Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Mystery

We have truly been blessed with a mild winter that has made riding outdoors a reality on all but a few rare days.  Despite this good fortune, I have continued to have the Madone set-up on the trainer in the living room thanks to my very patient wife.  The trainer is needed in case the weather or roads are too nasty or if I do not have time for a full ride with winter gear - sometimes it is just way more efficient.

Recent trainer rides have left me a little concerned about my decline level of fitness over the winter despite some decent miles.  It just seemed much harder to maintain my spin a or a certain speed.  You may also recall from Road Riding in January that I was a little dismayed about my condition when I took the Madone out on the Palouse.

I just chalked it up to being out of shape from too much not riding hard and went on with my life.  I brought the Madone into the shop the other day for a customer to try-out Di2 before ordering a new bike and always get it inspected.  Dave was checking-out a couple of things and said something to the effect of me doing double resistance training.  I asked him why and he replied that the bottom bracket was very stiff and did not want to turn very well and adding additional resistance.

I was surprised since we replaced the BB bearings this last year and they have not really been subjected to anything unusual.  Tom found that the non-drive side had rusted, but that the drive side was fine when he dug into it. 

Remember, this is my dress bike so I don't ride it in the rain, through puddles or even when there are clouds in the sky.  The chance of water hiding out in the dark recesses of my BB are pretty slim. Tom even asked if I sweat more on one side of my body (no).  In short, it is a mystery that may never be solved, but I have a plausable excuse for being tired and slow.  I only wish our excellent mechanics had not noted the problem so early in the season - now I have to create a new set of explanations.

See you on the bike.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

You Saw it Here First

One of the many cool things about working in a bike shop is getting to see cutting-edge bike stuff before it becomes trendy and hip.  Below is a fine example I found in a remote village in Nicaragua last week.  This design securely holds your trusty mach trusty machete while avoiding that awkward and unsafe situation of trying to ride with it across your handlebars.  I learned from experience that they are razor sharp when using one to harvest plantains a few days later.

Also note the clean and uncluttered design of the bike sans front derailleur, brakes and associated cables that just get in the way.  It makes sense when you realize that the nearest bike shop is 1 1/2 hours away or by car or 4 hours by bus.  Braking is done either Flintstone style or by placing opposing foot bottoms on the front tire.