Archive for the Spring Category

Grand Randonneur update

Posted in 'round town, Bicycles, Spring, Surly with tags , , , , , , on May 1, 2010 by jmadams13

Its only been 30 or so miles since I installed the new bars yeasterday, but I have have come to a few conclusions…

1) I got the wrong size.  I had a brain fart at the time and forgot Nitto measures C-C at the end of the drops, which have a nice flare to them.  My old bars were 42cm at the hoods, these measure 42cm at the drops, at 39cm at the hoods.  I have the 45cm version on product watch on QBP

2) Sizing issues aside, I love the gentle rise on the flats.  Was very comfortable in the wrists, as there is a slight inward angle and more natural position.  More-so then a flat bar, or the tops of most drop bars.

3)  I also like the feeling in the drops.  The flare is nice, but not as drastic as dirt drop (the other option I was thinking of trying on the Cross Check) outward sweep, about 13 degrees.  I have always disliked the feeling of the forward curve hitting my wrists when riding in the drops, as I like to climb with my hands on the very end of the drops, and the flare on the rando bars brings the arms out just far enough to clear.  I also have hit the bar end shifter less with my knee at stop lights and dismounting.  A reason I use a down tube shifter for the front derailer (notice I use th Sheldon Brown spelling.)

4)  The non-ergo curve of the drop is a more natural feeling to me.  I never felt comfortable on the ergo section of the curve on my Salsa Bell Lap bars, as I have smaller hands, and have some pinky pain from past pinky finger breaks.  The gentle curve feels right, and is nice and “swooping.”  The same as the curve on Nitto’s Noodle bars.  My personal favorite drop.

5) Because of the flare starting at the top of the drop curve,  the brake levers have a outward angle to them.  Outward at the lever end, and inward at the hood.  I find this to be very natural feeling, as it gives the wrist a inward angle.  Hold your arms out in a fist, and relax the wrist muscles , and notice that they are not perfectly vertical, and the thumbs are kinda angles towards each other.  This is the natural position they (your wrists) want to be in, and this is the position on the hoods the hood angle is in due to the flare.  Of all the aspects of this bar, this is the most the most important reason I wanted to give them a try.  Wrist pain on any ride over 30 miles has kept me from being as efficient as I could be and the reason I have to stop for brakes.  This puts a hamper on wanting to do more serious group and club rides, and keeps the road riding more casual.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a slow and easy stop and smell the flowers ride, actually my favorite kind of ride, but is nice to hammer along with a group once in a while, or take in a long brevet or randonneur with friends.  I have a feeling this hood position will solve that.

All in all, even in the incorrect size, these bars have been the most comfortable bars I have ridden, minus Nitto Mustache bars (but thats a different post for a different day.)  Now I sit and cross my fingers QBP gets some 45cm versions in soon.  More updates to come after a few more miles, and a few more miles in one sitting, not around town errand and pleasure runs.


The simple life, an observation

Posted in Bicycles, Spring with tags , on April 12, 2010 by jmadams13
simple |ˈsimpəl|
adjective ( -pler , -plest )
1 easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty : a simple solution | camcorders are now so simple to operate.
• plain, basic, or uncomplicated in form, nature, or design; without much decoration or ornamentation : a simple white blouse | the house is furnished in a simple country style.
• [ attrib. ] used to emphasize the fundamental and straightforward nature of something : the simple truth.
2 composed of a single element; not compound.
• Mathematics denoting a group that has no proper normal subgroup.
• Botany (of a leaf or stem) not divided or branched.
• (of a lens, microscope, etc.) consisting of a single lens or component.
• (in English grammar) denoting a tense formed without an auxiliary, e.g., sang as opposed to was singing.
• (of interest) payable on the sum loaned only. Compare with compound 1 .
3 of or characteristic of low rank or status; humble and unpretentious : a simple Buddhist monk.
A cup of black coffee, a park bench, a country road, a cherry blossom.  Some things evoke an image of uncomplicated and enjoyable simplicity they can only be described as a thing of beauty.  With a world becoming more and more complex, from war, dependance on technology, famine, disease, poverty, religion, and injustice it can be a wonderful thing to take a step back, take a long thoughtful deep breath, and enjoy the simpler things in life.
Life can be complicated.  Stress over money, family and relationship issues, and the need to please everyone can be mind boggling to some, and just down right overwhelming to others.  Its time we all take a few steps back, relax, and enjoy what life has to offer us.  Life happens around us one day at a time.  We cannot see into the future, and frankly, I would rather not know, then have it ruin the life that I am having today.  Dealing with that stress all comes down to a few things…  All of which can be simple.
‘Carpe Diem’ – “used to urge someone to make the most of the present time and give little thought to the future.”  Seize the day…  Life is to short… A simple life is what I crave.  But those simple cravings can make the this much less simpler.  I hear people saying that they want a simpler life, but in the motions to create that simpler life, go to such extents that everything becomes so complicated and difficult.  The best way to truly be simple in life is to be thankful for what you have, and who you are.  When we stop trying to be up the newest fashions, in all aspects of life, we can take a look of what our life is, and find what makes us happy.
As I write this I am sitting outside a very quant independent neighborhood coffee shop (notice I didn’t use the work cafe) on a basic wicker chair, sipping a cup of uncomplicated black coffee, enjoying the early spring breeze.  I also rode my bike here, but more on that later.  I’m not worried about the world around me.  I am not thinking of how I am going to pay the bills, what laundry needs to be done, and most importantly, tomorrow.  What I am thinking about is the nice evening I will have with Aimee, maybe stopping buy a friends shop to say hi, and enjoying the spring evening with my dog.  What I have done here is make things slow down a little.
No need to rush home just to go to bed, and start all over again.  No need to rush around town, honking my horn because the person at the stop light in front of me waited 30 seconds to go after it turned green.  No need to make this go by any faster.  Its moments like these I am thankful.  Just thankful.  At peace with the life I have made, and peace with the decisions I made. No need to fret over the should’ve and could’ve.  No need to worry.  Life is good.  And its the simpler things that make it good.  I have become simple.  From the food I cook, my mode of transportation, the way I think about everything, from politics, religion, love and life.


Posted in Spring with tags on April 5, 2010 by jmadams13

cups of coffee today: 9

Spring has finally peeked its little head out.  Cool nights, warm sunny days, the smell of freshly cut grass, birds chirping, kids playing, dogs barking, the cool morning dew on my bare feet.  I love it, and wish it could be spring all year.  I love how the tulips and daffodils seem to bloom overnight….

That brings me to this new blog.  Spring is the time of the year for new beginnings, and sprouting new life, and try new things.  The extended sunlight brings new energy in to many things, and myself is no exception.  Lets hope it lasts…

A little about me is in order I guess.  I am a self diagnosed bicycle addict.  I am also trying to live a car-lite, or semi car-free lifestyle.  I am all about utility in many aspects of my life, as you will see.  I also have a huge passion for coffee.  Addiction some would say, and I guess I have to agree.  More on myself to come.