Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mystic Cycle Centre Presents:

Halloween Ride Night

Saturday Oct 29th
7:00 PM at Bluff Point
State Park
     for more info call 860-572-7433      

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bicycle Safety

Connecticut's 3 foot law enacted in 2008, Public Act 08-101 requires CT drivers to allow at least 3 ft. of space when passing a bicycle. Connecticut is one of 19 states that have passed this law, but how many non-cyclist know about it? With almost no infrastructure in the state, it is extremely important that motor vehicles know about and follow the 3 ft. law. 

I recently read an article in the Shoreline Times, a weekly local newspaper sent in the mail, about bicycle advocates in Madison, CT. The article spoke about a recent bicycle accident on the Boston Post Road in Madison that prompted Rich Nace, a local resident to contact the first selectman about bike safety. For some members of my family who read the article it was the first time they had heard of the 3 ft. law, they were surprised by the law and pointed out the article to me. I otherwise wouldn't have read the article because I generally toss the Shoreline Times right into the recycle bin when it arrives and I'm sure I'm not the only one. 

I think we need an advertising campaign like the click it or ticket signs and tv ads promoting the seat-belt law. Random newspaper articles just don't reach enough people. Motor vehicle drivers who do not cycle need to understand that they don't own the road exclusively. The message of sharing the road, driving with regard to other people's safety and the 3 ft law needs to be in every car and truck drivers mind when they are driving. Too often the only thought seems to be getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible, and curses to anyone who slows them down. How many times while you were cycling have motor vehicles passed too closely, honked or shouted at you because of their belief that you don't belong on the road?

For more information about the 3 foot law click here

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First Saturday Bike Ride

Saturday November 5th 10:00 AM
Guilford Harbor to Stony Creek, 18 scenic miles on road
Organized by The Shoreline Greenway Trail
Helmets required
For more details click here 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wald's Front Basket

A while back I discussed the availability of silver front racks for under $80. I believe I only found five of them and the two that I was interested in were on back order. I wanted to mount a Wald basket to a front rack rather than the handle bars for better handling and stability

I ordered a silver Wald 137 like the one pictured above from my local bike shop. One look at my Peugeot with its mustache handle bars and brakes sticking out in the front and I knew that I wouldn't be able to mount the basket as intended anyway. Having the basket in my hands I really wanted to put it to use, front racks be damned. So I began by taking the legs and handle bar hardware off. I knew I could easily shorten the legs, I just needed to devise a way to secure the basket to the fork crown. At first I tried using the handle bar hardware. After messing around with it for a while it became obvious that it wasn't sturdy enough, luckily I had an extra mounting bracket from the rear rack. 

               It wasn't too difficult to shorten and shape the legs to fit.

         I used the handle bar hardware as a sort of metal strap that I could attach the bracket to. 

I had to shape the bracket and get a longer bolt to hold it and the brake to the fork. I left the bolt a little longer for future use when I install fenders. As you can see the headset and the bracket are just a 3-4 millimeters apart which is just enough to allow the fork to turn without rubbing against the bracket. A wood bottom was in order to hide the unsightly handle bar hardware and ensure that small items wouldn't fall through the bottom.

The bottom is one piece of pine with grooves cut into it so it would appear to be several pieces of wood. I stained it and applied several coats of shellac before bolting it to the strapping.

The Finished Product

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Dirty Dozen Hill Climb Race

Saturday November 5th 
9:30 AM
Cycling Concepts 
2343 Main Street
Glastonbury, CT

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lizard Skin's Bar Tape

A couple of week ago I finally changed the beat tape on the Cannondale's handle bars. The cork tape had been in use since 2008, it endured lots of washing and was beginning to loosen and slip.  

At a certain point white tape just doesn't come clean.

I looked at lizard skins tape for a while before I finally forked over the $35. I think that's a bit pricey for bar tape, but I expect it to last longer and clean up better than the cork tape I had which performed quite well. 

mustache handle bars with VibeWrap 2.0

I highly recommend applying peel and stick foam tape to the handlebars before wrapping them. I think the foam pads on the Cannondale was made by Aztec. I put Vibe Wrap 2.0 on the Peugeot's mustache handle bars. The foam needs to be like a memory foam otherwise it just gets compressed under the bar tape losing all cushioning effect.

Vibewrap 2.0

Lizard Skins tape out of the box

Lizard Skins tape comes with everything you need to wrap your bars including some nice finishing tape that has the same texture as the bar tape. The instructions warn you not to stretch the tape when applying. I found the tape not to be really conducive to stretching anyway. I also don't like to stretch bar tape too much because it compresses the bar foam. I find cork tape to be much easier to install probably because you can stretch it more than the Lizard tape. In my opinion they should provide longer rolls of tape. I barely had enough to finish my rather small womens specific drop bars which are considerably narrower than the usual 42 cm drop bars.

The finished product

As you can see in the photo, the tape is textured. It has a cool,rubbery, grippy feel. So far they seem to stay cleaner than the cork tape, but its still early days.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tom Danielson Ride Wrap Up

We lucked out with some nice weather, the temperature was in the low to mid 60s. It was windy but hey you can't have everything. We waited at the East Lyme high school for the arrival of Tom so the ride could begin, he was a wee bit late.
A small portion of the rides participants waiting for the ride to start
He finally arrived in a limo with a police escort

Tom, his wife Stephanie and son Steven
Tom was greeted by his childhood neighbor before the ride. Photo taken by Abigail Pheiffer/The Day
Tom talks to Grace Vandal from Mystic, CT. while waiting for the ride to start.  Photo taken by Abigail Pheiffer/The Day

Approximately 270 riders started the ride leaving the high school in a giant peleton. We had a police escort which blocked off the busy intersection at Flanders four corners. Tom Danielson and all the locals who have ridden on the Post road, including myself were excited to have the whole road to ourselves. Naturally as the ride progressed the peleton thinned out. By Mile Creek Rd I found myself riding in a group of 3, I never said I was fast.

The ride split at Ashlawn Farm. Those riding the 25 mile route went to the left down Town Woods Rd., those riding the 50 mile route continued on Bill Hill Rd, past Ashlawn Farm just to the right of this picture.
The farmer's market was going strong at Ashlawn Farm

Tom at the presentation in the auditorium where he 
once watched others as a high school student

At 4:00 PM there was a presentation given in the high school auditorium. The presentation consisted of a short video about Tom Danielson's career, then Tom talked for a bit, followed by a Q&A session and ending with autographs and pictures.
 During the presentation he spoke about his 9th place finish in this years Tour de France, his first time ever riding in the TDF. He told us how the roads are really narrow and bumpy in France, and the roads we cycled on today were much better than most of the roads on the TDF. He was asked about the impact of the cheering fan's along the roads in the mountains. He confirmed that they sometimes did pose a danger to the riders but mostly they encouraged you to go as hard as you can. It was the first time his ears ever hurt from the cheering. He is stoked to get to the TDF this year and try to improve on his 9th place finish.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tour of Old Lyme

Last Friday when I registered for the Tom Danielson ride I got a quick look at the route cue sheet . Because its a local event for me I am familiar with most of the roads. I decided to take a ride through part of the route in preparation for the ride.

Ashlawn Farm

The TD ride will stop at Ashlawn Farm which is in Lyme on Bill Hill Rd. I usually get there via Rte 156 but today I took Sill Lane and Saunders Hollow Rd which end on Rte 156 just a short bit away from Bill Hill Rd. The TD ride will split at this Ashlawn Farm and those that are riding the 25 mile route will take Town Woods Rd. to the Post Rd. I pedaled a short bit beyond the farm to Blood Street which is my usual route from Ashlawn back to Old Lyme.  Blood Street is almost all down hill when traveling south. You can check out the rest of the ride on the link to  Map My Ride below.

Vista Tour de Shore

              Leaving from Westbrook Center, Westbrook, Connecticut 

               Registration: 8:00 AM

               Start times:  8:30 AM - 60 mile ride

                                 9:30 AM - 40 mile ride

                                 10:00 AM  - 25 mile ride 

                                 11:00 AM - 1 mile fun ride

                For more information click this link:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tom Danielson Charity Ride

Ride 25 or 50 miles with the 2011 Tour de France 9th place finisher. 

Saturday October 15th

Benefits Connecticut Chapter of the American Heart Association


Ride starts at East Lyme High School, East Lyme, Connecticut
Sign in starts at 8:00 AM, ride leaves at 9:15

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ladies' Nights

October 12th and 13th Cycling Concepts in Rocky Hill and Glastonbury, CT our hosting a group ride for ladies from 4-6PM, and at 6:30-8:30PM a basic bike maintenance and skills clinic. For more details go to the link below.

Trikes To Bikes

October 9th at Niantic Bay Bicycles 


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Niantic Center, Flanders 4 Corners

Today's ride starts and ends at St Anns church on Rte 156 in Old Lyme. Shortly after leaving Old Lyme you begin a steepish hill which ends next to the back entrance of Rocky Neck State Park's hiking trails. You can let your bike fly down the 1/4 mile decent but be aware there is a traffic light at the bottom of the hill. The next hill begins shortly after passing the prison and ends at the junction of Rte 156 and Roxbury Rd, after that point you can easily pedal or coast into Niantic Center.

The first big hill leading into Niantic is the back side of this 9% decent.

Niantic center is a quaint little area with restaurants, shops, a movie theater, children's museum, and a boardwalk along the bay. While I was in Niantic I stopped at Niantic Bay Bicycles on Methodist St. From there I traveled on Rte 161 to Flanders Four Corners. Rte 161/Flanders Road travels through a commercial district becoming 4 lanes with lots of traffic during business hours, it can be difficult to get across. I find it easiest to ride into the left turn lane at the junction of 161 and Boston Post Road and turn with the light.

Niantic Bay Bicycles on Methodist St in Niantic center

From the four corners the Post Road gradually climbs 150 ft with the longest hill ending at the junction of Bride Brook and Boston Post Road. Scott's Yankee Farmer which sells fruits, vegetables, and flowers is located on the left.

Scott's fruit and vegetable stand

If you feel like stretching your legs stop by to pick your own apples or find your way through the corn maze. After passing Scott's the road descends to Old Lyme. There is one final hill that begins at the junction of Four Mile River Road.

Last Hill

Once you get up the hill its easy pedaling through Old Lyme back to St Ann's church.