Tag Archives: etc

Flandersox

flandersSocks

 

I’m starting to get a little addicted to buying weird cycling socks. Here are some “Flanders” in bright yellow. Are they talking about the Tour of Flanders? I’m guessing they are. Mainly I bought them because the logo reminds me of the old progressive breakbeat dance music record label Rampant Records. They used a similar logo on the B-side labels of their 12″ vinyl releases.

Socks are def a little easier to collect than vintage bicycle water bottles.

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“Stealthbomb” Aventon Cordoba Test Report and Bar Reduction

I have had my Aventon Cordoba for about 3 weeks now, so it is time for a review. I cal it the Stealhbomb as a nod to the matte black paint and the awesome airplanes made by the Lockheed Skunk Works. I’ll keep it short.

Overall this bike ROCKS!

My previous fixed gear is an 84 (or 86?) Peugeot which I coverted top fixed and did a flop n chop on the bars, so the Aventon is a big jump to modern geometry. Love it.  Also it has a 44t chainring as opposed to the 39 on my older bike. I’m pretty sure that the rear is a 17, but I haven’t counted and it isn’t listed in the specs. Anyway, I thought the taller gear would be EXTREMELY difficult to get used to, but it hasn’t been at all. In fact I dreaded doing hills with this new larger gear, but the momentum I get on flats and downhills seems to actually be helping level out the hills a bit.

DOWNSIDES: I trashed the pedals on day one. Toss them straight away and get something proper. I switched to the same type of BMX pedals , but higher quality models…Anumal Hamiltons. Instantly the bike became a zillion levels quieter.

I also ended up replacing the seat which was a bit small and hard for my ass section, which is larger than the average hipster type who might buy this bike. It’ll work for a while though. Don’t put a Brooks on this bike it will look stupid.

So, my final word on the Aventon Cordoba: Money Well Spent. Make sure when you get yours you tighten up the chainring bolts, crank bolts, and lock ring just to be safe.  Oh one other thing…on the City Grounds description it says the brake lever will only work with the riser bars. This is not true, the brake lever will work with the bullhorn bars also if you mount it up by the stem. It just won’t mount in the end of the bar like some of the levers out there that you may have seen. You’;; most likely need to cut a few inches off the brake cable also. Great bike. Love it love it love it.

The bullhorns it comes with are fine, but they are BIG. For me, a little too big, so I cut about 3″s off of them, and now they are perfect. Here is a before and after pic:

fixeBarB&AMUCH BETTER!

 

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Ringle’ Quick Release Lever – The Talisman

ringleBottleOpener

Pictured above: My Ringle’ Quick Release Skewer/Bottle Opener / Talisman.  Here is how I got it.

Sometime around ’92 or ’93ish, me and the rest of the crew from Golden Ring Bicycle Shop headed to Interbike Bicycle Trade Show and Schwag Accumulation Event which was either in Atlantic City or Philadelphia the year we got these awesome artifacts. I’ll just go ahead and admit my memory is a little fuzzy since we always used Interbike as an excuse to get pretty wasted the night before. Anyway, whichever year this happened, here is how it went down.

We were walking around collecting a zillion tons of literature, stickers, water bottles and all the free stuff that the manufacturers give awar at bike trade shows, when we came upon the Ringle’ booth.  Zillions of sweet looking parts were on display, in typical early nineties anodized glory, and some dude was giving out these “Bottle Openers”.   The guy who was giving them out was kind of a big dude, and at some point we overheard him telling another attendee…”I’m Geoff Ringle” and I am the testing department as well as the company namesake. If I can’t break it then it is strong enough for us to sell.” I may not be exactly precise on the wording here, but that was the point he was getting across, and believe it when I say he def looked like he could destroy some parts. We were kind of stoked to be talking with the man himself, since Ringle’ parts were all the rage that year. We all got out samples and kept on pushing on.

Since then this little unit has been my trusty beer opening companion for over 20 years and still going strong! Actually, it has worn down quite a bit, and I have to work a little bit to get it to open a brew these days, but I will always give it a try before I opt for some cheaper, less meaningful mode of beverage enabler.  This is because I am convinced that every time I use this on a beer, I get a little boost of good luck.  I never go on big rides without it.

I’ve stayed in contact with the other brothers from “way back when” at the bike shop. If I remember correctly, I may be the last man standing who has one of these from our group.  I hope theirs served them as well as mine has.

I got out of the bike business in 1995, and sort of lost track of what happened to most manufacturers, and I am almost sure that Ringle’ got bought out by a larger company.  Here is an ad from the company when they were in their heyday:

192Ringle

To see a much more thorough collection of Ringle’ history, head over to the MOMBAT Bicycle History Pages (where I copped the ad image from thanks folks).

 

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Super Fun! Terminus 5c Resurgens by Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

Saturday I participated in the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition TERMINUS 5C RESURGENS bicycle challenge in Atlanta Georgia.

The Terminus is not a race.  The object of the event is to ride your bike to all 5 of the participating bars and complete a mental or physical challenge at each location, for which you are awarded points.  Although it is not a race, there is a time limit, and everyone needed to be back at the after-party location by a set time to begin draining the complimentary keg of beer.  There was small entry fee for ABC member and a higher entry fee for non-members which got you into the event and a one year membership.

At the start of the event you received your map/manifest/score sheet which revealed the bars everyone would be riding to.   Most of the people who participated probably knew where all of these places were, but since I’ve been out here in Flowery Branch for so long I did not, so I did a little prep work finding the actual street addresses of all locations.   Then I plotted what I thought would be the most practical route and settled in to wait for the noon start.

My first stop was Octane Westside.   For each location you stopped at you received bonus points for buying something, and although I had already had some pre-ride beers, I kind of thought that I might skip a beer here and opted for a bagel instead.  The challenge at this location was about local artists/art.  You were given a stack of 10 numbered photos, and a list of artists, neighborhoods and streets. You had to match the right artist, neighborhood and street name  to each photo.  I’m not going to lie, I straght up guessed my answers, the only actual art in the set familiar to me at all was by R.Land, who has a very unique and recognizable style.  Downside (for me) was that you had to ID the artists by their twitter usernames, and I did not know any of them.  Using context clues I guessed as well as I could, and actually ended up doing -okay- at this challenge.  Better than I thought I would anyway.

The next stop for me was Villains in midtown.   I opted for a Fat Tire here since part of the loot for Fat Tire went to ABC as part of the events fundraising effort. The challenge here was a TRUE/FALSE quiz on Georgia Bicycle Law.   I did -okay-, not perfect.  I answered wrong about there being a law against “Tall Bikes” as I thought it was a trick question…I did not know that tall bikes were enough of a problem that there would actually be a law against them.   For bonus points you could draw a bicycle villain and make up a bio about him/her.  Here is mine:

bustaSpoke

My villains name is BUSTA SPOKE.  His villain superpower is “riding one gear taller than everyone else, always.” What put him on the path to evil was being made fun of by riders with super expensive bikes and fancy riding kit, so he devoted his life to being a LOW BUDGET SOUL RIDER, going twice as fast for half the price with three times the style. LBSR represent!  I didn’t get the full bonus points but rather a 90/100, which was fine by me.

The next location was Elliot Street Pub.  I grabbed another Fat Tire and headed to the outdoor area for the Bike Jousting challenge.  Here you had to ride an adult tricycle and joust with an opponent, using pool noodles that had been dipped in water soluble paint!  They had a bunch of gigantic overclothes you could put on if you wanted, some home-made “armour” and a bunch of masks.  You got different levels of bonus points for different masks.  One of the best masks was the white unicorn, but I opted for the gorilla.

joust

My opponent fought bravely, but on the first of three passes I landed a really good blow so I ended up winning the challenge.  As part of winning, I was eligible for the extra bonus points, which required writing a haiku to one of the folks who staffed this location, or maybe just a haiku in general.  I dunno I was kind of feeling the beers at this point. Anyway, I wrote what might be the worlds worst haiku and read it aloud to my opponent, who was also celebrating his birthday.

Happy birthday dood
We jousted like true white knights
A timeless battle

This challenge was so much fun I actually opted to stick around and see the next competitors, who upped the ante by riding two people on each trike, one driver and one jouster,  using two pool noodles.  So funny!  They also wore some of the crazy gigantic overclothes to guard from the paint splatter.  This challenge more than any other seemed made for photo opportunities and if you were for some reason not having a good time yet, you would be by the time you finished this challenge.  Easily my favorite challenge of the day.  My score was perfect!

Next up was Radial Cafe.  It has been years since I have been to Radial, but I knew the location from when I used to live right down the road a bit.  Since I knew where I was going, I took the opportunity to stop by my secret parking spot in 04W and grab a quick beer and Red Bull from my party cooler on the way. T his would turn out to be an unwise move as we’ll see later.

The challenge at Radial went like this. You have one chance to lower a big magnet into a pile of pieces of bicycle chain.  Then you have one minute to toss those pieces into cups of various sizes and point values.  I grabbed a quick beer to get the receipt bonus points and then dove in to the challenge.  Unfortunately I did not do well.  No…let’s be truthful here, I failed miserably, coming away with NO POINTS at all.  I stuck around afterwards to watch another competitor to get a gauge of how well others were doing, which was a mistake as we’ll see later. As soon as I saw one competitor get 300pts, I was on to the next and last challenge.

The final stop for me was Midway in East Atlanta.  First things first…I got a beer for the receipt bonus.  Unfortunately the place was swarmed busy so it took a minute to get served.  Well, it took about 10 minutes.  Not a big deal and I am not mad at them, there was only one lady working the gigantic bar so I just settled in and was patient.  But time was passing, and it was already  about 4:40pm.  I figured this was no problem since the after party location was only about 10 mins away and the cut-off for turning in your score sheets was 5:30.  I had almost an hour.

So I headed outside to the challenge which looked like a fun one.  The Grocery Getter challenge involved 1 minute of stuffing a messenger bag with as many items as you could, each item having a different point value.  Then once the bag was packed you had to ride your own bike around a short course that required navigating a very sharp almost 180 degree turn without any dabs from your feet off the pedals.   Some of the items you could stuff into the bag were a laptop, a six pack of PBR, a pumpkin, a bunch of flowers, a yoga mat, a half gallon of water, and the mandatory bicycle tools.  There was also a bicycle frame and fork which you could carry around your neck for 200 bonus points.

This challenge looked pretty fun and everyone was having a good time.  The only downside for me was that I wished I’d have not spent extra time at the last two challenges, or stopped by my car for 10 mins, as there was a waiting list to complete the challenge.  I put my name on the list and waited, and watched a few people have a blast competing.  But time kept passing and by 5:05 I knew I wasn’t going to get a turn and still be able to make it to the end point by the required time to turn in my sheet.  I decided that I’d rather get some points than no poinst at all by missing the cut off, so I went ahead and bailed without waiting for my turn, which I am sure would not come til after 5:30.  Oh well.

The after party/awards was at Mother on Edgewood.  There was a free keg for all the participants and we all went to work polishing it off.  There was about an hour before the awards, so I had some brisket tacos which were delicious and I highly recommend if you visit Mother.  Everyone was in good spirits and it was evident that whether you won anything or not, the event was a success.

There were a bunch of give-aways and winners.
It was pretty cool that there were not just overall winners but also prizes for the top scorers at each stage. I was one of a 4 way tie in the Joust so I got a rad set of bikey drink coasters.

coasters

The overall winner received a super cool vintage Miyata bike which I am pretty sure was donated by SOPO (I may be worng about that if so, let me know).  I had actually been chit chatting with the overall winner, one of the folks from The Spindle,  before the prizes were awarded.  The Spindle has a unique concept towards commuting bicycle clothing and sturdy but fashionable gear. Click that link to check them out.

Terminus 5C was the most fun day of riding I have had all year.  I am not fit enough to compete in an Alleycat race, but having to visit locations that were not revealed til the day of gave the event an Alleycat feel.  Because it was not a race though, even if you made to just a few locations, you still had fun and knew that your entry fee was going to a good cause.  Mid October is a great time for this event as it was not broiling hot which would have made it nowhere near as much fun.  Since I live so far out from Atlanta it has been kind of tough to make friends with a lot of intown bicycle people, but at this event I talked to more people than any other ride I’ve been on all year.  I really hope there is another event like this next year, I will definitely participate and this time I will make sure to bring a few friends along.

STRAVA STATS: 18.9 miles, 809ft climbing.  Add me to your Strava Friendlist.

To everybody that had something to do with making this event happen, thank you so much it was a blast!

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Wind Battler, Charleston Park Cherry Poppin, & St Patty’s Day Hillbombing

First weekend of 2013 where the temps here in Georgia were reasonable enough to allow riding in shorts and short sleeves.

I started it off Friday afternoon with a Wind Battler.  Truthfully, it was not very fun.  Tried some new roads that turned out to be pretty lame overall.  The whole time I was fighting a crazy headwinds it seemed, and I had no energy at all.  The tailwind on the ride back to the car didn’t do anything to redeem the ride. It was so bad that later I went out to Little Mulberry Park to just have an easy spin and try to shake the bad vibes. Ended up riding there after dark, which was fun. At a certain point I kept seeing “leaves” in the middle of the trail, then I noticed that they weren’t leaves at all, they were frogs or toads (dunno which).  Managed to actually get a decent camera phone shot of one, which kind of made a crappy day of riding a little better.

frogMulberryPark_crop

Saturday I met up with a few riding buddies at Charleston Park. It was the first time any of us has ridden there, and according to the SORBA forum posts about the trail, it isn’t actually officially open yet.

CharlestonPark_2007masterplan_edit

This was the maiden voyage for Mershon’s new GT Zaskar 29er w a 2×10, and about the third time out for Jay on his Cannondale.  The trail system (about 5.5 miles) looked pretty rad from the map and and we were all pretty excited. I figured we would do it at least twice.

Right away there were issues.  The first 1.5 to 2 miles of this trail are exactly the kind of terrain none of us have been riding at all through the winter.  Lots of quick dips and sharp short but very steep climbs. We all headed in a little over zealous, and the trail quickly knocked us all down to size.  Brian hasn’t been riding much at all through the cold season, and Jay and I have been doing lots of road work with long but gradual grinders of climbs, so short bursts of quick energy just killed us all.  About 2.5 miles in Jay has a big problem with his shifting on the rear, which we could not work out via a trailside repair (more on this later).

The trail started to get a bit  more likeable at this point…longer swoopier sections without so much of the rapid ups and downs.  Jay was at the same place I was the day before though…just no energy coupled with mechanical issues…so by mile 3 it became pretty much a mission of just getting back to the car.  We stay together when riding a new trail for the first time so we stopped a lot to get the group back together.  Mile 4 to 5 was a blast…really wicked downhill sections and I was jumping everything, being an ass powersliding into turns, and hllering a lot. yeah I like to holler when I ride. Must be the beers.

Once we made it back to the car, it was decided that we would transfer to the much more tame Haw Creek, just to log a few more miles. I’ll head back to Charleston Park for a double or triple at some point but today was not the day.

bentCogs_edit

Haw Creek was just flat, loads of loose dirt now that our area has stopped being the rain planet.  Jay had a corner get away from him on his singlespeed rig and ended up with the first and only blood of the day. Brian opted for a single loop, Jay and I did a double.  Haw creek is ridiculously  short and tame, but hey, we’re not pros and we’re not trying to be.  We’re okay with that.

I did the second pass at Haw Creek on Jay’s mis-shifting Cannondale, thinking I could dial it in while riding with the barrel adjusters, but it just wouldn’t work. After the ride, once we got the bike on his car rack, he noticed that the top cog on the rear was BENT!  Check out how the cogs are squashed together at the bottom of the pic compared to the top.  I have never seen that before. Well, now I have. The folks at REI said they had seen it a few times when jay took the bike in to have it replaced.

All in all, in spite of the troubles, it was still a pretty fun, but short day of riding.

stPattysDayRide2013_edit
Sunday, I headed to Jays hut for what I thought was going to be a casual chill road ride,  just to get past the  record setting amount of beers I drank from the night before.  Turned out to be quite a bit different. Couldn’t help laugh that I had actually done all my weekend drinking before St. Patrick’s Day proper. There would be no beers today. I did manage to wear some green though.

We headed out and about 2 miles in Jay says “Around the corner is a hill I have wanted to do but last time I tried it I didn’t make it.”  So of course we headed that way.

It was a pretty decent hill, and it set the tone for the whole rest of the ride. Since we were going UP a lot, we were also going DOWN alot, which meant a bunch of rad hillbombing around Roswell GA.  Lately I’ve been digging geting tucked down aero as I can in the drops and hitting light speed on descents, then staying in the big ring little cog as far as  I can powering up the next side.  This ride had a zillion sections just like that.

We eventually crossed to the other side of the Chattahoochee River and headed down a cool side road towards a ranger station/park entrance.  It was on this section, just towards the end of the road, that we encountered the sickest climb section of the day.  It was hellish, and I had to resort to the full granny.  It was only about 1/4 mile, but it was 8% avg grade and at the tail end a series of lengthy grinders that left you with just enough of a descent to catch your breath before you hit the wall.  After that, the Welcome Center / Ranger Station provided a much needed break.

scottyChatty2013

The way back was awesome though, more crazy highest gear spun out hillbombing in the drops.

All in all it was a great weekend of riding, and it looks like this summer I will actually be able to count on doing some rides with Jay and Brian, as opposed to the last few years which have been pretty much solo.  It’s hard to find folks for me to ride with because most people are waaaay faster & fitter than me, and those that aren’t tend to be waaaay slower.  I’m somewhere in the middle.  I’m not quite at the level yet where I can confidently join up with one of the local group rides, but I’m def ready to step things up some and start riding the big boy roads and trails.

Easing in as I would say.

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Haw Creek Micro Air

hawCreekMicroAirBobble

 

Little bit of air at Haw Creek during last Sunday Beer-n-Bike. Higher, further and more style as the year progresses, seen?

Instagram & Twitter @RobertAshton

let’s go riding.

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The Mobile Social Atlanta

mobile social

Heading into Atlanta tonight, to check out a group ride called The Mobile Social, which I am pretty sure is hosted by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.  I get the impression that it’s a pretty fun bunch of folks from their Facebook Page and event invites.  The ride  happens second Friday of the month, and leaves at 6:30p from Woodruff Park (of Occupy Atlanta fame) which is the same location that Critical Mass starts from.  One difference I’ve already seen from TMS and CM is that  TMS, posts an established route beforehand.  This time around it’s a little over 9 miles, through a part of the city I have actually never been in. I like it.

brokenHeartsBicycleParts

The Mobile Social ends tonight at a location hosting the first night of SOPO Bicycle Cooperative Broken Hearts and Bicycle Parts annual fund raising jammity jam. It’s been a few years, but I’ve bee
n to some of the BHBP festivities before, and it was just swell Wally.

Rumor has it that Jay Starr is going to meet up with me for whole mess, which will be excellent since I go to these group ride things trying to connect with people and make some bike-people friends, but usually end up not talking to anyone cause I’m kind of shy like that. So it’ll be good to have my own crew, even if by crew I mean one person I actually know.  Low Budget Soul Riders.

One of the interesting things about a ride like this is deciding which bike to take, since I usually don’t know if there will be any urban Alpe D’Huez bizness along the way. My -go to- ride is always Ye Olde GT Talera, which is as comfortable on the street as it is on gravel or trails.  But since the route has been posted for tonight, along with a hill profile, I’m gonna opt for the ‘Pooj. I like to get some time in on the fixed gear when I can, and also, I’m pretty sure Jay is bringing a fixed, so we’ll be synced up like a couple of X-wings about to storm the trench on the Death Star.

Complication: The weather is supposed to be some of the nicest yet this year, BUT…the way it is looking, it’ll be warm enough for shorts all through the afternoon, but when the sun goes down it’s going to be a little too cold for bare legging it. So it’s gotta be thermals under bike shorts or brave the cold, which could effect the possibility of any extra miles after the group ride is done.

 

Another complication: Where the hell is my boozeflask? Bad Bwoy squad always bring something to put the “social” in the mobile, seen? I’m not trying to be riding around with a bunch of loose beers in my backpack, so flaskin’ it is the way to go. Also, my I left my party cooler in Greenville after a seriously high level ragemode, so I have no way to keep beers cold til ride time anyway. Hopefully I’ll find my gear before heading in.

Most likely I’ll head in early and tool around solo for a while…maybe get some slices at Vesuvius or something til it’s time to meet up with Jay.

SHOULD BE A FUN TIME. MAYBE YOU SHOULD COME TOO!

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