Whither Winter?

I’ve talked about this before, but this winter is turning out to be rather different from last winter–in two ways.

2014-01-26 08.51.40

Not this year. Not yet, anyway.

Last year was cold, snowy, and more snowy. By the end of January, I’d spent almost 40 hours riding the fat-bike in the snow. Much of that time was spent riding on the frozen lakes. This year, we’ve had some snow, but it’s been interspersed with warmer weather, so very little snow pack has developed. Conditions for lake riding have been mostly dismal; there’s plenty of ice, but all too often it’s been bare or semi-bare of snow.

It’s the second difference that’s really hit home with me. I just haven’t felt like riding as much as I did last year. In part, this is due to the less-than-awesome snow conditions and the corresponding increase in sandy pavement, half-frozen brown grass, and bare lake ice–all of which means that the riding is less fun (because riding a fat-bike in fresh snow on the lake is fun) while the bikes get even dirtier.

But I also have to wonder if I’ve finally grown tired of winter after forty-plus years of playing in the snow. My most persistent cycling-related fantasies of late have centered around selling off all but a couple of bikes and moving to a place where the only way to get snow and ice in the winter is to head into the mountains.

Of course, I’ll probably forget about all of that if we get six inches of good snow over the weekend.


For Sale: Acorn Boxy Rando Bag

We interrupt our regular blather for an advert…

Besides riding around in the warm weather and its attendant grit and slop, I’ve been weeding through parts bins and trying to lighten the load a bit. I’d prefer to sell them locally (Madison, WI) for cash, but I’m also willing to ship most of them and take payments via Paypal. If you’re interested, drop me a line at s + v + wagner AT gmail.com.

Note: If it’s still listed here, it’s still for sale.

Acorn Boxy Rando Bag + Velo Orange Decaleur

Acorn Boxy Rando, in black canvas with leather accents.

Used, but in very good condition (the canvas is a little faded from the sun, but in every other respect it’s in excellent condition).

  • Dimensions (main compartment): 11″w x 8″h x 6.5″d (28 x 20 x 17 cm)
  • Dimensions (inc. pockets): 11″w x 8″h x 10″d (28 x 20 x 25 cm)
  • Capacity: approx. 8 L
  • Weight: 34 oz (964 g)

Includes Velo Orange decaleur (1 1/8) with bracket already mounted.


Cash/local or shipped (you pay shipping) and Paypal.

For Sale: Clement Strada LGG 28mm Tires

We interrupt our regular blather for an advert…

Besides riding around in the warm weather and its attendant grit and slop, I’ve been weeding through parts bins and trying to lighten the load a bit. I’d prefer to sell them locally (Madison, WI) for cash, but I’m also willing to ship most of them and take payments via Paypal. If you’re interested, drop me a line at s + v + wagner AT gmail.com.

Note: If it’s still listed here, it’s still for sale.

Three NEW Clement Strada LGG tires

700c x 28mm (120tpi)
These tires are new, never mounted, but are not in the box.

From Clement:
The Strada LGG is a classic road tire featuring the traditional Clement chevron pattern for excellent grip in wet or dry conditions. Inspired by the legendary Clement Criterium Seta, the LGG provides a supple ride, durable yet lightweight construction, and puncture-protection belt under the tread. The LGG is named after the airport code for Liege, Belgium, heart of the Ardennes and home of Liège–Bastogne–Liège cycle race, the oldest of the classics.

  • 120 TPI version is dual compound tread: 70a in center, softer 60a on sides
  • Slightly textured center-tread with traditional Clement chevron side-tread pattern provides excellent grip in wet or dry conditions
  • Integrated puncture-protection belt
  • Open tread and lightweight construction
  • Clincher: folding bead, models range from 220-290 grams

$40/each or $100 for all three

Note: I’ll ship these (with payment via Paypal) only if you buy all three.


When looked out my office window yesterday, sometime around 10am, it looked like this.

2015-01-26 09.55.22

It continued to snow off and on for the rest of the day, before it turned to snain–a delicate combination of snow and misty rain that freezes to everything. Besides making things a bit slippery, it also repeatedly covered my glasses with a thin, opaque covering of ice. Between having to stop to clean my glasses (having forgotten my usual bandana) and riding half-blind while looking over them, I was glad to get home in one piece.

Ice post.

My bike was still covered with ice this morning, so I parked it in a  spot under the colonnade of the building across the street, where its always warm and dry.

A Failed Experiment

A couple of weeks ago, when I got it into my head to change the handlebars on the Devil for better winter use (read: flat bars that are easier to use with mittens or pogies), I also got it into my head to try to change as few components as possible.

In this case, that meant re-using the 26.0mm Velo Orange stem, the 8psd shifter on a Paul Thumbie, and the Tektro brake levers. In fact, the entire notion grew out of the fact that I was simply too lazy to re-cable the brakes (though ironically, the entire thing took more time and effort because I had to spend nearly an hour getting all of the old Newbaum’s bar tape off both sides of the bar so that I could remove the brake levers without uncoupling them).

As such, I ended up with a real oddity of a bar-lever-shifter setup: road levers on a flat bar without much sweep and a shifter mounted near the stem. A real experiment in parts incompatibility and user experience, you might say.

Rode the Devil, stopped on a bridge.

Rode the Devil, stopped on a bridge.

After riding the Devil this way for more than a week, I can confidently say–as of today–that the experiment has failed.

  • The brake levers are simply too close to the bar. Moving them further around the curve helped a little, but not nearly enough. It’s passable with gloves, but a real hazard with mittens.
  • The shifter is too far from where my hands are on the bars (unlike with drop bars riding on the tops). Consequently, I’ve been riding in faux single-speed mode (pick a gear, don’t shift) for most of the time.
  • And the pogies don’t really fit at all.

It was an interesting experiment, but not one that I care to continue, lest I end up on the deck because my mitten is caught behind the brake lever and unable to squeeze it.

The Aether Demon

After a number of years of good service from a trio of PDW Radbot taillights, we’ve made the jump into the 21st century (namely, USB charging) with a new pair of PDW Aether Demons. The Radbots will be assigned to backup duty, and used as loaners.

As usual, I mount them by drilling out the clip part of the mount to accept a bolt (instead of the little screw that they use) set it up with a couple of washers and a spacer on whatever braze-on is most convenient–usually one of the eyelets at the rear dropout (to keep the light low and out of the way of my baggage).

Another Winter Project: Troll

A few years ago, I bought a second, new Pugsley frame; it was bright yellow. After not getting around to building it up for a year or so, I was taken with the idea that I only really needed one fat-bike (silly me).

A couple of years ago, when Earl from Revolution was looking for a second Pugsley (mustard to complement the ketchup) and offered to trade for another Surly frameset, I took him up on it and went for a new, black Surly Troll. I had Revolution install a green Chris King headset and brought it home.

And then it hung in the shop for at least another full year, while I tried to figure out what to do with it. At one point, I removed all of the decals, leaving only the head badge. Later, I even considered selling the frame, fork, seat collar, and headset and posted it on CL. No interest though, so it went back on the hook for a while.

Clearly, I now have no choice but to build this frame up and use it for something. As often happens in situations like this, I get it into my head that I should do something interesting. After having heard that it was possible to build a 26″ Surly Long Haul Trucker with 650b wheels while still using rim brakes, I figured I could do the same with the Troll.

I bought a second set of Velo Orange 650b wheels (in addition to the ones on the Polyvalent), found some nice wide tires, and set to work digging the rest of the parts–some new, some used–from the bins. It’s now partially built–needing only that I decide which cockpit setup, gearing, and racks I’ll use for what will become a both an everyday utility bike and something for rough roads and bikepacking.

Another winter project, another bike that will be ready for riding come spring.