Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Quest for Crank

Was surfing the interwebs the other night and came upon a post in one of the Facebook pages where someone is selling mountain biking stuff they don't want anymore. Since I have been known to ride a bicycle from time to time I frequent read these pages, problem is it seems that most people want to sell their "gently" used stuff for almost as much as you can get the same thing for new so I don't often buy much. Anyway, it just so happened that there was a SRAM crank set for sale at a reasonable price. We talked a bit and came upon a price and I thought we had even come up with a plan to meet. Kid selling the cranks lived in Seward and wasn't old enough to drive, so I figured I'd ride the cross bike out to pick up the crank and make a nice little ride out of it.


Managed to find a partner in crime for the ride out to Seward, so we meet up and Sunken Gardens and headed out into the wind.


Must be hunting season for one type of bird or another, unless it's some sort of new hiviz/camo riding kit.


In true Nebraska fashion it was more overcast than forecast, more windy than forecast and colder than forecast but man do those conditions make for some great photos.


Misery loves company as they say. Made it out to Seward in fairly decent time despite the wind and the constant rollers between here and there... that's where the trouble started. It seems we had some wires crossed because I sent the seller a text with my location and they said they would be there in 15 minutes, seemed about right for Seward. Moments later I get a second text "Lincoln right?" Somehow he was under the assumption we were meeting in Lincoln and I was under the assumption we were meeting in Seward, ruh-roh Raggy. So I turned around and high tailed it back to Lincoln, luckily they had some shopping and other things to do so we were able to connect at the new Fallbrook Super Saver.


In the end it all worked out though, I got a gently used crank to replace the one on the Monocog and I got in a fairly decent ride to boot. First crank I ever rode almost 60 miles for but it should be a nice upgrade from the stock crank that came on the Cog.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sprinter or Wring

Whatever term you want to use doesn't matter, I'll take 60s in January any day. That being said I just had to get out and get in a few miles on the bike today, because of scheduling that meant that I'd have to forgo at least the 1st quarter if not the first half of the AFC Championship game. If you know me then you know I'm a huge Broncos fan so missing the start of the game really shows you how nice it was out today. I'm also a huge Seahawks fan, having lived in both cities, and am really hopeful that we can have a Broncs vs. Hawks Superbowl here in a few weeks, no matter who wins or who loses I'd be happy.


It was a bit windy again today, nowhere near as bad as yesterday but not really wanting to deal with it I decided to shoot through Wilderness and see how the trails were. Decided to take a breather on the bridge over Salt Creek on what used to be the Rock Island Rail Road line, having nothing on the sides to keep you from riding or falling off it's not really for those afraid of heights but being able to sit with your feet dangling over the edge is nice and the view is pretty good too.


Usually this is just a brief stop on my way through the park but it was such a nice day and it literally seemed like I had Wilderness to myself at this point so I decided to take the gear off and just sit and take it all in for a few minutes. I love how Wilderness is so close to Lincoln but can still seem so far away from it all when you are out there, even the sound of traffic on Hwy 77 can be made to sound like a rapid moving stream if you imagine it hard enough.


It was so nice out even the bees thought that it was spring already (if you can't see him he's just on the bottom edge of the Garmin), it was nice to have a little company so we both just sat and shared an awesome day sitting on a bridge, soaking in the warm temps and the sunshine.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

You Must Learn Balance Danielson

Figures that the nicest day this week so far would have to be windy, not just a little breezy either but wind speeds around 25-35 mph with gusts over 40 mph. Thankfully the wind only usually sucks in one direction so I opted to get out for a ride despite knowing it was going to suck, you know it's bad when you're literally pedaling as hard as you can and 10 mph is out of your reach. Not to mention almost getting blown over by the cross winds, good balance is a must.

Looks like the city finally did the smart thing and decided to temporarily close the 27th St. underpass, glare ice gets pretty bad down there during the winter.

Picked up some anodized orange Race Face Turbine handlebars, they are both bright and wide, really wide. Luckily I love wide bars and have fairly broad shoulders for a midget, the Cog already had wide bars and these are even a bit wider, even so I found my hands naturally drifting toward the ends of the bars. I think they will be a great addition to the ole Cog and being bright orange only adds to the bling.

Not only was it windy, it was also overcast but with shots like this I'm not complaining... well except maybe for the fact that the sun was out before and after I rode. Damn that Murphy dude.

Ducks were daring each other to jump in, no takers while I was there.

Moving from all mountain bars to trail/cross country bars on the Cog came with an unexpected hitch, I didn't have any bar plugs that would fit the larger hole of the new bars. Not wanting to crash and get impaled and have my torso scooped out by the end of the bar like a melon baller I decided to shoot by Cycle Works and see what they might have for sale in that area. Turns out they didn't have any bar plugs for sale... but they did have a bin of them laying around that they use from time to time so they hooked me up with a pair for free. Not only would they not take my money for the bar plugs, Damon wouldn't let me pay for the Monster energy drink either, this people, is why you should always support your local bike shops. Try getting that kind of service from a website, you'd end up thirsty and empty handed.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Riding the Greasy Bear

Took off of work a little early yesterday to make it out to the Cycle Works Salsa release party and demo ride. Fat bikes have literally exploded in popularity over the last two-ish years yet it is one of the few types of bikes I don't own and haven't had the opportunity to ride a whole lot so making it out for the demo ride was a must do.
Lots of Beargrease and just the one lonely Mukluk, I was hoping to ride both the almost unattainable Beargrease and the more affordable Mukluk but the only Muk they had was an extra small. From a space standpoint I can totally see why they just brought the Beargrease though and the lack of Mukluks certainly weren't going to keep me from some snowy fun.
First thing I noticed riding these beasts was the substantial amount of rubber looking back at you from the front of the bike but boy did it just float over the snow and bumps.
Up first was the top of the line Beargrease XX1, for being such big looking bikes this one was amazingly light at I believe just a smidgen under 20 lbs. Shifting on this one could have used a little help, it kept popping on me making for a shorter ride than I ended up doing on the lower end model only logging about 3.5 miles on the flagship of the Beargrease.
Next up was the lower end model, although with a $3,500 price tag low is a bit of an oxymoron, Beargrease. I actually enjoyed the ride of this bike more than I did on the pricier one, maybe it was the shifting but it just felt like a faster bike to me.
Pictures never do justice to the grade of an decent or climb but for anyone familiar with Wilderness Park this is the first water crossing leaving from 14th St and it is steep and technical. Not only did the big tires on the Grease grip on the climb up but they also helped smooth out the rocks at the bottom of the creek better than some suspension setups I have ridden.
Like I said this bike just rode better for me and didn't have the shifting problems that the XX1 did so I rode this one for a good 8 mile loop. You would not believe how incredibly slick this bridge was with water and fresh snow on it, the Grease rode so well over everything else in the park, including the snow, that it never dawned on me that traction might be an issue until I was on my ass. I guess friction and gravity still apply even with a massive amount of rubber, it really was the only surface that seemed to be a match for the Beargrease, even snow covered roots offered little to worry about. While both bikes are well out of my range of affordability, if I had the money I'd probably opt for the less expensive model given my personal experience riding both of them. Others might disagree and the shifting and tire pressure probably played factors in the ride quality but for me the way the cheaper model rode would over ride the desire to pay an extra $1,000 for the top of the line model.
After the ridding was done it was time to dry off, warm up and head over to Cycle Works for some beer from Modern Monks, salsa from Johnny's Salsa and great company at the release party.
They always get a good turn out for these events and this one was no exception, good times. About the only downside to the demo ride and release party was the announcement that Mr. Swanson is leaving Cycle Works and moving back to Minnesota to pursue an awesome opportunity for him and his family. Great dude right there that will be sorely missed but you can't fault the guy for doing what is best for him.