Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jagwire cable review & thoughts on the Tour

Hey!  It's me, Blackie Bike here again.
Two things on tap for today.  First is thoughts on the Jagwire Racer cable set that Buttercup put on me a couple of weeks ago.  We've been riding it enough now to offer some insight, especially in our situation.

These things are awesome!  They are Teflon coated wire in Jagwire's special housing.  The kit comes with everything you need to replace all the cables on your bike.  You will need a cable/housing cutter.  Spend the $ on the special cutter- it's worth it.
These were no more difficult to install than any other standard cables- making them a good bit more attractive for the home mechanic than the sectional style ones that are best left to a pro.  So it didn't take any more time than your usual cable change.
How do they work?  Perfect.  I have Shimano Tiagra shifters.  They are a little touchy about shifting once in a while (though overall they are great for the price point), but the smooth shift of these cables really makes them seem like higher end gear.  I bet if you are using them with high end gear, they'd be the bee's knees.  What, BC?  Don't talk about bees?  Why not?  What do you mean they don't have knees- otherwise how the hell would their legs... nevermind.  Anyway.  The coated shifter cables are awesome.
This kit also includes coated brake cables.  Those are great, too!  But as a road bike, BC and I aren't really on the binders that much- do we really need Teflon coated brake cables?  Probably a little bit of overkill.  But nice all the same.
Verdict?  Totally worth the price.  These are an easy way to upgrade your shifting without upgrading your shifters!  Next time, we'll probably splurge again on the nice shift cables and stick with standard $5 steel cable for the brakes, though.

You may have noticed that none of us bikes have been commenting on the Tour.  BC has been watching, but none of us race or are really THAT into it that we feel like we need to pitch out a daily opinion on the dog, or Cadel not defending as well as everyone was hoping.  All that being said, we do have a couple of minor "outsider" observations now that it's over.

  • Hopefully the Tour officials can figure out some way to get some competition involved in it again.  Nibali making deals with dopers, and teams packed to overflowing with talent makes the thing a damned snoozefest.  The efforts put in by all of the riders were really impressive- and are feats that very few athletes could match.  Absolutely.  But to shake hands on the road and then go suck wheel for the rest of the week was weak.
  • Hopefully the teams can start putting 3rd party gag clauses in contracts.  What bike or fan gives a flying shit what a rider's girlfriend/wife/mother/kids/dog/hamster/or family cockroach thinks of that day's stage.  Oh wait.  None.  The rider's tweets and posts are sometimes funny (Voigt) or at least vaguely interesting- but YAWN at all the bickering and infighting.  When the Tour becomes a reality TV show, it's disheartening.
  • Lastly- what to do about the REALLY rowdy fans... I don't envy anyone trying to keep the cool factor of having fans so close to the athletes in balance with keeping out the psychos and dangerous people.  Beijing showed us just how shitty bike racing would be without any fans.  What a horrible situation for a sporting body to be in...
Ok- no more chatter.  See you on the road!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sailing again...

Hi all- Blackie Bike here (or am I supposed to be using my new name?).  So I've resigned myself to just reporting the happenings- whether I like them or not.  Buttercup and his Bride left us bikes again this past weekend to go sailing.  It was the 20th annual Screwpile Regatta in Solomons, MD.  We hate these stupid sailing things, since we all get left behind and just sit in racks waiting for fat boy to get back home with the extra weight he'll have gained eating pizza & Chinese food and drinking unhealthy amounts of beer.
But they evidently had a great time.  He took running shoes and clothes with him in a show of good faith, but after a long day in the sun on the race course and a full night of drinking each of the days- no running was done.
But we do have some cool pics:

Here's Buttercup trimming the spinnaker- that thing is seriously no-shit big:

Here they are in pursuit of Pursuit:

and the start of the subsequent douse as they head for the leeward mark rounding:

Cool, right?  (Thanks to the Screwpile.com site for the awesome pics!)

Then, lastly- each boat captain is given a limited number (usually 3) of red hats from the regatta that you can't get anywhere else.  You can't buy them and there are only a limited number from that regatta or race.  Tradition is that the skipper usually keeps one for him/herself and gives out the other two as thanks for a job well done to a couple of crew members.  Well evidently the skipper thought BC did an ok job with that big kite...

Just as a quick side note~ one of these hats will get you free entry and full access to the Mount Gay Rum distillery in Barbados.  BC and his Bride evidently went there a few years ago and he had one of his old dirty hats on and they smiled and fawned a little over him and it and suggested that his Bride fork over $$ to get in.  She grumbled about how many of those hats she had at home, or even in the hotel room... and they eventually let her in, too.  (check out the Red Hat Community video on their website)

Ok- that's it for now, hopefully the next post is back to stuff about BIKES.  Dammit.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I've got a name! and the back story...

Blackie Bike here!  I've finally got a name of my own!  As you'll recall, I'm just a blank carbon frameset- right?

Well guess what??  Buttercup finally got me some cool decals so I don't look quite so naked!
Check it out!

What the hell is Scandalli, you ask?  Here's the back story on how I came to be...
So Buttercup is a musician by trade and training (he's actually got a degree in it).  And when he was in high school, he bought this cool old Accordion at an estate sale for $150 with thoughts he might learn to play it some day.  Well, he never really got around to it, but he still drug that stupid accordion all over hell with him. Then, when he was cleaning out his office a couple of years ago, he decided it was time for the old accordion to go.  Trash or donate?  Better check Ebay first.  Holy shit.  Could that be?
Turns out that the make model and vintage of his accordion is the one you have to have if you are a serious accordionist.  It was a 1950's Scandalli Super 6.  That $150 he spent on it?  In concert condition, it's now worth $10,000.  Time to sell.  He didn't get quite top dollar for it since it needed a little repair, but he did get plenty to buy my frame, wheels, and various parts.  Plus plenty left over to buy a carbon fiber guitar.  Nice!

So in homage to the old accordion (which some guy from Brazil bought), it was time for decals for me!  I also got a new chain, and all new teflon coated Jagwire cables.  Sweet!

Watch out this coming weekend and early next week for sailing updates while BC and his Lovely Bride are crewing on the Bad Cat in the Screwpile Regatta!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday 'not quite so' fuel injected, with Ingolstadt.

Um.  Hello?  Is this thing on?  Ahem, Ingolstadt here with a couple of thoughts this week.

First, let me introduce myself since I don't say much here.  I'm a 1973 Schwinn Suburban that belonged to Buttercup's father.  He was kind enough to give me to BC to be sure I'd continue to get used and loved.  Nice guy- we had a good time together over the years, but I digress.  Anyway- I got some upgrades when BC got ahold of me.  I've now got an 8 speed internal geared hub drivetrain, 700c wheels with messenger tires, and mountain bike style handlebars.

Blackie and Blu Bike have been talking for a long time about this 200 mile ride, right?  Well it was last Saturday.  And it was 100 degrees and very humid out.  Poor Buttercup really struggled with his decision of whether or not he should ride.  He's attempted this ride once before- didn't make it.  But he had trained really hard this year and was lighter, stronger, and felt ready.  But when the event organizers sent out a note saying that everyone except the very fittest riders should really consider doing the 200km version, that pretty much sealed the deal.  If the very fittest riders were going to have to really work to finish the 200 miles?  No way was our poor BC going to make it.  Even after losing 20lbs so far this year, he's still 15-20 over what he should be.  He's pushing 40.  So let's be honest.  It just wasn't going to happen.

So today I want to talk to you about being smart.
Every year we hear about high school football players dropping dead from heatstroke during "2-a-days" in August.  Or we read about people having injuries from doing too much too soon, because they are all excited about getting in shape.  Or people who eat wacky diets (there was one I heard of where all people ingest for days is water and milk.  hold on while I vomit 2% all down the front of you.  blech).
I was really proud of BC for deciding not to ride.  He put in the training miles, he's been eating much better, and he's been committed to finishing the 200 miles since he got SAG'd last year.  Not riding was a bitter disappointment.
And while dedication is admirable, I want to impart a little Classic American Steel wisdom- and make sure you all are smart about it.  It's supposed to be fun, remember?

All right.  Last thing.  BC and I took the MayaCycle trailer out for a spin this week to the grocery store.  I figured I would give you some of my reactions to the product.


  • There are 2 attachments provided.  A quick release and one that worked with my threaded axles.  Nice touch.
  • It was barely noticeable when towing.  Never even knew it was back there (actually had to adjust the mirror to double check once in a while since it was our first time out with it).
  • The bag is big enough for a pretty good grocery haul.
  • No noticeable changes to bike handling at all.
  • The overall attachment system is a pain in the neck.  The quick release ends up being REALLY long.  The wing nuts are difficult to work with.  Even if you want to leave the attachment on the bike and disconnect the swing arm from the trailer: total pain in the ass.  But I bet all trailers have some issue with the interface to the bike.
  • The small wheel does not easily accommodate a modern bike pump head.  Only possible to fill it from one side, and even then it's tricky to get everything in around the spokes.
Overall: Good purchase.  You may recall that their ordering process wasn't the best, and there are some minor issues with the details of the trailer- but overall it is easy to ride with for a reasonable price.  And that's really the trick, right? 
Improvements they could make on it?  A custom cargo box (due to the odd shape of the cargo area) would be a nice offering.  I think BC would spring for that.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Fuel Injection: Event time!

Hey everybody, Blackie Bike here with another installment of Friday Fuel Injection.  Subject this week?  The big event.  I think all riders set some sort of goal for themselves each year- whether that be a number of days per week to commute, a big charity or group ride, even all the way to up to pro racers who plan an entire season around one or two big races (or the Olympics as it might be this year).  As we've mentioned on this blog any number of times, Buttercup's big goal this year was to finish the Total200 ride.  He's been training hard for it, he lost most of the weight he was trying to lose and he's got some good miles in his legs.  He's about as ready as he's going to get.  And a good thing, too.  Since it's here.
The big event is here.  The ride is tomorrow (Saturday, June 30).
Here's a map of the ride.

The weather forecast is brutal.

Day Jun 30

Isolated T-Storms
Isolated T-Storms

You've got to be kidding me?  102 degrees F?  Should be entertaining to watch.

But this is it.  This is what he's been riding for all year.  This is why he lost the 20lbs.  This is why he's been working really hard to stay hydrated all week.  It's here.  It's time.  Let's RIDE!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Training Hard!

We've been doing a lot of training for the 200 miler in the past couple of weeks.  Some new stuff coming in the mail for me today and tomorrow while we get me all set up for the big ride.
More soon!

Blackie Bike

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Hi All!  Blackie Bike here to chat a bit about the riding we've been doing to prep for the 200 miler coming up the end of the month.
We've been doing some good rides.  Last week Buttercup and Blu Bike had a nice ride to Annapolis and back (81 miles).  A good solid ride given that it was on a Single Speed.  Blu Bike is running a 42/16 these days, so it was challenging on BC's legs on the hills and kept his cadence up on the flats and downhill stuff.
Then Buttercup took me out for a nice ride last this past weekend for 109.  It was a good time in the saddle. We went with one of BC's riding friends for a while and her brother.  Turns out her brother does some pretty serious cyclocross racing out in Colorado- so he was great for pacing good ol' Buttercup along the route.
Here's a map of the route.  Good stuff!

Then we had a small mechanical gremlin to find, so he put me on the trainer for a bit (that's an easier spot sometimes to search out a mechanical issue than any other).  Then we figured, heck- why not do a good interval workout?  So we did "Power" from Real Rides Training from Robbie Ventura.  So we've done that a few times in the past couple of weeks.  They are fun dvd's.  Especially for the off season or rainy days.  And it's a serious workout!
This week we've done the "Power" dvd again.  Then had a good spin yesterday watching a movie.  BC is dealing with a little bit of tendinitis right now- and it is getting better.  No sense in going into a daylong ride hurt.  That just doesn't seem like it would end well.
And just in case you are wondering what all this training is for?  The Total 200 is a double century ride in Washington DC.  It's on June 30th.  Buttercup and I tried it last year and didn't make it.  But we've both been working hard this year to be ready- and BC's body is ready.  His mind is ready.  And his bike (that's me!) is ready.  Let's do this thing!
Lastly- Buttercup is making some subtle diet changes along with all the exercise.  Result?  Weight loss.  He's now down just about 15lbs for the year.  Nice!  He still has a bit of a gut, but the love handles are gone!  Yayyyy!

Gotta boogie- see you out on the road!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Back to Training, and Sailing Vids

Blu Bike here with today's update.  I thought we'd start with a nice sailing picture.
I've been getting some miles in since Saturday's 75 mile ride that Blackie told you about in the last post.  Mostly due to the saddle sore that poor Buttercup has.  So Blackie is on the trainer downstairs to try to get that little mystery solved.  Remember when Blackie got that maintenance overhaul?  Well, it turns out that the mark that Buttercup set the seatpost to wasn't quite right.  Up about 3/8" too high.  Thus making his body rock a little too much on the saddle.  And on that Selle Italia saddle?  Not so good.  So he and Blackie are working that out on the trainer while I get to do the road miles for BC.
Hey- remember that whole "You're the 75th rider to stop at our rest stop" thing that Blackie was telling you about?  Well here's a picture of poor Buttercup.  Now keep in mind, he's like- "WTF?" and that he can't smile (all about passion), and isn't too sure about having his picture taken with the flowery thing on in his bike tights...


So I've been after him to work on some of the sailing vid from their trip.  It's some good stuff.
First, here's a good spot from their trip from Crisfield to Reedville:

Then, the Contour website has a cool thing that let's the GPS info show with the video.  So we're going to experiment with putting that here.  Be patient if it doesn't work quite right the first time, ok?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Back on the bike! and running.

Hey everyone!  It's me, Blackie bike letting you know that Buttercup finally got home from his sailing trip on that dumb boat!  I even kinda felt sorry for him.  He was pretty landsick on Friday night when they got home, then he and I hit the road on the first annual SMECO 75th Anniversary 75 miler.  Ouch.  We had a great time riding with some of his friends, and met some new friends.  We chased a couple of guys at a hot pace for a while until they dropped us going up a little roller when BC's wide load got hit with a puff of wind.  But we had kept up with them for 15 miles or so at the hot pace, so that was good for us.  Then the rest of the group picked up me and my boy at the second rest stop and we rode with them the rest of the way.
The second rest stop was weird.  Nice volunteers were like, "Hey!  Come over here!  You're our 75th rider at the rest stop!"  Oh hurray.  I've never seen so much excitement over us getting dropped like yesterday's junk mail.  But Buttercup got his picture taken.  And got a pretty flowered Lei that he promptly put on me.  How embarrassing...

Dude.  Seriously?
Anyway.  The poor boy's legs cracked from the wind.  All that time on the boat (even with a couple of good runs thrown in) just didn't do us any good.  Which means it's going to be a LONG month of June with a whole lot of riding.  On that nice saddle sore, too.  Ouch.
So that was Saturday.  Sunday?  A bunch of rental house work for BC, and then a nice run with his Bride in the evening.  Today (Monday)?  I think he has some boat work to do- then I think he and Blu Bike are going to hit the road for a while.
BC is working on getting some of the video he took on the Contour processed so he can post it here.  The sailing vid is actually kind of cool- even though it's not riding.  So watch for it!
Here's one last cool late sunset picture from their cruise...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Running, Sunset, and Sea Nettles

Hi there.  Blu Bike here with another update from Brooksies (the running shoes) about Buttercup on his sailing trip.
Seems they had a really good run Wednesday morning going 4.5 miles in just over 39 mins.  And only got a little wet from the rain. 
Then they left the marina and anchored out for the day while it rained.  It cleared up just in time for the nice sunset picture below.  Cool!  Onancock has a pretty anchorage!
BC looked down to see something not so good, tho... the sea nettles are already in!  They usually don't appear until mid summer!  Eeeeek!
I'm glad to hear that BC's run went well, since we've got that 75 mile ride on Saturday!
OK.  That's the update for now.  See you soon.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More Sailing!

Hey all, Blu Bike here again.  Our least favorite Buttercup (for the moment, anyroo...) is still off sailing.  I'm doing my duty to report...
Sounded like they had a fun couple of days with some great sailing.  I'll see what I can't do to post a little of stuff, but keep in mind that he doesn't exactly have super internet access to be uploading major amounts of vid or anything.  So the vids will have to wait, but I can tell you this- they were hauling the mail today!
Check out this pic BC sent me of their max speed:

Now, to us bikes?  That's about 8.5mph or so.  Big whoop, right?  But it is my understanding that 8 knots is pretty darned fast, especially given the type of boat that old "Sequoia" is.  And the fact that they were towing a dinghy.  Not bad, BC... Not bad.

Now, we do have an issue that we need to talk about.  BC and his bride are sailing around on the Chesapeake Bay- and one of the big attractions there is these two islands called Smith Island and Tangier Island.  They are sort of the last holdout for the old ways of the Chesapeake Bay waterman.  I'll take his word for it.  So when they were in Crisfield (at the very nice Somers Cove Marina), they took a ferry over to Smith Island and took a tour.
Here's a pic of  on the way in to Smith Island on the ferry.

So evidently things have gotten a little more tourist friendly since they were there last several years ago and you can now rent golf carts and bikes to get around on.  Seriously?  You went to some backwater island to rent a damned bike and left all of us sitting at home?  Jerk.  And look at what he ends up on...

Good Lord.  He looks like friggin' Pee Wee Herman.

Anyway.  I just figured I'd give you a quick update.  Maybe I'll be able to post some vid when he gets back home.  Although we have a 75 mile charity ride scheduled for the day after he gets back, so it might be a day or two!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Running & Cruising!

Hey all!  Happy Memorial Day Weekend from all us bikes, me (Blackie), Blu Bike, and old man Ingolstadt.  Well Buttercup FINALLY got that stupid boat all put back together and he and his Bride are out sailing.  Where do you think he left me?  That's right, stuck at home.  Even the dog got to go to "doggy camp", but not us.  We just wait here patiently.
But at least BC is keeping up his physical fitness where he can.  I got a message from Brooksies (his running shoes) this morning.  Here's what it said, "Hey Blackie- Brooksies here to let you know that BC and I went for a nice 3.5 mile run here in Crisfield this morning before it got hot.  The sailing thing is fun.  The wind has been good and the weather has been sunny and fair.  So we're having a great trip so far.  See you soon.  Brooksies."
And they sent a picture of them on the boat ready to go.

and another of the racing boat they crew on who is also out for the cruise...

Anyway- I hope he's having a good time out there, cause I'm going to bust his ass for some miles when he gets home so we can catch up on our training for the Total200!!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Back in one piece!

Quick mobile post from Blackie here... Buttercup got me back together over the weekend and even took me for a ride!
And I got cool suede feel bar tape.  Check it out in the pic!
BC is also doing some experimenting with Strava but we can talk about it later.
Just wanted to say hi since I am back together!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Fuel Injection: Inspiration

Hey everyone (and everybike)!  Blu Bike here with this week's "Friday Fuel Injection".  This week- Inspiration.  I know what you're thinking, we already talked about passion in Another Post, what the hell?  Peeps, passion and inspiration are two TOTALLY different things.  I'm going to tell you where Buttercup (and through him, us bikes) finds inspiration.
There are 2 things that are currently fueling him:

  • First, is that there is some really good bike racing on TV right now.  The Giro is going on and is a pretty great race as always, but Buttercup has been focusing on the Amgen Tour of California.  Why?  We don't race, so what's the point?  Watching the top competitors who are amazing athletes in top form (did you see Jens Voigt put in the blue collar effort in yesterday's time trial??? Wow!!) is inspirational.  And it's cool to see super hot rod custom and "production" bikes.  And check out the cool scenery in the pic above- what an awesome ride!  Lastly in this category is the young and the old.  The Bontrager/Livestrong under-23 team is busting ass, and so are some of the older guys.  Big George, Jens Voigt and others are doing great despite the fact that some of them were racing pro before the young guys in the race were born.
  • Second?  Body Weight.  This whole journey for Buttercup started 4 years ago now with an effort to dump some weight.  It's been a real struggle (since he loves to eat), but as of this morning he's down 15lbs from the start of winter training.  In addition to riding and running, he's also working on a lifestyle change for him and his Bride with their eating habits.  BC's sister and the "not-so-terribly-observant-on-the-bike" Bob have lost a whole bunch of weight with a diet change based loosely on Vegan eating.  BC has been incorporating some healthier ideas from vegan and other diets to help with his weight loss.  I could here the "WooHoo!" all the way downstairs this morning when he stepped on the scale and it read 194.8 (and it wasn't even his "light" time of day)!!

So that's today's discussion.  Go find your inspirations.  Spouse thinks your sexy when you have that funky upside down "V" in your calf muscle?  Or maybe that you've lost a little weight?  Or that you come home sweaty?  Sweet.  You like the fact that you can see your toes for the first time in years?  Awesome.  Biking to work- Happy Bike to Work Day!!- makes you feel good all day long?  Great.

Whatever it is that inspires you- find it, use it, and GO RIDE YOU'RE DAMN BIKE!

Oh, and he says to tell you he's enjoying the feedback from some of the topic on the blog.  And yes, BC's Sister, we may discuss where the name Buttercup comes from some day...

Monday, May 14, 2012

More stupid boat stuff...

Hi again- Blu Bike here.  I'm really starting to get frustrated by Buttercup and all this boat crap.  I mean, when was the last time any of us got any good work done?  What's that BC?  Well yeah, that's true- Blackie is getting a full overhaul... yeah, I did get that nice paint job and new tires... and yeah, I guess Ingolstadt did get the new sprocket and you got him some new rim tape... Touche'.

I guess he's got a point there... So I'll just do the reporting and quit complaining.
It was a long weekend of work by BC and his Bride- but they got the new boat floor just about ready to install.  BC is putting the finishing touches on it today and tomorrow.  He's using an epoxy finish, so it takes a little while to cure in between coats.

Here's a picture comparing the old sole to the new.  The old stuff lasted a long time- over 20 years of being in a wet environment will take it's toll on anything I guess.

And then here's one from just now after BC finished applying the second coat of epoxy.  This is basically the same epoxy that they used on my carbon fork and all of Blackie.  I think it just uses a different catalyst to make sure it cures to a nice clear finish.

Lookin' good, BC.  Now can we get back to bikes??

It is rainy and nasty here today, and I just saw BC head down to finish up Blackie's overhaul.  So I would guess Blackie will be back soon to tell you all about it...

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Sheesh!  Buttercup sucks.  That's all there is to it.  Blu Bike here tellin' it like it is.  The past couple of days have been awesome weather- and he's working on that STUPID BOAT AGAIN.  Jerk.
But I suppose I better tell you about it... that's what this thing is for, I guess.

So for those of you who are much more familiar with us bikes?  Seems like boats aren't that different in that just about any component can get changed out for new and it's not a big deal.  The flooring in the boat was worn and dated- so BC and Bride got new flooring material and has been using the old for patterns and making new.  Then putting a very durable epoxy finish on it, then it will get installed back in the boat.  It's going to look spectacular- however (comma), all this work means no friggin' time to go ride us!  That cool new trailer?  Haven't had a chance to take it out for a spin yet... Poor Blackie?  He's still in pieces!

I'll post some boat floor pics here when I can- but in the mean time, here are a couple of shots of Buttercup and the gang racing last weekend:

At the start- BC is on the leading boat on the left.
BC is trimming the headsail- kneeling just above the boat name...

Well- the very first post here I talked about that old song, "Hello, I'm a truck."  There's a line in there that talks about his driver hustling waitresses while he gets left next to a cattle truck- pining for the pretty pink Mack with nice mudflaps and lots of chrome.  I guess all of us bikes are in the same boat- literally.  Stupid boat.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Morning Maintenance Quickie: Pedals

Hey!  It's me, Blu Bike, here to ask you an honest question... when was the last time you serviced your pedals?  I doubt your local wrench does anything but check they're still attached to your bike at your annual maintenance check up at your LBS, and I'm guessing you just assume they are fine- right?  But yet you'll buy gadgets and stuff to try to make your bike faster or more efficient.  A thorough pedal check-up takes only about 5 minutes per pedal, so let's talk about it real quick... (keep in mind that your pedals might be a little different, but the concepts are all the same- check your model's tech sheet).

First: we need to take it off the bike.  Don't forget that they thread in relation to the pedaling motion, so one is left threaded.
Dirty Pedal!
Next: take the end cap off, and remove the axle end bolt.  Some older pedals might have loose bearings at next- most modern pedals will be using sealed bearings.  But still be careful not to loose anything important.

Note that some pedals use a special tool from the other end of the axle in this process.

 Tired and dirty grease.  Blech.  No way that is efficient...

Now: Clean all that nasty grease off inside and out (pipe cleaners or cotton swabs are really handy here...) and give everything a good going over with some degreaser.  Same with the pedal body.  Use a brush and degreaser on all the exterior surfaces to get everything clean.  Then rinse everything and dry (compressed air is handy here if you have it).

Important note: Don't do too much dis-assembly to the pedal body!  There are springs in there that have a LOT of tension on them and would be very difficult to put it all back to together correctly.  The brush & cleaner will get it clean...

Last: Apply fresh grease liberally to the axle and re-install it.  Make sure to grease threads on everything to ease future removal.  Lubricate moving parts on the pedal body.  Lubricate the contact surface to the cleat.

Clean, happy, and ready for grease and re-assembly!
And put it back on!  Not hard, right?  Or if it is too difficult or time consuming, have your LBS wrench do it.  I guarantee both you and your bike will be happier for it!
If you find something that looks broken or seriously worn- get it checked out.  It could be a serious safety issue.

How often to do this, you ask?  How about we say once per season for most bikes?  Twice, if you are racking up serious (2500 miles or more) mileage.  So 10 or 20 minutes per year.

And more happy bikes!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Time with the Primary Hobby, and Maintenance

Hi all!  Blu Bike here.  One of the things that us bikes have to come to terms with is that we are not always the primary hobby or interest in our rider's life.  That's the case with us.  Buttercup is a sailor.  He was sailing long before he started riding, and will be sailing long after his pathetic body gives up cycling.  No worries.  So a quick report on where he's been for the past week!  Sailing!
Buttercup went to sail in the Annapolis NOOD (North American One Design) Regatta in the J-111 class.  The boat is new to the owners this year, but luckily BC & his Bride have some experience with similar boats.

A J-111 sistership
He and the crew evidently had a good time and learned a ton about the new boat (they had never raced that boat in a race that competitive before).  
Us bikes will also get left at home when BC and Bride go cruising on their boat as well.  We've talked about that stupid boat in a previous post- not looking forward to being left behind again this summer.  But luckily BC has really committed himself to this 200 miler at the end of June, so we won't get ditched all summer.
Longer term, BC has a plan that involves living on a boat full time.  Um, BC?  where the hell are we supposed to fit?  Boats like you're thinking aren't going to have enough room for us...  A WHAT?  what little brother?  a FOLDING BIKE?  Good Grief.
Always the last to know- evidently Buttercup has been doing some early window shopping for a little brother to us that would fit on the boat.  One of these...

I guess a folding bike makes sense.  And it seems like it might be cool- it's got an internal gear hub like Ingolstadt does, and that MTB-esque thing might make sense.  I guess it'll just be one more thing to distract him from the rest of us.  Wait.  If that thing fits on the boat... and we don't??? OH CRAP!


I also have some fun "private" pictures of my dirty brother, Blackie.  He's getting a spring tear down to make sure he's ready for the heavy training miles that he's going to have to put in over the next couple of months.  Then he'll probably get another one just before the big ride.
I can talk more about his maintenance later, but here's a sneak peak!

In the rack, ready to get work done.
ewww... bee carnage.  That's disgusting.

Dirty!  Dirty, dirty, dirty!
The Supervisor.  He's evidently got an owie, thus the sock.
Anyway- I'll chat more at ya in a bit, okay?  And we can talk more about Blackie's hygiene issues...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fun Charity Ride!

Blackie here with an update about the End Hunger charity ride I was talking about in my Last Post.  It was chilly (upper 40's to low 50's all day), cloudy, and rained/sleeted on us in the last few miles- there's a story there, but we'll tell it in good time...
Here was the route we took:

It was scheduled to be a Metric Century (100km or 64-ish miles), but our riding buddy, Bob, missed a turn and Buttercup had to go find him.  So it turned out to be more of a 71 mile ride.  Good Grief.  *Sigh*

But it was a good ride- as I've been documenting here, Buttercup has been working on his leg strength a lot so far this season and this was another good opportunity for a workout!  On all the hills, I stayed in the Big Ring so he had to get his rear out of the saddle and work for it.  I don't think I quite had his legs feeling like jelly, but I watched from the rack as he was walking to the truck after the picnic and he was looking a little tired.  So I think it was success!

Here's a picture of me and Bob's Bianchi at one of the rest stops...

Taking a Break
And, the getting lost story: We were on a part of the course with some pretty big rolling hills- so I had BC out of the saddle since I was Big Ring-ing him.  That had us going a little faster pace up the hills so we were ahead when we topped one hill where there was a turn.  And Bob wasn't far behind, but we stopped to take a picture or two shortly after the turn and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  We went back to the turn and waited a while longer.  Then Bob called and said he missed the turn.  So we went and met him part way as he was making his way back to the course.  No big deal- but a fun opportunity to pick on him.  "I hear Deale is nice this time of year..." *snicker*.

Speaking of pictures!  Here are those two shots BC took!

The Road Ahead- into the woods!

Just a nice farm/tree shot :o)
Anyway- to finish the "lost" story- so we're now a little later in the day than we were planning on, right?  Two friggin' miles from the finish?  It finally rains.  Wait, no that's sleet.  No, no... that's HAIL.  Are you serious?  Really?  Oh well, it only lasted for a bit.
Then the nice volunteer police man stopped traffic so we could cross back to the starting point, I got racked and they went to the picnic.  Then home.
Since it was supposed to rain today, BC didn't bother to do my tear down maintenance work (of course then it didn't rain other than for those couple of minutes...), so watch for that coming up this week!
But a good ride, a good cause, and a good time.  Sweet.

Oh- and here's a picture that one of the nice photographers took of me and BC on the course.  Good thing I'm so darned good looking!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Fuel Injection 4/27/2012- Charity Rides

Happy Friday!  It's me, Blackie Bike, here with this week's Friday Fuel Injection.
Buttercup and I are going to have a wet and chilly ride tomorrow in the End Hunger Calvert County charity bike ride.  We're doing the metric century (100km- 64miles) route.  This is always a great ride that is VERY well run and a lot of fun.
So let's take just a minute to focus on charity rides!

These rides help to provide more information and visibility to whatever cause they are supporting.  Hunger, Diabetes, a local shelter, animals, blindness, Veterans, and the list goes on.  Heck, there's even one put on every year in Boston from the Brain Tumor Association that we're going to go up and do some year!  But here's the deal- for a lot of them, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS RIDE.  There might be a small registration fee.  Some of them have fundraising goals- those run the gambit from $100-over $1000.  Just pick one that suits you.
Do you know somebody with a disease that has a prominent charity ride?  Dad has Diabetes?  A friend or co-worker has MS?  MD?  TB?  AIDS? Cancer?  Some guy who rides a bike who has a blog has/had a brain tumor?  Go ride.  Get them on board for support- maybe your co-worker will help you fund raise?  Maybe they'll come out and ring a cowbell for you?  Cheer?  Hold up embarrassing signs?  SWEET!
And use your social media connections for fundraising.  You'd be amazed at how much closer you can be to your goal with just a little ask.  Maybe your company will help out by letting everyone know?  Or matching donations?

All good stuff.  So we'll be out there in the rain and cold tomorrow morning (BC will be bundled up and I'll have those damn fenders on) out to help the members of our community who just need a little extra help!

So sign up for a charity ride for something that will provide some more incentive for you to GO RIDE YOUR BIKE!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Full Maintenance and More Commuting Discussion

Hi Again!  It's me, Blackie Bike, here.  Boy do I have a lot to talk about today- so let's get right to it.
First thing- a quick update on our last post and that nasty cut I had on my back tire.  Buttercup used the SuperGlue trick on the cut and it healed right up!  The extra glue on the surface will wear off with time- no biggie.

If you aren't familiar with the process, here's what he did:

  • Do a quick wipe down of the tire with a damp rag and inspect it- that way you're sure you've found all the cuts.  Clean any debris out of the tire.
  • Over inflate the tire by about 5-8 lbs.  This will spread the cut or hole opening up a little bit extra.
  • Clean with a little rubbing alcohol.  This gets any grease cleaned out- it also will displace any water that's left and it will dry quicker.  Wait until cuts are dry.
  • Squirt just enough SuperGlue into the cut to coat the whole thing well.
  • Deflate the tire completely- no need to clean off excess glue (and risk gluing your fingers together) since it will wear off when you ride!  Leave at least overnight to set up is best.
That's it!  Done.  The excess glue will wear off in time and it will probably be just fine.  If it opens back up, it might just be too bad to fix- but as expensive as tires are, you might as well try.  Right?

I'm doing a charity ride this weekend with Buttercup.  It's a super fun one and it's for a good cause: The Ride to End Hunger in Calvert County.  It's always really well organized and fun and helps out the community!  BC is even giving up going sailboat racing for this one.  Good thing- us bikes hate having to compete for his time with those dumb boats.

To get me ready for the ride and a lot of training for May and June, Buttercup is going to give me a complete overhaul over the next day or two.  I'll make sure he takes pictures- you can see me in pieces!  I saw a new set of handlebars come in the mail, so I think I may be trying them out for him.  Updates a-plenty!  But you might be hearing from Blue Bike if I'm in too many pieces to type... 

Next discussion: Bike Commuting.  Since it's still that whole Earth Day thing, and gas prices are still crazy, and May is going to be some sort of "Bike to Wherever" month- let's keep up the discussion about bike commuting!

First, the trailer that Buttercup ordered (shown in This Post) arrived yesterday from www.mayacycle.com.  The ordering process was ok, their status updates on the order were bad, but it arrived in a timely fashion.  So overall- an ok purchase so far.  I'm sure BC will have pictures and we can talk about it more once it's up and running... But hopefully it will have him riding all of us more, and using the car less!

And then, what a Cool Article from the U.K. about a guy with a coffee shop who is also providing bicycle parking for commuters!  What a cool idea for peeps who don't have a parking option at work-- and they can get a cup of Joe!  

Last thing- a while back I had posted the front of that really bright and loud jersey that BC had worn one day...  here it is again:

And I had mentioned that it got even gaudier on the back of it, right?

Check this out *snicker*:

One thing is sure- nobody is going to miss us in THAT!!

All right- I'll talk at you later!  Until then, Get on your Bikes and RIDE!!!!