roadrunnertwice: Joe and bike, at top speed. (YehudaMoon.Joe - Liftoff)

I keep doing that chain-tweet thing instead of posting on DW like a civilized being.

So I looked a little further into that weird-ass “Santé” groupset that Brigadelle’s brake levers are from.

Facts are thin, but it looks like about a 2-yr (1988 and 1989) production run. Shimano positioned it between 600 (later called Ultegra) and Dura-Ace, which is a slot in their line that doesn’t exist anymore. (They use this rolling tier system with a trickle-down strategy for new tech. Dura-Ace is the racing group and test-ground; it's for sponsored humans, not regular humans. Ultegra is the ne plus ultra for people spending too much of their own money.)

Anyway, it seems like Santé was a test, to see if visual style could upsell components. What's interesting to me is that it seemed remarkably un-cynical: the tech WAS actually top shelf; making it LOOK top-shelf was an add-on, not a replacement.

So, long story short, not much of it was made and the remaining functional pieces are eBay-worthy fetish objects. I'm seeing similar brake levers (in only slightly better condition) going for $50, and new old stock downtube shift levers going for $250. I bought this whole bike for $160 in Minneapolis in 2007.

Bike history is kind of fun; no wonder Sheldon Brown was so into it. Every continent is the lost continent.

There’s some contemporary Santé marketing around the internet in scans. Consumer brochure, bike shop brochure. And god damn, whatever you think about polluting technical components with fashion, you have to admit those enameled derailleurs look hot as FUCK. You would ride that. I won't let you get away with saying you wouldn't ride that.

Also of note in those brochures: weird preference for passive voice, subtle ja→en translation artifacts, SO MUCH MAN THIGH. Basically they fell in from an alternate universe where corporate Japan got confused and decided yours truly was the preeminent American sex symbol.

I kinda hear that. I just bought a new bike; it has the 2015 (I think) version of Ultegra and IT RULES (it's difficult to even describe if you haven't experienced it, but the short version is that this is how bikes work in heaven), but the components look like nothing in particular. Visual design this decade seems focused on the frame (and certain static accessories), ignoring components. Maybe the Santé experiment was a bust, and looks turned out to be useless for selling component technology. I dunno.

roadrunnertwice: Wrecked bicyclist. Dialogue: "I am fucking broken." (NeverAsBad - Fucking broken)
Okay, so I'm close on the book. Very close. Annoyingly so. I think I'm about 10,000 words deeper than I was when last I posted.

OTHER NEWS:

Item: We're moving across the neighborhood! If you've ever been to Chez Schwagerlund and would like to move into our sweet sweet soon-to-be-erstwhile pad, holler and we'll put you in touch with the landlady.

Item: I got a $150 ticket for not riding in the bike lane. AWESOME. I can get out of it with a $30 traffic school humiliation date, but here's the thing: I stopped riding in that particular bike lane on account of it being a total deathtrap. (I've even got a six-month old draft post sitting around about it. I binned it because it was boring and ranty.) I explained this to the nice officer, and all he had for me was, welp, if I'm in the bike lane and I get hurt, the courts will back me up and say it wasn't my fault! Great, that's helpful. Meanwhile, blameless me will be dead or in traction or something.

Obviously I'm not thrilled about this, and more to the point, I've started to dread and fear the morning commute. Since getting pinched, I've been riding in that bike lane again, just in the interest of good faith. It's been less than a week, and I've already had two car interactions I was seriously not okay with. This versus one or two in the last like nine months.

I'm not sure what to do about this. Obviously I'll be breaking the law if I go back to riding in the lane, but we're talking about my life here. Who do I even talk to about this? Especially if I do suck it up to traffic school; do I lose my standing to challenge the validity of the ticket if I hedge my bets like that. ARGH.

Anyway, yet another thing to fret about in addition to Christmas and book and moving.
roadrunnertwice: Silhouette of a person carrying a bike up a hill (Bikeluggin')
Sing calloo and callay for overhaul season, and for grease under my nails again! My bike was getting a little wobbly and uncertain-feeling after the winter, and yesterday was a nice cloudy Saturday that I didn't mind blowing on some DIY, so I hied me to A Better Cycle and overhauled both hubs and my headset. (My bike is more than twenty years old, and I'm pretty sure most of the parts are about the same age; those three bearing assemblies have built up some pitting, and they slowly wear out their BBs and get looser over the course of a half-year or so. I mean, like all such do, but I really do think they need a re-up more often than a fresher kit would.)

Anyway, vive la difference -- Brigadelle feels *much* faster and more responsive, like it was a bear that just shook off the last haze of hibernation.

I love doing that work. Honestly, it would make way more sense to have the shop handle it, since they can work a lot faster and I'm not broke like I was when I learned it. But it makes me happy. I like the smell of worn-out grease and that orange pumice soap; I like keeping my own eye on those cups and cones as they deteriorate. (One more season, I keep saying, but they keep holding up just fine.) I like listening to music and singing while I polish away the old grease. I like the satisfaction of getting the cones locked down juuuust right, freely spinning but with no play. I like the way beer tastes after an afternoon of virtuous tinkering.

Hurray for overhaul season, and hurray for life.
roadrunnertwice: DTWOF's Lois in drag. Dialogue: "Dude, just rub a little Castrol 30 weight into it. Works for me." (DTWOF.Lois - Castrol)
(x-posted to [community profile] bicycles.)

The cover of Butler's <em>Gender Trouble,</em> with bike helmets badly Photoshopped onto the kids.
I realize I'm the only person who's going to find this picture funny, but since I went to the trouble of making it before that occurred to me, it's going on up.

I decided this was the year I was finally going to bother equipping my bike with fenders, and immediately ran into a brick wall. >:[

See, Brigadelle (my epic mount) is a late '80s Schwinn road bike, and it does not have a whole lot of clearance. And I kind of maxed out what clearance IS there by equipping it with a pair of Schwalbe Marathons. (I haven't had a flat since the previous Panaracers gave up the ghost, BTW, so I can't regret that.) And also the frame is only like 49cm, which means we're basically operating at the frozen limit of what you can get away with putting a 27" wheel on. (In fact, we're probably past it, but I don't think anyone making bikes in the '80s had yet realized that shrinking the front wheel was a viable approach.)

This is what we're dealing with, basically: )

I've only poked at one shop's supply so far, and what I learned is that full fenders are just plain out of the question, the fattitude of the Schwalbes rules out the more common size of those Planet Bike halfsies that attach to the fork blades with zipties, and even if I can get ahold of the wider "hybrid" size of halfsies, the minuscule distance between the tire and the down tube will make it a challenge anyway.

Has anyone come up with any brilliant fender solutions for smaller bikes with clearance issues? Any brands that you've found work better than others? It seems like this might require some creativity.
roadrunnertwice: Silhouette of a person carrying a bike up a hill (Bikeluggin')
Oh HELL yes, new Danny MacAskill video. Cut for film: )
Unfortunately, I can't remember who on Twitter linked it to me, augh. Is there seriously no way to search only tweets from people you follow? What the heck.

Edit: Danny dude I am almost 100% sure that's not what they meant.
Sign reading 'Cyclists dismount,' right before MacAskill jumps off the bridge.

Boatlights

Jul. 31st, 2010 10:37 pm
roadrunnertwice: Silhouette of a person carrying a bike up a hill (Bikeluggin')
Check it!

CIMG1946

BAM.

So anyway, when I bought this bike back in 2007, the handlebar "tape" was actually just a pair of sliced-up innertubes: Oh hell, he's on about trivial bike shit again. )
roadrunnertwice: Wrecked bicyclist. Dialogue: "I am fucking broken." (NeverAsBad - Fucking broken)
My rear tire blew out while I was asleep last Thursday,* with the front one rapidly approaching critical mass, and instead of just slapping on some new ones and calling it good, I opted to go into Project Mode and finally get that wheel back into some semblance of true. (I'd been leaving my right brakelever released so the wheel could roll freely. 'Nuff said.) The time was pretty much right, since I had a truing stand on hand** and had been meaning to level some wheelskills since forever, so after some comedy with spoke wrench acquisition, I read my Sheldon Brown (plus a few detours) and got down to business. And immediately discovered a broken spoke I'd been riding on for who knows how long. Whoops! (It was still kinda sorta hanging on! I wasn't rolling around with prongs flapping all over the place! …That sounded slightly dirtier than it was meant to.)

Further comedy arose 'cause it was a drive-side spoke, which meant I had to get the freewheel off to replace it. I don't own a freewheel tool. Which meant this step would entail asking some nice mechanic to twist it off for me, except that by this time it was past close on Sunday, I do Das Ninetofiven, and all the shops close at seven or earlier on weeknights. Thus, Vulcan logic dictated that I ride around on the MAX both ways at rush hour carrying a naked bicycle wheel.

So anyway, once the gal at Citybikes got me squared away with a replacement spoke and my freewheel in a paper sack, I actually went and got some shit done.*** And it worked! I can true a wheel now! Kindasorta! Honestly it is a kind of amazing thing to watch happen under your hands; I have a lot more awe for the humble spoked wheel, now.

Thus far I'm only any use against middlin' side-to-side wobbles, because I have neither tensionometer nor dish stick nor expert's feel for spoke tension. (I worked out a little bit of a vertical lump, but that requires more daring adjustments, and I wasn't quiiiiiite ready to really push my luck on this 20-year-old rim.) So I think I'll do some more reading (one of the girls at Citybikes recommend that I try and find one of the books on wheelbuilding, and I've got the library working on it) and then keep an eye out for wheelbuilding classes, or maybe eventually just go it alone if the opportunity arises. But given that I was starting from scratch in a minor crisis sort of situation, I'm declaring this a level up.




* This is what you get if you notice a nasty bulge in the sidewall, decide that it is obviously time to put said vintage 2008 treads out to pasture, and then don't actually do that. I'm lucky it didn't give out while I was on board. :/

** Garage sale special, $5. Included free copy of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

*** Epilogue: And then after all was said and done, I realized I didn't have any bearing grease on hand and couldn't safely reattach my freewheel. *facepalm* We'll just stop the story there.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (DTWOF - Mischief Brewin')
Okay: I think I've finally gotten my crib into the source of the rhythmic ticka-ticka-ticka* sound my bike occasionally makes. Discovered tonight that if you back the cranks a half-revolution and then resume load, it'll completely stop. After the next time you stop and restart pedaling, there is a possibility that the noise will resume, but it won't necessarily; there's some sort of precondition that isn't always met.

Now I need to figure out what in the holy hell could cause that kind of behavior. Could it be inside the freewheel? (It's less than a year old, and one would hope it's fine.) Could it be some tricky combinatorial shit happening with a funky chain link? (That one doesn't seem to make sense, but there is a half-link in there at the moment...) Could it have something to do with my back wheel being badly out of true? This is going to drive me crazy.




* Ticka-ticka-ticka is the remaining noise in the drivetrain, after I fixed the notorious crunch---crunch---crunch by overhauling my left pedal and replacing its adjustable cone. It's not a source of detectable resistance, it doesn't have any creaking note to it, it's extremely regular in nature but extremely irregular in when it chooses to occur, and it's really fast compared to most of the faily bike noises I'm familiar with, with something like eight ticks per crank revolution. (Eight ticks... I wonder if that's exact? Rear sprocket has 16 teeth and chainwheel has 40, and those are both multiples of 8. Hmm...)
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Hagrid - Two Wheels Good)
I've been meta-gaming in Cave Story in my spare minutes. My current minigame is to keep going back and forth through the falling-blocks room in Hell using only the Fireball (did you know you can totally jet back into the block room from below?), and see how many laps you can make before you die. It's fun! In which there are homemade achievements and way too much talk about the Fireball. )



Oh, and I went to the repair collective today to overhaul Brigadelle's left pedal, which definitely did the trick on one of the noises (the nastier one) I was hearing. Well, I'll catch the rest of 'em eventually.

The adjustable cone was shot all to hell, so I needed a replacement, but when I asked Pete (if I'm remembering his name correctly, which is always a gamble with me), he was like, "NO ONE in town is going to have that part, because you are the ONLY PERSON who would actually overhaul a pedal." Okay, I'll admit that that made me feel kind of badass, but WHY? It's completely easy. Maybe I'm the only person whose pedals get jacked up this bad, or who rides pedals from the 80s that are still good enough that they don't simply need to be taken out back and shot. Anyway, they totally had the right widget squirreled away in a box of random pedal parts, so Cycle Repair Collective FTW.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (DTWOF - Mischief Brewin')

Bikeshop accomplished! I overhauled my headset! Even better, duder and I solved a mystery. Since I've had Brigadelle, her headset has had an irritating tendency to loosen itself over time. At first, I was like what the fuck; after I'd adjusted it once or twice, I started chalking it up to me not reefing down hard enough on the locknut. Then, after the pros at Olybikes tightened it down (it was in for something else and they were like "whoa"), it came loose AGAIN, after which I once again didn't know what the hell was going on. But today... Today, I learned the shocking truth.

Cut for the interesting but not actually particularly shocking truth. )

Dep't of Disseminating Vital Information: To tell whether your headset is de-adjusted, you basically raise the front of your bike by the handlebars and drop it back down on the wheel, and if it clanks instead of thudding, consider getting it looked at. Alternately, you can lift the front end of the bike, keep the bars straight, and pull/push the wheel+fork forward and back, and if it rocks and clanks, trouble. It's generally not a life-threatening issue, but the longer you ride on a maladjusted component, the more likely you are to need expensive repairs down the line.

(Supposedly you're supposed to get your headset overhauled once a year, but I'm pretty sure this one hadn't been dismantled since at least 2006.)


Also, I gave in and bought myself a fancy-pants Apple chiclet keyboard. Bit of a splurge, but I'm already way more comfortable at this desk, and it's just going to make reading and writing a shit-ton easier. It's a tool of my damn trade; I figure it's worth it. (Plus, it looks like they're popular enough to actually hold their value well, so a: getting one used won't save you any real money, and b: if times get tight, I can sell it for 70-80% of its new price.)

I got a wired one, because I still have a functional wired Mighty Mouse to use with it, and I went with the big version with the numerical pad. My theory is that Apple dropped the 10-key pad from the new pack-in keyboards because these side-by-side keyboards are a kind of hacky design, and are really only suited for right-handed people who mouse with their left hands. —Which is to say, me.

roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Ryoga is lost.)

Things are happening and stuff! Constantly! Zzzzoooommm.

So yeah, dump post. )

And that is what's up.

roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (We have liftoff)
Bike rack

I got my $3 bike rack attached! With the help of a $7 adapter. (And if [livejournal.com profile] tomax were still alive, you'd shortly see him in the comments explaining how to do it for $1.20. :( Miss ya, Bikke.)

Anyway, now that it's up and ready, I've learned that the cheap panniers I got are a poor fit for this rack style. I think they want one of the kinds with the squarish-curve in the back, otherwise they sag too close to the wheel. So anyway, now I need to decide how to make use of the thing. I'm kind of inclined to go the milk-crate route, since that would let me drop my whole pack in there while I'm riding, but I'm open to other options. We'll see what equipment rolls through first!

Also, here's some minor skid damage from my pratfall earlier this week:

Skid damage
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (I am fucking broken.)
Gee, Nick! Maybe next time you're putting load on the pedals to accelerate from a near-stop stall, you should make sure that your frame forms a 90° angle with the ground! Or that your drive wheel is holding traction on something other than a puddle of slime! Just for future reference. You know.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (We have liftoff)
I know I've been all on about the motorbike lately, but I also still have (and love) a bicycle, and this was the weekend I broke down and took the poor thing to the shop. Something in the neighborhood of the back wheel hub was making a really nasty crunching noise when I put load on the pedals, and—separated from my beloved Greasepit and my slightly less beloved Hub Co-Op Self-Service—I didn't have the tools to bust the fucker up and diagnose shit. And then I replaced the chain and the noise got about five times worse, so I took it to OlyBikes (my Olympia bikeshop since forever, based [I think] on the recommendation of the late Chris Stewart) to get it looked at.

Anyway, the twenty- or thirty-year-old Suntour freewheel on the thing (which had all the gears but the smallest stripped off, and it looked pretty crazy, I tell you what) was LE MORT, and (surprise!) they didn't have any dismembered old-ass ten-speed numbers to replace it with. Sooooo the wheel had to be re-dished.

(Dishing is, um, I could draw you a diagram? Basically, when you have a big cluster of sprockets to deal with, the spokes on one side form a much shallower cone than on the other side. If you switch to a freewheel that doesn't stick out so far, you need to re-adjust the tension of the spokes on each side if you want the sprocket to end up directly in the chain line, which is a must if you're using a chain that's not meant to be run through a derailer, which is what you do when you're running a single-speed. Bike repair can get complicated, have I ever mentioned that?)

So anyway, it was just as well I took it to the shop, because even given the tools, I absolutely lack the skill and wherewithal to re-dish a wheel. (If you want to level that skill family, you have to do this build-a-whole-wheel-from-scratch quest first, and I haven't bothered to get a party together yet.) The shop did good, and not only is the wheel functional and resistance-free again, but it's also a whole lot more attractive:




Sharp, right?

This also changed the gearing a bit, since single-speed freewheels can't handle sprockets with fewer than 16 teeth. (The old Suntour was capped with a 14-toother.) Honestly, I think I kind of like it; I might swap the chainwheel eventually, but right now, I really like being able to dash off faster from a stoplight and climb hills a bit more easily. And my spinning technique could use some work anyhow.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (I am fucking broken.)
Man, I love Yehuda Moon. (I can never understand what cagers are saying to me either, but I always holler back a nice solid "FUCKYOU!" anyway.)

Shit.

Feb. 6th, 2008 03:16 pm
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (I am fucking broken.)
Sheldon Brown died.

He was the patron internet saint of bicycles, and his site taught me shitloads. Not having him around anymore is going to suck.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Default)
FRONTBRAKE.


Bonus round: I always forget that Courtney Love used to play pretty good rock songs.

roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (I am fucking broken.)
Hey, who here would totally play a video game about bike couriers?

I figure it'd be a perfect fit: you'd get goal-based and time-limited missions, sandboxy urban exploration, easily parceled story progression (via things like recruiting and competing with other riders), good hooks for multiplayer (especially with anti-games like competing for most horrifying wipe-out), ridiculous trick runs, going really really fast, and an overall patina of style and awesome.

Think Jet Set Radio meets GTA beats up Paperboy.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (I am fucking broken.)
I know it sounds counterintuitive, on account of the weird way it seems to tack away from your destination, but I'm gonna recommend going past the Section 8 housing on 6th, doing a left+right to get on the Hiawatha Line bike stub-trail, then south on 11th past the Metrodome, right on 14th past Elliot Park, jog over to 15th using Chicago and let the weird curve-thing take you onto 16th around the south side of the convention center, then go south on 3rd and turn right once you hit the MIA. Alternately, hang a right on 18th and take Nicollet across Franklin; the latter gives you a shorter light, but you might get delayed by oncoming traffic right in front of your goal, whereas the right turn at MIA lets you sneak up right around the side of Spyhouse. It's going to depend on the time of day and which lights you can get away with running.

Real MPLS bike punks probably have a better route, and I admit that a combination of an ill-timed 55 train plus heavy traffic on Franklin will fuck you over, but let me tell you, the Cedar --> Franklin route is a big old red herring unless you're headed to Midtown, and even then you'll be better off on Minnehaha. The suggestion of Riverside, we'll just chalk up to Mitch having moved to Texas a few years ago.

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