Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Final

It was hot today.
Okay, not like the hot you folks on the Continent got, but pretty darn hot for around these parts.
Sort of how summer is supposed to be.
Anyways, I'm digging this new seat position.
According to the trusty Flat Tire Metric Measuring Tool, I'm like seven millimeters back from my original position, and thinking about going back a bit more.
Oh and I also dropped the seat down about a half centimeter to make up for the distance to the pedals.
What this does for me is, it forces my back into a flatter angle.
I also feel a bit more balanced on the seat, when descending my position feels better and not forced.
Seat wise, there is some discomfort, but not more than normal.
It's not torture or anything and it's something I feel I could get used to.
Spinning the pedals feels different, being that far back.
I am using some different muscles in my legs, I can feel a burn but it's different; strained if you will.
I did a lot of coasting for every time I checked, I was at the max of my spin, maybe that's where the fatigue came from.
I had to sort of remind myself to keep the pace down and steady; I kept accelerating.
I don't know why.
For the most part, the pressure is off my hands.
I can almost ride with my elbows on the bars, not for any great distance, but before the change, that position wasn't even in my repertoire.
I was simply too far forward.
After today, I'd say this position change is a good thing.
Am I ready to drop the bars down?
I think I'm going to go out, before going down.
Here's how the Ciocc looked before:

The seat was way forwards and I was using all the spacers on the stem.
Here's the Ciocc now:

I'm going to order another stem, one that's a centimeter longer.
Once that gets in, I'm taking out another spacer to compensate for the extra rise.
We'll see how that goes.
I find it really interesting how moving the seat back about a centimeter really makes a large difference on how everything else fits.
I mean you'd think it wouldn't make that much of a difference, but let me tell you, it does.
More testing to come.
Okay, so besides my fooling around with my seating position, I also found today, other signs of Bianchi life in the Flat Tire Universe(FTU):

I was pretty surprised, for I've only seen one other Bianchi on the road here.
This one wasn't celeste though.
I also went all the way up the hill in front of Flat Tire Central, just to check out the new house lots up there.
I counted eight new easements, so potentially eight new dwellings are going to come up on the hill.
They got a pretty nice view:

I would have a similar view from the Flat Tire Command Center, if my neighbors house wasn't there.
Finally, I got an email from my cousin, he bought a bicycle some time back and he's taking up my offer to go for a ride.
Next Sunday, if all goes according to plan, I get to test his legs a bit and see what he's got.
Supposedly, he reads this blog so here's some special words just for him:
Dude, I'm going to crush your soul!
Okay, not really.

Sunday Early Edition

Boy I make this difficult.
Riding a bicycle I mean.
All the fussing and a tweaking and a adjusting and a changing.
Why bother?
Why not just get out and ride?
Sorry, just not in my nature.
Sort of wish it was though.
I mean when I'm out and about and see folks just riding around on any kind of bicycle, I get sort of jealous.
Seriously, it's not about the bicycle, at least not for them.
Okay, I suppose for some of them folks riding a bicycle is a necessity, not recreation, so anything with two wheels and some pedals will suffice.
Then there are the ones just starting out, they haven't really got the bug yet, so they just what ride what they got.
You also got your commuter types, not too many of them here, mainly for geographic reasons.
The commuters here are in the hardcore category, the ones live and breath bicycling.
Recreational bicyclist is the label I'd put on myself.
I like to ride, mainly to get out of the house and to help maintain my health, something my body can no longer do by itself.
I enjoy getting out on my bicycle but I also realize that I'm not like the others.
When something on my bicycle goes goofy, I can't just take it in to the LBS and say "fix it please."
No, I gotta look at it, find out what the hell is wrong with it, fix it, then make it so that whatever went goofy doesn't go goofy again.
This applies not only to my bicycle, but to me while I'm on my bicycle.
Trust me, I don't really enjoy a changing this and that, constantly poking at things and loosening and tightening bolts.
The problem is that the outcome is not always a good thing, and you end up wasting your precious time.
Sometimes though, you do something that drastically changes the way you ride, or the way you enjoy your bicycle, and that I suppose is the reward for all the work.
It doesn't happen often, let me tell you.
Most of the time, it's little superficial things, small detail things that in the long run, when you step back, you realize it did make a difference after all.
Or sometimes, it makes no difference whatsoever.
Or sometimes, you actually go backwards and it ends up being a bad thing.
Perhaps it all adds up in the end.
The end being the time when you no longer have to think about the machine under you, you no longer worry about this or that, and you achieve cycling zen and become one with the bicycle.
Is that my goal?
I dunno.
It sounds like a plan though, doesn't it?
Then maybe I can be like some of those other folks, just out on a ride, enjoying the day and the nice weather.
Not really caring about what's under them, just exhilarating in the fact that they are self propelled.
In fact, I'm going to go out and try to be one of them today!
Today I'm going to ride my bicycle just for the joy of riding!
Oh yeah baby!
Okay, not really.
I still have to adjust my seat.
You, the reader, should have seen that coming.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

In the Safe Zone

Sort of.
I mean I'm almost there.
If you've been following along at home you, the reader, know that I've been on a Quest for the Perfect Cycling Position(QFTPCP) for some time.
As a matter of fact, I don't think it ever ends.
Well, after reading that thread on bikeforums, I decided to test some of these theories on seat position out.
Basically it suggests that the rider move the seat back, drop the bars and this is the important part, straighten the back.
The rider's back I mean.
Since I don't know anything about bicycle fit, I just jumped on my bike and started to adjust for comfort, I figured it's worth it to try something different.
I mean I'm open to suggestions on how to make my rides more enjoyable.
The problem I first encountered when getting a road bike was length.
It felt really long and stretched out.
Conventional wisdom says to shorten it all up, things like stem and bar reach.
Which I did.
I guess though, riding on a road bike is a different animal and not subject to convention.
Today I moved my seat back.
You can see my original seat position here.
I only moved it back like half a centimeter figuring that was plenty to try out:

At least now, the rails are positioned sort of in the safe zone, at least safer than the old position.
First, it doesn't feel that much different from where it was, bottom of the shorts feel anyways.
I'm behind KOPS now, my knees slightly behind the pedals and that feels a bit strange, but not like really strange.
If you know what I mean.
The seat is also slightly, and I mean slightly, tilted up, to create sort of a cradle for my well, derrier, just enough so that I won't slide forwards.
The most difficult part of this new seating position is straightening out my back.
I have really bad posture, too much time watching Law & Order, and it's not natural for me to straighten it out.
My back I mean.
It also changes the pressure location on your sit bones, not really radically, but enough that you notice it.
I rode around like this for oh say five miles or so, conscious of keeping my back straight, and didn't notice any real discomfort.
It does relieve some pressure off the hands and neck, though I'd have to put in some real miles to give it the full test.
I'll probably move the seat back another half centimeter or so, now that I sort of understand the theory.
I gotta say, it's very counter intuitive.
I mean the adjustments are made to get low, while convention is telling me to get upright.
At my bicycle size, there is a recommended seat to bar drop of three inches, though I think that's a bit much.
There are still some spacers on the steerer, so I got some room to play:

I really need to cut that steerer tube for those spacers on top aren't exactly safe.
Maybe I'll take out a centimeter of spacer and see what that feels like.
So anyways, this stuff is all very strange for me, as I said it's very counter intuitive.
The change in my riding position is sort of drastic, especially the straightening the back part, but hopefully it's something I'll get used to.
By the way, I'll be keeping the Celeste Devil the same for now, as sort of a control.
If this newfangled stuff don't work out, I can always go back to what worked before.
I'm anxious to see how these changes pan out, good or bad.
Stay tuned.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Watering the Plants and Other Musings

So today, Mother Nature decided it was water the plants day.
Usually I don't mind when she waters the plants cause I'm usually at work or doing something else, but today was kinda a bummer for I took off from work and was looking forward to getting in some miles.
Still, the Cactus Army looked happy:

These last few weeks have been on the dry side, good for me, not so good for them.
Anyways, since I'm couching it today, and there's no Law & Order on yet, I had some time to ponder some things.
First, I read this post on bikeforums about riding positions.
I sort of wish I hadn't read it, since I thought I was on the happy side of seat, bar and stem, but I did and now I have some new theories to work through.
I'm not really elated about finding that thread, but I admit to knowing nothing about bike fit so any info is good info.
Even if I have to undo everything I already did.
Which may or may not be a good thing.
Since I was contemplating the repositioning of my bars, I was wondering what they might look like with new tape.
On the Ciocc I mean.
Right now, with the black tape it looks okay, but I was thinking maybe yellow:

I gotta say, light colored bar tape is not one of my favorite things.
I clean the bar tape on the Celeste Devil like once a week, depending on how much I ride it, and it doesn't get completely clean.
Meaning I'm thinking I'm going to have to replace it much sooner than later.
Celeste being such a pure color and any dirt on it makes it look well, dirty.
If you know what I mean.
I wonder what would happen if I like use some Scotchguard or something.
I got nothing against black tape except that it gets no style points and say it with me: image is everything.
Or I could get me some yellow hoods, but I think yellow hoods means finding a yellow seat, and I haven't seen any yellow seats around.
Besides, I kinda like the set I got now.
Once I find the right position for it.
Then there's the whole regala rings, compact rings thing.
The regala chain rings on the Ciocc haven't give me any problems or anything; I really like the 39, but I've never used the Big Ring.
In fact I sort of prefer the 39 for it lets me use the whole cassette as compared to the compact, which I find limits my gear selection somewhat.
I'm sort of thinking of making both bikes the same, you know, so that when I'm riding I don't have to think about the gears and all, but the Veloce compact is sort of rare in my crank length and I'm wondering if I should jump on one just for the hell of it.
The new Veloce has a different bottom bracket thingy don't you know.
Or I could find a Centaur regala set and go that way.
Not too sure about what I'm going to do.
At least my left shifters are like in pristine condition.
Anyways, I gotta figure out what to do before them Veloce cranksets become impossible to find.
Finally, I've found a vast new wasteland to roam and plunder.
I've been getting rid of some bike parts that have just been sitting around, posting them up on CL and all.
Well last week, I sent out a rear derailleur to California and today I get an inquiry from Texas!
I never thought of scrounging the listings in other cities!
Just the listings in California alone can take like the whole day!
All night too!
Oh boy I'm so excited I got the giddys!
A whole new world of bicycle parts and other peoples junk right at my fingertips!
I figure I can start on the west coast and work my way east.
Should take me about a week or so and then guess what?
I can start all over again!
No such thing as boredom around here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's a Sickness

At least that's what I'm calling it.
A sickness, that sort of explains it.
It defies reasonable explanations or logic, so there must be something wrong with me.
Today was like a half day at work, the teachers didn't even bother to show up so they sent us home early.
Okay, actually the teachers got like an unpaid leave day, part of a contract that's in dispute.
So what else is new?
Anyways, I came home and decided to do some bicycle work.
I was leaving all my control cables on the long side figuring I'd wait until I was happy with my set up.
If you've been following along at home, you, the reader, know that I've been a tweaking and a changing and measuring stuff trying to get everything to fit right.
Well, it's been some time now that I've tweaked or measured, so I thought it was time to trim them cables:

As you can see, they were all poking up above the bar looking all unruly and unkempt.
So out came the cutter thingys and a trimming I went!
I also got to see what the cables looked like after a thousand miles or so.
Some of the housings were slipping on the actual cable part and the front derailleur cable got some kind of twist in it.
Maybe time to try them Yokozuna cables I got sitting around.
Anyways, I trimmed them up best I could:

Hey wait! That's not the same bar and stem!
That's right Cinelli fans!
I got a new stem and bar!
The exact same size and everything, only a different model stem and I think older period bars.
It's official!
I am Cinelli Crazy!
Not to be confused of course with Campagnolo Crazy, that's an entirely different animal.
I don't know when it happened.
I was just browsing the eVilness one day, and this bar and stem came up and even though it was the same size as the bar and stem I got, I just had to have them!
It's madness I say.
I mean who in his right mind would buy the same bars just for the different badging?
I'm crazy!
Cinelli Crazy!
Okay, amid all that craziness, I did manage to tame my cables somewhat.
I tried my best to get them to cross dead center, but I got tired of threading the cables and trimming and gave up.
Close enough:

Boy, I don't know what the hell is wrong with me, it's like I got some kind of obsession or something.
Of course after wrapping the bars I couldn't use just any bar end caps:

Oh yeah baby!
Some blue anodized Cinelli bar end caps!
I'm sitting here admiring them right now.
I gotta say, I'm all stoked and stuff but also a bit worried.
I mean how far will I go?
When will the sickness go away?
Will it ever go away?
Maybe I will be cursed to forever scrounge the interwebz for Cinelli branded items.
Oh please, I need some help!
You gotta love it though, all the Italian goodness.
Almost better than pasta:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Around the Horn pt.III

As I was heading east, I was into the wind for most of this part of my ride.
I waffled between eating a full meal but decided against it as the the hard part was coming up and I didn't want to be all full and lethargic.
Looking back, I should have eaten.
The back side of Diamond Head:

The waves here are pretty consistent, since the are mostly wind swell.
Wind that I'll be heading into.
The highway heading east is mostly straight, with a nice wide bike lane:

So wide in fact that it offers no protection from the wind.
This is where it started to get bad.
I had an energy bar, but I think it was a bit too late.
It began to drizzle and I began to struggle a bit.
I did manage to make it to one of my old haunts:

The sanctuary is a large lagoon:

I used to spent a lot of time around this area.
Back in another life.
Maunalua Bay:

The local canoe hale(house) and all the canoes lined up:

This area is called Hawaii Kai and it's one of the more affluent areas.
I guess they can afford more canoes than Kailua.
It was here that I went into survival mode.
The weather didn't look too good and neither did I.
Look good I mean.
I had more water and something to eat and forged ahead.
I got to say, I don't know what the hell I was thinking here.
My body was telling me so get something real to eat, but my mind kept telling me that I could make it to the next stop.
I should have gotten some real calories in, for the hardest part of the ride was coming up.
The Double Hills of Deathly Doom.
No really:

Okay, this is not the real hill, but a street that runs parallel to it.
I knew I was in trouble so I didn't think I could take it all at once.
I was right.
I got up to the top and had to circle a bit to get my heart rate down.
There's a left up there and the rest of the real hill, and after resting a bit, I made it up.
I think I coasted for the next mile.
Then you go left, back into the wind and face this:

This road takes you up to the Makapu'u look out.
Hey! I did the Makapu'u epic almost exactly one year ago!
Anyways, I didn't make up up the second hill of Deathly Doom.
I had to dismount and plant my feets about three quarters of the way up to keep my head from exploding.
I had a passing feeling of some serious trouble, but it went away after a couple of minutes.
I should have eaten about ten miles back.
Or maybe twenty miles.
I did make it to the 7-11, where I had to lean on the glass once I got off the bike, but that passed too.
A half can of Sprite and something to replenish some sodium and I was back at it.
The soda and the salty stuff really helped.
I took some notes there.
I needed it for there was the Hill of the Exploding Compact Crank:

Okay, that hill wasn't so bad, and it's only about a mile or so from Flat Tire Central so I wasn't too worried.
I mean I was sort of thinking of walking at this point, but after cresting the top, I managed to coast almost all the way to the foot of my hill.
It's weird, for the last time I did this run, it only came out to like 30 miles and today it was 39.
It must have been some major error on my old computer.
In the end, I wasn't in as much trouble as I thought, I did still have some reserve, but towards the end, around mile 28, I really thought it wasn't going so good.
I think today was just a bad day for me, but at least I made it around the horn.
Still, a bad day on the bicycle is better than a good day at work!
Which is where I'll be tomorrow.
At work I mean.

Around the Horn pt.II

Into the concrete jungle.
Otherwise known as Waikiki:

More sidewalking here as the traffic going into Waikiki is pretty bad what with all the buses and trolley thingys.
My mission was to get around Diamond Head:

I cut through the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor:

Once you get onto the main road that goes through Waikiki, it's pretty easy going. The streets are wide and not very dangerous.
I managed to get there right on schedule:

I don't come into Waikiki very often, but every time I do it seems something is different.
Most of it is tourist stuff though:

I spied some Italian carbon and bicycle goodness:

That's about as close as I'll ever be to an F1 car.
Pretty awesome:

Crystal blingness:

I was tempted to stop and show them my valve stem caps.
Once you get past the shops, it's the beach walk:

The real Hawaii Five Oh:

The beach was packed, as usual.
Despite the jelly fish warning:

It was around here that I started to feel not so good.
I debated eating something, instead I decided on a snack:

Big mistake.
Part III is next.

Around the Horn!

Actually it's more like Around Diamond Head!
The last epic ride of the summer.
I had to get one more nice ride in before going back to work, so despite not feeling my best today, off I went!
I caught a ride into Honolulu with my father, that set me back an hour or so.
I figured though, if I hit Waikiki by noon, I'd be alright.
Oh, here's the map of my route:

I had a bike lane for the beginning part of the ride. Instead of going through downtown, I took the highway:

Here's an inter island barge:

Consumer stuffs are shipped to other islands after being off loaded in Honolulu Harbor.
The outer islands don't have a deep draft harbor to handle the big boats.
The local long line fishing boats:

Heading east past Aloha Tower, I side walked it for a bit since the bike lane ends.
I then cut through the waterfront parks.
I found some folks fishing for what looked like sardines:

They are standing over what looks like some kind of concrete drainage thingy, though I could be wrong:

A few summers ago, I saw some kids swimming in there.
Looked pretty cool.
Before heading out, I had read in the paper that they were looking for someone off of Kakaako, someone lost in the water.
I didn't think anything of it until I got there:

Just to the left of where I got that bottom image, they had the body covered in white sheets.
I didn't really want to see that.
All the commotion didn't seem to bother the surfers though:

That was a bit surreal.
Sort of reminds you that the water giveth, and the water taketh away.
If you know what I mean.
On to Kewalo Basin and the charter fleet:

Right around the corner is Ala Moana Beach Park.
Not very busy today since it was a work day and it was overcast:

All the way on the east end is called Magic Island.
It's not really an island, more like a jetty.
If you remember Gilligan's Island, you can see the old Magic Island as the Minnow goes off for it's three hour tour.
Now it's a protected lagoon:

Part II coming up.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The 4mm Offset Blues

I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I'm not built right.
Too short, too fat, and if you haven't noticed, I got a big head.
The shortness part is depressing though, for I just can't seem to find the right parts to make my bicycle fit normally.
Today, my Deda RS01 seat post arrived.
I ordered this post for my ole Selcof post was at the limits of the seat rails and it was silver.
I wanted a black post.
To match the bicycle don't you know.
Anyways, the Deda was supposed to have like 4mm less set back than the post I got:

With my overall shortness, 25mm of set back is a bit too much.
I was all happy and giddy when I opened the box, the post being all shiny and black and nasty looking.
The Deda is a two bolt post, as opposed to the single bolt like the Selcof:

It makes leveling quite easy, same as like a Thomson post.
The single bolt would slip every now and then, I had to tighten that thing up until it was difficult to get off.
The post was also very long, so I got the Flat Tire Tubing Shortener and cut that thing down to size.
Okay, now the bad part.
The clamp on the Deda is wider than the old post which is a good thing.
Now though, the STOP line is behind the clamp:

Which is not a good thing.
Still, I suppose the wider clamp makes it much safer than the narrow clamp on my old post.
I mean my fatness is now distributed over a wider area of rail.
Okay, the front part of the clamp is closer to the front STOP mark, but because the clamp is so wide, it looks like this post has even more set back!
I was also hoping I wouldn't bury the Deda logo on the side, but my shortness assured only half a logo would show:

Then there's the seat.
Because it's one of them split designs, and because it's pretty flexy, I'm sort of worried about them two clamp bolts sticking up in the middle:

I mean I got enough problems without having to worry about two bolts sticking up my you know what.
If this seat post works out, I'll have to replace them bolts or cut them down.
I guess that's a fatness problem.
Overall, I'm not sure how I feel about this post.
I mean I guess it doesn't really matter since I only got like 10cm of post showing, but that offset thing sort of bothers me.
I cannot go with a zero offset post for that would clamp forward of the STOP line and 25mm offset posts clamp behind the STOP line.
Okay, I got goofy proportions too.
Boy, I'm sad.
Well, I'll run this Deda for a while since it's black and nasty and say it with me: image is everything.
Still, I'll keep an eyeball out for another post, maybe with a shorter clamp.
Or something.