Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Test Ride

Sunny and near 50 today, surprisingly, but with a miserable wind. Needed to get the Gitane out for a test ride after all the maintenance, so did the Kings/Old State/East Lydius loop, for 13.4 miles. Eastbound was great, with a 20-30 mph tailwind, but oh, the ride back! Rode in the drops in a low 40s gear all the way home. Fortunately, the drops on this bike put me lower down than the drops on the Trek (which I'll need to look into further), but it was still a struggle. The bike itself was smooth and quiet, and the only problem was that the uncomfortable Bontrager seat I'd swapped from the MTB (originally from the Trek) was not quite tight, and every bump I hit was changing the tilt angle. Once I got it right, it wasn't all that uncomfortable, so I tightened it when I got home, and hopefully next time will be better.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

River Loop

Another nice day, possibly the last for a while, so I went for another ride. I considered US20 to Duanesburg, returning via NY7 for a 30-mile hilly day. I also considered NY5S to Amsterdam returning via NY5, for a flat 33-mile river loop from SCCC, several miles longer from home. Ultimately, I decided to ride from home, not use the car, and do a shorter river loop with some add-ons.

Biked down Crane Street to Broadway to Edison to Erie to Washington, and thence to SCCC and the bike path. Rode out tot he railway dead end in Rotterdam Junction, then back to 5S and the outer section of the bike path. Returned via 5S to 103, crossed the river to 5, and turned on Vley Road to make a stop at Adirondack Bicycle. Bill will order me a bell that should fit the Trek 520's larger handlebars. Asked him about my Shimano chain issue. Turns out there's a replacement pin available to be used when breaking the chain for cleaning. It's slightly bigger and fits snugly in the larger hole made in the outer plate when the old pin is removed. Failure to do this could eventually lead to the chain breaking at an inopportune moment, as the smaller original pin slips out of the new larger hole. Will need to inspect the chain carefully, and see what I turn up.

Cut back via side streets through Scotia to NY5, and returned through Schenectady up State Street to Brandywine, without incident. During the time I was out, a stiff easterly breeze had come up, making the return home on NY5 a bit more challenging. But I covered 26.8 miles in 2 hours flat, so not a bad ride.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Grant Hill

Sunny, 40ish, and relatively calm - good day for a ride. Kings/Old State/Siver/Willow/Foundry, then up Grant Hill to Ostrander/146/French's Hollow/Fuller Station. Grant Hill was easier than I expected, though I probably used lower gears than I would later in the season. When I got to US20, I didn't feel like I was ready to quit yet, so I headed west to NY158 and came back County Line to West Lydius to Hamburg and home. Just under 23 miles total, and I felt pretty good. The seat was comfortable, my legs were strong, and it was just nice to be out there for a while. I could tell that was about enough, though, when my legs complained a bit climbing the short uphill over the bridge on Hamburg as I got close to home.

Meanwhile, the Gitane now has new cables all around, the wheels are mounted and trued, the chain is cleaned, and about the only thing left is to wipe off last year's grit and lube the chain. Need to get it out for a 15-ish test ride sometime this week, weather permitting.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Another nice day

Today was sunny and cool - only about 40 - and a little breezy, but it's bike season, the roads are dry, and it's time to take advantage of days like this. I rode the 16-mile Kings/Old State/West Lydius loop again, since options from my driveway are somewhat limited. With a fairly strenuous hike coming up tomorrow, I decided NOT to challenge Grant Hill Road and that 20-mile trip today, though I was tempted, and need to do that soon.

The bike was almost flawless today, with the exception of the same minor tweak needed to the rear indexing. It's only off by a hair, and fixing it would require reconnecting the cable a little less tight to allow further adjustment, so I'm going to let it go for now. The chain problem is now gone, since I removed the offending link altogether. The shorter chain length won't matter, since I downsized the chainrings last year, and the chain probably should have been shortened anyway.

Touched up some paint on the Gitane yesterday, and replaced both brake cables today, so I'm slowly picking away at it. Next I need to replace both derailleur cables, retape the handlebars, and clean it up a bit. That will be good enough for this year.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Biking vs. Skiing

I think I've had enough XC skiing. I'm ready for biking season. Today was in the mid-30s and sunny, and I passed up an opportunity for some good skiing to get out the bike instead. That about says it all.

Took out the Trek 520 for the first time since I finished its winter maintenance. Noticed a few minor indexing adjustments that might be needed, but otherwise, everything seemed very smooth and quiet. At least for the first 8 miles or so. Then I started hearing a clunk every few pedal revolutions. It had to be one of two things - either I needed to snug the right crank on tighter, since I'd had it off; or the chain link that I had trouble with when breaking it for cleaning wasn't back together quite right. Those were the only two areas where I had done anything that could have possibly caused it. The noise was still there after tightening the crank, so I just continued home, doing a total of 16.1 miles on the Kings/Old State/West Lydius loop. It felt good, and the difference between this bike and the old MTB I'd been riding was extremely obvious.

After I got home, I put the bike on the trainer and reproduced the noise. It's a bad chain link alright. The one I separated and reattached is not quite straight, and the inner surface and rivet ride up on the rear sprocket when under load, causing the periodic clunk. I'll try to straighten it, but may need to spring for a new chain.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Feels like spring...

Partly sunny and upper 40s today, which called for another ride. Figured out a mostly residential 7-mile loop around Coldbrook and Carman, and set off on the mountain bike again. Not much to add to that, except to say I realized how easy it would be for me to get to almost anything in the immediate area, including the Altamont Avenue strip, using all back roads. Spent about 35 minutes riding the loop.

Decided to swap seats on the MTB and the Gitane, putting the gel on the MTB, which I'm more likely to ride without padded shorts. That Bontrager seat that originally came on the Trek 520 is VERY uncomfortable, and will move it to the Gitane, which shoudn't see much extended use.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Short ride between monsoons

Today was sunny and in the mid-40s, and after two days of heavy rain and snowmelt, the roads were not in bad shape. So, I got out the mountain bike and did a leisurely meandering 6+ mile loop through Coldbrook to Stewart's and back to get some milk. I didn't want to use the Trek, since it's now all cleaned up and ready for spring, and the Gitane is currently in pieces awaiting the same process. I added a seatpost rack to the MTB so I can now use it for local errands like this, and the rack also somewhat deflects the water spray from the rear wheel. That was a good thing today, because there were LOTS of puddles and running water. It just felt good to be out riding again, and I may do some more tomorrow, before another big rain on Saturday.