Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Next Project...

Here is my wife's mixte that we bought used in Wisconsin about 18 or 19 years ago. It was in excellent condition when we bought it. We just didn't ride together as much as we thought we would (kids have a way of changing priorities - but in a good way). It's a Raleigh Record - a really nice bike. Since we moved back to Indiana 13 years ago, it hasn't gotten much use, and spent much of that time in the barn.

A rusty old crank. A little TLC, some extra fine steel wool and oil will hopefully bring back the shine.

It even has a Brooks saddle. I think the saddle is the single component that is in the best condition.

Really cool logo on the seat tube and the head tube also. The paint is in good condition - I'm just going to clean really well and leave as is. This bike looks like a classic and I'm not going to screw with those good looks. I may replace the rims - the existing ones are steel.

I'll keep pictures posted as I go, but won't get started for maybe a week or so. The next several days will be spent visiting colleges for my daughter. This bike will be hers - maybe even to use on campus.

Thanks Jon & Myles for the inspiration!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hilly Land

This is the biggest hill on my commute. It is steeper on the closest side going down (my record is 37 mph) than going up farther away. Now I know this is still pretty flat to most folks, but it is a hill nonetheless.

The Cedarville Reservoir looks particularly tranquil tonight after high winds yesterday. High winds return tomorrow, so this scene looks particularly sweet to me. Rat Trap Press - I'll post a photo of my wife's old mixte tomorrow - I ran out of light tonight.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Flat Land

The winter wheat planted last fall turned green late last week and has just started to grow. Still more cold and snow on the way, but it's really good to see green again. And it wasn't windy today!

This is some of the richest farmland in Indiana, and perhaps about anywhere. This soil formed beneath glacial Lake Maumee, which stretched from here (east side of Fort Wayne, IN) to Buffalo, NY. Just north and west of here it is much more hilly (still flat by most people's standards) and the soil isn't nearly as rich.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Another windy day

Getting tired of the wind, but at least the temps have been 50+ degrees. Stopped on the Van Zile bridge over the St. Joseph River. This is one of the last iron bridges left in the area. I like this bridge.

A photo of the trusty steed.

Here are some Amish horses - Belgians. These babies are built for plowing and corn planting.

This young'n is upright and taking nourishment. Always a good sign. Will be ready for the fields in two years.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday afternoon ramble

This is a marker that someone designated "Four Presidents Corners". This is the point where four townships in Allen County converge. Can you guess what the township names are?

These are two abutments for an old road bridge that crossed over railroad tracks. Dirt was piled all the way to the top, then a wooden road bridge connected the two abutments.

It took a lot of dirt and a lot of wood to get over these tracks.

Here's a restored Allis-Chalmers WD-45. Nice looking machine. The route I took is the start of Adventure Cycling's North Lakes Loop that starts from Monroeville, IN and goes up through Michigan and Wisconsin to Minneapolis, St. Paul. Maybe someday I'll ride the entire loop but I only rode 22 miles of this route today.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Go Bikes!

This is Fort Wayne's first bike summit organized by the City of Fort Wayne. Here we learned about the city's work to make bicycling more safe in the community, and received input about what participants thought could make the community more bike friendly.

This is a great day! Fort Wayne has a very conservative history, but recent years have proven otherwise with an $84 million library expansion project (this room is in the new library) and an expanding Greenway along the 3 rivers. Here we learned about what other communities in other countries and here in Indiana are doing to make bicycling safer, and to make the city more accessible to bikes. I came away with an armful of literature, plus a new membership in a local bike trails organization.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Old School

Here's an old Allis-Chalmers tractor I passed tonight on my bike ride near downtown Harlan, Indiana. This is a nice restored beauty with a windshield and side covers still in place.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Great day for a ride

Wind was pretty strong from the east today, so I rode east 13 miles to the state line and back. The dandy tailwind on the way home helped me get back to watch Purdue win the Big Ten Tournament. Go Boilers!

Didn't have to wait long for this train; it was moving fast.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Flood of '09

Heavy rains this week brought flooding Thursday and Friday to northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. This is a small tributary to the Maumee River near the Indiana / Ohio state line. The Maumee flows northeast from here to Lake Erie at Toledo.

Good day for ducks. And geese.

This is just east of downtown Fort Wayne on the relatively new flood barriers. The neighborhood on the left side of the levy flooded in March, 1982. I was home for spring break at college then, and spent the week sandbagging and helping to evacuate people from their flooded homes. President Reagan visited this neighborhood and helped to throw 2 (I think it was 2) sandbags. 200 years ago this neighborhood was divided into three sections and was a reserve for the Miami, Delaware (Lenape), and the Shawnee. The Delaware and Shawnee were relocated here for a short time from the east and south. By 1845, most American Indians were removed from this area to Oklahoma.

This is the end of the Rivergreenway for now. Another several miles will appear shortly after the water goes down. Notice the green tint to the grass. Isn't it lovely?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Time on the Bike to Ponder CO2

CO2 (carbon dioxide) is a greenhouse gas that is a by-product of most forms of energy production. Combustion of organic compounds (gasoline, ethanol, bio diesel, broccoli, cheese crackers) releases energy and CO2.

As I was riding tonight I got to thinking about how much CO2 my pickup truck emits, and how much CO2 I could avoid putting into the atmosphere by riding my bike instead of driving my truck. This caused a great deal of thought, and in order to calculate a number that I feel is reasonably accurate, I would need to consider many things.

Some of the things to include in that calculation should be not only the amount of CO2 my truck emits, but also the amount of CO2 emitted by the pumping of crude oil, its transportation to the refinery, the refinery process, and the transportation of the gas to the gas station. Also I need to include, as a constant, the amount of CO2 emitted by the original manufacturing of my truck and all of its components. I should also consider the CO2 emitted for the production of the consumables such as tires, wiper blades, brake pads, motor oil, etc.

I need to consider as well the amount of CO2 I produce while riding my bike, and the CO2 emitted to plant, produce the fertilizer, cultivate, harvest, process, and transport food to my table which I ate for energy to ride my bike. I would also need to consider the amount of CO2 emitted by the production of my bike and all of its consumables (tires, tubes, cork tape, brake pads, etc.).

Then by subtracting the net amount of extra CO2 I emitted by riding my bike (and its production and consumables) for a set distance from the amount of CO2 emitted by driving my truck (and its production and consumables) for the same distance , I can come up with a relatively accurate amount of CO2 I saved. And I am assuming there would be a substantial savings since I am pushing a very small amount of weight on my bike compared to the weight of my truck.

Whether I actually get around to producing the number is another consideration. In a very brief web search to identify numbers associated with some of the variables above it is apparent that the variation in the reported amounts of CO2 for producing various products, the varying gas mileage my truck gets in different conditions, the varying CO2 amounts emitted in my food production and by the food itself, etc. is quite overwhelming.

It may be simpler and more reasonable to narrow the considerations and use presumed numbers for the major items and let it go at that. Maybe producing a number that is within a range would be better, although determining the range parameters is a separate exercise in itself.

What I just wrote above is probably drivel. The main point I am learning from news I read and hear on the radio (NPR only!) is that excess CO2 is bad. I need to reduce the amount of CO2 my life style creates. The exact amount doesn't matter, I just need to make decisions that I think are wise, and continue to learn and adjust as time goes on.

Friday, March 6, 2009

What a great day. We finally got to 60 degrees. A nice night to ride, although the south wind was strong, at least it was warm. I heard the first red-winged blackbird on Monday, and saw my first wood duck of the season today. More cold weather is coming, but highs in the 30's & 40's is pretty nice.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bottom Bracket Bearing Aggravation

I got my bottom bracket tool tonight and happily removed the bottom bracket. No problem. But when I realized it may not be very easy to repack the bearings, my heart sank. I searched the web for the bottom bracket - RPM BB 7420, and found many places that would happily sell me a new one for $22 to $25 bucks, but found no help at trying to clean and repack. Actually, http://maintainthatride.blogspot.com/2008/06/con-tent-thyself-get-it-its-supposed-to.html shows me how to repack the sealed bearings, but these bearings look like they are pressed onto the spindle. Lacking the knowledge to remove the bearings from the spindle and the BB housing (and lacking a press to put them back on) it looks like I am stuck with buying a new bottom bracket. Bummer - I was hoping to repack them and go. Does anyone know how I can repack these? I don't want to put this in the landfill, but I don't know if I can recycle it. How easy it would be to repack loose bearings.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Old Friend

Rode the Trek tonight while I wait for the bottom bracket tool for my Tri Cross. What a great bike. I put 28mm tires on because I was tired of repairing flats on the 25's. Besides, I'm not fast anymore, so I don't need the skinny tires. The weather's supposed to warm up soon, plus with the time change this weekend, I'll have light until almost 8 o'clock.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Oh no, it broke!

I twisted the crank extractor to the point the bolt broke. I had a 4 foot pipe lever on the crank arm and an extra large crescent wrench on the extractor. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get the crank arm off.

I bought this crank arm extractor tonight from my LBS. This baby pulled the crank right off, although it took considerable effort. 4 foot levers are wonderful! I ordered a bottom bracket tool to extract the bottom bracket. It won't get here until Wednesday.

Simple Green solution strikes again!

Not looking too bad, although the teeth are showing some wear.

The cap bolt is showing some rust.

I tried the aluminum foil and water trick to see if it would work.

Yes it works! Still a little rust in the corners of the hex, but looks a lot better.

Now for that bottom bracket... Think I'll work on that when I get my bottom bracket tool.