Entries by andrew_f_martin

Peruvian Budget Travel Bike

I love my S&S coupler bike. It’s great for bike vacations and when I can expect to spend about a week somewhere with good riding far from home. The problem is, it’s a pretty involved process to pull it apart, case it, and re-assemble. I typically spend an hour on each side of the trip.

(click on either pic for more images)

I travel a lot for work, and an simpler travel bike has been on my mind for a while. Most of the destinations I work are generally pretty flat so single speed seemed logical. I debated over Brompton, Tern, Bike Friday, and Dahon, and finally eliminated them all for one reason or another. Cost was a key driver and those just didn’t offer what I wanted (drop bar) in any reasonable configuration or price point.

I stumbled across Velolucuma bike polo bikes on eBay and starting digging. After asking a couple questions of Axel, the guy who appears to be running things state-side the idea got pretty interesting. I wanted a fixed gear bike for training and simple riding. I wanted brake mounts and a traditional road fork. I was a bit worried about the geometry, but Axel was able to adjust that for me no problem. Bike Polo angles are pretty similar to relaxed track angles which was what I was after. I did some part-nerding out and scoured eBay for the pieces I needed. After realizing I could do it cheaply, I talked more details with Axel and ordered an essentially custom frame from their hand-crafted framemakers…in Peru. I got the brake bridge instead of disc mounts and posts. I got skipped cable routing because I may actually try the thing on the track. I sent my money, ordered some parts, and waited. More detail after the jump…

VeloBody on Review

I just got back from a couple weeks riding with in Hawaii. For most of the year, I don’t have to deal with extreme of conditions being from Seattle. The one “down side” (if you can really call it that) of riding in Hawaii is the heat and sweat and what that can do to your junk. This trip I brought along a tub of VeloBody. I’ve had a couple go-to brands over the years: one went out of business (Greyhound Juice) and one is getting damn expensive and hard to find (Assos). Velobody is a pretty comparable in thickness and feel so I was a fan from the start. It’s shea butter based, which seems to work well for me. VeloBody stays in place, no strong scent, not too greasy. After a long ride in the sun it seemed to do a good job - I like it.

VeloBody also makes a shave stick which I like was well. I struggled a bit with the form factor, so I pulled it out and housed it in a loofa bag which has been great. The thing I notice after shaving with it is the legs feel “pre-moisturized”. No need to get into the business of lotion after shaving. Not a bad option.

Indiana Farmroads Brompton

I have found yet another bike that I need. I travel a lot for work and I have an S&S bike, but most trips are relatively quick. As much as I love my S&S bike, the threshold for travel for me 5 days with some decent riding opportunities. It’s just not worth the tear down and build up for anything less.

For work trips, I still want to stay on the bike, but I’ve traditionally been hunting down hotels with spin bike access for some indoor miles - blech. For this trip, I borrowed/stole Byron’s Brompton. I pulled the city pedals and spun on my ATACs clipless. AWESOME. I rode for 2:30 yesterday with a simple 2 speed on the flat-ish farm roads north of Indianapolis. I didn’t join one of the many group rides that I ran into up on these awesome roads because I’m still a little uncertain of the bikes handling, but in general it was great.

The first 2 hours were perfect - sunny and 75 and a slight breeze. I started to notice the sky darkening, and then POW. Full downpour and drenched with 15min left to ride. I should have grabbed a shot in the sun, but instead I just raced home and took this shot by the hotel lobby. Great ride, fun bike.

What would I change:

  • Add Hand positions: I really prefer drop bars, so I’d get a true straight bar, slide the grips in a bit and get some old Scott Rake bars. They’d have to come off each time I build the bike, but that’s fine. I’d alter the brakes to use drop levers and figure out some way to keep them from tangling.

  • Rubber bumper thing: I never quite got used to the floaty feel that the bumper creates. Perhaps the Tern bikes of similar have a more stable feel.

  • Saddle: This is an easy switch, but putting my preferred saddle would help with longer rides.

  • Peripherals: The bar as it’s setup today is limiting for mounting a light and Garmin. I was able to make it work, but perhaps some shims near the stem to get it to 31.8.

Overall I’m going to continue to “borrow” this ride from Byron when possible. For the frequent traveler it opens up a great option for blowing off some steam after a long day in the office.

Boba Fett on a Bike!

(Click the photo to go to the Etsy T-Shirt page)

Just a quick post on something I stumbled across on my Facebook activity feed. I love bikes. I love Star Wars - ESPECIALLY Boba Fett. Here’s he’s pulling Han Solo frozen in Carbonite.

Ed note: the artwork for the T was drawn by Mike Joos.

Mercier in the Market

Saw this cool Mercier setup in Pike Place Market yesterday. Drop bar with a bar-end shifter, Sturmey internal hub, wide tires, and platform pedals. Pretty cool urban ride.

Performance Neo Booties

Cold feet suck. For me, it’s feet and hands that make the difference between a good and bad wet ride. Living in Seattle, wet is a pretty safe bet so usually it’s just a matter of gear selection. Since I’ve been doing this for 15+ years you’d think I’d get it right automatically by now, but even just last week I left home on a seemingly dry cold morning with toe covers and a lycra over-shoe. Bad call.

All it took was a little light mist as we dropped into the Snohomish Valley and it was 2 hours of lack of feeling. I’m not even sure why I chose my lighter shoe setup, but I should have gone with my faithful (and still cheapest/best value) Performance Neoprene booties. They always seem to be on sale for ~$30 and they are just solid. Thick neoprene, simple graphics, and durable closures. Maybe I would be best to put the lighter setup in a box marked “Do not open until March” and go with what I know will get me through the winter.

Retro Coppi - Complete!

What started out as a cheap little project turned into a bit of a pricy effort, but I’m quite pleased with how it all turned out. A good bit of time spent on google and ebay finding workable parts and at least a half-dozen stops by my LBS. Thankfully, Bothell Ski & Bike has a resident Single Speed Expert in their head mechanic Donny Love. He was nearly as jazzed about some of the parts as I was. Highlights of the build after the jump.

Mental Shifting

I just caught this tonight on my flight home. Apparently this has been out there for months, but it’s first I’ve seen of this partnership between Toyota and Parlee. Byron tipped us off to it earlier this summer, but I hadn’t seen the video. Certainly worth a watch if you haven’t seen this yet.

Tied and Soldered

As part of my retro-build, I got the screwy idea of tying and soldering my wheels. Sure Jobst Brandt thinks it’s worthless, but it’s retro and cool and it’ll look the part. I found a couple decent articles, but the Urban Velo had pictures so that’s what I followed. I’m a pretty handy guy and do all my own wrenching, but I’d never tried this. The cool part was, I actually got to use a flux brush for it’s intended use (usually I use them to paint tubular glue). After a couple false starts using slightly wrong materials, and with some trial and error on soldering technique, I think it got it to a pretty presentable place. Simichrome after your done makes a big different too in order to really shine up the heat/flux tarnished bits. I’m only waiting on a couple more parts and it’s time to ride.

Leg Lube - Reviewed

I’ve been shaving with Leg Lube for a couple weeks now. In general, I think the stuff is pretty solid. The lube goes on easy and the bottle works well in the shower. I’m not sure if they planned it, but the matte bottle finish is easier to hold onto than other bottles in the wet. Unless you have a little big of hair built up, getting a froth going doesn’t really happen (maybe I need a loofa?). I’m not sure if it’s because of that or not, but my razor “squeaked” a bit on my quads. Adding more lube and that sensation went away.

So the best part is the mild smell, and awesome tingling feel on the legs. I can’t place the scent, but it feels like it’s doing something - it’s a subtle cooling sensation that I really liked. The other thing that sets Leg Lube apart is that when you dry your legs, it seems that the lotion is already there. No real drying feeling I get when I shave with soap or gel.

If you’re like me, and sometimes you leave a patch on your knee, the “out of the shower” shaving option is really impressive. I’ve touched up before out of the shower only to get some good razor burn. Not so with Leg Lube. I’ll certainly be buying another bottle to keep in my race bag just in case. Overall, it seems to be a good product, and I always like buying from people that take a risk and start a bike-related business. You can follow @LegLube on Twitter or like them on Facebook. Leg Lube can be purchased for $8.95 at their Website or at a local dealer.

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