December 31, 2008
Happy New Year to both of you who read this blog. It’s been a great year for NCC and we’re excited for 2009.
We press on with confidence that bikes have an important role to play in the future of our families, our communities, our country, and our world.
In 2008 we raised $1300 for World Bike Relief. Our aim for 2009 is a local project yet to be announced.
We made a ton of good friends this year and plan to do more of the same next year. If we don’t know you, stop in and say hi. Come ride with us sometime. (New Year’s Day Ride, 1.1.09, 10am, NCC).
ciao for now.
The NCC crew rides off into the sunset.
December 27, 2008
Posted by Tobie under In the Shop 1 Comment
It’s fitting, really, that on the foggiest, rainiest December day in local history that we would end up building an uncategorizable (is that a word?) bike on a Surly CrossCheck frameset.
I am going to post these pictures, come what may. I know I’m going to get a few licks for the spec choices, but that’s part of the fun. Easton wheels, Bontrager tires, Bontrager most-everything else, and some Avid brakes. The Bonty 29×1.75 tires are fatties, fitting fine. The ratio is 44/17, which was just what we happened to have here (Surly 17t cog).
It’s a beefcake cross bike, or a nimble ss 2niner, or a skinny bulldozer – tbd.
It’s for sale, too. The bidding starts at $1k. Do I hear $1k?
December 24, 2008
It was a bittersweet day at NCC yesterday. We sold our last black cherry LHT frame to a man named Dan Miller. It was a glass slipper situation. We had one 52cm frameset left, and he walked in looking for a Trucker that would fit him. He hadn’t even considered the cherry since they’d gone the way of the buffalo a while back.
He had done his research, but he seemed happy to find a human being to field his questions instead of digging through forums to find his answers.
Dan’s build is a perfect example of our “Beautilitarian” ethic for bicycles. We like our bikes to be sturdy, yet stunning.
Dan opted to upgrade to the cherry frame, so we were able to give him the works: frame prep, frame saver, stripey spacer stack, cable prep, and icing the cake: Elk Hide bar covering with re-enforced seam stitch.
The Elk Hide was something I had ordered for myself, but offered to Dan because I knew it would look great with the frame color. It was a strange melding of worlds for me. I am a bookbinder and I have a book bindery in the basement of my home. Working with leather is something I rarely get to do on bikes. It was neat to apply that experience to sewing the bars. It was a learning experience, to be sure, since handlebars curve every which way.
Here are some pics of the build for your perusal. Enjoy.
December 19, 2008
Rich stopped in with his LHT decked out for some rough riding. We’ve been hit with a decent storm the last couple days. It’s great to know we have months of winter riding yet ahead of us.
December 13, 2008
Posted by Tobie under In the Shop  Comments
Evan takes us on a Winter Weight Diner Ride.
December 12, 2008
The idea came to me to build up a “snowplow” fixie. I had heard that fixed gears have exceptional handling in icy and slushy conditions, so I decided to tweak my Masi Soulville to handle the elements. Lonnie from Continental helped me out with some Conti Nordic Spike Claw (700×42 – 240 studs) tires. I wish they were wider, but they handle pretty well, even on a clear sheet of ice.
The Soulville has a great ride quality. It’s upright-ish, but not too much. It has a long wheel-base and a good fork rake, so it’s a buttery ride. It did well to gobble up my commute this morning (7°F) on a partially plowed bike path.
I need to change the gearing down a bit – a few sections of trail were slow-mo with a 46/17 on there.
We’ll see how it handles on a longer ride tomorrow. Winter Weight Diner Ride at 7:30am behind NCC – be there.
December 4, 2008
A Surly Pugsley Adventure Bike.
I have been waiting for snow for a long time; just so I could justifiably take the Pugsley out. It is an incredible ride. I can’t really explain what it’s like to ride, but whenever I am riding through fresh snow, I always get the urge to talk like Cookie Monster. The Pugsley devours whatever is in front of me and i want to shake my head maniacally like he ate cookies.
Watching Sesame Street with my kids is really amazing for a few reasons. It’s crazy that so many of the animations and vignettes they use in the show are the same they used when I watched the show 25 years ago. And then some things have really changed. For example, Cookie Monster is frequently reminded by the other muppets/monsters/fringe celebrities that cookies are a “sometimes” food and not to be eaten all the time. That’s a good lesson for the generation of “husky” kids growing up playing xbox, WoW, and facebooking their life away (scathing cultural indictment!).
Back to the Puglsey.
I think this was a design reference when Surly was working on the Large Marge rims.
December 2, 2008
Posted by Tobie under Community
, Dig it. 1 Comment
I can’t really explain what changed in my outlook, but I am more excited about winter than I have been in many years. DeKalb doesn’t offer much in the way of winter activites, unless, of course, you consider the new ice skating rink…which is actually made out of plastic…
That being said, I think winter offers an entirely new cycling scene to those willing to brave the elements. If you have the right equipment to stay warm and stay dry, the only obstacle is the hurdle in your head.
The weather Sunday called for a wee snowstorm – 6 to 8 inches, heavy wind (normal), and a freefalling temp all day; so we went for a ride. The call was for a “Heavy Bike Ride” so we could ride in and over whatever we wanted. We rode a new section of “trail” (new to us… a trail for deer mostly…) and turned around at Larson Park in Sycamore. Larson Park is a gem for runners and (now) cyclocross riders.
My inner monologue went something like this:
Me: “This weather is horrible; who would ride in this stuff..”
Me: “I would, and am, and it’s really quite enjoyable.”
Me: “It IS, isn’t it?”
Me: “Yes, I’m warm, dry, and so are the other guys.”
Me: “Other guys?”
Rich, Jay and Ari were the other idiots out there. It was a blast. The snow fell consistently as we rode, but the inches didn’t start really accumulating until we finished. Having a few inches of snow on the ground has opened up an entire network of otherwise unrideable terrain. It paves over ruts, holes, branches, and roots so you basically have an open canves in the “pockets” of wooded areas around here. If you’re interested in learning where I am talking about, shoot me an email and we can go for a ride.
Enjoy the pics.