Cyclocross test ride

Resolutions can be contagious when it comes to cycle-blogging, but with the aid of an iPhone, I can’t help but try to put in my 2 cents while trying to utilize some new technology.
Having mostly completed the build of a Soma Double-Cross frame into a cyclocross bike, I have been dying to test ride for months, but time just isn’t always on my side these days. Today, however, was an exception, and the weather was begging me to come out and play.
The bike currently has no handlebar tape because I haven’t been able to commit to the brake cable routing yet. The road standard is to set the right brake to the rear, and the left to the front. Cyclocross setups are vice versa, which is supposed to facilitate dismounts and allow rear wheel skids while only holding the left brake and top tube. I figure the first couple of rides I can try this technique out, and see if I like it, or crash from squeezing the wrong brake too hard. Until then, there’s no point in taping the bars yet.
I took the bike out to Don Edwards park in Newark, which was my target training area for building the cross bike, with it’s wide gravel trails and rolling hills and view of the bay, it’s probably the best cycling Fremont has to offer, as long as your bike can handle it. I’ve ridden my road bike on these trails several times, and always felt guilty for cutting up the tires on the gravel and getting dust everywhere. Skinny road tires don’t do well on gravel, but slightly fatter, knobby, cross tires do just right.
This route map very conveniently recorded using the iPhone’s built in GPS feature, I just click “Start” and “Stop” and everything else gets uploaded. COOL!

The website also allows non-GPS users to manually enter ride information, which is still handy.

The bike handled the gravel trails wonderfully, and it was exactly what I had in mind. It was the perfect blend of road positioning, familiar gearing, and nimble response with the ability to handle some loose dirt, which has interested me about cyclocross enough to build a bike around it. I look forward to getting to know these trails better, going out on the levees, and perhaps practicing a few hurdles with the bike, once I get more confidence.

Photos conveniently also taken by the iPhone and uploaded to this blog via Shozu. Who knew a phone could do so much work?

Posted by ShoZu

Wheely Cool Year in Review

Before we get too far into the new year, I thought it would be nice to share a glimpse of a Wheely Cool 2008. Looking through these pictures made me think that 2008 wasn’t too shabby after all. These photos just highlight a few rides, but I hope you all look forward to many more in the coming year.

Napa Tour de Cure

Century Riders!

Carnage on Canada Road

The Man has Style

Fun in the backyard

Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em

Helmet Heads

Tearing it up in Soquel

Open Road to an Ascent Up Mt. Hamilton

Mt. Hamilton Road Warrior

It’s Hailing!  We Ride On!

See you in 2009!

Happy New Year

Well, how about that 2008?  It certainly was… eventful.  Now here we are, a few days into 2009, and I know you haven’t broken your resolutions yet, right?  And like all good Wheely Cool boys and girls, one of those resolutions must include “Ride bikes more this year”.  That should be a given!

One of my resolutions is to help keep the Wheely Cool blog going strong.  I have to hand it to Willis.  Keeping a blog and website going for so long is not so easy!  Even though my writing skills are not much better than an 8th grader, I do ride bikes, and I do try and take pictures on my rides.  And thanks to Willis, I now have the ability to blog.
Now, back to those pesky resolutions.  Oh, yes, “Ride bikes more this year”.  One of my tricks to keeping this resolution and starting the new year off strong is to pick up a winter bike project.  It could be anything from overhauling your drivetrain to repacking and/or replacing all the bearings to upgrading all your steel bolts to titanium bolts.  This year, I decided to go with a bigger project.  What do you do when you have a perfectly good 100mm travel suspension fork sitting around?  You build a bike around it!

I found an oldie but goodie…  an excellent condition 2002 Turner XCE frameset that was specifically designed to handle best with a 100mm suspension fork.  I’ll post build details soon.  With the bike completed, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend New Year’s Day than with a ride on a new bike.