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Monthly Archives: January 2016

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How To Find Information On Your Bike, Almost Anything, In Five Minutes or Less

I have a 1990 Cannondale SR400.  It’s a cool, old-school race bike, almost entirely original equipment (except the wheels – and I had to put a longer stem on it to get it to fit).

I bought the bike from a guy who’d listed it on Craigslist as a Cannondale Criterium 3.0.  I didn’t know any better at the time, I’d only been riding for a season and a half, on a mountain bike.  It obviously didn’t come with pedals, but I was informed the saddle was gone too, their dog had eaten it the night before.  It had none of the identifying markings either.  No SR400, not even a frame size sticker…

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Within an hour of having it home, I had learned that “Criterium 3.0” referred to the frame type and weight.  Compact frame with a high bottom bracket for cornering, for racing in Crits.  3.0, I learned, was the weight in pounds.  I had the make and model and an owner’s manual from 1990 (downloaded from the Vintage Cannondale website).

Now, in all fairness, this one took quite a bit of research. It was quite a bit more than 5 minutes but all I needed was my computer, an Internet connection and Google.

I got the idea for this post after reading another the other day in which the author opined that they’d gained weight and didn’t know the weight limit of their bike which brought about a fear of riding it. Luckily there was a photo of the bike so within a couple of minutes I’d downloaded the manual, found the weight chart and commented on the post with the weight limit and the link to the manual.

Now I’m not going to bother getting into whether or not knowing the weight limit on the bike was just an excuse to not ride, that’s above my pay grade.

What I can do is offer that you can find virtually anything bike related with a decent Google search.  The trick, of course, is to know the proper lingo and use that in the search.  Being four years removed now, I can’t remember how I went about getting to the right words to search but today I’d start with any markings/stickers on the bike that would identify it:  “Cannondale Criterium 3.0 Road Bike”.  Now, a few of the posts that come up with that search thread are actually mine so they won’t count for this post.  I’d click on a few and wouldn’t learn much so I’d go with “Cannondale Criterium 3.0 Owner’s Manual”  Paydirt.  The third link on that search points to “Vintage Cannondale”.  Once I found that page, I looked through several late 80’s and early 90’s scanned owner’s manuals till I found the paint job that matched my bike – I had everything I needed.

1990 Cannondale SR400.

For the weight limit on a bike, I know that most modern road bike owner’s manuals have a weight restriction chart for their entire line of bikes.  They go by grades, 1 is a road only bike where the wheels never leave the ground, 2 is a dirt road ready bike, 3 represents the mountain bike entry level line… etc.  With the photo of the bike, I just searched the brand and make followed by “owner’s manual” and viola…  I had the owner’s manual I needed and just looked through it till I found the chart.

I’ve yet to run into something I can’t find about cycling with the right search, so if you need to know something about your bike, get into Google.  Chances are, somebody’s written something about the topic you’re looking for.

Now, if you’re a true noob, you just thought to yourself, how can I come up with a good word string to search if I don’t know the lingo?!  Fear not!  Google, “Bike Parts Illustration”, click “Images”.  Done.  You have the lingo.  😉

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Bibs or Shorts? Cycling’s Biggest Conundrum Next to Shaving the Guns

I endeavor to never buy another pair of cycling shorts until I hit 65 107 (the fossil cyclist informed me that I should make it to being 107 before I get that crotchety).  That’s 20 62 years.

Have you ever thought, “Damn, I wish my gut always looked like it does when I’m wearing bibs.”?

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The truth is, bibs are more comfortable, by a long shot, because they better keep everything where it should be.  They look better, they feel better, they work better…  My friends, they are better.  Comparatively there is only one major problem with bibs and that’s obviously when you’ve gotta go.

My friends, there’s no way around it.  It just is what it is, a struggle.  Bibs are still worth it.  I just wish they put a little thought into men’s bibs like they do for the ladies.

Now admittedly, I used to be a shorts guy, not because of the aforementioned necessity of urination but because they’re cheaper. I’d have been just fine too, had I not tried a pair of bibs. Once I bought one pair, I had to have another… and I’ll be going for another before long, too.

In my humble opinion there are only two other cycling controversies that could come close to being as controversial as the shorts or bibs debate.  To shave, or not to shave, the guns (I absolutely do, in case you missed it).  Second is sock length, which will never be settled properly.  Maybe.

I could have put doping down as the single-greatest controversy but I don’t think there’s a controversy.  It’s pretty much, if you dope, you’re a whore.  It is what it is.  In other words, it’s not like there’s someone out there sticking up for doping, so it’s not a controversy.

Sound off!

New Clothes for a 1999 Trek 5200

My 5200 is almost ready to reassemble.  The new paint job, as simple as it is, has been no simple task.  I took my beat up, ugly, peeling, Trek to the shop about a month ago.  The “beat up” part wasn’t even my fault.  I took the bike on a fun ride in downtown Flint last year and at one of the fun stops, someone beat my bike against a steel bike rack and scraped a bunch of paint off of the top tube.  I was not happy.  That’s about the time I decided it was time to strip it down and paint it.

The base paint is complete, the decals were hit with a first clear coat to ease the edges.  All that was left was to sand the whole thing down to rid the finish of any imperfections…

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It’s currently in the paint booth getting its final clear coat.  From there, the bottom bracket and headset have to be installed.  After that, I just have to reassemble it and it’ll be back on the road.

As you can see, the red matches my Venge and Rockhopper almost perfectly, which was the goal.

By next week I should be able to start putting it back together.  It’s going to be beautiful!

 

Relentless Positive Mental Attitude

For anyone into the fitness lifestyle, we see reasons to be negative every day.  This goes beyond reports on obesity, beyond those from one country pointing fingers at another for being “fatter” or more out of shape.  It’s worse, of course, than just the sick from obesity.  The pasty skinned addict, the bulbous, veiny red nose of the alcoholic…

We see it every day, as we walk down the street.  For some this can be depressing.  For others, it might even be a reason to throw in the towel, or worse, not even bother trying to get healthy again…

Since beginning the process of recovery, I’ve developed one main goal in life: I want to leave this world exhausted.

I want to be tired when I go to meet Jesus. I want to have made everything I could of the gift I was given all those years ago. See, my recovery is viewed as a gift because I didn’t do anything to deserve God’s grace, but it was certainly given. I don’t even know if I asked properly… I just said, “God, I know I’m supposed to be more than what I’ve turned out to be, so I’ll make you a deal. I’ll give staying sober everything I’ve got, if you just help me, please. Please God, help me”. I just kept repeating that last sentence until I fell asleep.

The next morning my DT’s weren’t quite so bad, and my desire to drink was gone. It was replaced with purpose. I took full advantage of it.

I can remember working a Fifth Step with a sponsor, geez, twenty-one years ago now. Not only did we wrestle through my past and find patterns that led to stupid decisions on my part, just before we were done, I kid you not, the clouds parted and the sun shone – and not in a figurative sense. Literally.

My definition of exhausted doesn’t include a hundred hours a week at work. “Exhausted” won’t be because I worked too hard, though hard work has its place. It won’t be because I was the world’s greatest dad or husband, though giving that my best is high on the list. It won’t be because I end up being the most knowledgeable recovered fella ever, either. I won’t leave exhausted because I played more than anyone else, though anyone who has followed this blog for a week or two will attest, I don’t miss my play time.

I hope to leave exhausted because I enjoyed the balance. Being a grand husband to my wife, a good father for my daughters, a hard worker for all of us, a kid at heart who knew how to play, and a sober man who indeed enjoyed the gift he was given.

This desire requires a relentless positive mental attitude.

Of course, living through and emerging from a hell on earth of my own making, even after a bad day, a good, positive attitude is never too far out of reach.

All I have to do is reach for it.

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The Big Weigh In… A Weekend Warrior Cyclist’s Worst Nightmare

Rather than bother with a scale, I have monitored my weight by the belt hole and mirror approach.  About the only time I bother with a scale is when I see the doctor.

I couldn’t get over a mental niggle in the back of my melon though.  How much will I have to lose this spring to get to fighting weight of 170 to 171 pounds? How much damage did I do over Thanksgiving and Christmas?

These questions are common for the weekend warrior cyclist. Not exactly earthshattering, but important nonetheless.

I’m already working on getting back to square but I wanted to know for certain what kind of chore this was going to be. Well, part of me wanted to know… another part wanted me to bury my head in the sand.

I finally sucked it up and dug out our scale and put a battery in it. The news is good. 178 pounds, only 7 pounds over mid-season weight. To say “I can live with that” is an understatement. I can have that gone before spring even gets here. Not only does this mean I can be race weight through spring base miles, I will have the option to go lower if I can get the okay from my wife (truthfully neither one of us likes me that skinny, till I’m climbing a mountain, then I’m quite okay with it – not so much with my wife… when it comes to my weight, this is one of the times where it’s okay to say, “just push harder”).

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Works better when one's butt is slender

In any event, I rode with my buds on the mountain bikes yesterday and it was spectacular. It was exceptionally windy and cold, well below freezing, but I’ve got my clothing figured out so well I’m at least comfortable now… And with a minimum of trouble. Leg warmers, shorts, thermal tights, wool socks, neoprene foot covers, thin tech shirt, thermal running shirt, thermal jacket, thermal balaclava, helmet, and I’m good down to 20 degrees (F, or -7 C).

Mike, Phill, Brad and I had an easy but exceptionally fun time. There was laughter, fist bumps and smiles all around. There were sprints for City Limits signs, planning for the early spring events and a profound gratitude for not having to be on the trainers.

Better, I’m already up 60 miles from my outrageously awesome 2015 with a week left in the month. Better still, I feel strong. I’m sure, if I tried real hard, I could find something to complain about but why bother?

The one thing in life it pays to be lazy with – looking at the down-side of things.

Works for me. C’mon, Spring! Get here already! WOOHOO!

The laughable gullibility of “As Seen On TV” gold coin buyers

You may have seen a commercial offering buffalo coins clad in 15 milligrams of 24 ct. gold for just under ten bucks.

I’ve always wondered how bad a deal this was,  because if they have it on a commercial, it’s gotta be a bad deal for the purchaser. 

Right?

Well, if the coins were going to cost $50 and they’re selling them for just ten bucks, maybe it is a fair deal…

I won’t prolong the agony.  There’s 63 cents worth of gold on one coin.  That’s it.  Not even two-thirds of a single dollar.

One of those coins that they’re selling for ten bucks is worth less than a dollar.  Not a bad return… of course, you do get a certificate of authenticity.  A proof positive certificate that you just got bent over a barrel boned.

Gold goes for about $1,200 an ounce today, and that’s generous.  The trick is the 15 milligrams.   There are approximately 28,350 milligrams in an ounce.  Do the math. 

Oh, and if you just bought a hundred of those for a thousand bucks and I just showed you that the purchase is worth a little more than fifty bucks, damn. Sorry about that.

Next time buy a carbon fiber bike. They depreciate like a car and cost a whole lot of money… but at least you can ride that a lot and lose a pound or 30.

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Way better that a $0.63 coin that you paid $10 for

Update on the 5200… Almost Home

My wife and I went out for a ride with my buddy Mike, Diane and Adam for an easy 20 mile mountain bike ride at lunch time.  It was cold, to say the least, only a few degrees above my basement of 19 degrees (F).  I had four layers on and I was, well comfortable may be too kind a word, let’s go with not freezing.

We cranked out the miles and it was good.  We also made plans for tomorrow… The hot shower was better.

After a quick bite to eat, we went over to our screen printer’s house to pick up some new shirts we had made up for the swap meet on Sunday.

Then we stopped by the bike shop just to say hi… and found out my decals for the Trek are in.  They’re the perfect shade of red.  Now all that’s left is to scuff it up, apply the decals and spray on the clear-coat and I’ll be putting it back together.

The plans are for the bike to be completely blacked out.  Cages, housings, handlebar, even the King steering assembly is black.  The components are aluminum, and will stay that way until they’re fully worn out and need to be replaced.  The only red on the bike will be the TREK down tube logos and it’ll have a Made in the USA Flag on the seat tube. 

I’ll have my wife or one of my daughters take photos during the rebuild for a post… or three.  I toyed with the idea of doing a video to post to YouTube but truthfully, I only know about 3/4’s of what I’m doing.  That video might get a little long.  That said, it won’t be long now, and it can’t come too soon.  That Cannondale is even uncomfortable on a trainer for God’s sake!