Thursday, February 11, 2021

Clip on drops for the Brompton

The last thing I have to fix on the Brompton is hand comfort. Even with the Ergon bar-ends the M bars just don't have enough hand positions to be comfortable for long rides. I also keep finding myself wishing for drops when there's a head-wind. I found these clip-on drop bars on Amazon that solve both these problems.

They are low-profile, ergonomic, clip-on drops for $24 a pair. They are not really compatible with the Ergon GP3 bar-ends so I drilled out the ends of the handlebar grips that originally came on the Brompton and slid them all the way onto a pair of S bars so that I had room to attach these drops. I could see replacing them with Ergon GP1 which would be an improvement over the original grips.

I also added a Satori 4cm riser for the handlebar which put it at a very good height for me. Here's how it looks with my new custom 3D printed Wahoo mount.


I printed my own Wahoo mount because all the Wahoo handlebar mounts I could find on Amazon project too far forward and strike the wheel when the bike is collapsed. Because these drops are compact and I turn them slightly up to get a good "brakehood" hand position, they don't take any more room than the M bars do when the bike is folded.


I rode a fifty mile ride on the new drops and I love them. I swear they are 50% more comfortable and 10% more efficient. I will never get to road bike efficiency because of the Brompton drive train and wheels but I am getting close in terms of air resistance.

Here's the new custom low-profile Wahoo handlebar mount. It attaches with a hoseclamp.


This is fun.



Monday, February 8, 2021

Edgar's first century

 Amber's boyfriend, Edgar, took a big step yesterday and rode his first century. We rode a modified Four Rivers that gave us 104 miles. A century ride really only needs two intermediate stops but, as this is a modified 200k and Edgar's first century, we made three civilized and relaxed stops.

First stop was The Crema, of course, which now has outdoor seating again. I had a ham and brie baguette and a Thai iced tea. Very civilized! Then we rode up to Montebello and ate at the Jack-in-the-Box there. I saw a poster on the window for a "Cluck Sandwich". They can't even commit to it being chicken? Plus it has "Mystery Sauce" - I absolutely do not want to eat this thing. There's a deluxe version that adds tomatoes and lettuce. It's going to take a lot more than that to make this edible.


So that's what Edgar ate at the halfway mark. I had a rice bowl and avoided the chicken. 

Anyone who has ever ridden any of my brevets knows the next section has a head wind at least for the last ten miles into Long Beach and today was no exception. Amber did a heroic pull into the wind and by the time we got to the marina we were ready to rest. We went to Chronic Tacos in Belmont and Amber and I split a cheese quesadilla. Edgar's stomach was bothering him but he ordered a chicken taco and a fish taco. Ouch!

The last 30 miles were a bit slower mainly because Edgar's stomach was bothering him and I got a flat. Funny thing - at the start of the ride I said to myself  "I really should replace my rear tire because it's looking very worn". I was right! I have no idea what caused the flat, but I will be replacing the tire today. It looks like I have about 5000 miles on it and that's when I find Gatorskins need to be replaced.

Congratulations to Edgar and I hope he feels better today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Sam Woo ride

 The weather was lovely this weekend with cool temperatures and mild winds. Amber wanted to ride Sam Woo so we agreed to do that. Edgar wanted to come along which would make it his longest ride ever. We altered the route a little to use all of Bayside Drive starting at mile 17 which was a great decision.

We were very hungry by the time we got to The Brig in Dana Point, but we knew we would be at Sam Woo's in 25 miles, so we were restrained as we ordered. They have a large outdoor dining area so that went well.

We got to Sam Woo's before they ran out of dim sum, but we were too late for custard tarts :-( We should have ridden faster :-)


Thirty miles later and we were back at the cars. A great ride and congratulations to Edgar.

Monday, January 4, 2021

First 100k on the Brompton

My first real ride of 2021 was a 100k on the Brompton - it was actually 72 miles which makes it my longest Brompton ride yet. It's definitely harder riding the Brompton, even on the flat. I feel like I rode a century. While I was waiting for Amber I rode the Brompton on gravel which it handles very well, but I think the small wheels make hard work of gravel and dirt.

The main problems were my backside (which is to be expected given that I am riding on a partly broken in Brooks B17) and my hands (which is more of a problem). I wish I had more hand positions, but I can't think of anything I can do to improve comfort there.

I've been looking at stem mounts for my Wahoo and decided to design my own 3D model because I just can't find any online. I sent the first version off to my friend with the 3D printer. We'll see how well I did. It reminds me of a tiny radio telescope.


This is how it came out - perfect!




Friday, January 1, 2021

Bragging rights

Well, if you're reading this, you survived 2020. Congratulations.

For some reason the pandemic actually increased my miles ridden. Perhaps the time I didn't spend commuting to work was spent on my trainer. We have started to shift brevet dates back in the year so we're hoping we can run a full series in March and April. The events will still be two weeks apart so there's adequate recovery time.

For those of us hoping to complete a 1200k, it seems as if the organizers are being very flexible about prerequisites. If we can't complete an SR in 2021, that probably won't be a problem although it might make success more challenging.


It's a bit distressing to see an entire year's work reset to zero today. But if that's the cost for getting out of 2020, I'll pay it.

Monday, December 21, 2020

An expensive 200k and a flat

 Amber and I test rode the inland loop of the Triple Loop 600k yesterday and it turned out to be quite expensive. To start with, Amber's truck looks like it needs a new clutch. The Serotta's brakes were very squeaky, which means I need to replace the brake pads. Might as well replace all four so that's $30+. I had the chain replaced recently and it's slipping which probably means I need a new cassette so that's another $70+. And we're barely out of the parking lot.

Caltrans has been busy (in a good way) but the bike path alongside La Palma is unchanged from a year ago. That means it's still 1/3 good bike path, 1/3 behind K-rail, and 1/3 bad bike path.

The first piece of good news is that they are putting a bike lane in on Green River hill at mile 6. It looks like they are still trying to figure out how to get two lanes of traffic and a bike lane, but they are working on it.

Two way bike lane on Green River hill

The next good news is that Caltrans has repaved Crestview at mile 19 which used to be horrendous...

Buttery smooth

... and installed a bike lane on North Dr/Arlington while also repaving it.

Arlington has a bike lane AND is repaved!

But wait, there's more. They have put a left turn lane in where you turn into Hidden Valley at mile 20, making this turn much safer.

Left turn from Arlington Ave into Hidden Valley

The G&M gas station at mile 40 had no sandwiches so we made do with lunchables and Gatorade which, considering there's 2000' of climbing in the next 20 miles, didn't seem like it would be enough but surprisingly it was.

I'm not thrilled with the route I take along Waterman at mile 40 and very unhappy with it on the way back. I see Willie's routes use Anderson instead so I might be doing the same.

One thing I like about the current route is that once you turn left at the top of San Mateo, it's straight for the next 13 miles so that cuts out several cues and makes it harder to go astray (theoretically).

When leaving Calimesa you have to cross an off-ramp of Interstate 10 which used to be dangerous because cross traffic didn't stop. There's a stop sign for them now which is great.

Stop sign on off ramp

We got to the half way mark in about six hours which was about what I expected. There's about 4000' of climbing in this section and we had a head wind most of the way. After a huge sub and more Gatorade we headed down San Timeteo.

With the descent and the tail wind we coasted for six miles. We could have coasted much further but there was a line of cars stopped for a train that had just passed. We managed to pass the train on the descent and crossed the tracks again before it got there. The current route uses Beaumont. I didn't realize this provides a third opportunity for trains to get in the way. This time we got stuck behind a looooong train and backtracked to San Timeteo. 

Stuck behind train

I think I'll alter the route to avoid Beaumont. We also took a look at the bike path that connects San Timeteo to Barton Rd but it's dirt so that's no good.

When the sun went down I showed Amber the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. That was pretty cool.

Climbing up Smith I hit some metal which sliced my tire open and flatted my front tire in about five seconds. We had no problems fixing the flat but that's a $40 tire and $5 inner tube I need to replace :-( 
I was going to add some video, but it includes strong language so I decided not to.

We finished, feeling good, in 10:37 which is fine by me.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Amber's Brompton half-century

Amber rode my Brompton with Edgar and I on The Crema ride despite Newsom's attempts to have the whole state sealed in Carbonite. It seems restaurants are selling food to go, but if the customers happen to eat it on the convenient tables set outside, who are they to argue?

The first problem we had is that Amber's spd cleats are so worn down they are getting trapped in the quick release spd pedals I bought. She had to stop alongside a fence and grab it so I could release the Velcro straps from her shoes and pull her feet out. Then I wrenched her shoes from the pedals with all my strength. Fortunately she had brought regular sneakers so she walked back to her truck and swapped shoes.


The next excitement was caused by her pedal falling off. It seems that either the recent service at REI or Amber's sneakers had caused the retaining ring to move, allowing the pedal to come off. I think I'll be double-checking the position of the retaining ring before each ride in future.


By the time we reached Seal Beach Amber said she was pretty comfortable with the handling although you can see from these videos which were take only five miles into the ride, she was doing fine much sooner.




The Crema was quiet so we got our food quickly and ate it on the benches outside. Amber and Edgar got crepes and I got the grilled cheese and caramelized onion sandwich.

The Crema had some good looking bread for sale so we both bought large loaves which barely fit into the medium Borough bag on the Brompton.

Two large loaves of bread and a jacket

The return trip was less eventful although we did see a pretty elf ride by while we were stopped for water.

Elf standing for the hill

I wonder why Bromptons don't have a quick release for the front wheel. I should look for one.