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02/12/06
Velcro Trails on the Quickbeam
Filed under: general, rides
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 9:21 am

There’s a condition which I’ve always referred to as “velcro trails”.
It doesn’t ever last too long out here in California, but it makes for
wonderous riding when it exists.

One of the byproducts of little rain in the summer is that trails get
dry, dusty and loose. The old photos of folks getting sideways on
Repack give you a good sense of trail conditions for much of the
summer.  But, after the winter rains hit (and hit again…), the
trails soggy up and begin to dry out.  At a certain point - given
they don’t get hit by more rainstorms - a nearly perfect track is
created. Sometimes you get these conditions after the first rains of
fall. No matter what you do, you literaly cannot get your tire to
slide.    

Now those of you who live in places with “normal” weather patterns can
chuckle at this description, but if you’ve ridden it, you know that it
is pretty great.  Of course, we have mountain lions and
earthquakes out this way…

These were the conditions for the first “real” Quickbeam outing - one
that combined road miles, gear changes, trail riding and a pause to
enjoy a ridiculously warm early February day.  We’ve had some
fierce storms roll through, dumping copious amounts of rain on our
heads. With a few weeks of grey skies and storms, it’s always a
wonderful shock to see the hills magically regreened.  The trails
were even better.  Something about the beating rains had flattened
everything out, made them so soft that rocks and pebbles literally sunk
into the dirt.  With little exception, they seemed to have been
“rolled” with one of those big metal lawn rollers. That made them
smooth as anything, but left them extremeley grippy.

I figure once summer hits, I’ll probably have to slap on the Michelin
Mud CX tires.  But, for today, the stock Paselas remained in
place.  

Rolling away from the house, I took a few diversions through
Eichler-land and crested a small hill to get back over towards the
trails of Mt Tamalpais.  At the top, I paused to let light fall
upon the Quickbeam, pleased with my hill climbing done in the bigger of
my Quickbeam’s gears.

Click here for the SSG QB page

Made my way to Deer Park in Fairfax and found that the trails hadn’t
moved too far from the last time I’d been there. Decided to use the low
gear to climb and slid the rear wheel back in the dropout.  I was
reasonably surprised where it tensioned up, until realizing that the
chain had slipped of the freewheel.  Once repositioned, the rear
hub still sat pretty far rearward, but at least it was entirely within
the borders of the rear fork end.

While I didn’t have time to go for a heroic/epic tour of the mountain,
the Quickbeam climbed so well that I did go higher on the trails than
I’d planned. It seemed like much easier climbing than on my singlespeed
mtb - of course, there was a big jump in gearing up to that bike - but
I was able to climb seated most of the time.  The smooth Paselas
continued to stick well in the trails on the way up.  I dropped
down to Phoenix Lake.  The Quickbeam handled stunningly well. I
kept waiting for it to exhibit some odd behavior - being that it was a
new bicycle - yet it just cornerned well and handled the rolling
descent easily, comfortably and predictably.  After a short rest
lakeside to enjoy the sun, the Quickbeam talked me into backtracking on
the trails rather than dropping down to the roads. It had the right
idea, of course. As the climb back to Fairfax was a bit less steep, I
left it in the big gear.  Climbing in the saddle once again, it
rolled easily upwards.  I managed to scare the beejesus out of
another rider I came upon - singlespeeds remain unmatched for the
silent stealth approach.  (I did apologize - I thought he had
heard me cough…).

Quickbeam at Phoenix Lake Quickbeam at Phoenix Lake

Rolled back on the roadways - took time to accompany an escaped dog
back to their front yard from which they’d escaped - and made it home
with a  huge grin.  The Quickbeam is a wonderful and
comfortable ride.  I’ll be honest; it didn’t feel “light” when I
first picked it up.  But in the few rides I’ve had time to enjoy,
it seems to have more gumption on the trails than my other bikes. I’m
sure it’s schoolboy giddiness with a new bike, but it just seems to
keep accellerating - giving momentum that none of my other bikes seem
to do.

I did have chance to add this bike to the Singlespeed Garage. 
I’ve also got some detail images of the quill mount cable guide
solution - described in an earlier post.  Basically, the shim
stock came from a seatpost shim which had the proper dimensions.

Ride Head Tunes:

Everybody Knows - The Duhks
Red Light - Wall of Voodoo

2 Responses to “Velcro Trails on the Quickbeam”

  1. JohnG Says:
    Orange! On a Quickbeam! I just knew it wouldn’t work, and now I have to go and admit I was wrong. Very nice. Welcome to the club.
  2. The Cyclofiend Says:
    Thank you JohnG - sorry to be so long in replying, but this daffy blog software was a little reticent to let me know I had comments waiting… better late than never and it’s good to be in the club.