September 23, 2008


A mysterious pile of rocks showed up today. Work on the yard begins Monday. I am excited.


Unfortunately, whoever dumped the rocks piled them around a few trees, leaving a few large dings in the bark. I enjoy not having to do some hard labor, but I often wonder what people are thinking.

In other news...

Veep has registered for a mini triathlon in Southern Utah in October and has started a training regimen. Now that Sal is in preschool for three hours every Monday, Wedneday, and Friday morning, she has regular alone time she can use to exercise. Despite starting slow, however, she has contracted mysterious proximal leg pain. Hopefully it will go away.

And yes Sal has started preschool, as previously mentioned. On his first day he was a little nervous. Appropriately, his main fear, when asked by Veep what he was worried about, was "what if I have to poop? What if my bum itches?" I wasn't there, so I don't know what the official answer was, but I'd be interested to know.

I've been getting accustomed to my new bike. It is a juggernaut. The thing does not like to stop, it just wants to keep going, what with a good 240lbs of inertia spread over a 6 foot long wheelbase. I'm glad I invested in disc brakes. They're not the heaviest duty downhill brakes, but they do give me confidence that I can stop quick when coming down Hatch hill, in the dark, with wet pavement. Now I just need to slap some fenders on the thing (the beloved disc brakes make transferring my old fenders impossible, SKS fenders are on order) now that autumn has arrived.

Check out the new photo album on the right. The inaugural Spokefest was a few weekends ago. It was a fun morning ride through the state park with 1200 other bike lovers. The kids even had their own little loop through the park downtown and got orange flags mounted on their bikes. Of course I got a flat tire not 4 miles into the ride. Embarrassing but to be expected. A beautiful late summer day all the same.

September 14, 2008

Weekend Rides

Turnbull with the kids, Mt. Spokane with the guys.



On the way up we mostly stuck to the road, but were forced onto the trail as they are resurfacing near the top. This trip was all about the downhill. Harwood has been sharing his "The Collective" movies, putting stupid ideas in the heads of three thirty-somethings that should be riding slow and safely for the sake of their children. Karma smiled, no injuries. No really cool jumps either.





Turnbull Wildlife Refuge Sunday evening. The girls rode well. They weren't shy expressing their preference for pavement however. Didn't see much of the "wildlife" unfortunately. Beautiful evening, near-full moon on the rise.

Sal is getting sick of being in the trailer. My next project will definitely have to be getting rid of his training wheels. We tried a cheap trail-a-bike which he didn't take to--it kept flopping side to side and he never really felt safe. I didn't either. We'll have to use his younger cousin for inspiration.

September 12, 2008

Big Dummy Photos







Here is the rear hub laced wrong.


Here is the rebuilt wheel, now laced correctly. Can you tell the difference? Small details.


It's a big bike. For scale, I'm 6'7".



I've gone on one ride so far, up Hatch hill to the LBS to check the front brake rotor. The shifting is smooth and quick, as the chain is never disengaged. However, you can't shift under a heavy load and the transition from 7th to 8th requires a little finesse (read Sheldon's friend for an explanation, he explains it well-- Overall it is very nice and the range is more than adequate (up the hill in 4th gear, down in 14th, engaged at a fairly low cadence).  I may need to adjust the shifter cables, they keep backing out from where they engage the twist shifter.

The long wheelbase is also interesting. The bike feels really solid. Coming down Hatch hill I felt very confident and stable, like a motorcycle or something (though I have never really ridden a real motorcycle). Cornering is a little less tight but not a significant problem for regular street riding (trial biking is another matter--no wheelies on the long tail).  I'm excited to get it out on the road some more before the weather turns. 

Of course right when I have it ready to go, I've got a few days of graveyard shift and, despite my honest desire to ride it to work, Veep questioned the wisdom of riding home at 8 am after 11 hours of work and then not being able to get to sleep as a result.  Point taken--it is sitting in the garage for a few more days.

I do have concerns about the Xtracycle panniers.  For how expensive they were, they sure seem flimsy.  I just noticed they are now selling racks on their website that have a horizontal cross bar for conventional panniers--like the Ortliebs I already have.  Wish I had seen this two weeks ago and I would have just gotten them instead and saved some money.

September 11, 2008

Big Dummy Spec Report

The last few evenings I've spent rebuilding my back wheel and fine tuning the rest of the bike.  For my own benefit, and for anyone who may be interested, I thought I'd list all the components I used and a little info about them.  Perhaps someone out there is contemplating a similar project and this my help them.  Maybe in the future I'll talk about some of the unique problems I had to deal with in building a somewhat unconventional bike.

Anyway, here's the list.

Frame:  22" Surly Big Dummy frame and fork, 4130 CroMoly steel.

Wheels:  Front:  Chris King ISO disc hub (red anodized), DT Swiss Competition spokes (2.0/1.8 double butted), Mavic EX 729 disc rim.  Rear:  Rohloff speed hub 500/14 CC OEM2 (red anodized) with tandem length cables, DT Swiss Competition spokes (2.0/1.8 double butted, 238 mm), Mavic EX 729 rim.  Both wheels "custom built" by yours truly.

Cranks:  Deore XT hollowtech II triple, 175 mm.  Converted to single by removing two inner chain rings.  44t outer chain ring.  Spacers set up for a chainline of 54mm.

Bottom bracket:  Shimano external bearing.

Pedals:  Crank Brothers Mallet 2 (red anodized).

Headset:  Chris King 1 1/8" threadless (red anodized).

Handlebars:  On-one Mary.

Stem:  130 mm.  (Simon at Wheelsport gave it to me for free with the idea that I'd order a different one from him once I figure out if this length and angle work for me.  It is aluminum, don't know who makes it)

Grips:  Specialized BG Comfort locking grip.

Brakes:  Avid Juicy 5 Disc (185mm front rotor, 160 mm rear rotor--proprietary Rohloff rotor with only 4 bolts).  Tandem length rear hose.

Seat:  Brooks B17 Standard, black.

Seatpost:  Thomson double butted aluminum, 27.2 mm diameter by 410 mm long.

Tires:  Schwalbe Big Apple, 2.35".

Chain:  SRAM 9 speed, 86".

Other:  Rohloff chain guide and chain tensioner.  Xtracycle freeloader.

Any questions?  Pictures tomorrow (or later today, depending on when I wake up after working the graveyard shift--yes that means I'm posting while at work, the ER is a little slow at the moment).

September 7, 2008

The Big Dummy Lives


Well, sort of. It's getting there but there is still tweeking of this and that to do (oh yeah, and rebuilding the back wheel--small oversight on where the spokes cross is not ok for the Rohloff).