First Winter Ride

Wow. I never thought it would come to this. The need to ride my bike when it was 21 degrees out. Sunday am was bright and sunny, perfect for riding. No one was out. I rode the rail trail for the first 2 miles heading south. Snow was LOUD, crunchy. The trail has been ravaged by sleds tearing up and down over the last few weeks. There was no real solid track to stay in, so it was like riding in sand at a slight incline for 2 miles. Exhausting, but fun. I felt a sense of "invincibility" being the only crazy idiot out for a bike ride. Everything went without a hitch, toes only got a little cold near the end, but I was warmer than I thought all my gear would be able to keep me. Can't wait for the next opportunity to ride, maybe fit in a ride home from work or something soon. Next up on the shopping list, studded tires. Regular ones are fine, but studs would give me the added security needed, if I had to suddenly bail off the side of the shoulder of a road when traffic was approaching, which I had to do once today.


Rebuild, Il finito (finished)

Okay, first off - what a fun experience this was. I have learned so many things by just poking around over the last month that I'm pretty sure I won't need to ever take a bike to the shop again to have something adjusted or fixed. If you have the time and ambition to figure out lots of details, I would suggest this to anyone serious about cycling on or off road. You can save yourself a ton of money by not having to go to the bike shop. Though, nothing seemed easy or straight-forward, I kept my patience and worked maybe 2 hours at a time. I probably have near 20 or so hours on the entire project. Tonight, I thought the install of new brake pads would be a snap, but that too was trouble - mainly because the new rims are so much more beefy and wide, I had to adjust everything from the levers all the way down to the tiny set screws on the v-brakes. Almost every single thing on this bike needed to be re-adjusted, moved, replaced or cleaned. I would like to get out and go for a maiden voyage this weekend in the snow. Take the Garmin with, see what it does, although I don't have the extra cadence/speed sensor yet for the mountain bike. D@mmit, can't wait for spring!!!
New External BB (instead of traditional internal cartridge-style). Will probably have to replace this cheapy with high-quality one this summer, but we'll see how long it will hold up. This is "new" technology - well, at least for a 13 year old bike it is.

All new drivetrain. SRAM X-9 derailleur, 9-spd cassette, chain, light weight MTB rims with Shimano XT hubs. Chainstay sticker from France. The country. My first ever piece of international mail. If you look closely you can see the quick-link in the chain. Supposed to be for easy on/off without having to break the chain, but it was a b!tch to get unhinged the first time I tried.

Front end. Could have probably bought new brake levers, new mechanical ones are cheap. You can see the new carbon-fiber SRAM X.0 shifters. They're a dream compared to the old sloppy ones I removed. They were well overdue for the trash.

Not sure why this shot is so crappy, but my camera didn't like even the forced-flash. Maybe The General Lee is just too intimidating now. HA


Rebuild, part 1

Hopefully there is only a part 2 before this all ends. The General Lee has been almost totally stripped down, cleaned and ready for rebuild. Ordered all new drivetrain, shifters and wheel set. This is the first major overhaul since I bought it in summer of 1997. So far everything is going great. I have to return a front derailleur (wrong size) and for some reason the bottom bracket is the wrong thread. Not sure how that is going to work. I guess that's part of the problem with going from Shimano to SRAM. Trip to the bike shop tomorrow, maybe they'll exchange my derailleur there so I don't have to pay to ship it back to California, then back again and wait 2 more weeks. In typical Maravolo fashion, I realized last night at 8pm that I didn't have any car wax to shine up the frame all nice, so I packed up the daughter and we headed off to Meijer - just to get wax. Running Maguires Nxt Gen Tech Wax. HA HA...$16 a bottle. Only the best.


Two Twenty Nine

No, not the time. Not the date. It's the reading the bathroom scale gave me this morning. Welcome 2011. Glad you are finally here. This is the beginning of the end for an overweight, careless eating man who has more to live for. No more excuses. No more weakness. Something about this year has me pumped about actually doing something about it. I can't wait to start this new chapter in life.