25 September 2008

Permanent Debut

Don Boothby urged a few fools to "usher in a great welcome to the autumn season by playing hooky on "Hump Day" and going out to play in the rain." Sounded innocent enough and I really needed to get out and grab a 200 km to keep my R-12 dreams afloat for month number two.

Of all the days this week, Wednesday was the only one predicting rain. Don picked the day a month ago to ride with Joe Keenan. Once the vacation time was booked, Joe had to have surgery that morning. So, I joined the "few brave souls," Steve Davis, Mark Thomas and Don Boothby for the Hood Canal South #84.

I learned immediately that it was imperative to get a receipt at each control - having never ridden a permanent before, I was glad to have some experienced companions. As we rolled out through morning rush hour I had the distinct feeling that I'd be the caboose on this train. Steve was on his 11th month of R-12, Don has only taken 28 days off the bike for the whole year and Mark rides more brevets than anyone I know. I barely have ridden 28 days this year!

It was nice riding through the morning and we didn't start getting rain until we neared the Canal about 11:30 a.m. This is a pretty simple route and with stops in Hoodsport and Brinnon, gave us the opportunity for some coffee and pastries along the way. I felt pretty good until Brinnon at the half-way point and then realized my seat post had sunk down and had to readjust. Unfortunately with the new bike I had not yet marked it, so I guessed. Not a good thing.

Minding the store in Brinnon

Don and Mark were off the front in minutes on the return and Steve stayed near for company. I urged him to hang with the fast boys, but we enjoyed some great conversations about the economy and freight hopping, among other things. It made the miles go by easier! At Twanoh State Park I needed to get off the bike as I knew the seat was too high and when I put weight on my leg I thought my pelvis was broken it hurt so much. A quick adjustment and a few uncomfortable miles later all was well again.

The rain increased immensely through Belfair, and we took a few wrong turns till we found the correct one, but by the time we got to Bremerton it eased up and we came in "relatively dry". Don and Mark were there about 40 minutes earlier but waited and we all had dinner together at the Fry House. Nothing like a German sausage and fries to refuel! I highly recommend the Thai peanut dipping sauce with the Belgian fries.

Thanks to these three guys who assisted the rite of passage out of permanent virginity. They were true gentlemen! Now I want to ride permanents all the time!!

23 September 2008

Rekindled Fixedness

I have always been a fan of simple bikes and recently watched a few of the urban fixie videos that are floating around. I ran fixed during 2002 and other times for brevets and club riding, but this time I merely wanted something to scoot around town with. There sat the faithful Heron Road frame and so in a brief Saturday afternoon it was transformed into a nice light fixed gear.

I had some little riser bars that my daughter used on our tandem and I flipped them forward and mounted a bell and single DiaCompe front brake ( I tried once going with no brakes, but then I came to my senses). A mix of 167.5 Shimano 600 cranks with 40t/16t rear make it perfect for Port Townsend hills.

So far I've had a great time riding and remembering what basic fun this can be!