Monthly Archives: January 2011

Screw It; I’m Making Studded Tires

As the title of this post implies, I’ve gone and gotten myself a pair of studded tyres on the cheap – by fabricating them. Those old Chen Shins I had on the bike’s rims came off without a single stud, but went back on with a ice-grippin’ 104 studs per tyre. Total cost: $12.78 for 250 1/2 in. 8-size screws, compared to $100 + tax for the cheapest pair I could find elsewhere (including the interweb).  My time is valueless, so I won’t put a dollar value on the 2 1/2 hours I spent on the endeavor.  

Drilling, and a lot of screwing-in 

On the road, they are really grippy on ice – like being glued to it, even while riding on an outdoor skating rink! But, since the tread pattern isn’t that deep, it still has trouble in the slush or packed snow. On fresh snow, however, it performs quite superbly! One really can notice the clickity-clickity-clickity of the screws on the pavement, and feel the drag also.

Tyre #1, finished – look at that! 1/4 in of spike showing!

Here’s how I done it:
1. Pulled off the tyres
2. Flipped tires inside-out
3. Drilled holes, from outside in, into the knobs I wanted studs in.
4. Spent a whole lotta time screwing screws into these holes, inside to out.
5. Turned tyres back to right-side-in
6. Got duct tape, and covered all the screw heads with multiple layers of tape to prevent puncture
7. Re-install and re-inflate. Be careful – it’s like wrestling with a rosebush!

Mounted and ready to roll!

I plan to get at lest 100km on the tyres this winter, if for nothing else but to measure the longevity of the screws.

Drop Bars of Glory

The conversion of my tourer from its original MTB-style shifters/brakes and pursuit bars to drops has been underway for a while now. It’s pretty-much been converted; the brakes are still a wee finicky and the derailleurs need to be precision-tuned.

Out with the old….

This was my Christmas gift; a pair of NOS 8-speed RSX brifters, a Nitto B-115 Rando bar and some cross brakes. I’m not complaining – I was expecting any old drop bar, with some bar ends and some generic aero levers, so you can understand my elation!

Of note: without a mount-on point for the barrel adjuster for the F. derailleur, I have had to “eye-ball” it, just simply adjusting the pull by loosing and tightening the cable bolt. It works OK, but I *might* need to find another solution…. However, nothing else major has come up on the drive train; the standard MTB parts seem to work fine with the brifters, even meshing well with the old 7-speed cassette in back. I also got a 13/15 cone wrench (I’m cheap, so I only got one and use a wrench for the locknuts), so I pulled apart both hubs for the first service they have had in 16 years and ~6000 kms. Only sign of damage was moderate pitting on the downward-facing sides of the cones of the front hub. The rear hub is golden.

…and in with the new!

The largest problem I encountered during the upgrade was something I would have never expected – brake clearance. It turns out that the regular “low-profile” cantis on bikes, generally, cannot be used with brake/shifter combos, because of the mechanical advantage. They only have 1.5 mm clearance on each side, and my rims ain’t that perfect! I now have to invest an additional $40 to get a pair of wide-angle cantis, which, according to many cylocross folks, will fix the cable pull problem.

EDC, please.

Yes, the wonderful “Everyday Carry”, or as I prefer to call it, the EDC; n. Meaning the items, often those which are used everyday, in conjunction with certain commonly-needed tools, which are carried on the body of person. I finally have my set in near completion. It is currently missing a tritium glow marker (look it up – they are really neat, and only *slightly* radioactive), a knife, and a quick-release A&P Aircraft Mechanic’s key ring. I’ve already a knife to go on there, but, because I bring it to school, I don’t usually attach it. The admin/staff “frown” upon such things, and as such I would rather not risk it.

What I have on it currently:
-House Keys
-Bike lock key
-Ultrafire MCU-C7 flashlight
-And one capsule lighter
-Knife (occasionally – not shown)

The flashlight is real bright – 200 lumens on max. For comparison, the average incand. flashlight is ~25 lumens. The machining ain’t great, but for $12 CAD, it isn’t too crappy. I, for a period of time, had it modded with a 2mm led in the tailcap to glow at all times – using a 6000 ohm resistor(if I remember correctly), it drew .2 miliamps. No mistake, it was .2, and still very visible. This made for a runtime of  >6 mos. on one battery. This, along with my capsule lighter, was bought from Deal Extreme. Be prepared to wait for 2-month shipping.

In the sink: Beamshot under water. Everything is 100% waterproof

The capsule lighter is pretty nifty. It’s waterproof, and darned near bullet-proof with its metal container. Runs on the standard liquid fuel, but here’s where it shines – the fact that it screws shut prevents it from drying out! I can’t tell you how annoyed I’ve been when I’ve picked up my zippo after a month of it sitting idle, only to find it in need of a refill.

Oh, and it is much smaller than a zippo:

It may be smaller, but its got a lotta heart…

For knives, I have a choice between my classic Victorinox “Camper” multi-knife, or my new favorite, the cheapo mini Maxam lockblade.

Swiss Army knife vs. Maxam knife

Now, if  TEOTWAWKI were to occur while I’m out ‘sploring, I’ll be at least a little more prepared.


Merry (Orthodox) Christmas

I didn’t do a post for the traditional Christmas celebration this year – I was away. However, I happen to know today is the official Orthodox Christmas, celebrated by most Eastern Orthodox churches (ie., Greek, Russian, Macedonian, etc.). Most don’t know this in North America and Western Europe; so, now you know, wherever you may be! Theses churches run their liturgical year based on the Julian calender as opposed to the Gregorian, and so it explains the date shift. The Catholic church adopted the “new” calender under Pope Gregory XIII, ergo, the namer. The Julian calender, by the same token, was popularized/adopted by Julius Caesar. I get to celebrate both Christmases – I’m Catholic, but my ma’s side of the family is Macedonian Orthodox. Best of both worlds, if you ask me!

That’s all for today, I’m hitting the hay.

Warm Breakfast … Cold Adventures

Happy New Years everyone! A bit late, yes, but better late than never. Now school is getting busy – exams come in a month, and many final project on the way. But, before all this business started, I managed a few more ice-capades during the last bit of the holidays.  Woke up, and made the best darn breakfast you could hope for – eggs a la over-easy, a few strips of my special cheese-filled pork strips, and an improvised hash-brown-like-thing (involving a few fried onions, potatoes, carrots, and a mushroom or two for good measure). Mmm.

It tasted much better than it looks

I needed a good load of carbs for the day, if I was to be out, so I complemented the protein from the eggs, cheese and meat with a few slices of toast. Can’t be the smell of toast and fried eggs in the morning. Met up with my pal and we biked out to the lake, finding a bay partly frozen. Knowing it wasn’t (too) deep, we ventured out on the ice-floes to see what it was like. Not deep enough to make it over the head, but one could be very uncomfortably wet until they get back home.

On the ice. 
Chris, steadying himself for the jump

Then came ice-bowling.

It’s actually more like curling. With the object being…
…just to even knock the other person’s rocks.
Sunset/ Stormy

The Guild Inn is full of interesting sights… it is essentially an abandoned place, and good for some UEing. But I wouldn’t enter the actual hotel part (well, what’s left) as they supposedly have a silent alarm to alert the police.

The abandoned green house.
My snow-covered steed. O’Malley
prefers an MTB.

We next went cycling a bit west to explore the lake front near Rosetta McClain Gardens. My camera’s battery died, but I would have loved to take a picture of the homeless camp down there. Why? Exactly. Why is there a homeless campout here of all places? I wouldn’t have expected. Well, it looked like it may have been abandoned, but we didn’t want to disturb if it wasn’t.

This ride more than confirmed the unsuitability of the waterfront trail. Kingston road took 15 minutes on the uphill return, but the waterfront trail path took 45 minutes on the downhill to get to Rosetta McClain gardens. However, I was almost sideswiped by a truck on K-town Rd…. frightening, when you have to deal with ice already.