Monday, January 21, 2013

Gunnar Roadie Riding On A Sunny Sunday Afternoon - Street Fighting Man

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Poor Ole' Joe keeping me company while I check over my Gunnar Roadie before riding.

Sunday afternoon the weather made a pleasant change. After a cold week consisting of 4 days of heavy rain, 1 day of snow and 1 day of melting snow the temperatures was in the 50s and 60s. Finally a sunny afternoon to get out and go for a ride! 

After checking over my Gunnar Roadie, I headed out. As soon as I got going I discovered the wind to be much stronger than I expected. As it always seems to be I was riding straight into the wind. 

As I rode on Peace Heaven road, on my way toward  Lewisville, NC, traffic just irritated me. It wasn't that there was a large volume of traffic, but that the drivers just seemed aggressive. I kept to the white line on the edge of the road to give passing motorists as much room as possible. At the intersection of Peace Haven and Lewisville-Clemmons Roads the driver in front of me was chatting on a cell phone and sipping coffee. He didn't notice when the red light had turned green and just sat there continuing his conversation. I just barely made it through the intersection before the traffic light changed to red. For some reason the Rolling Stones song "Street Fighting Man" popped into my head and was stuck there for much of my ride.  I hoped this wasn't going to be the flavor of the rest of my ride. 

I stopped at the town square in Lewisville  to say hello and talk for a few minutes with a couple of cyclist friends that were unloading their bikes from the back of their cars. They had just arrived and I was already warmed up. I told them I was going to head on and they understood that.

 As I left Lewisville I was still riding into a headwind. On days like this I keep reminding myself of what Mike Royal once told me. Mike said "you always have a headwind if you are going fast enough". He was right. So I continued to struggle into the wind and tried to enjoy the ride.

On tough days like this I am glad I am riding the Gunnar Roadie. Some bikes just have soul and the Roadie is one of them. It's classic paneled paint job and steel frame and fork all combine to make a wonderful bike. This steel frame reminds me of the bikes I rode in the late 1980s, but it is completely different. The Gunnar is made of much more advanced steel tubing than the tubing used in bikes years ago. The tubing is OS2, which is over-sized air hardened tubing.

What is air hardened tubing? It is explained in the FAQS section of the Gunnar web site as:
Air hardening steels are a class of steel alloys designed for high-performance applications like air-craft construction, automobile crash panels and bicycle frames. Of all these applications, the bicycle frame is the most demanding.

When they come from the factory, air hardening steels are about 10% stronger than chromoly steel and Reynolds' equivalent 531. Like chromoly and 531, air hardening steels can be heat treated. Heat treating can as much as double the strength of the tubing.
The big benefit for Gunnar of heat treated air-hardening steels is that when we TIG-weld them, the joints are much stronger than they would be if they were the older generation of alloy. The effect is a much more durable frame. It also allows us to lighten up the tubes while maintaining adequate strength.

Gunnar uses two types of heat treated air hardening alloys - True Temper OX Platinum and Reynolds 853. Gunnar has designed custom tubes to supplement these companies' standard offerings to achieve the highest overall performance.

I have ridden the Gunnar Roadie approximately 1500 miles now. The performance, durability and design features of this frameset combine to make a bike that I can easily see myself riding for another twenty years. And it's made in the USA!
Click here to visit the Gunnar Cycles web site.
A covered wagon pulled by two ponies on Forbush Road.
As I continued to struggle into a headwind, on Forbush Road in Yadkin County, I saw a covered wagon headed towards me. The driver stopped and we talked and I took a photo of his rig. His wagon was pulled by two eight year old ponies. He explained that they could easily cover 10 to 20 miles. The ponies were restless and I asked if they were tired? The wagon driver said "they aren't tired. They are ready to go because they know they are headed for the barn and some food and water". 

As the wagon started on down the road I checked the distance on my bike computer and saw that I had ridden 27 miles so far. A few more miles up Forbush Road I saw a group of about 12 riders in a single file paceline headed the opposite direction. I knew the group and most of the riders. After they had passed I turned around and sped up to catch up to them. The group was on a slight downhill section of the road and were enjoy the benefit of a tailwind. When I latched onto the draft of the back of the pack I looked down at my computer to see we were holding a steady 28.50 miles per hour. The spirited nature of this group continued all the way back to the Lewisville Town Square where the group had started from. At the square I stopped to visit with a few friends and then rode on in. It was another fun ride on the Gunnar Roadie and I ended up with a little over 50 miles of riding. The tune "Street Fighting Man" continued to stick in my head as I rode. Fortunately, after the early part of my ride, the rest of my ride saw light traffic with friendly drivers. 

Below is a video of The Rolling Stones performing "Street Fighting Man" in the year 1973:

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