU tracker to a Google Drive folder and organize them in subfolders by year and type of ride (road, MTB, CX and fat), it was fairly easy to get a picture of what I’ve done during this fairly wet, some would go as far and say summerless, season. As both cyclocross and fat-biking are about to begin again in October, I limited the number crunching to road and mountain biking.

YearRoadMTBTotal
2013234871
2014612485
Difference+38-24+14

While there will be more road and hopefully mountain bike rides in 2014, the numbers paint a fairly clear picture: 2014 was not a mountain-biking year. My 29er has carved tire tracks into the trails a measly 24 times while my two road bikes got a taste of tarmac a whopping 61 times. If the trails don’t dry up in the coming weeks, the 29er might not even roll out the basement again as the fatty will soon take over.

All that said, I’ve spent about the same hours cycling this year as last, but I’m way ahead as far as number of miles. There are still three months and a handful of days left, so it’ll be interesting how the weather and the arrival of winter will influence the final numbers. Weather, after all, is the primary factor that dictates what type of riding I do - be it road, mountain, cyclocross or fat-biking.

When The Weather Isn’t Cooperating
This morning I filled my hydration pack with water, fruit bars and a flask of honey. I had some big plans and a peek at the sky seemed promising. When I pedaled up the first climb, the sky up above the mountains was low and grey. Great for a day out climbing, I thought. Well, the higher I got the wetter it got. First it was just the pavement under my tires, then the air turned from moist to rain. While climbing all that was no big deal, but in the first descent I had to reach for my arm warmers. By the time I arrived at the foot of the steep descent, my shoes and everything else was soaking wet. This wasn’t going to be the day for that big ride. Without much debate, I immediately decided not to soldier on in such conditions. I turned onto on another climb to get me back the way I came from, added a little out and back, then hit the way home.
The plan - a mega-loop hitting a whole bunch of climbs - remains a plan. Hopefully, another weekend this or next month will offer better weather to tackle this ride one more time, and hopefully finish it successfully. I was excitedly ready, the legs felt great, only the weather didn’t want to cooperate.
Distance:63.7 km (39.6 miles)Elevation:2’166 m (7’105 feet)Time:03:03:49Speed (avg/max):20.8/74.2 kph (12.9/46.1 mph) Zoom

When The Weather Isn’t Cooperating

This morning I filled my hydration pack with water, fruit bars and a flask of honey. I had some big plans and a peek at the sky seemed promising. When I pedaled up the first climb, the sky up above the mountains was low and grey. Great for a day out climbing, I thought. Well, the higher I got the wetter it got. First it was just the pavement under my tires, then the air turned from moist to rain. While climbing all that was no big deal, but in the first descent I had to reach for my arm warmers. By the time I arrived at the foot of the steep descent, my shoes and everything else was soaking wet. This wasn’t going to be the day for that big ride. Without much debate, I immediately decided not to soldier on in such conditions. I turned onto on another climb to get me back the way I came from, added a little out and back, then hit the way home.

The plan - a mega-loop hitting a whole bunch of climbs - remains a plan. Hopefully, another weekend this or next month will offer better weather to tackle this ride one more time, and hopefully finish it successfully. I was excitedly ready, the legs felt great, only the weather didn’t want to cooperate.

Distance:63.7 km (39.6 miles)
Elevation:2’166 m (7’105 feet)
Time:03:03:49
Speed (avg/max):20.8/74.2 kph (12.9/46.1 mph)
Lake Loop My Way
Today I left the house having a loop in mind. When I arrived at the foot of the first climb, the lakeside silence suddenly died in the pop-pop-pop of gunfire. No, this wasn’t a bank robbery gone wrong or anything like that. My climb just happened to cross path with the bullets at a small shooting range. A rope had been strung across the tiny road I wanted to climb - no trespassing. Alright, I thought to myself, I’ll just continue my ride along the lake and hit a different climb. But as soon as I had sight of St. Peter’s Island, I scrapped the idea of that climb and decided to head out to the island and ride back along the lakeshore on the other, southern side.
Riding through the vineyards along the northern side of the lake I had to pass a few hikers, but other that that no one was on the narrow, paved vineyard roads. Once I hit the gravel roads out to the island and back along the southern edge of the lake however, I met a bunch of your typical weekend pleasure cyclists, who quickly reminded me why I don’t usually ride such roads. There’s nothing wrong with the not-so-fit and the not-so-skilled riding their bicycles. On the contrary, it’s great that they do. Rather, I should remind myself to either ride where they don’t or take my tempo down a notch because too many of those folks have their eyes on everything but the road ahead with the result that they zigzag all over the place. I had a few close encounters with a couple that was riding side-by-side not knowing whether to go left or right while I came fast charging and some silly dude on a brand spanking new Specialized e-bike suddenly deciding to make a left turn right in front of me. Note to myself - only do the lake loop in crappy weather or during the winter - risk of collisions will be greatly reduced.
Distance:62.2 km (38.6 miles)Elevation:667 m (2’189 feet)Time:02:10:12Speed (avg/max):28.7/65.2 kph (17.8/40.5 mph) Zoom

Lake Loop My Way

Today I left the house having a loop in mind. When I arrived at the foot of the first climb, the lakeside silence suddenly died in the pop-pop-pop of gunfire. No, this wasn’t a bank robbery gone wrong or anything like that. My climb just happened to cross path with the bullets at a small shooting range. A rope had been strung across the tiny road I wanted to climb - no trespassing. Alright, I thought to myself, I’ll just continue my ride along the lake and hit a different climb. But as soon as I had sight of St. Peter’s Island, I scrapped the idea of that climb and decided to head out to the island and ride back along the lakeshore on the other, southern side.

Riding through the vineyards along the northern side of the lake I had to pass a few hikers, but other that that no one was on the narrow, paved vineyard roads. Once I hit the gravel roads out to the island and back along the southern edge of the lake however, I met a bunch of your typical weekend pleasure cyclists, who quickly reminded me why I don’t usually ride such roads. There’s nothing wrong with the not-so-fit and the not-so-skilled riding their bicycles. On the contrary, it’s great that they do. Rather, I should remind myself to either ride where they don’t or take my tempo down a notch because too many of those folks have their eyes on everything but the road ahead with the result that they zigzag all over the place. I had a few close encounters with a couple that was riding side-by-side not knowing whether to go left or right while I came fast charging and some silly dude on a brand spanking new Specialized e-bike suddenly deciding to make a left turn right in front of me. Note to myself - only do the lake loop in crappy weather or during the winter - risk of collisions will be greatly reduced.

Distance:62.2 km (38.6 miles)
Elevation:667 m (2’189 feet)
Time:02:10:12
Speed (avg/max):28.7/65.2 kph (17.8/40.5 mph)

Easing Back Into Riding And Whatnot

After a 2-week cycling abstinence traveling through Norway, I got back onto my road bike for a loop through my local backyard. Well, truth be told, I didn’t completely abstain from riding a bike. During our trip, I had my minute of cycling fame doing a couple of 360ies on two wheels. And since I’m an old guy with little to no acrobatic talent, I did those with a tight belt around my hip and a solid harness around my shoulders just to make sure I wouldn’t fall off the bike while upside-down. It was kinda fun actually. I wouldn’t mind logging a 100 miler on Strava on such a hamster wheel.

Speaking of Strava. This was one of many regular tools that I completely abandoned while on vacation. I could have logged the three hikes I did, but chose not to. Interestingly, while I’ve been logging my activities there for a few years, I totally forgot about the site’s existence for the past two weeks. Tumblr, which hosts this blog and various cycling forums were the other regulars that were ignored. On the other hand, I checked in on Swarm regularly, which I don’t otherwise do. One day, I also installed Yelp, which I normally don’t use. Taking advantage of my camera’s WiFi capabilities, I often beamed a handful of photos to my iPhone in the evening to push a few to Instagram whenever logged into the hotel’s WiFi. Not so “insta” if you will, but who wants to pay horrendous roaming charges at the end of a trip?

Distance:59.2 km (36.8 miles)
Elevation:1’867 m (6’125 feet)
Time:02:34:53
Speed (avg/max):22.9/73.4 kph (14.2/45.6 mph)

Norway Trip 2014

Before you continue to read, let me start by saying that this blog entry won’t be about cycling. When my wife and I go on vacation, my bikes stay at home. I’m allowed to think about cycling, even talk about it occasionally, but it isn’t the time to actually get on a bike when we travel to a foreign place together. Cycling is the thing I do at home during the other 46 weeks of the year. Due to my wife’s work, we had not been able to plan our summer vacation ahead of time. Initially, we wanted to visit our friends in California, but plane tickets cost an arm and a leg so we quickly buried that plan. We had watched an episode of the Hairy Bikers traveling through Norway in discovery of the Norwegian cuisine. We love interesting places as much as interesting food, so we decided to take a small trip through Norway. We both have never been up there and the idea to escape the summer by going north was appealing to us both. We hate roasting in the sun and northern countries will probably remain our summer destinations in the foreseeable future. At temperatures between 13 to 22 Celsius Norway had the ideal T-shirt and shorts weather. Throughout our trip we had plenty of sunny days, some cloudy days, occasional rain and a couple of minutes of hail when a thunderstorm rolled across the Fløyen just at the time we were up there.

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Swiss National Day Ride
Yesterday, things at the office were sloooooow. Fortunately, we got off at 4PM which gave me another hour and a half to ride. While riding back home from work, I thought about doing a longer loop into the hills. I quickly jumped into bibs and jersey, tossed the helmet onto my head and rapidly got on the road. Sixteen kilometers into the ride I hit the first climb in which I quickly discovered that the legs didn’t really want to go uphill. Often, you just shout @TheJensie command #ShutUpLegs and after a while your legs will start cooperating. But in yesterday’s heat and awful humidity, the brain refused to send the command downstairs. In fact, it asked what the hell I was doing out there. I dropped into a lower gear, finished the climb and took a turn to check out a road I haven’t ridden to date. It was a downhill through a dense forest that would actually be a super-sweet climb where one’s always shielded from the sun. Yeah, riding out in the sun is just not my thing. I need trees anywhere I climb. The Jura’s perfect for that; alpine regions - well, not so much.
Anyway, at home I put the bike into the workstand and pulled the crankset out of the bottom bracket, cleaned it up and greased everything. While climbing there was an annoying creak. It’s actually been there for the last couple of rides. I strongly suspect the dreaded pressfit creak, but before I re-glue the BB cups, everything else has to be ruled out first. Yeah, the bike industry, always fixing what isn’t broken. Threaded BBs never creaked and certainly never required glue.
Instead of throwing ourselves into the crazy crowds watching the fireworks for National Day, my wife and I relaxed at home and both of us being tired, we ended up in bed right around 10PM. This morning I dropped her off at the train station for a workshop in Zurich and then returned home to get ready for a road ride. With all the rain this past month, I’m staying off the trails until things manage to dry up somewhat. I took my good old Alize and left for a long loop. The legs did an alright job and only faded at the very end of the last climb. It was a picture perfect day, the camera was in my right jersey pocket, but I somehow never bothered to stop for a picture. Instead, the above picture is from yesterday’s shortened loop.
Distance:117.9 km (73.3 miles)Elevation:3’038 m (9’968 feet)Time:05:03:15Speed (avg/max):23.3/85.0 kph (14.5/52.8 mph) Zoom

Swiss National Day Ride

Yesterday, things at the office were sloooooow. Fortunately, we got off at 4PM which gave me another hour and a half to ride. While riding back home from work, I thought about doing a longer loop into the hills. I quickly jumped into bibs and jersey, tossed the helmet onto my head and rapidly got on the road. Sixteen kilometers into the ride I hit the first climb in which I quickly discovered that the legs didn’t really want to go uphill. Often, you just shout @TheJensie command #ShutUpLegs and after a while your legs will start cooperating. But in yesterday’s heat and awful humidity, the brain refused to send the command downstairs. In fact, it asked what the hell I was doing out there. I dropped into a lower gear, finished the climb and took a turn to check out a road I haven’t ridden to date. It was a downhill through a dense forest that would actually be a super-sweet climb where one’s always shielded from the sun. Yeah, riding out in the sun is just not my thing. I need trees anywhere I climb. The Jura’s perfect for that; alpine regions - well, not so much.

Anyway, at home I put the bike into the workstand and pulled the crankset out of the bottom bracket, cleaned it up and greased everything. While climbing there was an annoying creak. It’s actually been there for the last couple of rides. I strongly suspect the dreaded pressfit creak, but before I re-glue the BB cups, everything else has to be ruled out first. Yeah, the bike industry, always fixing what isn’t broken. Threaded BBs never creaked and certainly never required glue.

Instead of throwing ourselves into the crazy crowds watching the fireworks for National Day, my wife and I relaxed at home and both of us being tired, we ended up in bed right around 10PM. This morning I dropped her off at the train station for a workshop in Zurich and then returned home to get ready for a road ride. With all the rain this past month, I’m staying off the trails until things manage to dry up somewhat. I took my good old Alize and left for a long loop. The legs did an alright job and only faded at the very end of the last climb. It was a picture perfect day, the camera was in my right jersey pocket, but I somehow never bothered to stop for a picture. Instead, the above picture is from yesterday’s shortened loop.

Distance:117.9 km (73.3 miles)
Elevation:3’038 m (9’968 feet)
Time:05:03:15
Speed (avg/max):23.3/85.0 kph (14.5/52.8 mph)

Patent Find: US 20140110208

If you want to know where bicycle development is heading, forget bike magazines and blogs that churn out industry-submitted press releases. Instead, become a patent observer and know about stuff months and years before things are being photographed at press camps. Use Google Patent Search and Google Alerts to follow the manufacturers you want to keep an eye on or to follow any invention relating to a particular area of interest. It’s as simple as that.

One such patent, which popped up in my Feedly stream today is SRAM's patent application US 20140110208 for a new freewheel hub design. We all used to ride bikes with quick-release axles until thru-axles grew axle diameters. In front 15mm has become the de facto standard with 20 and 24mm for gravity oriented usage. In the back, things have not been able to grow as much. Thru-axle rear hubs have been limited by design to 12mm. The limiting factor being the cassette, which needs to house a set of bearings on the inside and a tall set of splines on the outside.

In looking over SRAM’s patent, they managed to use a beefy axle by getting rid of the freewheel body altogether. The cassette sits directly on top of the axle thanks to two ball bearings and a nifty freewheel arrangement sandwiched between cassette and hub body. The freewheel mechanism is based on two flat coupling rings with a tooth systems facing one another to transmit torque from cassette to hub body. Advantages: room for big axles and larger diameter bearings, overall reduced weight and increased stiffness. Downside: cassette equipped with two bearings might get costlier than they already are.

Sneak Peek: Replay Prime X
Back in 2011 I bought a Replay XD1080 and loved the mounting versatility. What the camera had trouble with was the shaking and bouncing of a rigid singlespeed. So, early this year I replaced it with a GoPro. I just got a sneak peek of the new Replay Prime X. Features, battery life, lens, size and WiFi connectivity make this one very tempting again. Zoom

Sneak Peek: Replay Prime X

Back in 2011 I bought a Replay XD1080 and loved the mounting versatility. What the camera had trouble with was the shaking and bouncing of a rigid singlespeed. So, early this year I replaced it with a GoPro. I just got a sneak peek of the new Replay Prime X. Features, battery life, lens, size and WiFi connectivity make this one very tempting again.