About Me

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Not a real randonneur (yet), but still quite true. I'm doing my worst to express my passion to ride bicycles in various places.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

That time of the year again

Tampere, August 2016

Tampere, December 2016

Summer 2016 was quite eventful and after fine-tuning my setup a bit I ended up riding a bit again. I even purchased two sets of panniers, both of them seen in pictures above. I made a quick visit to Tampere again, but I was in a rush so I couldn't stay for as long as I did a year ago after doing that winter solstice ride I posted about.

Well it turns out winter solstice is an annual thing and a couple fellas in this Finnish FGSS forum were going to ride it and had a nice route planned out, so I figured I could join them. We ended up doing quite exactly the planned route and this time I managed to keep a tracker on the whole time: here's the result.

235 km is not so whopping lot, but it's quite something when taking into account the fact that it was dark, cold and wet pretty much during the whole night. However, my 49/22 gear ratio felt just right for this kind of riding too, especially since I tried to pack as light as possible and used smaller panniers for this trip.

What did I pack then? This time I actually had the patience to at least take some pictures of my luggage after arriving home again.
Contents of the left pannier
Didn't have much weight in the left one. As this is only "before"-picture, there's mostly the clothes I was wearing when riding and packed in the bag after going to sauna to finish the ride. This time I could have done without the bag of zipties, leftover chips and chocolate, beanie, black socks and gray shirt seen in this picture because I only used the beanie for a while and had another one with me too. The snacks were not necessary because we didn't exactly want to stop for a snack in the middle of that consuming dark and cold: we just had a couple long stops at  gas stations so we could sit inside and avoid the cold.

Contents of the right pannier
Right pannier carried the relevant stuff. Fortunately, during the ride, I didn't get to use the following stuff I carried:
-spare tube, tire levers, patch kits and a small pump
-8mm and 13 mm wrenches
-spare batteries
-8-speed chain connector and some spare chain
-a pack of handkerchiefs
-USB charger
-headphones (didn't use while riding, only when taking the train back home)
-pair rubber gloves (the used pair was in left bag)
-Multitool with some common metric hex heads, spoke keys, chain tool and T25
-mix of dried fruits and nuts
-that Xcover2 on the left

Instead, the stuff that turned out to be relevant:
-a good set of lamps (obviously)
-that Xcover2 on the right (for GPS tracking)
-two cheap powerbanks (for the lights and the tracking phone)
-Hi-Vis vest

What's not displayed in pictures is my fleece hoodie with a zipper. I originally thought I'd need it for riding, but it turned out to be way too hot and I didn't want to soak it with sweat because those don't get dry very easily.

I'm still a bit surprised how little I was carrying, but I know I could do better. Of course, I can't just ditch any of the stuff required to fix a flat tire, but for example, a hub dynamo and some on-bike battery pack would have saved me a lot of trouble and I'd have needed at most one powerbank.

Also, if I finally invested in some better clothing I'd definitely be able to do with less. Right now I don't have anything made of merino wool. A simple base layer combined with a softshell jacket would probably eliminate the need to carry anything but a warm shirt and beanie, but on the other hand, I kinda my current combination of jeans and a 3/4 leather jacket.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Still going stronk

I'm extremely glad to announce that I'm no longer transporting kebab to earn my living and hopefully I wont ever again need to. It was much of a pleasure to ride around Helsinki and hang out in all kinds of restaurants, but the rest of the job was totally unbearable bs so I needed to quit it before I even knew what to do next. I found my way to a local bike shop pretty fast and now I've been there increasing my financial stability for just about a month. Me likey.

The amount of bikes I have is finally getting down to a reasonable number. At this moment I have:
-Pelago San Sebastian v5 (54) built as a nice double-rack fixed gear
-Verenti Indulgence 2015 (Small) fatbike which is quite fun, but it's still a fatbike
-My good old Miyata 312 touring bike that I just promised to sell to a friend
-stolen and found again Rossin Record, probably not seeing any action anytime soon because of insurance stuff
-an old and small Chesini Gran Premio road frame, gonna make it into 650b fixed-gear conversion for my girlfriend just soon
-two other crappy projects that I should just finish and sell

As mentioned earlier, I was dreaming about some fatbike trekking, but after a few rides it doesn't feel like something I'd be doing anytime in the near future. It's awesome to ride it in small and rough paths through forests, but I don't think there's a lot of good paths around here that would be long enough for some good trekking and I have absolutely no intention to use a car to get to those. Most likely I'll just give the bike some platform pedals, take it to my grandparents cottage and forget about it and especially forget about those plans of having a DIY rack or two on it..

Then again, my San Sebastian is feeling great. I finally ditched the rear brake so I'm not too keen of the cable stoppers on the v5 model, but so far it's been an excellent multipurpose tool for just about everything. A while ago I also heard that I could just swap the fork for that of Surly Disc Trucker 700c and after a great deal of rambling about the fork measurements and lots of despair trying to find it in stock somewhere, I'm finally about to have a solution. Both of these forks have 45 mm of rake, but apparently the original fork has 385 mm axle-to-crown whereas Disc Trucker measures 390 mm. I've finally reached the point where it feels stupid to even think about such differences.

What really tickles my nerves is all those possibilities I get with this fork upgrade. Well, mostly just a rack for lowriders and then those disc brakes. I've already decided to go for Tubus Nova rack and Shimano XT hydraulic front brake system which I'm very eager to bleed. After these upgrades the bike is pretty much ready to embrace all the blissful journeys that await us this summer, I'm just going to try and sew some nice panniers to replace the old low-quality ones. Maybe I'll add a bell to keep the right grip in place, it's been moving around restlessly ever since I separated it from it's beloved brake lever. Also, bottle cages and also I think I could cut myself some mud flaps from this old tire of mine

Actually this San Sebastian is already such an awesome ride, maybe I should write a post about it too.

Monday, 22 February 2016

I got fat, plz don't judge me

Verenti Indulgence 2015 15"
I'm currently doing very stupid decisions regarding my touring setups and this is absolutely one of them, got it for 435 euros from Wiggle. Fortunately they had a minor paint chip on the seatstay near the right dropout so I also got a small voucher that I used to get that sweet 30t NW chainring to replace the original bulky ugly 42t one.

After riding about 7 km so far I'm quite sure this was worth the money, but it's not good enough for serious riding yet. Following changes shall be made:
-Replace the tires with On-One Floaters, preferably go tubeless as well
-M520 for pedals
-29.2 -> 27.2 shim and a 400 mm seatpost because that 340 one doesn't just cut it
- Racks, front and rear
-Mudguards, long ones. Gotta go DIY I guess

Also, the current brakes are quite cheapskate Tektros and I migth replace them too someday, but not before I do something about the drivetrain. Let's face it, the shifter and derailleur are crap and I might want to do something about that 1x8 system too. When the next bargain comes by, I'm getting at least one more gear in the rear and maybe one in the front, too.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Solstice ride

I really didn't think I'd do any longer things this year after I ruined my plans to go see Kokemäki, but then I came across this annual solstice ride and decided to give it a go. The idea was simple: Depart anywhere you want after 15:04 (sunset) at Saturday 19th and arrive at Hotel Ilves in Tampere by 9:34 (sunrise) Sunday 20th. Also, there was this rule about riding at least 15 km after 7:34 and riding at least 150 km total.

Firstly I opted out from sending some of my own clothes to Tampere since that option was for pussies. For the same reason (and some other reasons too) I decided to give Miyata some rest and use San Sebastian for this. Probably the first time I did such a distance on a fixed whip.
There he is, all loaded up
I had assumed the ride would take place at 21st of December, it's a solstice ride after all. So it was indeed a bit of a shocker to re-check the dates just before my evening shifts on the 18th day, buuuut I knew I'd be just fine, just had to come back home ASAP after work to prepare my stuff. Also, I had promised to go see my fire stations youth departments pre-Xmas party during that Saturday so I was getting a bit busy.

That being said, after waking up that Saturday morning I really knew I had to go home and quick. There was this short check for rookie marks on the neck followed by sudden realization that my rear tire is empty. Fortunately, it only leaked the air out slowly, so I could inflate it, ride back home and change it there while also noticing the real bad shape of the rear hub bearings and the bolts that fix it to the frame. Didn't have so much time so I changed the tube and ignored the other flaws

Never have I packed my stuff in such haste, but this time I even managed to take a crappy picture of most of the stuff I took with me so I could think about what was necessary and what I forgot later.

Crappy picture which I will return to later
After lots of boring preparation stuff I arrived at the fire station about 15:00, just a moments prior to the beginning of the event. I knew I could hang out in there for a few hours like I promised, so I did. Finally, at 18:18 I departed from Kauklahti Fire Station in Espoo for the last long ride of the year. I chose the most boring route possible because I knew I didn't have too much time and I was quite sure the bike would need some care on the road.

My assumption turned out to be correct. I had the first flat tire after about 25 kilometers, and the second one about 15 km after that. Actually I've never before had to fix a flat tire on the road before so it was pretty much a downer and after the second time I really, really thought I might give up and get back home, also because I was quite certain the tire was seriously flawed and ended up puncturing tubes as I installed them. After a few unreplied "Aw fuck man I can't do this" messages I sent myself a "Man the fuck up, man", installed a brand new tube and decided to give it a go.

No punctures after that, but instead I spent a lot of time wondering if I had one. I dunno if it was the road or my saddle or my sore arse, but while riding, it constantly felt like I had another flat in the rear tire, so I kept stopping to check it only to see it was still inflated.

While I was in Riihimäki area I experienced something I've never experienced before: the cap on my water bottle was frozen shut. Luckily, it didn't need much warming to open. It was music time after Riihimäki, and after a few songs it was rain time. I can't even express the panic I had when the first drops fell, since I didn't have such a good gear with me, mainly a thick woollen shirt, this reliable leather jacket and of course, jeans.

Just prior to Hämeenlinna I joined this group of six other badass cyclists who had the same destination. I had thought about not having a good break until Tampere, but as they headed to a gas station, I followed, which was good because I still had to ride at least 15 km during the last two hours of the event. And it was real nice to chill out a bit while enjoying by bread and chit-chat with other rides. They seemed to like the rain, since it melted away the thin layer of ice that had formed on the roads. I seriously could have dealt with the ice because I was on some serious tires, so the rain didn't cheer me up half as much as them.

We had a great tailwind from Hämeenlinna to Toijala and despite the rain, I was on fire. I guess I was the only fixed rider in the whole event, which was kinda pity since nobody else got to experience the joy of riding down a steep, unlit road at a constantly accelerating speed while wondering if the bottom of the hill becomes visible before the cadence grows too much. I mean, I had two brakes yeah, but they would've just ruined the fun.

I went solo again from Toijala to Tampere in order to do this one stupid joke related to the name of a certain place that was not on the route the other cyclist took. Also, having some own peace and pace gave me the liberty to enjoy the vivid hallucinations caused by low level of blood sugar and staying up so late. That and some paranoia about the rear tire going "pop" again really enhanced the part of the route that begun after passing this sign.

A sign.
I was kinda paranoid about the tire mostly because I was already running out of time. I wouldn't have had this problem, but I kept a bit too long of a break in Toijala. Anyways, I barely even remember anything from these last 30 kilometers due to reasons, so I'll cut straight to the case: no punctures or anything like that, only stopped a few times to check the map or send some messages and finally arrived at Hotel Ilves at 9:17, 17 minutes before the deadline. Total distance was about 200 km.

And boy did it feel good.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Work in progress

I did mention that San Sebastian in the previous post, didn't I? I also mentioned I'm still building it.

All the bikes have some different kind of meanings, purposes, and a tought behind them. I'm quite sure about the meaning and the purpose of this one, but the tought seriously escapes me. I was gonna do this "function over fashion" thing and it's been quite succesfull so far, but there's still some little things I need to rethink over and over again, such as the rear brake and the installation of lights, and maybe, just maybe, some kind of an odometer.

Progress so far:
It's also going to have mudguards and pedals, especially pedals. Also, big front rack. For saddle, I'm thinking about getting a black, carved Brooks Cambium C17, but that's quite pricey and I've got lots of other stuff to buy too. I'm getting my salary quite soon so I guess I'll have to buy it in the money high.

The gear ratio was chosen mostly for the looks. It's 53/22 which makes changing it for winter a bit more difficult task, but I'm thinking about getting a 49t chainring and another re-usable chain connector if needed.

With a 1 mm spacer under the drive-side bottom bracket cup I get a solid 42 mm chainline with those Ultegra FC-6600 cranks and the chainring no longer rubs against the chainstay. This also gives me the thrill of thinking whether the left crank is attached securely or not.

Other than that, it's quite clean and functional build since most of the parts are easily replaced if needed. I didn't think of the colours that much, if I doubted something, I chose the black alternative of course.

Trying to get this done next week.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Kinda busy right now.

My bike stuff is going pretty well right now, but I'm doing some reaally tight schedules here so it's difficult to find time for quality posting. I do like shitposting too, tho.

-My beautiful Rossin Record (in the attached picture) got stolen. If you see somebody riding it, please don't rip his/her head off. I wanna do it myself.

-To replace it (the bike, not the head) I'm building a new fixie to a Pelago San Sebastian frameset. It needs to cover some demanding needs indeed.

-My needs are demanding because I decided to work a bit while studying to cover my expenses, so now I'm a bicycle courier working for Foodora in Helsinki. Quite curious about the approaching winter.

-I bought some crazy lights

-I'll most probably buy some other quality equipment too, for work and longer trips.