Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review...Carradice Pendle Saddlebag

Once in a while I would like to review some cycling item that I have experience with. For my first review, I have chosen the Carradice Pendle Saddlebag. So far I have used it with a carbon racing bike, a cyclocross/touring bike, and a fixed gear bike. These are hand made in Nelson, England, and are of very high quality. They are personally signed by the maker...thanks Priscilla ! I purchased mine from Wiggle UK, and got a fantastic price. The material is waterproof cotton duck. I can attest to its waterproofness after a very wet Maryland Seagull Century in October, 2009. There are no zippers or snaps, but the buckles are easy to use and secure. Two leather straps loop through the seat loops of  Brooks, Selle-Anatomica saddles, or an adapter for general road saddles that is available from Velo Orange. A third leather strap secures the bag around the seatpost. My Cateye LD1100 blinker light ( the best there is ) will fit through the provided black loop, but fits even better in the bilateral strap loop patches on the rear of the bag. The clip fits snugly in the leather patch and holds its place very well. I like this assymetrical position, as it is more visible to motorists. My favorite pump, the Topeak Road Morph, fits horizontally on the bag bottom, and also serves to give the bag more structure. Some people use a bag support, but I have done well without it on my 55-57-59 cm frames.The capacity is 11 liters, the same as my Arkel Tailrider. The Carradice Pendle will take all the cargo that one would generally need for a century or longer ride. When climbing in the standing position, the position and weight  do not detract from my ability to generate power and balance simultaneously. During riding the backs of my thighs sometimes touch the bag, but it is not an unpleasant sensation..in a way a sort of reassurance that the bag is still there. In general, I believe that my investment in this bag has paid off well, and its high quality, functionality, and versatility will make it a staple of my bike kits for many years.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back to the Dirt

For a while I have been riding on the road and enjoying my fixed gear conversion bike. My plan for the next big challenge is to participate in the D2R2 on/off road ride in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on August 21, 2010. The 100k version, which I will do, has about 8,500 feet of climbing, and 70% dirt /30% paved roads. For this, I have returned to my training ground of Caumsett Park on Long Island. Its 1800 acres has a 2.5 mile rolling paved loop, and miles of varied and beautiful dirt roads and trails. I will pay particular attention to climbing, as that is a large part of the D2R2 course, including 27% gravel strewn hills.
A few years ago I built a bike for cyclocross and raced a few times, never finishing last. Just riding on/off road is a lot of fun and great "cross" training. It was built from an EBay Jamis Nova NOS 2001 frame with Reynolds 631 tubing. The gearing is 26/36/46 on the crankset and 11-32 on the cassette. This provides a very wide gearing range, good for muddy fields and off road climbs, quite the opposite of fixed gear riding ! Bar end shifters are simple and cool looking. Mavic Open Pro Gray extra hardened rims have been reliable for years. The tires are Ritchey Speedmax 700cx32c, providing great cornering, traction, and dry paved road speed. I have a rack on the back, with an Arkel Tailrider 11 liter capacity bag. It also fits a Topeak Road Morph pump, my nomination for the best pump ever. This bag is quite convenient and tough, and has a built in rain cover, should the need for protection arise. I think that this setup will do me well in a ride like D2R2.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Fixed Gear Century

Happy Summer to all. I completed The Ride to Montauk on June 19, 2010, for my first fixed gear century. The weather was perfect, with a partly cloudy sky and temperatures on the East End of Long Island in the upper 70's. The ride was perfectly put on by our friend Glen at Bicycle Shows, and all had a good time. Lots of people from out of New York were there to enjoy the ride.
The course was, of course, a beautiful one.The Hamptons are always a great place to ride in any season. Super thanks to the organizers for providing yummy Briermere pies at the 75 mile rest stop. I chose CHERRY!
Riding fixed for a flattish century was still a challenge, with a great sense of accomplishment at the end. My pre ride training of 80 revolution hill repeats at my training ground in Lloyd Harbor prepared me well. My Power, Technique, and Mental effort contributed to success for my 59 year old legs ! Next challenge...D2R2 in Massachusetts, August 21. 2010.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Some Finishing Touches

Prior to my first century attempt on a fixed gear bike, I thought that some finishing touches would be appropriate. When repurposing a bike with downtube shifter bosses, what to do with the bosses is always a problem. Cut them off ? Leave them alone ? Find another use for them ? I decided to purchase and install  a set of Downtube Shifter Boss Covers, made by Problem Solvers. They protect the bosses and myself from damage, and look cool. Two stainless 5mm button bolts with 3mm allen heads were 75 cents each at the hardware store and fasten them fine. No rattles so far. For the handlebars, I chose red Cinelli Gel Tape. While not revolutionary, it is at least an evolutionary progress in handlebar comfort, as I tend to get pins and needles on longer rides. No computer on this bike so far, it doesn't seem right. Pure riding ? My fixed gear training is going well. Repeats of my local standing 80 revolution hill are increasing in number. I am confident that I can conquer The Ride to Montauk Century on June 19, 2010 in good form. More to come after the ride. More about fixed gear riding and technique as I gain more experience.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I Got Fixed !

I've been thinking about it for a long time. My 1984 Pinarello is a wonderful road bike, but has not fit into my plans as a geared bike for the past few years. As such it was a great candidate to get fixed, and that's what I did. My first long ride will be the 100 mile Ride to Montauk on June 19, 2010.I have taken to fixed gear riding for non hilly routes, with less than about 12% grades. So far, I have been OK on 50 and 70 mile trial rides. I will post a report of the Ride to Montauk.Thanks to The Fixed Gear Gallery for inspiration!
Frame- 1984 Pinarello Record , Columbus SL tubing, investment cast bb shell and lugs
Rear wheel- Mavic open pro, Origin8 flip flop hub: 16t fixed, 18t freewheel
Crankset-1984 Campy Super Record, 41t TA chainring
Bars- new Nitto Noodle, 44cm
Stem- Nitto technomic, 90mm
Brake levers- Cane Creek
Brakes- 1984 Campy Super Record
Saddle Bag- Carradice Pendle
Saddle- Selle Anatomica, and very comfortable