Last day to enjoy quality snowpack with ample sunshine.
Last day to enjoy quality snowpack with ample sunshine.
The day's entire bicycling content, seen while returning from a trip to the dentist's on foot and by bus. Did consider riding to the appointment, but couldn't quite talk myself into it, mostly because I wasn't sure about what street furniture I could shackle the bike to on Mass. Ave. given the abundance of snow. Did admire the several cyclists who passed the bus...
Maybe you've heard the story of Grandma's pot roast recipe handed down a couple of generations? It involved spices, searing, oven temperature, potatoes, onions, carrots but the real secret was cutting off one end of the pot roast. Daughter and granddaughter followed that secret recipe carefully. Grandma came to dinner and conversation came to that recipe. Grandma said, "Oh, I cut the end off to get it to fit in the pan...."
My fixie has is easier cleaning, 35c tires, better work out and fixie riding heightens the feel of connection to the road and awareness of traction. My fixie has a steeper head tube and is quicker steering on snow narrowed streets and deep potholes.
The end of the pot roast is it has fenders; nice big fenders.
So like Grandma, no magic to riding my fixie in winter other than I like the fenders on that bike this time of year and it is a little easier to clean. I did edit the recipe a while ago and flipped to singlespeed, again nothing to do with winter, it is just easier on aging knees.
Speaking of which, anyone use a full chain case in MetroBoston winter riding? A fixie/singlespeed or an internal hub certainly is easier to outfit with the end of a pot roast...:crash:...I mean with a chaincase.
Our tandem is still covered with sand from our Groundhog Day ride. If we'd had fenders that wouldn't be such a problem. Can you make pot roast from ground hog? I'm not sure I'd want to.
The answer is yes, just cut the end off the groundhog or put fenders on it.
I'm off to meet up with folks from Holliston, Milford, Hopkinton and Ashland to prepare for the Upper Charles River Trail annual meeting, March 8th, Ashland Community Center, 9AM to Noon. I really hope there will be no discussion today or March 8th of cutting the ends off anything!
This afternoon I'm meeting a friend for a hopefully ice free ride on the Minuteman. Ciao mon amis
Minuteman? Expect ice. ..
OK I'll elaborate.
About 30% of the trail had a layer of ice. The ice was mostly soft and crushed under the tires and wobbles were minor. For the first few minutes when I needed to slow down I coasted with one foot near the ground as sort of a three point stance. We did get more comfortable, admired the weather and really enjoyed the stretches of bare pavement. Bikes accounted for about half the traffic. The coffee/bike shop was bustling with bikers. About 1/2 had fenders and 1/3 had studded tires. We rode back via roads figuring it would be embarassing to fall on ice but socially acceptable to get whacked by a car. Of course I'm just joking....but we did ride back on the road.
Nice to get out.
Rolled out on the LHT, still shod in the non-studded Continental Winter II tires, a little before noon. Avoided the Minuteman for once, having a pretty good idea that the Lexington and Bedford sections were still icy (this was confirmed by some riders I met along the way). Instead, went out Massachusetts Avenue as far as Lexington Center, seeing the front-yard flip-side of my usual Minuteman rail trail back-yard route.
Lexington Center featured a little present-day participatory democracy...
... along with a little 18th Century participatory democracy...
Left Mass. Ave. and worked my way over to Grove Street, crossing 128 and climbing the hill to Wright Farm, relatively recently acquired as Lexington conservation land, and sporting a new sign.
Crossed into Bedford; Grove Street became Page Road. I stopped for a minute to talk to the rescue Schipperkes at Corey's Farm.
Went charging down the hill after that; at today's temperatures (pushing 50degF), the Winter IIs are all grip and no roll, virtues that I appreciated on the wet and sometimes sandy downgrade. Didn't push it, topping out at 22mph on the descent. Crossed the Shawsheen, swollen with melt-water and storm run-off.
Forked left off Page Road on Brooksbie Road, then riding a brief section of the Great Road, and picking up Loomis Street. Rode past Depot Park and out Railroad Avenue, and dodged around John Glenn Middle School to McMahon Road, connecting to Concord Road (Route 62).
To be continued...
Rode out Route 62, Concord Road, Bedford, becoming Old Bedford Road, Concord in due course. Had to thread through the scene of a 3-car accident in Bedford; didn't look like anyone was hurt, but the cars were a mess and traffic was snarled. If anybody is wondering about the state of the Reformatory Branch Trail, best to bring your snowshoes for that. Picked up Virginia Road, riding past Thoreau's birthplace, the Thoreau farm, and Elm Brook before crossing the Lincoln line and skirting the Hanscom runway.
Went grinding up the steep hill at the end of the runway, being passed by several roadies and then passing one who was apparently daunted by the climb. At the top of the hill, the turn onto Old Bedford Road, Lincoln, had been plowed a bit frugally, and there were about 1.5 lanes clear, with deep, frozen snow on both sides of the road. Rolled happily down the hill to Hanscom Drive, and headed up that, when...
... my chain broke...
This was a novelty. In over 50 years of riding, I've never had a chain fail before. To be fair, it was giving me signs that it needed attention earlier in the ride: wonky shifts, a bit of mechanical drag, a few odd noises.
I figure this is Nature's way of telling me either:
A) Carry a chain tool on any ride longer than I want to walk;
B) Lube the chain and machines more frequently in winter than I apparently have been doing;
C) Pay attention to what the bike is telling me;
D) All of the above.
Called my sweetie for a pick up, then called Tyler at Paramount for a good-humored discussion of this development; as always, he put it in perspective. I hung out on the roadside for a bit, happy of have had 2/3 of a very pleasant ride: 17.5 miles through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Concord, and Lincoln, 2597' elevation gain. The roads were generally in good shape, but very wet (read, submerged) in spots, and somewhat afflicted with potholes.
F) Exactly how did the chain break, may I ask?
I had the quick-link come apart on my Masi last summer. (Seems like ages ago now.) That's the only chain break I've ever had.
Meanwhile, I felt motivated to put the GT up on the stand and lube its chain and machines. In the process, I learned a valuable lesson: never bare-hand a spinning tire with carbide studs...
Although the chain could have used a little more care than it got, it actually wasn't in a seriously degraded state from the road salt. Tyler asked me if I had shifted under load, and in fact I hadn't... at the moment of the break. However, this ride did involve a fair bit of hill climbing, and I had finished one of the major climbs (Virginia Road, Lincoln) a couple of minutes before. I've ridden that many times, however, and never broken a chain.
So what happened? Temperatures were around 50degF. This is really higher than the optimal range for the Continental Top Contact Winter II tires the LHT was shod with. As noted in the report, at that temperature, they're "all grip and no roll". Ipso facto, this means that, except for steep descents, it's necessary to ride from one to three gear ratios lower to pedal at the same torque, compared to the tires I usually run, or even these tires at 20degF.
One of the things about riding a familiar route is that I have a learned mental model for what gear ratios to use in a given segment; while this doesn't completely override moment-to-moment feedback from the pedals, it can be a powerful bias. I frequently found myself riding with more torque than normal on this ride, mashing shamelessly, simply because I was riding in the gear ratio I "knew" was appropriate, and ignoring the evidence of my senses. Tsk...
So, my theory, such as it is, is that in one of these mashing episodes--possibly during the Virginia Road climb, possibly earlier--I DID shift under load. The chain didn't break at that moment, but the damage was done, and it broke a little later, on Hanscom Drive.
If this theory is correct, looks like the correct answer to my little multiple-choice question is: C) Pay attention to what the bike is telling me.
Q (from the pic): Where are the outer plates, i.e. the missing link? It looks like a plate pulled out from its rivet, starting the rest of the process. Once one end of an outer plate was free it could have induced the other end to come free soon enough, and then both that plate and the opposite side with rivets attached came out. No telling how long you pedaled with just one side plate on that link. As long as you weren't mashing too hard and the periodic entry into the RD cage pushed it back in again you could have gone on for a while that way. But with no stabilization from the opposite rivet any serious tress could have pulled the remaining rivet out from its remaining plate.
So an episode like this could have been precipitated by mashing harder than normal, but its real cause may have been a poorly fitting rivet.
Winter to Spring sand, slush MetroBoston riding, starting to look ahead to Spring-Summer swooping and flying on tree shaded, warm weather roads does inspire more thoughts of maintenance. Now I slosh a bit of water and drip a few drops of oil.
I had a chain break that was stretched out from wear and it was wearing out chain ring, sprockets and everything but my aversion to preventative maintenance. Ask me next month if I've installed my spring maintenance shifter cables. I did replace my single speed chain before it broke because of "C", listening to my bike. In my case I couldn't move the wheel aft any more without the tire rubbing on the rear fender or keep the brakes pads on the rim. Listening wasn't hard because my bike was screaming. I did contemplate taking a few links out but the wear and tear on ring and sprocket was part of my chitchat with the bike.
I got out briefly yesterday, just long enough to ride around the block on this newly-completed build. Note the sew-up tires, my first experience with the gluuuueeee. I applied it according to Grandma's pot roast recipe.
This is believed to be a repainted '74 Champion Team. (That's what they used to say on the TT - the catalogs called it a Team Champion. Go figure.)
Back around 1972, I had become quite hooked on cycling, especially touring. I even put drop bars on my five-speed Schwinn suburban. My then-girlfriend-now-wife (named Sharon) and I decided we wanted "really good" bikes and bought matching Mercier road bikes with sew-up tires and Reynolds double-butted 531 tubing.
I think they were about $250 back then, a hefty amount for a couple college students when in-state college tuition was about $500 per semester. We were pretty naive, since we used them for fully loaded, self-supported touring in Michigan and Ontario.
We took them out to California for our cross-country cycle honeymoon, and had many flat tires. It seemed that about every three days, by the time the sticky blackened glue had finally abraded off our hands it was time for another flat. Many hours of relaxation time off the bike were spent opening the tires to repair the tube, and then sewing them back up.
We started the trip with an extra six new tires but at at least two different times en route we had to ditch our bikes in a motel and hitchhike to a city to buy more; in Flagstaff, AZ and Pueblo, CO. Soon after we arrived in Boston, we changed over to clincher wheels. My Mercier's bottom bracket eventually wore out, but my wife's bike is still around somewhere; our son the college graduate was using it last as I recall.