There’s always something different, even though mostly it’s the same each time. Almost every time I am finished with a fitting, I get about ninety percent of the design work done in my head in just a few seconds. But that other five or ten percent takes a lot longer. Sometimes it is a question of where I will find the right balance between stem and bar length against top tube length and center of gravity. Sometimes it is getting slider dropouts set up right for all of the possible tire diameter and width possibilities to fit inside chain stays with a decent Q. Tube diameters and gauge numbers are rarely more than a quick thought though. They have become part of me and already known. Never boring though. What might be boring takes so little time now that they can’t become that. Sometimes the process is so fast that I worry I must have missed something.
Then there’s Gary’s bike. Ten percent easy. The rest is a struggle. Almost every aspect of it requires checking and double checking that it will all work together and as a whole. None of it boring. Keeping me on my toes. Awake but tiring.
Rides are like that. Many are completely by wrote. The Derby, the ride down to SMC, to the bank. My mind has nothing to do to complete the ride, so it goes elsewhere; dinner plans, paint job ideas, the kids and grandkids, politics. And then there was yesterday. Alone, as I missed the Derby. My plan was to do a nice fall afternoon loop on the roads I’ve ridden so many times for so many years. Thoughts wandering, riding comfortably. Then I saw a road I hadn’t noticed before. Turned in and it turned to dirt, back to pavement, to dirt again down through a tight valley. Horses, old stone houses, deep woods. Suddenly alert again on a new gravel road. Sliding the corners a bit. Awake for the first time in the ride. Once I was back on a familiar road I began to look for other surprise roads. More dirt, more hills and descents. Eventually ended up on Christman road. Truly dangerous in one spot since it is now closed and not maintained. Fully awake now. Found home with a few more surprise roads in between.
Familiar is easy, surprises are not, but they are better.
There’s Always Something Else
Monday was a day to sleep in a bit. Labor day is not a day to labor, so June and I were still in bed at 6:20 when the storm hit. Out of bed and running around to make sure all the windows were closed. I got to the first window and saw/heard my first truly simultaneous lightning strike. A ball of light and a very sharp crash at the same instant, just before the stink of burning stuff arrived.
It took a while to figure out all that we had lost. No apparent damage to the house itself. But sensitive electronic devices did not fair as well. The obvious ones: Cable modem, router, NAS, DVR, all dead. TV, dead, Receiver, dead. The UPS protecting the TV, DVR and Receiver also completely dead. The telephone/cable interface puked. Telephone ground fuses blown. Both cordless phone systems toast.
The cable company had a guy here ON LABOR DAY to evaluate the problems. Talk abut good service. They replaced their equipment (modem, DVR, telephone interface) immediately. I should have most of the rest of the equipment replaced by tomorrow evening (Thursday) thanks to Amazon. Until my network is back up and running I won’t know whether the NIC between the house and barn is OK and if the barn’s access point survived.
Our homeowners’ insurance company has been great. So far, the TV is the only real hold-up. Because it is expensive, they need to have a technician look at it to either repair it or give an evaluation that it is indeed toast. That is scheduled to happen on Friday afternoon. Once the TV is either running or replaced, we can check to see if the ROKU is still OK.
So considering what we could have lost, we’re doing pretty well. It is taking a bunch of my time and not having the interwebs on real computers is a drag. Haven’t missed TV at all. My cell phone is getting a real workout. Fingers crossed that we found everything. And that’s the news.
A little help?
We will be doing a rebuild of our web site over the next month or so. What would you like to see? What are we missing? Is the current navigation logical and easy? Is there confusing information that I can clean up? Should we dump some of the things on the site that aren’t helpful? Let me know. Go to our web site and use the contact page to send me an e-mail. Thanks.
Spectrum cycles, inc.
RIDING’S DIFFERENT NOW, BUT NOT REALLY
Tom didn’t notice it right away. He’s been doing more riding with a different group this year. And different riding areas for the most part. Roads he doesn’t know very well. Riders he’s getting to know more as people to ride with than as riders. Like many of the people he’s ridden with over the years, most of them have raced or still race, some not. No matter. The rides are for the riding, not training. But training happens. He has better fitness this year than he usually has. But he is not training at all. Just riding.
He has enjoying riding more this year more than he has in a long time. His wife June is riding again for the first time after years off the bike. And with that she is feeling better. Happier. And Tom enjoys riding with her. Seeing her become more comfortable on the bike, using her brakes less, standing more, shifting more, drinking more frequently, they have another thing they can share. And it is something that is already a big part of who he is. When they ride together the experience is completely different from racing or when Tom rides with his other friends. But it is the same. It is riding.
Tom cares less when he gets dropped than he did even a year or so ago. He accepts it more easily but seems to do it less frequently. Causing someone else on a ride to suffer because of his pace was once a part of riding, something he did. It is now something he tries to be aware of and avoid. He now likes to wait and tow dropped riders back to the group. He has found that he loves helping inexperienced riders ride in a large group more comfortably and safely. He used to love collecting jerseys and he’s got some real collectors’ items. But he has lost interest in acquiring them anymore. He just wants to ride, ride and help others to get what he gets from riding.
There will be more changes in his riding. And they won’t all be good. But it will still be riding. Different but the same, it’s all riding.
The joy that Tom hears from new clients whose eyes have been opened when they first ride their new bike still brings a level of relief that he did enough right with their new bike. But mostly, that moment of relief has been replaced with a general feeling of satisfaction he feels as he looks over the almost 40 years of work that has brought so many riders the same joy he feels when he rides. Sometimes when he rides by himself he feels those other bikes and riders riding along with him. So many riders. He thinks he has done some good.
Dumb and Hot no more
A bit of computer advice
When your computer manufacturer gives you a “temperature operating range” in the owner’s manual, take them seriously.
As many of you know, my office is above the shop, effectively in the attic of the barn. When it gets hot outside with the sun shining on the barn roof, the attic can get well over 120 degrees. Well you might ask, “Isn’t air conditioning is a modern convenience that you might want to consider in this situation?” In fact, it is … well, it was. See, when we had that short hot spell early this last spring, I turned on
HAPPENINGS IN THE PAINT BOOTH
Paint material costs have jumped yet again. This is getting really crazy. Our clearing system costs have increased about 85% over the last two years and our base coats (the color coats) keep skyrocketing as well. On the other hand, our primer costs have remained relatively stable, increasing not much more than inflation.
There are a number of knock-off companies in the automotive paint business that produce less expensive stuff, but it just
We’ve had the same Merchant Services account with PNC Bank for, well, ever since we began accepting credit cards. A long time. They have been good folks to work with. Fair, no mistakes, willing to negotiate rates, etc.
Periodically, PNC requires that we upgrade the software that we use to process credit cards as the software company plugs holes in the security
PETE’S FRAME - A well documented steel frame build
A couple of months ago, Jeff and I started another steel frame set for a client in Virginia. From the first steps in building Pete a new frame, we documented almost every step with the shop camera. About once a week I resampled the new images and uploaded them onto our Flickr page (http://www.flickr.com/photos/spectrumcycles/). I then created a new Set within our page titled “Steel Frame Build, Start to Finish” (http://www.flickr.com/photos/spectrumcycles/sets/72157634124137696/) Although we had done this sort of thing once before, we had never covered our work in such detail. The only significant gaps
It was a weekend spent with old friends and a chance to make a few new ones. Nice. Ballers. Nelson County, Virginia. The Blue Ridge region south of Wintergreen. Mostly in the woods. Mostly gravel roads. All road bikes. So much more though. Enough time to be with other Ballers and listen, eat, talk, explain, listen, think, help, drink, advise, listen, plan, develop.
The bikes at Ballers all worked exactly as they were meant to during eight mile gravel climbs and 60mph paved descents. Ballers made them, and rode them. The real deal. A number of flats, only