Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ross and Rachel???

No....It's Ross and Evelyn!!
The Ross was an interesting project for me to take on.
The base bike was given to me by an old friend who got it from his brother's estate. He was sick of going through the stuff and asked if I wanted an old bike. This was over a year ago and I have had it sitting in the garage since.
It was your classic early 80's bike that they made a gazillion of and was nothing special. Knowing that Evelyn would be moving off campus for next year and would need some transportation besides her feet I decided to flip this into a decent ride for her instead of just buying generic bike for her.

Let's start
It was semi-rough to start.
God, big foam covering the bars. Did anybody really enjoy that look? And, frozen stem shifters.

The paint was in OK condition. There were a few crinkle areas around the lugs, but nothing rusty showing through. If this was going to be a show bike restoration then I would have thought about sanding it out and a total repaint...but worth it???? On this bike, no way. It had cool red pinstripe around the lugs.The head badge was once again nothing special and a little chipped up.

 The decals were a bit flakey on one side, all acceptable for the future life of this bike which was to be a campus bomb-around bike for Evelyn. Functional, but not so cool to be a thief target. The frame cleaned and shined up with a coat of turtle wax!
First was strip everything for cleaning. Especially those handlebars and the dried out cracked cables and housing. The rear cassette was rough and I could not get it to spin smoothly so I just bagged it into a parts bin. I had a set of rims with rear cassette from a previous rebuild that could not get finished so I parted it and the front rim to this bike. They were Araya rims. Tru and very serviceable. I bought some tires from that site that Ryan turned me on to, "Junky Rusty Bikes". They were a nice fit and a good price for a cool look with red pin stripe side walls
Those drops had to go. They were the randonee style, narrow with the slight up turn. I had a bar that came off an old Trek parts bike. I used the bar, Brake levers, and the shimano thumb shifters. I had the brake all cleaned with new pads and cabled up and they did not work??? The levers were crusty dirty and stiff!! Oh yeah....take them apart and clean and lube! Could not find any red cable housing at any LBS (they all offered to order!) so I found it online. made for a nice looking cockpit.
Along with the red wall tires at Junky Rusty Bikes, I found these red grips to finish my red trim package.
One of the things you just don't see on modern bikes anymore are these cool dia-compe cable holders. The little screws on these were rusted so I searched through more than a couple of hardware stores for replacements. I wanted to keep them on the bike.
I was just cruising along until my first problem. The front brake adjuster was frozen up and the textured turn knob was stripped smooth. Liquid wrench to the rescue!!!
My friend!
It made it all work very slick so I left it with the smoothed off turn knob because it worked so well.
The drive train needed some change. The chain ring was a double from that era, geared at a 52-36. That is not gonna get it for Colorado riding! I found a nice used mountain triple on e-bay for $22. Gearing is 48-36-24. Perfect! Came with the right length cranks and flat pedals. Once again I stole the front deraileaur off my Trek parts bike to fit the new triple. I invested in a new chain because the old was creaky and with out really know how much wear and use was on it, just changed it! Kept the old rear deraileaur, it cleaned up fine.

Low cost Planet bike rear rack, with a wire basket and stretchy goods holder from Rivendale. Ryan, I thought about a real basket,basket like you said, but could not find one for the back rack. Plus this bike will be outdoors a lot on campus and I thought the wire was more practical. Zip tied it all onto the rack.
Still an nice clean look
All in all a fun project and since it was for my little girl to ride, very enjoyable and satisfying to see it come together. I spent about a $120 on this after tires, cables, grips, chainrings, rack and basket. But, the basic bike came to me free, so, I did not mind the extra cost. I know this Ross was a lo-end, dime-a-dozen bike when it came out but I think it will service Evelyn well for a campus commuter. Plus she will be on a one of a kind bike instead of a cookie cutter!

Thanks again to Ryan from Ryan's Rebuilds blog and Hugh from Hugh's bicycle blog for the inspiration and ideas and help in working on bikes. And my buddy Howard for the original bike to start with!

Hope everybody is enjoying the summer riding season!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Let's meet Ogre

In response to the huge request mail coming in (OK, only two!) here is what I decided to move forward with in the itch to jump into the off pavement bike world.
After last years tour got canceled I did too much reading about people having a great time touring on roads that feature lo-vehicle traffic. There is a lot of Colorado to explore on dirt roads and Forest Service type roads. 4WD and "Jeep" roads out there to ride on. I think that my LHT could handle many of these roads, especially with the proper tires, but I have ridden a bit of these roads and it stresses me to feel the bike taking a beating on these types of roads.
So....the idea and the saving started for an off-pavement machine. I like have a saving goal to shoot for. I have the type of personality that can stash a few bucks here and there if I have an attainable goal out there to shoot for. As long as it is not an outrageous amount of money....I lose interest pretty quick if it is 30K for a new car or 300K for a new house. but I am all over 15 hundred bucks for a new bike. I feel like with a bit of watching my nickles I can get there in a couple of years.....not a lifetime.
With the saving comes the research. That is 3/4ths the fun! I knew I wanted a 29er. And it had to lean towards an adventure style bike, not just a 29er mountain bike. I really looked at three bikes that filled it for me. A bike that I could rack up to haul a full self-supported touring load and handle dirt roads. I will never be a crazy single track guy, that kind of riding does not appeal to me, but I want a bike that could handle it if it comes along during a tour.
The three bikes I looked at were: Co-Motion Divide, Salsa Fargo, and Surly Ogre. That Co-motion is a beautiful bike, everything anybody would want for the exact purpose I had in my mind, but at almost twice the cost of the other two. Crossed my mind, but it took me almost 20 months to stash away the cash for Ogre and did not want to go another 20 months. I was also determined for this bike, since it is in the funny pages of the newspaper of life, I was not going to put any costs of it on a credit card or any type of debt. Nope, gonna go into my LBS and snap out the benjamin's on the counter when it came time to order. Left the choice between the Fargo and Ogre. The Fargo is a great bike but the standard was only a compact double chainring, you had to upgrade to get the triple. I have the LHT and am very happy with it so it swayed me towards Surly. Plus, somebody told me once to keep all your bikes the same color and nobody really knows how many bikes you have!!
Ogre it was! I did so much reading of blogs of guys who had one and how they set it up. The online MTN bike forum has a whole thread for Ogre. 30 some pages of guys who set up their Ogre's in many different forms. Commuters, bike-packers, tourers, kid and grocery haulers, so versatile and eclectic as a base bike!

Here is what I decided with my buddy from my LBS. We order the complete bike from Surly with a few add-ons and changes.
XXL frame. I went back and forth on frame size because it seems at going between 6'4" and 6'5" I would stretch the XL but might be pushing the XXL. After reading the advice of many riders and the fact that I would want an upright touring posture for this bike the XXL would be right. The standover is just right for me. another inch would be too tall.
We changed the handlebars from the standard to the Surly lo-rise Open Bar. I like a couple of different hand positions that these bars give me. I'll bar tape up the front curves for alternative hand spots. Ergon grips.
Brooks Imperial Saddle. I have had great luck with this saddle, I'll keep using it until my butt tells me to try something different.
Power-grip pedals and straps. My MTN bike friends told me no way they would work and to stay with flat pedals, but I have become pretty adept at flipping the pedal and getting my feet into them.
Surly nice rack for the back.
Are you looking at that big stem stack? I have a Delta stem riser installed. All my bikes have one installed. I have drank the Grant Petersen kool-aide and want  my handle bars the same height as my saddle for an upright position on the bike. Goofy looking or gives me a conmfot ride!!!
 LHT, Same Bike??

I have not gotten many miles yet on this bike (too much work and responsibility going on unfortunately!!!) but I do like the ride and comfort of this bike!!
I already have a paved road tour planned for this summer on the LHT, but a few S24O's on the Ogre and I'll get something planned for next summer that will have some back country Colorado involved!
I am glad I have this bike even if I don't get to use it much in the next year. Fun for the future!!
Happy Jim!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fall River Road

Time to bust out Ogre for his first ride! Also time to get on up Fall River road before they let the autos back on.
I did not get a super early start but it was a beautiful morning with zero wind!
Drove up to Lawn Lake parking area and rolled from there. A fun first few miles on paved road to get to the start.
Through the gate and on up the road we go! Wild flower season is just starting in the high country. These are a wild rose I believe.
At the first of many switchbacks.......whew! gets a bit steep.
It is so pretty with the creek running strong. On Fall River road the river is so close to the road that it makes for some wonderful views of the water crashing down. Right after this picture I came around a corner and saw a Bear. He was just sitting in the road about two hundreds yards away and took a look at me and kind of shuffled off into the trees. I was not fast enough to fumble out my camera.
A good view of some of the switchbacks and the support engineering to keep this road open. Gabions = wire baskets filled with rocks to control erosion.
Some of the flatter part of this ride is surprisingly on these switchbacks. You hump it around the curves and seem to flatten out between switching back the other way. A close look at gabions.
Winding on up I come to the bottom of Sundance where I find a couple of guys who just got finished skiing down and were changing into hiking boots for the walk out. We talked for a while about lines to come down Sundance.
Last time I skied Sundance was some 30 years ago. Kurt Oliver and Greg and Monte Hurt. I think Patty Jones was there too. I fell just above the rock island on the right and bounced on the rocks. Still have the scar on my thumb where I took most the skin off to keep this memory alive!! It is still a standard for anyone that wants to do some summertime skiing in the park.
Close up.
Back to the ride! This ride is hard because there is zero break on the climbing. I took a break here at the Chapin, Chaquita, Ypsilon trail head. If I was a real athlete like my friend Harry Kent, I would park the bike and jog on up to the top of Ypsilon!!! Alas, I am not....just trying to keep on keeping on up the road.
I don't know if I was running out of gas or the road just gets steeper for this next section. I had really slowed down, not much pace to left the legs . Some guy zoomed by me here riding a road bike. He was fishtailing around in the sandy dirt but was a pedaling machine. It kind of pumped me up to pick up the pace. I pushed it to get myself up into the tundra. There is a big snowfield below the alpine visitor center. There were some hikers who were heading down and said it was OK. The park service had cut through it. My original plan was to ride all the way up and come back down the paved Trail Ridge road but I thought why mix it up with the cars when I have the dirt road, car free, to get down.
A picture before heading down!
I stopped for a few pictures of moving water on the way down. It sure was pretty out!!
I stopped to talk to Lisa Foster, she was heading up. She told me that the Park Service is closing the road to all use on Monday for maintenance to get it ready for cars. I am so glad I got out on it this weekend. You'll still have the option of riding up the road but you have to go all the way as it will be only one way up.
Ogre was a joy to ride, I am very happy with my set-up with this bike.
Hope everybody has had a nice weekend!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Onward and upward!!

Today's little ride report finds our hero ascending into the National Park as he is prone to do!!

The Park is always a beautiful ride no matter how many people are driving about. They just can not ruin it no matter how stupid they drive and act!!

Water is running off!
The goal for the day was ride it up to Rainbow Curve. That is right as the road climbs up into the tundra above tree-line. See some snow, some birds, maybe some animals, and definitely some tourist people watching!!

A little break with a view!
Not long after this I stopped and talked to Jerry who was riding a loaded LHT heading down. He was from Denver, had gotten a ride to Steamboat and was riding back. Camped in Grand Lake and was heading to camp in Estes and then head home tomorrow. He was trying to get some touring miles in before his summer tour to Telluride for the Bluegrass festival. Sounds fun!!

Here's the snow!!! A bit below Rainbow Curve

This is my favorite sign to get a picture of my bikes with!!

Pretty nice day to be out!!
I hope everybody had a great weekend!!!

Back to work in the morning!!


Friday, June 7, 2013

It's a Birthday!

Not mine, Debbie, my wife!!

We have been married for a bit of time that means that sometimes it is hard to surprise each other with a gift.

My gift for her has some history of our time together.

We bought a piece of property together back before we had kids. With the recent pine beetle invasion we joined in with the State of Colorado forestry management program. As part of the program we have had to cut trees to mitigate beetle migration. Most of the trees were cut for firewood but there are  some of the trees that were big 200 plus year old Ponderosa's. We got some of that wood cut into slab wood.

Stack it and sticker it and tie it so it can dry properly without having twists and cupping.

Thanks to a nice design idea from my son David, I set about making a coffee table for Debbie's Birthday!
A bit of choosing the right pieces, sanding, assembly, did I mention a LOT of sanding????, I get a pretty nice gift that has some real family meaning for her.

The top turned out really pretty with the beetle blue stain in the wood.

She is very Happy!!!
I score some major "husband points"
All is good!!!

This just lets you all know that I'm not just a pretty face out there riding a bike around!!