Sunday, January 27, 2013

29er Snow Ride

It was a sunny 25°F day with a few inches of fairly fresh snow on the ground.  I put a muni tire on my 29er and decided to ride to the Hojack Trail, the local railroad bed trail.

I was about to leave when I discovered my tire was flat.  The tire and tube I was using came off the non-geared spare wheel that came with the 29er.  While it was more or less flat when I took it off, I assumed it had been intentionally deflated or had been sitting around long enough to slowly lose its air, like many wheels do.  So I took off all my riding gear and went to work patching it.  Grrr.

The tube had a pin hole that was easy to find.  I used one of these Slime Skabs self stick patches for the first time. I got these in a goody bag at some race I attended. Unlike traditional tube patches, you don't need a tube of cement.  It's just like a sticker.  Too many times the traditional tube of cement is all dried up, despite any effort to close it up tightly after the last use.  Assuming these Slime patches have a shelf life and hold over time, they're awesome and I think I'll always use these now.

To get the Hojack I needed to ride a stretch of road.  The knobby muni tire was annoying.  Once I got there it became more useful.  The Hojack clearly had significant foot traffic, but most of it was within a four foot width.  That left a few feet on either side of 3" deep fresh snow.  Riding in the disturbed snow was awful as it constantly threw my balance off, took 10 times more energy, and made me look like I was a total spaz.  The fresh snow took some energy to cut through but was nice and smooth.

I made my way past North Ponds Park, but as soon as I crossed Holt Rd I found there wasn't enough undisturbed snow to continue that way.  I went back to North Ponds with the thought of cutting through and riding the route 104 bike path.  The path through North Ponds had been walked by many more people, making it more packed and easier to ride, but still crazy bumpy and not enjoyable.  As I came around to the 104 path, I found it was more or less pristine!

Heading west on the 104 path I found snowmobile tracks that tended to avoid the path but in tight areas they were forced onto it.  Just like with foot traffic, these tracks caused me trouble.  By the time I got to Five Mile Line Rd, I had enough and decided to ride the road back.

Unfortunately, in so many places the road is absolutely awful.  Roads generally have a camber so water runs off to the sides.  But geez! The grade of some of the shoulders is way more than necessary and causes me to lean so much that it's hard to ride and is fatiguing on my lower back.  It probably didn't help to have the knobby tire on.  This makes me worry a bit about doing any significant road riding.  Hopefully I just ran into some bad ones.

It looks like I road about 10 miles.

Snow Ride - 2013-01-12 at EveryTrail
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Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Light

Tonight I rode around the block on my 29er in the dark.  I wore my newly purchased lights: the MJ-880U Magicshine 2200 lumen bike light and MJ-818 tail light.

I could see fine.  I hope to use this light to get out in the dark evenings, riding road, riding trails, or snowshoeing.  The cold temperatures will still be uninviting but I can dress for that.

These lights are designed to attach to a bike: lights on the handlebars and seat post, and battery pack to the frame.  But I got the optional helmet mount that has a kind of 2-inch long simulated handlebar.  I wanted a light that shined wherever I looked.  I put the battery pack in my CamelBak and attached the tail light to a buckle.  It all worked well.  For snowshoeing or any other non-hemet activity I plan on using my GoPro helmet strap mount with some kind of custom adapter I have yet to make.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

First and First

With 50°F weather in January on a Saturday, it was a perfect day to ride the road on my recently acquired geared 29er.  It was my first ride of the year and my first ride on a 29er.

My daughter Sydney joined me on a 24" wheel mountain bike.  I got her a CamelBak for Christmas and she was excited to use it.

I took a picture of my 29er before we rode.  I had Syd hold it, just like she did for my KH24 nearly 3 years ago!

We rode through neighborhoods streets and came close to hitting 10 miles.  Syd was surprised we went so far.

I rode a slick tire because there's no snow or ice on the road.  What a smooth ride compared to my usually off-road tire.  And shifting came easy.  In fact I felt like it was easier than ever.  I didn't feel like my speed was ever really much more than usual but I wasn't pushing it.  The handlebar setup was pretty cool.  I used it for most of the ride.

The only thing that gave me trouble was the saddle.  I was sore earlier than I should have been.  It might be an older model with different foam, or maybe it just has too many miles on it, or maybe I'm just not used to riding.

My cycle computer said my average speed was 8.8 mph, while my GPS said 7.5.  Those are faster than normal and I wasn't pushing much because I wanted Syd to have fun.  I should try to get that up to two digits.

Road Ride - 2013-01-12

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Geared 29er

My new geared 29er was just delivered!

I've been riding a 24" uni ever since I got into the sport 3 1/2 years ago.  It's a good size for technical trails and it seems logical that a smaller wheel will be advantageous on steep hill climbs.  But it's too slow on easy trails and road, so about 2 1/2 years ago I got the geared hub. That's been great.

Still, at times I would wish I had a 26" or 29" uni to see if it would have some advantages.  I've ridden Jamie's 26 before, but it wasn't significantly different.  But a 29er should be big enough to make a difference, not just for an increase speed, but also to roll over things easier. I've considered getting one from time to time.

About a week ago my friend Steveyo from Albany put his geared 29er up for sale.  He has a few other unicycles and just wasn't getting enough use out of this one.  I ended up buying it.
It's a 2009 Kris Holm 29er with a Schlumpf hub from February 2012.  I also got his non-geared wheel, two road tires, a muni tire, a studded snow tire, and some handle bars.

I haven't been out riding since November!  We had wet weather, then I was busy with work, then holidays, and I was sick.  The snow covered streets have been calling to me but I still haven't ridden.  The thought of a faster uni motivates me to get out.

I'll clean stuff up, change the tire, and set it up soon.