Monday, February 28, 2011

Shakedown ride

The P-38 has been undergoing a mild metamorphosis this winter. Since I managed to ride the old drivetrain into chronically creaking, mis-shifting, skipping-on-every-hill nubs of rusty metal, replacing some of the more consumable bits seemed warranted. And, while I was at it, trying my hand at wheelbuilding, fitting a spiffy stainless steel fender on the rear (rolled edge inside fender makes running wires to tail light much cleaner), and redoing all the lights and wiring seemed like fun too.

The build
For the drivetrain, I broke with long-standing recumbent tradition and ditched the road triple (52/42/30) in favor of a Shimano R700 50x34. Upped the cassette from the prior 11/32 to an 11/34, so the lower end of my range is only slightly higher.

The new rear wheel is a Velocity Dyad laced to an Ultegra road hub. I'm not entirely thrilled with the lacing job; tension on the non-drive side is way lower than I expected, such that I'm wondering if I didn't reverse the spoke lengths when I laced it up. Ah well...we'll see how it holds up for the next few hundred miles before I get worked up over it.

The one bit of unnecessary bling was the fender: a tasty Giles Berthoud number in stainless steel. Of course, now I'm trying to figure out how to find something that sort of matches in 406 for the front fork...

For lights, I went with a Lumotec IQ Cyo and a Seculite 4D. There's brighter stuff available, but I like what I've seen with regards to beam pattern, and I was happy with the older version I've used in the past.

The Ride(s)
Not yet wanting to properly torture-test the poor thing, I took a spin out to Oakmont via Allegheny River Blvd, and back via Freeport Rd. Felt pretty good; although my fitness is definitely lacking, the bike felt pretty solid, and was rolling very well. (Aside: I adjusted the seat to it's maximum recline...probably a 4 or 5 degree difference. Not huge in terms of aerodynamic efficiency, but naught at which to sneeze either.) No shifting/skipping problems at all; the only factor marring things was that, as seems to be my wont, I was getting a good bit of fender rub when applying a burst of power. Hopefully, a bit of tweaking shall resolve the problem.

After my return to town, I recalled that the Major Taylor club had posted an opportunistic ride starting at 2, so I swung over to the North Side and hooked up with Bruce &company. Got to meet a few people In Real Life who I had previously known only through the Bike-PGH board, which is always nice.

To Dos
The job's not yet done: I still need to tweak the fender line and trim the stays, affix reflective bits, and redo the wiring properly. However, I can say that it's riding pretty well. At least on the flat and gentle hills around town, I felt a bit faster than I would expect to be at this time of year, by probably .75 to 1.0 miles per hour. My shifting instincts are off, but I'm sure I'll pick up this compact thing before I break off too many (more) teeth on the cassette.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Just 'cause, I put together a FAQ for Crush the Commonwealth.


Let me know of any questions, requests for clarification, or suggestions for extra stuff to include.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cross Training

From Sledding in Riverview
Repeated hill climbing in snow boots...a nice change of pace from breathing salt and plumbing the depths of slush-filled potholes.