town&countrybiker


Single Speed- Definitely A State of Mind
July 22, 2009, 2:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Single speed biking is something that I have not attempted until I purchased the Raleigh One Way earlier this spring. I have ridden it a bit, but due to it being shiny and thief-tempting, it has not had as much use as my various other Raleighs. I am not talking about fixed, not sure that my legs are ready for that, but fixed is merely a flip of the hub away…

Today, I took it for a 12 mile spin, that includes a fair amount of twisties, and some up and downs as well as some nice rolling rural style roads.

Obviously a single speed bicycle is inherently simple, and there is a strong positive in that in and of itself. There is so little to go out of adjustment (or fail).

I found myself getting into the groove much more than I do on the Root Beer Bike for example. I think that one of the reasons is that there are not any deraileurs, shifters or any of that related gear. I kept my hands on the bars, only changing positions for comfort sake.

I found myself just getting into the groove of the road and ride much more than I typically do on one of the three speeds or one of the folders. There is a zen effect in play here, as you get up to cruising speed (15 MPH?) and just flow with the road.

While I typically dismiss much of the brou ha ha regarding fixed gear as more of a fashion statement than anything else, I can see that crusing on a simple machine really is more liberating than attempting to do the same on a road bike with its’ attendant complexity and related noises.

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Virgil Gilman Trail
July 20, 2009, 2:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

On Saturday, I headed out to Oswego to take a ride with a friend, BW. I took the Root Beer Bike along for the car ride to BW’s house.

We took off from his house, and I assumed that we would be taking the Fox Valley Trail. We started on a local Oswego trail that took us through a park and via an easement through a development and a neighborhood. Then we took a short, steep downhill into the Fox River Trail.

I believe that part of the FVT follows IL 25. We headed in a northerly direction for maybe two miles and then we made a west turn onto The Virgil Gilman Trail across the Fox River via an old train bridge. Here is a link to a PDF map of the VGT.

I had never heard of the Virgil Gilman Trail but I was very impressed. The first part has a dodgy road section and passes by a homeless shelter, but continues though a variety of trails. There were both meadows and forest sections. At one point, I said to BW that I felt that I was in Ewok land as the tall trees were green leaf filled, the trail was smooth and rolling and we were flying.

We took the majority of the trail, and ended up at the Wabonsie Community College, where the trail ends. We flipped around and headed back to Oswego to get some lunch.

It was one of the best rides of the year so far, as for distance, I would say we did around 35 miles total. What a blast on a perfect day for a ride!



New Bars For the Root Beer Bike
July 14, 2009, 4:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
north roads bars root beer bike clean look
north roads bars root beer bike clean look

Today I decided that I would exchange my old cruiser bars (that came with the Root Beer bike) with some standard North Roads bars and matching stem. This would have been the original equipment, and I think that they look better.

That was the plan, and as usual, I got to learn something along the way.

First of all, I needed to remove my leather hand grips. I read somewhere a while back that a slim butter knife is perfect for this chore. The grips were a bear to put on the cruiser bars three years ago, but some pushes with the butter knife and some elbow grease got them free after a bit. I also undid the lock nut so that I could remove the ugly front reflector.

I then figured that simply loosening the brake levers and three speed trigger should be enough to slide them off the cruiser bars. I was right.

Then I undid the allen bolt attaching the stem to the steerer. I loosened the bolt all the way. and with a little tap from a spare 2×4, the stem and cruiser bars came off as a single unit. So what about the expander, that should be at the bottom of the stem? Not on the bolt, so it was still in the head tube. I put the bolt back in the head tube, and turned it until I found the expander and then fished it out.

Putting the North Roads bar on was pretty straight forward, drop them in and tighten the Whitworth bolt. (I could not find a metric nor English wrench (spanner?) in the tool box to fit.) I used some channel locks.

I then reassembled the brake levers and 3 speed trigger. The leather grips slid right on. I took to for a test ride for a couple of miles on an errand to the pharmacy and nothing fell off or broke. I think we are good.



Lunch at Ft. Sheridan Beach
July 9, 2009, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
one way at ft sheridan beach

one way at ft sheridan beach

I was feeling the need to get outside for lunch today. The sun is blaring, the wind is off the lake and it is 74 degrees.

I loaded up the trunk bag and put it on the One Way. In the bag, I carried the Jeff Jarvis book What Would Google Do?, some fresh cherries, a green apple, a slice of homemade nan pizza and some water.

The bike ride down to the Ft. Sheridan Beach was a dream. The little rolling hills seem to be the perfect match for the gearing on the One Way. Pedaling through the turns while leaning in was quite delightful.

After eating my little picnic, and finishing the book, I headed back to the office for a call.

The ride was so nice, I even got on the drops… something that I have not done in 3 years. 18-20 mph feels great on the rig!



Reelights
July 8, 2009, 1:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

IMG_0515_500I have not heard of these blinky lights before, but based on a twitter post I came across them. They work by attaching magnets to your wheels, as the wheels spin they create a charge to power the blinky light. As such, they use no batteries. Unlike an old school generator, there is no drag on your wheels as you pedal. Seems sort of like a bike computer.

Will have to order a set when I have some disposable cash.



Easy To Make Skirt Guards
July 6, 2009, 10:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I found this and thought that I would share. Skirt guards are something that I have seen on Dutch bikes, but I don’t see them at all here.

This link shows how to make a set.

http://www.instructables.com/id/EBBNYB2YFREP287URF/



4th of July Ride
July 6, 2009, 8:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We took the Raleigh Sports out for ride north to Lake Bluff for their annual parade.

If you haven’t had the opportunity, The LB Parade is like Woodstock for the North Shore. Cars, minivans and sport utilities line Sheridan road for blocks. Apparently, the POPO have a lot of leeway in their interpretation and enforcement of various laws on the 4th. as well. Parking and drinking laws are not really enforced.

That said the parade is OK, but it is really just an excuse to have a party- typically at least 3 per block in the small community. Riding the bikes was definitely the correct choice, no parking nor drinking woes for us. I even brought a gift of a Beringer Pinot Grigio for our hostess in my trunk bag on the Root Beer Bike.

The day was cool for this time of year- in the 70s. Just as we were preparing to leave the party at 2:00, it started to rain.  3-4 miles in the light rain was not bad- the Raleighs are made for weather like that!