Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pre-Midterm Updates

So instead of studying for my upcoming midterms in Soft Mater Physics 6013 and Condensed Matter Physics 6000, this week I did a couple of things.

I spent over $300 at MEC to try to get ready for winter cycling.
Whoosh Cycling Jacket
Cycling Winter Gloves
A Balaclava
A midweight Fleece
And TireSparx!

I also installed my new AirZound 3 Air Horn and tested it out on some inattentive drivers. Hehehe boy that thing is loud. Also tested out my rain covers and MEC Shark 1 watt front light. Both work like a charm.

I got my Shimano M-520 clipless pedals in the mail. They are still sitting in the box as I have no clipless shoes!

I bought clipless shoes off ebay! Shimano MTB shoes with laces (no straps unfortunately).
Not sure what model.

Today I went up to my LBS guy, Harold. I had forgotten my crappy splash pants and cheap thermals up there the other day, due to me buying a proper set of Sub Zero Tights from Sugoi (which are amazing by the way, pretty much haven't taken them off since Thursday). I also purchased a long sleeve wicking layer for winter riding. While I was there I got him to measure my inseam and look at a sizing chart to see what size Long Haul Trucker I should get (eventually). Turns out I should get a 58cm frame set. The sizing spreadsheat from the Google Group "Surly Long Haul Trucker and Cross Check Owners Group" agrees (I'm ~6').

Then I came home and ordered a Long Haul Trucker.

Then.... wait what?

That's right ladies. It is done. After Harold finally getting in contact with the distributor their MSRP is around $1550, which seemed a little high. I found a place in Nova Scotia that was selling them at a close out price of $1299 before shipping and taxes but everywhere else I looked in Canada people were asking $1500 for them this year. So I turned to our friends south of the border and called most of the Surly dealers listed in the north-eastern states. A place in Maine (Bath, Bike & Ski) was asking onlu $975 +$90 for shipping in USD, but didn't have any in stock and wouldn't until mid December. They were also a little vague about color and sizing choices etc. Being the impatient being I am I continued my search until coming across Bike Works in NYC. Spoke to Dave on the phone and got a price of $1200 USD including shipping. Now all I have to do is wait two weeks or so for my 58cm Olive Green Surly Long Haul Trucker to arrive and hope I don't get dinged too much with border and customs fees.

EEEP excited. Hopefully I will get a couple of dry days to try it out before out real Newfoundland winter kicks in.

PS: The winter beater is sand blasted. Needs to be primed, painted (gloss orange), and coated with reflective clear coat paint, then reassembled. Will paint next weekend and post pics.

PPS: Talk the talk is delayed until classes and TA's are over and I have a semi-life again.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Winter Beater Project + LHT update

Since I started serious cycling I've slowly come to terms with the fact that I am a utilitarian commuter rider, who wants to also tour. That's my bike personality.

I don't care about my heart rate.
I don't care about bringing my average speed up 1 km/hr.
I don't care about how light my bike is.

I like riding back and forth to work, taking a Saturday and running some errands, or going for a ride out to Cape Spear the most easterly (and I'm convinced, hilly) point in North America. So naturally when Harold, my LBS guy, originally brought up winter riding to me I thought no way, no how. Especially in St. Johns, Newfoundland. But as October drew closer and closer, and I got more and more acquainted with my bike personality, I realized I wanted to attempt being a 365 day rider. Upon telling Harold I was thinking about riding in the winter, he replied "Of course you are!"

Enter Crappy Tire Bike. (They call Canadian Tire "Crappy Tire" in other parts of Canada right?)
This was a bike I bought when I first moved out 4 years ago to get me around. It served its purpose but it was not a great ride, hence why I am only now getting into cycling. I had broke an axle on it last year and it was just collecting dust in the crawl space. I decided to take it up to Harold. He's great in the way that he is letting me leave it there and go up and work on it when he is not busy, not many LBS guys would let you use their shop and tools. I have been dealing with him Since April/May and we have built up quite a rapport so he treats me pretty good.

Anyways, back to the bike.

Of course the bike was only $170 when I bought it new so it is not worth putting any money into. I bought a cheap set of Sunrace thumb shifters online, as well as a standard set of Tektro mountain bike levers. I picked thumb shifters because they are simple, hard to break, and if they do break they are easy to fix. Many people use these or bar-end shifters (very similar) for touring 3rd world countries for these reasons. The levers I got simply because my old ones were stripped. I will also be putting a chromoly rigid fork on it rather than the POS spring suspension that resides. It is a pet peeve of mine to watch people commuting on suspension bikes, all that momentum they are wasting going up and down! Maybe its the physicist in me... Last but not least simply cause the frame is chipped up and it is ugly anyway I will be sandblasting it and painting it orange with a little black to make it fairly visible. First step to painting, strip her!
Scandalous. So all I have to do now is blast/paint the frame and fork, reassemble and throw some studded tires on. Look out winter here I come.

For safety I also have 3 cheap walmart Bell flashing red lights to go on the back, a MEC Shark 1 Watt front white light, and a Air Zound air horn which should suffice to making people GTFO of my way.

So that's it. I will update the project as it happens, and hopefully I'll have the guts to keep riding and stay warm doing it!

I will also soon be attempting to make Bucket Panniers for wet and winter riding!
Taken from Crazyguyonabike, these make excellent waterproof containers for carrying cargo!

ALSO Quick Long Haul Trucker update.
Harold, my LBS, called NRG, the Canadian distributor for Surly, to start moving the wheels on him ordering me in the bike. They said they would send him an email as well as a snail mail "Dealer Package" to him. This was 2.5 weeks ago. No email, no Dealer Package. WTF NRG I want my smooth sexy steel touring stallion!!! Anyway, Harold promised he re-contact them to try and get things in motion. Hopefully I will have an update that actually includes me ordering or receiving a bike in the future.

Part II of "Talk the talk" is coming, just been really busy this week with my grad courses and my TA's.

Thanks for reading