Monday, July 30, 2012

Surly Long Haul Trucker - Trail Riding

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My Surly Long Haul Trucker on a fairly rough trail

 I took the panniers off of my commuter bike and rode over to a near by trail to ride my Surly on a different surface. I've ridden this bike on some trails before, but it has been several years. My thoughts were when I originally bought a Surly - Long Haul Trucker was that this would be a bike that could do a lot of things. I have ridden it mostly as a commuter bike and a grocery getter.

 The 26 x 2 inch Continental Town & Country tires are good for everything except going fast up hill. Their size and weight are instantly noticeable as soon as the road starts to go up. They soak up the bumps and grip well off road, as long as it isn't wet and sloppy. 

 This bike has a triple crank-set and a wide ratio cassette in the back. Simply shifting to the easiest gear available on the Surly enabled me to ride up a steep hill covered with rocks and roots that I thought would be impossible to ride up.

 I think of a fun ride like this one as an adventure. Varying the type of bike and where you ride keeps cycling interesting. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Surly Long Haul Trucker - commuting to work by bike

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Surly Long Haul Trucker

Some days it is just hard to find time to sneak a ride. Commuting to work is a good way to get in a few miles. It does take a little planning to make bike commuting work. 

My Surly Long Haul Trucker is set up to get the job done. It is equipped with fenders, panniers,  front and rear racks and lights. The front light is powered by a dynamo hub. The 26 x 2 inch Continental Town and Country tires hold up well to most hazards I encounter on the way to work.  
Careful planning will make your bike commute a fun way to incorporate a bike ride into your work day. It's a great way to cut your daily expenses too!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bobby Walthour, Sr.

Bobby Walthour on a board track in 1909

Robert "Bobby" Howe Walthour, Sr was born January 1 1878 in the small town of Walthourville, named for his grandfather, near Savannah, Georgia. 

Bobby Walthour became a professional bicycle racer in 1896 as a track sprinter racing on highly banked velodromes with a wood or cement surface. He developed into a successful six-day racer.
Bobby Walthour resting at a six-say race in 1914.

Paced racing was a natural fit for Walthour's skills. This is racing done in the slipstream of either a multi-rider bicycle or a motorized vehicle. Originally the pacing was done by bicycles with two to five riders. Around 1899 he discovered racing done in the draft of a motorcycle. The rider on the bicycle behind the motorcycle is referred to as a "stayer" in this type of racing. 
Waltour behind his pacer Gussy

Motor-paced racing was a dangerous sport. Many participants were killed or seriously injured. Walthour reckoned that during his career he had crashed more than 250 times. In an article in the Washington Post in 1915 he was said to have:

           "broken his right collar bone twenty-seven times; broken left collarbone eighteen times; suffered rib fractures thirty times; had more than forty stitches taken in both legs; has more than 100 scars as a result of bruises; he has about sixty stitch marks in his face, forehead and had as a result of sewed up wounds; has broken six of his ten fingers; has been pronounced dead twice and fataly injured at least six times."

Bobby racing in France during the year 1909

Walthour spent most of his retirement years living in New Jersey. His son, Bobby Walthour, Jr., became a great cycling champion in the 1920 and 1930s.

Bobby Walthour, Sr. died in Boston at the age of 71.

Bobby Walthour, Sr. warming up in France in 1909.

Bobby Walthour, Sr.

Racing in Germany

Bobby Walthour, Sr on a sports card.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hot Fixed Gear Ride Today

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Poor ole' Joe sitting by my "Path Racer"

It was another hot and humid day today. It was hard for me to get motivated to ride, but some days you just have to get on your bike and go. I ended up getting in a nice 40 mile fixed gear ride. 

As I rode through the Arcadia, NC community I noticed the time and temperature sign on the bank was displaying 92 degrees. 
Off in the distance you can see Richard Childress's cattle are all huddled together in the shade of one tree.

I zoomed in for this picture. It's hard to see but all but one of the cows is in the shade.

On rides like today's it's hard to push yourself to ride hard. That's when you have to remind yourself how well off you really have it and that you could be working in the hot sun instead of doing something you enjoy. Lately when I feel the urge to back off on the intensity due to the heat I think of the lyrics to an old Chuck Berry song titled - Let It Rock. The first couple of lines of the song are:

In the heat of the day down in Mobile Alabama
Working on the Railroad with a steel driving hammer

I don't know about you, but that sounds like hot hard work to me. I just imagine standing in the sun on a railroad track swinging a big sledge hammer. All of a sudden I can pedal a little harder and it doesn't seem so bad. Below is a video of Chuck Berry preforming Let It Rock in 1972.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fiamme double-eyeletted hollow section rims

Author: Hilary Stone

Modern bicycle rims are light, strong and generally very dependable – true the braking surfaces can wear out but that is mostly down to modern abrasive brake materials. It was not always this way… Most top quality and even the middle range rims are designed with a hollow box section and the spoke nipples are fastened through an eyelet that joins both the top and bottom walls of the rim. The box section is essentially a tube – we all understand that a tube can have a much higher strength to weight ratio than a solid section. That is why bicycle frames are made from tubing rather than solid material. Most rims are these days made from aluminium alloy which have quite a high strength, which can approach that of the lower strength steels. Perfectly adequate strength can be built into a rim with really quite thin walls but spokes carry a very high tension which means that the loads into the rim are highly concentrated around each spoke nipple – eyelets which connect the top and lower walls of the rim distribute the stress across the upper and lower walls of the rim. 
The first rims to use these principles were introduced as long ago as 1933/4. Very curiously, two patents were taken out within two hours of each other in two different countries with these exact features. In Italy Mario Longhi registered his patent on January 5th just two hours before Mavic in France registered their patent for a virtually identical design. Longhi licensed his patent to Fiamme (hence on early Fiamme rims the words Brevetti Longhi) and very graciously also allowed Mavic to license his patent as, of course, his patent had priority over the Mavic one. But more mystery surrounds the introduction of the rims – the design and actual rims were exhibited in England at the Lightweight Cycle Show in November 1933 two months before the patents were taken out…

Two images of a c1935 Fiamme wired rim showing the steel eyelets from each side of the rim
Fiamme HS 1
Fiamme HS 2
In the 1930s aluminium alloy bicycle rims were still quite a rarity despite such rims rims being first manufactured in the Edwardian period for luxury roadsters such as Sunbeam and Lea Francis. These bicycle makers were however far less concerned about weight than about appearance – the aluminium did not need plating and kept its shiny appearance for longer. In the late 20s and early 30s aluminium rims made a reappearance – we have looked at Constrictor Conloy rims – these were a pioneering rim using aluminium alloy initially in a solid section and later with a very slight hollow section. These were quite reliable and light but not very stiff. 
Mavic’s version of the new design was soon tested in competition in conditions of great secrecy in the 1934 Tour de France by the French star Antonin Magne. His rims were supposedly painted in wood colours to look like the wood rims used by the vast majority of the participants. Wood rims seriously lack stiffness though are reasonably light and also offer a poor braking surface. However, they do insulate the tyre from the heat generated by braking on really long descents. Mavic’s new aluminium rims offered improved braking, were very strong, stiff and lighter than the wood ones.
Fiamme manufactured both wired-on (clincher) and sprint rims for tubular tyres using the design. The rims for wired-on tyres were more of a Westwood section with only a very narrow surface for braking on in the first year. And the eyelets joining the upper and lower walls of the rim were aluminium. By 1935 a squarer section rim for wired-on tyres was introduced alongside the other one and the eyelets were cadmium plated steel because according to the British importer there had been some troubles with the aluminium eyelets – presumably coming loose. Of course it was the sprint rims that the serious racers used. It did not take long for the new aluminium sprint rims to largely take over from the wooden ones for road competition. 
Both Mavic and Fiamme exploited the Longhi patent to great effect though Fiamme after WWII dropped the design for wired-on tyres. It was not until 1975 when Mavic introduced the Mavic E narrow section rim for wired-on tyres that the design made much of an impression for non-racers. Now of course solid-section rims are obsolete except on the very cheapest bikes and most also use double eyelets proving just how far ahead of the time Mario Longhi was. 

Fiamme rims
In England two types of rim for wired-on tyres were offered – the original design in almost Westwood tyre section (as in the photos) and the square design in both 26 x 1/4in and 26 x 1 3/8in sizes. One design of sprint rim with a flat sidewalls and reasonably deep box section was offered. They represented the very latest in technology – then as now – technology did not come cheap they cost around 34/- (£1.70 a pair). A complete cheap bike at the time could be bought for £4.


Fiamme HS 3Fiamme offered two designs of sprint rim - the standard rim with squarish box section and eyelets for road use and a lighter narrower rim for track use with steeply angled sides and not really suitable for use with a brake. The rims for wired-on tyres were solid section. Later in the 1970s Fiamme pioneered the use of the higher strength 7000 series aluminium alloys in their Ergal rims which weighed under 280g each. 
Right: 50s Fiamme track racing sprint rim with curved sides

Fiamme HS 4
Above: a drawing from the 1935 catalogue showing the original Fiamme design of sprint rim for tubular tyres. 

Hector Martin

Hector Martin

Hector Martin ( December 26, 1898 – August 9,1972) was a Belgian road racing cyclist, professional from 1925 to 1935, who won three stages in the 1925 Tour de France and two stages in the 1927 Tour de France, and wore the yellow jersey for a total of four days in 1927. Martin was born and died in Roeselare. He was the brother of Leon Martin.
Hector Martin
Bordeaux - Paris Road - Race 1928

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A trip to the Giordana Velodrome in Rock Hill, SC

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A group of riders riding in a paceline on the Giordana Velodrome. The Rider that is higher up on the banking has just pulled off the front of the line and is drifting back to drop in at the end of the paceline.

Despite the heat today I had to take advantage of a chance to ride on the Giordana Velodrome in Rock Hill, S.C. There were several riders on the track riding when I arrived. Two groups had separate pacelines going and other riders were doing solo efforts along the measurement line at the bottom of the track. I was glad to see my friend Greg Curtis was there at the track today. Greg and I met while riding on the velodrome and hit it off right away. There was a group of nice guys that came up from Jacksonville, Florida to ride on the track and one athlete that was preparing for the 2012 Olympics! I had a great time and hope to make back to the Velodrome again in the near future. 
Here I am at the track.
Greg Curtis with his bike sporting some new wheels!
Greg was doing some Kilo practices on the track. In this photo he is high on the banking. Before he starts his Kilo he will get up to speed by dropping down the banking to the bottom of the track. This is a 250 meter track, so a Kilo is 4 laps.
Greg is now at the measurement line and going all out.
Poor ole' Joe supervised as I cleaned up my bike.

Paul's Track Hubs

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Paul Components' Track Hubs with a polished finish.

The folks at Paul Component Engineering machine these hubs from three inch round bars of 6061 aluminum. The hub shells are put through four different machining processes before they go to finishing. The front and rear have the same flange widths and diameters for easy wheel building and a perfectly symmetrical set of wheels.

High Flange hubs now use a special extra strong aluminum axle with stainless knurled axle faces. Fancy machined bolts and washers keep them on.

For more about Paul Component Engineering click here. To visit Paul's web site click here.

Paul's High Flange 28 hole front track hub.

Paul's High Flange 28 hole rear track hub with the fixed/freewheel flip flop option .

The cool  but simple quality packaging of Paul's Components.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rini Wagtmans

Rini Wagtmans

Marinus ("Rini") Wagtmans (born December 26, 1946 in Sint Willebrord) is a former Dutch professional road bicycle racer. He was the nephew of Wout Wagtmans, a former professional who had won the Tour de Romandie stage race in 1952. His father was a masseur while Tour de France stage winner Wim van Est was his neighbour. In 1968 Rini turned professional. The following year he finished third overall in the 1969 Vuelta a Espana. He rode four editions of the Tour de France and won three stages, one in 1970, one in 1971 and one in 1972. In the 1970 Tour de France he finished fifth overall. In 1971 Tour de France while riding for Molteni, he wore the maillot jaune for one day but teammate and team leader Eddy Merckx took the jersey the following day. He also won two stages in the 1970 Vuelta a Espana. Wagtmans was known as one of the best descenders in the peloton and earned him the nickname "witte bles" which is translated as "white blaze". Wagtmans ended his career early due to heart problems. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Marty Nothstein

Marty Nothstein during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Marty Nothstein was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania on February 10, 1971. As a professional cyclist he raced both road and track. On the track he won 3 world championship titles and an Olympic gold and silver medals. His track racing nickname was The Blade, giving to him for his razor thin margins of victory and his ability to slice through a field of riders.

Nothstein never let anything stand in the way of his training or racing. While nursing a broken heel, and having to hobble to his bike on crutches, he won both sprint and keirin events at the 1994 World Championships. At the 1995 World Championships he raced with a fractured knee cap and won a bronze medal as a member of the U.S. team sprint squad.
Marty Nothstein (on left) won the silver medal in the match sprint while Jens Fiedler of Germany won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, GA. 

Marty was frustrated with winning a silver medal and not a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics. He was dedicated to winning a Gold Medal at the 2000 Olympics.  Through years of hard training and planning he was successful at winning a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Marty Nothstein winning gold in the Match Sprint at the 2000 Olympics.

In March of 2001, he turned professional on the road, first racing for the Mecury Viatel team and finishing out his career with the Navigators team. He retired from bicycle racing in 2006.

Nothstein became a NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car driver in 2007. At present time he is the Executive Director of the Valley Preferred Cycling Center (his home track in Pennsylvania).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Leon Georget

Leon Georget 
Leon Georget ( 1879 – November) was a racing cyclist from France. He was known as The Father of the Bol d'Or having won the race 9 times between 1903 and 1919 in Paris. He was also nicknamed Big Red, or The Brute.

Leon's younger brother Emile was also a very successful cyclist, winning the Bordeaux–Paris and 9 stages of the Tour de France. His son Pierre Georget won silver (1000 metres) and bronze medals (tandem) at the 1936 Summer Olympics.
Leon Georget 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Life Behind Bars - The Snake Den trail - Episode 5

July Fourth Ride 2012

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Louis and Alan the ride leaders. Alan has the traditional two fingers behind his head in this photo.

Louis and Alan have been leading this ride and all the Hearts Rides for many years. They do a great job of deciding on routes and keeping the rides running smoothly. Click here to go to the Forsyth Bike web site and learn more about these rides.

The traditional ride for the fourth of July is "Circumnavigate Pilot Mountain". This ride is 56 miles in length beginning at the Lewisville, NC town square. We had a large group of riders today and a great time was had by all. Chris and I turned off a little early to shorten the ride a bit. We still ended up riding 50 miles of the ride. I rode from home and ended up with a total of 66 miles for the day. 
Carole with her Project One Trek Madone.
(That's Carole's fingers behind Alan in the above photo.)
The group gathering before the ride at the Lewisville Town Square
The riders going around a curve on Flint Hill Road headed towards East Bend, NC.
A stop in the middle of a country road to deal with a broken spoke.


The group rolling down the road.
Music: Freight Train by Lightnin' Hopkins

When I finally got home I was super hungry. This reminded me of a cartoon, Billy Boy, that I remember watching many years ago. Below is a shortened version of this cartoon.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bol d'Or Bicycle Race

1909 Bol d' Or
The Bol d'Or was a bicycle track race that ran in France between 1894 and 1950. It was a paced, 24 hour endurance event. It has been won by several notable cyclists including Constant Huret (4 times), the Australian Hubert Opperman and three time hour record breaker Oscar Egg. The person with the most wins is Leon Georget (brother of Emile) with nine (including eight in a row).

The race was created on June 23 and 24, 1894 by a Monsieur Decam. It first ran at the Velodrome Buffalo in Paris and was sponsored by Chocolate Meunier.

In the early years riders were paced by tandems or triplets. In 1899 electric tandems were tried and motor (derny) pacing was used in 1950.

The race gets its name from the prize awarded to the winner - a gilded bronze bowl or cup.