30 December 2009

Vashon Island Boxing Day Ride

Some days are just perfect for a ride and this was one of them. Beautiful sunshine, excellent friends and icy, hilly roads made for a memorable day in the saddle.

Kent sent out a note about a Saturday ride (as opposed to the usual Monday he does). One line stood out: "Vashon is hilly (damn hilly) bring low gears." Having never been there, I took this advice and brought the Canti-Rom and triple. I made the Southworth ferry to Vashon at 8:20 and met Brad Hawkins shortly after landing. He had ridden over from the other end of the island from the Pt. Defiance-Talaquah ferry. Then the Seattle ferry arrived and Mark Canizaro, Kent Peterson, Mark Vande Kamp, Liam Moriarty and his brother Tom off loaded for the start of our day. Tom just moved here from Kansas and was about to be introduced to PNW winter riding with the nut jobs surrounding him. Poor guy didn't know what was in store, but then again, neither did I.

We did a nice circuit of Vashon with a trip to the Bike Tree, then headed to Robinson Lighthouse on Maury Island. Not a real island as it is joined by a land bridge, but so be it.

The sun was beaming all day long and despite the chilly temps and relentless climbing (though always enjoyable) it was fun from start to finish.

We scooted back onto Vashon and headed south where Brad headed home and we shot up to town for burgers and milkshakes at Perry's. You've got to stop when the sign outside says "Stop and eat here or we'll both starve".

After that it was back to the ferry where I met up with another rider who'd spent the day on the island. We had a good chat and then it was home before dark. Must have been tired as I was asleep by 9PM!

Total around 40 miles with lots of excellent climbing. I'll never say PT is hilly again.

The Southworth ferry was $5.75 for a roundtrip and parking was $3 on the weekend, so it was a pretty cheap date.

12 December 2009

Commuter for the Apocalypse

I've rebuilt my 1986 MB-2 (see Sheldon's catalog scan) into a stout commuter that I can load up at the store, pull the Burley trailer and cruise around town night or day in any weather. I use it almost every day from 2 to 15 miles and though it's not fast, there's nothing that can harm it.

It weighs about 40lbs, but is comfy to ride with it's Brooks Champion Flyer and slightly upswept Nitto bars. Fat Crossroad tires, Bullseye hubs and just 6 speeds make it just right for the terrain and the roads and trails I travel locally.

If I were to go touring in a third world country, this is probably the bike I'd take. I got it about 20 years ago for $75. Now that's a bargain.

06 December 2009

HED Ardennes Short Review

Rode the 25mm ProRace 2's on a set of HED Ardennes on my MXL for a couple hours yesterday and the ride was definitely different than on the Open Pro rims.

Cornering felt more secure, cushioning was a bit better (I think I was running them around 85-90lbs PSI and I am about 150-155lbs). I liked the feel a great deal and hope to get out again after the next few days of 30 degrees and icy roads.

Never having had a low spoke count wheelset before (these are 18 front, 24 rear), I probably won't use them for randonneuring, but club riding is perfect. A very nice wheelset and maybe even a bit better than my DT RR 1.1 set. The hubs are dreamy smooth, I could coast for considerably longer in places where I've done it previously. Sweet wheels.

What a great day to ride too!