Archive for the ‘bicycle’ Category.

Back to the CdA National Forest

John, Pat, and I had such a good time in the Coeur d’ Alene National Forest in June that we decided to go back this September.  Andre was interested and came along.  To fit the trip into a 3 day weekend Andre and I flew out from Seattle and borrow bikes from John and Pat.  We flew in Thursday night, drove out to the base camp, did a long ride on well established roads on Friday and a short ride exploring side trails on Saturday.  Saturday night Andre and I flew back to Seattle.

Our last trip turned from car camping into bike camping from a conversation that went something like this:

John: How far will we be from the car at the end of the day?
Alex: About 5 miles?
John: Why am I carrying all of this camping gear?  Let’s just ride back here.

This time we didn’t even kid ourselves with bike camping and went whole hog with the car camping.  John and Pat brought along a lot of food for us, two big stoves, a folding table, a pop-up shelter, 4 tents, more sleeping bags that you could imagine, and tons of other gear.  Andre and I just had to bring a little clothing, snacks for the day, and sleeping bags.

Thursday was chilly but it didn’t rain on us.  The first half of the ride used a route that Pat came up with, and took us to the same lunch spot at Magee Ranger Station that we visited before.  We started climbing immediately, but the first half of the climb was a good warm up with about 1000′ gained at 5-7% grade.  The second half was probably twice as steep on and worse condition roads.  The descent into Magee started a bit bumpy, but then we found some nice roads that were great to roll down.

The weather was colder than any of us had expected, but luckily not colder than what we had planned for.  At every stop it seemed like we were adding or removing jackets to keep comfortable. 

After lunch we had planned to follow our June route up to Spyglass Peak.  I was worried about getting that high in elevation and suggested my “wuss route” option.  It looked roughly the same length, but I thought it would keep us 1000′ lower in elevation.  I didn’t check any topo maps to figure that out though, so it ended up having just as much climbing.  It had good views though, and the descent ended about 2 miles from our campsite and kept us off of the only “busy” (meaning 2 cars an hour) road in the whole national forest.

On Saturday we went up what we call “John’s climb”.  We drove out on this road in June and John kept commenting on how nice of a climb it appeared to be.  This time we found it freshly graded and were enjoying the climb up.  Maybe 1/4 of the way up there was an interesting looking spur, so we followed that.  It was gated closed and isn’t used in the summer (only for snowmobiles in the winter), so it was quite grown over and involved some hike a bike.  We found an old building foundation, a tiny dam that must have been used to provide water for the building, and some good riding and hike a bike.  From there we followed a maze of closed roads (some with dead ends) back to camp.  The ride was probably less then 10 miles long, but the slower pace and interesting conditions were a nice change from Friday.

Thanks to John and Pat for loaning Andre and I gear and feeding us like kings.  Andre and I were brainstorming on where we’d take them for similar riding near Seattle and came up empty.  Spokane is lucky to have such a huge and little used national forest just a bit over an hour from downtown.  I’m guessing I’ll visit it again at least once next summer.

Friday’s Route: or GPX
Saturday’s Route: or GPX

Coeur d' Alene National Forest

(photos just in case you don’t have flash)
John, Larry, and I all wanted to get in a good ride this summer, but didn’t have a week to dedicate to something like our 2007 Gifford Pinchot tour. We decided that a long weekend ride would be a good idea. We always make John come west, so this time we headed east and picked the CdA National Forest as our target. John invited Pat along too, bringing the group size to 4.
Way back in March or April we got a personal guarantee of good weather from John with our mid-June riding date. Last week it became obvious that this wasn’t going to happen and that rain was likely. The rain changed our parking location from being the corner of the forest to one of the central campgrounds. That made our first evening’s ride to our campsite much shorter.

On Friday morning we woke up to light rain, but as we ate lunch it began to clear and dry out. When I told John that we’d be ending the day about 5 miles from the car again he asked about just ditching the camping gear and turning it into a slightly longer day ride. That seemed like a good idea, so we rode back to the car, ditched gear,and started the loop.

We started near Huckleberry Campground right in the middle of the CdA National Forest. Pat really liked how Spyglass Peak looked on the map,so we concentrated on that part of the original route. The highlight there was a short but steep climb (seen on the map above between miles 25 and 30) followed by a long ridgeline descent.

Getting to Spyglass Peak meant riding to Magee first. The route to Magee is over an easy saddle (Leiberg Saddle) followed by a really nice descent through Tepee Creek and the meadows along it. This creek runs through a narrow valley with a wide meadow that must flood every year. The road is above the meadow and creek, giving you very nice views into the area below. It really reminded me of areas of Yellowstone National Park,only this valley wasn’t overrun with tourists.

We reached Magee around lunch time. Magee consists of 4 historic buildings and a backcountry airport where a ranger office used to be. We enjoyed a nice lunch there before heading uphill towards Spyglass Peak. The climb up towards Spyglass was almost perfect and a marvel of good surveying. It was steep,but not too steep (around 9% grade). The gradient was consistent and the road conditions were excellent. We saw a few moose on the way up. At the top we got to a ridgeline with good views in all directions.

The descent down the ridgeline was fun. The descent was a much lighter grade and just felt like it went on forever (if you look on the map above it looks like we were descending for about 20 miles before the next major climb). Once in a while there would be a half mile climb or so to get some more altitude. Since we were riding along the ridgeline we’d get views to the east, then cross over and get some views to the west. The weather was dynamic up there with areas of rain, sun, and sometimes both at once. The roads were a little damp (good for keeping the dust down) and had no washboard. It really made for some fun riding.

CdA National Forest is a maze. Every few miles we’d come to a N-way intersection and have to figure out our next turn. At Stull Saddle we ran into one thing that really threw us off. Pat looked at his paper map and said “we want to take 812 back to Leiberg Creek”. I looked at my GPS and said “I drew out this red line that we should follow”. It looked like the line might also follow 812, so we trusted Pat’s map and headed down 812. A mile or so down I kept slowing down and looking at the GPS and John asked me what was wrong. We weren’t on the red line, but I decided to trust the map more than the line.

We knew that we made a wrong turn when we got to a sign that said “Magee, 3 miles”. Oops! We turned uphill and did the climb up to Leiberg saddle again. There we found 260 which connected back to Stull Saddle. On the descent down from Leiberg Saddle we found the other 812. That mistake cost us 10+ miles, but they were enjoyable. If you go to the CdA National Forest I’d bring a GPS and the forest map, and still give yourself a little time to get lost.

The road back to our campsite seemed a lot longer on the way out than the way in. We made it back to our car and the camp area around 7pm, 10 hours or so after we left. A good long day on the road: roughly 65 miles and somewhere between 7,500 feet and 11,000 feet of climbing depending on which mapping software you trust. I think the 7,500 number is probably about right.

Saturday morning on the drive out we took some other very minor roads and saw more areas which are ripe for exploring. I really get the impression that you could park somewhere central and setup a base camp and find a new excellent loop every day for a week without duplicating much scenery. That would all be while staying on the labeled roads and ignoring the dozens of unmarked side roads and singletrack that we saw on our route. We made future plans to do exactly that. John and Pat are very lucky to have all of this great riding only a bit over an hour away.

Appendix A: Water Filters
This what water filtering looked like for us in 2007:

Roughly 3 minutes of annoying pumping for every 1 liter of water that you want.

This is what it looks like now:

30 seconds of going by the river to fill a bladder full of water. 5 minutes of waiting for gravity to do it’s work and filter 4 liters of water for you, during which time you can eat lunch, chat, or just enjoy the sun. It is a huge improvement. We brought along MSR and Platypus gravity water filters. Both use the same filter cartridge and technology. The MSR one has a nicer “dirty water” bladder, but doesn’t come with a “clean water” bladder (so it is $20 more expensive once you buy one of those). Either option is great.

Appendix B: CdA vs Gifford Pinchot

Gifford Pinchot has better scenery. We didn’t see anything like this, this, or this in CdA. The volcanic backdrop of Gifford Pinchot just adds more dynamic scenery to the picture.

Gifford Pinchot has more pavement.

CdA has more roads. It is a real maze in there, and you can pretty easily build loop routes of almost any length that you’d want. Our route had more out and back than we planned due to taking the “wrong” 812.

CdA seemed to have more wildlife. We saw many moose, a coyote, a few deers, and tons of birds.

Both are great and neither had much traffic.

Appendix C: Making a fender with campground materials

  • Reverse the dummy bolts in the rack mounting bosses on your seatstays so that they stick out a little bit.
  • Tie sticks to those bolts and the seattube.
  • Cut a few holes in a tyvek envelope (I brought this as a saddle cover), freeze dried food bag, or other trash and tie it to the sticks.

Appendix D: We need a name…

This isn’t touring, because we didn’t carry our gear. It isn’t mountain biking because the terrain wasn’t that technical and we went more miles. I guess some people call it “Adventure Cycling”, but to me that is the name of a magazine about bicycle touring. This is my favorite style of riding, and there isn’t a name for it.

Appendex E: Other links

Jack Pass

Jack Pass is north of Skykomish and east of Index. 10 years ago you could ride a nice loop between these three points, but now the road from Index to Jack Pass has been taken over by the Skykomish River. We parked at Beckler River Campground with a goal of seeing what laid on the other side of the pass, maybe going to check out what remains of Mineral City, explore future camping destinations and to see what the washouts really look like.

We planned this ride a few weeks ago, but the weather threw us a curve ball on Saturday afternoon. The forecast of high 60s and mostly sunny turned into 50s and heavy rain. I was ready to cancel when Rory wrote these words:

I say there’s 2 choices:

1. “remember that memorial day alex made us ride through that monsoon

on Jack pass?”

2. “Remember that memorial day we sat inside waiting for the rain to


This is the stuff adventures are made of.

How can you say no to that? So on Sunday morning at 9am we all met at my house and drove up to Skykomish.

Mark had pointed out on the map that there were two ways up Jack Pass. Our plans were to take the left fork up the pass, then come back down on the main road. The plan started badly when I left our maps in the car. Thankfully I had my GPS, but scrolling around on the tiny GPS screen always takes a lot of time. We found the correct fork, and took it.

That ended pretty quickly at this washout, but we did find some future camping potential up there.

We backtracked and took the main road up Jack Pass. Going from South to North Jack Pass isn’t too steep and the climb went by pretty quickly. The scenery along the way was great, with small rushing down the mountain, and a few viewpoints with nice vistas to the right.

Michael (rear) and I (front) climbing up Jack Pass.  Photo by Rory.

Lee and Michael near the pass.

The descent down into the Galena valley was fast. Very fast. It felt like it only lasted for 5 minutes, although it probably was longer. At the bottom we found the one gate that we needed to cross that day,and this awesome waterfall. The gate was a good sign,gates mean almost no traffic.

Riding in the valley.  Photo by Rory.

Beyond the gate we found about 8 miles of old road which is hardly used anymore. Riding in this valley you can see that there is a constant battle between road builders and the river. It seems as though the river has won.

The road ends here. If you click on the image you can actually see some blacktop across the river. Lee, Mark and I took a short walk and explored that section of road, then found another washout. The next few photos show what we found over there.

The Rapha guys showed that one can get around this area if they are willing to wade. I wouldn’t mind trying that someday in the future and when the water is lower, but on this trip we decided that this was our turnaround point.

On the way back out we took the bridge over to Silver Creek to see what the trail was like up to Mineral City. Having left the maps in the car we didn’t have a good idea of how far we’d have to go. What we found was a rocky road with a stream running down the middle of it. 10 minutes of climbing up it was enough for us, and we turned around. I checked the maps later and it looks like we’d have to go up the road about 3 miles to find the ghost town. That would be a good side hike on a camping trip back in this valley.


I took this one last photo as we started up the ascent out of the valley:

Climbing up Jack Pass in this direction is much harder than it was in the other one. The roughly 1000′ elevation gain is about the same, but the road on this side is about half as long. I checked the elevation profile when I got home and it was about 2 miles of riding a 10% grade. All of our conversations disappeared as we each picked our own pace and made it to the top.

The ride from the pass back to the car was about 10 miles of downhill. It went quickly and enjoyably. We got to the cars having spent a wonderful day riding without rain, exploring new areas that I think we’ll all return to, and enjoying a nice day on the bikes.

As we were putting the bikes on the cars Mark ran into another SIR member who was camping there. We were just pulling out when he invited us back to his campsite to help eat leftover food. I don’t think 12 hot dogs have ever been consumed so quickly. It was a great finish to a long day.

My photos

Rory’s photos


When every bike looks like a project…

Having the ability to modifybicycle frames means that I always modify bicycle frames.

I rebuilt the front of Christine’s bike, turning it from this:

into this:

It started with a pretty simple plan of building a low trail fork and a front rack. When I had the bike apart I measured it and discovered that the seat tube angle was 75 degrees (very steep!). Christine has complained a little ofwrist pain, and this might be the culprit. I couldn’t slacken it without making the head tube angle very slack and screwing up the handling. I debated selling the frame and building a new one from scratch, but ultimately decided just to modify it.

I gave it some thought and decided to move the head tube back and make the head tube angle steeper. This would allow me to raise the front end, and slacken the seat tube angle. I went from a seat tube angle of 75 degrees to 72 degrees (this made the saddle sit 3cm farther back from the cranks), and also have a head tube angle of 72 degrees. Rotating the bike back around the rear wheel raised the very low (for 650B) bottom bracket by 20mm. Raising it 10-15mm would have been ideal, but this is still within acceptable parameters. The top tube is now 50cm instead of 53cm, which gives us more options for adjusting reach. The drawing above shows the old (grey) and new (red) geometry.

While I had the bike “under the knife” I also made some other modifications.

I made this “sunburst” styled rack. It was influenced by the Ahearne rack that was on his 2007 NAHBS mixte.

The fork is new. It has much nicer blades and 23mm additional rake. The additional rake will help with the handling when there is a front load and kept the front center (distance from the bottom bracket to the front hub) from getting too short. A too short front center results in bad toe clip overlap.

There is a new chaincase and I moved the chainstay cable housing stop forward to be compatible with the Nexus hub. The chaincase is a Hebie Chainglider. It works surprisingly well for not mounting to the frame, it just floats on the chain. It isn’t too much work to get on and off.

I removed the right downtube shifter boss and added a hole for routing the taillight cable through the downtube. I like to reinforce such holes with a water bottle boss.

There are still a few things to do before getting the frame powder coated (which might not happen until fall, because Christine uses this bike regularily for commuting to work):

  • Cable routing for the headlight and taillight wires on the fork.
  • Remove the rearward chainstay cable stop.
  • Maybe remove the left shift boss and put on a split shift cable boss.
  • Maybe move thechainstay bridge 2cm closer to the dropouts. It is crazy far right now.

If I worked at Soma I’d argue for some revisions to the basic frame. The 50cm mixte should probably be built with 26″ wheels (not 700C) in mind. This would allow the top tube to be shorter, so the seat tube angle could be 72 degrees from the factory. A 75 degree seat tube angle is way too steep for a bicycle with an upright seating position. Finally if the chainstay cable housing stop were about 2″ forward of the stock location it would work well with Nexus and SRAM internal hub gears or a rear derailleur. The current location only works with a rear derailleur.

more photos

Really simple bending for a rack platform

I published a blog entry a long time ago with a “simple” way of bending tubing. It is far more complex than what I actually do today. I’ve been meaning to write a followup for over a year, but always forget to take photos when I’m bending up a rack deck. I’m going to just do it in words. Hopefully I’ll update this in the future with photos, but in the meantime this drawing will have to do.

The instructions here are for making a 10″ x 14″ rack deck using roughly 4′ of 5/16″ tubing and a bender that has a 15/16″ radius. The straight sections of the rack deck will be 12″ and 8″. The 15/16″ radius for each bend makes the rack about 2″ wider and 2″ longer than the straight sections in each of those directions.

I always make my bends to the right. There is no math in this method except for basic subtraction and dividing by 2″.

Bend 1:

  • Mark a line 6″ from the start of the tube.

  • Align that mark with the 0 on your bender.

  • Bend to 90 degrees and mark where the 90 is on the tube.

  • Check with a square to make sure that it is actually 90, tweak as necessary.

Bend 2:

  • Mark a line 8″ from the last mark (the start of the next straight section)

  • Align that with the 0 on your bender

  • Check that the bends are in the same plane. I do this by spotting down the bender to align the tube with the bending form.

  • Bend to 90 degrees and mark the 90

  • Check the 90 with a square. Check that the bends are in the same plane using a flat surface. Tweak as necessary.

Bends 3 and 4:

  • Repeat the same technique for bend 2 with distances of 12″ and 8″.

Closing the loop:

  • After bend 4 mark a line 6″ from the start of the last straight
    section. That should line up with the start of your rack deck. Cut
    off the excess tubing (a couple of inches) and splice.

If you want a different size of rack deck then just pick different numbers for the straight sections. Most of my recent racks have been 12″ x 11″ long, so I’m using 10″ and 9″ straight sections.

You can put the splice anywhere that seems good. I just tend to center it because it keeps the math simple.

Lots of projects brewing

Here is a single photo with 3 of the 4 that I’m writing about today:

First up is what I’m calling the Ivy-T. It is the replacement for my RB-T that I’ve been using as my commuter and road bike for the last few years. The new bike is sort of a joint project between Brandon Ives (IvyCycles) and I. He built the frame, I’m going to be doing the final bits on it (bridges, brazeons, brake bosses) and making the fork and rack. The geometry is basically a 56cm 1994 Bridgestone RB-T with the seat tube extended to 59cm, the top tube extended a bit, and a slightly sloping top tube. The lugs are Prugnat-style fromLong Shen. The tubing is Kaisei 019 (0.8mm/0.5mm/0.8mm butting, standard diameter) and the dropouts are Paragon verticals. It is a pretty light frame right now at around 3lbs, 12oz. I expect it’ll be more like 4 pounds once I’m done with it. Brandon’s work look very good and I look forward to finishing this one up.

Click the headtube for more photos:

Next up is a rack for Christine’s new bike.I’ve made about 80% of the deck, I still need to put in 3 more rays for the sunburst. We ordered a custom bag for her bike from Swift Industries. I’m going a little outside my normal with the rack and making the rack a little more pretty than what I would normally do. The pattern on the deck is influenced by anAhearne rackfrom the 2007 NAHBS.

John Speare gave Rory his beloved (or behated) Fuji Turd. Rory is turning it into a cycle truck, which I guess will probably become called the Turd Hauler (John calls the first cycle truck that we built the Stuff Hauler). Rory came over this morning and we mitered the cargo tube and top tube. When I built the first cycle truck a few years ago that process took me at least a full day. This time we did it in about 2 1/2 hours, including at least 30 minutes of searching for my 1 3/4″ tube clamp. Experience and a good milling machine do speed things up. Click the image for some iPhone quality images that Rory took of the process this morning.

Finally, I’ve been meaning to write about my new CNC mill for at least a month,but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I bought this two months ago from Craigslist as a birthday present to myself. It is a Taig (made in the US) benchtop 3-axis CNC mill. What does that mean? The mill can move an object in two axis (X and Y),and then lower a tool (like a drillbit) from above in the third Z axis. CNC means that acomputer does the tedious work of moving the work around and cutting metal. Since computers don’t get bored it is happy tolots of timecutting out pretty intricate stuff. My first project with it was programming in all of the parts for the fork jig and making another fork jig for a fellow framebuilder. Once I have some feedback on it I plan on making some more. I’ve also used the CNC mill to make some simple fork dropouts (for yet another project) and lots of little fixtures.

In this photo it is making some brackets for the fork jig:

Here is what the computer shows while doing the heavy work:

The final result only requires a tiny bit of hand cleanup:

Fork fixture V2, almost all of the parts were made on the CNC mill.On the lower right corner you can see one of the brackets that the mill was cutting out above.

I plan in following up with more CNC stuff in a future posting, including some videos of it in action. For now I’m still mostly in the learning stage.

Fort Ebey Overnight Tour

Andre, Andrew, and I celebrated the first weekend of spring with an overnight trip to Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island. Last year the three of us also broke in the camping season with a one nighter bike camping trip together, and hopefully that is a tradition that we keep up. Andre came up with scenic and winding route that headed up Whidbey Island with lots of time to explore Fort Casey and to play on the trails at Fort Ebey. On the way back we made a b-line for the ferry and took the highway the whole way. That was expedient and about half as many miles, but the riding wasn’t as nice.

The weather during the day was mostly great, although the temperature seemed to be going through some wild swings. I recently purchased a pair of Ibex arm warmers which got a lot of use. I also tried out a new bivy (loaning Andrew my normal hammock) and found that it worked well. I was plenty warm (maybe too warm?) and comfortable. It didn’t get too cold at night (I never even used the jacket that I brought along), but there was heavy wind for a few hours in the middle of the night. That seems to hit the bluff, blow up into our camp, and make some crazy noises in the tree canopy. Andre and I were pretty well protected behind a thick tree, but Andrew was hanging in a hammock and got blown around a bit. We had to fight that same wind during much of the ride back to the ferry in the morning.

This was my first camping trip on my new bike, Gifford. It handled
nicely when loaded. The plush Grand Bois Hetre tires work nicely on
pavement and on the Fort Ebey singletrack. I sort of wish I had set
the bosses for the lowrider rack slightly higher, it is nice to have a
bit more ground clearance than you get with the stock Tubus Tara
setup. The low bottom bracket was noticeable on thesingletrack,but I could have flipped the eccentric to raise it about 10mm if I planned to spend more time offroad.

I was really impressed with Fort Ebey. The camp sites were great. I wouldn’t mind returning there again,perhaps with a regular mountain bike and time to explore all of the trails. We only touched a small part of them.

Thankfully Andre took lots of great photos, because I took few of them. Hover over them for a caption and to see who actually took them, but just assume most are from Andre.

map GPX my photos Andre’s photos

Paying at the Ferry. Photo by Andre.

Gifford and I, loaded with basic camping gear.  Photo by Andre.

Andrew.  Photo by Andre.

Andre.  The grimace isn't normal, but it is the one photo that I took of him riding.  Photo by Alex.

Playing on Fort Casey.  Photo by Alex.

Playing in Fort Casey.  Photo by Andre.

Fort Casey Lighthouse.  Andrew reported that the lighthouse room was hot.  Photo by Alex.

A trail between Fort Casey and Fort Ebey.  Photo by Andre.

At the Coupeville Red Apple I bought 3 items, Andrew bought about 5, and Andre bought about 20.  Guess who was hungry!  Andre treated us all to ice cream!  Photo by Andre.

Kettle's Trail heading into Fort Ebey.  Photo by Andre.

This was our view from the bluff at Fort Ebey.  No wonder the group camp is called

Paraglider over Fort Ebey near dusk.  Photo by Alex.

Sunset over the bluff.  Photo by Alex.

We camped in this clearing.  It was a great size for a couple of bivys, a tarp, and a hammock.  We setup after dark and struck before light, so we don't have photos of the actual camp.  Photo by Alex.

Heading out for the ride home.  Photo by Alex.

Christine's New Bike

Christine has been taking more of an interest in riding her own bike recently (normally we just ride the tandem together). Yesterday she also accepted a job which is a short bike ride away on the Burke-Gilman trail. I had extensive plans for modifying her old frame (so extensive that in the end perhaps only the seat tube, down tube,and chainstays would have remained), but then I saw the Soma Mixte at Free Range Cycles and realized that it would a better option.

I wanted to build her new bike around a Nexus 8sp hub, and the Soma has horizontal dropouts which made that easy. The 50cm frame is perhaps on the upper edge of what would fit, but it works well (much better than her old 13″ Novara Randonee). Oddly the next size down for the Soma Mixte is 42cm, with nothing in between.

I built the bicycle up with 650B wheels (it is designed for 700C wheels). 650B wheels fit easily when you use the 75mm reach Tektro R556 brakes. The rear brake only reaches if you have the wheel towards the front of the very long horizontal dropout, but it wasn’t hard to find a chainring/cog combination which made that work. When built up with these wheels and brakes there is plenty of room for wide tires (I used 38mm wide Mitsuboshi Trimlines) and full fenders. The fenders were easy to mount on this bicycle because Soma included threaded bosses on both the seatstay and chainstay bridge.

The bike will gain a couple of accessories in the next couple of months, but it is very rideable today. They are a front porteur rack (we’re getting a Pelican bag from Swift Industries for it) and a Hebie Chain Glider to enclose the chain.

It was hard for me not to think of the frame as a project and immediately start modifying it. At some point I expect that it will come under the torch. At that time I’ll make the following modifications:

  • Move the chainstay bridge back about one centimeter. The fender is mounted with a very long spacer that is sure to loosen up.
  • Move the chainstay cable housing stop forward about 15cm. The Nexus hub requires the cable housing stop to be quite a bit forward from the normal location. This will eliminate the ugly zipties that I’m using now.
  • Maybe switch to V-brakes.
  • Maybe build a new lower trail fork.
  • Remove the downtube shifter bosses and replace them with a single cable housing stop.

We took the bike on it’s inaugural ride last weekend, riding down to Magnuson Park and back. Christine reports that it handles nicely and she really likes the smooth shifting of the Nexus hub.

Component list for the bike nerds among us:

  • Frame/Fork: Soma Buena-Vista Mixte
  • Headset: BBB 1 1/8″ threadless
  • Handlebars: Jitensha City (made by Nitto)
  • Grips: Ergon GC1, with lavender tape on the rest of the bar
  • Stem: Origin-8, 9cm,17 degree
  • Shifter: Shimano Alfine 8sp
  • Brake Levers: Tektro Eclipse
  • Cranks: Shimano 105,165mm, 130mm BCD, 38t chainring
  • Pedals: MKS RMX (aka Rivendell Sneaker)
  • Front wheel: Shimano DH-3N70 hub, DT 14/15ga spokes, Velocity Synergy rim
  • Rear wheel: Shimano SG-8R36 8sp internal hub, DT 14/15ga spokes, Velo-Orange PBP rim
  • Tires: Mitsuboshi Trimline 38-584 (650B x 38mm)
  • Seatpost: Nitto
  • Saddle: Serfas Curva
  • Fenders: Berthoud 650B x 50mm
  • Brakes: Tektro R556
  • Bottom Bracket: Shimano UN72, 113mm

A late spring ride in the middle of February

There aren’t many days in the middle of Seattle’s winter when it is sunny and approaching 60. We’ve had 4 of them in a row, starting with my birthday on Feb 18th. I’ve been doing my best to make use of all of them.

Today Andre, Rory, Jimmy, and I set out for a ride from the Southworth Ferry Terminal. Andre picked the route and thought it might have a mix of low traffic paved roads, dirt, and maybe some areas to explore for future camping trips. We found all of that and a few state parks that had never heard of (and which don’t show up in the list of state parks), some hike-a-bike, and a very nice beach where we had our lunch. I can’t really imagine a better ride for this time of year. Andre’s route even got us back to the ferry terminal just as the sun was starting to set.

Click on the photo for a slideshow or jump straight to the gallery:

Andre’s map of the route:

Metric Bolt Kit

I find it handy to have a variety of metric stainless bolts around when assembling bicycles. My kit is running a little light and some other friends wanted similar ones, so we put together a bulk order from McMaster Carr. I thought I’d document the kit that we put together while I had the part numbers handy.

This spreadsheet shows a nice kit which can be split among 4 friends and costs about $30 each at today’s pricing:

Description Part # Per Pkg PkgPrice PkgQty BoltQty PerPerson Why get it?
M5 x 8mm, socket cap 91292A191 100 6.83 1 100 25 $1.71 water bottles
M5 x 10mm, socket cap 91292A124 100 7.68 2 200 50 $3.84 fenders
M5 x 12mm, socket cap 91292A125 100 7.29 1 100 25 $1.82 racks
M5 x 16mm, socket cap 91292A126 100 7.44 1 100 25 $1.86 SKS fenders
M5 x 20mm, socket cap 91292A128 100 7.76 1 100 25 $1.94 fenders + racks on same bolt
M5 x 10mm, button head 92095A208 100 11.41 1 100 25 $2.85 fenders (direct mount)
M5 x 16mm, button head 92095A212 50 7.91 2 100 25 $3.96 fenders (direct mount)
M6 x 18mm, socket cap 91292A136 50 $8.57 1 50 12.5 $2.14 canti, seatpost binder
M5 nylock nut 93625A200 100 7.67 1 100 25 $1.92
M5 washers 93475A240 100 2.81 4 400 100 $2.81
M5 fender washers 91116A140 100 5.34 2 200 50 $2.67
M6 washers 93475A250 100 3.4 2 200 50 $1.70

There are a few changes from my old kit above. I dropped the longer M5 bolts because I don’t use them very often. I added some M6 bolts in a length that I find useful for cantilever brakes and seatpost binders. I also added some button head M5 bolts in the sizes that I use for direct mounting fenders.