Sunday, May 31, 2009


Today was the invigorating, no, tiring first real road test of the Quickbeam, one taking me 57 miles through the KY countryside. My route- took me along my old standard from Louisville, though J'town and out along 148 to Southville. I did the exact same path last fall, but on that day I kept due east and the family picked me up in Frankfort. This time I turned in a southerly direction, picking up Pea Ridge Rd still in Shelby Co. I have strange, fond memories of this road b/c I great-aunt Bertha and Ralph lived on it, and when I was a child I remember going on a trip out there- WAY out there- and making up stories of Giant Spiders with my aunt. Great stuff. Today I used 2 wheels to make the same trip. From there I was able to take Waddy Rd./395 through Harrisonville and into Anderson Co. I can say without hyperbole that this portion of 395 was one of the finest cycling roads I've ever been on. It provided me a shaded, gentle run along a creek and in the miles on this I did not encounter one single car of any sort. I had planned to do a bit of mixed-terrain near my turn from 395 to 512, but I "missed" the turn onto Carlton Dr./Lin Moore Rd. To be honest, I didn't exactly miss it, but I'll explain further. While on 395 I started looking a bit for the left turn. At some point I saw what I'll term a goat path, a tractor drive, but it wasn't a "road". The only tip off to tell me that it might have been a "road" was that I saw the silver, shiny back side of the stop sign, but at least there was a stop sign. There was no road sign to speak of. I instead meet up with 512 and onto Corinth Rd., twisty ridge-top path not unlike Pea Ridge, if a bit more secluded. From there I took a right on Hammonds Creek Rd., yet another spectacular bit of country lane. That put me onto KY-44 and into Lawrenceburg and to a stop at Taco Bell for ice water and the last 2m to the park for the game.

Aside from the excellent scenery, weather, low-traffic roads and azure skies, today was also a serious road test for the Quickbeam. I knew that a route with more than 2000ft of climbing (up and down the many creek beds of central KY) would provide a very stiff challenge. Because my ride was divided into 3 somewhat distinct sections, I came away with 3 distinct feels of the quality of the QB. The first section was one of getting out of Louisville, all with the first 12-13 miles or so. On this I felt the general rhythm of that of a single speed. With mostly flat ground, or at worst false flats, it just made me turn the gear. At this point everything was very positive. I did have to walk briefly up one hill on English Station, but I didn't feel too bad about it. Instead of flipping the bike over to take advantage of the smaller ring, I just did the 2min walk up a steep section.

The second portion was in the rural but rolling to flat portions of 148. Having done this section many times, I knew that I wouldn't have any monster climbs, so I, again, just got into a rhythm with the gear. I noticed that the rhythm you develop with a ss is completely different that with a derailer bike. On a derailer bike, you keep a constant pedaling pace and change gears to fit the pace. Shift up, shift down, shift down again, shift up. You rhythm is pretty similar on the downhill as on the uphill, really. On the QB ss, I instead developed a rhythm with the terrain. To keep fresh and to keep turning the gear over, I adjusted my own pedaling rhythm to meet whatever the terrain demanded. Frankly it was fantastic. I have done some town miles on the FrankenTrekSS, but never to this extent as on the QB today. It was outstanding.

The third portion of the ride began with the very steep climb onto Pea Ridge Rd. This began a more classic central KY up-n-down fest, a land with many stream crossings and short up and downhills. At this point, I used the pace as best as I could, but in combination with some leg tiredness, I began to fight the QB instead of riding in concert with it. I noticed 3 or 4 times that I was thinking of gearing down, but then realizing that that wasn't an option. While I didn't encounter any mammoth hills, some quickies that I wouldn't been able to muscle an hour ago now made for serious grunting, and a few times I failed. I walked 5-6 times today, but only once for any real period of time (maybe .3m), but the last 45min found me wishing for gears. That said, I never wished that I *hadn't* ridden the QB. It was the perfect choice for such a day, but it made for a tiring ride. I ended up averaging in the upper-12mph range. Yes, it's slow, but a bit deceiving. I stopped twice (at Southville store and at Taco Bell), and with the ss, I walked several more. On the Bleriot I think I would've made very nice time today, but no complaints. It was a 5-star day out in the KY countryside. It doesn't get any better.

Lillies off English Station Rd.

fence, grass, barn. Don't get no better.

Finchville/Clark Station Rd.

My parents' old farm is in the distance. They've cleared out significant pasture. I didn't recognize it at first.

Carriss's Store, Southville, Shelby Co.

Jeptha Knob, Shelby Co. in the distance off Pea Ridge Rd. Don't get no better.

Pea Ridge Rd.

Pea Ridge panda

QB front wheel

Waddy Rd. creek

Corinth Rd. going through the parking lot of Corinth Christian Church. I actually cut through the parking lot to the left out of confustion.

Hammond Creek Rd., Anderson Co.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Night Ride

Went on an evening/night ride with Lithodale this evening, taking in all the the Quickbeam provides.  We went through Audobon, across to UL and south via Floyd/Park, back up 4th street into downtown, across Market and back up Baxter.  The neighborhoods were hopping with street parties, barbques, busy bars and everything you could ask of with a wonderful, temperate night under the fading sun.  Smartly, he suggested a pint at Dundee (he paid, too!) and we parted ways in the cover of dark, flashing reds and fresh legs.  

The Quickbeam may quickly become my fav ride.  It's so smooth, assured, stable and confident. I spun my "little" legs off today b/c LD was in a larger gear so I was spinning at a considerably greater rate than he, but I was also able to confidently spin up a couple hillocks that we encountered.  And, damn, that Guiness was good too.

No pics, but tomorrow will hopefully provide a somewhat adventurous 57-miler on the way to 'L's last soccer game of the Spring season.  I'll be sure to have some pics ready after that.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


For a cold, a head cold, a malaise, an ache, a croup, a crud, junk, phlegm, snot, weariness, the antidote is a 16-miler, a slow-n-easy 16m during soccer practice.  Without having done it, I wouldn't have breathed in the honeysuckle.  I wouldn't have spied the huge, puffy cumulus cloud resting atop a green, hairy land.  I wouldn't have traversed the rocky road of Blowing Tree.  I wouldn't have viewed Weicher Creek Pond with its sunlit silhouette and high grasses.  I wouldn't have looped and looped and looped Addington/Bristol/Wesley/Haviland.  I wouldn't have gotten to that point that, instead of thinking of things, job, family, food, fitness, people, music, age, I just thought of riding.  I wouldn't have heard the Velvet Underground's "What goes on..." live on the iPod.

I wouldn't have done that, and what a pity that would have been.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

1-hour tour

"a 1-hour tour..."  Get it?  Nothing to rock the cycling world other than a 1-hour spin while 'L' was at soccer.  I did the ups-n-downs in the neighborhoods near soccer, never getting to excited except to just roll along.  It wasn't the most scenic but it was great to just spend an hour spinning the 2 wheels.  

Monday, May 25, 2009

stiff legs and good miles

Dave and I took advantage of the holiday to do a nice 33-miler today.  Other than a flat tire (Dave) and a free bike (junker for Dave), there wasn't too much to report other than that it was a pleasant time all round.  I might have been feeling the singlespeed effort from last night a bit, especially towards the end.  I have a mixture of not very trained legs at the moment with some heart rate issues that just sort of dangle there.  I'm really proud of Dave b/c when we started riding last fall I was definitely the one in better shape, but now he definitely has me on the flats, and this with a much heavier ride (his Giant).  It goes to show the benefit of dropping the weight, something I'm not in the midst of right now.

Our route took us out Rudy Ln to Lime Kiln, where we tried to cut through a "Private" road to get down through Glenview.  Instead we ended up taking in some mixed terrain on an old road bed which led us to River Rd.  from there we climbed up River Hill Rd to cut through to Indian Hills and up Totem as well.  Needing a bit of mileage, we headed downtown, again on River Rd.
We also stopped by a new "shop", if you want to call it that.  I even forgot the name, but we briefly visited and spoke with the owner of a shop opening in the old drycleaners at the corner of River  Rd. and Zorn.  It's designed mostly for repairs and refurb, but it was a bizarre place, with a beat up hybrid on one end and 2 very, very nice Waterfords hanging on hooks at the other end.  I may be wrong, but it seems like this guy has collected lots and lots of bike stuff and is opening the shop to help liberate it.  I'll stop in again some time just for interest sake, and I hope for him that he does well there, although the location is sort of strange.

Monte Petrano

Check out live TV coverage of today's stage on the Giro.  Boy, it's a long way from the 900 number call ins to get live results of the major European races, or checking out '87 Tour results in 'Winning' a month or two later.  Enjoy.

QB roll out

I took what I would consider to be the first "real" QB ride yesterday, doing 19m putzing around east Louisville.  The route took me on the behind the zoo trail, through and up the Creason hill, across to Audobon Pk and then down through G'town.  From thereI took Logan to Mellwood to connect with the Beargrass Trail, then through Cherokee and up Millvale to home.  As for ride observations, the foremost that comes to mind is quiet.  I don't know if every Sunday evening at 8.00 is as such, but last night was almost tranquil, subdued, lacking in traffic, noise, thumpin' music, screaming children and such.  It was just a calm ride devoid of drama, the best kind.

As for the QB, after a solid 19 a few things come better into view:
  • I'm struggling with whether the frame is a bit big or not.  Yet again I read the 'gospel' which asserts that I'm on target with the 58cm.  It just feels pretty big.
  • I'm thinking a long-term solution may be a shorter stem, but maybe not.  The more distance I rode last night the more the general sizing didn't really affect me. 
  • Haven't measured my seat height yet, nor have I put it to an official I/Grant/Greg/Fitkit formula, but after about 1/2 ride, I lowered my seat a bit.  I had experience some underwear-up-crotch discomfort on the first part of the ride, granted my underwear/short combo wasn't designed for long distances, only a quickie.  But I was uncomfortable.  After the adjustment I was much better.  Fact is, after the saddle adjustment I thought much less of incorrect frame size.
  • The QB handles like a dream, and I mean it.  It is just so solid, but on descents, in the corners and in tracking straight and true.  I'm very pleased with the feel and the confidence.
  • I've yet to change onto the smaller ring.  My ride last night was a flat one, with only the Creason climb and the Millvale/Cherokee climb to test my climbing on the one ring.  At some point I'll force myself to make the switch, but not yet.
  • RBW Jack Browns, so far, are a very nice tire- solid, plump, corners well.  I haven't really pushed them, but the long-term is promising.
It's raining this morning, so I'm not willing to give the new QB a next go-round in the rain, so more to come on  the new mount.  Today's rain will provide opportunity to get on the Blueridge or the old Trek (presently with flat tire) for some fender riding.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Commute no.17

A 2nd day of late tennis season commuting, on the LHT again and in really nice weather.  This afternoon I had a PD after work at Gheens Academy, so I crossed the Watterson via Durrett Ln., one of the few small-road Watterson crossings.  Nothing else important to repot except that commuting in near perfect temps is near perfect.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Commute no.16

Guess what I did today?  You guessed it, dear readers!  I actually rode my bike to work today!  Tennis has not closed it doors just yet, but the schedule is such that I'm on the bike the next few days.  I rode the LHT b/c it's still set up as the "get on/ride/weather or light be damned" ride and although my backside didn't overly enjoy the Brooks Conquest, by afternoon I was good to go in the near-perfect 65F and sunny.  I can imagine today being what Wisconsin is like in the summer.  I also ran across 2 cyclists this morning, both with questionable style.  One came up on my left and blew past without a warning.  Not cool.  I waved at another, who proceeded to blow me off even with direct acknowledgement.

I used the bike this afternoon to wynde through Audobon Park, Creason and up to Bellarmine to drop off a package, and then a bit more in Seneca Gds.  My pace reflected 'Grok' theory. More on that later, but a damn nice day, and I hope my locals got out to enjoy the sun fest as well.

Now if someone would just mow the extremely tall grass.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

QB estreno

So here they are, front brake functional and ready to roll (sans tire pressure check).  The only modifications from the factory delivery are:  honey B-17, MKS touring, Mark's rack, Lil'Loafer.  It came with twined blue cloth tape and JackBrowns.

Full bike on neighbor's light pole with front bed as a backdrop.  How do you like that sunshine?

Shiny front hub.  I mostly notice the weeds.

Rear angled dropout, allowing for maintenence of brake shoe angle with a different cog.  I've yet to change to the smaller gear.

Front twine with Lil'Loafer and Irish strap from Bleriot.

Same sun, different angle.

"Quickbeam".  I think the sticker is kinda crooked, but I like it like that.

First ding, caused from collision with pliers trying to work on front brake.  It'll be the first of many, knowing me.

Rear Tektro cantis with JackBrown 32c (I think 32c, but haven't measured them)

That's it for right now.  I haven't added a flip-flop extra freewheel or anything.  It'll get some actual road time this week now that tennis is gearing down (pun, ja ja!).  Let me know what you think.

Bearcamp Loop

Dave and I did a nice southern JeffCo. loop this afternoon, the Bearcamp Loop. It's one I've done for many a time, but it was Dave's first. There wasn't much to report other than brilliantly nice weather with sun, breeze and cool low-60s temps. My only complaint was scratching the @#@@!*$ out of the Bleriot on the return home on the bike rack. It was interesting to compare notes between my long-time Bleriot usage and the brief times I've been on the near-completed QB. The Bleriot cockpit feels a bit cramps and small, but by 30min in I had forgotten about the contrasts. Dave was feeling his 60-mile Saturday and 45+-mile Friday, so we took our time. I have a few pics that I've yet to load, but I'll get around to that. There's no better way to spend a sunny Sunday morning than a couple hours rolling around the countryside on a great bike. googleChrome is being weird so I can't paste in the link, but the route is a classic one out of Iroquois Park. (

My wife will appreciate this pic.  She knows why.

Dave charging forwards on the 'bent.

Tall grass and short flowers.  A nice combo.

If you haven't noticed by know, I like tall grass this time of year.  Look carefully and find that this field was/is dotted with small white wildflowers.

Dave losing and recovering water bottle.

Front bar panda.  The leather and shellac are looking particulary rich in this pic.  I know twine would be better, but I don't know the necessary knot to draw the bag away from the frame.

Dave's Oria post-ride.

p.s.  Full display of QB in the very near future as well. After our loop I went to C'ville Schwinn to buy a new, longer canti straddle cable to help lift the brake hardware off the MarksRack. Once home, I found that it was too short too, so I stole an even longer cable off the Crosscheck to use on the QB for the moment. I would say I'm an adjustment or 2 away from the QB being a full go. 'Course, now the CC doesn't have a functional rear brake, but let's prioritize, right?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"I need my post lubed"

And I found just the ticket.

All things Vacuous and Pertinent

It's my usual partial disappearance act, as I am wont to do in Spring. My boys (team) lost a playoff last night for the Regional title and soon thereafter I had an Afib. I'm not convinced they're directly related...well, they are in their own way. The schedule has been busy and I've not been taking care of myself as well- missing pills, occasionally not on the mask- and that's what gave me a "moment". I went to bed at 9.45 on a Friday night, something I thought was impressive in its own non-special, non-eventful way. Old Age, you now.

So the unveiling is awfully near, but the Quickbeam is in the house and is more or less rideable.  My fine wife stayed out of the shower until afternoon so she wouldn't miss the UPS man, as he had tried Monday while she was either at work or picking the kids up.  I got home after the first day of the Regional tennis tournament at something like 8.30, but the fam was watching Dancing with the Stars so I took the opportunity to go out in the garage and fiddle.

I like the nice touch that the box had the frame name in its own font.  Nice.  Below are accoutrements that I purchased back a ways but intended for the new ride:  Mark's Rack, Lil' Loafer, inside Chris King bottle cages and a new patch kit.  The pic is buttugly, but what do you expect at almost 9.00 at night?

And finally below is a "before" shot of the QB in my wacked-out garage.  Boy is it gonna get a cleaning this summer.  I was impressed how tidy the packing job was.  To get going, I had to:
  • take off all wrap
  • cut off about 5 zipties, mostly holding wheels in place
  • gingerly separate handlebar/stem from front wheel
  • insert stem
  • from separate small box, take out seat post and insert
  • front separate small box take out front wheel quick release and mount front wheel
  • install front brake hanger cable and thread front cable into front brake
  • thread rear cable along stops
  • install my own pedals (original MKS touring from Bleriot) and honey B-17 (from somewhere)

The build is not complete, but I put it together enough for a quick ride Tuesday night and another yesterday morning.  It's tournament time of the year for tennis so the best I can do is quickie bike jogs.  I won't wax poetic or profane, but they're observations on two sides of the coin.  Firstly it seems to be a very, very rock solid design.  It's smooth, corners well, tracks well and is generally a very stable bike.  I'm very encouraged.  On the other, I have some concerns about whether it's too big a frame (58), but I've re-read the RBW manifesto twice and I'm well within their parameters.  RBW likes big frames and that's what I have.  To be fair, after tweaking the saddle just a bit- not a lot- I'm comfy, but it feels weird to be on a pretty big frame.  So, the I have a feeling it'll go really well in the long run, but it's that "new feel" kinda feel.  The build isn't complete until I mount the Mark's rack and grease everything.  I couldn't find my good grease so the stem and post are there temporarily (like today).  More to come and certainly more pics of finished product.  It's a good looking bike.

On different news, Louisville had a pretty big to-do about Bike-To-Work yesterday.  The city/BikeLouisville (blog) sponsored rides beginning at three differnent parks:  Seneca, Iroquois and Shawnee.  There was also coverage in the CJ and a video report- with local media hog/star Dave C- on WLKY.  At least with the CJ and WKLY report I was pleased to see them as very positive, with no shenanigans of "rebel cyclists breaking laws!!!".  Admist this B2W coverage is the lame fact that I didn't bike to work.  I drove *again* with my bike bucket o'balls and my big cooler o' drinks, but that is coming to a close.  We play the State tournament next Thurs and Fri, so bike freedom is soon to return, in time for some May miles too.  I *am* 440 miles ahead of last year's total and I'm 70 miles up just in May so far.  It'll happen soon enough, and this time with an extra mount, the QB.

Monday, May 11, 2009

File:Hong Kong Skyline Restitch - Dec 2007.jpg


They tried and failed?
They tried and died.

Ugly entry, but UPS came today with a most sweet package and were confronted with 2 people and 2 children at work and school respectively and no one to accept said box. Hopefully tomorrow can work a little better.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

En route

Package Progress
LocationDateLocal TimeDescription
05/09/20094:14 A.M.DEPARTURE SCAN
05/09/20091:33 A.M.ARRIVAL SCAN
05/08/20099:05 P.M.DEPARTURE SCAN
05/08/20093:40 P.M.ARRIVAL SCAN
05/06/200912:28 A.M.DEPARTURE SCAN
05/05/20098:53 P.M.ARRIVAL SCAN
05/05/20097:00 P.M.DEPARTURE SCAN
05/05/20096:52 P.M.ORIGIN SCAN

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Blunk Knob

Not sure why gmaps is being difficult, or maybe it's Chrome or Blogger (all google products, right?), but the map of our excellent ride won't load. Suffice to say, though, that Dave and I finished an excellent 35-miler in Southern IN, a ride which included enough climbing that we were both dragging by the end. With some extra time mid-morning, I met Dave in N'Albany to explore the hills above the Ohio and west of the Casino at Bridgeport. Having changed the rubber yesterday on the Bleriot, I chose the fancy bike out for this rolling ride. The course began out Budd Rd., offering us two warm-up climbs just to know it's not all river valley flat. The next fun arrived in the guise of Blunk Knob Rd (LBC 100 Steep Ones). The area along the Ohio in IN is littered with short, steep climbs, ranging from the 22% steep of Farnsley Knob (15+% avg) to the relative ease of Edwardsville Hill (5+%). Blunk is listed as the longest climb in the Louisville area, at 1.6m. I would say the tough part is about 1.2m, with another reasonable .4m to finish it off. The site also lists its avg as 6%, but that number is evened out a bit by the upper, more benign portions. The meat of the climb is 8%+, which I found doable. Dave and I took the climb at our own pace but finished pretty close together.

After Blunk Knob, our route crossed IN11 and ventured into new territory for me (and for him). This area is populated by small ranchettes, with the western-most portions having the typical Midwestern wheat, corn and livestock. We made a steady pace through this area, slowing for the up roller and zooming down the down roller. Of particular note, for me at least, were St. Johns Church Rd and Black Creek Rd. I enjoyed this portion immensely, with Black Creek a particular highlight. While I had no great desire to climb, the exit our of the Black Creek valley provided forest on both sides, with perhaps one house in a mile or two stretch. It was fabulous and I'll return just for that. After missing our turn at Morgans Ln- no, not for being lost but for the turn being located at the bottom of a 39mph hill- we backtracked the short distance and hit upon what was a rough patch for both of us. Dave only brought 1 bottle, I 2, but neither of us had any food. Thus thirst and hunger ensued. Morgan Ln also presented a tough test of rollers climbing out of a creek valley. Dave asked a woman walking if a store was around and the answer was 3-4m further south and out of our way, so we ventured on. Once crossing IN11 again I felt a bit like the horse returning to the barn. After a scorcher of a descent on Doolittle Hill when we almost caught a couple cars filled with teenagers, we crossed behind the casino and onto a road at the foot of the Knob "wall" on Stuckey Rd., passing some interesting houses, old barns and a further collection of farm animals, for the day: horse, cow, mule, chicken, wild turkey, deer.

Our final portion was a bit anti-climactic b/c we traversed the same Budd Rd., passing the ominous Farnsley Knob and later Blunk Knob again, only this time I was counting down the 2 warm-up climbs. I was hungry, thirsty and leg tired. None-the-less, I made steady progress up the last 2 and finished reasonably in tact. Dave and I discussed in the course of the ride that my Bleriot is geared lower than his 'Nermal' hybrid, something you wouldn't think would be the case. I used the smallest chainring only on 3-4 climbs and stayed in the middle for most. Even with grey, cloudy skies and some occasional sprinkles, I give today's outing 4 stars for the challenging route, bucolic scenery, new roads and good company.

phlox at the top of a warm-up hill

gotta love those signs at the base of a climb

lovely farm house at top of Blunk Knob

beat up barn at top of Blunk Knob

Dave on St. Johns Church Rd., classic midwestern road.  As can be seen, my shutter was sticking unbeknownst to me.  I kept it anyway.

Black Creek bridge

Climb out of Black Creek.  I tried 4-5 different shots over my head and behind my shoulder trying to get a pic of the road and Dave.  You can get a bit of a feel for the trees and privacy.

'Nermal' resting on 2nd beat up barn.  The Bleriot pic here didn't come out well.


FS Bridgestone RB-1-DONATED

*Donated to a young bike-hungry friend. Good luck!* And to acquaint yourself with the Cult of the RB-1: