Friday, January 06, 2017

I'm 19 years old. Again.



Despite being a professed numbers nerd, I bombed at most things math related in grade school. This doesn't mean I gamble or play the lottery. Numbers or a series of numbers can trip off something in me, snap me to attention. In this recent case, moments of frequency, that makes me think-- Okay, how does this relate to my life.

Hell, let's blame all this on the hours in my life I burned away playing Dungeons & Dragons, rolling those multi-sided dice, hoping that my third level Cleric spell takes off enough Hit Points on the opposing beast so the campaign can proceed. RIP Gary Gygax.

The number is 1991.
This week, an old friend of mine posted on +Facebook something that tripped the numbers thing. 
It was 1991 and he was skateboarding on a vert ramp in an old barn- Buster's Ramp as it was affectionately known by the crew I biked with back then. This led me to comment on the photo, then before you know it got me thinking about this dude I rode another barn ramp in '91 and where is he now...? Good memories, and I was able to connect with that guy I worked with in '91 and rode Sterling Ruby's mini ramp.

This morning's mileage on my new car.
Not so new anymore, the mileage is at 19918. 

What's my age again?
In 1991 I was 19. 

1991 Glen Rock, PA, a small basketball court on private property. The owners were nice enough to let us build ramps there. 

1991 felt like a transition year to me. 
Too old to hang with kids from high school, too young to drink legally at the bar. That sums up my 18-20 yr bracket. I burned through relationships solely out of my lack of understanding the female population. My hair was long (at least my bangs were) and my patience was short. I'm glad things have swung the other way for me. 

1991 I could vote.
I was a young American making car payments, attending tech school during the day, cooking about 25hrs/wk at the local family restaurant in the evenings. I was cramming in as much time street riding my BMX bike in town and at the skatepark in Landsdowne, MD, and spending Saturday nights getting mentally engrossed in the music and lights at Big City/Fenix in York, PA. I was out of high school for a year and in a serious relationship with a gal with whom I worked with at the local restaurant. I was starting to snowboard more and my musical tastes were going deeper into college radio and Industrial music, less into metal. I do believe I blew almost every dollar I earned on the above-mentioned activities. 

Music back then was and still is today, a huge part of my life. It's been the soundtrack for those bike sessions, Big City/Fenix, driving around with friends, and break-ups with old GFs. One song can bring back a flood of memories for me. 

In no particular order, some albums that were in heavy rotation for me in 1991.
Depeche Mode- Violator; A Broken Frame
U2- Rattle and Hum
Morrissey- Kill Uncle
The Cure- Disintegration
13 Engines- A Blur To Me Now
Neds Atomic Dustbin- God Fodder
Nitzer Ebb- As Is; Ebbhead
Sisters of Mercy- Vision Thing
Front 242- Tyranny (For You)
My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult- Confessions of a Knife
Fugazi- Repeater
Nirvana- Nevermind
Suicidal Tendencies- Lights...Camera...Revolution!
Nine Inch Nails- Pretty Hate Machine
Anything Box- Peace
De La Soul- 3 Feet High and Rising
Van Halen- For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
Queensryche- Operation Mindcrime
Metallica- Metallica 
Dangerous Toys- Hellacious Acres
Anthrax- Attack of the Killer B's
Scorpions- Crazy World
Ministry- The Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Taste
Peter Murphy- Deep
David J- Songs For Another Season
Lords of Acid- Lust
Erasure- Chorus


What were you listening to in 1991?






Monday, October 24, 2016

Product Spotlight: 2017 Bianchi All Road

2017 Bianchi All Road Tiagra | $1599.99 


Photo courtesy of bianchiusa.com

The All Road best suits the needs of riders looking to enjoy endless miles off the grid - whether their excursions take them up fire roads, down gravel roads, over mountain bike trails or all of the above.

Bianchi closely studied the needs for mixed surface and all road cycling. By borrowing successful bits of frame geometry, tubing profiles, and tubing construction methods; they are able to provide you a bike like nothing ever made before in their 130 years of bicycle design.


Photo Courtesy of bikeradar.com | VDCM Impulso Spring Classics
One of Bianchi's best selling road bikes is the Impulso. From reputable gran fondo events to the brutally rough, cobblestone raced roads at Paris – Roubaix, the Impulso has done it all. With an accolade like that, Bianchi designed the rear end of the All Road to that of the Impulso. Taking things a bit further for the All Road, they added disc brakes and larger tire fitment. The chainstays have been stretched over their original length. At the drop outs you will find rack/fender bosses and at the other end, a lower-than-cyclocross bottom bracket drop. Lower and longer equates to faster and more stability over rough terrain.


Bianchi All Road in Louisville, KY. On site of the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships
Retaining the hallmark Bianchi ride quality isn’t easy. This benchmark is met by utilizing the tubing profiles of the light weight euro-only criterium race bike- the Freccia Celeste. Triple butted aluminum tubing provides the rider an efficient pedaling platform when grinding out against the headwinds during your next bikepacking adventure. The All Road’s stiff downtube and bottom bracket region make quick work of each pedal stroke. The tall chainstay profiles keep the rear end tracking straight and resist pedal induced twisting as you out sprint others to the next brevet checkpoint. The tapered steer tube of the carbon fiber fork allows you to fit a 40mm tire. The frame’s rear end accepts a 38mm tire. The All Road’s tapered steer tube keeps the steering precise and reduces the amount of downtube twisting when you’re out of the saddle, stomping on the pedals.


Bianchi All Road Bar in Mableton, GA
The compact bend handlebar on the All Road has a distinct flare at the bottom of the drops. This allows you to stay comfortable as you hold the handlebar and open up your chest for better breathing and steering leverage. On your next overnight bike trip, this flare lets you mount under the bar up to a 20-inch stuff sack. That’s more than enough space to carry your sleeping pad, single person tent, and a compressible jacket.


Bianchi All Road Reparto Corse Tubeless Wheels
Traction and pinch flat protection are paramount. For this, when it comes to off-road riding, mountain bikers unanimously use tubeless tires. The All Road gives you that convenience with its Reparto Corse tubeless-ready wheelset. The All Road rims are 40gr less than the rims on the Volpe Disc and are laced to sealed bearing hubs of Shimano SLX-level weight specifications. The rim profile features an Off Center shape. An OC rim allows for more even/ balanced spoke tension between the drive and non-drive side of the wheel. Better balance means less lateral wheel flex and more rider control. With approved tubeless rim tape, stems, sealant, and tires, you can travel worry free on the All Road. There are many dirt, gravel, and all-road tire profiles to choose from. Pick your tread style and tire size according to the terrain you most frequently ride.

A reliable parts package from Shimano anchors the All Road for your riding needs. Compact gearing and a wide range cassette make quick work of the flattest or steeply pitched roads that come your way. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

BIANCHI XR.4 CV



I'm super excited to finally see this bike in person next week at #interbike

Finally, an aero road platform that won't make you pee blood like the other brands aero bikes.

Having previously owned 2 Oltre bikes, my thirst for carbon has returned!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

FSA K-Force WE: high-tech electronic groupset

I have to say I've been impressed by the Shimano Di2 wired system as well as SRAM's eTap.



This to me takes the best of both groupsets; offering up the battery life of the Di2 kit with the wireless system of eTap.



Let's get this on some CX bikes! It's waterproof and offers ANT+ BT integration for smartphone access-- no need to drag the laptop out to the garage to do updates and adjustments.



This will be my stoke for next month's Interbike.



Monday, August 29, 2016

Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello Ghost of Tom Joad 8/25/16 MetLife Stad...

After seeing the list of winners from last nights #vma, it's refreshing to know that there's is still musical talent in #america.


Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Product Review: Kenda Flintridge Pro | Almanzo 100 Ver.

Back in February, I stumbled upon a new bike for my collection. Long story short- I was asked to test a new set of disc brakes. Not having a bike for such testing led me to acquire a new gravel bike. The benchwork is over and I was left staring at a gray and orange beast in the garage. 

Still, in base mile-mode, I continued to put miles on the bike. The geometry was super comfortable and the handling not like any CX bike I've ridden. I became addicted to the bike. 

Looking at my work schedule for the spring season, I noticed I would be near the starting point of the famed Almanzo 100 gravel race. I felt it was time to put my bike and legs where my mouth is. (That sounds like someone crashed...?). 



Loaded up the pack to get used to the carrying weight.
I continued putting in long rides on the weekend. My biggest challenge would be getting used to long hours on the bike and sorting out my dietary needs for the day of the race. 




Tires, sealant, and new socks for the ride.
It seems as if anyone who throws a leg over an all road or gravel bike can talk a tin ear to you about tire choice. I'm a tire nerd so naturally, I had something in mind for the race. I reached out to my friend at Kenda Tires and procured a set of the brand new +Kenda Tires Flintridge Pro.



Make your benchwork your benchmark!
I installed the Kenda tires on the bike as tubeless; threw in some scoops of +Stans NOTUBES with a dash of green glitter for extra hole clogging security. 

I was happy to discover how fast these tires rolled on pavement. With the right tire pressure, they hooked up really well on gravel during my training miles. Kenda uses DTC on the casing- dual tread compound which means two different rubber durometer (hardnesses)-- soft rubber on the shoulders for cornering grip and firmer on the center tread patch for low rolling resistance. KSCT provides the tire with a strong sidewall for resisting cuts and a beefy bead for ease of tubeless installation. 

The center of the tread has long rectangular blocks that provide smooth rolling on pavement without a high level of buzz. Midway over on the Flintridge tread are paired blocks which act like fingers when your motoring through gravel. The more of this tread surface (40psi front & 42psi rear) you can put onto the varying surfaces of the gravel, the better traction you'll have. Think of a rock climber's fingers camming into cracks of a wall they're ascending. The C-shaped shoulder knobs offer stability while corning and do their best to get purchase while leaning the tire through the corners. 

The morning of the event, I stocked up my frame pack and hydration pack with the essential foods. I made up a bunch of sunflower nut butter and jelly sandwiches, stowed away several of the Clif Bar organic squeeze pouches, and for when I needed sweets at the end of the ride... Rip van Wafels dark choco and sea salt waffles. These foods seemed to digest the best for me with no gastric distress.  

The morning of the Almanzo 100 the riders were greeted with temps barely at 40*F. Winds were hard all day long. 



SE Minnesota. A beautiful place to suffer. photo- Kit Oslin
The bike, tires, and food worked well for me. No cramping, no bonking, no flats. 


Plan your work and work your plan.
The Flintridge Pro tires provided enough float when the gravel was the size of walnuts. That's the true test- too thin of a tire and you'll sink in the gravel. Every pedal stroke you'll dig down and have to fight back up to the top of the gravel. Too fat of a tire and you're riding a mechanically deficient bike. Some of which I saw riders slugging it out on fat bikes and 27.5+ mountain bikes... but hey, that's their choice. 

The new Flintridge offers great rolling on pavement, good float and hookup on gravel along with the ability to run them tubeless. Check out your LBS for availability!

  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Product Review: Bianchi Bicycles | Soft Shell Vest.

I've become a firm believer of a good softshell jacket.

I've had a soft shell jacket for 10 years and it's been bombproof, warm, and comfortable. It's basic black; so it's been worn during alley cat racing, commuting, snowboarding, and even out to a date night with Mrs. Bikewife.

Here I am wearing said jacket with Tim Johnson at the rainy 2015 Farm to Fork Fondo in Orange Co, NY.


The water and wind resistant nylon outer shell with its Polartec 100 grade backing lends itself to rock solid insulation. It's so good that one February I wore it snowboarding in Vermont when tempuratures were in the low 30s. That day, I wore a Polartec 200 fleece vest as the mid-layer and a double-layer baselayer. I was surprisingly warm that day during the runs at Mt. Snow.

Granted this old trusty softshell could now use a healthy treatment of Nikwax so the rain doesn't bleed-out on it when I'm caught in a rainstorm but none the less I'm keeping it until the elbows wear through the sleeves!


I've always loved vests. I'm 6'5" and they typically don't fit me. Either they're 'Murican cut in the gut or too wide in the shoulders making me feel like Ace Frehley. 



 The latest piece from Bianchi Bicycles.
The softshell vest.
Logo on the front.


The eagle on the back.



I really dig the embroidery details. 


The reverse coil YKK zippers provide a level of draft protection for the micro-fleece lined pockets and along the main body zipper. 


The 2.5 inch high collar is just high enough to not feel like you're being choked out. (Disregard the beard hair in the pic!) And to keep your chin from becoming poked by the pull, a zipper garage keeps it in place.



This is pretty much a vest version of the jacket in the opening of this review. The sizing chart for the vest on the Bianchi USA website is spot on. I have a 28 inch torso so I went with the medium. I'm happy with the fit. The fit is slim enough that I can use it as a mid-layer under my Primaloft snowboarding jacket, over a long sleeve cycling jersey on rides, or solo as in the picture above. 

This piece is available through your local Bianchi USA dealer or directly at--