The Unveiling…

October 8, 2007

As many of you are aware, I am very into cycling. I ride my bike daily and it’s the best part of my day. When I’m not riding, I’m working on a bike, thinking about riding, or shopping for cool new bike parts I want, but really don’t need. About a year ago, I discovered the joys of riding fixed gear, since then I’ve completely re-fallen in love with riding, riding fixed is like nothing else. Riding a geared/freewheeled bike is major fun, no buts about it; however there’s a certain level of abstraction from the bike that is inevitable with a freewheeled bike. Relying on shifters, and hand brakes makes you the rider disconnected from the road and from the bike, on a fixed gear you are now part of the bike. You have complete control of the bike, stopping power comes from your legs, acceleration is always possible as long as you can move your legs faster. It’s a beautiful thing. After I got my first fixed gear I was enthralled; however there were things about that bike I was unhappy with. The compact geometry was not very appealing to me, the geometry was also pretty relaxed, which made for a comfortable ride but not super fast or aggressive. The final straw was flex, specifically in the bottom bracket area, I could feel the lack of stiffness on hills and when I was doing sprints, no good. I finally decided I was going to save up and build my dream bike. I spent a lot of time researching parts, thinking about aesthetics, and finding the compromise between high quality parts, aesthetics, and price. It was tricky, but in the end, I was victorious. The final result is my new baby. My EAI Bareknuckle. Here’s the parts list..

  • 52 cm EAI Bareknuckle Frame/Fork; Sage Green
  • 167.5 mm Sugino 75 Track Crank
  • 40 cm Nitto 125AA Drop Bars
  • 110 mm Nitto UI-5GX Stem
  • Chris King noThreadSet headset
  • Phil Wood High Flange 32h Hubs
  • Velocity Deep-V Rims
  • Nitto S-65 seat post
  • Miche sealed bottom bracket
  • 48t Sugino Chain Ring
  • 17t EAI cog
  • MKS clips with soma cages and errebi double straps

I AM IN LOVE!!!! This post is worthless without pics, so here they are. In all their fixed gear glory. (Many thanks to Gabby for her photography. The full shot of the bike, and the shot of the stem/bars were her, the Hub/chain line shot was me. Her new Canon 40D is an amazing camera).

EAI Bareknucklebeaver shotThanks gabby

http://www.velospace.org/node/5513

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Please, Walk on the Right

September 11, 2007

Please, America and those visiting America from other nations; walk on the right hand side of the sidewalk. Between classes I like to sit in busy sections of campus (today it’s raining so I’m blogging instead), and watch people interact. One of the things I notice most how most people walk on the right, but a non-trivial number of people walk on the left, causing issues such as collisions, and slowing the flow of traffic. I’m a computer science student, efficiency is my game; however safety is everyone’s responsibility. Walking on the left has no real benefit, ignoring the status quo just to do so is slowing everyone down and causing accidents. This is the standard in the U.S., cars drive on the right, so we should walk on the right. I realize that right hand side vs. left hand side is arbitrary, but at some point in our history we chose right. Let’s stick with it. Yes, I realize there are exceptions, when walking on the street, one should always walk against traffic, on the left.

Spiral Staircases are an interesting situation. People have a tendency to want to walk on the inside of the staircase as this is a shorter distance. I’m inclined to want to make this one of the exceptions, where one should walk on the left, however that creates a nasty crossover zone at the bottom of the stairs which would most likely cause undue congestion. I think we’re just going to need to suck it up while walking up spiral staircases. The extra distance is trivial, if the extra distance bothers you, you could probably use the extra distance in that case. Decision: please just stay on the right.

Portland — Not as cool as Philly.

July 26, 2007

So currently I’m on vacation. I’m exploring the west coast. I started in Portland, OR for the Ubuntu Live conference (which was awesome, but not worth the $600 I would have had to pay if I wasn’t a student). There was a lot of cool stuff and cool people there. They keynotes were very good. I’m not going to go in depth about the conference because people were blogging it all around me. You can probably find 100 blogs about it. So each day I spent a few hours after the conference exploring Portland. It’s a pretty cool city, but for how much hype surrounds it, it’s not that cool. Everyone says Portland is Bike City, USA, but from what I saw, they’re all a bunch of pussies. They all (yes I’m generalizing) ride cruisers and stuff, I only saw a few fixies riding around. They don’t even do critical mass anymore!?!? WTF is that. They have bike lanes and bike friendly riding so they feel like Critical Mass isn’t necessary. WEAK. Really, Portland, you guys are /not/ hardcore. Now you can get on my case about having a blog post about learning to skid stop and not being able to track stand for more than 30 seconds, but I’m learning, I just started riding fixed at the end of May. And I jumped right in and started riding fixed around Philly, up and down Broad Street, I never got coddled with Bike Lanes and cars who are afraid to hit you. Other than how /weak/ bikes in Portland are, the city was pretty cool. I met some cool kids including one kid named Nick who was nice. Oh, and in general, Portland isn’t a very good looking city. Most people I saw were pretty average looking, why would I want to move somewhere where I’m exponentially more attractive than the majority of the population, that’s just asking for trouble.

Tuesday night I took the Amtrak up to Seattle, where I am now. Amtrak trains (at least the one I was one) are very uncomfortable. I’m not looking forward to the 22 hour ride to San Francisco. The good part about the train sucking was that I couldn’t sleep so I a) finished my book and b) made friends with the chick next to me. She was pretty cool. I think her name was Sara? Something like that. We just chatted for most of the ride, made it go by much quicker.

So finally we made it to Seattle, WHICH ROCKS!! Seattle is wwaayy better that Portland. I was talking to some kid I met on the street, he was telling me their last critical mass had around 1000 people and they took over an entire highway!!! That’s epic as hell. I’m so stoked for this Friday. Unfortunately I have to ride my cousin’s mountain bike instead of my own bike, but transporting a bike via plane is a major hassle. I also went up in the Space Needle.Space Needle Very cool, but pretty expensive. It was close to $20 to go up, I did get some epic shots though. The lady who works there pointing stuff out said you can see Bill Gate’s house from the telescope, I asked her were Steve Balmer lives (so I can egg his house), but she didn’t know. Finally, Seattle is WAY better looking that Portland. Everywhere you look there are attractive people (men and women) hanging out. Feels like home.

So conclusion: Seattle – Very Cool. Portland – Not nearly as cool as it’s hyped to be. Philly – What every city should aspire to be like.

—————-
Now playing: American Steel – Fargo
via FoxyTunes

West Chester Night Ride; Howto stop on a fixed gear

July 13, 2007

Tonight I rode into West Chester to go riding with Pat, Brendan, and their friends, Wyett, Chris, and Taylor. I’ve hung out with Pat and Brendan a few time before but I just met the others, they were pretty cool. It was a lot of fun, we rode all over West Chester. I think we did something like 8 miles, which isn’t that much. I probably did a total of 20-25 today though which isn’t bad, hopefully do the same tomorrow. The best part of tonight though: I LEARNED HOW TO SKID STOP! Brendan made me switch from freewheel to fixed gear for the second half of the ride, which was a lot of fun. I haven’t ridden fixed gear in a long time, it felt good. It’s really easy to do once you know how, I was suprised with how easy it is. here’s how to do it.

Step 1.) Put all of your weight forward, lean as far forward as you feel comfortable, the farther forward you lean and the more weight you take off of the back of the bike, the easier you’ll skid but it will also take longer to stop, so keep that in mind.

Step 2.) When your pedals are parallel to the ground (or close enough, whatever feels comfortable), Lock your front knee, and push with your rear foot, hold it while the back wheel locks and you skid.

IT’S SO MUCH FUN. Brendan is really good at it, I’m going to get good. I also need to learn to track stand better. I can do it a little but not for more than ~30 seconds and only sometimes. We’re riding again tomorrow so I’ll probably ride the whole thing fixed since now I can skid and stop better.

Saturday is the LoCo interview at 1420 WCOJ. 8am, Philadelphia area.

Wow, worst day of my life probably.

July 6, 2007

Planet Hoagie closed. This sounds trivial, but Planet Hoagie made the best hoagies on planet earth, no joke. This new tuna hoagies sucks ass. It’s just generic tuna salad, not even good tuna salad. WTF I’M PISSED. I used to have nightmares about moving away from Philly and not being able to find a comparable hoagie, now those nightmares are true and I didn’t even move. I’m boycotting Collegeville Deli II. I am happy for Duke though, he was the owner so he probably made a few bucks. Let me start at the beginning, Planet Hoagie has the best bread man will ever eat, I’m sorry Jim, your bread is good, but this bread was godly. I was crusty outside but soft inside, coated in sesame seeds, and baked fresh daily by a little old italian man in Philly. It didn’t get better than that bread, this new bread is generic hoagie roll, it’s tough and chewy. 2nd, I love tuna, it’s my favourite food. I really can’t pick between tuna (as in the canned variety, although I do love fresh fish) and avocado. Planet hoagie had the best tuna I’ve ever had. They didn’t mix their tuna hoagies, it was like, mayo on the bread, and then italian tuna, and then lettuce. TO DIE FOR. It sounds weird, but it was amazing, no other tuna sandwich has ever come close. Not only was the tuna amazing, but the Italian hoagies were amazing, the hot hoagies were amazing (particularly the North Carolina pulled pork), and the salads were amazing. Please Duke, open a new planet hoagie, or give me the name and phone number of your suppliers and I will open planet hoagie. I’ve been going there since you opened and I can’t get enough. This really might be the worst day ever. Collegeville Deli (all of them, not just II): You are on my list. I would rather starve to death than eat one of your tainted hoagies.

Finally fixed the M-2!

June 30, 2007

Dedicated readers will remember that about a month or so ago Kevin Valentine, a friend, and member of the PA Loco Team gave me a Specialized M-2 comp road bike. This bike is beautiful, the frame is a very nice silvery-gold, light, stiff, Shimano Dura-Ace crankset, Shimano 105 components (except the rear dérailleur is a 600), it’s amazing. However when it was given to me the rear hub was broken, the tires were flat, and the rear dérailleur hanger was stripped. Yesterday I finally finished fixing it. I was initially going to convert to a single speed or a fixed gear, but when I learned it had horizontal dropouts and I would need to use a chain tensioner I wasn’t really interested in converting it anymore, it doesn’t look nearly as clean with that on it and if I’m going to have something dangling from the dropouts, I might as well keep it a dérailleur and keep the multi-speed cassette. I started out by buying a new hub, I got myself a nice new Mavic freewheel hub and headed home to change over the cassette. This is when I learned the dérailleur hanger was broken, I was riding to Paoli when the chain jammed and the dérailleur mangled it, I needed a new chain and hanger. I went to performance and bought a new SRAM chain but couldn’t find the hanger, unfortunately the hanger for this bike isn’t made anymore and they’re very hard to find. Fortunately, the guys down at exton bicycle had a tap! So they rethreaded the dérailleur hanger for me. I got it all adjusted and took my first ever ride on it yesterday around 7 to Gabby’s house in West Chester. We hung out there for a while, Gabby took this –> VICTORY glory shot of me with the finished bike. Kate came over and we hung out for a while until walking over to Brendan’s apartment. We met some of his friends, enjoyed a beer, and then headed back to Gabby’s. Kate left and Gabby and I went to sleep. This bike is so sick, I can’t wait to ride it more. Brendan asked me to go riding tonight with him and some of his friends but my family are leaving on vacation tomorrow morning and I have to work so I can’t go on vacation with them. Their trip is in danger of cancellation though, the throttle cable snapped. My dad’s friend is machining a new one right now, I really hope he fixes it, I was looking forward to a week of the house to myself. Going to be a good week, lots of riding, and Saturday is my race, if I don’t get last place, then it’s tattoo time :).

Update: The camper is fixed! Corbo made a new throttle cable and it worked!!

AMERICAN STEEL ARE BACK TOGETHER

June 25, 2007

HOLY F’IN HELL AMERICAN STEEL ARE BACK TOGETHER!!!!!!!

source: Lookout! Records

Seriously you can’t understand how excited I am. American Steel are hands down, the best punk band EVER. Classic Bay Area punk from the Glory Days of Lookout! Records. Their first album is the most amazing punk album I’ve ever heard, it’s out of print unfortunately, so if you don’t have a copy looks like you’re shit out of luck and I bet since they’re getting back together they’ll be snapped up on eBay.  I’ve got chills man. Seriously, they better tour after this album and they better not just play new shit, if I don’t hear Fargo someone’s losing a limb.

Day at the races

June 12, 2007

Sunday was the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling in Manayunk, pa. Gabby was sick but I made her come anyway and we had an awesome time. The race was sick, BikesI want to be a pro cyclist so badly, too bad I got hit by a car Saturday and was in a lot of pain Sunday and yesterday. The race was epic, I met Don Pollock of 6abc. He’s my favourite news reporter, even more than Geraldo Rivera, who I am very fond of. The best part of Sunday however, was wearing my new hat.new hat Looks good doesn’t it. Also notice the camelback. I bought that a long time ago and finally got to use it. I stayed hydrated the whole time thanks to that pack. I’m not sure who ended up winning but I wish it was me. I’m going to enter the West Chester race on July 7th (note to self: register when you get home). I don’t think I’ll win but if I don’t get last I’m treating myself to a tattoo. I’m going to get a cog with the Philly skyline inside, I’ll make a gimp mock-up later. Bikes and Philly, two of my favourite things. Speaking of favourite things; I got to hang out with Zoe kevin’s daughter Sunday. Gabby and I met up with Kevin, Jamie, and Zoe Sunday. We hung out in Pretzel Parkimg_1467.jpgwith them for a while which was a lot of fun, I would post some photos of Kevin and Zoe but I don’t want to post pics of someone else’s kid without their permission, the internet is a dangerous place. I’ll post this instead, it’s almost as cute as Kevin and Zoe playing on the spinny thing. After Kevin and Jaime took Zoe home, Gabby and I got back on the train and went home where Gabby slept and I watched TV. Stargate SG-1 was on. I’ve never watched it before, it’s not very good, even for sci-fi.

Great install-fest!

June 3, 2007

Yesterday was finally the install-fest. After about a month and half of planning and getting prepared, the time finally came we were as ready as we could have been. We had some complications — note to MS: STOP BEING DICKS. MAKE YOUR FILE SYSTEM RESIZE EASIER. Kevin and I ran into quite a few problems resizing ntfs partitions but we managed to get them all solved. Jim brought some awesome Ubuntu bread. He has his baker’s bake loaves of bread in the shape of the Ubuntu logo, very nice Jim (did anyone get pictures of that?). We did about 20-30 installs, people were calling their friends to come and having a really good time, thanks to everyone who came out. I made a few friends and met a lot of very nice people.

After the install-fest I went down to the Phillies-Giants game. I’m not a baseball fan but Gabby’s family invited me and I had a blast! Her cousin Alex and family friend Joe and their families were all there and it was a blast. Joe is such a cute little kid. Earlier that day Gabby’s family with Alex and Joe went to the Philly Zoo, they had a lot to say about that. Alex’s face was painted like a tiger which got him and only him on the big screen, we all kind of think the camera man thought the facepaint was ketchup and mustard. It was kind of smudged after sweating all day.

Great day, thanks pennsylvania loco team and the Eisenhower clan for making this an awesome weekend.

Busy busy weekend

May 21, 2007

This was such a busy weekend! It started out Friday, I saw Derek for the first time in a long while. He, Gabby, and I hung out. \After about 3 hours of hanging out at Derek’s we went to Gabby’s and watched Meet the Fockers, which as expected was not really that good. The end was the only good part. “But I saw meet the Fockers, the end sucked what are you talking about?” … How can you not love Owen Wilson?

hahaha Owen Wilson cracks me up. Just look at him, he’s awesome. Derek and I didn’t leave until about 3:00 am and when I got home I couldn’t find my camera, I started freaking out thinking it somehow got thrown out the window of my car or something terrible (remember that it’s 3am and I’m not 100% functional) so I headed back to Gabby’s to look for it. When I got there it was laying right on top of her, I guess it fell out of my pocket and she was dead asleep and didn’t even notice me go into her house, rustle around for my camera, take it off of her, kiss her goodnight, and leave. I finally got home and to bed at about 4am. My alarm went off at 9 to get up and get ready for the PACS meeting with the Ubuntu PA LoCo. THANKS A LOT GOOGLE MAPS. Google maps put me on the turnpike WEST to get to Hatboro, PA from where I live, Malvern, PA. For those of you who don’t know, Hatboro is east of Malvern. When I got to PACS I saw Jim Fisher with his Demo ubuntu pcs showing them off and talking to everyone like Jim does best. The presentation went really well, thanks to Joe Terranova of the NJ LoCo. Here are some pictures I took. (Pictures removed due to a certain Andrew Keyes). It was a lot of fun. The ride home was equally terrifying. for those of you who have never taken the Pennsylvania turnpike from the King of Prussia ramp, it’s 2 lanes, 80 mph, huge trucks, concrete barriers on either side, potholes, and to top it all off — it’s windy as hell. I was gripping the wheel so hard trying to make sure I had control over my car. Scary stuff that PA turnpike. Hard to believe that state that invented the turnpike has such a shitty one isn’t it. When I got home, I had a tuna sandwich. I’m not sure if Tuna is my favourite food or not. It’s definately up there. It’s a toss up between tuna and avacado. I can eat either one everyday without getting sick of it, it tastes just as good each day. That night Gabby came over. I don’t remember what we did the whole time honestly. We played wii and had fun but I feel like there was more than that. I can’t recall what it was. Maybe it was nothing I honestly don’t remember at all. Whatever it was I’m sure it was fun. It always is with Gabby. Finally sunday rolled around. A very good day. I woke up in the morning and had to go to my grandmother’s house to help her get her computer set up. She had some hardware issues and the computer has been at Circuit city for a month. Don’t take your PC to firedog; they’re completely incompetant. I told them what was wrong with it, I gave them a very indepth description of what the problem was, what I did to test the problem, and what they needed to do yet it took them 2 weeks to do … anything at all. Then when they finally ordered the part they needed they refused to leave a message on my answering machine, they just called every day and hung up. ARE YOU RETARDED? Seriously, don’t take your computer there. I got home and I was supposed to rototill, but I managed to weasel my way out of it. …What actually happened was my mom wanted me to clean my room from moving back in for the summer. Since I got home from college I hadn’t unpacked a single thing. I did it all today though. What I also did today, which was the best part of the whole day; was finish converting the AMAZING Specialized M-2 Kevin Valentine from the LoCo gave me from a multi-speed to a singlespeed. IT’S GREAT. It still needs some work, the hub slips (I think the bearing just need cleaned) and the seat post is stuck but once I get those two kinks worked out it’s going to be such a good ride. I cannot thank him enough for giving me that bike. So Kevin; here it is again. Thanks. That was my busy weekend. I left out tons including an indepth description of PACS. If you’re looking for one check out planet.meetlinux.com. Both Lyz and Jim posted entries detailing the event. It’s time for me to start getting ready for bed, tomorrow I go back out to fight the good fight against closed-source proprietary software.