Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Labor (of love) Continues

Today was busy at school with teaching and with coaching my 7th grade football team. Despite a 34-0 victory, I found I was more excited thinking about coming home to start building up the Long Haul Trucker than I was watching the 4th quarter scrub action on the field.

Right after dinner,I put the headset and uncut-fork on the frame. I wimped out and ran to my local bike shop to have them put the star-nut in the fork. I was going to jury rig a tool for setting the star-nut, but was afraid I'd mess it up.

The derailleurs and rear brake came mounted with cables attached. I strung up the front brake, put the stem and bars on, filled the tires with air, added pedals and the obligatory Brooks saddle. At this point the bike was ride able. The every thing seemed tuned up far beyond my expectations.

One problem is that I don't have enough spacers for the uncut steer tube. I plan to leave it long and add spacers on top of the stem if I find I want to ride a bit lower in front. Q did this on his Cross-Check. Despite the this problem I could test ride because the brake cable hanger clamps on the steer tube with a hex-bold. This allowed me to hold the fork tight until I got the stem clamped down.

Tomorrow I'll pick up the spacers, wrap the bars, take of the pie plate, add fenders, mount a rack and do some finish up adjustments.

I cruised around the neighborhood some. The bike is so comfortable and solid. Looking forward to finishing up and going on a long ride.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Birth of a Long Haul Trucker

I drove out to Steve's tonight to pick up the Long Haul Trucker still in the box. I'm very appreciative for him helping hook me up with a deal.

Too late tonight by the time I got home for assembly, but I'm keen on getting a good start tomorrow. I hope to have it built up in a couple of evenings.

After living and biking in Taiwan, even the box makes me happy.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Yep, I'm a Trucker.

Steve has dispatched my 58cm Truckaccino rig from QBP, 10-20 unknown. ETA is next Monday. I'll make a run up to St. Michael to pick up the load.

Once I'm a Long Haul Trucker, I'll be using CB slang, a lot. Here's a link to a dictionary for all of you 4-wheelers.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bikecar Documentary

Claire and I enjoyed watching this DVD tonight. It was well worth the time invested with some fun bike stuff and some decent snowboard action.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Black and Blue 2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker

As you know from my last posts I'm excited, maybe too much so, about buying a touring specific bike. After test riding the LHT, I find it hard to ride my old bike.

The current models of LHTs are fairly well sold out, so I'm wondering about next years model. I decided to just email Surly to see if they'd respond.

I'm pleased to report that all my questions were answered in a professional and timely way. Way to go, Surly!

I sent:
I'm a Twin Cities commuter and tourer who is looking to purchase a 2010 LHTs. When will they be out? Any hint on the colors? I saw a "Park Tool Blue" one in a Eurobike 09 image; not sure that's the color for me. What's with the smaller wheels?

They responded after one business day:

"Our new colors and whatnot will be available around December or January. We do have a new blue for the LHT and black will be available as well. The olive and truckaccino will be discontinued.

26” wheels will be an option on the larger sizes – you’ll chose either a 700c frame or a 26” wheel frame. Both have advantages – the 26” wheels are inherently stronger and have a greater availability for tires and tubes outside the US.

Surly Bikes

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Surly Colors (Updated)

I've been curious about the color choices on the 2010 Surly Long Haul Truckers.

After seeing The Lazy Randoneer had a photo from Eurobike 09 of the new "snot colored" Pugsely frame, see last photo, I snooped around the net looking for other posted photos from Eurobike. I found another image on Minnapolis Bike Love.

It's hard to tell for sure, but I'd guess the first picture (from front to back) is of a black Steam Roller, dark brown Cross-Check with STI shifters and a Coleman green Pacer?

The picture below shows what appears to be a cherry Karate-Monkey, Park Tool Blue Long Haul Trucker and another Cross-Check.

I'll likely purchase A Long Haul Trucker when the new batch arrives from Taiwan. I'm not sure I like blue. I'm ok with any of the old colors. Also What's with the big LHT with 26" wheels? I've read that there will be a 700c option too.

I also wonder if the European bikes are the same as the American bikes. I know companies offer continent specific models. My old Giant XTC-II purchased in Asia had different colors than the Same bike sold in the US.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bike Search/ Meet the Contestants

Novara Randonee: I really wanted to like this bike. A test ride reavealed a long list of short comings. The cockpit felt too big on a 55cm frame, the STI shifters felt cheap and sloppy and the frame lacked big tire clearance. 35mm tires with fenders would max out the available space between the chain stays. I found the ride harsh.

Trek 520: Slightly above my price point and still lacks STI sifters and disc brakes. Two bike shop guys independently said that the sloping top tube affects ride quality. I haven't ridden a 520 yet, but should.

Jamis Aurora: Good price, but came with only 32mm tires causing me to question big tire capabilities. It has the same Tiagra Dual Control STI shifters I didn't like on the Randonee.

Fuji Touring: I've concluded that at my price point, I need bar-end shifters. The Tiagra just don't feel well built enough. I don't like the way this bike looks. It also lacks pedigree. I plan to ride the bike that I buy for the next 20 years. An old Fuji will always be just an old Fuji.

This bike was a couple of hundred dollars more than most. I like the disk brakes and the included racks and fenders. Comes with 32mm tires, so I question room for larger tires and fenders. It has the same compacted frame style as the 520 so I question ride. I'm going to try to find a dealer and ride this.

Raleigh Sojourn: I rode this bike in Fargo. The 55cm frame felt good. I like the disk brakes and the price is right especially considering that it includes a rear rack and fenders and a Brooks B17. Comes with 35mm tires. Fairly good fender clearance. My only real complaint about this bike is aesthetic; it looks like some Dutch Chic should be riding it in a skirt. It's like it tried too hard to look good. Jared sent me a link of the same bike with black bar tape. It would be easy to dress it down a bit.

So far, the winner is a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I rode a 58cm frame at the Hub on Cedar. It felt comfortable, smooth, strong and stable. Great tire clearance and it comes with big tires. Both the top of the bars and the drops felt natural with factory set-up. Albeit Cliche, I wanted to throw my load and my gear on this bike and ride all day.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Obama's Address to Students is Not Allowed in my School

Next Tuesday President Obama will give an address to all of the students in the United States. We will not show it. It seems a handful of parents are afraid the President will "force his agenda" on their children. Where does all of this fear and hate come from?

The following text is a White House Press release on that agenda titled "My Education- My Future.

"At noon on Tuesday, September 8th the President will be welcoming America’s students back to school – after all, sometimes they need a little extra motivation after a glorious summer. The President has spoken often about the responsibility parents have for their children and their education, but in this message he’ll urge students to take personal responsibility for their own education, to set goals, and to not only stay in school but make the most of it."

Sounds like strong family values to me.

Directing that we many not show our nation's President does not represent a neutral act on the part of the district. This action implies that the President is too controversial to be shown in school. I wonder what makes this address a problem for those who object. Is it the President's politics; is it the President's race; is it about respect for the government; is it something else?

After staff protests our school leaders conceded that we may show the address to students three days late provided we send a letter home informing parents, collect a signed permission slip, offer alternative assignments for students who opt out and detail how it is germane to our curriculum. This is the same procedure we would follow to show an R-rated movie to 6th grade students.

I would title my school districts actions today as "My Education-My Future-My Ass"

There is something acutely wrong with a nation that doesn't trust its President to speak to school children. People on the right and left need wake up and smell the dysfunction. What a sad day for us all. What a horrible message we send to our next generation, when we refuse to listen to others.