cyclofiend.com - peripheral thoughts & notes

July 2024
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End of Week
Filed under: general, music
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 8:28 am

Today’s post is brought to you by Costante Girardengo -

Costante, as you’ll learn by clicking through the image above, kicked some serious booty in the early part of the 1900’s (wow - is that really “the last century” now…?). He was the first Italian rider dubbed “Campionissimo”, which was news to my Fausto-centric understanding of the term. Costante also won the Milan-San Remo 6 times, a record which stood until Eddy nicked him by one. He was in short, very fast for a long time, recovered from a serious illness and had some of his best years trampled upon by WW1.  Tragic and heroic in the best sense.

I was nudged into this mini-research on him by an email sent by a happy t-shirt customer, who shared a story about growing up with a Girardengo track bike, the same as a childhood friend.  As with all good kids-with-bikes stories, they rode the piss out of them, helmetless and not-knowing-any-better, and somehow lived through it.  But, I’d never heard of the name before and prowled around to see what was out there.

The wikipedia entry references a line of motorbikes with the Girardengo name, and as with most things of that era, they either had a less-popularized line of bicycles, or some other enterprising fellow decided to cash in on the name. I don’t know. Anyone else have or heard of these?

In other quick topics -
The Be Good Tanyas played in San Francisco last night, and despite a slightly odd and separating-from-the-audience stage placement (a problem with the venue) and slightly muddy sound, it was a great, great show.  Jolie Holland was in the audience, and hiked out from the wings (and up from the seats) a couple times to join in for a few songs. (Her mic was a bit low in the mix, too).  The Tanyas may be the happiest band I ever cried to, or the only band that I can’t understand but always know what they are saying. Or both. They are (obviously) touring right now through selected cities. 

I’m off tomorrow to the Rivendell Weekend. Excited to go ride on Mount Diablo, which is actually somewhere I’ve never ridden. Expect some photos and a bit o’ reporting. Of course, it will be biased as heck, as the first part of the weekend involves getting the implant. (And Gallery Submissions will sit in the inbox until my return.)  Anyway, everybody play nice this weekend and get a good ride or three in.

Month End Threads
Filed under: general, music, bike tech, dogs
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 10:10 pm

Dog Update -

Knock wood, we’ve had a couple solid week’s worth now of no canine collapses.  Nice to know that you can always rely upon Propanthelene… We actually had a follow-up with the doggy heart doc, and we all watched the heart activity on the monitor, just like they do on ER (or used to do on “Emergency”, if’n y’all remember back that far…).  The tech is pretty amazing actually - just a laptop that looks like it was mated to some oddball Playskool plastic wheeled base - except this one has a touch screen which you can use to look at sections of the heart, zoom to specific beats and all sorts of other ways of parsing the info.  The good news is that Tashi’s heart pauses didn’t  occur while we were there - she still has some bits of tachycardia (little 32nd note riffs of 5 or 6 beats).  That used to be the thing that triggered the looooooong pauses (up to 5 or 6 seconds, which oughta make you collapse), but the heart kept firing the way it is supposed to.  One of us has to make sure we’re around to give her the midafternoon dose, but that’s a heck of a lot better than watching her try to walk up a wobbly wall that isn’t there… She still knows how to spend the evenings.

Site Update/Milestone/Notes -

During the past week, the Current Classics Gallery hit 200, thanks to a beautiful Kogswell P/R submitted by Adam A.  I’ve been watching this bike come together over on Adam’s Flickr pages since he got the frame, and it’s probably one of the more thoughtful and useful builds I’ve seen.  (And check out his bag designs while you are there.) The P/R has been on my “short list” of bike objects of lust for a while, as I like the idea of 650B, and appreciate a bicycle that you can use for actual, you know, use… 

In the other gallery sections, the Singlespeed Gallery crested 50 also, and the Working Bikes hit 40.  The only slackers are the Cross Bikes (although I got a submission for that in this evening’s email…).  It may be that a lot of the folks who have come to the site are using cross-type-bikes for more general purposes.  It may also be that folks who race their cross bikes are either training or resting, not messing around with taking photos of the bikes. I also spend more time being active on the iBob and RBW lists than with any cross-specific group, so it isn’t as if there are a lot of folks who have probably come across it yet.  As much as I’ve said it before, I really appreciate it when folks take the time to send in their pictures - it’s been stunning to see the variety of bicycles that people are using.

There’s a bunch of stuff I’d love to do, but have just barely been able to get photos tweaked and uploaded in a reasonably timely manner. I’ve kind of painted myself into a corner with the random images on the front and some internal pages.  Received a nice email from Forbes over at Cycles Valhalla, who (like me) has been seeing images on the front page that interested him. Of course, as the links are static, when you click on the little image of the cool Pink Jonny Cycles bike, you instead get jumped to the general Current Classics page, rather than directly to the bike. It would be nice if it would take you directly to that bike, but with the naming conventions I’ve used for the individual pages, it’s somewhat problematic to make that happen.  I’ll ponder that for a bit and see what solution can be found.

I’ve also been adding links to this blog page.  The software that (tellingly) came free from my ISP has some quirks - one of which is not actually providing an easy way to get back to the blog main page when you follow a comment thread or come in linked to a specific entry. Hence, the top link, which will always get you back to the front without having to manually hack bits off of the url. It also doesn’t  provide a list of recent entries, as most of the other venues seem to. And, while I’m grumping, it would be nice if the whole page could be spread out across the screen and dynamically align itself.  I guess if it really starts to get to me, I could uncork a version of Moveable Type or something similar.

Lemond Poprad Frame Update -

The LBS were I took the bicycle has forwarded photos to Trek USA, and to his great credit, the Service Manager called me two days in a row to apprise me of the situation. Definitely above average and laudible actions in the difficult trenches of retail. Everything has been reasonably simple and positive, aside from the specific issue of those cracks starting in the frame in the first place. I also got a bunch of direct email responses from folks on the Framebuilders list (see http://www.bikelist.org/), in which some have posited overheating and improper finishing of the hole in the headtube to begin with.  Not a single person has said that it’s just in my head and I should’ve kept riding the frame.  To date the only person who said, “ride it, dude” was the wrench-with-a-sandwich who had quickly taken a look over another person’s shoulder. (I mean, I’m not trying to be more obsessive than I already am, but it’s a flippin’ head tube, y’know? That’s really the end of the bicycle you don’t want to fail.) So, I’m running the Quickbeam, waiting to see how this play out. watching the big boys with their gears get away quickly and enjoying the simplicity of it all.

Ride Notes -

I took the long way home from work last night, with a goodly portion of it on a reasonably twisty and unlit roadway. I ran it with my newer NiteRider which puts out about 15watts of light.  Although theoretically, I can conceive of a well-focused 3-6 watt beam working, it does not put my mind at ease when considering a dynamo hub system, particularly on roads that I’m not familiar with. During a straight section, I throttled it down to low beam (I think it’s 5w), and the 1/2 moon was almost as bright.

The recent cross racing has me eyeing the Quickbeam and wondering if there’s somewhere to drop a little weight. I do know that is a bit of a sickness, but in the last half of any cross race, even severing unnecessary digits seems reasonable if it means you don’t have to haul them up the runups.  The bottom bracket may be a UN52, and there’s probably UN73 with the 113 mm spindle sitting out in the parts pile. Then there are the big rubbery rim liners which could be swapped out for a lithe and light set of Velox.  Although I realize it won’t make a speck o’ difference, when you consider that this weekend’s CCCP will have an 80 yard “sand feature” (2005 photos here), any mental edge is welcome.

With the Poprad gone, I’ve been thinking about taking the Stump out for a spin. The fat tubes and springy bits were whimpering at me while I stripped down the Lemond.  It’s been a while, as 100% of the trail riding has been on narrow tires or single speed (or both) and it might be nice after the racin’ is done to go for an actual geared, coastable, soft-nosed ride. I bet it will feel weird.

Other Oddball (both weird and doesn’t fit anywhere else) Stuff -

Specialized hired this guy to do the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies from The Nutcracker using only bike bits as instruments.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

The long awaited Rivendell Bicycle Works website is live. It doesn’t seem to account for some IE6 bugs, (as reported by others) so it’s time to switch yourself to Firefox if you haven’t yet. It’s better.

In steering someone to “Dixie The Tiny Dog”, I found that there was another version of the song on Peter Himmelman’s website.  This is a somewhat darker and noticeably longer version


comments (0)
Kraftwerk Cycling Video
Filed under: music, video
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 7:24 pm

iBob meets Digital.  Kicking it old school with dt
shifters and leather hairnets. This from a band who was transfixed by
robotics and once complained that commercial drum machines were not
regular enough for them.

tip ‘o the mouse to James B., who posted the link to the iBob list.

Shucks, this is getting me all nostalgic for “Computer World”….

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Looking for Dixie
Filed under: general, music
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 10:48 pm

Whew.  That was a long week for some, well lotsa reasons. 
Spent too long sitting down in lousy work areas and now my back is sore
with sharp little percussive reminders when I turn the wrong way. 
Projects still incomplete, and some are pressing the deadlines. Haven’t
run worth a damn, and there’s this CX race next weekend. But,  I
found Dixie the Tiny Dog
mp3, so things may just work out ok…

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Mommy’s All Right…
Filed under: general, music
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 9:15 pm

Rolling up over the hill on the way to work today, I found myself thinking about Rick Nielsen. This seemed initially to be an odd seque, even for me. But, I’ll tell ya how it went…

This morning on the RBW list,
Andrew S. posted a request for info and feedback about making a 650B
bike out of a Centurion (and, just to keep all the seque-balls in the
air, that is a phrase I cannot read without hearing Michael Palin
calling, “Cenchuwion! Cenchuwion!” in “Life of Brian”).  About an
hour or so later, as I got ready to ride to work, riding the Zeus 650B
just seemed like the right thing to do - afterall, I had waxed
optimistically and enthusiastically about the tire size and the bicycle
in particular.

As I hit the incline to San Rafael, something deep in the mental
recesses coughed up an interview I’d read with a reasonably younger
Rick Nielsen. In it, he had nattered on about why he toured with so many guitars
There was some odd quote about how he had to have all these different
guitars ready - so he could point to one and have it instantly
available. The statement was something along the lines of “…so if I
look out into the audience and see someone with a whammy bar nose, I
can get a guitar with a whammy bar…”

So, there I was gliding up the hill on a 650B bicycle, pretty much
because someone had started a mailing list conversation about 650B
bicycles. Could’ve just as easily been fixed gears, cyclocross bikes or
Quickbeams.  Again, the frightening spectre of the bicycling
equivilent of the steam engine enthusiast in period correct coveralls
raises it’s ugly head…

I shook that off pretty quickly, but damn if I didn’t start mentally
replaying the lyrics of “Surrender” as the climbing rhythm steadied.
That song has some reasonably odd lyrics…

“Mother told me, yes, she told me I’d meet girls like you.

She also told me, ‘Stay away, you’ll never know what you’ll catch.’

Just the other day I heard a soldier’s falling off some Indonesian junk that’s going round.”

And just to continue the digression completely, I recalled that I actually saw Cheap Trick a couple times.  The first was at - wait for it
- a Kiss concert, where they were the opening act. It was a trifle
surreal, perhaps enhanced by the, um, atmosphere at the Cow Palace.
But, there was this guy in a sweater, dressed up like someone from the
“Dead End Kids”, flipping something out of his thumb every time he
paused between power chords. The sound quality was 17 notches past
horrible, but it was visually arresting when Bun E. Carlos came out for
the encore with the big sticks…

Anyway, sorry if I got that song stuck in your head. But, it’s better
than getting the Robin Zander spoken intro from the song made famous on
the “Live at Budokan” album…


(sorry, couldn’t resist…)

comments (0)
Jett Vid
Filed under: general, music
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 9:18 am

Not to belabor the whole Joan Jett Rocks thing, but I was dinking
around with the video function on my phone.  A good example of
digital distortion within a limited system.  Plus, the phone seems
to cut off at about 5 or 10 seconds.  These are 3gp files. 

Quicktime seems to deal with them OK. (well… I guess not really…)

Update - 8/29/06 - after messing around with the video for the Pencam
SD, I’ve redone the video through Google video - which should allow
viewing by both of you folks who emailed to say it didn’t work. 

Update - 8/29/06 - after messing around with the video for the Pencam
SD, I’ve redone the video through Google video - which should allow
viewing by both of you folks who emailed to say it didn’t work. 

vid 1
vid 2
vid 3

Joan Jett is an honorary iBob. If she rode bicycle, it would be a heavy
steel (metal - get it?) frame with 3 speed friction shifting and she’d
still kick your butt up every hill.

comments (0)
I love Rock and Roll
Filed under: general, music
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 11:04 pm

Joan Jett played tonight at the Marin County Fair.  My wife and
brother and I got there a little ahead of the game and staked out a pretty
good spot.  This is a reasonably cruddy shot from my camera phone.  Why I didn’t bring the real digital is beyond me.

Joan rocks.  Always did.

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