Friday, April 27, 2012

MTB - mountain bike research

Thinking about picking up a new or used bike to hit the local trails(Dogtown/Ravenswood primarily) this year-- My trusty old Giant Yukon ('96) has been a great bike, but its probably time for a major overhaul.   Some things have changed over the last decade in the world of mtn bikes, and i'm coming up to speed with the latest and greatest -- while trying to also keep costs under control. 

Disc brakes -- similar to motorcycle and car brakes, pad brakes are hard to find on intermediate+ bikes today...  stopping power seems to be good, but it does feel a bit different....

Suspension -- front suspensions are pretty popular, you get some extra shock absorbancy for downhills, but they are actually wasteful when you are on flat pavement or climbing uphill as some energy is lost.  some front suspensions have a 'lock-out' feature which allows you to lock your front fork solid.  rear suspension seems like a bit overkill for what I need, and it also adds costs and similar energy waste in most of the cases.  Front and rear suspension seems to be most important for big jumps/drops, or mountainous downhill which I'm not really into (yet?).

Wheels - the 29er... the standard 26" wheel is being seriously challenged by a larger wheel, the 29" aka 29er.....  It makes the ride feel a bit different, and I think deserves some consideration as I make my choice...
Gears--  some folks are jumping on an old school single-gear 1-speed bandwagon, personally I'm not seeing the appeal here -- i'll stick to my 18 or 24 speeds and rapid fire shifting...

thoughts?  I haven't decided yet if the 29er or front suspension is something I would enjoy-

Here are some that are in the running....

I ended up with a 19" aluminum frame 29er created by Motobecane, it includes a front suspension fork by Suntour (XCT V3 29) with 100mm of travel.  The front fork is considerend entry level, but it does have 'lockout' which allows it to be locked and perform similar to a fixed front suspension althoug it is most likely heavier.  The rear derailler is Shimano Deore, front Shimano Alivio -- it has Shimano Alivio rapid fire trigger shifting and a 27 speed Shimano cassette.  The wheels are 29" with quick release hubs, and it comes with Tektro Novela disc brakes.  Looking forward to giving it a spin! Some more detailed pics.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Gloucester MA last frost date

With an exceptionally warm spring so far, everyone is thinking about gardening a bit earlier than usual. The above map source shows Gloucester probably in the clear in early May for the last freeze of the year. Historically it looks like the record for the last 32 degree low is May 7th. I typically plant around memorial day, but am considering some earlier planting this year with some lettuce seeds already in the ground, and some peas/beans right behind.

Indoors, I'm starting up Tomatoes(Cherry and Big Boy), Basil(Italian leaf and Thai), Cilantro, Sage, Parsley and Peppers. Chives, Thyme and Sage from last years garden seem to have come back and are already growing!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Hubway Hotspots

North Station and Gov't Center are the stations I use most frequently -- but I imagine cambridge street and the northend stations may see some visits this year.  This screenshot is taken from they iphone app called Spotcycle which gives you realtime updates to how many bikes are available and how many empty dock slots are available.