New Wheels, Great Test Ride

To deal with the rash of recent broken spokes (1, 2) I decided to build up a set of new wheels. These are SRAM X9 hubs, Velocity Blunt SL rims, and DT Swiss Competition spoke with black brass nipples. Last night I finished them up and today I took them for a test ride.

This ride ended up being really nice. I first set out towards Stony Creek, and when cutting through a service road past a local fire station (this avoids a bunch of sidewalk and an awkward corner) I came across a cut apart car behind the fire station. I suspect that this was used for a demonstration during the township fire department’s recent open house. (I attended another similar open house a number of years back, and photos of car dismanteling from that can be seen here.)

I next headed up Mound and wound my way through some neighborhoods to 25 Mile Road, which I took to Shelby Rd. and in to Stony Creek, climbing the (frustrating) paved hill at the entrance and then ducking into the Trolly Trails as soon as it began pointing downward. By chance I just happened to run across Pete Kresmery, Mark Senyk, Lloyd Lind, and Brad Byrne in there, which was a nice surprise. We all rode for a while heading north along the east side of the lake via the fitness trails, around the pavement for a bit to the West Branch lot, then for a lap through The Roller Coaster. After this we separated ways, but I just happened to run into Billy Kepsel, and he and I rode a little two track and then one lap of The Pines together before parting ways as I turned off to head to Rochester via Sheldon Road.

Unexpectedly, I then caught up with another guy riding along the road that I happened to know, Alex Mitevski, who was out for a pre-Iceman ride with his brother and dad. The four of us then rode together back to Rochester, where we had a rather interesting experience with an irate driver just as we headed south along Letica Drive through this intersection. I heard a horn honking a ways back and looked back to see a 20-30-ish something guy in an older Jeep Cherokee angrily honking and screaming while passing us with his window rolled down. I couldn’t quite understand what he was saying, but with headphones in and cigarette hanging out of his mouth he was horsely screaming something about getting on the (pedestrian filled, at that point) sidewalk before he sped off at 50 MPH+ into a 25 MPH zone.

Welcome to biking in Rochester, I guess. The last time I was on roads here, I was in another 25 MPH section when someone tried to question me about my right to be on roads because bicycle use supposedly doesn’t pay road taxes.

After parting ways with Alex and his family I headed over towards Bloomer, hoping to ride a bit of the trails there before heading homeward. Most of the trails near the river were wet, and as I didn’t feel like getting lost on the other single track I just rode the beautifully cleared (see above) lower ridge trail a couple of times, poked around the two track, then headed out the southern not-really-entrance at Dequindre. I’d wanted to cut through the foot path behind Yates Cider Mill and over into Holland Ponds, but with autumn cider season being in full swing I instead headed over to 23 Mile Road and wound my way to River Bends via the sidewalk and Mound Rd.

Just as yesterday when out riding the Mukluk the trail was in great shape, but with the addition of some water and frost parts were a little greasy. This resulted in exciting times such as what’s shown above, when I had a low speed, fun little fall when the back end of my bike kicked out on a wet climbing turn. The rest of the ride was uneventful, and I left the park via a back route across the train tracks and through Utica. I then had an uneventful ride through a typical route via some Utica neighborhoods, through a park, along 21 Mile, then north along Milonas and back home.

This was a really great day for a ride, the new wheels held up to the 41.95 miles (3:13:40 moving time) without issue, and I even managed to ride with a bunch of friends. I’ll try to clomp around on them a bit more this week to be sure, and then hopefully they’ll stay good during Iceman next Saturday.

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