Monday, February 27, 2006

Be careful, but not TOO careful

While I was waiting for my new wheels to arrive for my Synapse, I spent some time going through the owner's manual. Most bicycle manuals are pretty boring--full of such interesting things as "going too fast may result in injury" and "make sure and install the proper reflectors all over the place" (to paraphrase).

There was, however, one section I actually read through. This was the section about owning a carbon fiber bicycle and the proper way to care for it. After all, I spent a lot of money on this bike, so I want it to last. In particular, it mentioned clamping carbon fiber. Never clamp a carbon bike in a work stand (by the frame). Instead, clamp the seatpost. It also pointed out the potential risk of over-tightening the the seatpost clamp--it could crack the frame.

As a consequence, when I went out for a "quick ride", deciding not to burden myself with tools, I found that my seat was slowly lowering. By the time I pinpointed the problem (it is, afterall, a new bike, so everything feels a little different), my seat had dropped about 1/2". Then, I decided to cut the ride short and turn around. I'm not sure if the slippage was exponential, but by the time I got home, it had dropped about 2".

Lesson 1: Don't overtighten the seatpost clamp, but make sure and tighten it enough. Of course, that leads to....

Lesson 2: ALWAYS bring tools on every ride. Which goes hand in hand with wearing a helmet and bringing water, etc.

A Parallel Universe
On Sunday, my wife was busy, so turned over the brownie making to me. I'm always nervous about cooking things correctly, so was naturally bothered by the cooking instructions:
"Bake at 350 for 26-28 minutes or until center is set (do not overbake)." I was ruined when it added "do not overbake". I mean, of course I'm not supposed to overbake it, but by telling me that, I automatically start to worry about just that. So, after 29 minutes, I pulled it out of the oven, even though it might not have seemed totally done.

Like the seatpost, I found out that I didn't bake it enough. (There's a correlation there, just keep looking and you'll see it.) An hour later, after my wife came home, she turned on the oven to 350 and proceeded to bake it more, until it was actually done.

Lesson: Do not overbake.... but raw is no good, either.

And Finally...
Fortunately, I can buy a torque wrench for my bike and then I won't have to worry about it again. (Except when I do trail/road-side repairs, as I probably wouldn't bring the torque wrench with me.)

And with the brownies, I should have trusted the tried and true method of sticking a toothpick into the middle to tell if it was done. Failing that, leave the baking to my wife.

Friday, February 24, 2006

My New Ride

Well, I don't have much time for eloquence today, but a number of you (the number 1, to be exact) have been asking to see pictures of the bike which, by the way, has arrived. So, I quickly snapped some shots and the best ones are posted here below.

I did go with carbon, and I did get the Topolino wheels. I finished putting it together and getting the wheels on and such last night/this morning around 1:30 AM. Therefore, the only riding I've done with it has been on my way to work today. Even with my 8lb notebook computer across my back, the ride was so nice. I LOVE the feel of those wheels. Very smooth, very light. They accelerate wonderfully. I'll go into more detail in another post after I have more time in the saddle. Also, look for a weight if I can ever find an accurate scale.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Replace your cleats

Last night, I decided to replace the cleats on my shoes. Not only have I never felt the need to replace them, but I also have never felt the need to own seperate shoes for my road and mountain bikes. As a consequence, these cleats have seen a lot of miles... over about 3 years (give or take 6 months). What tiped me off that they needed replacing? Well, I felt there was vertical slop in the cleat-pedal interface. So, for your viewing enjoyment, here are the old cleats next to the new ones:

As you can see... they, um... REALLY needed replacing.

And the winner is...
All the votes are in, the polls are closed, and the judges have reached a decision. I am going to get a black Synapse. Most likely, I will get the Topolino wheels, once I sell the Mavic Ksyrium SLs... once my bike arrives. Any interested party should please contact me. Thanks for your votes!