Thursday, February 23, 2006

Good e-mail

So after my hysteria yesterday I had pretty much given up on the idea of having my bike for this weekend. I was sitting at home playing with ella Crib teeth when my blackberry buzzez. I wasn't really thinking too much about bikes, but have been expecting to hear about a job that I interviewed for, so I rushed over to see what it was all about. Turns out that my frame made it to the boys at Niner and Chris was just letting me know that my new frame was on its way to me. I am so stoked.

I did do a quick gear calculation today and have figured out that I'm going to need to get a 19t cog and maybe a 20t cog depending on where I'm riding and if Lee ever gets me my cranks. Right now I'm set up with a 32x17 on my 26" ss and this has worked really well in most applications. When I run the new cranks the set up will have to be 34x19 or maybe even 20 if I ride HCNSA again! The old TNT cranks have a 110 BCD and 34t is as small a ring as I have found. For the short term, I have my old cranks with 32t ring. If I run the 32x19 it will give me around 45.5 gear inches, a little slacker than the 48.9 I'm used to, just means I'll spin a little mor and mash less. Yikes, two cogs from king in steel will set me back 84 bones.... may have to look at other options. I wonder if the Endless Cog Kick Ass Cogs are worth the money. Hmmm so many things to get together. I'll be posting pics as soon as I get it built up (yes it will look very similar to the one already on my flickr account).


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The waiting game continues and other random shizzle

Here we are, it's Wednesday and still no word from Niner. I'm begining to worry that the frame hasn't made it to them, hopefully the idiots at the post office aren't just sitting on the frame. Problem is I didn't add a signature tracker or any such option or device. Argh! The waiting is driving me crazy. I want my new frame so bad, this sucks. In thinking over my decision I could have gone with a Walt frame with custom geometry specifically for me and my "needs" for the amount this has cost me and it would already be here in my grubby little hands. Oh well, can't think like that. Must keep the positive in mind. I love my Kermit green and once I get it built up I'll be very happy.

The whole experience has gotten my wondering about building frames. Heck the Niner boys are great to deal with, but they don't really build their own frames, they're made for them based on their standards. I've been reading a lot about fillet brazing and frame fabrication in general. There are tons of guys out there building nice hand made frames, even Kathy suggested I take a couple of welding classes. St. Phillips College here in SA offers a few good courses on Oxy-Acetylene, MIG, and TIG welding. I may have to sign up for a few classes, maybe instead of my dream of owning a bike shop, I'll start making frames and provide bike shops with quality frames... Hmmm. I think Jeff Jones got started by taking on a lacky position with GT back in the day.

That's about it for now, going to give the boys at Niner a buzz to see if the frame made it to them alright. Unless my frame was shipped today there's no chance of getting it built for a ride this weekend. Sigh!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Seattle like....

So if you've been following along, I've been waiting for my new ride for a while now. The "old" new frame was sent back last week, and I'm anxiously awaiting the "new" new frame (provided that the idiots at USPS deliver my old frame). Tick Tock, I'm waiting.

This weekend saw a drastic drop in temperature, Friday was down right cold for SA 34 degrees, felt colder due to rain and wind. I of course welcome the weather and have been sort of missing the snow that my friends in the Mid Atlantic got last week. So since Friday it has been grey, dank, and drizzly (ergo the Seattle like weather). I hope it clears by the time I get my new ride built up. But it should make the trails a little less dusty and maybe even a little softer on landing. Oh almost forgot, I had been eyeing these on Jeff's page and got a smokin' good deal locally. Can't wait to try them out on the new ride.


Thursday, February 16, 2006


Rant: USPS sucks!

Story: So I shipped a frame yesterday and sent it via USPS (I don't trust any of the big house shipping places anymore UPS, FedEX, DHL). I figure if they supported Lance for all those years... oh who am I kidding. They're the best deal in town and the other guys have blown it IMO. So I take care to box up the frame and protect it from as many angular impacts as I can imagine. I take it over to the Post office, and fill out the "insurance" paperwork. So much easier than the other guys so far and the post office is like 3.5 miles from my house. Cool! I'm pumped for under $30 my package will get to its destination in two business days.

Fast forward to this morning. Get a call from the wife "hey, your frame is here", wow that was fast I wasn't expecting the new frame for at least 4-5 days, next day is awesome I'm thinking. She continues "the to/from is reversed, this is the package you sent yesterday" Damn it! Those noodle heads.

Is it my imagination or is that the dumbest thing ever? How can you mistake the words to and from? It's as clear as day and the insurance on the package clearly had the to name and information listed on it. So now it's looking like It'll be next week before my frame arrives at it's destination which means if I'm lucky I'll get my frame by late in the week next week.

So how do I get a job with the USPS? They've got great benefits and slack hours. Plus chix dig a man in a uniform ;o)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Quite a contrast....

hcnsa_rest snowride

While my friends in the Mid-Atlantic were pummeled with a foot of snow, the South-West was warm and pleasant. The Mojo's from Austin and San Antonio decided to make a journey to the Hill Country State Natural Area in Bandera TX, for a little ride, bacon consumption, and a little hair of the dog from the night before. Turned out to be a pretty good sized group, I believe around a dozen or so with only one other single speeder in the group Susan, who made me look like a whimp by gearing herself 32x16 to my 32x17... Thanks Susan! There was plenty of sessioning due to crazy rocky terrain, and plenty of climbing. This ride makes the usual Government Canyon ride a real snooze festival. I can't wait to try this ride on some big wheels!

My overall performance was pretty lame, I have to admit. I started out pretty good and was the third in line, but no more than 100 yards into the first climb and I spun out. I didn't see the front of the pack for the rest of the afternoon, and fell to the back with Susan the other SS pretty soon there after. I felt really sluggish by mid day and by the time Kathy called to check in, I was pretty well spent. I think a lack of riding due to parental duties coupled with work obligations are really taking a toll on me both physically and mentally. I need to find a way to balance it out a bit more, and as I was going home yesterday I thought of Triathletes. How do they manage to fit it all in? Most are dealing with all the same things I am, yet they find or make the time to not only bike, but swim and run. Looks like I need to either win the lotto, or start waking up early and taking advantage of the mini gym in the neighborhood. More to come...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Snow Ride

Maryland got hit by a Noreaster. Not quite as bad as what the folks a little further North have to deal with, but enough to make the usually easy neighborhood singletrack challenging. Four seasons are so much fun :)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Government Canyon in the "Rag"

So much to my surprise and delight my latest issue of the rag arrived on Friday in the mail. My wife called and told me it was here (yes, very exciting times at the FatBob household) . What she neglected to inform me of was that on the cover is mention of riding destinations, in particular Texas, specifically San Antonio, more specifically Government Canyon or GC. Since I've only lived in Texas a short while you can imagine my delight in finding out that there's a mention of my new home town in my favorite zine. So I refrain from looking for the story directly and begin my ritual of thumbing through (Back to Front, pictures first, then looking for reviews and stories that catch my eye). By the time I get to the article about GC it's getting late and the Mrs. is into her must see tv viewing. I sit quietly reading when to my utter shock and amazement there are two words I never expected to see "Fat Bob"! That's right kiddies, yours truly has been immortalized in his favorite zine.
Well, I've got a honey do list from hell today. If you want to read more about GC or my escapades, read this article, or pick up the latest issue of Dirt Rag magazine.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A word onEbay...

So what's with ebay? I put up a 3 day listing for my Niner for a great deal, I got a bunch of lurkers and a couple of e-mails asking if I'd sell the frame with fork for my asking price. Freaking whores! I can't understand people's logic. New frame, never touched parking lot, trails, nothing. Put it together, stood over it and realized I was way off. What really kills me is that the color is not available anymore and people are still trying to low ball me. Sheesh! I should have listed it under collectors items and used more buzz words like rare, last one etc. The final straw was that the warranty will still be with the bike as if it was new, and yet nothing. No one would take the opening bid even though they could save off $ off the list price and get a color no longer available. Idiots! The upshot is that the folks at Niner are good guys and are willing to work with me. I won't be able to recover all my $, but at this point I just want to ride my bike. I'll be riding the Gunnar this weekend at a place called HCNSA. I'm bringing the camera and hope to get some good action shots for the kids back east! Have a great weekend, ride your bike(s).

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Commuting by bike

Ah, commuting to work by bicycle. Could anything be better? I was just over on MTBR and someone was asking about tires to commute on which got me thinking of my commuting days. Man, those were the days. At the time I didn't really think about it too much. I was just trying to get some miles on my legs for an upcomming epic. I started out riding my old M2 Stumpie. I put on some narrow slicks and began my commuting in late summer/early fall. At first I was looking for the shortest distance to the office which was only around 3 miles. I would carry all my stuff with me in a messenger bag (Dress pants, Shirt, Shoes, Ties, Laptop, Socks, and unmentionables). I'd get to work around 7 or 7:30 and sit in my cube until I had cooled down, I'd then change in the mens room. After a few weeks this got old and I thought about joining the local Bally's at Pentagon City, but I didn't want to spend $95 a month and commit to a year at a gym when all I really wanted was a shower and a locker. I kept riding in, and started to enjoy the feeling I had getting to work all pumped up. I was losing weight and was feeling good, I even stopped using the elevator at work and only used the stairs (6th floor office). I also stopped going out to lunch everyday and started brownbagging. The shower situation was getting desperate, I was not cooling down quickly enough and since I was in a suit and tie office I was looking quite desheveled and sweaty. A couple of the guys at the office were members of the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City gym and gave me a buddy pass to try the gym out. After my trial week I was sold, this place was butter! The memebership guy was also really cool and helped me out by giving me a monthly "shower" pass. For a dollar a day I could use the Shower, sauna, hot tub, and pool. I was in heaven. I then increased my mileage and was actually going out of my way to pass the office and find different routes going north and east only to come south and west back to the office. I think my max distance into the office had grown to ~13 miles each way. With this new commitment, I purchased a cross bike which made the commute that much more fun. I found myself riding in the street more, rather than just on paths, sidewalks and shoulders. The following summer I did my epic ride (Wild 100) and burned out on biking. I sold the cross bike, stopped commuting, and didn't ride for like 3 months. I guess there is too much of a good thing.

Now, years later I long for the ability to commute. As I search for new jobs and places to live it weighs heavily on my mind. I want to live in a city where commuting by bicycle is a reality again. I want an operations type job where I can dress business casual so I don't have to worry about wrinkling a suit and tie in my messenger bag. Hmmm Seattle, Portland, DC, here I come


Monday, February 06, 2006

Tire kickers....

Ugh, so from my previous post you read about what an idiot I am by ordering a frame that is too big for me. I've had about 30 e-mails asking about the bike, but mostly tire kickers. My experience is going from euphoria to utter depression. To top it all off I have some jerk off from West Africa that's trying one of those I'll send you $10,000.00 for the bike if you'll send me a check back for $5,000.00 and keep the rest for your trouble.... sure buddy, heck why don't I give you my DOB, SSN, and Credit Card number, I mean you sound honest in your e-mail... sheesh!

Oh well, tomorrow is another day. Maybe one of the 3-4 guys who thought about it overnight will step up. Niner of course is closed today, so I couldn't get warranty answers today. Maybe tomorrow.

On a positive note, I found a pic from MBW '03 on my old hard drive that I uploaded. Man, I'm really missing the East Coast.


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Size does matter...

So for over a week I've been gathering the finishing bits for my new 29er. The last thing I needed to do was put it all together, find couple of folks who wanted to do some sessioning, and pick a spot. It was all going according to plan, Carlos called to let me know the seat post had arrived, and that he had time to press in my headset. Excellent! Get over to his place, get the bike together and throw a leg over.... that's when it all started going downhill.

Carlos: "what size is that frame again?"
Me: "it's a medium"
Carlos: "... and how tall are you?"
M: "5'6" with shoes on"
C: "What's your inseam"
M: "uh 29" dress pants"
C: "what's the stand over on the bike?"
M: " 28" and change"
C: "..dude, it's too big for you"
M: "F#*K ME!!!!"

So I swallow my pride and call Chris from Niner bikes. He has one last Kermit green which I beg him to put aside for me. The down shot, he can't give me full credit for the medium because I already frame saved the frame. Damn it! So I placed an ad on and listed a spam notice. The upshot for me is that this color is a limited edition color and is already sold out. Chris claims to get several calls per day asking for a Kermit in medium, so hopefully he'll steer them to my add. I so wanted to ride the new bike this weekend, but I'll have to wait until next weekend and pray that some good soul picks up in a day what took me months of patience. Moral of the story, measure twice, order once!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Greetings from MA!

I'm not sure what the weather's been like in the Dirty South, but up here in Fat Bob's old hometown of the Mid Atlantic, it hasn't been bad. There's been an unseasonably warm trend that has both good and bad sides. Good: no thick jackets, balaclavas, or neoprene booties necessary. Bad: we still get sprinkles, but not quite enough sun to heat the ground so that it firms back up. Consequently, peanut butter. Slogging. Grass and detritus jamming up your stays and V-brakes, if you're unfortunate enough to be stuck with them.

There are alternatives. Too bad they aren't as quick and easy. For me, road biking is a bore. I fixied up my street machines to at least make it more interesting, but alas, snooooooooze. The other option, riding in as rocky areas as you can, quite literally, rocks.

I think I can

I think I can
I think I can,
originally uploaded by myella.
Here's my first upload. If you click on the picture it will take you to my flicker account and you can see some more of my riding pics. I've had a digi cam for some time, but have been too lazy to snap any pics. I'm changing that so that I have more documentation of the places I ride and the folks I ride with. I also need to organize my flicker account so be patient, I'll clean it up. Enjoy!

Viva la Blog!

Welcome to my blog. As the title may imply I love riding bikes. I love talking bikes. I love looking at bikes. Bicycles not motorcycles (although I do like '50's era motorcycles). I'm nuts about them. I think most "cyclist" have a tendancy to go overboard. I like road bikes, cruisers, bmx bikes, mountain bikes, commuter bikes. Lately I've gotten into 29er's as my handle implies. I've been doing the single speed thing for about five years now and just got a single speed 29er from a company called "Niner Bikes" the specific model is the SIR 9 which stands for Steel Is Real. I'll be posting pics of it soon, as well as other pics of rides, family, bikes and random stuff that I find interesting. Enjoy your stay and feel free to drop me a line should you be inspired.


Ok, so I've done this a few times, but have never commited to it. Now I find myself keeping in touch with my friends and people far away and living via their blog. Creepy, I know, but I guess I'm not the only one or you freaks wouldn't be reading this either!

So my wife and I have been moving around a bit lately. We started in the DC area (I loved it there, but we couldn't afford to live there anymore). In Sept. '03 we made the move to Atlanta, it was a compromise bringing us closer to family without having to move to Florida (Nothing against Floridians, but you can keep it man! I hate that place). Soon after moving to Atlanta we realized that it wasn't as inexpensive as we thought, traffic was terrible (worse than DC) and the people there were the pits. We hated it there, but we didn't know where to go. Kahty's folks are southerners and after 2 years in Florida, they moved to Mississippi. About 8 months later all hell broke lose. My mom had a heart attack, I lost my marbles and quit my job, and Kathy became pregnant. Soon after my sisters and I decided that my mom couldn't stay in Florida any longer, she was in a big house that required lots of maintenance and there was no family close by if anything happened to her. We made the decision that she should move to Texas to be closer to my sister while maintaining the "warm" atmosphere that she had gotten used to in hell, er... Florida. Kathy gave birth to our wonderful daughter Ella in the spring and we decided after much debate to move to San Antonio to be closer to my mom and sister. We wanted Ella to know her family. I got a job with a wireless company that will remain nameless to protect the innocent. Prior to that I worked for the most evil company known to man (Worldcom/MCI). I've been in the telecommunications industry for over six years know and although I love the technology end of it, it is the most poorly run industry ever! After only 4.5 months, I've been given surplus notification. So I'm looking at jobs once again and trying to figure out what's next. Might be another move in our future. If I had my way we'd end up in Colorado or Oregon. I'd really like to live in Portland as it's a cycling mecca, but the cost of living there is pretty high, and I suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which means the overcast PNW weather would really make me a bear to live with, maybe one of those light boxes would help me out. Tough sale none the less as Kathy really wants Ella to grow up knowing her family and we have none out there.

That's it for now, thanks for tuning in. See you next time.