Thursday, October 13, 2011

So I drank a PBR...

And grew out my facial hair. And built a fixie. Coincidences I assure you. The PBR was at a cyclocross race, the beard is seasonal, and the fixie is my new crap weather commuter/bar hopper.

I traded my volunteer hours at the FMCBW Co-op for this old Itoh frame. These frames range from gas pipe "crummy" bikes to Bridgestone predecessors. This particular one seems to be in between. Built in Taiwan, nice lugged construction, and a nice chrome fork.

The goal of this bike was to build something nice enough to enjoy and be proud of, but not have to worry about it as much. I'm still super paranoid about leaving my bikes locked up. It's already scratched up and has rust spots. Beauty + Usage = Beausage, per Rivendell. It's perfect. It's this ugly, yet classy baby blue.

When I found it downstairs at the co-op, it was complete and stock as pictured above. I stripped off the unwanted parts, swapped on different stem/bars/crank at the co-op and brought it home. I added the saddle, bar tape, and brake levers from my parts bin, and bought the wheelset/chain. I think it came out great!

It didn't take me long to get used to riding fixed gear. Less than a mile I'd say. Its still a bit odd to get used to not coasting or shifting though. I actually enjoy riding it much more than I thought I would! I pulled the fenders from the CrossCheck and put them on the Itoh for this week's wet weather and used it as intended. Perfect!

Monday, October 3, 2011

IMBA Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

One of my LBS' had an event to celebrate the International Mountain Biking Associations "Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day" this past Sunday and I was lucky enough to take my 12yr old with me. He's never been offroad before but was excited to go.

Specialized sponsored the event and provided water bottles and t-shirts to the kids, which was very cool of them to do. There were probably 8 or 9 kids that showed up with their parents which is a pretty impressive turnout for as little publicity as this event got around town. Since I know the trail pretty well, I led the first group which was just myself, my son, another 8 or 9 year old girl, and her dad.

We started off nice and slow, talking a lot and trying to keep the kids excited, because I was certainly nervous that my actions could scar these kids for life and they'd hate it! We stopped and walked the tricky spots along the way, like the log crossings, switchback turns, and off-camber climbs. Soon the kids were complaining about the little hills and walking up every one. After a short break, we waited for the next group of riders to catch up then we started again. The second section is pretty easy and flows nicely so no walking was required. Speed was. My son was riding my wheel and warning me that I'd better speed up! Whoa! We're all having fun now! So I took off a little trying to encourage some speed up a hill, and whaddya know, both kids climbed the hill on their bikes and commented that "that was easy!". At this point I'm stoked that they are enjoying themselves and all nervousness on my part was gone. I took the time to stop at the hard parts and if I felt I could describe an easy way to ride it, I did. Soon the small log crossings (under 6" diameter) were minor obstacles for this young shredders. And when we reached the hardest part of the trail, the kids were ready.

I stopped at the top of the hill, looking down at what I feel is the trickiest spot of the trail. 100 feet of downhill to a 1.5' jump/drop followed by a sharp left turn. The drop has just enough lip on it to "kick" the bike so you can't go full speed and hit it and be ready for the turn. I warned the kids and went down it the way I normally would, thinking they'd walk it. Nope. My son followed my line and did just as I did. My jaw dropped. Proud daddy moment was in full effect. I think all the parents had that pride when we got back to the parking lot. It was a great time and I'm glad that Specialized and Great Northern Bicycle Company in Fargo made it into a event.

My son said he was exhausted when we were done. I was tired too, but still had enough energy left to take my Xtracycle up the local bike co-op and start a new project. More on that later!