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Month: October 2013

Refilling ProGold Chain Lube Bottles

My preferred bicycle chain lube is ProGold Xtreme (formerly known as Voyager), but I prefer to purchase the larger 16oz. bottle to refill the smaller drip bottles. Pouring chain lube is not something you want to screw up, as it’d be really frustrating to clean up.

To avoid problems I used a T-pin and punched holes in the foil safety cap on the large bottle as seen above. The large hole for pouring is about 3mm x 1mm and the smaller vent is just a simple pinhole. With this setup I can easily pour lube from the large bottle into the smaller ones with little risk of pouring too fast and splashing.

With this setup I’ve even been able to easily refill the ProGold eyedrop-size sample bottles with Xtreme, which is nice because I like to carry one with me when riding.

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2013-2014 Trainer Season Setup

Thanks to a friendly person from the MMBA Forum I was able to pick up a low cost Dimension (QBP #WE8677) rear wheel for use with the Jamis Nova when it is fitted to the trainer. Combined with an CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer that I picked up a couple of years ago, a CycleOps-branded Trainer Tire (Kenda manufactured), and a barely used cassette from eBay†, and a Continental tube (recommended by Ron at Fraser Bicycle and Fitness for trainer use due to high heat tolerance) this should allow me to swap the bike on and off trainer quickly. Unlike my previous setup I won’t have to swap tires, which should make this bike more useful overall.

When on longer rides I’d been not-quite-happy with the Specialized Phenom saddle that I love for mountain biking, so I also picked up a Specialized Avatar Comp Gel to try out. After a bit of fiddling it seems like it’ll be okay, but I think an extended session on the trainer and a proper ride outside will be needed before I decide if it’ll work or not. With the time change this weekend I can only hope that there’s a good time for another long dirt road ride soon…

I’m not really looking forward to trainer season, but sometimes I need a bit of exercise, don’t want to venture outside, and thus find the trainer worthwhile. When used in conjunction with TrainerRoad and something decent on the TV it’s really not too bad, and I feel good when I’m done.

† The trainer wheel has the original Shimano CS-5600 cassette that came with the Jamis Nova on it; the normal wheel will get the nearly-new one from eBay.

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Stony Creek Lake is Low


Much of the water has been let out of Stony Creek Lake at Stony Creek Metropark so repairs can be made to the dams, and this means that the shore is far wider than normal. Stony Creek Lake is a man-made lake, so once the dams are opened the level goes down dramatically, exposing the typical clay soil of the area. As much of this has dried out it’s possible to ride much of it on a fatbike with the tires aired down.

This isn’t quite the same (or as exciting) as proper beach riding but it’s still something different and fun.

Yesterday I was in a poor mood and headed out to Stony Creek for a nice, slow, exploratory ride before Danielle and I met friends for dinner out in Ann Arbor. This ride helped clear my head and let me enjoy the nice autumn evening. The weather has been perfect this time of the year, and I really didn’t want to miss out on it.

Data from the ride can be seen here in Strava.

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Presta Valve Core


Here is a Stan’s NoTubes Core Remover Tool† holding a Presta valve core. A few weeks ago when preparing to ride Poto the nut came off the top of a valve core, and today I finally got around to replacing the core with a spare. There was something that I liked about the look of the core in the tool, and normally one doesn’t see this side of the valve, so here is a photo of it.

† I own both the Stan’s Core Remover Tool and the Park Tool VC-1 Valve Core Tool and, in my opinion, the Stan’s tool is much better. For some reason the Park VC-1 doesn’t fit on a number of the Presta valves that I have, whereas the Stan’s fits on them all.

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Massive Fallout 2013: Single Speed Edition

When I woke up this morning for the highly-anticipated Massive Fallout ride it was raining, the ground was wet, and there was a threat of continued precipitation throughout the day. With the forecast calling for the dripping to cease at 9am I decided to ride the Salsa El Mariachi Single Speed instead. It was already a bit dirty, and I really prefer to ride a single speed when there’s the chance to ride sloppy trails and roads, as the simplified drivetrain really cuts down on wear and the potential for things to go wrong. A clip-on fender was added to keep spray off of my rear end, which is quite nice during longer days.

While I’d never really considered a single speed an appropriate bike for me to do long endurance-ish rides, I figured it was worth a go. Having been fitted with a suspension fork in anticipation of PSSWC this seemed like as good of time as any, and it worked out quite well. I missed the gears in a few places (slow climbs, dirt roads, the PCT), but it was comfortable and removed concern about grinding parts down with wet grit.

The group I was with ended up finishing the whole route, save for skipping the upper ridge and switchbacks in Bloomer as not everyone in our group was comfortable on those segments. We finished by riding over to the Stony Creek main entrance and visiting the Trolly and Fitness Trails before riding the paved path back to the main parking lot. My computer logged a total of ~60.47 miles with an ride time of 5:38:16 (out of 6:59:52 total). Unfortunately the wheel magnet was bumped early on so this is mostly GPS/GLONASS data and thus less accurate (as deatailed here for the GPS-only Edge 500) and full of false pauses, so the actual value may be a little higher. The data in Strava can be found here.

Massive Fallout is my favorite group ride. During my first year of riding (2008) I rode with Rob Ritzenhein and Jeff Wood, having an incredibly great time. It was hard, but I finished, and I enjoyed it. I strongly suspect that the friendly folks on that ride and the comfortable atmosphere are a big reason why I kept enjoying the social aspects of the local MTB community. For this year’s event I ended up meeting Wendi and Jered in Stony Creek and riding with them, adding Ian to our group for the final half. This was really fun, and exactly what I wanted out of today: a long, beautiful autumn ride on some of Southeast Michigan’s best mountain bike trails with friends.

Oh, and the rain that was threatening all day? It didn’t arrive until almost 10pm at night, long after we’d finished.

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