Because, that's what Old Blue did today.
If you had followed my original blog or social media posts in the old days, you'd be familiar with Old Blue. But for newer readers … Old Blue is my custom frame bike from 1977. Frame was built right here in Rochester, and I built it up to become a fast touring bike from parts sourced from local bike shops.
Remember "bike shops"? In pre-internet days, we always got everything we'd need from our LBS's.
I still do.
Anyway … Old Blue has countless miles and adventures on it. ("It", not "he", "she" or any other gender pronoun. It's a bike. Don't anthropomorphize it. It hates that.) And it's been through a lot over the years. The original fork developed a crack near the crown and had to be replaced. I changed to a Chris King headset with a higher stack than the original, so the head tube had to be milled down to fit. The top tube got dented during shipping (or assembly at a bike shop, I really think) to a bike tour in Utah. And while leading it's first Southern Tier tour for Adventure Cycling, the down tube developed a really nasty crack after grunting up a mountain to an observatory. It survived the tour with creative use of hose clamps, but that last incident inspired me to take it to my bike frame builder and buddy Andy to actually rebuild the front 1/2 of the frame … and it came out wonderfully! Oh … and THREE paint jobs over the years.
To say I got my money's worth from this machine would be an understatement. So too would be saying I LOVE this bike. But as a circa 1977 frame, the "5-speed freewheel" standard has long been obsolete so keeping the bike rolling was achieved by converting it over to a single-speed. And Old Blue has really shined in that regard. In fact, it completed TWO Southern Tier gigs as a single-speed (San Diego California to St. Augustine Florida), not to mention a whole bunch of fun solo and club rides, endurance events, as well as many, many self-contained tours for which it was designed.. The latest tweak was installing a double chainring crank with a front derailleur making it a "2-speed" … sorta. It's more technically a "4-speed" since the rear wheel is a flip-flop, meaning a single cog freewheel on BOTH sides of the hub … a 17 tooth on one side and a 22 tooth on the other. To shift THOSE gears, I need to stop, drop the wheel out, flip it, and chain it up again. Kinky, 'eh?
But it all works, and today, it worked like a dream. Shooting for a century closer to home, I dreamed up a route that sorta loops around the city/county and touches some places I haven't been in a while.
The day started sunny, clouded over, got humid, got warmer, and got sunny and dry again all within the under 8 hours it took to march through 102 miles and getting home surprisingly early. My total "stopped" time was a mere 23 minutes … just enough for two stops … one at 51 miles to wolf down a PB&J, and another for a coke and a taquito. (I do have my habits.) Little of the ride was anything special or notable, but I do have to wonder if I'm the only person who thinks the bike trail along the Lake Ontario State Parkway could use a better name than "LOSP Trail".
Century #6, and cracked the three thousand mile mark for 2020 today … I'm on a roll!
Rubber Side Down.