Archive | March, 2011

BUILDING a cycling future.

21 Mar

Greetings all!

As many of you know I have been at a frame building class the last week. The following is a brief synopsis of my time here so far.

The frame building class started Monday the 14th and we have been working 13-15 hour days consistently until last night at sundown. It is structured with a class style atmosphere in the morning with Doug lecturing on History, Theory & How things are to be done. The afternoons begin with demonstrations and then we get to work. Thus far it has been an amazing experience. My fellow classmates are excellent in asking important clarifying questions and they are a real asset to the learning process as we all think of different things to ask at different times. Bob is from Michigan and is building a bike for loaded touring. Bud is from Vermont and is building a Sport Touring bike.

We started learning a quick history of frame building & moved right into our bike fit. Doug has a Fit Bike here that we used to transfer our current bicycle fit to and then we would adjust from there taking into account the type of frame we are building. Since I am building a commuting bicycle it needs to be much more upright & comfortable than something I would race on etc… After we reach the appropriate fit we transfer those measurements to a special fixture on an alignment table and begin the building process.

Lugs were the first items on our agenda and as a custom frame builder one needs to file these pieces to, not only be be aesthetically pleasing but also, accurately fit the selected tubes for the bike build. We also have to miter the bicycle’s tubing to fit together and the goal is to be within .003″ accurate. That is a tough tolerance to hit but that is where the best joint can be made and, during brazing, the filler metal will flow best (Brazing is basically soldering at a higher temperature — this is a simplification but it is similar in the mechanics of the process, but the technique is different).

The last thing we were working on was brazing technique and building the fork. Now I realize some of the things I did wrong in my own garage with a torch and some fake joints (Doug would have been unimpressed I think). Learning from a master builder helps the learning curve drastically! My first practice braze went okay but I was very nervous. The second was much better and I kept both joints as mementos. My third braze was joining the steerer tube to the for crown — the first part I have built for the bike!

This experience has exceeded my expectations and I am becoming more enthusiastic as we progress. I am excited for tomorrow so we can get back to it.

Here is a video promo of the Frame building school I am attending.

I hope everyone is doing well and I will send a link to some photos when I get them uploaded.



Mally Wagnon

16 Mar

Sometimes you find something while riding that you don’t expect. This can mean a spiritual revelation, finding some new geographic feature of your area, an epiphany about a problem in your life, or many other things. I recently explored a couple of roads that I had seen many times before but never gone down. It wasn’t a fast ride or a long ride. It was, however, one of my favorite rides of late.

Mally Wagnon

I started from Highroller on a Thursday. It was a beautiful day and the temps were perfect for knee warmers long sleeve jersey and vest. My specialized deflect gloves were amazing. I rode out my normal ride route on Wyman road. I have seen this road many times before but never taken the time to head down it. I felt my bike pull to the right and before I knew it I was rolling past some beautiful farmland.

Cool old barn.

In the distance ahead I could see an old bridge. I knew from experience that the road would soon turn to gravel. The old steel bridges that are still in use are too narrow for most two lane roads. I was on my Specialized CruX with slick tires and had just put on a new seat bag with fully stocked bits so I figured what the heck and continued on.

We won't see too many of these in the future.

The gravel only lasted a little while maybe 3/4 of a mile. I noted a survey crew that clued me in to the fact that there may soon be a new bridge and full pavement. Once I reached the HWY 16 intersection I had a choice. Continue to a road I knew or continue on my journey of exploration. Across the Hwy I could see that the road continued up toward the top of the mtn.


Once on top I was treated to amazing views of Lake Sequoia and the surrounding countryside.

Nice View

I imagined these haybales were haystacks.

After a screaming decent back to 16 and a quick jog over the bridge I made the familiar right hand turn onto Harris Community Road. I cruised along; enjoying the wind at my back and the afternoon sun pouring over the top of the mountain and filling the valley with warm shadows. I noticed a bit of road out of the corner of my eye and again felt my bike pull me into the unknown.

Warm Shadows ?! What does that even mean?

Again I found myself on a gravel section that accompanied a steam. My pedals turned effortlessly and I found a harder gear with no problem. The road spit me back onto Harris Community Rd and from there it was time to head home.

I made it in just in time to beat the cold and the dark. All in all a great afternoon.

Click below to see the route.

I finished up on the Bike path.

The Route

71 Classic (Well, Sort of)

7 Mar

The 2011 version of the 71 classic went off last Sunday. Of course Highroller was on hand to be a part of this great event and support the BicycleCoalitionoftheOzarks. (BCO)

The line at sign up. The BCO raised over 2K dollars!

Some of the Uof A team. Good to see them out.

The event is one that I love. I missed the 2010 edition, so I was very happy to be able to roll down the hill and join the fun. I like the classic because it has a very relaxed vibe. It is called by some the first “unofficial” race of the NWA scene, but it doesn’t have the uptight air that many other local races can have. Riders of all types are welcome and encouraged to join in.

Wide shoulders and beautiful views all the way to MTNBURG

Because of all the different levels of riders there are also a plethora of uniquie bicycles to look at. Lets see if I can remember them all… NOPE! But there were enough cool ones to keep Sam and I busy running around the start area checking them all out. We took pics of some of our favorites.

The headtube on this one was longer than the fork!

Councilman Petty and his bike.

This guy rolled up and parked next to me. DOWNTUBE SHIFTERS!!

Some AXELS OF EVIL riders came down too. A dog rode in the trailer.

As usual, when Laura Kelly said roll out the local strongman team “Snapple” moved to the front and kept everyone else in check. I rode with my teammates at the front for a while. We were keeping the pace surprisingly tame and no-one really even contested the Greenland sprint sign. Thinking I had the legs to roll off the back and check on some of my other friends; I drifted back through the various groups on the road. I enjoyed seeing all the local riders mixing with new people from out of town. Once I realized the pace up ahead had sped up I tried to make the jump back up to the lead group but it was too late. My 700*34 cyclocross tires just wouldn’t let me do it.

Outside of West Fork

The creeks were a beautiful green.

I wasn’t too upset, though. I continued to see other people I don’t normally ride with,and eventually ran across Quin. He passed me while I was taking a picture of a stream running by the side of the road. I had to chase him down to catch up, and was relieved to see he was also on his cross bike. We were coming up on the Green Bridge and I suggested we go check out a road I had not done before. He was game and we ended up doing a good little gravel road riding and seeing some amazing views of I540.

Quin and a cool View of I540

We arrived back at the Start after about 32 miles. It was just after 11. It was not the ride I had planned but it suited me just fine. I heard later that the pace kept rising and it was a pretty fast ride. “Snapple killed it” said Jason Beebe. Good thing I couldn’t make it back to the group. I would have just gotten dropped later anyway.

I was already worked and wondered why my whole body was feeling tired. I just shrugged it off to poor early season form (That and the 40 psi i was running- I always preach to people how important it is to check your tire pressure but I just cant seem to remember to do it myself) I chatted with Cindy Creel for a minute before rolling back home. She and Sue Taylor were about to start off. Smart idea because the temps at that point were climbing into the mid fifties. Also smart because Sue’s front brake on her new tri bike was rubbing. I was able to tighten the binder nut on the back side of the fork (which was scarily loose), recenter the brake, and get her rolling again.

Once I got home I started felling pretty bad. It was apparent that I had a fever and I just relaxed the rest of the day. I was so happy to have been able to go out and ride though. Thanks BCO for a great event.

Thanks for reading.