What’s up?

So what’s new? Well, nothing actually. I’m still surrounded by old stuff in my studio – old bikes, old furniture, old baseball cards, etc. But it’s the old bikes that concern The Early Morning Cyclist. And my newest old bike is a Bernard Carré that as is par for the course, I continue to experiment with.

I am extremely pleased with the overall fit. It feels great to ride, and for those reasons alone it’s worth it to me to continue playing around. I pulled the 27 inch wheels off that I’d been riding on and replaced them with lighter, sportier 700c wheels. Something about the beefy 27 x 1 1/4 tires appealed to me, but the wheels never seemed to want to spin up as quickly as I wanted. I installed a pair of 700 x 28 Gatorskins; combined with the slightly smaller wheels the bike was noticeably faster off the starting blocks. Meanwhile, I wound up horse trading for a pair of 700 x 32 Compass tires – this bike just feels better on wider tires – and I’m happier still.

With the narrow bottom bracket axel, I’m still running a 52/42 racing crank, but that will soon be remedied. I finally located the longer Stronglight spindle I knew I had in my parts storage. I’ll pair that with a 48/34 crankset, which will replicate the same gear range as my Boulder Brevet (albeit with fewer cogs and larger jumps between them… that’s the trade off you get in comparing five speeds to nine.)

I noticed an odd jump on the chain yesterday as I was fine tuning the shifting. Only closer examination it turns out that one of the teeth is missing on the rear derailleur jockey wheel. No big deal – I’ve got others, so replacement is relative easy.

I’d planned to ride the Carré in yesterday’s Tour de Bier but I’m not content with the gearing yet, and my bad knee might have objected simply out of spite once I hit the first climb. So I’m waiting on the replacement crank to arrive before heading out on any long hilly rides. I’ve got some traveling to do this summer and it would be tough to carry my Boulder along with me. But the Carré should break down to fit into my bike bag, and is light enough that it can be my rider while I’m gone. Plus it’s pink and “old,” so there’s a better chance thieves will ignore it.

So yesterday’s ride was astride my Boulder Brevet. Even though I was intentionally trying to maintain a leisurely pace so that my wife could keep up, I found myself constantly out in front by a long measure. Fortunately, I brought my sketching pen and book along to make really quick scribbles in the West Bottoms and Stock Yards . This allowed adequate time for her to catch up, pass me, continue on, and then for me to leap frog forward. Repeat.

The area is a good one for urban cyclo-touring, and the road surface, although crumbling in places, was no match for my wider tires. Yet another good reason to sport fatter, supple tires!

An event like the Tour de Bier is a good one for cyclists who enjoy bikes and beer. The route meandered past many of the former brewery locations in Kansas City, and stopped for sampling of golden fare from the various microbreweries thriving in our urban core and northern corridor. The wind was a bit fierce, and grew stronger as the morning evolved into midday. Coming back across the Missouri River, going uphill into the stout and unyielding breeze, I heard a lot of bitching and moaning. I chalked that up to cyclists who’d sampled too much golden fare. Me, I’d sampled and enjoyed too, but by this point the end of the ride was nigh and within two or three miles there was a tall, cold brew waiting for me, along with a locally sourced meal. My stomach grumbled, then roared, and I ignored the wind.


10 thoughts on “What’s up?

  1. I wanted to let you know that, from my perspective, the inclusion of watercolor sketches in your posts is an exceptionally tasteful addition. Nice work!

    • Josh, I appreciate the comment. After many years of trying to pigeon hole in my two loves of cycling and drawing, it eventually became self evident that they didn’t need to compete for my time. I really enjoy being able to bring both of those passions together.

  2. Phillip Cowan says:

    Velocity A23, Schwalbe 30C G One Speed and two ounces of Stans. This would really light the fuse on this cool old CX bike. Gotta get you to drink the tubeless Kool-Aid. Haha.

    • You know, I very seriously considered going one speed on this bike. The biggest issue Is that I haven’t seen a single speed crank that I like for this bike. I also do like the A23 rims – I have them on my Boulder, but I’m not running tubeless. I know, I know…

  3. Phillip Cowan says:

    An excellent idea! We all know gears make you weak. Since I’m a poor working man and not made of money, I would probably look at IRD or VO. The more well heeled would no doubt go straight for Campy or Stronglight.

    • French threads > French bottom bracket > Stronglight spindles (not JIS, of course)… limits what I can use unless I buy one of those pricey VO bottom brackets to numerically pair up with a specific crankset. 😦

  4. Phillip Cowan says:

    Yeah, totally forgot the French factor! Still the VO french threaded BB with JIS taper is only $50.00. That plus a VO crank is prolly still less than the corresponding Campy piece.

  5. Agreed. For right now, it’s going to be a 48/34. I’m waiting on a Jeff Lyon to arrive, which will occupy my build appetite for a while. Then I’ll come back to this one.

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