Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Sleeping Bag

I just purchased a Northface Allegany Rectangular sleeping bag for touring. It is a synthetic bag that compacts down to 7"X13" and weights just 2 lbs 8 oz and is good down to 40 deg. I just can't do those mummy bags. I have a North Face Kazoo down mummy bag which weights about the same but is good to 20 deg, and stuffs to the same size. I used it once on BikeVa with temps at night in the 70's and I just sweltered all night long. Later, on other bike trips, I decided to try a Fleece rectangular sleeping bag. If the temps were warm (60 or above) it was fine and the fleece was way more comfortable. If it was chillier the fleece just couldn't cut it and I was forced to dress to the max and freeze. Having a full sided zipper that opens up the bag to a quilt is perfect for me. I can move around and squish the bag to conform to my sleeping habits. Those mummy bags may be warm, but, I feel like I'm in a coffin. The coldest night trips I have taken, believe it or not, was on BikeFl in March. The night temps got down to freezing with frost on my tent. All of my other tent touring rides have been in warmer weather. This new bag seems just what the doctor ordered. Light weight, stuffs into a small sack and is good to 40 deg. I purchased this bag at Campmor in northern NJ. I found this to be the best camping type store in the country for price and variety. If you are fortunate to be close enough their in house sales staff is outstanding . If not, their online catalogue is fantastic.
I am not sure what if any organized tours I will be doing this yr. With my old and new Arkel panniers and pods my ICE T is begging to be toured.
Keep Riding!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Arkel Tail Rider

Instead of writing an article, I decided to post a video. I hope you like it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Soon to Come

I just purchased the Arkel Tail Rider and the the new Arkel Cam Lock for my my old T42 panniers. Tail rider is a hit for sure. Cam Locks still to be tested. Reviews coming soon.

Update to Dura Ace Shifters

I finally was able to get out for a frigid 15 miler and check out my new shifters. Click, click, click no skipping, no missing. Shifting is, as it was, perfect. I am one happy camper again.

Monday, February 11, 2008

New Dura Ace Barend Shifters

I have been having problems with my right index shifting, since jamming over a month ago. For some reason it would not shift past 4th. It was a great day and I decided to make repairs on the road and continue the ride. I am not sure how I got things to work but I did . Since then I have not had good shifting and felt it was the Dura Ace shifter. I did spray some lubricant down the shifter and may have damaged the plastic spacers. Having become quite the mechanic, with the help of Park Tools, I decided to change the barcons myself. I ordered new Dura Ace Shifters off Ebay for $65 with shipping. Today being 16 deg and windy, I decided to sleep late and latter work on the trike. It was so cold I couldn't work in the garage and decided to bring my new PVC trike stand and trike in the house for repairs. An hour and a half later shifters and cables were replaced and major derailer adjustments made. All seemed great and I decided to venture out for a test ride around the block. Shifting seemed great with a slight need for anticipated stretching. I am still frostbitten but I think all is fixed. After only 4800 mi I didn't expect to have to replace shifters, especially after over 18k mi on my srams on my Stratus.
I am looking forward to a good ride to truly evaluate my repairs. If it shifts as good as before I will be one happy camper.
I love my trike.
An additional note, my home made trike stand worked beautifully.
It made repairs much easier.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Great Half Time View

Today was one of the best winter cycling days. Temps mid 40's with neglibable winds of 2-3mph. I started my ride at 10:30 am to allow for the morning thaw. The sky was clear blue and I was feeling great. I decided not to take a definitive route but rather play it by ear. It was amazingly quiet with few cars and fewer cyclists. I was surprised not to see more riders. I figured everyone was laying back for the game later. I was in the groove. Their loss was my gain. My half way mark at 17 miles, turned out to be Rising Sun Lake. A lake, I stumbled upon, while adventure cycling NJ. A beautiful small lake known mostly to locals for fishing and boating. A great scenic rest or lunch spot.
I finished up the ride at 35+ miles. I am looking foward to a Great Super Bowl Game and my wife's famous Chile and Wings, for which I have worked up a great appetite.
If the Giants win, it will be an end to a perfect day. If the Patriots win, it will be an end to a perfect day.
Keep Riding

Friday, February 1, 2008

2008 Rides

It's the end of January and I am starting to get ride brochures in the mail and online. Decisions, decisions. How do I want to spend my precious time off for event cycling. One easy decision I always make is the NY 5 Boro or BikeNewYork. It is the 1st Sunday in May. It is only 42 miles, but comprises more than 30,000 riders. It is unbelievably well organized and fun. A must if you are near NYC. Email me privately for tips on better enjoying the ride. My club, Central Jersey Bike Club also sponsors their annual event ride, The Farmlands, the day before BikeNY. Well organized and rides are 25- 100 miles with well spaced rest stops and sag support. This has become known as my bike weekend, so wife and work are hands off.My real decision is what week long event I want to do for the year. I have done BikeVirginia, BikeFlorida, GOBA and BROL. BikeVa has 2k riders and is the best organized ride I have done and is usually very challenging. BikeFl has about the same number of riders, but is held during March or April when school is out and northern Florida tends to still be cold. Run well but not BikeVa. GOBA in Ohio has 3k riders. Again run well, more family oriented, not that challenging. I find the local charity groups charge a bit extra for lunch and dinners. BROL, a fun recumbent weekend in the Finger Lakes region of beautiful NYS. I think this could be better if Bryan would promote it more.I have done most of these events a few times. With the exception of BROL, these are large events bringing thousands of cyclists and money to small towns. It does create waiting times for food and showers and locals can become overwhelmed. I have not done smaller events of 3-500 riders which some have expressed as better. For me I become a social butterfly after the ride and enjoy the local color. The more the merrier. There are many more ride events that cyclists rave about. The Granddaddy of all probably being RAGBRAI with 10k riders.
I chose the above mentioned events for the following reasons;

1. I prefer circular routes. I don't like wasting a day traveling on a bus and wondering how my bike is.
2. I like it to be reasonable.
3. I like to have the flexibility to eat where and when I want so I can enjoy the local color.
4. It has to fit into my schedule.

This year I think I am leaning towards GOBA. I will do this ride on my Trike and self contained. 50 mile days should not be over challenging with smaller hills than Va and I can get a feel for riding self contained. It may be selfish, but these week long events are all about me. I leave family friends and work at home. I ride, eat, and socialize with who and when I want. Everbody is there for one reason and that is to have fun cycling.
Sometimes I think this is what makes it so special.