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03/18/10
Slow, Easy Movements
Filed under: general
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 9:30 am

There’s certainly been a fair amount of inaction on the Cyclofiend.com site and here. Nothing personal, and nothing specifically wrong.  Just trying to get some non-bike things taken care of, get the whole VO thing up to speed and get some miles in.  A number of folks have emailed privately to check in, make things were going ok and all that.  I really appreciate that. 

The only way to get started again is to get going, eh?

Things are going well these days.  I’ve gotten to see my brother finally get his book published, and watched him read a couple times to adoring crowds.  Went digging through audits and cycle counts at work to find every scrap of ugly overlooks and bad news that might be hiding, and managed to unearth some systemic problems that had been keeping things hidden.  My wife had been in a two-week, all-day-and-then-some workshop, which kept me busy with all manner of tasks and chores. Been hammering auditions and doing the work in voiceover, which can leave me really wanting to get away from the computer and out of the house. 

Getting out the door and feeling the road rolling under the tires, I’ve exhaled a warm and contented sigh every time.

Bicycling is back to what it always was - the respite from things, the restorative step.

And I’ve been wanting to write about it, knock out the odd bike-related snippet or thought.  But, I’ve been trying to be rigorous about restorative efforts as well.  Where before, I might begin a post at 11:15 pm, I’ve made myself pull the plug, take the little dog out back and then get to bed. I’ve block-deleted many more internet discussion posts and threads than ever (though not on the RBW group…. I still read everything there, though I’ve missed a day or two time and again and had to catch up.)

When the wave leans you over, you keep your feet firmly planted, trust that you battened down the right things, and wait for it to straighten back out.

One thing which got washed overboard was the 2010 Calendar.  It isn’t happening until next year, when it will be rechristened the 2011 Calendar.  There are a ton of great images, but rushing out a project too quickly does no justice to them.  Thanks to everyone who patiently waited and gave encouragement.

Gallery submissions have been rolling in regularly.  I’m about 63 years behind, it seems, but will start taking small bites again and chewing carefully.  I think the first thing I’ll do is rewrite the “Submissions Guidelines” page, wherein I say I’ll let you know if the delay will be more than a couple weeks. It’s gonna be when it is, and I have no estimate right now.  If that sounds like I’m heaving a long sigh as I say that, it’s not.  I just don’t want folks to feel like I’m ignoring them if their images don’t immediately show up.  Hang in there, and if you don’t see anything show up over the next few weeks, drop me a line.  Otherwise, it’s definitely in the queue. 

We kicked into daylight savings this week, which is always such a lift.  With the rains we’ve been enjoying of late, it’s been a bit darker than usual in the evenings.  On the clearer days, the skies have hinted at the longer days unfolding, but when the clocks hopped forward for Monday, it was a definite positive moment.  Yesterday’s commute home brought perfect weather - just a hair warm with a two thin wool layers and a set of MUSA nylon knickers.

Cycl O'Fiend on St. Pat's Day
Sunglasses, warming sun, no lights.  All good things.

Somewhere in the past few weeks - well, probably from Feb 28th or thereabouts - I scribbled down the phrase “Hilsen kicked my ass. Gears!”

I remember that day pretty clearly. Woke up with my legs just torched - sore and hammered from riding the previous day.  It wasn’t that I went particularly long.  Rather, it was the act of pairing my fixed-gear habit with changeable-gearing enthusiasm.

On a Friday night, I’d been checking out the rear wheel of the Quickbeam.  It seemed like there was a hop, and I was wondering why, since I’d just trued the wheel a week before and couldn’t recall hitting anything stantial.  Wiggling a couple spokes, I found a slack one.  Seriously grabbing it made it obvious that it was quite slack in tension.  Dang.  I wasn’t going to haul it down and work on it right then, but as began to turn away, I gave the paired spokes a little squeeze - nothing serious, mind you.  Just a little visceral reminder that I needed to get going a little earlier the next day to retrue the wheel before heading out.

“Thchunk!”

That didn’t sound right…

At first, I thought the spoke had broken.  But, that’s always a thinner “tink” kind of sound with more of a pitch center.  This noise had some resonance to it. Then I thought the spoke nipple had failed. But, there it was, looking relatively unscathed, still threaded into the spoke. Which left the rim…

 
To which I thought, “hmmm…that pulled the label off the rim.”

Nope.

Never quite seen one fail that way.  Ah well, now I’ve got a new rear wheel on order from the incomparable Rich at Hands On Wheels.  Upgrading the hub as well, which has been feeling sloppy of late. Plan is to set it up with a real fixed/free hub, since that’s the way the Quickbeam runs.  More on that as things continue to develop.

That got me to get my tech together on the Hilsen.  Set up the chainrings and get a crankset I can trust attached.  One evening later, that was check, check and checkarooni.  Which had me rolling around on a bike that provided a mind-numbing array of gearing options, in addition to the ability to actually stop pedaling now and again. 

I found that the pedal-pause function was actually pretty helpful, although I think I scared some folks while screaming through downhill corners making “whoooooooshing” sounds….

What I think happened though was that I kept a high cadence and high pressure up for everyone other moment of the ride. 

On a fixed-gear, you can loaf a little bit on the flats, taking just that much more of a rest from the bottom of the pedal stroke.  As I’ve mentioned before, a fixed system creates a whole lot of momentum which works in your favor once you get it up and rolling.  On climbs, your cadence drops by definition, and you can recover from the speed of motion while you get thwacked by higher effort. Cresting out, you just spin your feet, and blessed gravity takes over, moving your legs for you. 

Changing suddenly to the coastable/many-geared setup,  I think my feet were used to maintaining a certain amount of pressure, so no matter what gear I chose, I kept the pressure cranked up.  Seems it would be helpful to jump back and forth between these things a bit more regularly.  I mean, the bike seemed to move right along.

It all feeds into itself, eh?

But, man, I suffered for it the next day.  But, it felt good. 

One Response to “Slow, Easy Movements”

  1. beth h Says:
    Personally, I’ve never failed a wheel that either. However, that’s also not exactly a brand-new rim and failure would’ve happened at some point based on how much you ride. Not a total shock. Plus, killing a wheel like this just makes you look like a cycling monster. Happy riding!