Monday, May 11, 2009

Down, Out & Back

In a case of unfortunate timing with little control over the situation, last week I started riding again after a 3 week layoff.  This was most unfortunate as I was really starting to feel I was hitting my stride.  I was moving from the drudgery of getting in shape, to the fun of enjoying riding.  So where did it all go wrong?

Things were great, but then I got up early that Monday morning to take care of our dog and noticed my upper respiratory system felt searing.  This is a clear sign that you shouldn't ride as it's only going to aggravate the situation and make it worse.  Thus I didn't ride, but things quickly went from bad to worse.  I went to work that morning and promptly left after my first meeting of the day.  I was out that day and worked from home the next.  On Wednesday I was feeling better and went to work.  Apparently things weren't in full recovery, because by late afternoon I was back home in bed.  I stayed in this largely dysfunctional state until Friday when I trudged off to the doctor.  Having a history of these sort of issues I had no desire to get pneumonia again.  I seemed to be on the mend, but they sent me for a chest X-ray that was clear.  Unfortunately I still had a lingering runny nose and chest congestion that continued into the next week.  They put me on a course of Z-pak Thursday and after two doses I broke out in hives and quit taking it.  I continued to feel better nonetheless and just ended up resting for the third week and taking the usual array of meds that I have from my allergist.

I actually dealt with the situation rationally, but felt last week I could start working out again.  On Tuesday I was still wondering if it was going to really pass or whether I was going to backslide yet again.  (This is a common problem for me when I get sick.)  But fortunately things did get better.  Unfortunately, I sort of in a mini getting restarted mode.  I'm remaining positive about it and other that an occasional lingering cough I'm generally over it.  The biggest issue at the moment is during one of my coughing fits during the second week I popped something in my sternum.  This only hurts when I take really deep breaths, cough and/or sneeze…particularly sneezing.  OUCH!  This is probably going to take some time, but I refuse to let it get the best of me.  Onward and upward.
May 11, 2009 @ 12:58 pm | Category:
Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lighting System Batteries

Although they weren't completely shot, I've scrapped my NiCad batteries for my lighting system.  Looking back it seems I last replaced them at the start of 2005. (See Old, Fat & Slow)  That means I got four seasons out of them before they started to wain.  That's not too bad as I think I paid about $35 for them (5 - D cells) at the time.  And that was an improvement as they were 5000mAh rated where the previous replacements were 3000mAh or so if I recall.  So these most recent ones were the third set of batteries since getting the lighting system.  But that seconds set took its toll on the minimal/cheap wall transformer charger.  At the end the second set had a short in one or more of the batteries and it cooked the charger pretty good.  It still worked, but ever since its had that classic burnt electronics smell whenever you used it.  It's long been a concern, but these things they cost money to fix.  So towards the end of last season I started exploring options for replacing the soon to be failing batteries.

I'm using the original 10W halogen lamp for now, but may upgrade to a 12W lamp later.  I'm also using the mounting system and battery case (soft belt mounted as I use it, or can be frame mounted).  But to power it I've now purchased and assembled a set of five 10000mAh NiMH batteries with a new duel operation trickle or quick charger.  There are several advantages to this new setup:
  • I've doubled the power rating so these should (theoretically) last twice as long between recharges.
  • NiMH batteries don't suffer from the memory effect that NiCad's do, so these should last longer without the worry of having to completely drain them before recharging.
  • The extended charge time of these batteries should allow me to continue to ride long distances later in the fall.  Typically I end up tapering off my riding in the fall because as the days get shorter and it stays darker later into the morning, I run out of battery juice before I run out of pedaling juice.
  • I'll sleep better at night knowing that the old charger is now gone and not posing a scary fire risk.
So now we are good to go for what hopefully will be another good year of riding.  But then again it's already is down from last year as was the necessary plan.  Quality over quantity, right?
March 4, 2009 @ 09:58 pm | Category:
Saturday, February 07, 2009

Take2: New Pedals and Shoes!

So nearly two years ago I bought New Pedals and Shoes!  Apparently I never followed that post up, but I ended up returning both.  The Cannondale RP 2000 shoes were way too narrow so I initially exchanged them for some other shoes.  I don't recall what those were, but they didn't fit right either.  I also decided I wasn't completely enthralled with the Time RXE Composite road pedals either.  Thus I sent it all back.  Frustrated and not really needing to spend the money in first place, I opted to just stick with my old Shimano shoes and the SPD pedals I had been using.

But all has changed for my 2009 season.  For Christmas my parents bought me the Look Keo Classic pedals that I've been eying for a longtime.  No, the're not the super spiffy, super lightweight carbon fiber and titanium ones.  That's way serious cash and honestly I really don't need anything like that anyway.  These meet my needs; reasonable price and a wider platform than the SPD's I have been using.

Look Keo Classic

As for shoes I've opted for a pair of Shimano SH-R131S racing shoes with a carbon sole.  It's revolting just how worn out my previous shoes are after slipping these on!  They're a far better shoe than old ones —comparable to the Cannondale's, but with the bonus of actually being wide enough to get my foot in!  The carbon sole wasn't a requirement, but is certainly welcome.  But what was a requirement for me this time was shoe with a micro-adjustable buckle.

Shimano SH-R131S

Now I just need to get all of this put together on the bike and dial in the setup.  But before I can do that I need do some serious year-end/year-start maintenance.  Oh, and get some jobs around the house done so my wife might actually let me outdoors!
February 7, 2009 @ 08:49 am | Category:
Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rehab: Centurion Ironman Expert

So back in early August I acquired a Centurion Ironman Expert and began rehabilitating it.  It was in very good condition other than having been unused and stored for a number of years.  So a good cleanup, a full lube job (which really didn't need to be done) and replacement of some of the dry rotted rubber and plastic bits and it's been good to go for a while now.  Items replaced and/or added:
  • 2 - Vredestein Rocorso 700x25 folding tires (dry rot replacement)
  • 2- Standard rubber presta value inner tubes (dry rot)
  • Nashbar 6/7 speed chain (clean and stretch free)
  • 2 sets - Shimano brake pads (dry rot, pilfered from another bike, not new)
  • 1 - Blackburn Mountain silver water bottle cage.  (Only had one, I wanted two and this was a cheap alternative.)
  • Nashbar racing saddle (Narrower and harder, to replace the softer one that was on here.)
  • Profile Design Bar Wrap Handlebar Tape (Hot pink because the yellow didn't match!)
  • Profile Design Aerobars (old set I wasn't using)
  • Time petals (pilfered from my LeTour)
  • Sigma Sport BC-800 bike computer (older, pilfered from my LeTour)
So that's $50 for the bike, about $70 for parts which makes the total about $120.  Throw is a good amount of elbow grease doing something I like too do and you've got a hell of a good bargain.  And now it's ready to roll…most likely primarily on my fluid trainer although I did take it out for a road ride first.  So here it is now in this suboptimal photo:

1987 Centurion Ironman Expert Dave Scott
November 15, 2008 @ 03:17 pm | Category:
Saturday, November 08, 2008

Goodbye Continental II

Today I said goodbye to my old friend, my Schwinn Continental II.  This was my first road bike which I rode extensively in my formative years.  I had been working over the summer on converting it to a commuter bike, but decided it wasn't really going to work out as I had hoped.  So I began looking for something else and then acquired my Centurion Ironman Expert.

So not having a need for it and at my wife's encouragement to get rid of it, I gave it away today.  Hopefully it will see some practical use as I gave it away to a college student who was looking for a cheap bike to get around on.  So now it is gone and I'm moving on with "only" 4 bikes…for now.
November 8, 2008 @ 01:05 pm | Category:
Thursday, August 07, 2008

Centurion Ironman Expert

I've wanted to start riding a bike to work for a long time.  And when gas started to skyrocket I tried to setup my old Schwinn Continental II.  So I tuned it up, put a rack on it and took it for a test ride.  That lasted exactly 1/10 of a mile before the front tire blew out.  It was heavy too which didn't thrill me.  So I began to watch the Buffalo bicycles on craigslist for a suitable but affordable replacement.  A few thing that intrigued me, but nothing that was right for the right money.

So out of the blue, Rob pinged me a couple of days ago to see if I'd be interested in his old road bike.  Well, uh, yeah!  We're about the same size although his legs are a bit longer so I figured it might work out.  So he dropped it off last night and as I suspected it's a bit bigger —56cm, than what I usually ride —54cm…that's about 3/4 of an inch which is alright.  Anyhow, so now I'm the happy and proud owner of a 1987 Centurion Ironman Expert "Dave Scott" bicycle:

1987 Centurion Ironman Expert Dave Scott

It's been sitting unused for a while so the tires and brake pads need to be replaced due to dry rot, but overall it's in nice shape.  And how can you possibly go wrong with that hot 80's paint scheme?

So although my initial thought was to make this my commuter bike, I've scrapped that idea now as my Schwinn LeTour is better suited for that roll primarily because it's drilled for a rack mount.  Thus the Centurion will be fixed up for duty as a replacement for the LeTour as my wind trainer bike.  But it also should be well suited to doing double duty as a secondary/foul weather bike when I don't want to get my Trek 2120 all grubby.  At least that's the plan until I can get a new primary bike to replace that one…which hopefully will be next season.

A followup post(s) will be made on the Centurion's rehab once I get some parts and start making some progress.  And always remember, one can never have too many bikes…contrary to what mothers, fathers, wives, sister, brother and others may say!!!
August 7, 2008 @ 01:00 pm | Category:
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dual Suspension Road Bike

Came across a rather interesting story earlier today about a dual suspension road bike from Bianchi ridden by John Museeuw in the 1994 Paris-Roubaix race.

I found this a rather interesting read and a combination cool/weird looking.  I was also a bit surprised that I had never seen or heard of this anywhere before.
April 17, 2008 @ 12:27 pm | Category:
Saturday, February 16, 2008

Down and Out

So as well as the year started out, my cycling and general conditioning has now gone in the toilet.  I've been battling sinus and lung congestion for three weeks now.  As usual it would start to get better and the get worse again.  I finally went to the doctor yesterday…I appear to be getting to the end of it, but we're wacking it with antibiotics to make sure it goes away.  I'm hopeful that by Monday morning I will be well enough to begin working out again.  I'm so tired of this routine as this seem to generally happen at least a couple times of year to me.  :(
February 16, 2008 @ 07:50 am | Category:
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