Saturday, April 23, 2016

I had one day off before having to work a 6 day stretch. The weather was warm and sunny, so I headed out for a ride. I had no particular direction in mind but the wind helped me determine my first turn towards Whippoorwill Rd in the hopes that it would be a bit sheltered.  As I was traveling along Whippoorwill I passed a small parking area with a map of the trails that it led to. On the map they showed a dirt road so naturally I had to check it out. Well the road proved to be less extensive than the map led me to believe and every off shoot soon became too rough for the likes of me. Never the less it was a good warm up.

At this point I decided I would head over to Ashlawn Farm to get a frozen coffee drink. As I headed up the multi use path over the bridge there was a RUSA sign announcing a rest stop feast just around the corner. Looking up the path I saw two randonneurs. Well the thought of some sort of a brevet route coming through my neck of the woods peeked my curiosity so I kicked it into 2nd so I could catch up to the riders up ahead. I passed them on the bridge and a little bit later the male rider passed me. We continued back and forth like this for a while and at one point I asked him where he had come from. He told me he had come from Westfield  Mass, holy crap no wonder I passed them on the up hill of the bridge!  A 300 km brevet is 190 miles!  RUSA's idea of just around the corner turned out to be about 3 miles to Saybrook Point Monument Park.  Later I learned it was the Old Saybrook 300 km hosted by Berkshire Brevets . Old Saybrook was the midway point control before the randonneurs headed back to Westfield.

After I discovered where the control was I meandered around Saybrook point. That's when I discovered a thorn in the sidewall of my front tire. Of course I was compelled to pull it out, at which point sealant began bubbling out. I don't have a tubeless set up and on the Soma I use tubes with Schrader valves which aren't ideal if your going to put sealant inside the tube, but it is possible to remove the core from a schrader valve.

I decided to put sealant into my tubes after one too many sharp metal objects had pierced  my tire and tube. Now the sealant was put to the test. I wiped away the bubbling sealant but it just came right back, so I decided to pedal up the road a bit then stop and check the tire again. Less than 200 ft later I stopped and the sealant was still bubbling, so I leaned the bike to the side of the hole for a moment and spun the tire. At that point the sealant seemed to be congealing so I went on my merry way. Ten minutes later I arrived at the coffee shop. No doubt the tire had lost some pressure but the tube seemed to be sealed. After wiping away the dried sealant I could no longer see any signs of the piercing.

I know there's dry rot on the side walls but I have never had a problem riding tires like this. I will take a closer look at the tire and tube in the near future but several days later it is maintaining it's pressure. I use Joe's eco sealant
 It doesn't contain any latex and I believe it is better for use inside tubes than some of the other sealants on the market that ball up after about 6 months.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Bridgestone MB-2

Yep I did it again, started a bike project without taking pictures first. I purchased this 1992 MB-2 last winter. The bike was in good shape but the paint and decals were shot. It must have spent a lot of time on a bike rack because it was scratched beyond anything I've ever seen. The former owner did make some attempts to touch up the scratches with blue and black paint, yikes!  As usual I started cleaning the bike, then out came the rubbing compound. One thing led to another and parts started coming off. Ultimately it led to a full paint job done by me and Testers.

I made my own decals, which is why the down tube decal isn't true to the original on the MB-2. I printed the decals on waterslide paper, applied clear coat to keep the ink from running off the paper and then applied them to the frame. It's a real pain and I don't think I'll try it again.  

Originally I tried to set the bike up with drop bars but ultimately I couldn't overcome the extra long top tube. At 24 inches it's 2 inches longer than my other drop bar bicycles. The 49 cm frame came with a long stem, straight riser handlebars, and grip shifters. The stem may have been original but the grip shifters and handlebars were not. I originally tried a Nitto Technomic 50 cm stem on the bike but switched to the Nitto Dirt Drop stem to try and get the handlebars higher with the drop bars installed.

I used a pair of inexpensive plastic fenders I had hanging around. I cut the rear fender shorter since there's nobody ever riding behind me. On the front fender I made and extension to the existing mud flap using a piece of old tire tube and some rubber used to make gaskets. It's a bit of a kludge but provides a bit more protection than before.

After riding the bike for a while I realized I was using the middle 34 tooth chainring with a 7 speed 11-28 cassette 98% of the time. So I decided to go to a 1 x 7 setup. At the time I had been borrowing a rear wheel from another old mountain bike because the rim that came with the MB-2 was shot. I had my LBS replace the rim, unfortunately I didn't know that the rear freehub body was dried out until I put a new cassette on and gave it a spin. It spins fine but is rather loud due to the lack of lubrication. I tried to service it but it requires a special tool that Shimano no longer makes. There is a way to make a tool (thanks You Tube) but I haven't gone that route yet. Since this bike is supposed to be for bad weather I decided to just ride it as is. When the hub dies I'll replace it. Who knows how long it will last. My goal with this bike was to use the parts I had on hand with a few exceptions, IE: the rim and dirt drop stem. Also when I made it a 1x, I had to change to a shorter BB, a 38 tooth chainring, a Sugino chainring guard, and a 11-34 cassette. 

I had the Rivendell Saddle Sac and the Brooks B68 saddle which is no longer made. If you want a wider Brooks saddle you now have to buy a sprung saddle!  The Saddle Sac makes a nice trunk.

Nitto Dirt Drop - MT-10, is the tallest of all the 1 inch quill stems. 35 degrees of rise, 100 mm extension and 155 mm from minimum insertion. Picture a heavy duty Nitto Technomic stem inserted to it's minimum insertion mark, which gives you 6" of rise, then take 80 - 100 mm of extension and angle it up 35 degrees, that's the Nitto MT-10 in a nutshell. I should say that is the MT-10 long quill in a nutshell. The short quill Dirt Drop has only 90 mm from the minimum insertion mark. The shorter version seems to be more commonly found. I found the long quill at http://www.benscycle With the swept back handle bars I'm not even close to using all of the stem's potential height. 

I made handlebar grips from remnants of used Brooks leather tape wrapped around bits of gel pads. The additional grip areas are wrapped with Newbaums cloth tape with  two coats of clear wax free shellac to keep the tape from fading and fraying.

Grip shifters are hardly a classic look but they are as easy to use with bulky winter gloves as they are with bare hands. I also like the fact that you can shift several gears at once like a friction, or indexed bar end shifter. You can't do that with rapid fire shifters which is kind of ironic. The front derailleur also gets a bit of trim with grip shifters, rapid fire shifters don't allow for any trim. Sometimes I think the bulky collar of the grip shifter is kind in the way of my hand space but other times I think it provides I nice place to keep my hand from slipping forward. When I finally have to replace the rear hub the shifter will also have to be changed because newer hubs are 8,9,or 10 speed compatible and I won't try to rig it with a spacer just to keep it 7 speed.

The handlebars are Civia Duponts that I had hanging around. They are very similar to the Nitto Albatross handlebars except they are 22.2 mm wide readily accepting shifters and brake levers used on mountain bikes but they are too narrow for bar end shifters.

The MB-2's frame and fork were constructed with Ritchey Logic Prestige tubes, and the rear diamond was constructed with Logic CroMo ,unlike the top of the line MB-1 which had 100% Ritchey Logic Prestige tubes. From what I've read the logic tubes had shorter butts allowing longer thin sections. 

The Deore XT linear pull brake was an upgrade that the previous owner made. Oddly he had it mounted in the rear using the left hand brake lever mounted upside down on the right side. The original cantilever brakes were mounted on the front with their original lever. I just flipped the brakes and levers around. Since the front brake is generally stronger I wanted the superior linear pull brake up front. I replaced the rear Dia Comp cantilever that was part of the MB-2's original set up with an Avid Shorty that I had in the parts bin. If nothing else they are easier to set up with adjustable spring tension for centering the brake arms and shoes.

The original Deore XT rear derailleur and Specialized crankset remain. Both wheels were replaced at some point and from the looks of them with their purple alloy nipples and wheelsmith spokes I think they were built by my LBS. Below is a list of the original build specs. 

The complete Bridgestone 1992 USA catalog can be found here:
A Wald medium basket is zip tied to $12 Sunlite Gold Tec front rack. Also zip tied to the rack is a piece of the old handlebar with corks plugging the ends, which gives me a place to mount my headlight under the basket.

So all and all with the various changes I'm probably out of pocket $300 for the bike and parts. I'm sure there will be more changes to come. As anyone who is a big enough bike geek to read all this knows bikes can go through several iterations before they finally settle into their final state.

                                            Happy riding

Friday, March 25, 2016

Errandonnee March 13th 2016, Wrapping it up

Sunday March 13th, I headed out around noon, once again it was a beautiful day to be out on a bike. I decided to change up my usual route to work by taking Whippoorwill Rd. Although this is probably a bit of a shortcut I don't usually go this way because it is slightly hilly, which may cause the "shortcut" to take longer. 

As I was riding along Whippoorwill I saw two cyclist out in front of me quite a way. As so often happens I decided to see if I could catch up to them. As I got closer I could see it was a man and a woman resplendent in hi-viz jacket and vest. Eventually I was able to catch and pass them while pedaling up hill. This doesn't happen often but when it does it's always fun. They were clipped into their carbon fiber bikes while I was riding a 1992 mountain bike in "street clothes" and sneakers.

I stopped for lunch at Coffee's it was pretty busy even though it doesn't look that way in the photo. All the action is to the right complete with outdoor seating. While I was sitting outside I noticed that the couple whom I had passed had also stopped for a bite to eat. Another woman who was on her way inside noted my Brooks saddle as she walked by. When she came out she stopped to take a closer look at my bike. She was quite interested in my saddle sac from Rivendell Cycle Works. After lunch I took my usual route on the Post Rd to work in East Lyme.

    The bosses cat greeted me at the office door.  
                      On my way home I stopped at my sisters house for a visit.

After visiting with my sister I once again veered off my usual route taking Four Mile River Rd to Rte 156. I made a slight detour to explore

        This dirt driveway is only about 1/4 mile long,but I had to check it out. There's just not that many dirt roads close to home. 

                 After a brief stop at my house, I headed out to get dinner and a birthday cake.

                     It's a bit of a crunch stuffing two pizzas into a medium saddle sack.                      

                                       Loaded up and ready to head home and I have my headlight

                               Pizza, salad and cake time for a birthday party.

           Total Miles  - 34.75
11.  Social - Stopped for lunch at Coffee's Deli
       Observation - Lots of other cyclist had stopped for lunch at   
       Coffee's, but half of them had their bikes parked on top of their cars :)
12.  Work 
       Observation - The bosses cat was waiting at the front door.
13.  Social - Stopped by my sisters house for a visit.
14.  Wildcard - Picked up Cake at the bakery.
        Observation - Finally put my headlight on my bike :)
15.  Personal Business - Picked up Pizza and Salad
       Observation - Two 12 inch pizzas get a little crunched when 
       you stuff them into a medium Rivendell Saddle Sac.  
  Note - the bike used to complete the 2016 Errandonnee challenge was a repainted 1992 Bridgestone MB-2 that was rebuilt for errands, bad weather and fun. Together we rode 83.75 miles for the entire challenge.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Errandonnee March 11th 2016

Friday March 11th the weather was decent so I decided I would ride to the chiropractor's office as I often do. Because I was in the midst of an errandonnee challenge bringing some clothes to the local donation container was a no brainer. As I was riding I noticed that I forgot my headlight again. I meant to grab it but my arms were full with clothes on my way out the door, and that was that.

I arrived at the chiropractors office a bit early so I went across the street to Finders Keepers to kill some time. While I was there I found a side table for $20. It would need to be stripped and refinished but the price was right. Unfortunately I didn't have enough cash on hand, so I put a deposit down. She agreed to hold the table if I would pick it up the next day.

You can barely make out the sign for Bank of America
There was about an hour of daylight left when I finished at the chiropractor so I rushed over to the bank. It was tough to get a picture for the errandonee challenge without getting other people in the photo who might not want to be photographed. I got back to Finders Keepers just before she closed for the day.  

Since I was working all of the next day in a completely different direction I decided to take the table right then and there. An older gentleman at Finders Keepers admired the set up of my bike and its utility. He also suggested that I might want to get a child trailer to bring with me when I know I'm going to be picking up larger items. Ah, well there's the rub I wasn't planning on purchasing a table and that's the way it usually is. You just never know what you might come across when you're out on your bike.

After a few false starts I figured out the best way to strap the table to the back of my bike with the 2 tie downs I had and the 2 leather straps used to close the saddle sac. I put the drawer of the table in my front basket with my purse weighing it down a little. I tied the purses strap to one side of my basket. This arrangement kept the drawer from bouncing out of the basket.

Nice to see the reflective cables on my bike showing up so well in the camera's flash.

        Total miles - 13
6.   You carried what on your bike
      Brought some clothes to the local donation box
      Observation - I forgot my headlight again!
7.   Non-store Errand - Finders Keepers
8.   Personal Care - Chiropractor 
9.   Personal Business - Bank
      Observation - ATM's are really busy on Friday evenings.   
10. You carried what on your bike - Brought a telephone table  home from Finders Keepers.              
      Observation - Carry more straps and bungees on your bike. Also saw three deer in a field who were all staring at me the crazy lady with a table on her bike.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Errandonnee March 9, 2016

The forecast called for unseasonably warm temps on Wednesday, so what better way to spend it than on a bicycle errandonneering. My first stop was bottle returns and lunch. Both could be conveniently done at the Big Y.  I went to the Big Y in Old Saybrook rather than the one in town because Kolhs is located next door and I had some birthday shopping to do. Once I was over the Baldwin Bridge I headed to Bokum road which exits onto rte 153 in Essex. Bokum is a quiet curvy road with soft easy ups and downs which I prefer compared to the more direct busy roads.

Big Y to the left, Kolhs to the right

No luck finding a gift so I decided to go to Goodwill in Clinton then double back to Tanger Factory Outlets.

The weather was sunny and 60 degrees on a March day in Connecticut, so on the way back from Goodwill I did a little exploring of roads unknown to me like Indian Trail which led to Grove Beach.

Grove Beach

Old Clinton road eventually led to McVeagh road where I explored a park with several athletic fields. My phone was just about out of juice so I turned it off in case of emergency, but a nice lady walking her dog helped me get my bearings and gave me directions to Tanger Outlet.

Tanger Factory Outlet

After perusing several stores I finally found the birthday gift I was looking for.  With my phone off and no computer on my bicycle I didn't know exactly what time it was, but the sun was looking low in the sky. Now my decision to leave my headlight at home was looking like a bad one. No time for dilly dallying anymore, the most direct was prudent and I still had daylight when I went into my final two stores. This time it was the Big Y in Old Lyme. What..? Yes always save the grocery's for last so cold stuff stays cold, plus it's better for you and the grocery's if you don't drag them around all day.

Final stop at the package store, running out of day light

I rode home in the dark with my tailight and little purple spoke lights on but no headlight! It's a good thing I know the roads of the final stretch so well. Still I was grateful when I could use the light of the cars coming from behind, especially in darker patches.

Total miles - 36  
1. Non-store errand - bottle returns / lunch  
Observation - The Big Y in Old Saybrook has both indoor and outdoor tables.
2. Store errand - Goodwill 
Observation - It was pretty busy
3. Store errand - Big Y in Old Lyme
Observation - The beer at the Old Saybrook Big Y was less expensive hence my trip to the package store.
4. Personal Care - Getting out on my bike on the nicest day of the year so far.
Observation - Deciding not to bring my headlight because I would surely be home before dark was a bad choice.
5. Wildcard - Exploring some unknown routes.
Observations - I learned that Westbrook high school and middle school are located on McVeagh road.

Note - Although I visited more stores than I can even remember the rules state each category can only be used twice.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Leap Day Meander

On Monday February 29th we all got an extra day and it was a good one to be outside here in southeast Connecticut. A lunch time shower was forecast to pass through the state, inconvenient but the kind of rain you can wait out. With that in mind I headed over to Old Saybrook to run some errands and enjoy the mild temps. I spent an hour or so in the coffee shop while the showers passed by. Once all was clear I headed home. I may not ride in the rain deliberately but it's still good to have fenders for the times when you get caught or the roads are just wet from fog in the early morning.

           It was too nice to ride directly home so I rode down to the DEP boardwalk on the Connecticut river.

            Since I last posted about my Soma San Marcos I have made a couple of changes, the obvious one is the medium Wald basket. An addition to the basket I changed from the Nitto Randonneur handlebars to Velo Orange's Chris's rando handlebars. Mostly because I wanted a wider drop handle bar.  I'll have to write about them in more detail in another post.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Classic Meets Modern

Almost 2 years ago I acquired what I believe is a 1979 Peugeot PV10 .  Searching through various online catalogs I found this Picture of a PV10.  It is from a 1979 French catolog and was the closest match to the components that were on the bike. Using Peugeot's serial numbers to date a bike is said to be a bit dubious but, going by the serial number, decals and components It would appear to be circa 1979

 The bike as I came by it had everything in the picture accept the seat post, saddle and pump. As far as I'm concerned it was lucky that I stumbled upon this bike in my size while I was visiting my local bike shop. Most of the bikes on craigslist these days are low end or overpriced.

  Here's a picture of the bike after I began to rebuild it. I should of taken photos of it before I did anything but I get so excited when I get a new project that I forget to document the original bike before I start to clean it up and rebuild.

Stronglight 105 Bis Crankset with 52 x 42 chainrings. Love the drillium!


Mafac non aero brake levers with more drillium


New rear wheel on the left next to the original on the right


The original wheels were Mavic 700c tubulars with Normandy hubs and a Malliard 5 speed freewheel.  I thought a long time about the way in which I would rebuild this lovely old bike. I toyed with the idea of riding tubulars, and tried to figure out a way to keep the cool Stronglight cranks. Ultimately I knew the 42 - 52 chainrings were just too large for me to ride up hill. Even if I used a 12-36 cassette my lowest gear would be about 31 gear inches which for me just isn't low enough when climbing longish steep grades. So I had a new set of wheels built with Mavic Open Sport rims, Ultegra hubs, Ultegra 10 speed 12-30 cassette, Wheelsmith butted spokes and alloy nipples. Practical wheels which suited the bike but allowed me to use clinchers. The tires I selected were 28 mm Grand Bois, Cerf, Extra Leger. 

I replaced the Stronglight cranks with Velo Orange's Grand Cru 50.4 BCD 46 x 30 cranks.  I think the they look appropriate for a bike of this era. The 46-30 chainrings combined with the 12-30 cassette gives me a gear inch range of 26.7 - 102.2 

Because of the french threading it was fortunate that I was able to use the existing loose ball bottom bracket and spindle with the new crankset.  Since I spread the rear dropouts 4 mm to accommodate a modern cassette hub it would have been ideal if I had a slightly longer spindle to compensate for the change in the chainline. That was not to be the case so the shifting is slightly compromised.  Meaning the chain will rub on the next chainring when shifted to the furthest sprocket. Of course one is always advised to avoid that sort of shifting anyway. 

The only original parts that were used were; the bottom bracket, headset, and brakes. The original pedals were Atom with french threading so they can only be used with the original crankset. The Peugeot stem was too short for me and the Phillipe handlebars just weren't as comfortable as the Nitto 115 that I replaced them with.  I kept the Weinmann 605 sidepull brakes because I didn't want to alter the frame in any permanent way by drilling out the brake mounting holes. Modern brakes have recessed bolts not the nutted bolts common on most older single pivot brakes. Also the reach is longer than most modern dual pivot brakes. I would have used the original front derailleur but it was a cheap plastic Simplex common on Peugeots in the 70's and broke in my hands when I picked it up! 

Down tube shifters just aren't my thing and I had a perfectly good set of ShimanoTiagra 4600's lying around so that was kind of a no brainer. The front and rear mechs were used Shimano 105 and Ultegra respectively that I picked up at the bike shop.  The 26.6 seatpost was an oddball size that limited my choices so long setback wasn't going to be an option. Without a long setback seatpost a Brooks saddle was out of the question for me. I made a lucky guess and ordered a Selle SMP TRK which I found to be comfortable.  

Even with the modern drivetrain I feel the essence of the bike was maintained. Velox bar ends and a tool roll attached to the saddle with a Christophe toe strap give a slight nod to the era.