Tanner’s C&V Ride in Chillicothe, IL

Went up to Chillicothe, IL for a ride out to Tanner’s Orchard for an apple cider doughnut.  You may reasonably question the sanity of driving 6 hours, then riding 20 miles for a doughnut, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

We got to Chillicothe around 9pm Friday night, checked into the hotel and went in search of food.  Had a pizza at Monical’s just before they closed, which tasted pretty good.  Fuel, you know, for tomorrow’s ride.

Met some nice guys riding classic steel bikes along the banks of the Illinois River in Chillicothe on a brisk Saturday morning, temperatures were in the low 50s.  I brought my Lemond Alpe d’Huez, with tubular wheels installed and it rode very nicely.  There’s not many miles on this bike after the restoration was finished, but it was like reconnecting with an old friend.  No introduction needed, no getting to know you questions, just “let’s get going.”

I enjoy the classic bikes more than the carbon wonder-bikes, because they have a air of elegance and quality about them that easily hides the number of miles or years they’ve been around.  Riding with like-minded people is fun too – I don’t think I’ve ever met a cyclist on a classic bike that didn’t end with “great bike, enjoy the ride.”

The doughnuts lived up to their billing, but it seemed colder when we left the orchard than when we got there.  Oh, well – we’ll warm up again soon enough.  We took a different route back to Chillicothe, and the descent down to the valley from the bluff was great fun – I got up to 37 mph on the descent.  Not a lot for some riders, but still fun.  Drivers were considerate, and we were only honked at once, which might be a record.

Many thanks to Steve (steelbikeguy on BF) for organizing this ride.  We’ll be back next year.

Pinarello Turismo

Wow.  This bike just moves.  A full 2 mph faster average than the Merckx carbon on several different rides.  I don’t know exactly what it is that makes it faster, but there’s no doubt about it.

I’ve gone through the entire bike, cleaning, re-greasing, and adjusting it as well as I’m able.  I just rode it on a 62 mile ride in Paducah, Kentucky and there were no problems – aside from needing a better engine, but that’s a topic for a different discussion.

Fitwise, the stem is shorter than I would normally use, but I won’t change it out because I don’t want to lose the Pinarello panto’d on the stem.  Maybe not the best choice but I’ll adapt.

The 35 year old Campagnolo Gran Sport group rides and shifts very well.  The brakes are noisy, which isn’t a big surprise with old pads.  The braking isn’t horrible, but I’ve ordered some new pads that should improve braking and stop the squealing.

Later this year, I’m planning to strip the parts from the frame and fork, and have them painted red.  To me an Italian frame, especially one as nice as a Pinarello, should be red.  The bike has already been partially repainted, so there’s no concern with destroying original paint.  I’ll replace the decals too, and the bike will look like new.

But it will continue to rack up the miles.  It’s too much fun to ride to let it waste away as a display bike.  Bikes are made to be ridden first, and admired as examples of fine craftsmanship second.  At least that’s my take on it.

Misaligned Minds ride in Paducah, Kentucky

We chose to do the metric century, called that because it’s 100 kilometers in length, about 62 miles.  Rolling hills, nothing too serious.  The start point, at Bob Noble Park in Paducah, is about an hour from my house, so we had a little drive to get there.  Picking up our registration packet was simple enough, and then we got the bikes ready to go.  Aired up the tires, checked to be sure we had what we needed, and headed out.

I left my phone at home (grrr) but it turns out you don’t actually need a phone to ride.  It would have been nice to get some photos during the ride, but oh well – we came to ride.

The riders in my group are from the midwest – Evansville (Rob), Florence (John), Cadiz (me), and Memphis (Bob).  We all rode bikes that are 20+ years old, in the cycling vernacular they are Classic and Vintage (C&V), just like their riders.  The carbon, plastic, go-fast bikes are certainly capable but we all enjoy the fun of maintaining and riding older bikes.  They have a charm and quality that we all find enjoyable – and spending the day riding with like-minded people is fun.

The rest stops were very well done.  Ice cold water and Gatorade, good selection of snacks, and really nice folks manning the stops.  Every one of the four rest stops was as good as the previous one, something that has not always been true at other rides.  The route marking was good but there were some old marks that were plainly visible and that caused two of our group to follow a previous route.  We met up with them later.  Drivers were courteous too, most of them moving completely into the far lane when passing us.  We rode side by side, but moved into a single file when we saw a car approaching.

The SAG vehicles (Support And Gear) were out and about, and even brought us a bottle of water when we were between stops.  It was warm out and that was appreciated.

While cresting hills, drivers waited behind us and passed after they could see the oncoming lane was clear – and this happened several times.  A sincere thank you to the drivers for their courtesy today.  No one that passed us seemed irritated that we may have delayed them a few seconds, no angry car horns, no drivers yelling, just a nice ride on a Saturday.  It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Chain Reaction Cycling Club in Paducah, Kentucky puts this ride together, and to my mind, this was the way a ride should be done.  From the smiles at the end of the ride, they were more than successful.  We’ll definitely be back next year.

A little fine-tuning

The first longish ride on the Merckx is finished, and I have a little work to do.  First, the rear caliper was twisting a little, and pushing the left pad against the brake track.  I don’t really need any help slowing down when I’m trying to go forward so that needs to be addressed.  Second, the rear wheel seemed to have a little bearing play that shouldn’t be there so that needs to be investigated.

I tightened up the recessed nut for the rear caliper and it’s better, but the real problem might be that the housing is a little too long and is pushing the caliper.  I’m going to ride it as-is and see how it goes on the next ride.  If it’s not working properly, I’ll shorten the housing.

The wheels have cartridge bearings, so there isn’t much to adjust compared to cup and cone bearings.  The caps that hold the bearings in place were not completely tight, so I snugged them up and reinstalled the wheel.  There is no bearing play now.  I checked the shifting and it’s good.

I ride a fairly small frame, so there isn’t a lot of exposed seatpost.  I had mounted a red blinky light on the seatstay of the CAAD8, but on this frame the seatstays are shaped, not round so the mount doesn’t work so well.  I have a nice rubber mount for the light that wraps around the seatpost, but then I can’t fasten the seatbag in place.  So I ordered a top tube bag that sits on top of the top tube and fastens around the tube and the stem.  You can easily get at the items in it while riding, and it isn’t in the way.  Hopefully this will turn out to be a good solution to the blinky light vs seatbag war.

I’ll know in a couple of days.

2018 Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – in the history books

The weather for Saturday’s ride was basically perfect.  Temperatures topped out in the low 70s, with light winds.  The winds out of the east picked up later in the day, which didn’t help as the final few miles had a long climb, into the wind.

This ride kicked my butt.  The time I’ve spent behind my desk working didn’t actually contribute to my riding fitness.  Hmmm.  A 55 mile ride in (relatively) flat Illinois is much easier than a 55 mile ride in the Kentucky hills.  Clearly I have some work to do.

It was great to meet some BikeForums members in the flesh and on the bike, and the cookout afterwards was fun as well.

Some things to take away from the ride:

1. My 1989 Cannondale ST600 performed very well, no issues at all – not bad for a 29 year old bike.

2. The Compass tires were everything they were advertised to be, a nice smooth ride and good traction.  I ran 60F/65R tire pressures.

3. The Selle Anatomica saddle is very comfortable (for me).

4. I need to be in better shape.  I have a shape, the problem is that it’s rounder than it should be.

5. Drafting behind Adam and Jamie would have been a smart choice.

6. Ex-Pres and PilotFishBob are very patient riding companions.

7. Apparently everyone that owns a boat was pulling it on a trailer today, but with a single exception, we were given plenty of room while we were being passed.  We were riding single-file for the most part, and moved to single-file when we saw a vehicle approaching from the rear.

Will definitely do this again next year, and since the new bridge across Lake Barkley should be finished by then, the route will be different than this year’s route.  Might even go south into Tennessee and back.

Thanks again to the kind and generous sponsors that provided prizes for our ride – Road ID and Chain-L chain lube.

Finishing up the ST600

The shim I cut to use the 25.4 handlebars with a 26mm stem wasn’t holding very well, so I picked up a replacement stem with a 25.4mm clamp.  A Nitto Technomic stem, 150mm tall – great fit and finish, and it’s installed.  The bars are on and the brake levers are reinstalled and positioned as best I can without riding it.

Got out for a short ride, and the stem/handlebar/lever positions are good.  Now the mechanicals are finished.

I wrapped the handlebars and finished the ends, but I think the right side ended a little too close to the stem.  I have a GUB gps mount that fits on that side of the bars, so I might redo the end.  Removing a half inch would give better clearance for the front brake cable.

Barring that change, or even including it if you’re generous, the ST600 is finally ready for the road.

Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – the final details

I need to check the gps file for the upcoming Bourbon and Tobacco Tour.  Gotta make sure the route is clean (no unnecessary turns) and correct.  I also need to add the sprint points to the cue sheet.  I’ve made a list of the things I need to bring to the ride, I’ll go over it to be sure I haven’t missed anything and we should be ready to ride.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate, I can’t do anything about it but good weather would be really nice for the ride.

I’m back from driving the route and the gps file is good.  I added the sprint points to the cue sheet.  That part of the ride is ready to go.  Now, if I only had a finished bike to use.  Decisions, decisions…

New rim tape, installed

When I left you, the tires on the Cannondale ST600 just fit too tightly for comfort.  By that I mean that removing the tire, well half of it anyway, to patch a punctured inner tube was going to be very difficult at the side of the road.

The new rim tape was delivered, and I removed both tires and tubes, the old rim tape, and installed the new rim tape.  Remounting the tires was still not an easy task, but was easier than the last time.  I’m confident that I could do this on a ride if necessary, which is a relief.

Need to ride it now that the tires are sorted out, and make sure that the handlebars and stem are properly adjusted.  The final step will be to wrap the handlebars.

Then it’s time for some “all done with this one” photos.

Stay tuned.

New rim tape

No bicyclist likes a flat tire.  Fixing them on the side of the road is at the bottom of most rider’s list of fun things to do.  Mounting tires for the ST600 was difficult enough that I don’t want to try it on the road.  Of course the first long ride will probably result in a flat, and at the point I’m farthest from home.  Karma, you know.  Well, a cell phone rescue call isn’t my first choice as I’d rather be more self-sufficient while out riding.  So, I need to try to make tire removal/installation easier.

Mounting tires on my Boyd wheels on the Merckx took less time than powdering the tube, so maybe I’m just spoiled.  Box section rims can be more difficult due to a shallow (or nonexistent) channel for the bead to rest in while mounting.

Pro tip: Always mount tires with the label over the valve stem hole.  Since you know how the tire was oriented, and you know where the patch was applied, you’ll be able to check the inside of the casing before remounting the tire to be sure there’s nothing in there waiting to cause another flat.  The little wires from steel belted auto tires (a common cause of flats) are hard to see but it helps to be checking in the right spot.

I used Velox tape, as I have always used in the past, but for this rim, the combination is simply too tight.  I’ve just ordered some Kapton tape 16mm wide and I’m going to go through the work of removing the tire and tape, and then try the Kapton tape.  It’s significantly thinner than the Velox tape and hopefully will make mounting the tire an easier job.

I’m not looking forward to removing the tire, but better to do that at home than at the side of the road in pouring rain.  Hey, if i’m going to get a flat it will probably be the trifecta – a hole in the tube, a REALLY hard to remove tire, and pouring rain all at the same time.  Not that I haven’t beaten the odds before, but why make it so easy for Murphy to assert himself?

Inaugural Tobacco and Bourbon Tour – April 21-22, 2018 – getting closer

The Inaugural Tour is getting closer, three weeks from today.  I have the prizes from the generous sponsors, and the cookout after Saturday’s ride will be at my house.  Logistically it’s simpler to leave the food in the fridge at home than hauling it from home to a pavilion.  In this case, simpler is better.

Several folks have confirmed that they’re going to be here, and a couple are definite maybe’s.  I hope they turn up, it should be a nice ride.

I will take as many photos as time allows, and will post them here and on the BikeForums site as well.

The plan is to drive the route one more time beforehand, using the Garmin 705 for navigation to be sure the gps route is complete and correct.  I need to select the sprint points and update the cue sheet with their locations so I’ll do that while checking the gps route.

Sunday’s trail/gravel ride is a bit of a wildcard, no real routes are in place.  We’ll just leave from the North Visitor Center and see where we wind up.

Can’t wait.