Brightness

These are some nice days to be riding here in the Chicago area. As August winds down the first whiffs of Autumn are in the air. It was almost just chilly enough this morning to think about where I stashed my long-sleeve jerseys. Time to break out the trailer and start hitting the trails with the full family…

 

 

Advertisements

circa 1982

Let me introduce you to the most important thing in my life in the fall of 1982. My Supergoose.

See, up until then my source of mobility was my old refurbished funky green metallic Schwinn Stingray. Now, don’t get me wrong – that was a bike that rocked without equal in 1976. A deep metalflake green rattlecan paintjob (with a matching banana seat!), hi-rise sissy bar, ape bars, stubby rear fender and a drag slick out back. Even though it was a rescue from the town dump, it oozed attitude and could hold a wheelie for 50 yards. Don’t even get me started with skids. But by 1980 it was showing it’s age. The stance was all wrong, the color was getting long in the tooth, and several years spent with baskets for newspaper delivering had taken it’s toll. Did I mention that  beck then you stored your bikes in the metal shed out back? Rust city. Every spring you tried to fight it back with a can of Noxon and an old toothbrush, but it was a losing battle.

So enter 1982. Big year. First year of high school. New crowd. BMX! I started hanging with 4 or 5 guys who were pretty deep into BMX. In truth, it was pretty hard NOT to be into BMX in ’82. It was everywhere. That was the summer of E.T. BMX was rad baby. I had to dump the old Schwinn for something real. Thing was, that old paper route was a losing proposition, and funds were limited at best. Luckily, some of the guys I was hanging out with by then were already upgrading their serious toys, and I reaped the benefits. I scraped up enough for a shiny new Supergoose frame, fork and crank (Chrome-moly!), and through weeks of bartering landed some hand-me-down components to finish it off. Tuff Wheels, stainless bars, gold headset and more. Built it up in a killer yellow and black scheme (chosen once the yellow wheels became available). Built it up myself. Man, I loved that bike. For a good year it was the style king of the sump in my neighborhood (no, we didn’t have a local track – we used to hop the fences of the local sumps where we would build jumps and berms to mess around on).

Years later I sold the ‘goose to a neighborhood kid once I got tired of it and was scraping together $$$ for my first car (another story). By then that sweet shiny finish had fallen victim to the rust monster that dwelled in our shed, and I had lost count of how many aluminum seat posts I had bent by then. Thing is, until I  dug up this shot I had almost forgotten about that bike. These days it’s the old schwinn I miss most. Not sure if I even have a picture of that one kicking around…

Revelate Tangle frame bag

revelate1.jpg
I’ve added a bag to the Fargo and I thought it would be a good time to lay down some first impressions. I picked up a frame bag from Revelate Designs up in Anchorage Alaska (gotta admit, it’s pretty cool getting packages from Alaska…). The one I ordered was the Mountain Tangle bag. I landed on this model for several reasons. I plan on using the bag primarily for carrying my everyday stuff (pump, tubes, tools, keys & such) – stuff I would normally cram in a seat bag. With the Thudbuster post a seat bag becomes problematic, so it was time to give a frame bag a try.
Those of you who troll the Fargo forum are certainly familiar to seeing bikes with Revelate’s cool full triangle frame bags. I was tempted, but for my needs they seemed like a bit of overkill. Additionally, the Tangle bags are stock items, so I could lock in an order as soon as I knew the 2011 Fargo’s were hitting the dealers and not need to wait for a custom order to be filled.
revelate2.jpg
Revelate sure makes a quality product. Construction is first-rate. Once strapped in securely this bag won’t be going anywhere. 3 top straps, one on the head tube, one down below and 2 on the seat tube allow for enough fine tuning of the fit to address any unique frame design issues.
revelate3.jpg
The Mountain bag is 19.5“ long. I could probably have gotten by with the Touring model as well (21”) since I have a little air before the bag hits the seat tube, but since I ordered the bag before the bike arrived I played it safe on sizing.

revelate4.jpg
Clearance is a bit tight with a large water bottle. Not sure if switching the cage to the down tube will help, but I’ll try that this weekend. Not a big issue regardless.
revelate5.jpg
There’s one small port included in the front to route a hydration tube, which has come in handy for a lighting cable (I’m currently experimenting with switching my Cygo lights from my helemt mount to a bar mounted setup)
revelate6.jpg
One of my concerns with the whole frame bag concept was width. If I packed one full would it end up bulging enough to start rubbing against my legs or shoes during pedaling? as you can see from this shot the bag is certainly wider than my top bar, but not to the point of annoying, and it hasn’t interfered with me in any way so far. One last thought – the spacing between the top straps is just wide enough allow mu meaty paws to grab the top cleanly, so lifting the bike by the top tube is not an issue.

That’s it so far. Stay tuned as I’ll update with some more detailed feedback as I start to put on the miles….

Fargo unboxing

img_5614.jpgimg_5615.jpgimg_5616.jpgimg_5617.jpgimg_5619.jpgimg_5626.jpg
As I mentioned in the last post, the setup for the Fargo went pretty smoothly, about 90 minutes start to finish. Ran into some issues setting up the rear derailleur, but finally got it right. Honestly, it took me longer to figure out the “doubletap” shifting on the single-lever SRAM Apex group than it did to do the basic assembly. On that note – the Apex takes a little getting used to, but I think I like it so far. It’s pretty noisy in the shifting if you’re coming from a Shimano setup, but it doesn’t feel too much “clickyer” than the Campy stuff on my Bianchi.

Yes, I know the basement is a mess.

say hello

Aside

 

initial setup with dual cages on the fork mounts

initial setup with dual cages on the fork mounts

Deep into a tough winter with little opportunities to ride. Lo and behold the good folks at Bikeman call from out of the blue to let me know that the 2011 Salsas were finally shipping. My Fargo (large) showed up on time about a week later. I’ll elaborate on the details in a later post, but I’ll just say that setup was generally a breeze and about 90 minutes after cracking open the crate it was all ready for a shakedown ride.

I went out early Sunday in 25 degree weather to get some first impressions. After not being on a 29″ for a year it took a little while to get used to the size of the Fargo. This sucker is big. The suspension-correct fork coupled with the sloping top tube positions the bars much higher than on either my Bianchi roady or the Redline CX. That said, you get used to it quickly. The riding position feels quite natural and intuitive and you have tons of leverage when conditions get sloppy. The 3-4″ of crusty ice and snow allowed for a little bit of slow, technical maneuvering, but I’ll dig a bit deeper once I start hitting the rail trails. Dangle frame bag from Revelate Designs is on it’s way, so stay tuned on that front…

needed correction..

Aside

just realized that when I look back on the last 2 posts I COULD lead folks to the (understandable) conclusion that I’m sitting on a wealth of interesting bikes, and I’m simply selling off several that have fallen by the wayside. Not the case – if the Redline sells it will leave me with exactly ONE bike (horrors!). ’nuff said. I’m taking this Fargo/all-in-one seriously.   🙂

sold, sold, sold

Aside

the great eBay experiment has been a success. Both bikes sold for the prices we were looking for. The basement has never looked so open. Seriously though, I’m happy to see a pair of bikes that hadn’t seen much riding time lately go to folks that will make better use of them. Nothing depresses me more than dusting off a saddle and filling cracking tires.

But all this leads me to another sale. See, since I got a great price for the Cannondale I’m now most of the way to a new Salsa Fargo, the all-in-one bike that will end up serving most every need I have (except hardcore road duty). That means that it’s time to put the Redline up for sale. The Redline has served primarily as my short distance commuter/foul weather trainer. Great bike, and it served my needs perfectly in NY, but the rubber is just too skinny, and the bike too top-heavy for Chicago winters. The last nail in the coffin was that Redline decided against fitting this frame with rack mounts, making baby-pulling difficult at best. Time to go to someone who will make full use of her. You can check out her eBay posting here at

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120601697124&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT#ht_500wt_1154

Now I just hope I can find a Fargo in medium before this year’s stock is gone…

sell, sell, SELL!

Aside

Well, Spring is here, and it looks like it’s time to clean house a bit. On that note, I’m putting two of our bikes up for sale (maybe even three!…) I’m taking the leap into seller status on Ebay and listing my Cannondale as well as Allison’s Gary Fisher.
img_1008-2010-06-1-16-041.jpg

It will be tough to see the Cannondale go. I’ve done a lot of riding on that bike. The Lefty fork really came into it’s own after a few years. Tough, light, stiff and responsive. Trouble is I’ve barely ridden it since moving out to the Midwest. The terrain is better fitted to a 29” wheel than these 26ers, and the short wheelbase on the Cannondale feels cramped when you’re not climbing all the time. Oh well. Money towards the Fargo – a bike that will see PLENTY of use if I ever pull the trigger.
Link to the Cannondale… http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120577512104&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT#ht_622wt_1139

img_0988-2010-06-1-16-041.jpg

As for Allison’s Fisher – this bike is a great deal. Like new, and a hard to find size to boot. This XS hardtail would make a great bike for a teen looking for a real ride. I’m guessing it would be a good fit for a female ranging from 5’ – 5’4”. It was always a hair too big for her (too much reach that resulted in too much pressure on her hands). Another bike in need of a good home
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120577564201&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT#ht_500wt_1154

So now we’ll see how Ebay turns out. If these are a success and the Cannondale turns a good dime then I’ll put the Redline up next. Who knows? Between the two I might just cover the Fargo…

winter setup

Aside

a couple of shots of the Redline in it’s current winter garb.

img_0639.jpg
those small Trek fenders have worked out well. Just enough coverage without a lot of material flopping around. Since this frame doesn’t have eyelets, these have been a good option.


img_0640.jpg

img_0641.jpg

The Ritchey Speedmax tires have held up well and give a little extra bite in mild snow depths without slowing you down, but I’m still stuck with the same issues. A soon as heavy snow or ice arrives this setup gets too dangerous. Just like last year that meant about 2 months with no riding. We’ll fix that one of these days..