Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Terraduos

As I have written I got my new terraduos in the mail and my ATAC cleats came shortly afterwards. I did not take the time to mount them until today because I knew I needed to take my time and that I'd have to ride in them. I mounted everything up and decided to follow some advice I read in a article about such things and mount them a little differently. It was  mistake.

The shoes fit well and are way comfy. I usually position my cleats in the front most position with the mounts run way forward. I do this because as a kid I learned to keep the balls of my feet on the pedals for better power transfer which I read in some BMX magazine back in the mid-80's. Never got away from that train of thought, now I just cannot be comfortable any other way. I like to stretch my legs during a ride, the cleats mounted on the balls of my feet allow this. Even mounted a couple of millimeters back caused some foot discomfort and trouble riding well. I had a descent ride just cut it short because I was on the S/S and have not ridden it in a while. It left me kinda wobbly legged with the addition of differently mounted cleats. Hopefully the shoes will continue to fit well and are comfy off the bike I hope with going back to the original position I usually use I'll feel better.

Yes, I bought new CRC socks too. I figured I was down to one CRC wool sock and since I was S/S today that it would be nice to wear new socks and new shoes. It was like the first day of school from the calves on down, just without some shit head ruining your new stuff by spilling something on it in the cafeteria.

 It was a day of minor set backs. I went to the LBS the other day and had a 20 tooth freewheel put on the S/S because I wanted to ride it on steeper sections at without my lungs exploding. I thought honestly that when I flipped it over that it would be close with the chain and tensioner, well I was wrong there. It was just too much tension on the chain driving the tensioner up in to the frame, I cursed my gambling nature with such things. I usually run a 32x18 on a 26 inch wheel and kept a 16 on the other side for intown riding during snow in Denver. Not needing a 16 anymore for such things I thought a 20 would be a bit better because let's face it my legs (and my my elbows) are getting old. Now since I lack chain links and patience for that at least it's another trip to the LBS to see if he can make the chain right for both freewheels, I suspect another chain in in my future, I hope not though.

It was an OK ride for a Saturday. Not as crowded as last weekend. I felt like I was fighting with the bike a little in spots Riding a rigid single speed can be a hoot most times there are just some times it just hurts. I will say that I do like being able to sit trailside and enjoy a small snack without bugs crawling up my nose like they do here in the warmer months. I am looking forward to the warmer months because I dislike the fear of being improperly dressed and getting sick because of it.

No school for a week or so after this coming up Wednesday. I have checked the weather and well starting next week the weather gets wet. Which means I go onto the trainer for a few days. I'd like very much to be able to start on putting plywood down in the truck's bed I just lack room in BIL's garage to do such a thing. If the weather clears enough I'll start on that. I have thought I'd do a quick overnight over in LA (lower alabama) like the Gulf Coast for a MTB trip I just don't want a repeat of my wet trip I had up to asheville a couple of years ago where I was stuck in the truck half the time waiting for the weather to break. I may just stay in state and ride at Hard Labor State Park. I'm trying to keep out of the mountains for the moment because frankly I don't have the legs for sustained climbs.

I'll wrap up here for now. Hopefully the weather for next week will change form mostly rain to mostly sun. One can hope. Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Modified SD shelf

Modified SD (Steph Davis) shelf.

A while back I ran across an easy way to store gear during a trip the good ol' Steph Davis shelf. A simple piece of plywood that acts as a shelf to put gear on when you're sleeping in the bed of your truck. It works fine and I have no complaints I just always thought it could be "better". I put some thought in it an sketched out a thing or two.

My woodworking skills are for from being primo and after the build out of the truck cab I figured I could handle a drawer. I got like 80% done and needed to call in B.I.L. to help out. The problem I had was a large bow in the middle of the 3/4 inch plywood was making things not fit right. The solution?  inch and a half angle iron and some bolts and it worked. He finished off the front of the drawer for me cause he's a helluva a guy. Well here it is folks the modified SD shelf:

As you can see it's a drawer under a 3/4 inch of plywood that is "C" clamped to the bed of the truck. The drawer got added for a couple of reasons. One is to cut down on the amount of bags I carry on a trip the next is just keeping things organized. The drawer is also going to be semi-secure with a lock:

Yes, I know if someone wants my shit bad enough they'll bust the lock. It's just another pain in the ass thing to get by on top of a locked tail gate and locked camper shell door. A thief is going to have to work hard to get in there. I still have to put in the lock BIL told me it takes about an hour. it struck me today that I have wandered into the world of cabinet making. Heavens help me!

I left enough room to put an 8 gallon action packer underneath the drawer itself. I figure 3 action packers in the back. One for cycling gear, another for climbing gear and a third will be a flex box which things like books and miscellaneous things will be put into.  The flex box could be for anything.

The next question is am I going to finish the thing. I just might. I saw a neat article about charring wood then sanding it then putting urethane over it. Sounds good just need a little time to do that. My goal was to have the modified SD shelf done by spring break for school. I hope to have the latch on by then which is a little over a week away.

I have enough wood to build out the rest of the truck bed for more comfort insulation and storage. The SD drawer is making me modify some plans for that that's fine though because no other wood has been cut just yet. 

Onto other news.

I had some good old friends come in from out of town. they came back to get their shit and make a perm move out to the SF bay area. They say five years there I say they are going to stay forever. I helped them out on Wednesday and Thursday by helping them clear out their 2 storage units. Wow it was a lot of shit I could not imagine having so much. Nothing so much that I stick it in a storage place for a couple of years. It brings up a Tyler Durdenism "The things you own end up owning you." I love these friends dearly they just have a lot of possessions, not like hoarding kind of thing just stuff.

I miss the hell out of these old work/SF friends very much. I'd do most anything to be out west like they are now.

More news bike related.

I got my new Giro terraduos on Monday. I'm waiting on my Time ATAC cleats to come in then I RIDE. I'm usually VERY reluctant to buy shoes over the interwebs I've had success with a new pair running shoes and some casual merrells. I'm over due for new shoes because I've had my lakes for 10 years now, I cannot get the cleats off of them and the velcro is so worn it hardly holds anymore. Plus the toe on one of the shoes is starting to separate from the upper. I did a lot of research on shoes. I bought my Lakes because they had a vibram sole. I have a thing about wanting to walk in cycling shoes and some sections of trail in some places I have to walk esp when I was up on the CT. I'm not a huge fan of sidi shoes just because everyone else rides them does not make them right. Besides sidi MTB shoes just don't have enough tread for me and I've heard of issues over the years with buckles.

The terraduos are said to have sole separation issues. I got in touch with the folks over there and was told the issue should be gone if you buy direct from Giro. I did and if I have issues the shoes go right back. They have a buckle too and I'm kinda hinkey about it we'll see how well they hold up. It's a big spot to fill replacing the old Lakes lets see how they measure up time will tell.

If the weather holds today I'm planning to single speed over at Dauset today. Then hopefully by the LBS to get my new 20 tooth freewheel. I want to be able to ride some of the more hilly sections and need a little lower gear. This prompted me to thinking about the Karate monkey and going 2x9 on it. I hardly use the big ring. I really need better shifting on it, maybe that would help. It's a down fall of a 10-12 year old frame made before removeable dropouts. It's got horizontal drop outs really, it should be a single speed 29er I just like it better as a geared bike. I bought it geared and it stays geared for now. Heavens help me when I flat on the thing (knock wood) it has not happened in a LONG time but it's a chore fixing a flat cause you gotta take off the rear disc brake. For the faults of the bike it rides wonderfully.

Alrighty back to bed I think my weird middle of the night wake up is finally wearing off. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Some thoughts on beards.

 Specifically MY beard.

Living in the south in a typically milder climate people often question my choice of having a beard. "You look like a homeless person." I also often get the reality duck hunting peckerwood show comparison as well. As my three readers know a couple of years back as a purely social experiment I grew a Yeard (year long beard). In the spirit of that I did not trim it in any sort of way during that time. I REALLY liked it, in fact I grew to miss it after I had it shaved off.

I kept it off and grew a Zappa for a while for nursing school. Once the healthcare/nursing burnout set in for good and I decided to push away from that I started to grow the beard in earnest, it's been about 4 months now. Pretty much my family hates the beard. When Pop was alive he was pretty open about my beard, he did not like it in fact he was so happy when I cut it off he cried. The unasked question is "Are you going to cut that thing off" The answer is a resounding NO!

Not even for the summer?

I had a guy in the south side Chiplote comment on my beard he thought it was "Great" I was standing in the line there and we chatted up a bit, his wife became involved in the conversation and she told me she thought it looked "disgusting" The dude looked kind of sheepish after that little snide comment made by his wife, he did some shoe gazing. He was clearly embarrassed. Getting insulted by people is something I have unfortunately grown use to over the years because of my line of work so I was non-plussed. I retorted "Fortunately," I'm not married to you so I don't fucking care what you think." Which got a look of horror from the wife and a huge guffaw out of the husband. She looked at him like he needed to do something about it and he told her "You asked for it" and kept laughing at her at which point I snapped my fingers like "The Todd" did on "Scrubs" then turned around and ordered my Chicken Burrito with black beans. That put some wind in the husband's sails even though he's probably still sleeping in the garage.

The beard like the tattoos hardly ever gets comments from who I would call attractive women. When those comments do come it's from women who are double my weight and smell like week worn wool socks and an ash tray. Yet I persist, because I grow the beard for me like I get tattoo work done for me as well. With little of no thought going or caring what other people think. One of my nephews asked me a while back "Don't you care about attracting women?" to which I replied "The right one if she exists will be attracted to my vibe besides I'm wondering if another woman is the answer I really need right now" Tyler Durden is my Oprah (which will be on a hand made tshirt over the summer).

I'm justified now because of the recent cold snap here in Georgia. To paraphrase Randy Morgenson "It keeps my face warm in the winter and the bugs away during the summer" Which is good enough for me.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Truck projects

Insomnia prompts me to write.

Today with a small window of warmer weather got me outside to work on the truck some. I could have went for a ride but decided not to be cause it's Sunday with a forecast of nasty weather next week which means the local trails will have a lot of folks there. Besides, I really needed to start on my latest project.

I spent a small fortune (for me at least) in buying wood and materials to build out the back of the truck. First project is the modified Steph Davis (SD) shelf. The plain old mark 1 mod 0 SD shelf is simple. It's a piece of plywood cut to fit onto the truck bed and "C" clamped to the bed. It works well. I decided that I could modify mine with a drawer underneath to try to cut down on bags up front.

Let's say that I've learned from building out the front of the truck that I am no carpenter. I am getting better though with every cut. After a small hiccup or two I have the drawer 80% done. The problem is that there is a bow right in the middle of the 3/4 inch plywood that is the original shelf. I was able to modify the back so it would not scrape on opening, the front is going to be a challenge. I am able now to have a 4 inch tall drawer 16 inches deep by roughly 41 inches wide. It's enough to throw clothes into and fit my action packers underneath. Then when I am sleeping put the action packers on top of the SD shelf.

Common sense would dictate that I just cut a piece of plywood with no bow and go from there. I refuse to because it would be wasteful and expensive to cut a fresh board. I figure I can cut a piece the right way with a rented jigsaw and a little patience. I also want it to be able to lock and have a cabinet combo lock coming I may change my mind though and put the locking compartment some place else less conspicuous.

After the modified SD shelf is done comes putting plywood down and bolting it to the bed of the truck. Then building a tie down area for the cooler and a place for my rotopax water jug. I have an idea and mind and will modify what I saw over on desk to dirt bag. I won't get so complicated with moving a whole piece of plywood around for storage. I'll have a lot of measuring to do and lots of cuts the biggest is going to be the single sheet to fit between the wheel wells of the bed.I know I keep saying it but honest pics will be posted one day in the future of all the builds.

Next item to be bought will be for a comfortable sleep. The climbing crash pad is just too stiff to sleep on comfortably overnight consistently. I'm looking seriously at an ikea mattress of all things. I looked and looked on the interwebs and could not find anything cheaper. I was unwilling to buy an expensive thermarest and the moshult does roll up. Not that I'll be taking it on the literal trail with me. My only concern is that it's white. It's going to get dirty FAST so I need to find a cover for it some place. I'll look at the thermarests again I'm skeptical that a good one will be in my budget. I figure for under to cost of a top of the line thermarest I can have a bigger in width thicker futon mattress with a cover. That's about it for truck projects.

I have been physically inactive for the last week because I have been trying to get rid of this small nagging cough. This next week promises a challenge to being active with nasty weather on the horizon and friends form the west coast here. PLUS this damn nagging cough. Well I'm going to try to lie back down and snooze for a bit before the alarm goes off in a few hours. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Valentine!

Water color by Richie Gunn

I present the Voodoo Erzulie or as I call the bike on occasion "The Trail Witch" this bike has been my one true Valentine over the years. Again and again she has been with me through thick and thin. When life has me reeling I go to a local trail get the tires dirty and if only for a little while the fog rolls back. I SOOO wanted this bike when I was living on Guam, I just could not get it through the LBS there. So when I got back to the continental US of A and got some cash together I scrambled to a bike shop that was closing and got one for a good price. Shortly after that Voodoo went out of business.

I rode the shit out of that bike. For the longest time it was my sole form of transportation in the city and on the trail. Never even in my time working in the bike shops did it even occur to me to get rid of the bike even though many of my friends and co-workers told me to get a full suspension yadda yadda carbon bike. I was tempted I just could not imagine letting go of the bike. Yup sure I got the Cross Check to commute better and the Karate Monkey for something different in the end though I always went back to The Trail Witch. The Voodoo is what got ridden at 24 hrs of Moab oh so many years ago.

She came with me back east when I decided to help out with my elderly parents and found that she was marvelous on the tight single track of my local trails back here in Georgia. She got ridden a lot more and for a VD gift to her one year I bought a new set of Rebas. Another year I gave her a Chris King headset. This year because money is tight I got her a new chain, brake pads, headset spacer, bars and rear tire. I swear every year I'm going to send her off and get repainted. I use the excuse of not having enough money, really though it's because I cannot bear to get her stripped down and send her off to another state for a few weeks. Honestly, I'd be devastated if I lost her.

Yes, I love all my bikes it's just different with the Voodoo. She's always just been THERE. From break ups to the shooting to the career shuffle to Pop dying the Voodoo has been waiting to be ridden telling me in her own solid steel way that sure life is shit sometimes just when you're on a bike and riding with the breeze in your face it gets a little better for a little while.

I always said that if the bike gets to where it can't be repaired it gets framed and up on the wall it goes. I'm dedicated to the bike so much in fact that a long while back I got the head badge tattooed on me:

The "VFL" stands for "Voodoo For Life" there is a reason this blog is called "Bicycle of Steel and a Head full of Weird" When someone mentions Voodoo I get all geeked out and have to resist the urge to buy it on the spot.

I love this bike and cannot think of any other way (besides a bitchin' paint job) to show that it means THAT much to me. Yes, it's strange and yes I know it's an inanimate object for me though if it's possible it has a soul. In my book if something has a soul then it's possible to love it. I feel bad that she has had to sit for months neglected in a cold dusty garage or in a drafty tool shed. I don't have my own space so it's tough on the bikes the Voodoo especially she gets more scratched it seems every week. After nearly 20 years owning the bike of course the paint is going to get thin in places.

This is my love, my valentine for many years in the past, this year and many years to come. I have not said it enough Thanks Trail Witch for being there and all that you have done, I LOVE you.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

VD is coming

VD is just in a day or two. Who is going to be your valentine for yet another hallmark holiday? I guarntee you I'm going to have one whom I LOVE deeply. In fact I ride her all the time! We've been dirty and cold together and survived many a scrape. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Winter hack

On and off for the last week or so I have been dealing with a hacking cough that just won't go away. I get one every winter that I am outside and active. I'm not worried too much, since it's non-productive, I am not running a fever nor do I have night sweats.

Did a nice ride over at the local trails on Thursday. It was a little bit chilly and honestly I should have thrown a jacket in a jersey pocket which probably further explains why I still have this persistent cough. It was a good enough day for a ride on the ol' trail witch. I did a piece of trail I had not done in a long while "huff and puff" trail If I remember right it's points 21-24 on the map:

For me the toughest bit was between points 22-23 and really hammers home the "huff and puff" name of the trail. It just shows where my conditioning is at since although I only dabbed once while riding that piece I was in my granny gear a lot more than I usually am. Heavens help me if I ever am crazy enough to take the Kona s/s up there. I will some time this year it's just right now I just don't have the wind.

Which brings up me taking the voodoo to the LBS (local bicycle shop). Just to remind my few readers the LBS I had gone to since moving back to Georgia shut it's doors. Which forced me to look for another shop. No small feat in rural middle Georgia. I found one and I'm reserving judgement right now to see if they pull through. I went by there after my ride and dropped off the voodoo/trail witch. It's ALWAYS a tough thing for me to drop off that bike. It's just a bunch of niggling things that's worked their way loose or need replacing. I need a new chain, the headset I just cannot get adjusted right, the rear wheel is a titch loose, a new rear tire which good quality 26x2.1 tires are getting harder and harder to find. Plus the brakes I just don't have the time to make them just "so". It also gives me the excuse to ride the kona since the voodoo is in the shop.

I felt kind of silly going up there and dropping it off for such small reasons. I just know I don't have the time to wrench on the bikes since it takes me a while to do things since 1) I was never that good of a wrench and 2) It would take me forever to do these things since I am out of pratice. Besides I want to support my LBS in hopes that this time next year I'll FINALLY get the voodoo painted by Bilenky cycle works. Something I have said for oh the last 7-10 years.

I plan on getting out on the road bike today and putting in a ride since it's going to be warmer today and yes, I will put a jacket into my jersey pocket today.

I got to finish up some history homework and get started on math so I can go ride later today. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A small proposal for craft breweries

First off check out this article from NPR that got my attention a few weeks ago:

 Craft brewers are running out of names and into legal spats.

I was doing some research on small breweries out in the Rocky Mountain region and saw them write about this problem over and over again, it almost always leads to litigation. We all know we now live in a litigious society. I could get into a whole big discussion and rant about that, I can see both sides of the issue. I will not do that here.I realize that folks of the legal profession gotta eat too.

I just would like to make a modest proposal to those micro and craft breweries out there to try to find a better way to settle this very real issue and think out of the box, bottle, can, growler or any vessel you may choose. Besides it's just fun.

Instead of ringing up your lawyer why not call that other brewery or hell if local go on over to the other brewery with some of those like named beers and suggest a friendly competition. I was thinking of like a game of kickball or softball. An alley cat or MTB time trial. A game of 8 ball or a few hands of black jack or poker? Winner gets the name. Loser sells through their remaining labels and merch and agrees not to print more you get 4-6 months to do that. While playing whatever game talk about alternate names that either brewery could use for who ever loses. If ya keep having probs call a lawyer. At least you tried.

You never know you might make friends and decide to do a collaboration brew of some sort.

I know it's a nutty idea. I just drink fine microbrewed beer on occasion. I don't make it and I certainly do not have any money tied up in a brewery (cause I hardly have any money) I just think it's a more civil fun way to do things. If you wanna get a contract drawn up to make it all legally binding and pay the law types then you could do that too. My point is you're small, I imagine there is some latitude in such matters. It's a thought. I'm considering an online petition to send around.

I got some history notes to catch up on today then I'm going to ride up over at dauset then run some errands. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Good News and Bad News.

Good News:

Got my first road ride in a long while in yesterday. I actually got the trainer tire off and got the road tire on the TCR2 with no trouble or pinched tube. The road bike rode wonderfully, I only did about 12 miles because I am uncertain of my conditioning right now. Remembered road riding is much different than mountain biking because of the wind. I found that I did not have to worry about locals running me off the road or throwing bottles at me like I use to. Note to self next time wear wind vest it got a bit chilly out there. I've had good weather recently, had a wonderful ride over at Dauset on Thursday, the rear wheel on the voodoo is a bit loose I need to get it fixed, can't remember if I have cone wrenches over at mom's place or not. I'll put my ATAC pedals back onto the Kona and do some single speeding for a bit to suffer some. S/S helps out on the trail a lot, we all know this though.

Other GN:

Got my tax refund back super fast. I used a majority of it to pay down a credit card bill. Going to use some more for something special for myself, something I have wanted to do since Pop died. I won't say what it is just yet I'll post pics when it happens. Bill paid off to accountant, very happy about that that bill is not hanging over my head anymore. They are super cool because I am an EMT and student just did not need to drag that out any longer.

Bad News:
I did find out I'll get my student loan money in the next week or so. Unfortunately it's not near as much as I anticipated (about 25% of what was expected). I know why, b/c I signed up for 10 hrs of classes instead of 11. Honestly thought I did sign up for 11 hrs. Dumb mistake on my part, lesson learned. This makes paying bills very tight and I may have to work more at BCH. Something I'd rather not do for reasons posted a while back. Still trying to get out of healthcare before something horrible happens again. This also throws into doubt planned trips for the summer, mods to the truck and doing EMT classes. I wanted to get into crossfit too with a college buddy and can't afford that now. REALLY don't want to work over the summer and will try to figure out a way to pull off summer trips. I thought about crowd funding just need to look into it some more. I'll get in touch with another college pal to see if I can wash windows for him pays better than BCH much safer and he pays cash.

Unrelated to GN/BN just news.

Algebra test tomorrow. Not super confident with it, in fact in over my head. I'll keep plugging away b/c I cannot afford to drop class. Pulling for a "C" in there. I'm not sure how much work will get done today. It's superbowl sunday, ON (older nephew), YN (younger nephew/Lazy 8) and their cousin are here. YN is Seattle fan don't know why he has NO ties to the city and has never been close to going to the NW. Go figure. It's a big day at the house Big Sis loves having all "her" boys in the house. Lot's of noise, it's just one day so no biggie and besides this ties into a promise card "I'll be more patient with YN"

and another side note reading more and more of RU Nuts adventures dude he's living the dream!

Alright I got plenty of school work to do. Thanks for reading.