Archive for June, 2007

The End Of My Townie As We Know It

Its Friday! A long week it has been, full of thrills and the like. All my parts are in to transform the Schwinn from the 34 pound townie into the ? pound touring bike. Check out all these parts!

Exciting, no? A 105 headset will cradle (strangle?) my new Nitto (thats neat-o!, people) stem and mustache bar with bar end shifters (8sp) and a really old 105 lever plus a newer and shinier shimano brake lever. I scored an XT rear der from the BL and a 600 front der. The bike is going to be sporting a 34t small ring and a 46t big, mounted on a crank I got from the BL’s big cheese, Brian. It is a 170 so I will probably not keep it long, just until I can get a 175. New brakes, Cane Creek cantilevers and Crank Bros pedals. Just one set for this bike, the other will go on my cross bike. Or maybe my new Ira? Hmmm…


As you know I do not spend all of my time (or even much of it) obsessing about component choices and such. This stuff was pretty easy to pick out and I hope I like it, I should be able to get the bike re-built on Sunday. My folks are coming into town today to see us and check out some Jazz Fest so Cody and I will be entertaining tonight and tomorrow. Yesterday morning I went for an early am ride with John and it was great. We rode Sharon Center with a smidge of gravel thrown in for good measure. As we were riding back into town I found this:

Super! Its a 12″ FORGED CRESTOLOY STEEL MADE IN THE USA WRENCH manufactured in Jamestown, NY by the CRESCENT TOOL CO! It has a super cool locking mechanism

that is much more visible in this photo. John and I went on to have delicious coffees and pastries at the Java House. I had best get to cleaning the house so my mom does not flip out when she gets here. Later on…


Comments (3) »

Catnip Harvest!

You know him, you love him, its Ritchie on drugs!

Thanks to Mark for the goods!

Pictures of Wayne to follow?

Comments (1) »

Bike Library Platitudes

I was intending to go for a nice ride today on account of it being a Saturday and all but I got so drunk last night I threw up and I was not feeling particularly spry when I awoke so I decided to hit the Bike Library and give a little back to the community that I had taken so much (beer) from last night. I rode down with Cody and we were a little late. I left as soon as we got there to get a veggie breakfast burrito from the New Pi and a soy latte. It was chilly so I got a hot one, it was lovely.

Back at the BL and I fixed up a nice Panasonic step thru and checked it out for $45.00! Then I fixed up 2 kids bikes for a family that stopped in. They have some of the most rambunctious kids around and it was great watching them tear around in the parking lot whooping and hollering. Kids bikes are just $5.00 a piece and worth every penny, dag-nabbit!

It was nice being back at the Library. I have been around but have not been doing as much as I would like for the place, now that the Summer of (self) Love is on I plan to work more and more down there and drink to the point of puking less and less.

In other news, we got some old books donated at the bike shop this week and one that was published in 1979 called INSIDE the CYCLIST: Physiology for the two-wheeled athlete caught my eye with this photo:

Anyone out there recognize this feller? The t-shirt is from Michael’s Cyclery in Ames, Iowa (obviously) which was a most amazing bicycle shop that I am happy to say I got to know along with its owner, Michael Fatka, when I lived in Ames. Michael is an important figure in the growth of American cycling who I feel has been largely forgotten. Many of the top cyclist from the 7-Eleven days were first on Michael’s Levis/Raleigh team. Connie Carpenter, Andy Hampsten, Thurlow Rogers, Steve Hegg, Roy Knickman, Nelson Vails, Steve Tilford… It is a regular who’s who list. It was amazing as a young cyclist to hang out at his amazing shop and look at all the memorabilia scattered around and read postcards from his old racers that were stapled all over the walls and ceiling of the lounge area. It is hard to find any information about that team or Michael other than in passing and that is probably the way he likes it.

Comments (8) »

Farmers Market Season!

Hit up the Iowa City farmers market tonight and got lots and lots of goodness!  Lettuce from Jim’s garden, chives and basil from ours and tofu from who knows where?


Sweet Jesus!

Satisfied Customer


Leave a comment »

Summer Of (self) Love

I know it is not quite summer, but I am kicking off this campaign anyways.  I hereforwith declare that I will only do things for this next season that are pleasant and summery to me.  As such I went on the “B” ride tonight and it was a blast!  Some good rotations and quality conversation made this ride one to remember.  I was looking dashing in my ATLAS blue with my IRC “pickle” cap as I rolled along on my Poprad.  Post ride I enjoyed not one but 2 Pils Urquells with a basil and tomato pizza.  Cody harvested the basil from our up and coming garden.  Good times!

As the Madison trip fades into the distance I find myself disinclined to ramble about it.  Folks have been telling me I type too much…  We ate fine food


and drank fine beer and stayed at the Hostel and visited some local bike shops and had coffee


and went for a ride out to a peninsula near campus and all in all we had a great time.


Madison is great, I have long thought of moving there and maybe someday it will happen.  Oh yeah, we met some cyclotourists at the hostel and they are detailing their trip here.  If you no like-a the links here is a photo:


And our friend and Bike Library comrade Zach did his first touring from Iowa City to Madison and we were able to connect with him and his father at Cleveland’s Diner for some amazing breakfast fare.  Life is good and Cody just informed me that we got a new issue of Bicycle Quarterly in the mail so life is better and I must retire for the evening.  I’ll see you in the funny papers!

Comments (1) »

A Fleetwood Mac Moment

Cody and I spent the weekend in Wisconsin. Friday night we drove up to Mt Horeb to get my registration info for the HHH and visit the Grumpy Troll Brewery. Got the schwag (Salsa Cycles Headband for sale – cheap!) and retired to the beers. A fine dinner, too. Slept in the back of the Cochran minivan which is quickly becoming a team favorite.

Doing Zonker Proud

The HHH is one of the hardest rides I have ever done and I was looking forward to this years ride until I did the Dirty Kanza. Since then my motivation has been lacking so I decided to do the 100k event rather than the 200k. The 7 am start is nice and the weather was beautiful. We rolled out in our pack of hundreds and I chatted with an old friend from Madison that had been one of the hammers of last years 200k lead group. He was surprised that none of the other folks from our merry band of yesteryear were doing the 200 again except for him. I was not surprised.

So we rode up a really big hill and I found myself off the back of the leaders but a daring descent and a healthy chase later I latched onto the back of the 15 or 20 riders that were looking to “race” this thing. We had done about 20 miles and I was familiar with the course and took a turn that we did last year that apparently was not included in the route this year. Oops! So I rode what we did last year, about a mile out and back with a big and steep climb in the middle by myself. Who was right? I dunno. So I rode by myself and caught some folks and got caught by some folks and after some time I came to a T intersection with no directional sign. I stopped and looked around, another rider rolled up and we decided to turn left (why?) so we did and came to another unmarked T intersection and turned right (why?) and lo and behold, an official rest stop! I stopped to tell them they had some unmarked corners and they told me that a local militia of freedom and cycling hating farmers had taken down the signs in an attempt to stop the terrorists from winning. Or something to that effect.

I rode off and in no time at all encountered a large group of cyclists standing around at an intersection and another smaller group a bit further up in the shade, also standing around. I was confident of the direction I was traveling so I roared on by in the big ring for emphasis when they yelled at me to WAIT! WAIT! So I turned back and they asked if I knew where I was going and I said yes and they asked where and I said this way and they asked if I had a map and I said no and they asked if I was doing the 100 or 200k and I said 100 and then someone with a map said its that way and pointed the way I had been going and I rode off in an unhappy place.

I got passed by some folks. I was riding pretty slow thinking that this kind of malarky sure takes the fire out of the belly when I hit another unmarked intersection. FARMERS I thought and stood in the intersection trying to decide if I should go back or what when a couple of riders came up and said they had done this route last year and we should go right. So I rode with them and one of them told me I was spinning a bit fast for climbs like these (true story Michael!) and I might find it easier if I shifted down one gear. He got dropped on the next descent, which I thought was funny. We rode on and on with no course markings in sight and then there was another roadside aid station! I stopped to see where in the heck we were but the others continued on. The poor lonely man at the station told me we were the first riders he had seen all day and cursed farmers and all the damage that agriculture had ever done to the hunter/gatherer societies. He had a map and showed me that for a 100k rider I was way off course. I surrendered then and plotted a route to get back to the finish and the Cody and rode in.

It was an entertaining morning in the chamois for sure. As I rode in I contemplated the silliness of it all and found myself singing “You can go your own way” off key and loud as I rolled along. I enjoyed riding in the area at a relaxed pace and enjoying the scenery. I saw a fox and a woodchuck and 2 deer and lots of cows. The last climb was tough but much less tough after 4 hours of riding than it had been last year after 7. I was a bit disgruntled over the running of this event and I will not go back. They charged a formidable entry fee and online registration was a fiasco. The course markings were terrible. I already did the 200k in a fine time and after riding in the area again this year I think I would much prefer a tour to take it in. As Cody and I were leaving we came across one of these and recognizing it as a rare and precious flower that only blooms in SW Wisconsin for one day in June we figured we could make some bank by selling it on the internet so we picked it. Any offers?


I will write more about the rest of our weekend in Madison later, there are sneak peak photos available on the flickr site.

Comments (1) »

Rumbling Mumblings

Two bike riders got hit by a car outside Des Moines this morning.  They were serious riders out for an early training ride.  This is a major fear we face daily as cyclists.  Inattentive motorists are some of the most dangerous people you will ever encounter in your life and are heavily armed to boot.  I don’t really know where I am going with this.  I am on the board of directors of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition and I am hopeful that during my three year tenure I can help bring about meaningful changes to the laws of this state to afford real meaningful protections to pedestrians and cyclists.  I have lost friends to car / bike collisions and I take this issue incredibly seriously.  Cody and I ride daily and a goodly percentage of our friends do, too.  The idea of driving as a privilege and not a right disappeared long ago.  I think a motorist who kills should lose their license.  I think they should serve time in jail.  Their life should be changed, just as their victims life changed.

Last I heard the two riders were in critical but stable condition and were expected to live.  I wish them the best which sounds pathetic but it is all I can do

Comments (1) »