Archive for May 2009

Tube Failure Investigation

Last Monday at The Potawatomi Trail my front tire had started going flat, and it took a new tube to fix it. Further investigation today showed that the problem was a small split (as seen above), right along one of the seams or for-packaging fold points in the tube. Cutting open the tube (picture) showed that this was the only visible part of a rather large split forming in the tube.

I’d first thought that perhaps this was a pinch flat, but those won’t cause long slits running parallel to the wheel / bead. So, I figure that this is a lingering seam from when the tube was made, or possibly some damage from when it was folded for packing. Ah well. I’ve since replaced both tubes on that bike with brand-new Presta valves, so hopefully that will sidestep any future problems.

Downpour Averted

After work I headed over to Stony Creek to ride a bit, but when I got to the parking lot it appeared that a storm was getting close. Still, I headed off into the trails, periodically reloading the DTX National Weather Service radar. It turns out that the storm was moving in faster than I’d expected, so I had to take a shortcut out of the Roller Coaster only 10 or 15 minutes after starting and hurry back to the car.

A ~20MPH ride along the two track back to the car was filled with blowing dust, leaves coming off of trees, a freshly downed branch in the path, and people who were (for some reason) heading outbound into the trails. Thankfully I made it back to the car just as the large drops started falling and was in the car and leaving the parking lot as the rain really started to come down. All thanks to having a smartphone.

Of course, now that I’m back home and typing this, all the rain has passed and the trails are likely perfectly damp. Ah well.

Canadian Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (Strong Beer / Bière Forte)

Per section B.02.131 of the Canadian Food and Drug Regulations, Canadian versions of Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA must be labeled as Strong Beer, or in French, Bière Forte. This is a bottle that I brought back from Canada when Danielle and I went there to visit Dominic.

Here’s a table describing how strengths of beer in Canada must be labeled, taken from the aforementioned section B.02.131:

Percentage alcohol by volume Qualified common name or Common name
1.1 to 2.5 Extra Light Beer, Extra Light Ale, Extra Light Stout, Extra Light Porter
2.6 to 4.0 Light Beer, Light Ale, Light Stout, Light Porter
4.1 to 5.5 Beer, Ale, Stout, Porter
5.6 to 8.5 Strong Beer, Strong Ale, Strong Stout, Strong Porter, Malt Liquor
8.6 or more Extra Strong Beer, Extra Strong Ale, Extra Strong Stout, Extra Strong Porter, Strong Malt Liquor

(Please also note that Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations also state that Wieners and Beans must contain no less than 25% wieners, while Beans and Wieners must contain no less than 10% wieners.)

Dried, Rotted Apple

Danielle found this apple in her car while cleaning it out. It was left in the car and then ended up beneath a car seat where it shriveled, rotted, and dried. I had to partially tear it open and observe the internal texture before I was able to identify it as an apple.

The Potawatomi Trail

I’d been invited by some friends out to The Potawatomi Trail at Pinckney Recreation Area for a group today, so, I went. Having heard about this trail since even before I’d started riding, I was interested to see what it’s like. Well, I’m really, really glad I went.

We did something near a 15 mile loop, with nearly all of it being narrow single track which included fast, winding downhills, rocky and rooty uphills and downhills, long and sandy climbs, wooden railroad ties (water bars) stretched across fall line hills to cut down on erosion, and lots of wooden bridges across watery areas. There was also lots and lots of roots and 8″ – 14″ drops, one after another, which I had to carefully pick my way down. In short, an absolutely excellent but challenging trail. From my limited experience I’d say that it’s a very good mix of everything that I’ve ridden on to date. The only problem is that the park is about an hour and a half away from my house by car.

Here’s three more sites about the trail:

· Trail’s Edge Outdoors
· singletracks

Since the photo I took of Kristi and Bob standing at one of the meetup points (called the Four Corners, I believe) came out a bit blurry, I instead give you this photo of the bike that a guy named Kevin rode today. It’s a fixed, rigid bike with clipless pedals, Ergon grips, Jones H-Bars, and two front brakes. The two brakes? Just in case one hand gets tired.

Special Spicy Dosa

Rangoli Express‘ Special Spicy Dosa is sort of like a normal dosa, except it’s not rolled, smeared with chili chutney, and has had its potato-based filling spread out over it. It is then cut into quarters, like a giant pizza. Since I wasn’t given a spoon, eating the sambar involved a fork and drinking it out of the metal cup. This was not a bother, though.

Also, please excuse the terrible white balance.

Gatorade and Erma’s Custard

This afternoon was a nice, brisk ride from Dodge Park to Metro Beach and back, along with Brian, Nick, and Marty. Total moving time for this ride was just under two hours, which is a nice pace for that route.

After returning to the parking lot at Dodge Park, not wanting to miss a BBQ, Brian had to leave, but then we continued on to Erma’s Frozen Custard in Utica for some tasty, tasty custard. I ate a nice, small cone of Dulce de Leche flavor, which was really good, not overly sweet, and just the right size. Adding on Erma’s, our total ride was a little bit over 37 miles.

On the way home I was able to stop and get pita from Yasmeen Bakery, which should go nicely with the hummus I’ll be making for a BBQ tomorrow. Now it’s time to shower, assess which ingredients need to be purchased for making the hummus, and figure out what I’ll be having for dinner. Having eaten a Gu Chocolate Outrage Gel, drank half a bottle of lemon-lime Gatorade, the custard, and a few handfuls of raw almonds I’m not too hungry yet, but when the need for calories catches up with me, I want to be ready.

Salad: The Hard Way

There. Two rows of lettuce seeds have now been planted: Mereveille des Quatre Saisons and Forellenschuss. Danielle acquired both of these seed packs from Seed Savers Exchangeand had enough spare that I was able to plant some.

Per directions they were sowed 1/4″ deep and about 1″ apart, then after they sprout I’ll be thinning them to 8″ apart, as I want looseleaf lettuce. If I were growing them as heads, which isn’t really possible in that planter, they would be thinned to 12″ apart.

Park Tool SW-20 vs. SW-40

Back when replacing the nipples on my rear wheel I found that the Park Tool SW-40 Four-Sided Spoke Wrench (on the right above) didn’t work well. Because of the orientation of the hole through which the nipple and spoke pass, if the spoke came off of the nipple at a particular angle it would jam against the vinyl grip, wedging the tool on the nipple. I emailed Park Tool about this and they indicated that some of the SW-40 wrenches were made wrong, and that they would send a replacement.

Well, a week and a half later I received the replacement, a Park Tool SW-20 Master Mechanic Spoke Wrench. As seen on the left above, this is a solid metal wrench with lots of space both around the part which grips the nipple, and plenty of place to hold when turning the wrench. It worked out very well when rebuilding my front wheel today. I also used a recently purchased WAG-3 (used) and TM-1, which all worked out quite well. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a test ride in tomorrow, just to be sure there aren’t any problems before heading out to some single track on Monday.

Enduro 7901 RS2 MAX in Surly New Hub

Ever since getting the Bianchi D.I.S.S. I’d noticed an odd rumble from the rear hub, so I’d been wanting to rebuild it. When my friend Erik placed an order with Enduro Fork Seals for some bottom bracket parts, he also grabbed a pair of 7901 RS2 MAX bearings for me, which are what Surly specifies as being required in their “New” hubs.

This is an angular contact bearing which must be fitted in a particular manner. Thankfully Surly has this document about the hubs which indicates that the black seal must go outside.

When I pulled the hub apart at first, I found that it actually had 6901 bearings in it, which means that it had at one point been rebuilt, but with the wrong part. These bearings are the same size, but being a regular bearing they probably wore rather quickly. Thankfully it didn’t take much effort to tap out the old ones, clean the parts, then reassemble and readjust everything.

I think that now I’ll go for a ride and explore a local area which I suspect to contain some dirt jumps. I’m not interested in riding them, but I would like to see what’s back in the interesting looking area. I’ll use this ride to be sure the bearings are fine, and keep thinking about whether or not I should sell this bike. Single speed is really fun, but my knees seem to ache a bit after riding hard. I’m not yet sure if this is needing to build up my legs some more, or something more damaging, and risking one’s knees for a couple of years of fun riding isn’t worth it.