Hwy 10, West of Mandan

Hwy 10, West of Mandan

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bikes I Ride

The stable of bikes I own are a reflection of my different passions for cycling, and while they each have a defined purpose, I like to think they are adaptable to more than one riding style.  Thanks to over a decade of support by Epic Sports, I've been fortunate to acquire some truly excellent bikes at team prices, three of which have been built following unique guidelines for components and accessories.

Each bike reviewed below briefly describes the following: 1) frame, components, and accessories, 2) intended use, and 3) my most memorable riding experience.

Surly Cross Check (est. 2010)
  • The frame is as the title suggests, White Industry cranks and chainrings, Shimano Ultegra derailleurs (2x9) with downtube shifters, Chris King hubs and bottom bracket, Salsa seatpost, stem, skewers, and handlebar, Avid brakes, Tektro brake levers, Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals, Nitto M-12 front rack, Velo-Orange hammered aluminum fenders, Brooks B17 saddle, Schwalbe Marathon tires (32 mm), Acorn randonneur bag and medium seatbag, and Japanese brass bell.  Credit goes to Mike Hilden for creating this wonderful bike.

  • This bike serves as my daily commuter.
  • Despite its commuter role, my most memorable ride with this bike was a 95 mile jaunt to and from Steele, ND on July 4th, 2011.  It was a calm, cool morning.  Enjoyed sunrise near Driscoll and a tailwind on the way home.

Surly Karate Monkey (est. 2009)
  • Another frame by Surly, SRAM X9 (2x9), Mavic Crossmax wheels (29"), Salsa seatpost, stem, and Woodchipper bars, Specialized Rival saddle, and Japanese brass bell.  The pedals have been swapped for Eggbeaters and the tires are now Schwalbe Hurricanes (41 mm).  This bike was originally built by Tyler Huber with a White Industry Double-Double drivetrain and flat handlebar.  The version photographed below was built by Steven Wilke.

  • While the most versatile bike of the bunch, it serves primarily as an early season trainer and a year-round gravel bike.
  • Burleigh County Cup, May 12th, 2012.

Specialized Epic 29 (est. 2011)
  • Full aluminum frame, FSR/Fox suspension (BRAIN in back, Float 29 in front), SRAM XO (2x10), Industry Nine wheels, Maxxis Crossmark tires (tubeless), Specialized stem, bar, and grips, Thomson seatpost, Specialized Rival saddle, and Eggbeater pedals.  This bike was built by Steven Wilke.

  • Singletrack.
  • Dakota 5-O, September 2nd, 2012.  Briefly led the second wave up the gravel road after the start.  The ride ended poorly (see previous post), but it was still the most memorable day on this bike.

Specialized Roubaix Pro (est. 2005)
  • Full carbon frame, Shimano Dura Ace (2x9), Specialized carbon seatpost and handlebar, Specialized aluminum stem, Specialized Avatar saddle, Ksyrium Equipe wheelset (in place of Dura Ace wheelset, which is used rarely), Ruffy Tuffy tires (28 mm), and Speedplay Zero pedals.

  • Road riding.  Short distance brevets (up to 300 km).
  • Gran Fondo, Fort Collins, CO, August 12, 2011.  Dropped all but one rider climbing Rist Canyon and then rode the remainder of the 90 mile route with the lead group.  Passed through some of my old stomping grounds west of Horsetooth reservoir.  It was a fun day.

Koga-Miyata Terraliner (est. 1998)
  • Terraliner frame, Shimano Ultegra (3x8), bar-end shifters, Sugino cranks and chainrings (gearing suitable for touring), Mavic MA40 rims and Ultegra hubs (36 spokes, front and rear), Panaracer Pacela tires (32 mm), Richey seatpost, Nitto stem and handlebar, Velo-Orange aluminum fenders, Brooks B17 saddle, Eggbeater pedals, Zefal frame pump, and Japanese brass bell.  This bike is being upgraded.  Stay tuned for significant improvements.

  • Touring.  Longer brevets.
  • Cowboy Trail, north central Nebraska, August 2000.  Rode from Atkinson to Platte Center while camping along the way.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Visit to The Big Apple

Travelling benefits us in so many ways, one of which is often a greater appreciation of your hometown.  A recent visit to the east coast provided an especially notable contrast between bike lanes/paths here in Bismarck/Mandan and those in New York City.  Over three very full days, I ventured forth with my wife and daughter to explore different parts the 'concrete jungle', otherwise known as Manhattan.  The intensity and speed of automobile traffic was mind-boggling at times, and made us happy to be on a bus or subway for most of our transportation needs.  While I was impressed with the network of bike lanes (which were painted green, but fading badly), their use by bicyclists was sporatic.  Here's what they look like...

Admittedly, we were visiting during a holiday weekend (MLKJ), which may have contributed to limited use.  Still, I wonder how much they're used on a normal weekday given what seemed to be exceptionally dangerous riding conditions, particularly at intersections.

Most bikers we saw during our trip rode within the confines of Central Park.  While they still had to dodge meandering tourists, runners, and an occasional horse-drawn cart, it seemed a much more relaxing experience.

I wonder how many of the bicyclists we encountered that weekend are able to 'escape' the city to ride on open roads, without the endless pressure of being surrounded by ten million people.  Conversely, I wonder how many bicyclists move to New York City from other parts of the world where open roads are the norm.  The transition must be difficult.  I know it would be for me.