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Archive for March, 2010

After finishing a scheduled appointment in Elkins, I pulled out the cross bike that I ever so conveniently stashed in the vehicle the night before and headed off to complete the Elkins to Parsons section and turn around. I had been on the rail-trail once before, with a friend of mine, and we pedaled at blistering speeds. he ended up taking a corner in the gate sections too hard, and ended up crashing.

I’ll sadly admit that I also hit a car barrier when I clipped one of palisades with my MTB handlebars, and ate dirt; it was not a pretty sight. To my defense, my handlebars were (I’m guessing..) 76 cm apart, when my handlebars were 60 cm wide… Yeah…

This most recent ride on my cross bike with 42 cm wide handlebars made cruising all around a breeze. Little hesitation was taken for slowing down for these barriers, and I was fortunate enough to not see another bicycle on the trail the entire time. This parked Jetta was as close as I came to passing another two-wheeled object on the trail:

There were many people jogging and walking on the trail, and even a family pushing their gaggle (three) baby strollers along a paved section. Being on the rail-trail is a desirable thing not only of exercise, but due to the scenic nature and geographic variety along the way. Most of the path follows the river, and you also ride past a lot of farm land with different kind of animals; I like making noises at the cows… but they too often run away in response :( Several spots along the trail were also carved out of a hill or mountainside, displaying jagged rocks, or layers of history to be seen and appreciated.

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The photographic opportunities on the rail-trail are limitless. I only brought a Kodak Zi8 portable webcam with me, but I was still able to get some great footage/shots of the area around me:

Video:

Macro:

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This looked like I could eat it! :o Spring Garden Mix, I say!

Bike Photo-ops

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Right before reaching Parsons, you come across a small industrial complex with the smell of pine, then you see a mountain of sawdust and wood mulch. It might have been the biggest mulch pile I have ever seen in my life…. I want to say it was 9 to 12 meters high, it was ridic. This was all behind closed gates for the Kingsford corporation! That’s right! The little charcoal briquettes that people use for campfires are made in West Virginia! This alone was worth the trip!

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I finally made it to Parsons, and I know this by seeing the Sheetz. Several people replied to my question of “What is there in Parsons?” by saying: “Sheetz.” I’m sure there are more interesting places to go and visit, but my lycra-clad self wasn’t interested in romping around off the bike for too long.

The ride back to Elkins was met with strong headwinds which were more demoralizing than anything. I was ready to get back to Elkins and scarf down some Taco Bell. Since it was an out-and-back, not too many things were worth highlighting or speaking about that were not yet covered. I did see a creepy old waterworks plant with an open door. I was tempted to go in, but there might have been some Parsons equivalent of Crazy Carson in there or something…

I also saw another place which I swear had to be a crack house or something. There is always a nice Nissan 350Z parked by it, but the trailer is so crappy looking… Must be a meth dealer or something :o

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All in all, the ride was great. The terrain is very forgiving, and about 1/5th? of it is paved. Pace on a mountain bike can be kept at about 24 kph, without overexerting one’s self. I would suggest anyone looking for a good recovery ride to come and try it out; or if you are wanting to make a day out of it, ride all the way to Thomas!

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Hah, the title reeled you in, no?

While going down the rail-trail in Elkins, I was cruising along and kept riding past old farmhouses with tons of crap laying around them. I thought to myself

This would be a great area for the American Picker dudes

Lo and behold, I end up just pacing myself faster and faster without noticing, all while pretending to be Mike Wolfe and freestyling all over that rail trail like there was money to be made. It was a blast.

Take a look at some of these dumps!

Is that a TV outside???

This isn't a beater, Its a classic! >.>;;

Gold Mine :O

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With the weather heading south for the past couple weeks, this was only a good thing in preparation for testing out my new cyclocross bike build. In the immediate area there is not a large cyclocross scene, so a friend of mine, and I went out on a path with the muddiest and rutted roads we could find.

My friend that I just spoke about is completely what you would call a retro-grouch; that is if he had a bone to pick with modern components. He loves the look and design of many new things, but his older, more familiar bicycle components leave him with enough satisfaction without an upgrade. On this ride, he’s on a 20+yr old frame with a downtube shifter for the front derailleur, and a bar-end for the rear… such an amalgamation of parts. Heck, he even had fenders on this bike. :o

Off we went to some abandoned county roads that have not seen tar & chip, or asphalt in quite some while; the bike took care of it with no problem. I was very hesitant on the descents, being the first ride on this bike, but everything was fine once I warmed up to it. The Hutchinson Bulldog tires were satisfactory everywhere they should have been. Attempting to stand up and pedal while on a 12% incline had some wheel slippage included, but with the tires inflated to 4 bar, I could not blame them.

Here is a prototype video I did with Google Earth of the ride.

The course took us through some pretty interesting terrain; I’m pretty sure we crossed through more streams than a typical MTB ride through the area. At 48 km, this was not a long ride if classified as a road ride, but this was trail riding on a cross bike, basically. I have yet to perfect my fit on the bike (to my surprise), so I had to stop about 3/4 through the ride to adjust my saddle for comfort. My back and knees still say the bike need tweaking, and this will be my project for the week…

Other than that, the ride was fine. We chatted about the history of parts, companies, people, and regions of places we have never been. It was an ideal test ride.

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This post will be permanently shown under the My Bikes page, above.

Hasa Full Carbon Road Bike

  • Frame – Toray T-700 Carbon Fiber 12k
  • Fork - 1 1/8″  Threadless Carbon Fiber fork and Steer Tube
  • Bottle Cages – 2x Specialized Rib Cage Road (Spray Painted Black)
  • Headset – Integrated Headset, Hiddenset
  • Stem – Ritchey WCS 4-Axis, 90mm
  • Handlebar – Ritchey WCS Classic, 42mm
  • Brake Levers/Shifters – SRAM Rival ’09
  • Bar Tape – Bontrager Gel Tape (Reusable)
  • Cables/Housing – Bontrager
  • Brakes – SRAM Rival ’09
  • Wheels – Flit Letica
  • Skewers – KCNC Ti Skewers
  • Tires – Vittoria Open Corsa EVO, Bontrager Race 700 x 23c
  • Bottom Bracket – Truvativ GXP 68mm
  • Cranks – SRAM S550 Compact Crankset 50/34
  • Front Derailleur – SRAM Rival ’09
  • Chain – KMC X10-SL
  • Saddle – Nashbar Glide
  • Seatpost – Ritchey WCS Carbon One-Bolt 31.6mm
  • Seatpost Clamp – Campagnolo Clamp for Carbon Frames
  • Pedals – Ritchey WCS
  • Cassette SRAM OG-1070
  • Rear derailleur – SRAM Rival ’09

This bike was the first bike I ever built from the frame, up. It has been a work in progress, changing out handlebars, wheels, and cranks until I have found perfection. It hovers at the UCI 6.9 kg (aka 15.25 lbs), and rides like a dream. The component selection is all to make this bike look as ninja as possible, while still sticking to a high standard. Ritchey products are not the lightest or best, but they sure are reliable, and are competitively priced.

The carbon bike’s geometry is fit perfectly to me. After a long MTB ride, or a five-mile run, I feel like I can crawl up on the saddle and pedal on it like it was molded specifically to me… like a glove. It does not handle perfectly downhill at high speeds, and this has made me reluctant over time to go faster than 40-45mph on the bike. I have said the light weight feel of the bike is the culprit, but I think it is more of how much of my body is place where on the frame and just use the weight as a crutch. Climbing on this bike is equivalent to running a marathon on roller blades; it just makes things seem effortless. I am sure this bike, not only due to the weight, but also the fit has allowed me to gain watts, or not need to use as many on strenuous parts of a ride. I couldn’t really ask for a better bike with my standing socio-economic status as of 2009.

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West Virginia Wesleyan College is a private college in WV; it is also my alma mater. One thing I was able to do for the campus before I graduated was getting a 20-bike bike rack for two residence halls. It wasn’t much, but it was all I could do and it was put to good use. Sadly, I am not satisfied with the amount of bike racks on campus for reasons highly visible all over. All around the residence halls, and academic buildings, you will see bikes locked up to handrails on the breezeways, on benches and light poles, and even just right outside a classroom. If there were more bike racks, there would be less of a clutter of bikes all over the place. One last reason for more bike racks is due to three bicycles being stolen even after being properly locked up; two of them belonging to friends.

Well, I was bored this weekend, and decided to take a little bit of action; I had some left over lumber supplies from a previous project, wanted to make a bike rack out of these discarded pieces. This project took me two hours, and no money. The screws were salvaged from a demolished DIY arcade cabinet I created in 2005, and became tired of.

Here are the results:

The best place to put this bike rack was at the library. There were several times I locked my bike, or there was someone else’s bike chained to a handrail on the steps leading to the entryway of the building. It was an ostentatious gesture doing this, but there was no where else to put your bike while studying there. After cleaning up my sawdust mess, and putting everything back up, it was 8:00pm; darkness was falling. I drove up to the library with the rack and a little sign in the bed of the truck and carried it to the steps of the library, I felt like a ninja or some kind of crazy advocacy person… (think Greenpeace) I placed my little promotional sign in the most visible area, as close to the bike rack as possible. I also found a spot for the wooden bike rack that was out-of-the-way, but still noticable and available to be used. I had to face one side of the rack facing the grass, instead of both sides on the sidewalk since the placement of bikes on both sides while on the pavement would have taken up too much space.

While this kind of approach to getting what you want is nowhere near as diplomatic as actually going to the faculty of the college or writing a formal letter, it does create a little bit of publicity for an issue on campus. I’m hoping for the best with this, but if nothing happens… I’m only out two hours of my time and some wood scraps~

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