Missed out on this as it was several time zones away,
but it looks like this is rapidly becoming the Must See item on the
late summer circuit -
Starring Captain Dondo and Richard Cunningham
Dondo’s Photo Streams:
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
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…
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…)
So, this was the idea.
It was, to be generous, not a screaming success. As I rode to the
trailhead, the camera could be seen visibly vibrating from the bumps in
the roadway. My feeling is that the idea is good, but the
composite material of the blinkie-mount allowed the vibration.
The same execution in aluminum or stiff material (pvc?) might prevent
it. Most of the video is pretty much headache-inducing, so it’s
not that much of an improvement over the hand-held-while-riding-fixed
One of those weeks which just seemed to take the set out
of my sails, so since no one in SF Rando group agitated for a group
mixed-terrain epic, I was happy to ease out into the morning on my
Quickbeam. It was one of those mornings, though - fogged in and cool,
warning of the end of summer, forcing me to dig out my knee warmers for
the first time in a while. I had caught a whiff of the fall this week -
cold ocean breezes and cooler temps on the commutes. Sun came
out, but the tick-tick-tick of approaching fall is now audible.
After returning home, I looked at my really awful footage that got shot by holding the camera on the bars. Painful cinema. Both JimG and Carlos have gotten tricky with velc- umm…. hook & loop fasteners (and their footage looks good - here & here.)
I’d been thinking about some sort of clamp which would let me mount the
camera on the top tube for that “cockpit” view. While avoiding some
work this week, I’d sketched out a couple of thought-fixes. It
needed some band for the frame tube and some angled connector for the
camera. The light, both figuratively and literally, suddenly went
Which it gladly sacrificed for the purposes of this excercise…
I also had a little mini-tripod that had a removeable camera mount screw, so I just used that. And hot-diggity!
The band slid under the cable on the top tube and I think it’s mounted far enough forward to miss my knees.
Unlike this position, which I think has limited application - especially if I’m runnng fixed…
This shows some promise - of course, I was using the QB
for test purposes - I’m not in a big hurry to wrap something
around the headbadge. With a rubber spacer, I could easily mount
this onto the stem, although that would possibly bring in the wiggly
potential from turning the bars. (Although JimG didn’t really have much
of that here.)
The problem now to solve is leveling the camera. The plan is to find a
convex and concave surface, using those as done on the pads used with
an Avid canti/v brake (and others). With a longer 1/4″20 bolt and
a winged nut, I should be able to run the convex/concave surfaces
against one another, then clamp everything down. I also plan on using a thin hook & loop cable tie as a safety strap.
The first option shown above does not require that, as the camera is
more or less on a horizontal plane. The mount on the headtube
will require a bit of correction (even just an angled shim would
probably work) or there will be a lot of sky in the footage.
Ride Head Tunes:
“One More Time” & “Happy Loving Couples” by Joe Jackson, plus some
snippets of Graham Maby’s bass work from the first two albums.
I’ve sort of conciously stayed off this topic as it both
depresses and angers me. Some folks use it to tee off against elite
athletes in general and cyclists in particular, while others use it to
argue another chapter in why various countries seem to “hate” us.
If you’ve followed the WADA and Dick Pound actions with any degree of
regularity for the past couple years, the most charitable description
you can arrive at is that there’s a big job to be done and there have
been some reasonably clumsy statements made, positions taken and
There’s a petition here (courtesy of Carlton Reid from bikebiz)
which has some of the recent specifics in the Landis affair. Not
sure if it will have an effect, but it allows you to “say” something
about the mess. There’s a comments field in addition to the
regular sign-on. At this writing, there were over 2100 signatures
I opted out of the last third of Saturday’s
“Mixed-Terrain” ride, and fear that I will forever be branded as
I’m mentally and physically cross-eyed from runing down
the various video issues this past week (and trying to look like I was
working while doing it…) All for little snippets of things shot more
for the excercise of transfer than anything else.
Here’s a real movie you should watch. It’s got bikes in it.
Still no quick xfer method for getting from AVI to Mac, but tonight I eliminated several variables.
So - here’s how I got to work today…
mmmm…. fixed gear…..
(Shot with the Aiptek SD, hand-held obviously…)
It would seem that I’m now a certified videographer…
Sitting around a bit later than normal on a Sunday
morning, still a bit sore from the Mt Tam/Bolinas Ridge mixed-media
ride yesterday with JimG, Carlos and Patrick. A nice little epic
loop which presented us with excellent weather and trails, though as we
hit the Cross Marin Bike Path at the base of Bolinas Ridge, I did ask
the question, “Who’s idea was it to ride skinny tires and unsuspended
bikes on that?…”
Paint-shaker trail conditions aside, it was a great ride, ending with a
coffee and carbs sit-down at the JavaCity in Fairfax. Photos here and here (maybe more here).
I also shot some video with the Pencam SD (first time).
However, as of yet, I have been unable to “crack” the avi files to get
them to run on the Mac, so I’ll probably have to use some work
computers to see if I can get things transferred. I tried
everything on this page, and didn’t get any results. I did get an array of “missing” messages, as forcasted by some of the links from that page.
On the Current Classics side of things, Frank F sent in photos of his friend’s Rivendell Bleriot - the first such non-catalog photos I’ve received. Plus, he managed to get Rosie the Beagle in the final shot.
I also found a link on the Rivendell website to a Bleriot brochure in pdf format (link here - it’s a 16 mb d/l). Nice looking bike, and I must say, based solely on using the Zeus 650B
project as a commute and errand bike, the tire size is pretty
cool. Now, before you accuse me of jumping on a bandwagon, let me
point out (a) it isn’t a bandwagon, (b) I do not stand to financially
gain by positively reviewing 650B wheeled performance and (c) the tires
scream along just fine and have enough puff to be really comfy while
doing so, and (d) if you don’t like the idea, you don’t have to try
The Gallery submissions have been pretty steady recently this year,
though it seemed a bit slow. But, I was kicking around the archive
section of the Fixed Gear Gallery
website (which, as I’ve said before, helped to refine the idea of the
Current Classics Gallery) and found that he got something like 50 the
first year, then 130 the second year before launching to national
awareness. (And, if y’all care, my now-sold Panasonic and Dawes commuter
are both in the FGG, and I send him a little paypal thank-you for both
bikes.) So, I figure that the 200-plus submissions across the
four galleries are pretty good. I don’t know why I’m pondering that
right now - maybe since we’re now past the “One Year” mark…
No, not a misspelling of “Neat-O Post!”
The fine folks over at Rivendell sent me a Nitto Crystal Fellow
seatpost (ok - just to clarify, I ordered one from them, so it wasn’t
some serendipidous event). As I mentioned last weekend, my first
generation CT-2 Carbon Easton seatpost finally failed*, so it was time
for something new for the Poprad.
*and to clarify once more, the post itself is fine - just the nut failed on this one.
I’ve got a Ritchey-branded Nitto of the same design on my singlespeed,
and the Quickbeam came with this exact post. I like the lines and
simplicity of it, and it has taken some serious abuse on the
singlespeed - all without a speck of bother.
Had a bit o’ trouble getting it in - or more accurately, it went in and
stopped pretty immediately. There was a fair amount of residue I
had to clean out of the seatpost of the Poprad. Lots of grit and
grunge had made it in there, and it was a fairly tight fit to begin
with. Eventually got it all right and headed up to the China Camp
trails to see what trouble I could get into.
It’s August, and the trails had been holding up pretty well, what with
the endless rains this past spring. But, rambling through the
singletrack, it became pretty clear that things are just about to go to
PowderDust. It’s that dreaded condition of late NorCal summer
when everything gets coated with a fine powder with every ride.
If you’ve experienced it, you know that you want nothing sticky or damp
on the drivetrain.
Finally felt pretty good on the Poprad this ride. It’s felt OK for the most part, but I haven’t had one of those
rides since before whacking my hip last September - where the bike just
feels like an extension and seems to find the smoothest path through
the rocks and roots without all that much input. But this one
went well - even with a darned-near smooth rear tire.
Climbed up to the Nike site and snapped a few photos. Not bad for
a $10 electro-camera. Finally getting the focus figured out. (As
usual, there’s bigger ones if you click on these.)
Also, check out JimG’s rant from this past week - it’s a good reminder
when we all start fretting too much on insignicant details…