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Topics - grace

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Revisited / One moron's road to recovery
« on: December 03, 2017, 06:07:30 AM »
I write this sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Austin at the end of a bicycle ride (hopping the train back to Colorado tomorrow to regroup) having postponed starting this sub-forum but reckon it's past time to 'fess up to being a recovering drunk.

For whatever reason(s) until I hit bottom a couple of years ago (ouch but the bounce has been worth it :nod) it seemed like a good idea to drink a couple of pints of vodka just about every day for a decade or so...

and NOW you get a part of the moron thing.

I have nothing against morons and don't want to condemn by association ;) but frick I was sick: diseased thinking which resulted in diseased behavior and the kind of stuff that happens, when that happens.

Anyway: I trust Mr. Thompson was right and appreciate his take on the topic.

God loves a drunk

There's a lot of power in that performance. :nod

Yeah, I know...  ::)

I went back and forth about whether to use a forum platform or wordpress etc. - all have pros and cons but decided that a forum better suited my hope for a community.

That said:

if you want to post or subscribe to a thread (please feel free) you must register but the software makes it a very easy process - just click on register, choose your user name and password and complete the captcha thingie.

This will remain a non-commercial moderated forum to keep the signal to noise ratio at my definition of acceptable and you will not be spammed.

Us morons strive to be an inclusive tribe so nonmorons are welcome!

Gear and Useful Stuff / s/he is my bicycle
« on: October 26, 2017, 05:25:15 AM »
I say, beware of any enterprise requiring new clothes and not rather a new wearer of clothes.

I went with durability over lightness so this is no weight weenie rig; what's important to me is that it's not likely to break plus it slows me down and makes me want to stop and smell the roses.

In the background is Lords Cemetery Road east of Toomsboro GA - wonder what's around that bend?

As an aspiring internet provocateur ;) when I learned of Surly and that they had arguably the most versatile touring frame ever in the guise of a mountain bike... well, what else but a Troll?

I looked online for a used one for months to no avail and on the very day I was going to my local bike shop (The Great Divide in Pueblo CO - Hi Lee and all you lot! Thanks for the help getting everything set up) to order one lo and behold CL came through!

More specifically a guy in Chattanooga did and having done my research as to whether a medium frame would be big enough (hopefully, just barely) sent him some money and s/he arrived via bikeflights a few days later, in very good shape overall with only minor misrepresentation regarding the drivetrain in the listing.

Long story short: s/he's a dandy and after quite a few heavily loaded miles still suits me well enough I've given no consideration to a replacement any time soon, although recently when I was having shifting issues a Rohloff hub and belt drive were singing a siren song through the aether; we'll see about that later but for now all is well.

(note to self)

The rear rack is a Surly and while it's big and solid I note their quality control, hardware wise anyway, sucks. After trying the third set of parts I still ended up drilling out pieces so the IMNSHO overly complicated mounting mechanisms could be assembled - huh?!

Still and all it's not shifted a bit since installation so there is that.

After much consideration I chose Soma Fabrication's Porteur front rack which is incredibly solid with its 5 point mount (make sure you get the second generation as the first only had 3) and I believe this monster would hold 100 pounds plus in a pinch, if you could handle the bike - remarkably strong.

The Arkansas river a few blocks from my home in the background.

Attentive viewers will note the conveniently placed tape.

As an aside and 'cause I can here's Salida Colorado's own Janie Hayes (third overall and first female in the 2017 Trans Am race who had me LOLing in short order) demonstrating the strength of the front rack.

Pizza anyone?

I can't resist so sue me. ;)

I tried to use as many of the parts that came with it (the previous owner kinda cobbled some average quality stuff together) but upgraded to Microshift shifters instead of the handlebar space stealing twist grips he'd used and as they fit me much like my 1984 Schwinn High Sierra (loved that bike and put many miles on her) am pleased with the ergonomics.

They do the click shifty thing and can be easily converted to friction - just the kind of redundant versatility all kit should have. :nod

The original bars had too much sweep so TGD ordered me a bar for not much money which so far has fit me just fine, even on a few long days pedaling a lot of weight.

I've long used Garmin's eTrex GPSs and the 20 is a very workable choice for the navigating I do in addition to being easily portable with the attachable clip, on my belt.

From Charleston to Beaufort SC - almost completely flat with a tailwind - sweet.

And after putzing around town later that day.

My lock is the one I purchased new 1984ish and look how well it fits, with no fancy schmancy holder or anything! Don't tell anyone it's the old style which allegedly can be picked with a BIC pen

or that I have a spare key secured to the seat tube: mum's the word!

I'm tickled pink with the Schwalbe Marathon HS 420 Wire Bead tires (1.75 but I'll go with 2.00 next time) as they're comparatively inexpensive (~ $40), roll well and are holding up fine after quite a few loaded and many more unloaded miles plus they're adequate in sand and the like.

Not being the type to gamble with rubber I don't push my luck wearing them down but reckon I'll get a minimum of 4k miles and that's not bad at all.

Have I mentioned ZERO flats so far? (knocks head) I even pulled a few goat heads out with impunity - wowser!

The Blackburn Expedition Cage easily holds a 2 liter and larger things and the Profile Design cage on the lower down tube also expands to accommodate a bigger bottle; those, combined with an MSR water filter and dromedary bag give me enough capacity to get  me through just about anything, short of a desert trek.

I like to compartmentalize for packing items you want at hand so a small bar bag, a Revelate Feed Bag and a frame bag for tools etc. are working out well.

$6 shipped to my door from fleabay and it saved the day not five miles in my first tour when due to a poorly adjusted derailleur the remove by hand master link (read: weak link) went missing.

After much consideration I chose Lone Peak's P150 and P500 panniers: very water resistant while still allowing breathing Ortliebs don't, and much lighter (and < half the price) than the incredibly durable Arkels. So far, so good and time will tell.

Finally: the kick stand. One of the benefits of hosting so many touring riders via was the chance to see kit and hear recommendations, several of which I adopted.

One rider told me he'd ridden with others who didn't have kickstands and they often wouldn't stop for a break or pic op because it meant laying their bike down so having made the decision to go for durability and practicality a kickstand was a no-brainer.

Except Surly recommends against installing them apparently due to some crushed chain stays as a result of people over-tightening stands to keep loaded bikes up. What to do?

Well, one of the glories of the intertubez is someone has probably been there and done that and here's one guy's solution:

3D printed pieces which fit snugly into the Rohloff mounting slot - nicely done!

For frame of reference size wise.

But all that said (yikes!) one of the touring cyclists I hosted summer 2017 had made it from the east coast to Pueblo on a $130 Malwart bicycle trouble free so don't let gear get between you and the ride you want to do.

I'm grateful has gotten as many hits as it has given I lost interest early and never paid it much attention; presumably some found it worthwhile.

The experience of getting it going was helpful - at the very least I learned a bit about bots and that captcha registration is your webmaster friend.

Here are the North America trip reports:

I very much like David and Pearl's adventures - we've never met but they're kindred spirits for sure so be sure to check out their folding bicycle trip reports too and tell 'em I sent you.

Heroes / Henry David Thoreau
« on: October 25, 2017, 03:24:14 AM »
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.

Now put the foundations under them.


I somehow managed to not read Walden in high school so had a few experiences prior and when I picked up a copy knew he was the real deal.

In the interest of simplicity here's just about all the schooling you really need:

Read Walden, absorb the precepts and live as you will walking to the beat of the drummer only you hear.

(Walden can be a big bite so here's another taste: Resistance To Civil Government)

My undying gratitude to a pencil maker, late of Concord Massachusetts.

Author's Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

About which more in the I just wanna get warm (nod to Mark Heard) thread.

The intertubez are an amazing resource but IME all too often become a barrier to real life interaction.

Given that some of the most amazing people I've met face to face I first met electronically I hope that process happens here, in this non-commercial and hopefully cooperative realm of bits and bytes.



Don't be a jerk. / Don't be a jerk.
« on: October 23, 2017, 10:21:45 AM »
We morons prefer inclusivity and to be easy going but jerks rile us, so don't.


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