Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seth's Speedster and 2 new tube sets

For a Saturday this was very busy, I had to wake up at my regular weekday time - there were a few tests to run at work. One of the engineers is over in China working on some new product and I needed to finish up a test so he would have the data when he got up (he is about 16 hours ahead). This only took me two hours to complete - I have not heard back from Jeff, hopefully this was all he needed to finish his work.
By 10AM I was working on Seth's bike, a 2009 Scott Speedster. There was not much to do, the

bike pretty much came assembled from the factory. I needed to attach the handle bars, install the front brake, check and adjust the shifting, make sure everything was torqued to specification, inflate the tires and wipe it down.

Friday I received two frame tube sets from Nova Cycles (, one set is going to be my wife's touring bike and the other is for my single speed balloon tire commuter. Today was just the unpack and check to make sure everything arrived in tact.

Sue's bike is a combination of Prestige, Nova, and Columbus tubing - the fork is an Easton EC90X. The fork is a surprise for her.

My single speed bike bike is just an off the shelf (for Nova) 29er tube set. The majority of the tubes are 8/5/8 (.8mm butts with .5mm middle sections), the Seat tube is externally butted, and the down tube is a whopping 42mm! The plan is to ovalize the ends to get a better "flow" from one tube to another - not sure how this will turn out but it will be interesting. The rear dropouts are designed by Kirk Pacenti (, they are his track drop outs with stainless faces. For this bike I will have to build a fork since there is really nothing out there with the look I want that can take a 63mm with tire. I have decided to use one of Kirk's twin plate fork crowns, it should not look too out of place on this bike - but I am not sure.

The next few weeks will be spent preparing, mitering, and brazing up these two frames. More pictures to follow.

Sunday morning I will be meeting Scott at his gym to work out, so I have to sign off and get to bed.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bicycles and Motorcycle Training

Saturday morning Nanda came by the house to pick the Silvio - a front wheel drive recumbent. It is an interesting bike that pretty cool to ride. It takes a bit of practice to co-ordinate pulling on the handle bars with your pedal strokes, but it is very fast once you figure this out. I had the Silvio at my house to wrap the handle bars. I offered to do something special for one of Nanda's customers, Peter. The diamond wrap turned out okay but I was not able to get the pattern to work the entire length of the bar. I am not sure if it was the tight bend at the drop, the width of the handle bar tape (too wide), or the orientation of the weave. I know it will work - others have used this pattern on their drop bars - I just have to figure out the technique. After the first 3 hours of trying to get the bar wrapped for its entire length I gave up and just wrapped the drop portion of the bar with the diamond pattern and left the upper part of the bar a single color. It turned out okay, but I was disappointed. I will have to work on the wrapping technique!

The rest of Saturday and the first part of Sunday, my wife and I taught a Motorcycle Safety Course at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds - check out to sign up for a class (the national site is The first day was dry and not too cold but Sunday started off wet and stayed that way for almost the entire time! I have always believed - and still do - that it is good to ride in the rain, it helps make a smoother more controlled rider. All of the students were real troopers, everyone showed up with their rain gear ready to ride; we even gave them the option of coming back another day when it was dry - no one took the offer! Everyone passed the riding portion with good scores.

After class I had my first training session for my Cycle Oregon trip in September and it kicked my butt (more on the training and preparation later).

Sunday evening I laced up a set of Chub Hubs ( and Ultegra Dura Ace Hubs, both sets of wheels were built up using DT Swiss spokes and Velocity Deep V rims - I use Damon Rinard's spoke length calculator which can be found here: The initial lacing went well but I am still having some difficulty getting the high/low spots out of the wheels. The Chub Hub is for a fixed gear bike, the Ultegra hubs were an old set that had been lying around waiting for some rims.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Zenetic Crank Forward Build

Today I spent a few hours assembling a crank forward bike that my friend Nanda, owner of SpinCyclz, gave to me a few years ago. Part of the time I spent at his "shop" since he had a bunch of extra brake and shifter cables. Sue (my wife) was out for a walk at Shollenberger Park and stopped by the shop to get her ride back home.

I had a Klein Quantum Race that met an unfortunate ending at a Crit race a back in 2002 (dented down tube) and decided to strip off all the components for the Zenetic. The Klein was just being used on an indoor trainer and was just about fully used up.

I built up a set of new wheels using some left over Shimano hubs and some Velocity Deep V rims in black. I tried something new on the lacing pattern; a 3-leading, 3 trailing pattern pulled off of Robert Torre's web site and this site (nice basic pictures of the process and final results). I built up the rear wheel using the same pattern and am of the opinion that it was not the best choice. The spoke tension on the drive side is excessive and the spoke tension on the non-drive side is just barely acceptable. This wheel will probably not stay true very long, but it does look cool!

Another cool thing I found while searching around the web for interesting bicycle ideas was this, Diamond Handle Bar wrap - or also known as Harlequin Handle Bar wrap. The pattern that results is very interesting. It takes a good deal of practice to get perfect (which I did not) but the results are worth it. I did not have any cloth handle bar tape so I used what was in the garage, the result is not great but will suffice for just a run about. If you are interested in this style of handle bar wrap check out Jim Varnum's web site and Brian's Bicycle Banter here (This was where I first found out about the Diamond wrap pattern.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day, Santa Rosa Cyclocross!!!

Today was my first time to a cyclocross race and let me tell you was it a bunch of fun! My wife, Sue noticed an advertisement in the Press Democrat (local news paper) and thought that it would be fun to spend the afternoon watching people ride in the mud. I have been to a number of Crits and road races, both as a spectator and as a participant, but this was the most fun I have had at either type of event.
Sue and I arrived about half way through the first race (Junior C, Junior B, Men's C, and Men's Singlespeed) to a full parking lot. For Santa Rosa, California it was cold and wet (49F) and I really did not expect to see many people at this event.

The second race to start was the Women's Singlespeed, Women's A, and Women's B - 15 women lined up for the start of this race. The woman at the far right in black with the white accents was the race winner by a good distance. Sue and I thought that the most excitement would be near the start finish and the hurdles (which forced each rider to dismount and remount their bicycle) since we thought that the race course was flat. The first lap was the only time that the riders had difficulty with the hurdles and my camera was far too slow to capture any of the "action" - this was as close as I could get (the rider in blue was just about to go down.) Shortly we were to learn that the race course had two very nice drops on the back side of the park.

The next race was a 9 and under race that was free to enter and was a bunch of fun to watch and cheer on. Some of the racers were out on course to help the smaller kids get their bikes over the hurdles.

The most exciting race for me was the men's race, this one had the most crashing and a very large field with 2 full waves. Sue and I found a very nice spot to watch - located just at the end of a very muddy technical section (lots of crashing). Riders were falling going down the hill and then falling attempting to get back up the other side. People were cheering and helping riders get up the "hill".

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cycle Oregon registration

At 9:55pm on the 5th of February I registered for Cycle Oregon. For those of you who may not be familiar with this event, it is a 400+ mile bicycle ride that showcases various parts of Oregon - check out to get more information on this event. My friends Chris and Lori have ridden this tour in previous years and have always had a good time. This year I decided to join in the fun.

I have always enjoyed riding my bicycle and always used to travel by bicycle, but I have allowed work to take over my life during the past few years (more like 10!). Ten years ago I was mountain biking, racing, and skiing all the time. I was a light 175 pounds and could eat everything - now I am 230 pounds and work far too much. This year that trend will end. I have a goal, and a few people to help out.

My friend from work, Scott W. who does personal training on the side, offered to help out with my training. He tells me that the fun will begin March 1st. Every day I have seen him he just looks at me with a joyful glee that is a bit frightening - I know he is just waiting to begin the workouts. Both Chris and Lori will be there pushing me along on the training rides throughout the year.

I will be updating my progress at least once per week, and may even be able to post progress on my bicycle building. Thanks for looking.

Kevin Ostrom