Friday, August 17, 2007

A Bit of a Catch Up, and Getting Fixed

Seeing as I haven't posted in a week, it's only fair that I give an update.

Last Saturday I enjoyed a nice road ride outside of town. I started on one of my usual loops (as described in the Brooks saddle post), but decided to ride Newark all the way to Lapeer Road.

Total distance was a bit over 35 miles. I had a very nice ride, and the weather was beautiful. There was one issue; I had some chain issues about 12 miles in. The quick link on my chain decided to start to come undone, and became stuck only half latched. I noticed this as a rythmic skipping of the chain. I futzed with the link on the side of the road for about 10 minutes before I pulled out the chain tool. The offending link was removed, and I was back in action. With the shortened chain, I lost the big chainring big cog combo, but that combo is one I never use anyway.

Wednesday after work I did the Stony group ride again. I did my usual thing; park at the main trailhead, do a lap of the Roller Coaster and Pines, then ride down to the school to meet the group. This time I decided to do things a bit different; I had the Rig set up to run fixed gear... no freewheel. This is something I've been dabbling in since late last year, mostly at Stony and some dirt-roads around town. Riding fixed is a unique sensation. Since you can't coast, you can also slow down and stop using backpressure on the cranks. You also gain a heightened feel for the trail surface and available traction. Logpiles, while do-able, present a new level of challenge. You have to time your cranks to make it over without striking a pedal. This is something I'm still working on. However, I was able to clear the logpile at the start of the Pines twice, albiet slowly, to the chagrin of the rider behind me (he was hoping to hop the log).
On this ride, I met a fellow rider by the name of Kevin. As luck would have it, this was the same Kevin who sent me the drilled out cog that I use to run fixed. He is an avid off-road fixed gear rider, and all-around cool guy.
Last fall I attended a large singlespeed group ride at the Poto, and afterwards at the trailhead I took a brief spin on a fixed gear bike. I liked the feeling of being directly connected to the ground through the drivetrain, and was intrigued with the thought of this on the trail. After this ride I found a site with instructions on drilling out a cheap cog to an ISO disk brake pattern and mounting the cog in place of the rotor. A flip of the wheel and you have a fixed gear bicycle. Well, a half dozen drill bits later I was posting on for advice. Kevin offered to send me a cog he had drilled out when he first experimented with fixed gear. I've ridden the Rig set up this way a few times outside of town, as well as about a dozen trips to Stony and one trip to Bloomer.
So, it was nice to meet Kevin. What made it really cool was that it was on a day when I was riding fixed gear.

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