SF Cyclotouring

Ride reports and other ramblings from a San Francisco cyclist.


My next bike projects (an ever-growing list)

1) V-brakes on the Fuji, and fix up the wobbly rear wheel. MAYBE build up a new wheelset for that bike using MA-2 rims from Salim and
some forgotten and unused Nashbar/Joytech 9spd freehub hubs from my
parts stash (hey, they were free). At any rate, I might completely
unlace and rebuild the existing rear wheel, I suspect there's some
major warpage in that rim because it's impossible to come anywhere
near balanced spoke tension AND get the wheel true. And the wobble got
worse as I rode on Saturday -- not a good thing. I also need to re-wrap the bars with a double layer of tape, and I need to find a better saddle!

2) Install the Marzocchi Z2 suspension fork on the Bontrager. I should've done this already, it's an easy bit of work, but the Fuji
interrupted things.

3) Do a full parts-swap from the Vent Noir to the RB-1. I'm going to do this, and then ride the RB-1 as a 9spd STI triple-cranked bike for the rest of the year to see if that's the combo of frameset+parts I want to keep. I've always been curious to try this out, so I have to do it as part of the decision-making process. The Vent Noir will get
mothballed in the meantime.

4) Sell my Rockhopper frameset, or possibly as a complete bike.


Fuji Cross first few miles (Conzelman Rd)

Carlos took this great shot of me climbing Conzelman Road on the first ride with my new bike.

6.24.2006 -- Mixed Terrain Ride to Lagunitas Lake

New crossbike
Originally uploaded by jimgskoop.
60 mile mixed terrain ride with Carlos. I rode my new Fuji Cross bike. We rode from SF through the Marin Headlands, to Muir Beach then Mt. Tam, up to Lagunitas Lake, then dropped down to Fairfax via Bolinas Fairfax Rd, then back home to SF on pavement through San Anselmo, Ross, and Sausalito.

Date: 6.24.2006
Mileage: 60
Bike: Fuji
Time: 9:00am-6:30pm


Crossbike done!

Welp, as of about 3:05am this morning, the crossbike is DONE. I even
took it for a short spin up and down my street in the late night/early
morning misty chill. Pretty cool. I still hate canti brakes but I'll
live with them for now -- I need to find a different/longer straddle
cable for the rear brake -- for whatever reason, neither of the two
sizes of link wires that came with the Avid Shortys fit my bike
well (both are too short). One is an A-type wire, the other an
S-type. I scrounged in my parts drawer and found a B-type which seems
to fit and work pretty well so I used that on the front brake, and
temporarily have an A-type on the rear brake. I also need to toe the
pads cuz they squeal a bit. I was going to ride the bike to work
today but was running late and couldn't deal with the overhead. The
bike seems pretty cool and fits great. I LOVE the fact that it fits
700x38 (actual width measure 37mm) tires AND still has tons of room
for fenders. I'm also pretty happy with the fact that I was able to get the 9spd barcon shifters to index fairly well with the 7spd Sachs freewheel -- I used a slightly-different version of the alternate cable routing trick on the rear derailleur, which seems to help quite a bit. I think the days of some of the other bikes in my stable
might be numbered...but we'll see how I like riding this thing off
road first. Photos shortly.


More on the crossbike build

I spent a few more hours last night prepping and assembling the cross
frame...it's starting to look like a bike now! Got the frame touched
up and polished, reinstalled the fork, added the handlebars, stem,
front cable hanger, seat and seatpost, wheels, BB (after searching for
a 122mm, I ended up using a 68x127.5mm UN72 I already had and that's
giving the correct chainline), cranks, pedals, F+R deraillerus, and I
cut some cable housing.

I also installed the Avid Shorty cantilever brakes. I've never liked
setting up cantilever brakes; it's a huge PITA due to all the
different adjustments of the pads in 3 axes, the figuring out the
proper length for the straddle cables, cable hangers, etc. Caliper
brakes and V-brakes, in contrast, are just bolt-on-and-go. Even
derailleurs are easier to set up, in my opinion! So, I was very
curious to check out this example of the new generation of canti
brakes that use V-brake-style threaded brake-shoe posts...so here's my
verdict: Cantilever brakes are STILL an unnecessary PITA! The
threaded brake-pad studs definitely make the pads faster and easier to
set up; but I've still got to fiddle with straddle cables! I
downloaded the PDF of the installation manual from Avid's website and
followed their instructions closely. I adjusted the brake-pad spacers
so the cantilever arms are roughly parallel when the pads are against
the rim. I'm at the point where I need to choose one of the supplied
two different lengths of straddle cable -- and of course, neither
seems to be long enough! I'm tempted to skip using the supplied
cables and just cut my own, and use a couple old-school Diacompe
J-hangers (I *did* just buy a bag of 25 from Rivendell for a couple of
bucks at their recent garage sale, even). At any rate, now I've got
to revisit the whole brake adjustment.

I knew I should've gone with V-brakes. I even have a pair of DiaComp
287V levers sitting in a parts drawer....

I'll have to take some more photos -- the bike is starting to look
pretty badass'd. I think I'm gonna like it!


Crossbike Build and Wheel Thoughts...

A while ago I posted about a Fuji Cross frame that I'd picked up. I recently began building it up, with some successes and some setbacks. Originally I was going to strip all the parts from my Vent Noir to build up this frame, but several friends convinced me that was a bad idea since that bike is currently my main ride and I've got it dialed in quite well.

I did some thinking and realized that with some scrounging, I probably had nearly all the parts needed to build up the Fuji. Not that I need another bike (up to seven now, maybe eight), but I've definitely always wanted a robust 700C bike to put fat cyclocross tires on and ride everywhere. I've got a spare 7spd freewheel and wheelset in the basement; I can borrow the cranks from an unridden MTB commuter; I've got some 9spd barcons I can at least use in friction-mode; BB, saddle, and chain from my parts bin; borrowed handlebars and brakelevers from my housemate's parts box; and the frame came with a stem and headset. I picked up a cheap used seatpost from Trips for Kids, and bought some brake + der cables and bar-tape from a local bikeshop. A fellow iBOBer kindly sent me some Avid Shorty cantis to try out on this bike -- I've got to remember to send him some $$$!

That rear wheel had been re-dished for singlespeed use, so I had to spend some time to re-space and re-dish it for the 7spd freewheel. That was fun -- either the wheel was built using some sort of spoke prep/threadlocker, or the spokes had just corroded, but nearly half of the nipples wouldn't turn. I popped one spoke as a result, and ended up giving in and unscrewing all the nipples then reinstalling with some Phil's Tenacious Oil so I could tighten things up properly. That took a whole evening, working late into the night. I got the wheel spaced and dished pretty well, it's about 1mm off to one side but good enough for now. I also repacked the hub bearings, the old-style first-gen 105 hubs have these nice plastic pop-off dustcaps making that job easy. The front wheel's spokes are just as stuck but it's mostly true and the tension isn't horribly uneven so I'm going to leave it alone for now.
Oh, for the record, the rims on these wheels are some old, grey-anodized Wolbers. Seem like OK rims, with double eyelets, and about as wide as Open Pros...they're pretty shallow, though: the sidewall braking surface is 2/3, maybe even 1/2, as tall as an Open Pro. I'll have to be pretty careful when I set up the canti brakes.

After working on the wheels I framesaver'd the frame, leaving the first application to dry overnight and then spraying a second coat (did that last night). While the second coat was drying I mounted the 700x38 WTB All-Terrainosaurus tires (I picked those up cheap at the last SF Veloswap) onto the rims, and then stuck the wheels in the frame to see if those tires would fit. Happy to report that they do, although the rear clearance is a bit tight. I DO still have extra room for fenders if I decide to use them, which is great.

Unfortunately, I discovered that the front wheel is slightly off-center in the fork. It's not a huge deal, I could probably ride the bike as is and never feel it, but it's one of those things that will bug me. It's definitely NOT the dish of the wheel, I flipped it around and even tried a couple of other wheels. I just dug through the bikelist.org archives and found several posts about checking fork alignment (including one using some string and a pencil), so I'll try that out tonight and see what I can learn. Hopefully I can make some tweaks and correct this problem myself.

Tonight (or whenever I next have the time) I'll clean/degrease the frame (Framesaver leakage is pretty nasty stuff), finish touching up some nicks in the paint, spray wax the frame, and then I'm ready to assemble! My goal is to ride this thing to work on Friday; barring that, I definitely want to ride it on Saturday.

Oh, nearly forgot about the wheel thoughts I alluded to in this entry's title... I was originally not too excited about the "reintroduction" of the 650b wheel size. I think it's an excellent idea as a retrofit for a bike you already have that might not have the tire clearance you want, but I'm not sure about purpose-built bikes in that size. I briefly thought about retrofitting the Vent Noir with 650b wheels, but didn't want to bother with centerpull brakes (I'd need brakes with about 71mm of reach, I think). However, Tektro just introduced the R566 model: a new, super-long-reach dual-pivot sidepull brake specifically designed with a quick-release mechansim which opens wider than normal to clear fat tires. Rivendell is going to be selling a version these brakes under their "Silver" brand with a non-recessed/nutted version available -- just what I'd need for the Vent Noir! While it wouldn't be cheap -- the total conversion would probably cost ~$500 for wheels, brakes, and tires -- this might be the ideal setup to morph the Vent Noir into the bike I really want right now: a mixed-terrain-capable, all-rounder, all-day century cyclotouring bike. If the Fuji Cross bike doesn't work out for some reason (e.g., if I don't like the ride) I might explore this option.


6.10.2006 -- Ride to Nicasio

The fog awaits
Originally uploaded by jimgskoop.
65 mile ride with Carlos to Woodacre Deli where we picked up sandwiches, then rode to sunny Nicasio to eat them. On the way back home we bumped into Stork, Erik, and Damon out on a ride, and rode back across the foggy GGB with them.

Date: 6.10.2006
Mileage: 65
Bike: RB-1
Time: 9:00am-4:30pm


6.3.2006 -- Ride to The Re-Cyclery

The Re-Cyclery
Originally uploaded by jimgskoop.
Carlos and I did a mixed-terrain ride over to San Rafael to visit the Re-Cyclery bike shop. This is a somewhat legendary SF Bay area shop, supposedly a place where you can rummage a bit and find some killer deals. I didn't find anything too amazing, but I did pick up a seatpost and a couple of cable adjusters, both for the Fuji Cross frameset I just got. The Re-Cyclery did have a lot of fun stuff (1-1/4" MTB quill stems, a bucketful of C'dale Pepperoni forks, another bucketful of various sus-fork crowns+steerers). They had a couple of really nice old tandems that I wanted if I had a spare $1200. They had some 80s/early-90s road bikes but wanted $600-800 for them, which I thought kinda pricey. A nice Softride stem was in the display case for $50. Overall, things were very well organized -- it's definitely the place I'm going from now on for that esoteric part I sometimes need.

We also saw a live rattlesnake on a trail in the Marin Headlands -- that was a first for me. We lunched at a place called Giant Burger just outside of San Anselmo -- not bad and definitely lives up to its name!

Date: 6.3.2006
Mileage: 50
Bike: Cdale
Time: 10am-4:30pm


2001 Fuji Cross frameset

2001 Fuji Cross frameset
Originally uploaded by jimgskoop.
Picked this 58cm frameset up tonight for a decent price to build into an all-rounder bike. It came with a Ritchey threadless stem and a Ritchey Logic roller-bearing headset. There's a few nicks and scratches, but overall the frame's in pretty reasonable shape. Its main tubes are Columbus Genius, and the forks and stays are triple-butted chromoly. The rear dropouts are investment-cast Ritchey vertical dropouts. It seems a pretty lightweight frame, if I do say so myself. It might be sacrilege, but I will probably strip the wheels and parts from my Austro Daimler Vent Noir to build up this bike...possibly a bad move because that bike's become my main ride and why mess with a good thing, right? I just need to get some good, modern cantilever brakes, and some screw-in cable adjusters for the funky, welded-on downtube cable stops. Full specs here