Monday, September 15, 2014

Coffeneuring 2014

This is a place holder for mapping the finishers of the 2014 Coffeeneuring Challenge.  Mary from Chasing Mailboxes will be updating the base tables that will fill in the map.

Coffeeneurs in the US by state:

Cities where there was at least one coffeeneur.  Click on a point to see the city.  If there are links to blogs, you can click on them to see the blogs.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Riding an abbreviated version of the Honey 100

Saturday the 13th was the Honey 100, a ride that has the intent of getting you off road as much as possible and, in this instance, of getting you to ride east of Lexington and not west.  The ride was sponsored by Ride Studio Cafe and Honey Bicycles, with the ride starting in Lexington at RSC.  I missed last year's version, which went north and west of Lexington and was more of a long linear pursuit.  This year's version looked more like the Diverged rides that RSC has sponsored.  That is, you never get all that far from where you started but you sure get to find many trails along the way.  I speak from someone who rode the 50K version (and didn't even finish that).  Those who did the 100K might have other opinions.

My ride, with the group, is in red, the complete 50K ride is in black, and the towns are in blue.  I wandered home along the Mystic Lakes to Arlington solo.

The cafe was hopping when I arrived around 7:45.  The fun (that is, the slowest group) 50K group was scheduled to head out at 8 but in the chaos of 140 cyclists in and around a small shop, we didn't leave until close to 9 AM.   Lesli Cohen led the ride with Dan, who lead the RSC Pioneer ride I did in June.  They did a great job keeping us moving and generally keeping everyone within their limits.

I rode my Surly Cross Check, which I was very happy with.  I appreciated the 30/30 gearing, which kept me moving up loose, rocky paths that I thought I were beyond my previous limits.  It was useful riding the Clement USH, a 700x35mm, a tire intended to move between gravel and pavement.   The Surly is my commuter and it felt quite stable on this ride.  One can easily be seduced by the beautiful (and well designed and built) Honeys but this humble Surly build does the job for me for now.

The ride starts out on now familiar trails and roads to Winchester center and then into Middlesex Fells.  Cycling is legal on certain trails in the Fells and while I walked there in the past, this was my first time cycling there.  The trails, as promised, where rocky and rough after the washout of the previous weekend but there were a lot of relaxed stretches of dirt paths as well.  The part of the Fells east of I93 were even nicer than the west side.  There we were passed by a group led by Chip Baker.  In his group where were a lot of folks in orange from Philadelphia, led by Lone Wolf Cycling.  They were at the break at mile 16 or then raced on ahead of us.  The break was great with light snacks, enough to keep my energy level up.  I hear there was a nice lunch for the 100K riders that the 50K riders missed.  And there was likely great food at the finish, which I didn't  get to.  After a precarious start getting out of the house in the morning, I decided to cut my losses and promise to get back earlier than I should have, causing me to bail earlier than I would have liked.  After leaving the group in Winchester, I picked up lunch for my wife and me at Arlington Town Day, then rode home.

Surface conditions

"Washed out access roads:  The rain from last Saturday caused some new washing out of access roads and single track.  This means trails can be a bit rockier and looser than some people may expect.  Take extra care on these types of descents, ride slowly and well within your abilities; or, walk your bike if that makes more sense for you.  Riding slow on these is also wise because somewhere along that descent is probably a quick turn onto some other trail so you don't want to risk overshooting the turn.  Take these descents as opportunities to regroup.  Warning:  The most washed out section of the entire ride is in the Middlesex Fells between mile 10 and 12.  If you're more comfortable, please walk the rockiest sections."

We were warned - the road and trail surfaces were as advertised (the above is from one of the emails participants received before the ride).  I still consider myself a novice on this kind of riding.  My bike works my much better these days with my Clement USH (700x35mm) tires and a little bit of confidence.  This ride added to that confidence.  There were a large number of rocky descents and ascents.  It seemed like there were more hard ascents than descents, but maybe I'm better at descents, though I don't think so.  I generally was near the back of our group, which was about 13 people for much of the ride.  People seemed to ride confidently and not need to walk the gnarlier sections (gnarly to me, that doesn't correspond to any kind of universal rating system) so I pushed myself some.  And I was surprised.  After a cautious start, I started trying to get up and down every hill, despite the rocks cluttering the paths.  I believe Rob Vandermark mentioned that the side of these trails were best and often you had to take one side then cross over to the other side of the trail to find the smoothest sections.  I hit a lot of rocks but my wheels carried me over them and I wasn't forced off my bike.  By the end, I felt pretty good about my ability to travel over this kind of terrain, but I certainly won't be doing it solo, or at night, any time soon.  I heard of one crash that shortened one person's ride but otherwise I believe our group finished intact.

Some pictures of the ride

First bridge of the ride, a boardwalk through Arlington Great Meadows.  These were some faster riders doing the full 100K version of the ride that passed our group a few miles into the ride.

Regrouping along the way on a very easy section of the ride.

The route took us around the Middlesex Fells Reservoir.

We were passed by a faster 100K group in the Fells east of I93. They were largely from the Lone Wolf Cycling posse and were a lot of fun.  That's Charlie from LWC in the orange helmet.  He was riding a beautiful single speed Hanford and was handing out chocolate.

Charlie's Hanford.

Chip, from Honey and riding his Honey, who lead the LWC posse and did a lot to make the ride happen.

Break time.  Coincidentally, these are the two bikes with generator lighting in our group.

The last of the LWC group taking off from the break.  The drivers of the cars we encountered on the route were very polite and would stop for a group of cyclists making turns and crossing roads.

This was a pretty fancy bridge on a trail that crossed between a couple of backyards and ended up on a city street on the other side of the bridge.

Yes, I rode my commuter and carried my son to school on it the day before the ride.  There is a reason for those front racks.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bear Notch and Hurricane Mountain Road, New Hampshire

Two New Hampshire Rides, Bear Notch and Hurricane Mountain Road

Bear Notch

By now I have rode over a number of White Mountain notches (or passes or gaps or whatever they may be locally known as) including:

Franconia Notch (once)
Kinsman  Notch (twice, once touring)
Kancamagus Pass (once, touring)
Crawford  Notch (twice)
Jefferson Notch (dirt road, once, touring)
Pinkhan  Notch (once, touring but I slept at the Lodge there, after climbing Mount Washington)
Dixville  Notch (once, touring)
Bear  Notch (seven times)
Hurricane Mountain Road (twice)

(Please remind me of others I should try in the comments.)

It's no accident that I have been up Bear Notch so many times.  First, it's a short ride.  You could do a loop that includes Bear Notch in less than 40 miles.  Second, it's hardly the steepest or longest climb in the Whites.  Third, it's pretty road and probably the least traveled of the southern notches in the Whites.  And the pavement is decent for a road bike.  I first rode the Notch in 1998 coming back from a conference at Sunday River.  I had my bike with me for the conference and I rode a couple of times in Maine, mostly in the middle of nowhere.  On the way home I thought of riding in the Whites, not having done so in 11 years and here was my chance.  I recall finding the routes from a state highway map but it worked for me.  I left my car near the Eastern Slope Inn and found a great route for cycling.  I recall that the ride was in early October and the higher elevations on the north side was leafless while the south side was already past peak foliage but a lot of leaves remained on the trees.  No problem - it was still a lovely ride.  I stuck to that route for the several times I rode over Bear Notch.  Here is the route, with a narrative from my most recent ride over the notch, last Friday.

We were staying north of North Conway with my wife's family.  My wife came late and my fabulous mother-in-law (and many others) offered to take care of my boys on Friday so I could ride, an offer I couldn't refuse.  After breakfast and some playing, I took off.  I rode south on NH 16 until the lights and then took River Street to West Side Road to Route 302 and then Bartlett.  Route 302 has a wide shoulder but is quite busy and the cars are fast so Westside Road is worth taking, despite the rollers that slow you down as you get closer to Route 302. I met a couple, Christine and Barry, on 302, after seeing them head north on 16 as I headed south.  They were doing Bear Notch and then Kancamagus Pass in training for a fall triathlon.

From Bartlett, I took Albany Avenue, which turns into Bear Notch Road in the national forest.  The climb is about 4.5 miles and not all that steep with a couple of turnouts with nice views looking north.  The road is closed for the winter. 

 This is the New England, where we are coddled with guard rails everywhere and signs that warn us that we are further than a gallon or a gallon and a half of gas from the nearest service station.

My White Mountain bike.  I had my lights on and had one rider stop me to ask about my lighting system.  No problem climbing 10 MPH up Bear Notch with the generator running.

From one of the turnouts, looking north.  The Presidentials are the peaks in the distance.

Here is the summit.  No signs mark the spot.

From a turnout on the south side of the notch.

The descent on the south side isn't quite as fast, nor as consistent as north side.  But the good thing about this is that you have a long, mostly steady descent into North Conway.  Most of your elevation is lost on Bear Notch Road but you lose a lot on the Kancamagus Highway, NH 112, which you are on for about 6 miles.  (Sorry, no more pictures of the Bear Notch ride - my iPhone froze.)  You leave the highway at the covered bridge near Blackberry Campground, which takes you to Passaconaway Road, which follows the Swift River on the north side, with the Kancamgus on the south side.  Passaconaway is a narrow road but with little traffic (although it had the foreboding sign, "Yield to logging trucks").  Passaconaway is all downhill and it is a fun, fast section of the ride.  You leave Passaconaway on Allens Siding Road, which takes you back to Westside Road.  This section of Westside, up to River Street, is fast, with few uphill grades. The speed limit is 35 MPH and there is a marked bike lane.  It's a great alternative to getting into Conway and then taking NH 16 to North Conway.

I rode this fairly fast for me, 15.5 MPH and the ride was 40 miles according to my Garmin.  The ascent is obvious in my Garmin stats.

The Bear Notch route.

Hurricane Mountain Road

After a family day on Saturday, which included a ropes course at Cranmore Mountain Ski area, I had the chance to get an early ride in on Sunday.  I was interested in riding over Hurricane Mountain Road, which I climbed in 2007 as part of a collegiate club ride which included Bear Notch.  I knew from this experience that the Hurricane Mountain Road was not to be taken lightly.  I was in pretty good shape when we rode this in 2007 and I'm not quite in the same shape today.  I was reminded of what an unusual road this is on the extended family vacation a couple of years ago when we drove up it to walk the trail up to Black Cap, which starts at the summit on the road.  Everyone was shocked that their cars could make it up the road, which is twisty and very steep with short sections approaching 20 percent grades.  This sounds like my kind of road when I am fit.

I left the house at 6 AM with lights on for safety.  I took 16 down to Route 302 then East Conway Road, which eventually took me to Route 113 and into Maine.  Traffic was very light on the main roads, thanks to my early start,  The landscape changed markedly on the east side of the Whites, looking more like Connecticut River farmland with lots of agricultural land in active use.  The road was pretty flat from 16, to 302 to East Conway Road to 113.

Entering Maine on 113.

The West Fryeburg Cemetery.

Fish Road, at the intersection with ME 113.  I liked the alternative sign post.  There was a more standard one nearby.  There was also a church at this intersection, which had a much needed portapotty.  I forgot how hard it is to find a place for a bio break in farm country.  Also, note the skid marks on the pavement.

There were significant rollers between  Route 113 and the turnoff to Hurricane Mountain Road and then I saw  this and I new this was a cycling road.  At least for those of us who don't mind hard to climb hills.

And yes, it is closed during the winter.  I couldn't imagine this road plowed successfully.  What did surprise me were the several homes I saw on the east side of the summit.  There are no homes on the closed section on the west side of the summit, like there are on the east side.  They clearly are summer homes, although one closer to the road looked like a year round residence.

I thought that the east side was the easier ascent, until I saw this sign.  Yes, it was very challenging to me this year, although I that this was due mostly to my diminished fitness level.  And yes, I stopped a couple of times for rests.

The road is narrow.  It was twisty enough, and steep enough.  Despite the steep pitch, I never tried to pick up significant speed on the descent.  Again, notice the skid marks on the pavement.

I finished this ride inside of 3 hours, with several stops, many of them for looking at a map.  My Garmin was playing very funny tricks on me.  I didn't know this route well (obviously) and wanted to rely on the Garmin, with the Ride With GPS app as reserve, and my memory as  a second reserve (there weren't all that many turns so this was possible for me).  The Garmin never thought that I was on route, except near turns.  This was frustrating and I couldn't figure out if the route (a GPX file downloaded from Ride With GPS) was at fault or if the Garmin was.  In the end, the Garmin route that I rode was properly located on the map, showing were I actually rode so the Garmin was working fine.  I'll check the GPX file that I downloaded by plotting on Google Earth in the next few days.  Has anyone else experienced anything like this? (Update: I inadvertently downloaded the GPX file with turns by accident - don't try this at home on a Garmin 200!)

The Garmin stats show the one significant hill pretty clearly.  By the way, I did turn off the generator for the big ascent.  I needed all of my effort to get up Hurricane Mountain Road.

It was great fun riding through some small towns and rural areas in Maine.  This was one of those days that I wish I wasn't so constrained on my riding time, which I wish could be exploring time as well.  Still, having two boys and being on a family vacation, I was very pleased to get out when I did.

The Hurricane Mountain Road route.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

D2R2 2014

There is something epic about the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee (or D2R2), even if you don't do the epic versions - the 180K, 160K, and probably even the 115K.  I rode the 100K in 2009 and while it was a hard bike ride, it was nowhere near overwhelming in terms of how much effort it is to ride it.  It was quite beautiful and surprising, however.  And you felt like you were in great company with the 180K riders (I don't recall the other distances being offered that year).  The end of the ride meal and beer brought everyone together under the same tent, so speak.  I recall seeing the guy who went over his handlebars and broke his collarbone at dinner, after I heard rumor of an ambulance having come through a section of the ride shortly before I rode that section.  It was a hard ride indeed.

I loved the ride but with kids it became impossible to think of riding it again soon.  My second son was born a week before the next D2R2 so that ride wasn't even a possibility.  The following year, 2011, with two very young children, was a bust for riding.  I think I managed just 350 road miles that season and another 500 miles commuting.  By 2012, the D2R2 fell off my radar and despite being in shape for it I didn't even consider it.  In 2013, it came back to my attention via a colleague, Alex, who's girlfriend Carla grew up in the valley and the two of them and another colleague, Carl, decided to ride the Green River Tour.  It was great fun and with a couple on a tandem, and being relatively new to tandems, we decided that the tour was best.  After the ride, my colleague decided to ride the next year, 2014, and do the extra loop, the Carpenter Hill loop.  We recently contacted Sandy, the ride designer after we heard that the covered bridge would be closed during the 2014 ride and the Carpenter Hill loop would be inaccessible.  (It was actually accessible, if you wanted to ford the river, which the locals were doing and many riders did.)

Sandy apparently thought that our interest in extending our range was worthwhile and, in a late night email, he suggested several extensions to the ride.  He also suggested that we make sure we could read maps and see if his instructions made sense, since he wrote it from memory and not by reading a map. (He nailed it.)  He gave us one loop that was self contained and then a series of extensions that sent us farther afield, sometimes on roads used in one version or another of the 2014 D2R2 and others that were not.  This was way over the top for someone trying to tie all of the details of a 1000+ person ride on the eve of that ride.  

I mapped Sandy's instructions on Ride With GPS.  Carl decided to spend the day photographing at the headquarters of the ride and Alex and Carla decided to ride only the first loop.  I decided that I'd see how I feel.  I had a decent start to the year and then got sick in the early summer.  That slowed me down substantially and I rode over 40 miles only once since June.  I didn't think I would be in shape for the 100K and with Sandy's extended version of the Green River Tour, I had the opportunity to test the waters and see how far I could get.  And now I had the chance to see.

Alex, Carla, and another rider who joined us did the first loop starting on Nelson Road, which is on the 100K loop later in that ride.  We enjoyed a nice climb despite a dog that just couldn't let us go, even after we spotted a deer and a fawn and the dog investigated their scent.  The good news is that after this excursion and the rest of the tour, Alex and Carla decided to ride the 100K next year.  I think I'll join them.

Alex and Carla decided to skip the next side trip.  I persevered and enjoyed a harder climb up New County Road and then Amidon Road riding solo.  At Amidon and Franklin Hill Road I met up with a number of 100K riders on a section of road that was probably in the worst shape of anything I saw that day (though probably not the worse on all of the routes).  I felt great so I left the route and opted for the second of Sandy's extensions, taking Stark Mountain Road down to Route 112 and then climbed out of the valley on Branch Road and then Jacksonville Stage Road.  I saw, and confused, a great number of 115K riders, some of whom wondered if they were going the wrong way.  I assured them that I was.  After climbing over the high point on Jacksonville Stage Road, I enjoyed a long downhill run to the lunch spot.  Sandy was the mechanic there and I thanked him for the great ride that he gave me with his instructions.  I had already done all of the climbing that I planned, about 4000 feet, and I was feeling great.

I talked with Julian of the Buffalo Lazy Randonneurs at lunch and then headed out in a mass of riders.  I chatted with Sawyer and Hannah, a couple from Sunderland, MA until the Nelson Road turnoff, where a lot of people stopped.  I was checking out this cool ANT bike then noticed the rider was Mike Flanigan, the creator of many very nice bikes, one of the founders of Independent Fabrication, and the designer of the Club Racer, the model IF that I own.  Mike was heading back to Deerfield and we decided to ride together.  Mike is a great guy and a competent cyclist.  The big crowd that we were part of broke up, between splitting off for the 100K route and stopping for a mechanical.  I enjoyed the quieter ride with Mike and we found our way back to the headquarters.  Mike went off to change before dinner and I went off to see how Carl was doing.

I spotted Carl near the food tent with his camera. He was happily shooting pictures but the process is very slow, given his equipment.  Later I somehow managed to drag Tyler Evans from Firefly and the Bayley brothers into Carl's vision.  I hope to see the results soon.  

I had dinner with Sam, a guy from New York, who was barely able to get out for a weekend of cycling.  I gather that cycling is newer in his life and something that his wife was not expecting for him to spend a lot of time on.  I hope he enjoyed the weekend and continues to get out.   I later said hello to Jamie Medeiros from Firefly and watched Tyler and Carolyn Johnson, one of the Firefly Expedition Team riders, come in.

I finally managed to extricate Carl from his camera and the gracious support folks allowed me to get my car close for carrying back the heavy equipment.  I was sad to leave the party but happy to get home a couple of hours later.

Postscript: while I didn't feel that I was in great shape, I did fine on the extended Green River Tour, riding 58 miles and climbing 4000 feet.  My Garmin told me I averaged 12 MPH and I felt I could have gone faster, farther, and climbed more hills.  I'm talking the 100K and not the 180.  There is always next year.

A second postscript: my Surly has been suffering some lately.  I needed to have a new freehub installed.  The freehub was hard to find since it is out of production.  The new one I have has a small burr on it that makes a very easy to hear sound on every wheel rotation.  On quiet roads it is annoying but I can live with it, for a while.  And the shifting has been getting worse and worse.  My mechanic tells me that I really need to replace the chain (1100 miles) and the cassette (maybe 3000 miles) but don't do it before I grind a lot of dirt during the D2R2.  I can't wait to replace these and maybe have a nearly quiet drive train.  The shifting was fine as long as I compensated (shift twice to a harder chain ring, then shift back up one) but I'll be happy when this is fixed.

I owe a lot to Sandy for taking some time to show me the way, adding some very nice hills to the Green River Tour.  The river ride is nice but the high points with the great views are, in my mind, the best part of the D2R2.  That and the camaraderie.  This was the tenth year of the D2R2 and Sandy has to be happy with it, both the fun that the riders experience and the fund raising success.

At the headquarters before the ride.  The person riding this bike planned on the family ride.  I did see similar bikes in the hills later in the day.

My companions for the first part of the ride.  Yes, they just got married!  This was quite the honeymoon.

First big view from East Colrain Road, looking down, I think, into the Green River valley.

I believe Carla noticed the banana in my pocket (which I grabbed from the first water stop, knowing I might wouldn't see lunch until 36 miles into my ride) and Curious George, who loves bananas, on my jersey.

Stark Mountain Road.  This was a fast, steep,  and long descent and wasn't part of any other D2R2 route.  Needless to say, I took great care on this descent and didn't bomb down the road as Sandy may have.

State line on a major road (by the standards of the D2R2).

A private bridge on Route 112 in Vermont.  The folks parked on this side of the river and walked over the bridge to their house.  I'm not sure if this is Hurricane Irene damage but you can see the substantial footings in some disrepair.

I didn't stop at the gun shop.  It did remind me of a tour in 1996.  We stopped for lunch in Whitingham, VT on a rainy day.  We saw a guy there with a pistol in his belt (no holster).  I guess Vermont has open carry laws.

19th century headstones in a cemetery on Jacksonville Stage Road.

Tandem riders on the 115K.

A meadow overlooking the valley in the distance.

Near the lunch spot, almost in the valley.

Julian from the Buffalo Lazy Randonneurs.

Mike from ANT.

 Tyler checking out Carl's camera, Carl checking out Tyler.

Carl photographing the Bayley brothers.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sometimes you don't get to take only back roads

If you follow certain folks on Twitter and read certain blogs and magazines, you might think that the best roads are the most empty and unpaved roads.  And I agree, they are the nicest routes to ride on.  I've done a small share of trail and dirt road riding and enjoy it immensely.  And I try to plan all of my rides to be on lesser used roads if at all possible.  But sometimes your day doesn't go as planned.  Today I rode to my in-laws in New Hampshire and while that was fabulous, the route I took was based more on time than scenic values or traffic volumes.  I picked out a nice route based on the Ride Studio Cafe Pioneer ride that I did in early June and the last route I used to get to my in-laws.  But the morning got the better of me and instead of leaving early, I helped pull up a failed raspberry bed (not enough sun, no fruit) and did some trimming and other yard work.  That all had to be done and while it left me hot and sweaty and with just barely enough time for me to get to New Hampshire for my son's second birthday party, I did what I could.  My route looked like this:

The big problem heading north is the Merrimac River and the few rural places to cross it.  I originally aimed for the Tyngsborough crossing but that wasn't feasible on the shorter ride I needed to take.  Instead I made my way to the outskirts of Lowell on less traveled roads and bike paths and then crossed the river on the ancient and temporary Rourke Bridge.  From there I found my way to Mammoth Road and took that towards Londonderry.  Mammoth Road isn't all that well traveled but the speed limit is fast and today there was as much traffic on the road as I've ever seen, although that doesn't mean it was heavily traveled as say, Rte 2A from Lexington to Concord at 7:30 AM.

My route did take me away from Route 4 into Chelmsford, instead taking small roads and then the Bruce Freeman bike path so I can't say that my ride was all on major roads.  But the second half of the ride, north of Lowell, was a far cry from the quiet roads I planned, but getting out safely and enjoying a long ride was far better than not riding my bike at all.

Miles for the ride: 45, for the month: 235, for the year: 1680.

Crossing the New Hampshire line on Mammoth Road, NH 128:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Vibrations from generator hubs, not a test

When I first started looking into generator hubs in early 2013, I found a nice set of articles by a cyclist in the Netherlands who reviewed a number of different pieces of equipment, including hubs and lights.  One issue that he found annoying, but not a show stopper, was vibrations felt in the handlebar from the generator.  He gives some reasons for why this may occur but concluded that there were too many variables to narrow done a cause or to lower the vibration effectively.

After doing some reading, I had Harris Cyclery build a wheel for my Surly Cross Check.  They used a Shimano 3N80 hub laced to a Mavic Open Pro rim to match the Surly build.  And guess what ... I have a decent amount of vibration coming from the hub.  It isn't evident below 18 MPH and it doesn't get stronger the faster you go.  Not that I am exceeding 20 MPH often at night but I do have it turned on during the day for safety.  It's not to the point of annoying but it is obvious that I am feeling vibration in the handlebars.  If I were on a road ride, riding above 20 MPH for a decent amount of time on the ride, I might think it would be annoying.

My reasoning for building a generator hub for this bike was that I would have lights for commuting and would have the wider tires for the bumps that I wouldn't see quite as well in the generator light.  It all worked out well.  I used the daytime running lights on all of my commutes and feel that it works well for me.  I also have done a substantial number of early morning and late night rides, some on dirt roads, and have loved getting out at night.  It's magical and as long as you take great care, especially if you are riding alone (it's more magical and you need to be much more careful on your own).  One issue for me was that I was trying to do longish rides (for me, maybe short for you) and starting at 5 AM in late August or September meant that I needed lights.  And that meant I was on my Surly, which isn't built for speed or distance (not that I haven't rode 60 road miles on it once or twice).  I found myself wanting to go farther and faster once the sun rose and I was slowed down by the bike.  So I thought I should add lights to my IF so that I had my fast bike for those early starts.

I started out with getting a last generation Busch and Muller IQ CYO headlight (that matches the Surly and is sufficiently functional for me) and a Busch and Muller Secula Plus taillight for the IF.  I had these mounted before my first ride in the spring (and probably looked dorky to every who noticed my generator lights sans generator hub - only one person said anything to me).  I tested the wiring using my Shimano hub and all was well.  And when I had enough money (or permission to spend the money), I order a wheel from Ride Studio Cafe.  I think that Harris Cyclery did a great job building my first generator wheel but I didn't love getting there.  West Newton is a pole of relative inaccessibility for me and I ended up going there a few times getting the new lights and the Sheldon Problem Solvers (for mounting the front fender after you had the headlight set up - ask me if you want to know more), and something I can't remember anymore.  In any case it seemed like a major trip and Ride Studio is a great shop and much easier to get to.

Ride Studio built up a great wheel with a Shimano Son Deluxe hub laced to a Mavic Open Pro rim (there is a pattern here).  I picked it up in late July mounted it last week and, guess what - no vibrations:

Based on my Garmin feedback, I hit 25 MPH and there was still no vibration.  I don't think I ride over that speed all that much, except on downhills, so I think I am pretty sure that this combination (IF, straight blade steel fork) is a good match for the wheel that Ride Studio built for me.  I was out this past weekend on an early morning, misty ride and it was great to have solid lighting.  I did have my Nite Rider battery powered light but I didn't feel like I needed it and didn't turn it on.  I also had a Portland Design Works Radbot to supplement the Secula Plus, and I did have it on when on the road.

In short - get generator lighting if you can afford it and hopefully your frame doesn't transmit a lot of vibration to your handlebars.  I experience it on my Surly, but not on my IF.  And at the speeds that I feel it on my Surly, I don't feel it that often.  And it is nice to not worry about charging batteries.  And maybe I'll buy a charger so I can charge up my phone and Garmin on long rides when I don't need my lights.  (That's one drawback of the lighter Deluxe vs the Son 28.)

If I really wanted to test the vibrations on the Surly vs the IF, I would have switched the wheels (and the tires) and the connections (the Shimano generator hubs uses a very different connector from the raw connectors that the Schmidt hub uses).  I would be able to tell you that the Surly does, or does not, have vibration with the Schmidt hub and that the IF does, or does not, have vibration with the Shimano has.  But as my buddy Carl suggested, like the Netherlands writer did, there are so many variables that you really can't control for everything.  So this was not a test, just a recounting of my experience with these two hubs on different bikes.

Update: I noticed some vibration at 28 MPH on a recent ride.  It disappeared when I turned the lights off.  The vibration is hardly noticeable and much less than I feel on my Surly at 20 MPH.

The nice part of being on the road early (yes, that is light rain falling and yes, I am slightly less of a fair weather rider than I once was):

Lights.  Camera.  Picture of a dynamo hub:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A pristine 1984 Schwinn Peloton in the wild

Last week I saw a shiny new red bike that just didn't look right as a new bike.  I recall riding with a local collegiate cycling club and one of the members looked at my bike and called it a through back from an earlier time, though it was only a couple of months old at the time.  But it sort of a through back - it's an Indy Fab Club Racer with narrow tubing and mostly 1980s classic lines, except for a sloping top tube.  But on close inspection you could see it is TIG welded, not lugged like bikes of that period generally were.  This shiny red bike was lugged and the decals looked pretty dated to me.  Of course I chatted with the rider, who had time to tell me about his bike and let me take a picture.  It was owned by a racer, Andy Flemming, who, apparently, owned a lot of bikes.  Steve, the new owner said he knew Andy through Andy's work with his mom and when Steve said he wanted to try riding, Andy gifted him this bike.  This was six years ago and the bike was still in the box.  It was a 1984 Schwinn Peloton, which means it sat in that bike for over 20 years waiting for the right person to ride it.

Steve offered to send me some information, which he did.  Here is a link to the original catalog.  And this is the spec sheet for that year:

Interestingly, the bike has a "Campagnolo" decal on the left side of the top tube near the head tube.  The specs clearly call for Sun Tour derailleurs and Dia Compe brakes so perhaps this was a special model of the Peloton.  I'm not sure but it looks like Steve built the frame up and the shifters are clearly much more modern than the frame so if it was intended as a Campy bike, it no longer is and probably never was.  But Steve has kept it in excellent condition and it still looks nearly out of the box.

Steve found one for sale on Ebay, although the brakes are the ones spec'ed above.

Steve lives nearby so perhaps I'll see him on the road again.

The bike (unfortunately I didn't get a good picture of Steve so he doesn't appear complete here):