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  • Sep 26 2008

    Handsome Cycle Co. : Local Folks Doin' It Up!

    Handsome Cycle Co.

    Over 20 years ago I got a job at Alternative Bikes in uptown Minneapolis. Jay Erickson was the owner of this upstanding neighborhood bike shop that specializes in selling Bridgestone bikes, skateboards and snowboards (early adopters). Another big specialty was overnight repairs. I worked as an overnight repairman. I learned a lot from Jay. Plenty about repairs and bike shops, and whole lot about myself (working late with the pressure of getting through a massive pile of repairs will do that to you). I worked for the Alt for 2 years and it was the last place that my paycheck was signed by someone other than myself.

    Jay's sons were little kids going to elementary school back then, but now one of them (Jesse) has teamed up with a workmate (Ben) to design a nice quality, highly versatile frame that they are marketing as a Handsome Cycle Co. bike.

    Handsome Bike Co. - Local Folks doing it MN style!

    I spotted this frame at the big industry trade show (Interbike). It was being used to showcase some accessories in the Topeak booth. This model was labelled  as a "Devil". It sure looked like a nice start from which Handsome can grow from. The catalog lying below the bike was nicely styled without being over-designed. Cool.  Good work guys!

  • Sep 25 2008

    Phil's Sweet RANS Dynamic Trail

    Dynamic Trail

    Here's a bike that gets in a lot of miles on the paths around the area. Phil rides a lot and has used a variety of bikes over the years. The past few years have been all about the RANS crank forward bikes. He likes to go fast in an ergonomically friendly position.

    Custom Handlebar and Riser setup

    The handlebars and riser are custom modifications that have helped make the bike very comfy on the wrist, shoulders and hands. Instead of using the stock "straight" riser, this bike is set up with a RANS curved riser which brings the handlebars back about 3-1/2". The handlebars are swept back cruiser style handlebars with Ergon Grips with built in bar-ends for a variety of hand positions.

    Forza Crankset

    Forza 145mm Crankset with FSA chainrings

    The other major modification this bike has are the 145mm Forza cranks. These are a nice, triple crank option that can work for a variety of bikes. The Forza cranks are available in 145, 155 and 165mm lengths and the bolt hole pattern is 130/74mm.

    Phil is out putting real miles on his bike. I see him on the trails regularly and he's always smokin' down the trail at a quick pace. Looking good Phil!

  • Sep 16 2008

    The YK200.1! A Great, Wet Ride

    YK200.1 Cyclemeter

    The forecast was for a 40% chance of rain around 1pm and partly cloudy in the morning and late afternoon. A friend said to me later that he figured they meant to say that we'd get 40 inches of rain all day long... We met at 5am and it started drizzling then. From then until the end it was either drizzling or raining.

    YK200.1 Picture

    There were three of us on the ride. A fourth was all set to go, but thought that we were meeting at 5:30. Oops, 5:00 is a half hour earlier and thus we were on our slow 'n' steady ride by the time he showed. Bummer! Later in the day when were absolutely drenched with over 90 miles left to go, Derek says with the air of a high school boy "Marlin is sooo missing out!". At this point we all busted out laughing at the thought that someone would be disappointed that they were NOT with us.

    The fact is the ride was a blast in spite of the rain, but it's hard to think about the ride and not think about the quantity of water we were dealing with. From the 80 mile mark up to 150 miles the rain was non stop. I kept saying that rain comes and it goes and we'd be sure to get a dryer weather cycle soon. Ha!

    Yk200.1 Picture 2

    I rode a Bacchetta Corsa while my two riding partners were on lugged, steel road bikes (Concorde and Trek). The recumbent proved to be an amazing bike for this ride (again, only more so). While the high bottom bracket on the Corsa doesn't make for a very nimble city-riding bike, it is a comfy speed demon out on the road. At no point did I feel in doubt about riding the 200 miles.

    We got in 100 miles by noon and took the afternoon and much of the evening to get in the next 100. I finished with just over 200 miles total and averaged a bit over 15 MPH. We held pretty true to the 5 minute breaks in the morning and lunch break wasn't much over 30 minutes, but as the water seeped into every wrinkle of clothing, the need for slightly longer and more frequent breaks was needed as a survival tool.

    We never talked about quitting, but we often talked about what fools we were (and how dumb Marlin was for not being along for the fun : )

  • Sep 12 2008

    Ready for a Double Century? YK200.1

    YK200.1 Prep

    This Saturday is the great YK200.1 (a made up name for a non-organized ride). Last year 3 friends and myself did the YK200. That ride was a personal best for 3 of us on the ride. We all had a lot of fun working out the details and then getting out there and doing it (see details on the bike I rode HERE).

    Who is going to show up to do the ride is unsure (similar to last year). It's a difficult to thing to wrap your head around riding 200 miles in one day and thus it's difficult to feel mentally and physically prepared to do it or maybe I should say that it's very easy to feel unsure about one's ability to do a double century.

    YK200.1 Training

    This is my training ride

    I tend to be really big on the mental side of such an event and maybe a bit lacking on the physical side (shortage of riding time). Clearly you have to have a balance of some degree, but I think the mental side is very critical. It's easy to say that you'll get mentally "up" for the ride after enough miles are logged on in preparation (training), but it's also easy to keep saying that you'll be prepared after one more big ride...

    The plan is to meet at 5am and start the epic ride. 5 minute water-filling breaks will be taken every 2 hours. A 30 minute lunch break will happen at about the 115 mile mark. I'll be drinking 1 large water bottle (28 oz.) every hour. I mix the water with Cytomax as well as Hammer Perpetuem. I also will have a mix of powerbars and gels along with some trail mix. Obviously nutrition is rather key to finishing a double century. I will expect to burn up over 10,000 calories.

    I'll carry minimal tools. Flat kit, pump, chain tool and small allen multi tool. We'll leave in the dark and get home in the dark, so clearly having some lights will be part of the gear coming on the ride. I will have a camera along for pictures along the way.

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