Friday, November 30, 2012


It is a Nice Rack, but 4lbs isn't something to take lightly. says its 3lbs, but I don't think those 2 bungees weigh 8oz each.

And please don't tell my wife that I've been weighing dirty bike parts on her kitchen scale again.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Wish List

Comments section from my previous post quickly devolved into a discussion of the potential awesomeness of midfat tires.
And ultimately culminated in me sending this email to Surly:

I don't know why the screen shot came through so blurry.

All I want for Christmas is to buy some marge lites and 26X3.0 Knards for my 1x1.


You know you want to.

I'll consider the seed planted.

Have a nice day

Anchorage, AK

Like the idea?  Drop them a line, bribe them with beverages, can't hurt.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Feels Like Winter

While the days have gotten short and the temperatures have been cool, there has been lots of beautiful sunshine to enjoy on at least one way of my commute.

I've been riding this beast almost exclusively for the last few weeks enjoying it's midfatness on the little snow we do have.  The $30 pogies have continue to serve me well, even after 7 years.  I was riding at -5 F this afternoon with my bare hands in them for the last 5 miles of my ride.

More exciting than snow has been the overflow from frozen streams around town.  I came upon this immediately after leaving the house yesterday.  An ice damn in a culvert had water flowing out down the road in single digit temperatures.  A couple of trails around town have had a some significant overflow issues on and off over the past few weeks.  In a very dorky way, I really enjoy the dynamics of water and ice.

 Spotted this guy just off the trail riding to school today,

then heard something behind me and noticed I'd parked my bike right between the two bulls.  Fortunately the were mellow and disinterested in my existence.

The left palm of his antlers appears to have broken off at some point. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Q & A

First there was a question and I had an answer:

From cargo bike listserve,

"I'd like a tire that can handle some off-road/gravel/hard-pack/maybe some mud, but which will also be fairly low rolling resistance on the the street. Right now I think my Xtracycle will see mostly street duty, but I'd like to have tires on it that will serve for those times that I might ride on the rough stuff. Also, after seeing some blog posts by a guy who uses his Big Dummy to carry equipment out to his research sites, I've been inspired by the idea of maybe using my Xtracycle to get out to do camping, birding, carrying my boat, etc."

So replied with this,

As a guy who has written "some blog posts by a guy who uses his Big Dummy to carry equipment out to his research sites"  I'll throw my two cents out there. 

(I don't know for sure if it was my posts that you read or not, but if there is somebody else hauling research equipment with a Dummy I'd love to have the link and the chance to pick his brain.)

First off I see you bought the Kendas.  Looked like a great deal on a quality tire, I hope you enjoy them and report back when you've got some miles and an opinion on them.

As for my set up, I am a tire tinkerer.  I enjoy experimenting with different tire/rim combos just to see what happens.  On the BigDonkey I've tried a number of things including:  2.4 Maxxis Holy Rollers, 3.7 Surly Endomorph (up front only), 3.0 Nokian Gazzaloddi, 2.1 Bontrager 'generic style mountainbike tires', 29x2.35 Schwalbe Big Apples, and my favorite set up 26x2.35 Big Apples.

All of these tires were run on a widish (~44mm) Alex DM24 rim, and a couple also spent time on a modified Sun Ringle Double wide.

If you were posing this question regarding a non-longtail setup, I would hands down recommend the Holy Rollers (which I've run in the summer on couple different bikes, including my Surly 1x1), but a cargobike is a different beast.
This spring a gypsy I crossed path with traded me some Holy Rollers he had for the Big Apples I'd been running on my Dummy.  A few thousand miles later he was switching to full on fat tires and offered to mail my Big Apples back to me, to which I enthusiastically said 'yes'.  I swapped the Holy Rollers off and slapped the Big Apples back on and everything was again right with the world.  Not that the Holy Rollers were bad or lacking, but I just find the Big Apples to be a little nicer, a little quieter, a little smoother and a little more pleasant to ride.

The Big Apples plenty of traction for almost all of the trail riding I do on the Dummy.  The long, stable cargo bike isn't getting rallied through corners quite the same way a regular bike would so cornering traction isn't a huge issue.
The flat protection from the tires is fantastic and the ride quality is super plush.  I think Gypsy Nick rode something like 3,000 flat free,  loaded, touring miles on my well used Big Apples before mailing them back. 

A flat tire on a loaded cargobike could be particularly inconvenient.
Knock on wood, but in the past 3 years I've had no flats on the Big Donkey that I can recall.
I have however shifted the chain off the top of the cassette a couple of times and learned how annoying rear wheel repairs in the field can be.

I've had more than one instance of slamming hard into an unavoidable rock and feeling my rim make contact with the rim.  Not only have I escaped without pinch flats, but I've also not had to true the rims.
It looks like the Schwalbe Fat Franks would also be a excellent option and perhaps provide a hair more traction.

Just my thoughts, no more right or wrong than anyone else's, but I'll put them out there for what they're worth.

Then I had a question I sent out to Allman and Gypsy Nick that went something like this:

Subject:  Thoughts?

6 miles through the woods to school. 

4 miles on paths home.

2 hours later, in the garage, rear tire is flat . . . tear at the valve stem (presta).

2 nights in a row.

Additional information available upon request.

I have a theory or two, but would be curious if you had any additional insight.

After all the holiday thankfulness I have to say I'm thankful to be able find answers to bike questions on the internet.  Not too long ago things were a lot different. 
Resources and answers were quite limited by today's standards, I try not to take it for granted.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

TurkeyMan 2012

TurkeyMan brunch ain't no joke:

That's a lot of sourdough.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TurkeyMan 2012. IT's On.

Noteworthy news for the evening: I got my garage shop/workbench as clean and organized as its been in ages.  All that means is that you can see to surface of the workbench and I moved and straightened up a bunch of tools on my pegboard.  World changing? Nope.  Life Altering? Not really .  . .  Quite satisfying?  Yep.

Now to get ready to wax skis

 In other news:

  • It's -2 F (-19 C)  outside at the moment 
  • Top secret operation "Turkey Launch" is well underway.  More details in the near future.
  • TurkeyMan 2012 is official ON, it's looking like there might be a record turnout.
For those who don't know (but actually want to know)  TurkeyMan is a Thanksgiving weekend anti-race of sorts I've put on for friends and friends of friends the past couple years.

It all begins with a social sourdough pancake/waffle brunch before a sort of competitive, human powered (bike, ski, run, there have even been kicksled participants) "race" in the woods near our house.
The event is loosely based on the urban alleycat race format in that their several checkpoints set up in the nearby forest and participants need to visit and document (photograph) their completion of each checkpoints instructions.  There is no prescribed route and checkpoints can be completed in any order people like.

In general is don't care too much for cycle racing.  I generally subscribe to something along the lines of Surly's  philosophy   of "when people race bikes we all lose."  I firmly believe that should one find oneself at a cycle-racing themed event one should do one's best to take it about as far from seriously as possible. 

In curating the events various checkpoints I do my best to keep things fun and interesting.  Requiring everyone to document their completion of each check point results in a lot of hilarious post-race photos.

Here are a few checkpoint photos from the inaugural event:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

At This Point I'd Say You've Come Full Circle . . .

 .  .  .  Or perhaps full ellipse is more appropriate. 

I just stared in disbelief.

Click on the photo if you need to see one of these contraptions in action.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stolen from Grant Peterson

I stole this from Grant Peterson (here is the link to his post).

I love my RB-1, I liked Grant's book, and I frequently find that I like the way Grant's mind works.  So I thought I'd post it here to help spread the love:


"calling all….

Here’s a letter I got a couple of days ago.
We live in a small world. I have a request - but I need to explain, so bear with me. My mother is in a nursing home. I visit her every day and in the course of my visits have come to know some of the other residents and I regularly visit with a number of them. I met a new resident in the hall some weeks back and we have been greeting one another and exchanging a few words. I  could tell from his skin color that he was a cancer patient, and I have since learned that he is.  He is very sick, Stage 4 prostate cancer. Two weeks or so ago I saw him in the hall and he was wearing a MUSA shirt, but he was tired and we didn’t talk. Last week he was riding a recumbent in the parking lot with his son watching - wearing MUSA pants. I asked him about the pants and he told me he was an old Bridgestone fan. He wasn’t feeling well, but as I was walking away his sister rode up to visit on a beautiful RB2 that he had bought for her. Tonight he showed me his trike that he has stashed on the 2nd floor of the nursing home. He rides it for therapy. The short(er) story is that he and most of his family members ride Bridgestones from your era. His name is Nick Cassell, and he has one of each Bridgestone model, I understand he locally raced an RB1. I talked with him tonight. He remains a big fan of yours, back problems have kept him from buying a Riv, he has been on recumbents for some time, but enjoys the MUSA gear and admires the Riv bikes. He said he has chatted with you in the past. I want to get him something for his room and thought a big Riv pennant would be nice. If I buy one will you write  a “best wishes …’ or something and sign it? I know he would appreciate it. 
Robert C. Barr
The pennant is easy, the pennant—done. What would you do? Can we/you do more? Nick has Stage Four prostate cancer. It has spread around, and there is no Stage Five, and I think thre’s no recovery, which rules out get well cards and “You’re in my prayers.”
What does it not rule out? — from strangers—us here, although we have spoken, it has been years; and you out there. Don’t go away—-in a minute or so I’m going to offer up a good, easy idea that any of you reading this can pull off without a chance of offending, with no awkwardness, with no even dread-of-doing.
I recently finished Mortality, the book Christopher Hitchens wrote while he was dying of esophageal cancer. On page 18, and then 37-43 or so, he gives advice on how to talk to people who are dying of cancer. You will either be that person, or will know people on that bike and will find the tips useful.
I think — rather than think already longer than the already two hours I’ve given this What can we do? question — it comes down to this. Draw a simple bicycle, a one-try/first shot-at-it bicycle. Do it on a Genuine Postcard and use a Genuine Stamp and sign your name and city/state and mail it to:
Hooverwood Hospital
7001 Hoover Road
Indianapolis, IN 46260 -4169
attn: Nick Cassell
Postcards, he can flip through or put on the wall. Postcards are so great, stamps look so good, and this one’s easy. Nick will know he registers and matters and is being thought about by kind strangers, and that can’t be a bad thing. If you have children, what a good project (this, suggested by a customer whose kids sent him cards),"

Monday, November 5, 2012

We had a whole bunch of weather that looked like this:

But circumstances dictated that I had to do a whole bunch of this:

And a little bit of this:

But I did manage to do some of this:

To keep me sane while I tackled this: