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I've recently completed the wiring of a Luxos headlight and taillight on my Bridgestone RB-T. Because this is the most extensive and fastidious wiring I've done on a bicycle yet, I figured it would be worthwhile to share my experiences.

I'm using a Schmidt SON hub mated to a Mavic A319.  I've got Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 700x35c tires F&R. I'm using VO Zeppelin aluminum fenders. 

I ran the wire from the hub to the fender along the right fender stay, using zip-ties to keep the wire in place. 

This is also a really clean route for the wire, as it is barely visible. 

Because I have enough extra room between the fender and the tire, I chose to run the wire on the underside of the fender. Elton at Harris Cyclery told me about a method he learned from Somervillian, whereby you use HVAC duct tape (the REAL stuff, made from aluminum with adhesive on one side). 


The adhesive sticks like crazy, and if you are using silver fenders, the tape completely blends in with the metal.  Also, because this tape is meant to take high heat, it should last a long time. 



In the front, I used a rubber grommet to bring the wire up through the fender beneath the fork crown to connect back to the taillight wire. 


I then ran the wire along the downtube, using zip-ties to hold the wire.  I then ran the wire beneath the bottom bracket and through the hole in the rear fender. 


I then ran the wire up the inside of the rear fender to the taillight, at which point I drilled a hole for the wires to exit and connect to the light. 



Because I'm using a Luxos U, there is a third wire to worry about: that which connects to the cache battery and the associated USB port for charging my phone while riding. I have not found a very elegant solution for this, so I run the wire from the headlight, wrap it around the VO rando rack and then up to the stem where I've mounted the switch/hub. 




Lastly, because I've recently purchased a Rivendell Trunksack (small) for my rando rack, I needed to be able to mount the front light in a place other than at the fork crown. Harris recently started carrying the M.A.P. Cycles front light fender mount. This was exactly what I needed, BUT the Luxos Is really deep, so it interfered with the rando rack when mounted at the very front of the fender. I took some aluminum bar stock and made an extension off the front of the fender into which I was able to screw the light mount. EDIT:{The aluminum bar stock wound up failing due to metal fatigue from bouncing up and down after only a few rides. Fortunately the light did not roll of a mountain when the piece broke, but I certainly learned my lesson. It has since been replaced with an extra steel rack strut that I had.  I cut it to length and put it in the same place on the underside of the fender. The light mount attaches to that in the same manner. It's been rock solid ever since.}



I've recently completed the wiring of a Luxos headlight and taillight on my Bridgestone RB-T. Because this is the most extensive and fastidious wiring I've done on a bicycle yet, I figured it would be worthwhile to share my experiences.

I'm using a Schmidt SON hub mated to a Mavic A319.  I've got Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 700x35c tires F&R. I'm using VO Zeppelin aluminum fenders. 

I ran the wire from the hub to the fender along the right fender stay, using zip-ties to keep the wire in place. 

This is also a really clean route for the wire, as it is barely visible. 

Because I have enough extra room between the fender and the tire, I chose to run the wire on the underside of the fender. Elton at Harris Cyclery told me about a method he learned from Somervillian, whereby you use HVAC duct tape (the REAL stuff, made from aluminum with adhesive on one side). 


The adhesive sticks like crazy, and if you are using silver fenders, the tape completely blends in with the metal.  Also, because this tape is meant to take high heat, it should last a long time. 



In the front, I used a rubber grommet to bring the wire up through the fender beneath the fork crown to connect back to the taillight wire. 


I then ran the wire along the downtube, using zip-ties to hold the wire.  I then ran the wire beneath the bottom bracket and through the hole in the rear fender. 


I then ran the wire up the inside of the rear fender to the taillight, at which point I drilled a hole for the wires to exit and connect to the light. 



Because I'm using a Luxos U, there is a third wire to worry about: that which connects to the cache battery and the associated USB port for charging my phone while riding. I have not found a very elegant solution for this, so I run the wire from the headlight, wrap it around the VO rando rack and then up to the stem where I've mounted the switch/hub. 




Lastly, because I've recently purchased a Rivendell Trunksack (small) for my rando rack, I needed to be able to mount the front light in a place other than at the fork crown. Harris recently started carrying the M.A.P. Cycles front light fender mount. This was exactly what I needed, BUT the Luxos Is really deep, so it interfered with the rando rack when mounted at the very front of the fender. I took some aluminum bar stock and made an extension off the front of the fender into which I was able to screw the light mount. EDIT:{The aluminum bar stock wound up failing due to metal fatigue from bouncing up and down after only a few rides. Fortunately the light did not roll of a mountain when the piece broke, but I certainly learned my lesson. It has since been replaced with an extra steel rack strut that I had.  I cut it to length and put it in the same place on the underside of the fender. The light mount attaches to that in the same manner. It's been rock solid ever since.}




I had been on the lookout for a good deal on a tandem when about 1 year ago I spied an old (late '80's-early 90's as far as I can tell) Nashbar Tandem 9000 on Craigslist.  If I recall correctly, the person was asking $150-$200 for it. This was already a good deal, as it seems impossible to find someone that believes their shitty tandem is worth anything less than $1000, regardless of condition.  Perhaps because it was listed on CL, I felt compelled to see if they would take less. I offered $100, and told the person that I would need for them to deliver it, as I had no way to pick up a bike that I couldn't ride home (the tires were rotted) and while I had three bike racks on the roof of my car none were capable of carrying a tandem (not to mention the person lived far from the city and I didn't feel like schlepping).  Amazingly my offer was accepted, and two young guys showed up at my apartment the next evening with the following:


The big blue Nashbar 9000 tandem that was dropped off was in relatively decent structural shape, but as I got deeper into the restoration I realized that -shocker- this was a bike that had actually been ridden by its owners, and quite a lot it seemed.

My first attempt at making this land ship roadworthy was geared towards doing it on the cheap, and so I replaced as little as was necessary:
  • I re-cabled and re-housed the drum brake, both rim brakes and both derailers
  • I replaced the tubes and rotted tires with Schwalbe Marathon 27 x 1 1/4" rubber (the best 27" tires that I could identify)
  • I bought matching honey brown Brooks saddles used on eBay. A B17 for the captain and a Flyer for the rear admiral
  • I bought a cheapo seatpost for the rear admiral, as there was none when I got the bike
  • I put new Cinelli cork handlebar tape on both sets of handlebars
  • I replaced the brake pads on the cantilevers with salmon Kool Stop pads
  • I put on rear and front racks that I had lying around
After these modifications and additions, the bike looked like this:

At that point, my wife controlled the drag brake through an aero lever that was mounted to her bars. The other rear lever served as a dummy lever and comfortable place to put her hands.

That was when I got ambitious and decided that we were ready to go cycle touring to and in Acadia National Park.

I borrowed a Burley child trailer from a friend and we hoped to hop the Amtrak Downeaster to the end of the line, at which point we planned on cycling the roughly 150 miles to the park and then exploring the carriage roads on 2 wheels.  That crazy setup looked like this:


When I was loading the bike onto the train at South Station in downtown Boston, the conductor mentioned that he didn't think that tandems were allowed in the bike car. I had planned an entire week-long vacation around being able to bring the bike on the train, and had never seen anything mentioning this fact on the Amtrak website, so I argued vociferously that it would be fine and that he was wrong.  "Lucky" for me, I won the argument and slid the bike into a diagonally oriented rack that simply held the front wheel.  At first I said that due to the length of the steed I wanted to just lay the bike on its side, as I didn't trust the rack, but the conductor wasn't having it.  At that point I felt lucky to get the bike on there, so I didn't argue.

When the train pulled into the final destination, the conductor approached me to inform me (in a very deferential and apologetic manner) that something bad had happened to my bike on the ride.  I walked back to the bike car to find the front wheel completely taco'd. Apparently the bike had tipped during transit and the front wheel stayed in place, thus the Mexican fiesta in the front.

I think I felt as bad as the conductor. He gave me the phone number of a supervisor to call (the following Monday, it was Saturday at this point) who would take care of reimbursing me for the damage.  Owing to my obstinacy, I felt partially responsible.  Furthermore, I'm a huge believer in rail travel, and I didn't want to do something that I felt would further damage the already enfeebled finances of Amtrak.  If I had felt entirely guiltless, I would not have taken this approach, but I accepted the responsibility that I thought I deserved. My wife was not as understanding (this was our one-and-only one week summer vacation that had potentially been ruined after all).

There was a bike shop very close to the train station, but they did not stock 48-hole 27" rims (imagine!). I was weary of what they had in stock supporting our heavy load.

This is what the bike (and my trooper of a wife) looked like once we got off the train:



I decided that the only way to salvage the vacation was to take the train back to Boston with the tandem, go home, drop off the tandem and put two "regular" bikes on the roof of the car and drive back up.  Thus my dreams of a car-free vacation were dashed, but the vacation was salvaged. 

The carriage roads of Acadia provide for miles of stress-free riding, and we subsequently had a terrific vacation on 4 wheels instead of two:

Can't do that with a tandem
Fast-forward to this past winter.
It's been a long, cold winter in Boston, so anything that can occupy a few hours of indoor time is always in demand. Fortunately I am happy to come home from work and spend an hour or two working on bike projects before dinner (and my wife is kind enough to oblige this indulgence).

So here begins what you've probably come to this post for: the dirty details of what I did to the bike to turn it into one that I could really be excited about.

First thing's first: a 27"-700c conversion was necessary. The tire selection for 27" rubber stinks, and I wanted something much juicier than what I could find in imperial dimensions. I've mentioned before my affinity for Schwalbe Marathon Supreme's, and the tandem was the perfect opportunity to put them on in their fattest form: 45c. I don't think it would have been a problem had the bike originally been designed for 700c wheels, but the small decrease from 27"->700c probably made this a tad easier.



Of course I needed new wheels to match the rubber, so I used this as an opportunity to use my 32-hole Ultegra hub mated to a Mavic A319 rim that was on my Bridgestone RB-T (replacing that with a SON28 on the BStone). I reused the rear hub from the tandem (a sealed bearing 48-hole Sansin designed for the already present Arai drum brake) and asked Elton at Harris Cyclery to build me a new wheel mated to a NMSW Velocity Atlas. Every other reference to "bombproof" wheels in the history of the internet should point to the below pictures:




When Velo Orange announced their "Crazy Bars" I immediately decided that I needed two sets of them. I missed out on the first round, but I got in on the second and swapped out both front and rear drops for these very practical (and admittedly bizarre) h'bars.



Only problem was that the OEM quill didn't work with bars like these, so I needed to convert to a threadless-type stem. I originally assumed that the stem was a standard 1" quill, but I was mistaken. This steed takes a somewhat unique 1-1/8" quill. Fortunately, Universal Cycles had a 1-1/8" quill to threadless adapter, to which I attached a Profile Design stem:


I also took the Nitto rando rack that was previously on my commuter and put it on this bike. All I had to do was buy some fork blade clamps (from Bikes Not Bombs).

Clamps not actually visible in this picture, but they are elsewhere. That's a Rivendell Trunksack.
One of the things that attracted me to the Crazy Bars was the ability to brake from multiple positions.  Much easier said than done.  The bars have a thickness of 22.2mm at the main part and 23.8 in the horns. Therefore, inverse levers won't fit into the upright portion, nor will bar end shifters.  Personally I think this is a poor choice on VO's part, but I'm sure they have their reasons.  That being said, I had to figure out a solution that would allow me to have two sets of levers with bar end shifters and yet leave the horizontal portion of the bar clean, as I never use that area, other than to house devices like my iPhone mount.  After much researching, I settled on the JTek AeroBrake, which attaches to Shimano barcons by replacing the bolt with part of the brake mechanism:






In the upright portion, I went with JTek AeroBrake Clamp-on Style levers, as most typical inverse levers require a larger diameter than the roughly 17.6mm that is present on the VO Crazy Bars. Plus, I figured I might as well keep all the brake levers in the same family and I'm always interested in supporting small-scale American bicycle parts manufacturers:


I subsequently got somewhat Bob-ish and finished the cork bar tape with nylon string (not hemp or cotton...)

 
Four brake levers and only two brakes (not including the Arai drag/drum brake which we'll get to later). I originally ordered a DoubleControl Model L from JTek engineering as well, but once I received it I decided that I would like to have the integrated spring that is present in the Problem Solvers version of the same device.  I also was not very happy with what appeared to be pretty rough tolerances in the JTek version.

This image is from JTek's website. You can see their DoubleControl just below where the stem would connect.
I contacted Ryan at JTek and he gladly accepted my return of the DoubleControls and I ordered two Problem Solvers Cable Doublers (in the 2:1 guise that pulls one brake with either of two levers, they also sell a 1:2 variety that allows one lever to pull two brakes).  I was very pleased with the quality of these devices, and they have two integral springs that prevents the lever that is not being squeezed from going limp when the other one is pulled.  Only thing: they are a supreme pain in the ass to get set up correctly, especially on a tandem where the cable runs are a mile long.  I located both of the doublers at the handlebars, so that I would only have to run one cable to the brakes (not as big of a deal for the front, but it certainly was for the rear).  It took me three post-work evenings of cursing at these buggers before I got them dialed in.


So far it doesn't appear that I need to cinch the doublers to the bars to prevent rattling, but if I do I'll have to figure out something more elgegant than zip-ties, probably twine and do a similar treatment to the ends of the h'bars.




Because I'm new to the whole world of tandems, I spent an inordinate amount of time researching "how it should be done".  Sheldon Brown mentions controlling the rear drag/drum brake with a bar end shifter. This allows you to set it and forget it if you are descending a very large hill.  I really liked the simplicity of this solution, and I had already experienced my wife braking when I was not expecting it when she had control over this.  Being the control freak that I am, I determined that I would control all decelerating devices.  Because I didn't want to clutter the handlebars, and because I thought it would be neato, I ordered a Paul Thumbie in 26.0 mm guise. I also bought a used set of Shimano barcons on eBay.  Because I needed three shifters, I used the two that I had on my RB-T (and replaced them there with Riv's silky-smooth variety).  While it's probably overkill to use a Thumbie in this situation, I think it's pretty slick, and it tucks nicely out of the way.

The brake is engaged in this picture. Using a barcon allows you to have a parking brake, which is very handy with an unwieldy steed like a tandem.

The Ritchey Break-Away Quick Disconnect (DERAILER VERSION) is just to the left of the lever arm.
I decided to install a Ritchey Break-Away Quick Disconnect, because removing the rear wheel was such an awful pain, and the cable was getting really chewed up at the lever arm on the Arai drum.  I used the derailer version because I'm actually using derailer cable connected to a shifter (rather than brake cable connected to a brake lever).  Very little force is required to actuate the drum, so I'm not very concerned about the loss of 0.1mm of cable thickness vs. a brake cable. I am however using brake cable housing, which seems like a no-brainer after it was pointed out to me by someone on the iBob list.

I replaced the cantilever brakes with Tektro mini-V's, and I pull Kool Stop pads on them (natch).  I also ordered Jagwire adjustable noodles as all of the reviews I read of the brakes said they were a worthy addition (and cheap one at that at ~$4 each).  The canti's were interfering with my racks, and I read that people liked them, so I figured why not.  So far they've been great and they give me plenty of flexibility in pad placement despite the 27"->700c conversion.

I no longer need the cable hanger that is attached to the seatpost bolt, but I haven't removed it yet.



Other details that are not particularly photo-worthy:

  • Both bottom brackets were replaced with modern, sealed bearing variety. (I actually can't remember what I put in there, but I think they are VO).
  • I replaced the freewheel with a modern Shimano 7-speed
  • The primary chain was replaced with a SRAM something-or-other
  • Al housing and cables were replaced
  • The original Suntour barcons were replaced with Shimano friction shifters. I've since learned that the Suntour barcons are relatively desirable. I don't know why, as I found them to be inferior to Shimano. I sold them on eBay. I also removed the Suntour cantilever brakes, as they no longer reached after the 700c conversion.  I'm going to sell them, I just haven't yet.
  • I put on four generic silver aluminum bottle cages
  • the pedals are constantly changing
  • the original Suntour F&R derailers remain for the time being, as do the triple chainrings.




I would be remiss if I did not thank the wonderfully helpfull people on the Internet Bridgestone Owner's Bunch (iBob) list.  It's the perfect place to get advice on a project like this.


We're ready for rando season!

Hope to see you at some NER events this spring, and hopefully at PBP 2015...





I had been on the lookout for a good deal on a tandem when about 1 year ago I spied an old (late '80's-early 90's as far as I can tell) Nashbar Tandem 9000 on Craigslist.  If I recall correctly, the person was asking $150-$200 for it. This was already a good deal, as it seems impossible to find someone that believes their shitty tandem is worth anything less than $1000, regardless of condition.  Perhaps because it was listed on CL, I felt compelled to see if they would take less. I offered $100, and told the person that I would need for them to deliver it, as I had no way to pick up a bike that I couldn't ride home (the tires were rotted) and while I had three bike racks on the roof of my car none were capable of carrying a tandem (not to mention the person lived far from the city and I didn't feel like schlepping).  Amazingly my offer was accepted, and two young guys showed up at my apartment the next evening with the following:


The big blue Nashbar 9000 tandem that was dropped off was in relatively decent structural shape, but as I got deeper into the restoration I realized that -shocker- this was a bike that had actually been ridden by its owners, and quite a lot it seemed.

My first attempt at making this land ship roadworthy was geared towards doing it on the cheap, and so I replaced as little as was necessary:
  • I re-cabled and re-housed the drum brake, both rim brakes and both derailers
  • I replaced the tubes and rotted tires with Schwalbe Marathon 27 x 1 1/4" rubber (the best 27" tires that I could identify)
  • I bought matching honey brown Brooks saddles used on eBay. A B17 for the captain and a Flyer for the rear admiral
  • I bought a cheapo seatpost for the rear admiral, as there was none when I got the bike
  • I put new Cinelli cork handlebar tape on both sets of handlebars
  • I replaced the brake pads on the cantilevers with salmon Kool Stop pads
  • I put on rear and front racks that I had lying around
After these modifications and additions, the bike looked like this:

At that point, my wife controlled the drag brake through an aero lever that was mounted to her bars. The other rear lever served as a dummy lever and comfortable place to put her hands.

That was when I got ambitious and decided that we were ready to go cycle touring to and in Acadia National Park.

I borrowed a Burley child trailer from a friend and we hoped to hop the Amtrak Downeaster to the end of the line, at which point we planned on cycling the roughly 150 miles to the park and then exploring the carriage roads on 2 wheels.  That crazy setup looked like this:


When I was loading the bike onto the train at South Station in downtown Boston, the conductor mentioned that he didn't think that tandems were allowed in the bike car. I had planned an entire week-long vacation around being able to bring the bike on the train, and had never seen anything mentioning this fact on the Amtrak website, so I argued vociferously that it would be fine and that he was wrong.  "Lucky" for me, I won the argument and slid the bike into a diagonally oriented rack that simply held the front wheel.  At first I said that due to the length of the steed I wanted to just lay the bike on its side, as I didn't trust the rack, but the conductor wasn't having it.  At that point I felt lucky to get the bike on there, so I didn't argue.

When the train pulled into the final destination, the conductor approached me to inform me (in a very deferential and apologetic manner) that something bad had happened to my bike on the ride.  I walked back to the bike car to find the front wheel completely taco'd. Apparently the bike had tipped during transit and the front wheel stayed in place, thus the Mexican fiesta in the front.

I think I felt as bad as the conductor. He gave me the phone number of a supervisor to call (the following Monday, it was Saturday at this point) who would take care of reimbursing me for the damage.  Owing to my obstinacy, I felt partially responsible.  Furthermore, I'm a huge believer in rail travel, and I didn't want to do something that I felt would further damage the already enfeebled finances of Amtrak.  If I had felt entirely guiltless, I would not have taken this approach, but I accepted the responsibility that I thought I deserved. My wife was not as understanding (this was our one-and-only one week summer vacation that had potentially been ruined after all).

There was a bike shop very close to the train station, but they did not stock 48-hole 27" rims (imagine!). I was weary of what they had in stock supporting our heavy load.

This is what the bike (and my trooper of a wife) looked like once we got off the train:



I decided that the only way to salvage the vacation was to take the train back to Boston with the tandem, go home, drop off the tandem and put two "regular" bikes on the roof of the car and drive back up.  Thus my dreams of a car-free vacation were dashed, but the vacation was salvaged. 

The carriage roads of Acadia provide for miles of stress-free riding, and we subsequently had a terrific vacation on 4 wheels instead of two:

Can't do that with a tandem
Fast-forward to this past winter.
It's been a long, cold winter in Boston, so anything that can occupy a few hours of indoor time is always in demand. Fortunately I am happy to come home from work and spend an hour or two working on bike projects before dinner (and my wife is kind enough to oblige this indulgence).

So here begins what you've probably come to this post for: the dirty details of what I did to the bike to turn it into one that I could really be excited about.

First thing's first: a 27"-700c conversion was necessary. The tire selection for 27" rubber stinks, and I wanted something much juicier than what I could find in imperial dimensions. I've mentioned before my affinity for Schwalbe Marathon Supreme's, and the tandem was the perfect opportunity to put them on in their fattest form: 45c. I don't think it would have been a problem had the bike originally been designed for 700c wheels, but the small decrease from 27"->700c probably made this a tad easier.



Of course I needed new wheels to match the rubber, so I used this as an opportunity to use my 32-hole Ultegra hub mated to a Mavic A319 rim that was on my Bridgestone RB-T (replacing that with a SON28 on the BStone). I reused the rear hub from the tandem (a sealed bearing 48-hole Sansin designed for the already present Arai drum brake) and asked Elton at Harris Cyclery to build me a new wheel mated to a NMSW Velocity Atlas. Every other reference to "bombproof" wheels in the history of the internet should point to the below pictures:




When Velo Orange announced their "Crazy Bars" I immediately decided that I needed two sets of them. I missed out on the first round, but I got in on the second and swapped out both front and rear drops for these very practical (and admittedly bizarre) h'bars.



Only problem was that the OEM quill didn't work with bars like these, so I needed to convert to a threadless-type stem. I originally assumed that the stem was a standard 1" quill, but I was mistaken. This steed takes a somewhat unique 1-1/8" quill. Fortunately, Universal Cycles had a 1-1/8" quill to threadless adapter, to which I attached a Profile Design stem:


I also took the Nitto rando rack that was previously on my commuter and put it on this bike. All I had to do was buy some fork blade clamps (from Bikes Not Bombs).

Clamps not actually visible in this picture, but they are elsewhere. That's a Rivendell Trunksack.
One of the things that attracted me to the Crazy Bars was the ability to brake from multiple positions.  Much easier said than done.  The bars have a thickness of 22.2mm at the main part and 23.8 in the horns. Therefore, inverse levers won't fit into the upright portion, nor will bar end shifters.  Personally I think this is a poor choice on VO's part, but I'm sure they have their reasons.  That being said, I had to figure out a solution that would allow me to have two sets of levers with bar end shifters and yet leave the horizontal portion of the bar clean, as I never use that area, other than to house devices like my iPhone mount.  After much researching, I settled on the JTek AeroBrake, which attaches to Shimano barcons by replacing the bolt with part of the brake mechanism:






In the upright portion, I went with JTek AeroBrake Clamp-on Style levers, as most typical inverse levers require a larger diameter than the roughly 17.6mm that is present on the VO Crazy Bars. Plus, I figured I might as well keep all the brake levers in the same family and I'm always interested in supporting small-scale American bicycle parts manufacturers:


I subsequently got somewhat Bob-ish and finished the cork bar tape with nylon string (not hemp or cotton...)

 
Four brake levers and only two brakes (not including the Arai drag/drum brake which we'll get to later). I originally ordered a DoubleControl Model L from JTek engineering as well, but once I received it I decided that I would like to have the integrated spring that is present in the Problem Solvers version of the same device.  I also was not very happy with what appeared to be pretty rough tolerances in the JTek version.

This image is from JTek's website. You can see their DoubleControl just below where the stem would connect.
I contacted Ryan at JTek and he gladly accepted my return of the DoubleControls and I ordered two Problem Solvers Cable Doublers (in the 2:1 guise that pulls one brake with either of two levers, they also sell a 1:2 variety that allows one lever to pull two brakes).  I was very pleased with the quality of these devices, and they have two integral springs that prevents the lever that is not being squeezed from going limp when the other one is pulled.  Only thing: they are a supreme pain in the ass to get set up correctly, especially on a tandem where the cable runs are a mile long.  I located both of the doublers at the handlebars, so that I would only have to run one cable to the brakes (not as big of a deal for the front, but it certainly was for the rear).  It took me three post-work evenings of cursing at these buggers before I got them dialed in.


So far it doesn't appear that I need to cinch the doublers to the bars to prevent rattling, but if I do I'll have to figure out something more elgegant than zip-ties, probably twine and do a similar treatment to the ends of the h'bars.




Because I'm new to the whole world of tandems, I spent an inordinate amount of time researching "how it should be done".  Sheldon Brown mentions controlling the rear drag/drum brake with a bar end shifter. This allows you to set it and forget it if you are descending a very large hill.  I really liked the simplicity of this solution, and I had already experienced my wife braking when I was not expecting it when she had control over this.  Being the control freak that I am, I determined that I would control all decelerating devices.  Because I didn't want to clutter the handlebars, and because I thought it would be neato, I ordered a Paul Thumbie in 26.0 mm guise. I also bought a used set of Shimano barcons on eBay.  Because I needed three shifters, I used the two that I had on my RB-T (and replaced them there with Riv's silky-smooth variety).  While it's probably overkill to use a Thumbie in this situation, I think it's pretty slick, and it tucks nicely out of the way.

The brake is engaged in this picture. Using a barcon allows you to have a parking brake, which is very handy with an unwieldy steed like a tandem.

The Ritchey Break-Away Quick Disconnect (DERAILER VERSION) is just to the left of the lever arm.
I decided to install a Ritchey Break-Away Quick Disconnect, because removing the rear wheel was such an awful pain, and the cable was getting really chewed up at the lever arm on the Arai drum.  I used the derailer version because I'm actually using derailer cable connected to a shifter (rather than brake cable connected to a brake lever).  Very little force is required to actuate the drum, so I'm not very concerned about the loss of 0.1mm of cable thickness vs. a brake cable. I am however using brake cable housing, which seems like a no-brainer after it was pointed out to me by someone on the iBob list.

I replaced the cantilever brakes with Tektro mini-V's, and I pull Kool Stop pads on them (natch).  I also ordered Jagwire adjustable noodles as all of the reviews I read of the brakes said they were a worthy addition (and cheap one at that at ~$4 each).  The canti's were interfering with my racks, and I read that people liked them, so I figured why not.  So far they've been great and they give me plenty of flexibility in pad placement despite the 27"->700c conversion.

I no longer need the cable hanger that is attached to the seatpost bolt, but I haven't removed it yet.



Other details that are not particularly photo-worthy:

  • Both bottom brackets were replaced with modern, sealed bearing variety. (I actually can't remember what I put in there, but I think they are VO).
  • I replaced the freewheel with a modern Shimano 7-speed
  • The primary chain was replaced with a SRAM something-or-other
  • Al housing and cables were replaced
  • The original Suntour barcons were replaced with Shimano friction shifters. I've since learned that the Suntour barcons are relatively desirable. I don't know why, as I found them to be inferior to Shimano. I sold them on eBay. I also removed the Suntour cantilever brakes, as they no longer reached after the 700c conversion.  I'm going to sell them, I just haven't yet.
  • I put on four generic silver aluminum bottle cages
  • the pedals are constantly changing
  • the original Suntour F&R derailers remain for the time being, as do the triple chainrings.




I would be remiss if I did not thank the wonderfully helpfull people on the Internet Bridgestone Owner's Bunch (iBob) list.  It's the perfect place to get advice on a project like this.


We're ready for rando season!

Hope to see you at some NER events this spring, and hopefully at PBP 2015...




Spring is finally here. For those of us that have been riding through the winter, it is refreshing to begin to feel comfortable leaving (some of) the layers at home.
There is nothing quite like riding through the city, noticing all the birds and flowers that are returning.
So get on your bike this afternoon (Friday March 29) and come to Copley Sq at 5:45pm for a bicycling celebration. 
See you there.
Spring is finally here. For those of us that have been riding through the winter, it is refreshing to begin to feel comfortable leaving (some of) the layers at home.
There is nothing quite like riding through the city, noticing all the birds and flowers that are returning.
So get on your bike this afternoon (Friday March 29) and come to Copley Sq at 5:45pm for a bicycling celebration. 
See you there.
Resurrected 1994 Bridgestone RB-T
In the spring of 1994 my parents bought me a Bridgestone RB-T for a cross-country (Seattle to Portsmouth, NH) ride that I was preparing to do that summer.  The previous summer I had my first experience with extended bicycle touring when I participated in a month-long  700 mile bike tour around the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.  While that trip was van supported, my cross-country trip was not and therefore the road bike I borrowed from my cousin (a Nishiki, probably 14-speed) would not suffice.  I needed a bike that could be loaded with front and rear panniers and that had proper gearing for crossing the Rockies.  My father and I went to a number of bike shops in the greater Boston area, and we happened upon a bizarre bike shop that neither of us had even been to, and I don't know if I've been there since we purchased the bike: Farina's on Galen Street in Watertown, MA.  I say "bizarre" because not only do they sell bicycles, but they also sell lawnmowers, snowblowers and various other assorted gas-powered yard equipment.  The whole experience was markedly unremarkable in that I don't really recall much about buying the bike.  Little did my father or I know that we were to come home with a bit of a cult icon in the bike world: a Bridgestone RB-T ("T" for touring).  For those that don't know, Bridgestone was then run by Grant Petersen who currently runs Rivendell Bicycle Works, and 1994 was the last year that Bridgestone sold bicycles in America.  Considering that I grew up in Newton, we should have gone to Harris Cyclery, home of Sheldon Brown, but we lived in a different part of the city, and I guess that Harris wasn't really on our radar.  Sheldon has a whole section on his site devoted to Bridgestone, including all of the catalogs up to 1994 when they ceased operations in the US.  Here is the page from the brochure depicting what my bike looked like when I got it.
1994 Bridgestone Catalog Page (from Sheldonbrown.com)
I went off to college in Portland, Oregon and chose to bring my father's old beater Specialized Rock Hopper rather than the RB-T, which stayed in my parents' basement.  I put slicks on the Rock Hopper and it served its purpose as a college bike admirably, although it got ridden much less than one would imagine considering how much I currently ride and that I was living in Portland.
I subsequently moved to Atlanta for grad school and I brought the Rock Hopper rather than the RB-T.  I didn't ride much while I lived there as that city is so car-centric.  Were I to live there now I would ride, but at the time it just wasn't part of my plan.
I moved back to Boston in 2006, settling into life in JP.  I began riding regularly within 6 months-or-so and I retrieved the Bridgestone from the basement and it became my primary ride for a while.  The wheels were screwed up and I bought some Ritchey deep-section wheels with bladed spokes from Nashbar that ultimately looked ridiculous on it.  I then built up a fixed-gear and that became my primary ride during my blossoming bike obsession over the following 5 years.
A Beauty Reborn
The Bridgestone became my winter bike and was a bit neglected.  As I began to appreciate the beauty of this bike, I realized that at some point I would like to do a complete rebuild of the bike.  When I first resurrected the bike when I moved back to Boston I had gone in to International Bike to ask them what they thought it needed.  I was told that it was not worth putting any money into it, that I should just buy a new one.  Needless to say, I didn't take their advice, and I began to see that there are numerous types of bike shops, not all of which have a philosophy about cycling that is one I agree with.  I'll save more on that for another post.
The pictures here are of the completed project.  It is the first bike that I have ever built entirely by myself from the ground up (not including the frame (obviously) and the wheels which I had built for me).  It was an amazingly fun activity, and was all the more rewarding considering that I rode this bike across the country so there is obviously some sentimental attachment.  While this might be heresy for some who think that bikes like this should be restored with period perfect parts: I actually think the bike is more beautiful than it was the day it was new, and any parts that I have added (as opposed to reusing) are certainly superior to the original equipment.
So here is the part-by-part breakdown of my rebuild:
Tange double butted tubing on the RB-T. The paint is in remarkably good condition considering that the bike is almost 20 years old.
I replaced the original triple crankset with a Fluted Triple 24x34x48T from Velo Orange.  This give the bike lower gearing than it originally came with, as the bike previously had a 52T large ring.  The front derailer (Sheldon spelling...) is the original Shimano RX100 clamp-on.  The pedals are Velo Orange City Pedals that I had sitting around, they will probably be swapped for something a little larger or something with SPD compatibility.  I used new VO bottom bracket as well, as the spacing was different for this crankset relative to the original.
The rear derailer is the original Shimano RX100.  The RB-T came as a 7-speed drivetrain, but it is increasingly hard to find decent parts that are 7-speed, and there was really no reason not to go up, so I have changed to an 8-speed SRAM PG-850 11-30T cassette.  Because I am running the original barcon shifter in friction mode, there is no problem making this switch.  The chain is a Wipperman ConneX 808.
Mavic A319 rims are new. Double-butted stainless steel spokes with brass nipples laced to...
Ultegra 32H front hub laced 3X, and...
Ultegra 32H rear hub laced 3X. These wheels were hand-built by www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com.  I would have preferred to have them built locally, but I saved a ton of money on these and I was already spending too much money as it was.  I still need to cut the fender stays.
American made Paul Components Touring Canti with polished finish up front.  Another serious upgrade from the original brakes.  Front fender is a 52mm Velo Orange Zeppelin.  The headset is original, mainly because it seems like it is in decent shape, I serviced it with the help of Broadway Bicycle School a number of years ago, and I don't have the proper tools to remove it myself.  If this one ever needs replacing, I'll put a Chris King in there.
Paul Components Touring Canti with polished finish in the rear too.  Same VO 52mm Zeppelin fender.  Paul gives you a pair of salmon Kool Stop pads when you buy their brakes.  It's the least they can do considering how expensive they are...
Brooks B17 saddle.  This is much better than the Avocet saddle that the bike came with.  That thing made it hurt to pee!
A little Japanese flair: an NJS stamped Nitto Jaguar SP-72 27.0mm seatpost that I ordered off Ebay from a guy that sells used Kerin gear.  You know you are a bike dork when you get excited about a seatpost, and this one is a beauty.  I have a Jaguar on my Iglehart (in 27.2mm guise) too and it is much more appropriate for this bike than a Thompson IMHO.  The original seatpost was an ugly cheapo giveaway.  All parts that I did not reuse that were still functional were given to Bikes Not Bombs.  The brake cable hanger is original.  The kitty sticker is not.
I'm pretty proud of this piece of improvisational bicycle mechanics, and I really hope that this was my idea and that I didn't see it somewhere a long time ago, filing it away for a time when I would need it, because I think it is slick as hell:  the rear fender is mounted to the brake bridge using an old threaded presta tube valve as the connector between the frame and the "L" bracket.  The VO fenders come with 2 brackets for the rear fender, one that wraps around the fender, and one that requires you to drill into the fender and then screw the "L" bracket into the fender from beneath.  I originally used the former, but it looks ugly, and I had tire clearance issues with it.
I used 3 of the screws that typically go on a presta valve and some of the extra leather washers I had.  This is rock solid so far, and looks pretty killer if you ask me.
Nitto Pearl 110mm 1" threaded quill stem.  I considered going for a matching Jaguar, but the slope of the Jaguar stem is really severe and considerably more expensive.  The Pearl is still a gorgeous stem with that sheen that Nitto is known for.  For some reason the RB-T originally came with a black stem.  I have no idea what the aesthetic thinking was for that, because it looked awful from day one.  This is a major aesthetic upgrade.  Original Shimano barcon bar end shifters set to friction mode to accommodate the 8-speed drivetrain (and because that's how Grant says you should use them).
In true Grant Peterson fashion, I used moustache-style bars and finished the bar tape with waxed thread.  I had an extra pair of Soma Oxford bars, so these are not the Nitto Moustache that Grant designed, but they are close.  I have them turned down.  The brake levers are the original Shimano SLR Exage.  Bar tape is a retro perforated felt-like variety.  You can see that I had to use a Nitto stainless stem shim in there to change from the 26.0mm stem to the 25.4mm bar clamp area.  This was the result of a mislabeled Ebay purchase that I was none to happy about.  I wound up scratching the handlebars pretty good trying to get that thing in there. Oh well.  The front brake cable hanger is original.
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 700x35c.  It turns out that these are really like a 37c, and that therefore the 45mm fenders that I originally purchased would not fit as there was tire rub.  From everything I've read about these tires they are great. I think I've officially been converted from a Conti man to a Schwalbe man.  All my bikes have them now, including the Marathon Winter studs which are great btw.
From the front
From the back
I couldn't be more pleased! See you on the road.

Resurrected 1994 Bridgestone RB-T
In the spring of 1994 my parents bought me a Bridgestone RB-T for a cross-country (Seattle to Portsmouth, NH) ride that I was preparing to do that summer.  The previous summer I had my first experience with extended bicycle touring when I participated in a month-long  700 mile bike tour around the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.  While that trip was van supported, my cross-country trip was not and therefore the road bike I borrowed from my cousin (a Nishiki, probably 14-speed) would not suffice.  I needed a bike that could be loaded with front and rear panniers and that had proper gearing for crossing the Rockies.  My father and I went to a number of bike shops in the greater Boston area, and we happened upon a bizarre bike shop that neither of us had even been to, and I don't know if I've been there since we purchased the bike: Farina's on Galen Street in Watertown, MA.  I say "bizarre" because not only do they sell bicycles, but they also sell lawnmowers, snowblowers and various other assorted gas-powered yard equipment.  The whole experience was markedly unremarkable in that I don't really recall much about buying the bike.  Little did my father or I know that we were to come home with a bit of a cult icon in the bike world: a Bridgestone RB-T ("T" for touring).  For those that don't know, Bridgestone was then run by Grant Petersen who currently runs Rivendell Bicycle Works, and 1994 was the last year that Bridgestone sold bicycles in America.  Considering that I grew up in Newton, we should have gone to Harris Cyclery, home of Sheldon Brown, but we lived in a different part of the city, and I guess that Harris wasn't really on our radar.  Sheldon has a whole section on his site devoted to Bridgestone, including all of the catalogs up to 1994 when they ceased operations in the US.  Here is the page from the brochure depicting what my bike looked like when I got it.
1994 Bridgestone Catalog Page (from Sheldonbrown.com)
I went off to college in Portland, Oregon and chose to bring my father's old beater Specialized Rock Hopper rather than the RB-T, which stayed in my parents' basement.  I put slicks on the Rock Hopper and it served its purpose as a college bike admirably, although it got ridden much less than one would imagine considering how much I currently ride and that I was living in Portland.
I subsequently moved to Atlanta for grad school and I brought the Rock Hopper rather than the RB-T.  I didn't ride much while I lived there as that city is so car-centric.  Were I to live there now I would ride, but at the time it just wasn't part of my plan.
I moved back to Boston in 2006, settling into life in JP.  I began riding regularly within 6 months-or-so and I retrieved the Bridgestone from the basement and it became my primary ride for a while.  The wheels were screwed up and I bought some Ritchey deep-section wheels with bladed spokes from Nashbar that ultimately looked ridiculous on it.  I then built up a fixed-gear and that became my primary ride during my blossoming bike obsession over the following 5 years.
A Beauty Reborn
The Bridgestone became my winter bike and was a bit neglected.  As I began to appreciate the beauty of this bike, I realized that at some point I would like to do a complete rebuild of the bike.  When I first resurrected the bike when I moved back to Boston I had gone in to International Bike to ask them what they thought it needed.  I was told that it was not worth putting any money into it, that I should just buy a new one.  Needless to say, I didn't take their advice, and I began to see that there are numerous types of bike shops, not all of which have a philosophy about cycling that is one I agree with.  I'll save more on that for another post.
The pictures here are of the completed project.  It is the first bike that I have ever built entirely by myself from the ground up (not including the frame (obviously) and the wheels which I had built for me).  It was an amazingly fun activity, and was all the more rewarding considering that I rode this bike across the country so there is obviously some sentimental attachment.  While this might be heresy for some who think that bikes like this should be restored with period perfect parts: I actually think the bike is more beautiful than it was the day it was new, and any parts that I have added (as opposed to reusing) are certainly superior to the original equipment.
So here is the part-by-part breakdown of my rebuild:
Tange double butted tubing on the RB-T. The paint is in remarkably good condition considering that the bike is almost 20 years old.
I replaced the original triple crankset with a Fluted Triple 24x34x48T from Velo Orange.  This give the bike lower gearing than it originally came with, as the bike previously had a 52T large ring.  The front derailer (Sheldon spelling...) is the original Shimano RX100 clamp-on.  The pedals are Velo Orange City Pedals that I had sitting around, they will probably be swapped for something a little larger or something with SPD compatibility.  I used new VO bottom bracket as well, as the spacing was different for this crankset relative to the original.
The rear derailer is the original Shimano RX100.  The RB-T came as a 7-speed drivetrain, but it is increasingly hard to find decent parts that are 7-speed, and there was really no reason not to go up, so I have changed to an 8-speed SRAM PG-850 11-30T cassette.  Because I am running the original barcon shifter in friction mode, there is no problem making this switch.  The chain is a Wipperman ConneX 808.
Mavic A319 rims are new. Double-butted stainless steel spokes with brass nipples laced to...
Ultegra 32H front hub laced 3X, and...
Ultegra 32H rear hub laced 3X. These wheels were hand-built by www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com.  I would have preferred to have them built locally, but I saved a ton of money on these and I was already spending too much money as it was.  I still need to cut the fender stays.
American made Paul Components Touring Canti with polished finish up front.  Another serious upgrade from the original brakes.  Front fender is a 52mm Velo Orange Zeppelin.  The headset is original, mainly because it seems like it is in decent shape, I serviced it with the help of Broadway Bicycle School a number of years ago, and I don't have the proper tools to remove it myself.  If this one ever needs replacing, I'll put a Chris King in there.
Paul Components Touring Canti with polished finish in the rear too.  Same VO 52mm Zeppelin fender.  Paul gives you a pair of salmon Kool Stop pads when you buy their brakes.  It's the least they can do considering how expensive they are...
Brooks B17 saddle.  This is much better than the Avocet saddle that the bike came with.  That thing made it hurt to pee!
A little Japanese flair: an NJS stamped Nitto Jaguar SP-72 27.0mm seatpost that I ordered off Ebay from a guy that sells used Kerin gear.  You know you are a bike dork when you get excited about a seatpost, and this one is a beauty.  I have a Jaguar on my Iglehart (in 27.2mm guise) too and it is much more appropriate for this bike than a Thompson IMHO.  The original seatpost was an ugly cheapo giveaway.  All parts that I did not reuse that were still functional were given to Bikes Not Bombs.  The brake cable hanger is original.  The kitty sticker is not.
I'm pretty proud of this piece of improvisational bicycle mechanics, and I really hope that this was my idea and that I didn't see it somewhere a long time ago, filing it away for a time when I would need it, because I think it is slick as hell:  the rear fender is mounted to the brake bridge using an old threaded presta tube valve as the connector between the frame and the "L" bracket.  The VO fenders come with 2 brackets for the rear fender, one that wraps around the fender, and one that requires you to drill into the fender and then screw the "L" bracket into the fender from beneath.  I originally used the former, but it looks ugly, and I had tire clearance issues with it.
I used 3 of the screws that typically go on a presta valve and some of the extra leather washers I had.  This is rock solid so far, and looks pretty killer if you ask me.
Nitto Pearl 110mm 1" threaded quill stem.  I considered going for a matching Jaguar, but the slope of the Jaguar stem is really severe and considerably more expensive.  The Pearl is still a gorgeous stem with that sheen that Nitto is known for.  For some reason the RB-T originally came with a black stem.  I have no idea what the aesthetic thinking was for that, because it looked awful from day one.  This is a major aesthetic upgrade.  Original Shimano barcon bar end shifters set to friction mode to accommodate the 8-speed drivetrain (and because that's how Grant says you should use them).
In true Grant Peterson fashion, I used moustache-style bars and finished the bar tape with waxed thread.  I had an extra pair of Soma Oxford bars, so these are not the Nitto Moustache that Grant designed, but they are close.  I have them turned down.  The brake levers are the original Shimano SLR Exage.  Bar tape is a retro perforated felt-like variety.  You can see that I had to use a Nitto stainless stem shim in there to change from the 26.0mm stem to the 25.4mm bar clamp area.  This was the result of a mislabeled Ebay purchase that I was none to happy about.  I wound up scratching the handlebars pretty good trying to get that thing in there. Oh well.  The front brake cable hanger is original.
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 700x35c.  It turns out that these are really like a 37c, and that therefore the 45mm fenders that I originally purchased would not fit as there was tire rub.  From everything I've read about these tires they are great. I think I've officially been converted from a Conti man to a Schwalbe man.  All my bikes have them now, including the Marathon Winter studs which are great btw.
From the front
From the back
I couldn't be more pleased! See you on the road.

Resurrected 1994 Bridgestone RB-T
In the spring of 1994 my parents bought me a Bridgestone RB-T for a cross-country (Seattle to Portsmouth, NH) ride that I was preparing to do that summer.  The previous summer I had my first experience with extended bicycle touring when I participated in a month-long  700 mile bike tour around the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.  While that trip was van supported, my cross-country trip was not and therefore the road bike I borrowed from my cousin (a Nishiki, probably 14-speed) would not suffice.  I needed a bike that could be loaded with front and rear panniers and that had proper gearing for crossing the Rockies.  My father and I went to a number of bike shops in the greater Boston area, and we happened upon a bizarre bike shop that neither of us had even been to, and I don't know if I've been there since we purchased the bike: Farina's on Galen Street in Watertown, MA.  I say "bizarre" because not only do they sell bicycles, but they also sell lawnmowers, snowblowers and various other assorted gas-powered yard equipment.  The whole experience was markedly unremarkable in that I don't really recall much about buying the bike.  Little did my father or I know that we were to come home with a bit of a cult icon in the bike world: a Bridgestone RB-T ("T" for touring).  For those that don't know, Bridgestone was then run by Grant Petersen who currently runs Rivendell Bicycle Works, and 1994 was the last year that Bridgestone sold bicycles in America.  Considering that I grew up in Newton, we should have gone to Harris Cyclery, home of Sheldon Brown, but we lived in a different part of the city, and I guess that Harris wasn't really on our radar.  Sheldon has a whole section on his site devoted to Bridgestone, including all of the catalogs up to 1994 when they ceased operations in the US.  Here is the page from the brochure depicting what my bike looked like when I got it.
1994 Bridgestone Catalog Page (from Sheldonbrown.com)
I went off to college in Portland, Oregon and chose to bring my father's old beater Specialized Rock Hopper rather than the RB-T, which stayed in my parents' basement.  I put slicks on the Rock Hopper and it served its purpose as a college bike admirably, although it got ridden much less than one would imagine considering how much I currently ride and that I was living in Portland.
I subsequently moved to Atlanta for grad school and I brought the Rock Hopper rather than the RB-T.  I didn't ride much while I lived there as that city is so car-centric.  Were I to live there now I would ride, but at the time it just wasn't part of my plan.
I moved back to Boston in 2006, settling into life in JP.  I began riding regularly within 6 months-or-so and I retrieved the Bridgestone from the basement and it became my primary ride for a while.  The wheels were screwed up and I bought some Ritchey deep-section wheels with bladed spokes from Nashbar that ultimately looked ridiculous on it.  I then built up a fixed-gear and that became my primary ride during my blossoming bike obsession over the following 5 years.
A Beauty Reborn
The Bridgestone became my winter bike and was a bit neglected.  As I began to appreciate the beauty of this bike, I realized that at some point I would like to do a complete rebuild of the bike.  When I first resurrected the bike when I moved back to Boston I had gone in to International Bike to ask them what they thought it needed.  I was told that it was not worth putting any money into it, that I should just buy a new one.  Needless to say, I didn't take their advice, and I began to see that there are numerous types of bike shops, not all of which have a philosophy about cycling that is one I agree with.  I'll save more on that for another post.
The pictures here are of the completed project.  It is the first bike that I have ever built entirely by myself from the ground up (not including the frame (obviously) and the wheels which I had built for me).  It was an amazingly fun activity, and was all the more rewarding considering that I rode this bike across the country so there is obviously some sentimental attachment.  While this might be heresy for some who think that bikes like this should be restored with period perfect parts: I actually think the bike is more beautiful than it was the day it was new, and any parts that I have added (as opposed to reusing) are certainly superior to the original equipment.
So here is the part-by-part breakdown of my rebuild:
Tange double butted tubing on the RB-T. The paint is in remarkably good condition considering that the bike is almost 20 years old.
I replaced the original triple crankset with a Fluted Triple 24x34x48T from Velo Orange.  This give the bike lower gearing than it originally came with, as the bike previously had a 52T large ring.  The front derailer (Sheldon spelling...) is the original Shimano RX100 clamp-on.  The pedals are Velo Orange City Pedals that I had sitting around, they will probably be swapped for something a little larger or something with SPD compatibility.  I used new VO bottom bracket as well, as the spacing was different for this crankset relative to the original.
The rear derailer is the original Shimano RX100.  The RB-T came as a 7-speed drivetrain, but it is increasingly hard to find decent parts that are 7-speed, and there was really no reason not to go up, so I have changed to an 8-speed SRAM PG-850 11-30T cassette.  Because I am running the original barcon shifter in friction mode, there is no problem making this switch.  The chain is a Wipperman ConneX 808.
Mavic A319 rims are new. Double-butted stainless steel spokes with brass nipples laced to...
Ultegra 32H front hub laced 3X, and...
Ultegra 32H rear hub laced 3X. These wheels were hand-built by www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com.  I would have preferred to have them built locally, but I saved a ton of money on these and I was already spending too much money as it was.  I still need to cut the fender stays.
American made Paul Components Touring Canti with polished finish up front.  Another serious upgrade from the original brakes.  Front fender is a 52mm Velo Orange Zeppelin.  The headset is original, mainly because it seems like it is in decent shape, I serviced it with the help of Broadway Bicycle School a number of years ago, and I don't have the proper tools to remove it myself.  If this one ever needs replacing, I'll put a Chris King in there.
Paul Components Touring Canti with polished finish in the rear too.  Same VO 52mm Zeppelin fender.  Paul gives you a pair of salmon Kool Stop pads when you buy their brakes.  It's the least they can do considering how expensive they are...
Brooks B17 saddle.  This is much better than the Avocet saddle that the bike came with.  That thing made it hurt to pee!
A little Japanese flair: an NJS stamped Nitto Jaguar SP-72 27.0mm seatpost that I ordered off Ebay from a guy that sells used Kerin gear.  You know you are a bike dork when you get excited about a seatpost, and this one is a beauty.  I have a Jaguar on my Iglehart (in 27.2mm guise) too and it is much more appropriate for this bike than a Thompson IMHO.  The original seatpost was an ugly cheapo giveaway.  All parts that I did not reuse that were still functional were given to Bikes Not Bombs.  The brake cable hanger is original.  The kitty sticker is not.
I'm pretty proud of this piece of improvisational bicycle mechanics, and I really hope that this was my idea and that I didn't see it somewhere a long time ago, filing it away for a time when I would need it, because I think it is slick as hell:  the rear fender is mounted to the brake bridge using an old threaded presta tube valve as the connector between the frame and the "L" bracket.  The VO fenders come with 2 brackets for the rear fender, one that wraps around the fender, and one that requires you to drill into the fender and then screw the "L" bracket into the fender from beneath.  I originally used the former, but it looks ugly, and I had tire clearance issues with it.
I used 3 of the screws that typically go on a presta valve and some of the extra leather washers I had.  This is rock solid so far, and looks pretty killer if you ask me.
Nitto Pearl 110mm 1" threaded quill stem.  I considered going for a matching Jaguar, but the slope of the Jaguar stem is really severe and considerably more expensive.  The Pearl is still a gorgeous stem with that sheen that Nitto is known for.  For some reason the RB-T originally came with a black stem.  I have no idea what the aesthetic thinking was for that, because it looked awful from day one.  This is a major aesthetic upgrade.  Original Shimano barcon bar end shifters set to friction mode to accommodate the 8-speed drivetrain (and because that's how Grant says you should use them).
In true Grant Peterson fashion, I used moustache-style bars and finished the bar tape with waxed thread.  I had an extra pair of Soma Oxford bars, so these are not the Nitto Moustache that Grant designed, but they are close.  I have them turned down.  The brake levers are the original Shimano SLR Exage.  Bar tape is a retro perforated felt-like variety.  You can see that I had to use a Nitto stainless stem shim in there to change from the 26.0mm stem to the 25.4mm bar clamp area.  This was the result of a mislabeled Ebay purchase that I was none to happy about.  I wound up scratching the handlebars pretty good trying to get that thing in there. Oh well.  The front brake cable hanger is original.
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 700x35c.  It turns out that these are really like a 37c, and that therefore the 45mm fenders that I originally purchased would not fit as there was tire rub.  From everything I've read about these tires they are great. I think I've officially been converted from a Conti man to a Schwalbe man.  All my bikes have them now, including the Marathon Winter studs which are great btw.
From the front
From the back
I couldn't be more pleased! See you on the road.


A few weeks ago, a skinny stripe of paint appeared on the SW corridor path. I assumed it was someone who felt like riding around dribbling paint from their bike, and that maybe it was the beginning of something bigger.

Then yesterday I read this article in the NY Times about a Brooklyn-based graffiti artist named Momo that has scribbled his name along the sidewalks across Manhattan in a very similar fashion. His tag stretches from one side of the city to the other. I have not had a chance to explore whether the paint here extends much past Mass Ave. Has anyone else noticed this paint on bike paths (or sidewalks or streets) in the city?
Here’s a map from the Times:

And here is an image from the Times of his paint drips, looks pretty similar to the image above:


A few weeks ago, a skinny stripe of paint appeared on the SW corridor path. I assumed it was someone who felt like riding around dribbling paint from their bike, and that maybe it was the beginning of something bigger.

Then yesterday I read this article in the NY Times about a Brooklyn-based graffiti artist named Momo that has scribbled his name along the sidewalks across Manhattan in a very similar fashion. His tag stretches from one side of the city to the other. I have not had a chance to explore whether the paint here extends much past Mass Ave. Has anyone else noticed this paint on bike paths (or sidewalks or streets) in the city?
Here's a map from the Times:






















And here is an image from the Times of his paint drips, looks pretty similar to the image above:

A few weeks ago, a skinny stripe of paint appeared on the SW corridor path. I assumed it was someone who felt like riding around dribbling paint from their bike, and that maybe it was the beginning of something bigger.

Then yesterday I read this article in the NY Times about a Brooklyn-based graffiti artist named Momo that has scribbled his name along the sidewalks across Manhattan in a very similar fashion. His tag stretches from one side of the city to the other. I have not had a chance to explore whether the paint here extends much past Mass Ave. Has anyone else noticed this paint on bike paths (or sidewalks or streets) in the city?
Here's a map from the Times:






















And here is an image from the Times of his paint drips, looks pretty similar to the image above:

I made the following comment in response to a post on BostonBiker, but I’m reposting it here for people who do not read the comments on his posts:

For background, this article appeared in the Globe yesterday.

As much as I want to be excited about this, I can only react with disappointment. As I noted at the end of May (http://rollinginboston.bostonbiker.org/2010/05/28/wheres-the-bike-share/) it’s been pretty obvious that the bike share program is getting off to a rough start. I’ve been willing to give Nicole and the rest of the Boston Bikes people (including I guess Mumbles) the benefit of the doubt that there was a good reason for the delay. Their inclination to hold off on starting the program until it can be launched with an adequate number of bikes is a good one, but 500 bikes is not even remotely close to enough.
I spent last July in Paris and used Velib on a daily basis, and I have reports of my experience on my blog. At every station, at least 10-20% of the bikes were not functioning due to flat tires (which are not user repairable as it takes a special tool to remove the wheels in order to deter theft), wonky drive-trains or any of the other myriad number of things that can happen to a bicycle. Assuming the same conditions here, that would leave 400-450 bikes in circulation at any given time.

According to Wikipedia, Paris covers an area of around 41 sq. miles, with a population of ~2.2 million. Boston on the other hand, covers a similar geographical footprint (48 sq. miles) but contains a much smaller population (~600,000). If Boston were to implement a program with a similar bikes/population ratio, that would imply ~5,000 bikes here. The proposed bike share is an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE off. The geographical similarities however, remain. Paris has 750 stations. Boston is proposing 50. Again an order of magnitude difference. I noticed that the real benefit of the Velib system was the ability to return a bike nearly anywhere in the city, and that will be plainly impossible with the current proposal.

If this is going to be a system intended primarily for tourists, with bikes primarily located downtown, then Nicole needs to just state that. But don’t try to say that we’re going to have a city-wide system; it’s just not feasible unless a complete commitment is made.

If this is going to be tied to MBTA subway stops (not a bad starting point) then there are very few bike stations left for areas that are not at a subway stop (I’m thinking large swaths of Dorchester, Roxbury, JP, Roslindale, etc).

In summary, I completely support the effort to bring bike-share to Boston, but it is another case of Boston half-assing an infrastructure project that will ultimately leave many people disappointed and left out.

I made the following comment in response to a post on BostonBiker, but I'm reposting it here for people who do not read the comments on his posts:

For background, this article appeared in the Globe yesterday.

As much as I want to be excited about this, I can only react with disappointment. As I noted at the end of May (http://rollinginboston.bostonbiker.org/2010/05/28/wheres-the-bike-share/) it’s been pretty obvious that the bike share program is getting off to a rough start. I’ve been willing to give Nicole and the rest of the Boston Bikes people (including I guess Mumbles) the benefit of the doubt that there was a good reason for the delay. Their inclination to hold off on starting the program until it can be launched with an adequate number of bikes is a good one, but 500 bikes is not even remotely close to enough.
I spent last July in Paris and used Velib on a daily basis, and I have reports of my experience on my blog. At every station, at least 10-20% of the bikes were not functioning due to flat tires (which are not user repairable as it takes a special tool to remove the wheels in order to deter theft), wonky drive-trains or any of the other myriad number of things that can happen to a bicycle. Assuming the same conditions here, that would leave 400-450 bikes in circulation at any given time.

According to Wikipedia, Paris covers an area of around 41 sq. miles, with a population of ~2.2 million. Boston on the other hand, covers a similar geographical footprint (48 sq. miles) but contains a much smaller population (~600,000). If Boston were to implement a program with a similar bikes/population ratio, that would imply ~5,000 bikes here. The proposed bike share is an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE off. The geographical similarities however, remain. Paris has 750 stations. Boston is proposing 50. Again an order of magnitude difference. I noticed that the real benefit of the Velib system was the ability to return a bike nearly anywhere in the city, and that will be plainly impossible with the current proposal.

If this is going to be a system intended primarily for tourists, with bikes primarily located downtown, then Nicole needs to just state that. But don’t try to say that we’re going to have a city-wide system; it’s just not feasible unless a complete commitment is made.

If this is going to be tied to MBTA subway stops (not a bad starting point) then there are very few bike stations left for areas that are not at a subway stop (I’m thinking large swaths of Dorchester, Roxbury, JP, Roslindale, etc).

In summary, I completely support the effort to bring bike-share to Boston, but it is another case of Boston half-assing an infrastructure project that will ultimately leave many people disappointed and left out.

I made the following comment in response to a post on BostonBiker, but I'm reposting it here for people who do not read the comments on his posts:

For background, this article appeared in the Globe yesterday.

As much as I want to be excited about this, I can only react with disappointment. As I noted at the end of May (http://rollinginboston.bostonbiker.org/2010/05/28/wheres-the-bike-share/) it’s been pretty obvious that the bike share program is getting off to a rough start. I’ve been willing to give Nicole and the rest of the Boston Bikes people (including I guess Mumbles) the benefit of the doubt that there was a good reason for the delay. Their inclination to hold off on starting the program until it can be launched with an adequate number of bikes is a good one, but 500 bikes is not even remotely close to enough.
I spent last July in Paris and used Velib on a daily basis, and I have reports of my experience on my blog. At every station, at least 10-20% of the bikes were not functioning due to flat tires (which are not user repairable as it takes a special tool to remove the wheels in order to deter theft), wonky drive-trains or any of the other myriad number of things that can happen to a bicycle. Assuming the same conditions here, that would leave 400-450 bikes in circulation at any given time.

According to Wikipedia, Paris covers an area of around 41 sq. miles, with a population of ~2.2 million. Boston on the other hand, covers a similar geographical footprint (48 sq. miles) but contains a much smaller population (~600,000). If Boston were to implement a program with a similar bikes/population ratio, that would imply ~5,000 bikes here. The proposed bike share is an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE off. The geographical similarities however, remain. Paris has 750 stations. Boston is proposing 50. Again an order of magnitude difference. I noticed that the real benefit of the Velib system was the ability to return a bike nearly anywhere in the city, and that will be plainly impossible with the current proposal.

If this is going to be a system intended primarily for tourists, with bikes primarily located downtown, then Nicole needs to just state that. But don’t try to say that we’re going to have a city-wide system; it’s just not feasible unless a complete commitment is made.

If this is going to be tied to MBTA subway stops (not a bad starting point) then there are very few bike stations left for areas that are not at a subway stop (I’m thinking large swaths of Dorchester, Roxbury, JP, Roslindale, etc).

In summary, I completely support the effort to bring bike-share to Boston, but it is another case of Boston half-assing an infrastructure project that will ultimately leave many people disappointed and left out.


Come on out to Copley Sq. this evening to ride with ~300 cyclists through the streets of Boston. People generally start to arrive around 5:30, and the ride usually leaves by 6 pm. If you have never ridden in a CM before, a few details:

-There is no pre-established route
-It is easily the safest cycling experience you can have in the city, as cars are forced to wait for the large group of people
-It is extraordinarily liberating, and a fabulous way to enjoy the company of friends, and fellow cyclists.
-Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to ride a fixie, have tats, or be in college in order to fit in (in fact, I think one of the most common occupations of riders that I’ve encountered is lawyers…)
-It is a rolling celebration of everything cycling

see you there!


Come on out to Copley Sq. this evening to ride with ~300 cyclists through the streets of Boston. People generally start to arrive around 5:30, and the ride usually leaves by 6 pm. If you have never ridden in a CM before, a few details:

-There is no pre-established route
-It is easily the safest cycling experience you can have in the city, as cars are forced to wait for the large group of people
-It is extraordinarily liberating, and a fabulous way to enjoy the company of friends, and fellow cyclists.
-Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to ride a fixie, have tats, or be in college in order to fit in (in fact, I think one of the most common occupations of riders that I've encountered is lawyers...)
-It is a rolling celebration of everything cycling

see you there!

Come on out to Copley Sq. this evening to ride with ~300 cyclists through the streets of Boston. People generally start to arrive around 5:30, and the ride usually leaves by 6 pm. If you have never ridden in a CM before, a few details:

-There is no pre-established route
-It is easily the safest cycling experience you can have in the city, as cars are forced to wait for the large group of people
-It is extraordinarily liberating, and a fabulous way to enjoy the company of friends, and fellow cyclists.
-Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to ride a fixie, have tats, or be in college in order to fit in (in fact, I think one of the most common occupations of riders that I've encountered is lawyers...)
-It is a rolling celebration of everything cycling

see you there!

The work that was done on the SW Corridor last spring was pretty half-assed, so I was happy to see markings all along the path (at least from Stoneybrook to the South End) on my commute this AM. This work is particularly crucial for 4-season users of the path, as it is in the rough areas where ice tends to form in the winter.

Also, I came across the aftermath of a bike accident on the SW corridor this AM. I didn't see the rider, as he/she was already loaded in the ambulance, but the bike looked fine and the cop told me they were OK. Let's hope that's the case, feel free to post any updates if you have them.

Ride Safely.

The work that was done on the SW Corridor last spring was pretty half-assed, so I was happy to see markings all along the path (at least from Stoneybrook to the South End) on my commute this AM. This work is particularly crucial for 4-season users of the path, as it is in the rough areas where ice tends to form in the winter.

Also, I came across the aftermath of a bike accident on the SW corridor this AM. I didn't see the rider, as he/she was already loaded in the ambulance, but the bike looked fine and the cop told me they were OK. Let's hope that's the case, feel free to post any updates if you have them.

Ride Safely.

The work that was done on the SW Corridor last spring was pretty half-assed, so I was happy to see markings all along the path (at least from Stoneybrook to the South End) on my commute this AM. This work is particularly crucial for 4-season users of the path, as it is in the rough areas where ice tends to form in the winter.

Also, I came across the aftermath of a bike accident on the SW corridor this AM. I didn't see the rider, as he/she was already loaded in the ambulance, but the bike looked fine and the cop told me they were OK. Let's hope that's the case, feel free to post any updates if you have them.

Ride Safely.

Check out this video of some kids in Oakland that put colored tape in their spokes, creating neat patterns as they ride. It’s great to see that bikes are being used to promote peace in the community, and give kids skills that they can employ in their future if they so choose. Maybe these will overtake Lincoln ’64 lowriders and Toyata Priuses (Prii?) as the vehicle of choice in the Bay Area…

I haven’t seen this phenomenon in Boston yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

Scrapertown from California is a place. on Vimeo.

Check out this video of some kids in Oakland that put colored tape in their spokes, creating neat patterns as they ride. It's great to see that bikes are being used to promote peace in the community, and give kids skills that they can employ in their future if they so choose. Maybe these will overtake Lincoln '64 lowriders and Toyata Priuses (Prii?) as the vehicle of choice in the Bay Area...

I haven't seen this phenomenon in Boston yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Scrapertown from California is a place. on Vimeo.

Check out this video of some kids in Oakland that put colored tape in their spokes, creating neat patterns as they ride. It's great to see that bikes are being used to promote peace in the community, and give kids skills that they can employ in their future if they so choose. Maybe these will overtake Lincoln '64 lowriders and Toyata Priuses (Prii?) as the vehicle of choice in the Bay Area...

I haven't seen this phenomenon in Boston yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Scrapertown from California is a place. on Vimeo.

The bike path along Melnea Cass is one of those routes in Boston that was somehow created years ago despite any larger provisions for bicycles in the city at the time. It's also in been in awful condition ever since I first rode on it 4 or 5 years ago. I don't ride on it too often, so I'm not sure how recent a development this is, but I noticed yesterday that a small portion has been recently re-paved. There are still many areas that need A LOT of work, but hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Melnea Cass is one of those streets that you really don't want to ride on, so the integrity of the path is crucial here.

Happy Riding

The bike path along Melnea Cass is one of those routes in Boston that was somehow created years ago despite any larger provisions for bicycles in the city at the time. It's also in been in awful condition ever since I first rode on it 4 or 5 years ago. I don't ride on it too often, so I'm not sure how recent a development this is, but I noticed yesterday that a small portion has been recently re-paved. There are still many areas that need A LOT of work, but hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Melnea Cass is one of those streets that you really don't want to ride on, so the integrity of the path is crucial here.

Happy Riding

The bike path along Melnea Cass is one of those routes in Boston that was somehow created years ago despite any larger provisions for bicycles in the city at the time. It's also in been in awful condition ever since I first rode on it 4 or 5 years ago. I don't ride on it too often, so I'm not sure how recent a development this is, but I noticed yesterday that a small portion has been recently re-paved. There are still many areas that need A LOT of work, but hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Melnea Cass is one of those streets that you really don't want to ride on, so the integrity of the path is crucial here.

Happy Riding

I was really excited about Boston’s plans for a bike share program. There was news a while back that the city had selected Bixi, the company that operates Montreal’s program, as the vendor for Boston’s program. According to this post, the program was supposed to start in May. Well, May is about to end, and I have not heard a single thing about the program in a long time, nor have I seen any site work around the city preparing for the installation of the bike kiosks.

Something fishy is going on…

I was really excited about Boston's plans for a bike share program. There was news a while back that the city had selected Bixi, the company that operates Montreal's program, as the vendor for Boston's program. According to this post, the program was supposed to start in May. Well, May is about to end, and I have not heard a single thing about the program in a long time, nor have I seen any site work around the city preparing for the installation of the bike kiosks.

Something fishy is going on...
I was really excited about Boston's plans for a bike share program. There was news a while back that the city had selected Bixi, the company that operates Montreal's program, as the vendor for Boston's program. According to this post, the program was supposed to start in May. Well, May is about to end, and I have not heard a single thing about the program in a long time, nor have I seen any site work around the city preparing for the installation of the bike kiosks.

Something fishy is going on...

Jonathan Simmons, a psychologist in Brookline, has written a beautiful piece today in the Boston Globe. (Article)
Another cyclist was recently stuck and killed (this time in Newton), and the author describes happening upon the immediate aftermath during his afternoon ride. This young man, Andrew Von Guerard was only 21.
We must all remember that it could just have easily have been us, and that we must always be vigilant and ride safely.
Dr. Simmons reminds us that there is no reason why Boston can not compete with cities like NY & Portland when it comes to a radical rethinking in how our streets are designed.

Jonathan Simmons, a psychologist in Brookline, has written a beautiful piece today in the Boston Globe. (Article)
Another cyclist was recently stuck and killed (this time in Newton), and the author describes happening upon the immediate aftermath during his afternoon ride. This young man, Andrew Von Guerard was only 21.
We must all remember that it could just have easily have been us, and that we must always be vigilant and ride safely.
Dr. Simmons reminds us that there is no reason why Boston can not compete with cities like NY & Portland when it comes to a radical rethinking in how our streets are designed.
Jonathan Simmons, a psychologist in Brookline, has written a beautiful piece today in the Boston Globe. (Article)
Another cyclist was recently stuck and killed (this time in Newton), and the author describes happening upon the immediate aftermath during his afternoon ride. This young man, Andrew Von Guerard was only 21.
We must all remember that it could just have easily have been us, and that we must always be vigilant and ride safely.
Dr. Simmons reminds us that there is no reason why Boston can not compete with cities like NY & Portland when it comes to a radical rethinking in how our streets are designed.
Jonathan Simmons, a psychologist in Brookline, has written a beautiful piece today in the Boston Globe. (Article)
Another cyclist was recently stuck and killed (this time in Newton), and the author describes happening upon the immediate aftermath during his afternoon ride. This young man, Andrew Von Guerard was only 21.
We must all remember that it could just have easily have been us, and that we must always be vigilant and ride safely.
Dr. Simmons reminds us that there is no reason why Boston can not compete with cities like NY & Portland when it comes to a radical rethinking in how our streets are designed.

I have just returned from a month in Paris studying architecture. I was blown away at how pervasive cycling is within French culture, and it is spread across all generations, economic classes and races. The cycling scene is not the binary one that exists in Boston of single-speed hiptsers and hot-pants wearing weekend warriors.

Over the next few days and weeks I’ll be writing and posting lots of pictures, but I thought I’d post a great piece of architecture by Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller. This is a dome that he designed that I saw while visiting the Vitra Design campus in Germany. The first picture is particularly “bottom-brackety”, no?

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I have just returned from a month in Paris studying architecture. I was blown away at how pervasive cycling is within French culture, and it is spread across all generations, economic classes and races. The cycling scene is not the binary one that exists in Boston of single-speed hiptsers and hot-pants wearing weekend warriors.

Over the next few days and weeks I'll be writing and posting lots of pictures, but I thought I'd post a great piece of architecture by Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller. This is a dome that he designed that I saw while visiting the Vitra Design campus in Germany. The first picture is particularly "bottom-brackety", no?








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I have just returned from a month in Paris studying architecture. I was blown away at how pervasive cycling is within French culture, and it is spread across all generations, economic classes and races. The cycling scene is not the binary one that exists in Boston of single-speed hiptsers and hot-pants wearing weekend warriors.

Over the next few days and weeks I'll be writing and posting lots of pictures, but I thought I'd post a great piece of architecture by Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller. This is a dome that he designed that I saw while visiting the Vitra Design campus in Germany. The first picture is particularly "bottom-brackety", no?








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I arrived in Paris this morning and had the day to kill in order to adjust my internal clock after the previous evening's red-eye from Boston. As I have mentioned before, I was unsure what my access to the Velib system would be due to many things I had read online. I was even told by the person who is responsible for my accommodations while I am here that I would not be able to use the system. Below are my initial impressions:

Firstly, I am happy to report that Americans and those without credit cards with a chip CAN use Velib, with the following caveats: you MUST have an AMEX, as MC and VISA don't work; then you MUST have a Navigo Metro card. This is the same rfid card that is used for subway trips (similar to the Charlie Card in Boston).

Parisian drivers are worse than those in boston.

Almost no one wears helmets here, and as such I have not been wearing one either. Considering that the whole point of Velib is that you can just pick up a bike on a whim, it's hard to imagine how one would always wear a helmet. It would be really inconvenient to carry a helmet with you everywhere just in case you decide to ride. (I know, not nearly as inconvenient as a brain injury, but this is coming from someone who has seen a friend saved from said device and who has a neurologist for a father-in-law, and I still don't see myself carrying one around everywhere).

The stations for drop-off/pick-up are EVERYWHERE and they tend to be on secondary roads rather than main drags.

The bikes all roll on Schwalbe Marathons.

The bike use Shimano Nexus 3-speed drive trains.

The one place where they have obviously skimped is on the seat collar/quick-release. While this may seem to be no big deal, it's actually a huge problem as at least half of the ten or so bikes I rode in one day had seats that would twist and inevitably fall into the frame.

This is my first blog post from my phone, so it may come out with fucked-up formatting, for which I apologize.

I arrived in Paris this morning and had the day to kill in order to adjust my internal clock after the previous evening's red-eye from Boston. As I have mentioned before, I was unsure what my access to the Velib system would be due to many things I had read online. I was even told by the person who is responsible for my accommodations while I am here that I would not be able to use the system. Below are my initial impressions:
Firstly, I am happy to report that Americans and those without credit cards with a chip CAN use Velib, with the following caveats: you MUST have an AMEX, as MC and VISA don't work; then you MUST have a Navigo Metro card. This is the same rfid card that is used for subway trips (similar to the Charlie Card in Boston).
Parisian drivers are worse than those in boston.
Almost no one wears helmets here, and as such I have not been wearing one either. Considering that the whole point of Velib is that you can just pick up a bike on a whim, it's hard to imagine how one would always wear a helmet. It would be really inconvenient to carry a helmet with you everywhere just in case you decide to ride. (I know, not nearly as inconvenient as a brain injury, but this is coming from someone who has seen a friend saved from said device and who has a neurologist for a father-in-law, and I still don't see myself carrying one around everywhere).
The stations for drop-off/pick-up are EVERYWHERE and they tend to be on secondary roads rather than main drags.
The bikes all roll on Schwalbe Marathons.
The bike use Shimano Nexus 3-speed drive trains.
The one place where they have obviously skimped is on the seat collar/quick-release. While this may seem to be no big deal, it's actually a huge problem as at least half of the ten or so bikes I rode in one day had seats that would twist and inevitably fall into the frame.

This is my first blog post from my phone, so it may come out with fucked-up formatting, for which I apologize.

I arrived in Paris this morning and had the day to kill in order to adjust my internal clock after the previous evening's red-eye from Boston. As I have mentioned before, I was unsure what my access to the Velib system would be due to many things I had read online. I was even told by the person who is responsible for my accommodations while I am here that I would not be able to use the system. Below are my initial impressions:
Firstly, I am happy to report that Americans and those without credit cards with a chip CAN use Velib, with the following caveats: you MUST have an AMEX, as MC and VISA don't work; then you MUST have a Navigo Metro card. This is the same rfid card that is used for subway trips (similar to the Charlie Card in Boston).
Parisian drivers are worse than those in boston.
Almost no one wears helmets here, and as such I have not been wearing one either. Considering that the whole point of Velib is that you can just pick up a bike on a whim, it's hard to imagine how one would always wear a helmet. It would be really inconvenient to carry a helmet with you everywhere just in case you decide to ride. (I know, not nearly as inconvenient as a brain injury, but this is coming from someone who has seen a friend saved from said device and who has a neurologist for a father-in-law, and I still don't see myself carrying one around everywhere).
The stations for drop-off/pick-up are EVERYWHERE and they tend to be on secondary roads rather than main drags.
The bikes all roll on Schwalbe Marathons.
The bike use Shimano Nexus 3-speed drive trains.
The one place where they have obviously skimped is on the seat collar/quick-release. While this may seem to be no big deal, it's actually a huge problem as at least half of the ten or so bikes I rode in one day had seats that would twist and inevitably fall into the frame.

This is my first blog post from my phone, so it may come out with fucked-up formatting, for which I apologize.

I arrived in Paris this morning and had the day to kill in order to adjust my internal clock after the previous evening's red-eye from Boston. As I have mentioned before, I was unsure what my access to the Velib system would be due to many things I had read online. I was even told by the person who is responsible for my accommodations while I am here that I would not be able to use the system. Below are my initial impressions:
Firstly, I am happy to report that Americans and those without credit cards with a chip CAN use Velib, with the following caveats: you MUST have an AMEX, as MC and VISA don't work; then you MUST have a Navigo Metro card. This is the same rfid card that is used for subway trips (similar to the Charlie Card in Boston).
Parisian drivers are worse than those in boston.
Almost no one wears helmets here, and as such I have not been wearing one either. Considering that the whole point of Velib is that you can just pick up a bike on a whim, it's hard to imagine how one would always wear a helmet. It would be really inconvenient to carry a helmet with you everywhere just in case you decide to ride. (I know, not nearly as inconvenient as a brain injury, but this is coming from someone who has seen a friend saved from said device and who has a neurologist for a father-in-law, and I still don't see myself carrying one around everywhere).
The stations for drop-off/pick-up are EVERYWHERE and they tend to be on secondary roads rather than main drags.
The bikes all roll on Schwalbe Marathons.
The bike use Shimano Nexus 3-speed drive trains.
The one place where they have obviously skimped is on the seat collar/quick-release. While this may seem to be no big deal, it's actually a huge problem as at least half of the ten or so bikes I rode in one day had seats that would twist and inevitably fall into the frame.

This is my first blog post from my phone, so it may come out with fucked-up formatting, for which I apologize.

Off to Paris


I am now 24 hours away from my month-long stay in Paris. I’ve been busy packing, and assuring that I have as many art supplies that I can fit in my bag, as I’m going to be spending a majority of my time there drawing. I’ve also been preparing for my cycling adventures around the city, and came across a great bike map of Paris. I will be living at the southern edge of the city, and there are three bike paths in the immediate area. The first appears to be a ring road that encircles the city along the Périphérique, the second is a N-S route that terminates at the Pte de Clichy, and the third is also a N-S route that terminates at the Musée des Sciences et de l’industrie at the NE corner of the city. The bike route network appears to be very logical, with multiple ways to get around or through the city. As I don’t know Paris very well yet, I’m not sure why this is, but the Eastern portion of the city does not have much in the way of radial paths toward the center of the city, and instead has a number of circumabulatory paths. It will be interesting to see what it is about the part of the city that has resulted in this differing bike route development. I’m guessing that it is related to the socioeconomics of the area, but it may also be related to the manner in which the urban fabric is constructed here. We shall see!


I am now 24 hours away from my month-long stay in Paris. I've been busy packing, and assuring that I have as many art supplies that I can fit in my bag, as I'm going to be spending a majority of my time there drawing. I've also been preparing for my cycling adventures around the city, and came across a great bike map of Paris. I will be living at the southern edge of the city, and there are three bike paths in the immediate area. The first appears to be a ring road that encircles the city along the Périphérique, the second is a N-S route that terminates at the Pte de Clichy, and the third is also a N-S route that terminates at the Musée des Sciences et de l'industrie at the NE corner of the city. The bike route network appears to be very logical, with multiple ways to get around or through the city. As I don't know Paris very well yet, I'm not sure why this is, but the Eastern portion of the city does not have much in the way of radial paths toward the center of the city, and instead has a number of circumabulatory paths. It will be interesting to see what it is about the part of the city that has resulted in this differing bike route development. I'm guessing that it is related to the socioeconomics of the area, but it may also be related to the manner in which the urban fabric is constructed here. We shall see!

I am now 24 hours away from my month-long stay in Paris. I've been busy packing, and assuring that I have as many art supplies that I can fit in my bag, as I'm going to be spending a majority of my time there drawing. I've also been preparing for my cycling adventures around the city, and came across a great bike map of Paris. I will be living at the southern edge of the city, and there are three bike paths in the immediate area. The first appears to be a ring road that encircles the city along the Périphérique, the second is a N-S route that terminates at the Pte de Clichy, and the third is also a N-S route that terminates at the Musée des Sciences et de l'industrie at the NE corner of the city. The bike route network appears to be very logical, with multiple ways to get around or through the city. As I don't know Paris very well yet, I'm not sure why this is, but the Eastern portion of the city does not have much in the way of radial paths toward the center of the city, and instead has a number of circumabulatory paths. It will be interesting to see what it is about the part of the city that has resulted in this differing bike route development. I'm guessing that it is related to the socioeconomics of the area, but it may also be related to the manner in which the urban fabric is constructed here. We shall see!

I am now 24 hours away from my month-long stay in Paris. I've been busy packing, and assuring that I have as many art supplies that I can fit in my bag, as I'm going to be spending a majority of my time there drawing. I've also been preparing for my cycling adventures around the city, and came across a great bike map of Paris. I will be living at the southern edge of the city, and there are three bike paths in the immediate area. The first appears to be a ring road that encircles the city along the Périphérique, the second is a N-S route that terminates at the Pte de Clichy, and the third is also a N-S route that terminates at the Musée des Sciences et de l'industrie at the NE corner of the city. The bike route network appears to be very logical, with multiple ways to get around or through the city. As I don't know Paris very well yet, I'm not sure why this is, but the Eastern portion of the city does not have much in the way of radial paths toward the center of the city, and instead has a number of circumabulatory paths. It will be interesting to see what it is about the part of the city that has resulted in this differing bike route development. I'm guessing that it is related to the socioeconomics of the area, but it may also be related to the manner in which the urban fabric is constructed here. We shall see!

After enjoying the sites of Boston during Critical Mass last night, a few of us wound up at the Other Side Cafe. The primary problem was that we had three locks and four bikes, and this was compounded by the fact that there were so many bikes locked up in the area that we had limited options for our steeds. The picture to left was the solution that we arrived at; quite beautiful if you ask me.

I appreciate all of the new bike racks that have been installed in Boston over the past year, but there are way too few. Especially in the Back Bay, where the parking meters have been removed in favor of the window stickers, it can be very hard to find a place to park your bike. Why on earth they decided to remove all of the parking meter poles, and then install a limited number of bike racks is beyond me. They could have just taken the meters away, and installed some sort of loop at the top of the poles in order to turn them into racks rather than having to buy entirely new racks, and pay for the labor required in order to affix the new racks to the sidewalk. Bizzare.

A highlight of the ride was rolling into Central Square were there was some sort of Summer event going on, and the DJ who was spinning music in the street suddenly started playing the Rocky theme as the mass rolled through.

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After enjoying the sites of Boston during Critical Mass last night, a few of us wound up at the Other Side Cafe. The primary problem was that we had three locks and four bikes, and this was compounded by the fact that there were so many bikes locked up in the area that we had limited options for our steeds. The picture to left was the solution that we arrived at; quite beautiful if you ask me.

I appreciate all of the new bike racks that have been installed in Boston over the past year, but there are way too few. Especially in the Back Bay, where the parking meters have been removed in favor of the window stickers, it can be very hard to find a place to park your bike. Why on earth they decided to remove all of the parking meter poles, and then install a limited number of bike racks is beyond me. They could have just taken the meters away, and installed some sort of loop at the top of the poles in order to turn them into racks rather than having to buy entirely new racks, and pay for the labor required in order to affix the new racks to the sidewalk. Bizzare.

A highlight of the ride was rolling into Central Square were there was some sort of Summer event going on, and the DJ who was spinning music in the street suddenly started playing the Rocky theme as the mass rolled through.
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After enjoying the sites of Boston during Critical Mass last night, a few of us wound up at the Other Side Cafe. The primary problem was that we had three locks and four bikes, and this was compounded by the fact that there were so many bikes locked up in the area that we had limited options for our steeds. The picture to left was the solution that we arrived at; quite beautiful if you ask me.

I appreciate all of the new bike racks that have been installed in Boston over the past year, but there are way too few. Especially in the Back Bay, where the parking meters have been removed in favor of the window stickers, it can be very hard to find a place to park your bike. Why on earth they decided to remove all of the parking meter poles, and then install a limited number of bike racks is beyond me. They could have just taken the meters away, and installed some sort of loop at the top of the poles in order to turn them into racks rather than having to buy entirely new racks, and pay for the labor required in order to affix the new racks to the sidewalk. Bizzare.

A highlight of the ride was rolling into Central Square were there was some sort of Summer event going on, and the DJ who was spinning music in the street suddenly started playing the Rocky theme as the mass rolled through.
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It’s warm and (partially) sunny; perfect weather for bicycle riding. Critical Mass meets at Copley Square on the last Friday of every month at 5:45-ish and generally leaves to ride around Boston at 6pm. It is loads of fun, and contrary to what you may have heard or read elsewhere, is completely un-intimidating. Come on out and ride.

It's warm and (partially) sunny; perfect weather for bicycle riding. Critical Mass meets at Copley Square on the last Friday of every month at 5:45-ish and generally leaves to ride around Boston at 6pm. It is loads of fun, and contrary to what you may have heard or read elsewhere, is completely un-intimidating. Come on out and ride.
It's warm and (partially) sunny; perfect weather for bicycle riding. Critical Mass meets at Copley Square on the last Friday of every month at 5:45-ish and generally leaves to ride around Boston at 6pm. It is loads of fun, and contrary to what you may have heard or read elsewhere, is completely un-intimidating. Come on out and ride.

The perfect combination of my interest in architecture and bicycling was captured in this roof that was designed and built during the 2009 Design Build Challenge that took place in Boston last week. My friend Andrea was involved with the project; go Andrea!


I was riding from JP to downtown yesterday, and came across a paving crew that had finally begun to fix all the cracks in the paving. The funny thing is that the one and only crack that I almost wish they did not fix was one of the first to get attention. This picture is of the workers repaving that area. There were a bunch of roots that had really messed up the path here, and in response cyclists had created a 5-foot long piece of velodrome along the embankment where one could get the sensation of riding your bike against a slope, just like at the track in order to avoid all the bumps…

Dirty Bike

Over the past week of riding between JP and downtown, I’ve notice some orange paint striping on the SW corridor bike path between areas where the roots are messing up the paving. As anyone who rides these paths often knows, this is a long overdue improvement on the part of the city. I just wish they would begin to look at the access to Forrest Hills Cemetery, as my walk there yesterday was along completely unmaintained “sidewalks”. It is positively treacherous to attempt to fight against the traffic in order to ride to the cemetery, and walking in only modestly better.

…on a brisk, blustery autumn day in Boston. This is where I will begin blogging about bikes, boston, and probably my cats.

Upon the recommendation of one of my favorite blogs, ecovelo, I decided to check out some pants from cordarounds.com that were just introduced at interbike. They have reflective tape on the interior seams of the legs and the back pockets, and are handmade in San Francisco. I just got them in the mail, and I’m so psyched. They fit great, even though I ordered them in the size with which I like to identify myself, rather than the size that I’ve become over the past year or so. I can’t wait to get out of work and ride around downtown to try them out. Hopefully the crotch of the pants will be more resilient than many of my other pants which have taken on a bit of an odd worn-in pattern twixt my legs…

The perfect combination of my interest in architecture and bicycling was captured in this roof that was designed and built during the 2009 Design Build Challenge that took place in Boston last week. My friend Andrea was involved with the project; go Andrea!
The perfect combination of my interest in architecture and bicycling was captured in this roof that was designed and built during the 2009 Design Build Challenge that took place in Boston last week. My friend Andrea was involved with the project; go Andrea!

I was riding from JP to downtown yesterday, and came across a paving crew that had finally begun to fix all the cracks in the paving. The funny thing is that the one and only crack that I almost wish they did not fix was one of the first to get attention. This picture is of the workers repaving that area. There were a bunch of roots that had really messed up the path here, and in response cyclists had created a 5-foot long piece of velodrome along the embankment where one could get the sensation of riding your bike against a slope, just like at the track in order to avoid all the bumps...

I was riding from JP to downtown yesterday, and came across a paving crew that had finally begun to fix all the cracks in the paving. The funny thing is that the one and only crack that I almost wish they did not fix was one of the first to get attention. This picture is of the workers repaving that area. There were a bunch of roots that had really messed up the path here, and in response cyclists had created a 5-foot long piece of velodrome along the embankment where one could get the sensation of riding your bike against a slope, just like at the track in order to avoid all the bumps...

I was riding from JP to downtown yesterday, and came across a paving crew that had finally begun to fix all the cracks in the paving. The funny thing is that the one and only crack that I almost wish they did not fix was one of the first to get attention. This picture is of the workers repaving that area. There were a bunch of roots that had really messed up the path here, and in response cyclists had created a 5-foot long piece of velodrome along the embankment where one could get the sensation of riding your bike against a slope, just like at the track in order to avoid all the bumps...

Dirty Bike

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Dirty Bike

Posted by Picasa
Over the past week of riding between JP and downtown, I've notice some orange paint striping on the SW corridor bike path between areas where the roots are messing up the paving. As anyone who rides these paths often knows, this is a long overdue improvement on the part of the city. I just wish they would begin to look at the access to Forrest Hills Cemetery, as my walk there yesterday was along completely unmaintained "sidewalks". It is positively treacherous to attempt to fight against the traffic in order to ride to the cemetery, and walking in only modestly better.
Over the past week of riding between JP and downtown, I've notice some orange paint striping on the SW corridor bike path between areas where the roots are messing up the paving. As anyone who rides these paths often knows, this is a long overdue improvement on the part of the city. I just wish they would begin to look at the access to Forrest Hills Cemetery, as my walk there yesterday was along completely unmaintained "sidewalks". It is positively treacherous to attempt to fight against the traffic in order to ride to the cemetery, and walking in only modestly better.
...on a brisk, blustery autumn day in Boston. This is where I will begin blogging about bikes, boston, and probably my cats.

Upon the recommendation of one of my favorite blogs, ecovelo, I decided to check out some pants from cordarounds.com that were just introduced at interbike. They have reflective tape on the interior seams of the legs and the back pockets, and are handmade in San Francisco. I just got them in the mail, and I'm so psyched. They fit great, even though I ordered them in the size with which I like to identify myself, rather than the size that I've become over the past year or so. I can't wait to get out of work and ride around downtown to try them out. Hopefully the crotch of the pants will be more resilient than many of my other pants which have taken on a bit of an odd worn-in pattern twixt my legs...
...on a brisk, blustery autumn day in Boston. This is where I will begin blogging about bikes, boston, and probably my cats.

Upon the recommendation of one of my favorite blogs, ecovelo, I decided to check out some pants from cordarounds.com that were just introduced at interbike. They have reflective tape on the interior seams of the legs and the back pockets, and are handmade in San Francisco. I just got them in the mail, and I'm so psyched. They fit great, even though I ordered them in the size with which I like to identify myself, rather than the size that I've become over the past year or so. I can't wait to get out of work and ride around downtown to try them out. Hopefully the crotch of the pants will be more resilient than many of my other pants which have taken on a bit of an odd worn-in pattern twixt my legs...
...on a brisk, blustery autumn day in Boston. This is where I will begin blogging about bikes, boston, and probably my cats.

Upon the recommendation of one of my favorite blogs, ecovelo, I decided to check out some pants from cordarounds.com that were just introduced at interbike. They have reflective tape on the interior seams of the legs and the back pockets, and are handmade in San Francisco. I just got them in the mail, and I'm so psyched. They fit great, even though I ordered them in the size with which I like to identify myself, rather than the size that I've become over the past year or so. I can't wait to get out of work and ride around downtown to try them out. Hopefully the crotch of the pants will be more resilient than many of my other pants which have taken on a bit of an odd worn-in pattern twixt my legs...
March 2017
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