Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Still cold

Well, I've only logged a pathetic 59 miles this month. But as I look out my office window to a parking lot covered with ice, I guess it's better to be safe than all messed up. My last trip in by bike was yesterday.. the hoar frost was so thick in places I could hear this high pitched shhhhhhhhh as the tires cut through it. The only thought running through my head was "I hope I don't have to stop or turn anytime soon..."

Yesterday was also the first ride in on the Mercier. I did notice that there was a small "tinging" sound coming from the front wheel - Loose spoke? It kind of came and went. The bike is pretty fast though. After some adjustments to the front changer, I was able to get it to ride quiet in all gears. The only truly negative thing about white handlebar tape is that it is going to get pretty dirty with constant riding. So this bike will be a show-thing until I figure out what I'm going to do with it.

Friday, January 19, 2007

2nd ride of the year - already Jan 19

The snow finally melted enough for me to hop on the ol' Univega and spin into work. For the most part, the ride was uneventful. I drove the route yesterday looking for ice patches. I only hit a couple this morning, but that was spooky enough. There is a section of trail south of the South Bellevue Park and Ride where the ice has lingered. Luckily I hit it while I was going pretty slow, so I was able to just crunch through it...

My bike partner from last year was in the office yesterday and we were talking about summer rides coming up. I am going to be registering for the Flying Wheels Summer Century again. Last year was pretty disappointing for me and organized rides. I think the problem was starting training too late in the year (May) and pushing mileage high right from the start. I had to travel for work a bit and would go stretches of no riding at all then pull half centuries for a couple days. The old knees just couldn't take that.

This year, my training is starting now. Once the ice clears, I'm committing to at least three rides a week to work - rain or shine and a Saturday AM Mercer Island ride.. Let's see that would be around 55 miles per week - a good starting point for February!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Temperatures under freezing suck... when you are an avid cyclist. We have had a week of snow and sub-freezing temps over the last week here in Seattle. I have been feeling sluggier and sluggier because I have not been able to get outside.

I have had to focus on building out my latest project bike. I came across a mid-1980's Mercier road bike at the thrift store and I have been getting her cleaned up. French electric blue with white handlebar tape, brake cable housing and brake hoods. Going to be a real looker when I get it done. She's got Campy brakes and shifters, Nervar cranks. The wheels use Maillard Helico-matic hubs with Mavic rims. The frame is a Columbus Tre-Tubi Cro-MO.

It has been a real trick finding some of this stuff. The cable housings just took a little calling around here in town. Elliott Bay bicycles had the white housing. The brake hoods were a little trickier. I had to get them from a guy in England who sent them along a couple days ago. The original hoods were gum, but these are a milky white, which actually looks better with the other white treatments. The decals have been trashed. There were a number of white lettering graphics that have been scratched off pretty bad. The one on the top tube read "Bordeaux Paris" and the one on the down tube reads "Le Velo de Mercier." I have been in contact with the guy at Velo Graphics to get a bid on re-doing the decals.

I am still a bit uncertain what to do with this beauty. I'm torn between turning her into a fixie and keeping it and just fixing it up and selling it. I have not seen a bike like it on eBay or Craigslist, but other Mercier's seem to go for a pretty penny ($300-450 typically). I could use the cash to fund my other habit... guitar playing!