We love bicycling as a lifestyle, culture, and sport. We love to ride, build, restore, oggle and sometimes race bicycles. We also love to talk on at great length about our ideas, opinions and exploits involving all of the above. Welcome to our BLOG!

Abandon Your Car is not a slogan or ideology so much as a reminder to all of us to get away from our petro-mobiles as often as we possibly can and embark on life as an adventure by bicycle.

We'll keep you current on the important road and trail beta from our home base in Palisade, Colorado and shower you with our .02 cents about the ongoings of bicycle tribes the world over.

Be sure to tune in for Danny, AKA: the Young Apprenctice, providing the ever important perspectives of a college-bound bike geek and all around brainiac in his NORCAL Updates.

We're glad you're here- look around, drop the Bike Master a line and then get out and ride for awhile- you'll be glad you did!

go to our most recent posting here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NorCal Update, August 31, 2010

Well, it's been awhile since I've posted an update, so here we go. I've been busy with the start of school and all that jazz, so unfortunately a bit of a damper has been put on my amount of riding as well.

Anyway, moving on. My last post left our readers with the image of a sweet -- albeit, a very used -- Mercian frame from the '70s. In my original post, I mentioned the date being debated and after an unsuccessful contact session with the company, I almost gave up. That is, of course, until I stripped the bike for its oxalic acid bath (thanks for stickin' with me on that one, Mom!) in the backyard. It wasn't until I took the frameset out of the bath, neutralized it, and waxed it that I found a number on the fork. 6 31675. Since that number was revealed after the bath, I decided to take a look back at the BB shell... oh look... there are the faint imprints of the same exact digits.

This serial number tells me two things: 1) The bike was made in 1975 and 2) I should have taken that bet from the owner of my LBS.

Here she is in her current glory. Another thing revealed by the bath was that the bike was definitely white when shipped from the factory, but years of outside living caused the clearcoat to yellow and flake. Also, I'm trying to figure out how to work with these housing stops and my sidepull brakes. That's a doozy:

Here's the rest of the brakeset awaiting some Cinelli bars and some concave washers (all on their way to me as I type):
I'm also awaiting other vintage Campy acquisitions (FD, RD, Shifters, and Headset) which I traded some other parts for.

Next on the chopping block is a very important acquisition, which was too cheap and too necessary to pass up. I bring you... the Trico Iron Sports shipping case! The ad definitely specified "Guaranteed to prevent UPS from putting another dent into your beautiful SOMA Smoothie" so I jumped on the deal at a mere $30:

And last but not least, there are two definite indicators that Fall is arriving. The first of those indicators is the first of my two annual colds (it always happens twice a year...I don't get it), and the second is this family of turkeys that always seem to come around the neighborhood at this time of the year:

That's all for now, AYC patrons! Stay tuned for more updates, and most importantly, get on your flippin' bike and take in this awesome Fall weather!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fruita, USA ride report for August 20-23, 2010

So, yeah, its been raining out here on the desert of the western slope- a lot. I never expected to find standing water on Fruita area trails in late August. Unfortunately, my bike washer is in for an unpleasant surprise when he gets home from his training mission in the mountains.

I realize this is nothing compared to, say, the Roan Cliff Chaos mudbath, but we just don't expect to get muddy in the desert in August...

I have been able to ride each of our 4 main single track areas out here over the past few days since the clouds broke: LOMA (aka "Kokopelli), 18 Road (aka the 18 mile), Rabbit Valley and Tabeguache (aka "The Lunch Loops"). The torrents of the past week have certainly left their mark all around.

I found mud on all of my rides and saw the telltale signs of rapidly flowing water carrying red dirt and debris toward the mighty Colorado. Did I mention it has been raining in a big way?

The Kokopelli Trails felt dreamy after the rain stopped on Thursday evening- cool and dustless. The few folks I encountered out at Sunset were, to a rider, stoked to finally be able to get out and ride in the pink, orange cool evening air and I was not the only one to push the limits of the day, rolling into the Trailhead in the dark. I've been riding up Wrangler lately (in lieu of Mary's) in the name of "training". It is hard to find a good uphill slog around these here parts and that is what it's all about when you go to race at the resorts, isn't it? After the agony though, you get to be all alone way up above the river and Mary's and any of the folks you saw in the parking lot. The single track connector down to Mary's is super fun- and just as fun to ride right back up. Let me leave you with 2 words: GOAT HEADS.

The 18 road always benefits from a good rain fall- so long as enough time has been allowed for the bentonite clay to dry up. My evening ride out there this week was fast and furious looking for rice crispy mud crusts to crunch across and getting away with far too much on the Joe's Ridge hogback whoopdies. August rides past have always meant chewed up moon dust out there, but not in 20-ten baby. Aside from the fact that the outhouses stink to high heaven the camping out there looked down right bucolic (unlike the Camp Mogadishu scenario you will find in late spring).

The Western Rim has sadly seen heavy traffic during the recent monsoon. I'd like to imagine all the ruts cut off trail into the wet desert were made by over eager motoheads in town for ROCKJAM- but clearly some of these tracks belong to bicyclists (in town for ROCKJAM?!). I'd love to see this trail re-routed to stay almost entirely on the slick rock and allow the desert to regenerate. On a positive note- the sandtraps were super rideable thanks to the crazy physics of water molecules and sand particles (except for where they weren't...).

Ah, Rabbit Valley- it took awhile for me to learn to love these old moto trails, but now it is my go-to ride of choice when I have to exorcise my soul of the air-conditioned concrete bunker called "work". The rides are long- they flow and take you somewhere (the proverbial, "out back of beyond").

Anyone who has ever been here recognizes this as the first 100 yards of the Tabeguache Trail out at theLunch Loops.

Wow- one can surmise that a virtual wall of water moved down this wash not all that long ago, eh? The condition of much of the single track out there bears this out.

This is the negative nelly portion of today's post. When I ride pieces of well-engineered, water shedding trails like Prenup, Raven Ridge and, even, Pet-e-Kes it is hard to understand why there are trails out here that have 6-8 inch ditches carved out by water rushing directly down the center making them essentially into boring grunt fests.

I know that trail awesomeness is in the eye of the rider, but I just don't get the allure of the Lunch Loops. For a long time I thought if I rode them more I would learn to love them like the masses from afar...so far, I continue to see the whole area as a gravity slave's dream come true (as belied by the popularity of "shuttle" riding out there) with some amazing, albeit entirely disjointed, x-country single track thrown in for good measure. But that's just me- and, well, this is my blog post after all.

My mind's eye reels at what this must have looked like during the torrents last week-

You have to leave the bike behind to find this spot down the McDonald Creek Trail in the "cultural resource management area". Danny took this cool picture when we went to find petroglyphs on the canyon walls. The exploring is mighty - the specter of a flash flood haunting. Come on out to ride and explore, but keep your eye on the anvils in the sky!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

fruita usa, august 15, 2010

This post is about getting your game on...

Frequent followers may have noted that we have been slacking on the blog lately- and, so, we have. In our defense, we have had a rocky summer here at AYC (on many fronts, but for now we will keep it to the bicycle front)

Summer 2010 has brought a record number of full scale, high speed wipe outs on the road and the trail. Kits have been shredded, derailleurs bent, helmets broken and flesh flayed. Races have been missed due to injury and forgotten gear, others raced with borrowed equipment. There have been BONKs due to poor planning and flats without sufficient tubage.
We ride a lot- a whole lot- so to some degree this is to be expected. On the other hand, we have had such tremendous luck for so long I think we may have grown a little complacent.

A few things we at Abandon Your Car have recommitted to:

- hydration. We nearly lost Brother John to the desert last week because he is such a strong athlete and excellent sufferer we did not realize he was completely BONKED and dehydrated on our 3 hour desert power ride (only later did he inform us he had not peed in 24 hours). After regaining his senses, John visited the good people at SingleTracks (our LBS with folks who care how your ride goes) who dialed him in with some 60oz Camelback goodness and we re-adopted the discipline of a full electrolyte bottle before and after any ride over an hour. New rule is that we really, really, really encourage all our visiting riders to hydrate with a vengeance and we insist they pee at least a few times a day... (we previously just really, really encouraged them)
note how refreshed John appears on this second ride of the day, thanks to his smart new personal hydration pack. Momentarily he will find a tree to pee behind- an excellent sign!

-top off the Stan's. Until this summer I had never had the great dispeasure of witnessing the rapid deceleration that comes with a fullspeed front flat. Just weeks after that front seat horror show I got to feel the agony myself (like I said, it's been a rocky summer). Longstory short- we both knew we were losing tire pressure in the days previous and had we juiced up, a whole lot of cussing, blood letting and expensive bike damage may have been avoided. Our new rule is any tire requiring a pump up twice in 2 days, gets a syringe of Stan's or doesn't go out.

This summer has been a bit of a power struggle with gravity and gravity ALWAYS wins when the wheels don't roll...and, comrade, the wheels don't roll when there ain't no Stan's. OUCH!

-tubes, tubes, tubes all around. What the heck is up with this epidemic of flats we are suffering? Add to that malfunctioning quickfills and random mechanical meltdowns and things have gotten down right eery. We race out the door for quick rides all the time- grab a single water bottle and leave the packs behind with the repair kit, multi-tool, special single speed back wheel allen wrench- you get the idea. Usually we get away with it.

Our in-house mechanic services our rigs religiously and we always, but always, ride in the singletrack and out of the goatheads, raise up and avoid pinch flats- always. Anywho- good thing Dave never minds riding miles of single track on a flat tire (regardless of whose bike its on)! New rule- everyone on the ride carries at least one tube in the appropriate size and we always have a pump, chain tool, multi-tool, replacement link and zip-tie in the posse. And how about a patch kit, eh? We only have a gross sitting in a box in the garage. (about as useful there as birth control sitting at the end of the bed - to borrow an analogy from the ever witty Brother John)

Here our friends are captured on the cellphone fixing the first flat of the day as the glorious window of morning cool slips away (and they have no idea of the flats yet to be)!

-get your s**t together. Dave rode for weeks without any gloves this summer after he left one up in Oak Creek. I forgot my helmet at my first (and only) Wednesday Night Worlds of the season (fortunately Danny had a great red mushroom to lend me) - my very next race I DNS'd (did not start) thanks to leaving my shoes at home (where were you then Danny?). A long time ago we implemented our system of keeping all your own gear in one contained unit, but this year we have had to add the new rule that everyone carry their own gear bag out to the car and submit to a collective gear check in the driveway.

hey there mushrom head, good thing someone had your back or there'd be no race for you. Get your S**t together- cause the season ain't over yet!

As you can see we have had many opportunities to think about being prepared for anything and plenty of opportunity to rally when preparation was a tad slack and things went awry. All in all we have been very fortunate with many hundreds of miles of epic riding this summer, only one ER visit, no one left behind to wander the desert and a bunch of good races rid (rode? ridden?).
The season isn't anywhere near over and we hope with a little more attention to detail we will really get our game on and Dave will have great showing at the
Steamboat Stage Race over Labor Day Weekend, we can throw a few points into the LiveTrainRace kitty at the Breckenridge Fall Classic the next weekend and clock a heap'o miles in the great fall colors.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

John's summer visit to Fruita, USA

Jen and i have had the great pleasure of hosting her brother John here in Fruita, USA for the past couple of days. a lot of miles were put on the bikes, both on the road and on the VTT's as well.
here's a photo montage of our riding from today and a few brief captions with the images. i don't need to blab on too much about everything that we did. i will just let the pictures do most of the talking and let the loyal AYC readers draw their own conclusions as to whether or not we had any fun during John's visit.

here is the Guardian of the Trail, posted up on his favorite rock Mary's- freshly molted and resplendent in brilliant colors.

morning light and slickrock on Horsethief Bench, Jen dropping in.

Jen heads straight for the best line on this section of Horsethief Bench- avoiding the "dragon's teeth" on her right and the deep canyon on the left. any mistakes made here are both costly and painful.

John chases Jen on the short road section between Prime Cut and Frontside out at the 18 mile.
yes, we got in two great sessions on the bikes today for about 5 hours of ride time... just in case you were wondering.

John did quite well for a guy coming straight from sea level and getting the suffer put upon him in 95 degree heat. not to mention that not-so-well fitting demo bike.

Jen powers up the climb on Frontside- it's a lot steeper than what the photo would lead one to believe.

the siblings about to point the bikes downhill and enjoy the effort it took to climb up here.

time out for a short breather and evaluation of the trail ahead.

Jen and John navigating the hogback on Zippity.

dropping into the chute on Zippity- pain awaits those who make a careless
move. Jen shows how to do it right. John cleaned it on his first try, having never ridden nor seen the trail before.

Friday, August 6, 2010

On the Workstand Today: Mercian Roadie

Hey there, AYC patrons! Today is another awesome day of bike riding and bike teching. Last night, my next door neighbor gave me this awesome late 70's machine. It's my first ever British project, and my first ever 531 frame to be working on.

Here's a picture of the bike before I tear it down:

(Click it for a far better, far bigger picture)

Now, I know it's not currently that much of a looker, but this bike is made of awesome materials, by an awesome British manufacturer, and it has an awesome history...

As soon as my neighbor gave me the bike, I went down to the local shop with it to have a nice chat with the owner, Chris Robinson (of Robinson Wheel Works) in order to try to ascertain a date. He's willing to bet money on the fact that it's 78-82; however, I'm not so sure. It's either a bit older than that, or it's a very conservative bike of its era with 27" wheel geometry, nutted brakes, and split cable housing guides/pump pegs.

Anyway, some fun facts came up when I took this to Chris. Apparently, the bike was purchased from a famous local store in Alameda, when Chris was still in high school. He was working there at the time, and even though the wheels don't match, they both bear his wheelbuilder sticker -- he built both of the wheels, and probably saw this bike ride out the door.

The restoration is going to start with a nice oxalic/citric acid soak just strong enough to remove the internal rust (I just need to find a kiddie pool). I don't know if I'm going to strip the paint, just because that would start getting pricey with a new powdercoat. Plus, the patina on the frame gives it a lot of character.

This frame is also a bit of a mystery. Its real date is being highly debated, and there are no serials to be found. Another thing I found truly odd was the fact that this bike is outfitted with Shimano dropouts. Most British bikes, especially Mercians, are outfitted with Campagnolo dropouts, so I'm willing to wager that this bike is at least semi-custom.

Those dropouts won't stop me from taking off the mish-mash of parts, and throwing on some beautiful 7speed Campy products... Also, a new, matching set of wheels is in the garage waiting for a new home (as well as a pair of unexpected 700c tubulars) on this bike. Currently, the only parts I know have lined up for this bike are the crankset and the brakeset.

Keep tunin' in for more updates as the project progresses.