Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Project: Suburban

1974 schwinn suburban
Memorial Day was my twin daughters' birthday. We started the day out by going to one of their favorite restauraunts, IHOP, with my folks along. After we ate we went back to my parents' house and I loaded up my Dad's old Schwinn Suburban. It's been hanging in the rafters of his garage for probably 20+ years, and he was thinking about getting rid of it. I invoked the Law of Bicycles (the number of bikes you need is equal to the number of bikes you have, plus one) to silence my wife's protests. When I got it home I took a good, hard look. It's a project, all right. But I'm looking on it as the restoration of a family heirloom. And, once it's complete I think it will be an extremely utilitarian bike that will get some use.

The drivetrain is in great shape. There's no surface rust on the chain or any of the drive components. The derailleur seems to shift smoothly, and the brakes don't even appear to be too bad.
1974 Schwinn Suburban
1974 Schwinn Suburban
I was doing a little research on the web last night. Based on the serial number, this model was manufactured in March of 1974. It still has the sticker for the Hazel Park Schwinn Cycle Center on White Bear Ave and Highway 36, a shop I remember going to even in high school. There's a Goodwill in that building now.
1974 Schwinn Suburban
The old school, non-magnetic odometer reads 688 or 677 miles, depending on how you choose to look at it.
1974 Schwinn Suburban
This model has a couple unique features. The first is that it has a handlebar mounted thumb shifter. From what I've read, this was a one-year only feature for the 5-speed version of the Suburban. All other years had a single stem-mounted shifter lever. And it may be that even some of the '74 run had the stem-mounted levers as well, due to supply issues with the thumb shifters.
1974 Schwinn Suburban
Schwinn also made a slight departure on the graphics for 1974. Most Suburbans have decals with two-tone lettering, normally black with a white border. This model has the less common all black Schwinn script with matching starbursts and pinstripes. It's a nice look, in my opinion. And dig that Lime paint.
1974 Schwinn Suburban
1974 Schwinn Suburban
1974 Schwinn Suburban
The paint is starting to chip away in places, along with some surface rust not only on the frame but on nearly all of the chrome.
1974 Schwinn Suburban
1974 Schwinn Suburban
1974 Schwinn Suburban
1974 Schwinn Suburban
1974 Schwinn Suburban
1974 Schwinn Suburban
My goal is to get it in rideable shape by the end of summer. Check back for updates on my progress.

06/15 update: Front rim cleaned and hub repacked, tire mounted

Friday, May 25, 2007

No bike and no beer make Pete something something

It's going to be well over a week between bike rides at this pace. But, sometimes a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do. A brief summary of my non-riding week:
Monday - Daughter #2 got sick. So I repeated Thursday's drive to work for laptop excursion and worked from home.
Tuesday - Zoo Field trip. The entire school went to the Minnesota Zoo for a field trip. Somehow, I managed to convince the teaching staff that I'm a responsible adult and chaperoned. Great fun. No worky.
Wednesday - Dad had his prostate removed. I thought about biking over to the hospital in the morning to see him off on his surgical journey, but I had to take my laptop in to work. I didn't really want to lug the thing all over the hospital, and certainly couldn't leave it on my bike. So logistics of gear storage won out, and I drove to the hospital, and then to work.
Thursday - I had my wisdom teeth removed. It seemed appropriate to not bike for some reason.
Friday - Chilling at home in sweatpants, working and catching up on some blogs. Getting tired of eating soft foods.

I'm going to skip the Hiawatha Ride tomorrow and probably won't be back on the bike until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. But life gets crazy at times. I'm going to try to get some long overdue bike maintenence in over the holiday weekend, while I'm sucking dinner through a straw. Keep on ridin', y'all have some miles to put on in my stead.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I hope your f-ing tree dies!

Even though Jim and Kevin are at the Three Speed Tour this weekend a few of us kept the Hiawatha home fires burning and rode this morning. I rode the Robin Hood to establish a connection between the 3 Speed Tour and the morning's ride. We trucked up north and escorted Jim W., our de facto leader, to work. Jim insisted that we eat at McDonald's, breaking with all previously established tradition. It was only after the resident forester threatened to spray paint an orange ring around Jim's midsection that sanity was restored.

We did break from tradition, and instead of eating pastry we all indulged in full on breakfast. Eggs, toast, hash browns, flapjacks, the works. We got Jimmy to work safely by promising to deliver a brown bag lunch with a diagonal cut sandwich around noon. He totally bought it. Sucker.

Next week I hope to ride the same route, but I'm going to ask Jim if I can borrow his Xtracycle. I've got some custom cat furniture on order that I need to bring home.

After I got home I convinced the wife that it would be a good idea to take a short bike ride to grab some lunch. I told her that if you get food while riding a bike, you don't have to count the calories. It's pretty much how I live my life. It was her first time on a bike since last summer when I sent her off on her own with a leaky rear tire. I still don't think she's forgiven me.

Date: May 19
Mileage: 22
Ride type/Bike: Hiawatha/Robin Hood
May mileage: 285
Year to date mileage: 1575

Date: May 19
Mileage: 7
Ride type/Bike: Lunch with wife/Robin Hood
May mileage: 292
Year to date mileage: 1582

Minneapolis Bike to Work Day

A total of 7 riders showed up for the Minnehaha Park Bike to Work route Friday morning, including myself. The fact that 4 were Hiawatha Regulars who actually were not going to work, and a fifth was a Hiawtha Regular who was detouring out of his way to work means we really had one rider who showed up purely because it was bike to work day. It matters not, it was still a fun ride. Sort of like a Saturday Morning ride, but on a Friday.

We were waiting at the stoplight (because we're all responsible types) across the street from the Plaza when the skies opened up. As we ducked into a bus shelter, most of the folks on the plaza headed for the hills. We never really saw the plaza before the rain started, but I was left with the impression that it was sort of a small turnout.

I think the city dropped the ball this year on promoting this event. As a ride leader I got a few emails about promotions, but they were always only one day's notice or same day, so I was never able to help out. I'm guessing a lot of people had the same type of scenario. We never even got pdf files of the fliers until Monday of this week. Great idea, poor execution. But I will do it again next year, given the opportunity. If nothing else, I get the opportunity to ride with some supportive friends.

Date: May 18
Mileage: 25
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
May mileage: 263
Year to date mileage: 1553

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bike to Work day tomorrow

The City of Minneapolis website has been updated with a new bike to work day link showing departure times and locations for all the Minneapolis routes for tomorrow. The route I'm leading from Minnehaha Park is scheduled to depart at 7:00am. We'll convene between the Falls and the Sea Salt restauraunt/shelter. I plan to be there around 6:45. Leaving at 7 should put us downtown around 7:30 or so, depending on red lights and the overall speed of the group. The route this year was chosen to highlight the "new" section of Greenway. We're going up Minnehaha Ave, so we won't see all of it, but we will get a chance to check the progress of the new bike bridge at Hiawatha. Thrills!

My personal Bike to Work month challenge has been questioned by my dear wife. I've scheduled my wisdom tooth extraction for next Thursday the 24th. She asked "Won't this mean you're not going to be able to ride every day in May?" For clarification, I never said I would ride every day in May. My proposition was that every time I went to work in May, I would ride. This means that I only fail if I drive to work. Since I won't be working that day, I'm still in good shape. But today is causing me some consternation. My daughter woke up sick today and couldn't go to school. So I'm working from home. According to my earlier logic, I didn't go to work so this day doesn't count. But, I did have to drive my car to work to get my laptop. So technically I'd call today a failure.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Three speeds...

I was really OK with not registering in time to go on the Three Speed Tour this year, and not being able to pretend I'm a Gentleman Cyclist for the weekend. But then I read that Jim wasn't able to attend, and it got me thinking that I could go in his stead. I also learned that my children will be with their grandparents that weekend, so I could leave home guilt-free for an overnight event.

I've since learned that Jim is a responsible sort of fellow (who would have guessed?!) and has already emailed the organizers of his cancellation. So my plan to pretend to be Jim is foiled. I'm still half tempted to go anyway and ride as a rogue. But it's kind of down to the 11th hour now. Would I be able to find/make a suitable outfit? Is the Robin Hood really up to the challenge? Who would I ride with? Where would I stay? What would I do with myself on Saturday night, assuming I couldn't attend the dinner? The number of unanswered questions divided by the number of days before the event means I probably won't go. But I'm still pondering.

Date: May 14
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Schwinn/Commute
May mileage: 218
Year to date mileage: 1508

Date: May 15
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Schwinn/Commute
May mileage: 238
Year to date mileage: 1528

Saturday, May 12, 2007

This is why I bring a camera

A couple years ago there was a story about our beloved president falling off a Segway. Here he is with Bush the First, and the ungraceful leap:

And here's Ray today, riding one:

Does this mean Ray's smarter than the leader of the free world?

Date: May 11
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
May mileage: 165
Year to date mileage: 1453

Date: May 12
Mileage: 27
Ride type/Bike: Hiawatha/Jamis
May mileage: 192
Year to date mileage: 1480

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bike to Work Day 2007

Next Friday, May 18, is Bike to Work Day here in Minneapolis/St Paul. As some of you know, I've led the route coming from Minnehaha Park to downtown Minneapolis for the last two years. I'm planning to lead the same route again this year, and would love to see anybody and everybody out there. The event has really grown, and should be a great time. This year there will be a destination in both downtown St Paul and downtown Minneapolis. And between the two destinations a total of 27 published bike routes! There are also 8 walking routes if you prefer to flâneur. All of this and more info is available at the Bike to Work 2007 website.

Date: May 10
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
May mileage: 145
Year to date mileage: 1433

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Time to mow

I know everybody's busy taking care of their lawns. Just wanted to take a moment and share my newest purchase.

Virgin. Never seen grass before. I know you're dying to try it. I haven't mowed yet, so come on over. You know you want to.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

VelociPete's Bicycle Maintenence Tips

Today's Tip: Quick and easy chainring cleaning

In today's maintenence tip, I'm going to tell you how to quickly clean the dirt and grime from your chainring.
1. Walk bike up to your children's bus stop and see them off on their way to school.
2. Swing right leg over bike as school bus pulls away. Listen for tell-tale ripping sound, indicating you've torn a seam in your pants.
3. Ride back into the driveway so you can change your pants before going to work.
4. Accidentally get your foot stuck in the clipless pedal.
5. Totter precariously, about to fall over because you can't put your foot down. Flail your arms a bit for the neighbors' entertainment.
6. At the last minute, regain your balance and plant your right foot. Here's the important part. As you plant your foot, make sure your calf scrapes the chainring. This will ensure that all the grime transfers from the chainring to your leg. And the blood will act as a lubricant and cleanser on the chainring.

That's it! Depending on how large your chainring and/or calf is, you may need to rotate your cranks partially and repeat the process. Try to get the cuts on your calf to overlap so you can get a totally bitchin' scar out of the deal.

Tomorrow's tip: How to diagnose early signs of lockjaw.

Date: May 8
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
May mileage: 125
Year to date mileage: 1413


I feel like this blog is about a week behind. Must be some kind of blockage in the system. I've been riding a lot, writing not so much. I haven't even been reading much, preferring sudoku to fiction as of late. Some highlights:

- Wednesday took the long way home over into St Paul and all the way down the River Road/Shepard Road trail to 35E, and then the Big River Regional Trail home from there. A nice change of pace.
- Did the airport loop with the Boys of Hiawatha on Saturday. I ballparked it as 13 miles, but I'm totally guessing as I have no idea where I was most of the time. Plus the 10 mile to the shop and back.
- Got soaked on the way home Monday evening. It was a lovely warm rain, I could have ridden all day in it. But a hot shower felt good too.

Now you're up to date. May is Bike to Work month, and I'm going to try and bike every single day of May. Does the fact that I missed May 1 make this a completely futile gesture? Who cares.

Date: May 2
Mileage: 24
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
May mileage: 24
Year to date mileage: 1312

Date: May 3
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
May mileage: 42
Year to date mileage: 1330

Date: May 4
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Schwinn
May mileage: 62
Year to date mileage: 1350

Date: May 5
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Hiawatha/Schwinn
May mileage: 85
Year to date mileage: 1373

Date: May 7
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Hiawatha/Schwinn
May mileage: 105
Year to date mileage: 1393

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Ironman Ride Report

I had a great time at this year's Ironman ride. The weather was nearly ideal, at least as ideal as you're really going to get in late April in MN. According to Kevin's fancy bike computer, here's what we rode:

Distance: 104.33
Riding time: 6:52
Avg Speed: 15.2
Max Speed: 33.8 (whee!)
Feet Climbed: 3054

I'm sure that our stats varied somewhat, but we rode together enough that it's probably pretty close for me as well. Here's a few high points that I remember from the ride, in more or less a chronological order.

Kevin, Doctor Bob and I headed west toward Belle Plaine and even though the wind was fairly stiff we made good time. After the first rest stop in Jordan we felt good, and decided to skip the Belle Plaine stop. I think we had met up with Mark and his friends at this point, but it's a little hazy. Mark kept joining and leaving and rejoining us through the day. Somewhere near Belle Plaine we met up with Doug of MNBicycleCommuter fame. I'm realizing now that I've somehow become unsubscribed to his blog, but I've corrected this error now. It's worth a read so check it out.

As we went through Belle Plaine Doctor Bob and I were riding a bit ahead and breaking wind for a growing peloton. After about 5-10 miles the route changed and the wind became a fantastic tailwind. About the same time two of the guys who had been drafting behind us offered to take over. So we ended up in the perfect sweet spot and were getting sucked along at around 26-27 mph. It was amazing.

The amazing part only lasted until the next rest stop. For the rest of the day, the wind was shifty and unpredictable. We ran into a whole lot of nice people throughout the day. I met Lynne, though I didn't know it at the time. We also met a few less than nice folks along the way. I'm not sure why, but there were some crabby people out riding. It's not the norm, but whatever.

I don't know why, but this was a hard ride report to write. Last year was my first century, and with the weather I really suffered. I think last year there was a part of me that wondered if I could really do 100 miles. This year I knew it could be done. And the conditions were much better. I could tell I was fatigued for the last 30 miles and was going slow. But looking back, I never felt like I wouldn't be able to make it. I knew I wouldn't make it quickly, but I knew I could grind it out.

I don't think the fatigue was physical as much as mental. The next day my body felt good. While I was riding I felt fairly strong, albeit slow. I think the fatigue was mental. After we turned west I was expecting a tailwind. We got it, but not all the way. I need to figure out how to mentally say "It is what it is" and ride the ride, regardless of conditions.

Date: April 29
Mileage: 104
Ride type/Bike: Ironman/Jamis
April mileage: 379
Year to date mileage: 1288

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday, Jim

Friday I ended up working from home, so I didn't get a commute in. But after I finished my office duties I decided to go visit Jim and see if I could get a free slice of cake. I spent a little time in the garage and got the Robin Hood all ready to roll and rode that up to the Shop. This was the longest distance away from home I'd ridden this bike, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Especially going across the Mendota Bridge. Some roadie looking guy jumped on the bike path just ahead of me before we started to cross, and he kept looking perplexed because he wasn't dropping the guy on the old bike. Granted, I was pushing pretty hard to keep up but it's fun to screw with the roadies.

I picked up a new tire for my Jamis, since I had the catastrophic tire issue last week at Lake Pepin. I probably could have ridden the Ironman with the "dolla dolla bill y'all" boot in there, but why take the risk? After I ate cake and chatted with Jim and then headed home with my new tire. I'm going to start riding some of my other bikes on a more regular basis. That's part of the fun of having more than one, right?

Date: April 27
Mileage: 10
Ride type/Bike: Errand/Robin Hood
April mileage: 275
Year to date mileage: 1184