Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bike built for me, but what do I want?

Today I spent the entire afternoon at Harpeth Bike with Fred going through the Serotta Fit System. Fred has been asking me to come for a few months but now I had a great reason to get fit as I had a lot of measurements to turn into Quiring for the new frame. I also wanted to see if I could find ways to improve my fit on my Surly Crosscheck.

We started with the mountain fit since that was the most important to me at this moment. Many of the questions Scott Quiring sent me overlapped with things in the Serotta fit so we just started in with the Serotta fit. After some general questions we took some body measurements like inseam and feet length/width, checked overall flexibility and then moved on to the size cycle. The size cycle is this small looking half-bicycle where every tube is adjustable so you can try an infinite possibility of frame sizes and angles.

Fred worked from my feet up and got my cleats aligned first and then worked on my knee alignment while pedaling. After more pedaling, Fred checked angles of my knees and hips and got my saddle height and position relative to the cranks dialed in. Next we moved on to the cockpit and worked on reach and stem height. This is where it was hard for me to really decide on what I liked. We tried a lot of different setups and many of them felt just fine. I was having trouble finding what I felt like was the 'best position' versus a 'good enough' position. I also had trouble imagining I was riding my mountain bike opposed to just sitting in a bike shop pedaling. The size cycle doesn't move at all so you can't tell how the setup feels leaning into a turn or standing and climbing. We settled on a few setups that I liked and had Chris and Henry help.

After finally getting the cockpit area setup to my liking we recorded all the numbers and angles we'd established. I will send these on to Quiring to help him get my bike sized perfectly for me. A few of the numbers were very close to how my current bike was setup, mainly saddle height. Turns out my legs are not exactly the same length so I have a certain 'sweet spot' where I like the saddle to be that is a bit in between my different leg lengths.

The road bike fit went a lot faster since we could build off most of the things we'd already setup with the mountain bike. I was mainly concerned with cockpit fit so we concentrated there. I was faster with finding a setup I liked and we compared it to my crosscheck to see what it will take to get that bike fitting better. Basically a higher stem is all. My reach is real close, but the bar needs to come up.

Overall the process was very interesting and informative. It takes a while, but you really dial in every aspect of your bike fit. Fred really knew his stuff and was a real pleasure to work with. All the guys in the shop are great to hang with. I would recommend anyone get a fit who in seriously into riding, whether you think your current set up is perfect or not. I now have exact numbers of all the components of a bike that will fit me so it takes out a lot of guesswork when your shopping for new frames or new parts.

I wanted to get some new bar tape too and was thinking of going with raw cork. Well, Chris came and showed me the honey leather Brooks tape and I just had to have it! It looks so great with the leather saddle and it feels like it's going to be comfy on the hands. Gotta love the trick cork bar plugs too!!

Thanks Fred! I had fun hanging with you today and you do great work!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Getting out

Going with the theme of this thread over on NMB about how long you've been riding, and reading everyone's stories of the sense of freedom a bike gives you... I went out for a quick spin over to Percy Warner park this afternoon. I was getting a little stir crazy at home but also had trouble getting completely motivated. I finally got a couple chores done and just decided if I was going to go, it was going to be right now. Solo rides can be great. It's nice to get outside and get away from everything and just be left with your thoughts; no ipods, just the sounds of the city and the park.

It's great knowing you can just leave your house by bike and just ride around town, or ride to a great park like Percy Warner in only a few minutes time. When you are trying to get movitivated to do something active, knowing you need to pack up your stuff, get your bike and gear loaded in the car and drive almost an hour to ride can really allow you to be lazy... well it can allow me to be lazy. This Surly Crosscheck has been the best bike for me this year. Sure, I've had bikes I could ride from home and could easily ride them around town, but the motivation was never there. This bike makes it FUN... and get's me out on rides more. So get out there and ride your bike! Tell your friends you wanna ride and get some groups together and hit the road!

Here is a cool new robot riding a bike... if he can ride, you can ride: Robot Cyclist

Friday, July 18, 2008

Big night at the tap room

Last night was a completely different tap room experience compared to last Thurs. Just about everyone made it out, save for Neumy who's out in CO about to race. Even Fred made it out and rode in on his new bling Serotta Timax 650b. One of the newer members of the team, Jeff Scott, made it out for his first visit to the Yazoo brewery and left with a smile and a growler of porter. It was Sharpie's bday as well as Brandy's bday who works at the tap room. A generous woman made some scrumptious rum cake and shared it will all the late stayers at the bar.

After closing out Yazoo, we all headed to Las Palmas by bike and/or by car. This sounded like a great idea at the time, during my ride back home afterwards I was cursing myself for eating so much. We stuffed our faces with chips and salsa and couldn't wait for the substantial food to arrive. The ride home was rough on a full stomach of taco-notso-salad and chips. It kept my speed in check which was probably good. When I ride alone, even around town, I tend to just ride all out all the time and always show up everywhere super sweaty. Maybe one day I'll learn pacing.

Since this week has been another slow work week I was able to head to Lock4 for a ride Tuesday afternoon. The trail was in amazing shape considering the amount of rain and storms we've had the past couple weeks. There was a big group of us but we managed to keep a good pace without too many stops and got in two full laps. I rode a few miles on a friend's Ellsworth Evolve 29er to see if I liked his White Brothers Fluid 110 fork. Nope, no thanks.... I don't think I could convert it to 80mm anyhow, but even if I could, I wasn't a fan. It was not very plush in the plush setting and not all that great of a platform in the platform setting. Not to mention the control has like 1,000 turns to it, how you are supposed to keep track of where it's set, I don't know. It's always fun to tool around on someone else's bike but seldom do I find one that is setup to my comfort. It's interesting to see what everyone likes to ride and how we are all different. Narrow bars, wide bars, high stems, no stems, saddle to bars drop or no drop.... everyone's bike is different.

Beth is back now from her long trip in Atlanta which has been great! The house was quite quiet with her gone. You can read about her adventure's here. Suffice to say she learned a LOT and have a ton of new ideas for Freshie and Zero.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

just the essentials

just the essentials
Originally uploaded by Chewieez
I made it until about 4pm until I had the coffee cravings bad. I was out of half and half and kinda wanted Starbucks (*$ to Thad) so I headed out of the house on my first voyage of the day. I decided I'd skip paying for coffee as I have some great Intelligentsia coffee at home that we bought in Chicago. While at Whole Foods I thought I would get another 22 of New Belgium and what do I find... they have a new one! Mothership Wit

So this is what my bootie looked like in the checkout line.... bananas, half and half and beer.... yep, I'm bachelorin' it for the week.

I got a late invite to gRant's and Jen's baby shower right when I returned from Whole Foods so I got back in the car and headed to his new house. He bought a house in a great neighborhood and there were kids playing everywhere and lots of people I didn't know. Once I figured out I was actually at Grant's sister-in-law's house things started making more sense. We were treated to a tour of Grant's new house with all his new additions and renovations. (The dude is a pro!) We also had some amazing pork loin sandwhiches and more salads than you've ever seen on one plate.... pasta, potato, and everything in between.

Lots of people came out to celebrate the coming baby. It was great to catch up with some folks I hadn't talked to in months like the Holstein's and McConnell's and Nagoshiners.

On the way home I swung back by Whole Foods for some more beer. I decided to do the "make your own six pack" deal for the first time. After careful consideration and contemplation and made my choices and headed home to crack one open.

I'm meeting Thad in the morning for breakfast and coffee at Bongo. Hopefully some more people join us but we're thinking of making this a regular thing. I think it would be really cool to have a bi weekly or monthly breakfast gathering where we all cycle in and chat.

moving the roadie legs

Went out for a great, epic road ride today with some of the usual crew and some new peeps. J5 took us all over his new hood and made new friend's with the locals. 50 miles and two creek crossings, filled in with a good amount of sketchy people and a lot of laughs. I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning, especially a Saturday where your wife is out of town.

Head over to the Cheeseball's blog and Purple Johnny5's to get a more indepth review of the ride. It was exactly what I needed with all the traveling lately... a good spin out of the legs and male bonding, not that female's aren't invited to ride with us.

Life is kinda boring around the Lawrence house when it's just me. I bought some new music the other day which should be in soon... some Raconteurs and new Death Cab for Cutie. Beth just got the new Beck album, Modern Guilt, and I've been cruising through that record the last couple days. I definitely dig it, and recommend you all check it out.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Our trip to Philly last weekend turned out to be a really fun trip. We flew in on the 4th and go to town in time to hang and walk to the edge of our friend's township for some fireworks. The show was awesome as we were right up on the fireworks and they were going off right above our heads.

Saturday we headed into downtown Philly and checked out the outdoor Italian market and got an authentic Philly cheesesteak at Gino's. We bought a collection of fresh, homemade pastas and made a great dinner back at Amy and Dean's house.

We decided that we should hit up Six Flags Great Adventure Sunday. This turned out to be a great idea. I haven't had that much fun at an amusement park in years! We rode every coaster they had and rode a couple twice. We rode Superman, where you hand upside down, Batman and The Dark Knight which is a carnival style, indoor coaster. The high light rides were Nitro and Kingda Ka. Nitro was just a blast... pure fun. No loops or even corscrews, just a fun, fast roller coaster where you could ride with you hand up the entire time since there wasn't an over the shoulder restraint. Kingda Ka is the highest, fastest rollercoaster in the world. It launches you from 0-128 mph in 3.5 seconds and then sends you straight up 456 feet. With the overcast weather the top of the ride was almost in the clouds. This ride is just pure speed. That is the only sensation you really feel. You get jammed in the back of your seat and are stuck there for the 30 seconds until you arrive back in the station. You can barely keep your eyes open you are traveling so fast. Unfortunately we were only able to ride this once after waiting for a while once only to be told to get off the ride due to a weather delay. Apparently you don't want to be riding at 128 mph while it raining.... it kinda hurts they told us.

Back in Nashville things are slow this week. I had a tracking session tues and wed that was not the usual deal but ended up turning out well. I had a lot of stress going into it because we weren't able to get in the studio to setup until 5pm and the musicians were booked for 6pm. Setup's generally take 3-4 hours on the fast side of things so having an hour was just rediculous. We made it work but didn't start actually recording until around 8pm. It was a xmas record so once again it was Christmas in July. I think I've done at least 1 xmas record every year in July. They are fun and just a little strange with the temps in the high 90s. Thank fully the rest of the sessions went great the second day after the dust settled.
Last night was another team night at the tap room. We had a light turnout but still have fun. I was able to try a new-to-me Yazoo brew called Silky's Red which was yummy. I rode in from my house and really enjoyed the ride. I haven't been able to ride much these past couple months with all the Freshie and Zero traveling we've been doing so now every ride seems to mean more. I just took my time and enjoyed being outside. We rode to Red Door East after Yazoo and met up with Sharpie and Dunn and enjoyed some Yazoo ESB and sandwhiches. The Red Door East still won't let bikes on the patio, FYI. After pleading out case to the manager we surrended and locked the bikes by the street. We got a pretty cold greeting at first by the manager but there was word that Dan may be hooking him up with a bike rack in the future. Be careful when you're eating on the patio though... don't trip over any bikes and sue the place.

I just got off the phone with Scott Quiring of Quiring Cycles in Michigan. I gave him my credit card info for a new Ti frame. We ended up chatting for a while about all kinds of random stuff. Seems he is right in the middle of being screwed by Microsoft with some update-gone-bad. Apparently some recent Microsoft update has messed computer's internet connection up across the country. Poor Scott is knee deep in diagnosing computer issues and not able to use the torch on some frames. I'm hoping to get down to Harpeth Bikes soon and get a fit done and pass along all the info to Scott to start the frame building process. I'm really excited to have a custom frame done. I've never done anything like this and am anxious to learn all about the process. So far Scott seems like a great, down to earth guy. It's going to be a treat to work with him.

I finally got some of the organic super lube Thad's been raving about for months. I've been lazy and put off cleaning the chain on my SS and road bike to have good switch over of lubes. With Beth out of town for a few days on business, time I had, things to do I needed, so I go to it. I rushed the process and didn't completely clean the chain thoroughly but I thought it wouldn't be a big deal. I put the Ernesto Lube on the Soma and put it back in the stand, too wet to ride that bike anywhere. I decided to get it on the Crosscheck before the tap room ride so I could test it out and have it ready for our road ride this saturday morning. Between the chain lube and lowering the psi in my tires, this was the smoothest ride I'd had in forever. There is absolutely no drive train noise while pedaling. I'm coming from using Prolink which I've been happy with (I thought) but was used to hearing the chain some while pedaling I image it's just the noise of the chain bending around the front chainring with some grit but it was silent with this new corn-oil lube. I'm actually excited to see how it ride saturday and see how the SS ride next. So far I'm sold on the super lube.

Friday, July 04, 2008

trying to catch up

I'm sitting in the Nashville airport with an hour to kill. I feel like this is the first real free hour I've had in a while. Life has been busy lately and I've had no time to update the blog. (sorry Thad).

Beth and I just got back from a trip to Chicago for what turned out to be a lame craft show. We were in Nashville for 3 days and now we are heading to Philly to celebrate the holiday and visit a good friend of Beth's.

I've been selling bike parts left and right lately. I just sold my Ventana frame on ebay and only have a few parts left. It's been a cleansing event. I officially sent an email to order a custom titanium hardtail. Hope to get the ball rolling there next week. Gonna hit Harpeth Bikes for a Serotta Fit to help me with what size bike to order and hopefully iron out my fit on my crosscheck more.

I got to ride some dirt these past couple weeks since work has been slow. I made it out to Hammy for the race which was fun, frustrating and painful. It was great to participate in the inaugural race at one of my favorite trails. Didn't ride that well but ended up with 5th place out of 6 riders. It was wet in the morning so the trail was slow and treacherous, which slowed me down but didn't seem to slow down the fast guys. 1st place SS rider had a faster time than almost all the sport classes.

I rode Hammy again last week and really enjoyed it. The ride ended with a flat truck tire though so it turned into quite the expensive ride. Hit up Lock4 this week with a big group. The trail was in great shape and the weather was perfect. I rode a solo lap then met the group and saddled up on MeanJoe's Karate Monkey for a lap with the big wheels. I rode a 3rd lap back on my Soma, then called it a day and sped home for some yummy sushi dinner with Beth. The big wheels were fun again. Loads of traction and it was interesting to compare the ride and geometry differences between the Monocog Flite and the Karate Monkey.

I'm about to board our plane so this is all.... (check out my recent trips on Flickr --->)

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