Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Francophile boy, whatcha lookin' at?

650B wheelset for my sled. I've got this plan in the works...a super nifty invention. It's called the Kinda Quick Change. It came into my head a long time ago, when I had my Rambouillet. I had downtube shifters on that bike...modolo kronos actually. I still have them. They're still attached to the cables and housing. When I sold the frame (to my friend cause I had a front end crash and my wife wouldn't let me ride a damaged frame with the baby on the way...the friend promised to get it fixed...) so when I sold the frame I just took everything off without taking the cables off or undoing everything. I just popped the stem out, took the wheels off, broke the chain, unscrewed the derailleurs and shifters from their perches. What I essentially had was a Rambouillet 60cm build kit sitting in a small box. That's when I figured out, I had invented the Kinda Quick Change.

Here's how it works:

You start with your expensive road bike and all your spare parts. You end up with 2 completely different yet exceptional bicycles for the price of less than 2 exceptional bikes. You can't ride them both at the same time, but heck, you aren't two people at the same time, are you!? Here's the nitty gritty...

1. Get your favorite road racing bike. Outfit it for racing or however you normally ride it with 700c wheels, STI/Ergo, Carbon bars and stem, etc. Please do yourself a favor and install a 110 BCD crank or 110/74 BCD triple. You'll love me tomorrow and you'll like the weight savings now.

2. Order a set of 650B wheels and tires and tubes. Go here to order. Tires here.

3. Order the largest cassette that will work with your rear derailleur. Get that anywhere.

4. Get a set of derailleurs that will work with both A) your frame, B) your shifters, C) your dreamy gearing for riding the back roads. If you've got downtube bosses, for CRSakes, get downtube shifters. It's all gonna be cheaper and better that way anyway. I'm hoping you took my advice up at 1. and got yourself a sensible 50x36 or some such gearing. Not that it matters, but I use and love my 48x34. Anyway, mount that new cassette on your 650B wheelset. Get a chain that will work with your new gearing.

5. Buy a stem, handlebars, and brake levers (or Ergo/STI levers if you need'em.) Buy yourself some centerpull brakes. Get them here. Get a set of cable hangers while you're at it.

6. Put your bike in the work stand. Get a 5mm and a 6mm allen wrench. Take off nearly everything nailed down on your bike, but don't undo any cables. This includes 1. The brakes 2. The derailleurs. 3. The stem (with handlebars and possiblybrake levers/shifters, cables, housing, brakes, derailleurs attached.) 4. Break the chain, heck invest in a quicklink.

7. Mount up the new stuff. Adjust everything. Get some fenders while you're at it. Nice ones. They'll fit. Don't worry.

8. Go for a ride in the woods. Jeep trails, not Northshore. Enjoy your bike like you've never enjoyed it before.

9. When the fashion suits you, repeat set 6 and 7. Pull a switcheroo on your buddies, on your signif other, or just do it monthly. The shifting should stay pretty much the same. Thank goodness for split cable stops. Not every bike has them, I know, but most do and you'll be thankful.

I'll go over this again when I get prices all together. I swear, this could be a huge deal.

Friday, May 27, 2005


So I finally made some shelves. Well, I am actually still technically "making" them. Should be done this weekend if all goes according to my wife's plans. That could be the single source of my life's troubles at the moment. Her expectations, versus my lallygagging.

I have wanted to make these shelves for a long time. But the time was never carved out for the doing. So my wife gradually and logically went more and more stir-crazy at my inactivity. Trouble is, I need a motivator. I need a cheer leader. I'm not my own best friend who can just start up a project and see it done lickety split. I'm okay once I get started, if I can really tie into it...you know, spend my attention on the thing. But that didn't really happen here. She blew one week (after months of keeping her fumes under rap) on a Wednesday and by Saturday morning I was buying $399 worth of Mahagony. Is that how you spell it? We need a dictionary on this thing.

Anyway, I couldn't get it all done in two days. I had to learn how to use the radial arm saw. I had to have my father-in-law show me how to work it. (I miss you Dad. You would have really enjoyed showing me how to work that thing. I kept a chair you probably once sat in in the little area where I cut all the wood, just so I'd have a reminder.) I had to overcome a lot of self doubt about being able to do this project and not either 1) cut off an arm or 2) make it look like I was a failure in shop class (I nearly was!). Thankfully it has come out stunning. My dadoes were cleverly cut, and the trim will hide the nail gun mistakes.

Can you get quarterround trim in mahagony? Who knows? I'm gonna try this weekend at Noho Lumber.

I need a drink now. This was a heavy personal rant. I hope my marriage survives this lasting shelfbuilding experience. For the sake of my sanity and my little girl's future.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Black Keys at The Culture Room

The Black Keys at The Culture Room
Originally uploaded by viejagloria.

There are few bands that poke as much good vibe and energy into a show with only a drum kit and a guitar. This is one band. The other is that brother and sister duo who are coming out with a new album very soon. (I can't wait, and neither can my 2 year old! Supersweet!)

Monday, May 09, 2005

Alone on the Playground in NYC

Alone on the Playground in NYC
Originally uploaded by OrdinaryLifeMan.

She's not unaccustomed to having fun by herself. It's hard to have fun with more than just yourself on a slide in the park. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


There's not much fun dealing with cars. Automobiles. If only they drove themselves, looked after themselves, and paid for themselves. Well, in the world of cars, I have two places of business which I have found plenty helpful...if not downright useful: Performance Motoring, Inc for Volvos in Hadley, MA and TireRack.com somewhere on the internet.