Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Overhaulin' the Singlespeed

I've been meaning to give some rebuild love to the SS for sometime now. Haven't done a thing to her since I put the fork on over the summer and it showed. The chain and cogs were gritty, the brakes in the rear were almost ineffective, the Crank Bros. Mallet's are beat to shit along with the EBB, and the entire bike was covered in mud and sand from various locations throughout the NE. One of the things I love about singlespeed bikes is the simplicity, which often makes rebuilding quick and almost painless. 

New EBB Installed
Since I had to pull most of the bike apart to get to the EBB I figured I would just overhaul it and clean it up. I had some trouble getting the crank bolt off, felt frozen, but nothing a little leverage couldn't handle...thank you laws of physics. I cleaned up the chainring, crank spindle interface, and BB cups, greased it all and installed it back onto the frame.

Yup the old one is pretty beat up
New EBB installed

New Crank Bros. Smarty's Installed
The Mallet's I had on here were used for years on my RM Switch and since I got new ones, these were relegated for SS use only. They were worn when I put them on the bike, now they are really worn out. Drive side actually has enough play that you can feel it in each pedal stroke. I picked up this set cheap for a 29'er build I never got to completing. I got them for less than it would cost for replacement cleats, which I also needed. I've heard mixed reviews with these but I think they will be fine for what I need. Certainly they are better than what came off.

Crank Bros. Smarty Pedals, Orange with Black Plates @ 282 grams

Tire Swap: 2.3 Kenda Nevegals for 2.2 Maxxis Wetscreams
I absolutely love the Kenda Nevegals for this bike. The 2.3's offer a fast-rolling large volume tire which gives extra cush on the backside as well as excellent grip and predictability, assuming pressure is where it needs to be. But the one thing I loathe is their inability to play well in wet to muddy conditions. They pack up, become unpredictable in corners, and they slide right off wet roots unless you're really careful about placement and weight distribution. I replaced these with a set of 26 x 2.2 Maxxis Wetscreams. Of course these tires were designed for DH riding in muddy conditions but I know lots of riders that use this tire for muddy to slushy to snowy conditions during the winter with good results. Two things I like about these tires...I picked the set up for just $20 and the orange stripe matches my new pedals. Two things I don't like about these tires...the added weight of the 2 ply casing and the rolling resistance of these huge knobbies. After a few rides I'll know whether or not these tires will work well. I could always go right to the studded Nokians if they don't but I am hoping they will. 

26 x 2.2 Maxxis Wetscream with MaxxPro 60a Compound
Check out the siping and square knobbies
Rear Brake Not Really Working
I had to remove the calipers from the bike, remove the pads, clean the pads with sand paper, clean the calipers, re-install them on the bike and then finally hit the rotors with the sandpaper to give them their bite back. Not sure why the rears were not working well. I suppose something got into the pads and contaminated them, reducing the friction, causing poor performance. I also readjusted the calipers to eliminate some rubbing. I just have to clean the rotors with rubbing alcohol to remove any oils that may have made it onto the rotor surface.

Last but not least I cleaned the cog, chain ring and chain and lubed them up nice. It was unbelievable the crap that was coming out between the links. I cleaned the rest of the bike as well as the fork stanchions. I spent the last two nights, after the kids went to bed, overhauling this bike so I could get out and ride today at lunch and it rained last night…a lot. No bummed. I would have preferred snow, cause I could have ridden in that. I can’t stand when ride plans are crushed by bad weather. Anyway here she is...all dressed up and no where to go.

Winterized and ready for more

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best fails of 2011 || TNL - YouTube

Funny? Some. Shocking? Others. Fail? All.

Best fails of 2011 || TNL - YouTube:

'via Blog this'

Facebook Timeline

I upgraded to the facebook timelime but still not sure if I like it. Definitely better than previous but lately I've been posting to facebook as well as read updates via Hootsuite. It seems a bit better organized and I do like the cover pic. I think that's what the old profile lacked the most, the ability to make the interface your own and personalize it.

Lunch Time Ride - SCP

Rode the trails in Schenectady Central Park today during lunch.  What a great day for a was perfect...for Dec. 19th anyway. They were frozen and fast with surprisingly very little frost heave. There are some new fallen trees though, too big/heavy to move by myself. Had to skip some sections due to time constraints, but still awesome.

Monday, December 19, 2011

So Simple a Caveman Can Do It...

23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

A Doctor-Professor answers the old question "What is the single best thing we can do for our health" in a completely new way. 
Dr. Mike Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael's Hospital.

Follow Dr. Mike on Twitter @docmikeevans

Conceived, written, and presented by Dr. Mike Evans
Illustrated by Liisa Sorsa 
Produced, directed, and filmed by Nick De Pencier 
Picture and sound edit by David Schmidt 
Gaffer, Martin Wojtunik 
Whiteboard construction by James Vanderkleyn
Production assistant, Chris Niesing 
©2011 Michael Evans and Mercury Films Inc.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

OMG...How Much Did You Pay for Those EBB's!?!?

Seven bucks each. That's right...$7! So I bought two. I got these from Chad at Soul Cycles. They were on closeout with some other parts. Regular price for these were almost $40 I think. I've actually been meaning to replace the one on my 1st generation Hooligan since it's chewed up and beat to shit but just did not want to pay that much. Glad I jumped on them when I did because they are all gone now.

New Fork for the Singlespeed

As much as I like the responsiveness and light weight of a rigid fork, it was beating the snot out of my elbow and wrists. Since I use a computer extensively at work and at home, something a little less abusive up front was necessary. Over the summer I picked this Reba Team fork used, from a friend, locally for $80. What a word of difference this fork has made. Dual air spring, motion control dampening and even has a remote lock out, which I have used more often than I would have thought, for those extended climbs when you're really torquing the bar. The added weight is no longer noticeable and my wrists and elbow are happy...and that is of course what really counts.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Doritos® Presents: CRASH THE SUPER BOWL

Check out my wife in this Doritos commercial, her face is classic...

If they get to the final round, please vote for hers.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Weather is Here...Wish You Were Biking.

Going for a ride in Schenectady Central Park right now. Gotta love this mild winter weather. This is what I like best for lunch.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Scram SRAM...I'm going back to Shimano

Earlier in the year I picked up a 2010 Shimano SLX shadow rear derailleur for $45, from One Ghost Industries ( I've been wanting to switch back to Shimano because I just haven't been happy with the SRAM stuff. Till now the cost has been the major factor along with the fact that I just did not want to switch out a part unless its broken or just not working properly. Since I had to replace the chain and rear cog with new parts, I figured it was the time to install the derailleur as well. It took a bit of digging but I found a Shimano rear derailleur shifter in my garage along with a new cable and housing. The new housing is silver so it a nice change from the black and I also found some aluminum cable end caps which look pretty trick and match the rear link. It took a bit of fiddling with but I was able to dial everything in pretty well. This thing shifts awesome now, it's so precise. I also prefer the look of the new rear mech over the old one.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Back from my hiatus

Lately I have had little time to blog and even less time to ride. A lot has been going on but I've just been real busy with the family and especially with work, 50 to 60 hour work weeks are just killing me. I really need the exercise too as it directly impacts my mood. I am so happy I got out for a road ride today, it was just an hour but has made a big difference in the way I feel. Besides the end of Summer is fast approaching and I want to get in as much riding as I can before the snow flies...really not looking forward to that.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cunningham Park

I found myself back on Long Island at the end of May and I brought my Rocky with me to ride at either Glacier Ridge or Cunningham Park. Unfortunately I spent most of the day looking for a new chain and rear cog because I was having severe skipping issues and simply could not ride it like that. I got the parts I needed, installed and adjusted them and headed home. On the way I back to Albany, I stopped in Queens to ride at Cunningham. The trails are always superb there. I love it! I was able to ride everything. I wish these trails were a lot closer but getting to ride them a few times a year make it a real treat!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New bits for the Rocky

Early Spring found me pouring over websites for sales of any kind but particularly bike components. I had been eyeing several different parts but I wasn't making any purchases unless the price was right. I was sure if I waited long enough, what I wanted would be priced right.

I've been longing over some bits from Diety Components ( for like ever. I love the Enoki grips as well as some of their bars and stems. I found out they were having a closeout sale on last years Dirty30 bars and the lifesaver bar ends. I jumped at the chance, I think the bar ends cost me $10, the bar was $25 and I think the grips were $20. Normal price for the grips but the bar and end caps were half off!

Okay, so now I needed a stem. There was a local guy selling a used Race Face Diabolus D2 stem for $45. The thing was practically brand new! It was also what I was looking for 70mm length with zero degree rise, 1.25" stem and 31.8mm clamp. I wanted something similar to my current stem, which was 50mm with zero degree rise, but just a bit longer so the front end wouldn't dance on steep climbs. The stem looks sick too, it's a perfect match for the Diety bits.

My first real ride with these parts was at Cunningham Park. What a difference from the last time I was there. The steering was so crisp, almost felt like when I had the triple crown up front. The bars, because of their width, also put me almost always in the optimal position. Helped keep my chest open for effective breathing and put my torso in attack position. I felt really confident riding with this setup and man does it look sweet!

Monday, April 11, 2011

What's Your Bike of Choice for Early Season Riding?

Finally after months of inactivity (for the most part) there's no more snow on the trails and the weather is finally warm enough to ride comfortably. So the question is what bike do you ride? I know not everyone has more than one bike, but the true addicts like myself do. So which do you choose? Do you take the roadie out first and try to get your legs and lungs back in shape before hitting the trails? Or do you choose the XC hardtail with a shitload of gears so that you can ease into the riding season? Maybe the freeride bike with 6 inches of travel?Yeah it only had a crapload of gears because you removed the big ring for the sexy RF bash guard, but man isn't that ride plush with all that travel? Or maybe the singlespeed? That's right I said the singlespeed. "Why the singlespeed?" you ask..."Isn't riding this so early in the season basically the equivalent of kicking yourself in the nuts?" "Why yes...yes it is." I answer. But it's good and I'll tell you why.

My Soul Cycles Hooligan
There's been alot of debate over the years about gears vs no gears, the 29'er crowd is going through the same thing right now. Before I tried it I was like how is this better than gears? IMHO it's not better...just different. Look, I love all my bikes the same and they all have a specific use or they do one thing better than the others. The bottom line is the singlespeed bike is a fitness and skills building machine! Nothing else will get you in shape quicker than a singlespeed. Momentum is the key, if you don't want to walk up the hills you have to ride faster. Because you have to keep up your momentum, you become better at choosing good lines. This is crucial if you ride rigid. Up until this year thats what I've been riding, a rigid singlespeed, which is basically a bike with one gear and no suspension. Unfortunately, the tendinitis (tennis elbow) that plagued me last year will not allow me to ride the rigid least not for a while. No huge benefits to riding rigid anyway other than a lighter bike, slightly improved steering response, and no fork maintenance. Well, maybe to some those are huge benefits. Personally I like a little cush up front when riding some of the rocky and rooty terrain we have here in the NE. It's actually amazing how such a low tech piece of equipment can make you a better rider. No pain no gain I guess. So that's what I am riding right now, how about you?

Spring is here!

Section of skinnies at Schenectady Central Park on April 2nd.
FINALLY! The nice weather has arrived! Yeah I know, we've all been dying to get out and ride but be careful. There is nothing worse than showing up to ride your favorite trail and find it all rutted out and destroyed because others rode it when it was too soft. Try and walk the wet sections or avoid them all together, it'll make riding later on in the season so much better.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's Your Tire of Choice for Northeast Riding?

There have been some discussions going on in the local forums lately on what's the best tire for local riding so here's my list of favorites for typical rocky, rooty and sometimes wet Northeast trail riding...

Bontrager Big Earl Wet, F and; R, 26 x 2.5
Bontrager Big Earl Dry, F and R,  26 x 2.5
Hands down and without question the Bonty's are still my favorite for local riding. They wear well, grip is awesome in any terrain, they are light for such a big volume tire, and rolling resistance isn't that bad. I love the GumBi compound too, the low rebound gives these tires unbelievable grip at the right tire pressure. Check out the pic below. The tires just conform to the terrain and I have yet to pinch flat. Pressures were 30psi in the pic.
Wow, check out that tire deformation!
The wet version is better than the dry version but only in wet conditions. I haven't noticed any other difference in dry or even moist conditions. They both shed mud well too, that's a huge plus. I've used 2.3's as well but the 2.5's are just more sure footed. Best of all you can find these relatively cheap on ebay or locally. I think I paid $30 for the Dry versions in the 2.5 and they were new. I think Bontrager is discontinuing these in favor of the new lines coming out like the XDX which I hear great things about. I hope they are at least as good as these because I dread the day I will no longer be able to purchase new ones.

Kenda Nevegals, F and R, 26 x 2.3 DTC
I have used the Kenda Nevegals too but my one beef with them is their mud/wet conditions is terrible. I have the DTC version, maybe the other compounds work better...I don't know. The rolling resistance on these are minimal thanks to the ramped center treads and the knobbies really allow you to get the bike leaned over in corners and still hold the line. Also light for such a big volume tire. Right now the set I have are slated to got onto my SS after mud season. They make riding with a rigid fork a bit more bearable. I also run these about 30-35 psi.

Kenda Kinetics, F and R, 26 x 2.6 Stick-E compound
I bought these on a whim. I like the tread design and the compound and the were on sale for $9 each. I had read reviews that some had issues with the sidewalls being too weak and failing. I figured even if they don't last long, no big deal they were cheap. Tire are surprisingly light for a 2.6 although they were slower rolling due to the compound and the big knobbies but that's also why they excel in cornering and grip. So far these have been the best. I didn't have them on the bike long but only because they rolled slower than the Bonty's. I had no trouble with these and they were actually the best big volume tire I have tried in snowy conditions to date. I will probably put these tires on again but maybe not till later in the year. I had these aired at around 35psi.
Riding at the Pine Bush these tires performed really well in the snow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

RIP Race Face...You will be missed!


Did 45 minutes of Yoga from the P90X program at lunch with some co-workers and I learned two things...I am way out of shape and I am about as flexible as a wooden board. I feel great but have a long way to go. I am hoping this translates directly into better performance on my mountain bike.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Icon Soft Brown Stripe by Skullcandy

I've been looking for a set of over the ear headphones for a while but two things were holding me back. One, I already had several pairs of in ear headphones that worked fine and two, I didn't want to drop a ton of cash on something that I may not like. Also many of the headphones I had seen on the market just didn't catch my eye. Some were boring, others were too big. I also wanted something was different, that looked different. I think I found it in the Icon Soft over the ear headphones from Skullcandy. I got an email from The Clymb, they had several versions on sale. I found these and had to have them. I love the color and the name of this version, called the brown stripe, reminds me of mountain biking in the early and usually wet Spring. I paid $13.98 for these and they came with a decal which I affixed to my phone, a black dew rag with gold graphics, and a small template for spray painting the skull graphic on your skate board, bike, or helmet. For the price these are a fantastic deal. Construction looks like quality, they are comfortable, and they look awesome. I'll be using these mostly for listening to music from my phone and thanks too the in-line mic and can use it as a headset too. I also like the nylon braided speaker wire, much nicer than the rubber stuff and is tangle free. Yeah I can't use these while I am rippin' the local singletrack but that's not what I got them for. I'll be stylin' in my cubicle, listening to sick beats while cranking out killer designs from my workstation. Gonna go get some more tunes onto my phone and give these a proper shake down.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Race Face Closing its Doors!?!

Race Face, no longer a maker of delicious bits for your bike.
I first read about this on pinkbike and has been confirmed by several other sources...

Bike Rumor
Bike Biz

There is speculation as to why they are closing but I have not seen any official company statements. I checked their website this morning and it mentioned nothing of the closing.

I have been buying their products for years and I am pretty sure I still have every piece, still going strong too...bombproof. Never owned any of their carbon components but from what I've seen they are top notch. Race Face is one of the reasons I originally bought my Rocky Mountain. I really hope someone picks up the company and continues to produce these beautiful and well designed products. If not they will definitely be missed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Making Time on the Trainer Less Painful

I am dyin' to get out and ride. So desperate in fact that I have actually resorted to the trainer in the garage. Luckily, I found that Blue Sky Cycling was having a huge sale on DVD's. I got nine DVD's and each for under $3! This will definitely make the trainer more bearable. I really can't wait for the warmer weather.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New York Bike Law Could Mean Mandatory Licenses and Insurance For the Whole State

"This afternoon, Gothamist points us to a proposal by assemblyman Michael DenDekker, a Democrat from Queens, which would require by law that every bicycle -- not just in New York City, but in New York state -- have a license plate, to be re-registered every year only after an inspection of the bike. A second bill, also in the works, would make it so every rider must be insured and carry identification. The enforcement would mean about $1,875,000 for New York, plus $375,000 every additional year in fees. But that's not the point, lawmakers insist."

I am not sure how else I can put this but its TOTAL FUCKING BULLSHIT! This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. It's just another way for NYS to remove hard earned cash from our pockets. And what about mountain bikes? I don't ever ride mine on the road and this schmuck wants me to insure and register the fucking thing? There is no way I am gonna put a plate on my Rocky...forget it! Can you hear it? The world is once again laughing at us...unbelievable.

Winter is killing me...

I swear I have had enough. No more shoveling. No more snow blowing. No more cold. ENOUGH! I need to ride! Good news though...I found a bunch of mountain biking DVD's on sale at Blue Sky Cycling for less than $3 each! Not really a substitute for riding but it'll help me kill time on the trainer.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blue screen of death!

F#@&!%g son of a bitch! Right when I was in the middle of something. Thanks Windows update! :L

Monday, January 10, 2011

First Ride of 2011!

20110105_SMBA Trails from John Ruiz on Vimeo.

This day was bitter sweet for me. It was my last day of vacation but my first ride of the New Year. I didn't really have much time to ride in Saratoga this past year so I figured what better way to kick off the New Year than to ride some of the most challenging terrain in the capital region. The fact that there is almost no snow back there right now is unbelievable. I hit all the new stuff too and it is awesome! Gnod, Porky Pine and Backstretch are all intermediate trails which will make it easier for more riders to enjoy the new stuff. There’s lots of flow, natural features as well as manmade bridges to add to the experience. Some also have go-arounds which will appeal to the less advanced riders. I also saw a few options which would appeal to the more advanced riders. The club did an amazing job on the new trails and it is a fantastic addition to the great trails already there. It was like rediscovering the trails all over again, reminded me of the first times I rode there.

One of my resolutions this year wasn’t necessarily to ride more often but to go on more rides that would last an hour or more. I spent 3 hours riding back there so this definitely qualifies. I can't wait to spend more time back there this year although it is a long drive. It took me about 45 minutes one way from my house in Delmar. It would probably take me 35 minutes if I left from work. Still if I can find the time the trails are well worth the while. Thanks to all who have donated and dedicated their time to making these trails great! To find out more about these incredible trails go here...

I took some pictures too and uploaded them to flickr. Go here to view them.