Thinking of riding up to/beyond Ashland tomorrow morning.

[James Brown singing] My dropouts...they got cooooooold set!

a wheel with a multi-gear cassette sits in the newly widened dropouts of my Fairdale Coaster bike

Okay, I know I only just posted about it, but here’s the result. So what the heck am I up to?

Basically, I’ve had this 2015 Fairdale Coaster sitting around in storage at home since I was hit by a truck in 2022. I was fully compensated, got my current bike to replace it, and after $35 to Wheel Simple, the frame and fork were fixed. So now I have a backup bike, but it had no front wheel and still only a single speed in the rear. I’m happy it got me back into bikes, but I want more than one speed for this hilly city of mine if the bike is to have any utility.

I picture this bike one day serving as a comfy errand/grocery bike. I have a number of spare parts as I’ve tinkered with my Space Horse, learning what’s comfortable and useful to me over the past year and a half. Most of what’s still on the Fairdale is plenty useful, including some cheap but effective rim brakes and cruiser-style bars. As long as I get some kinda derailleur hanger adapter I can throw some cheap rear mech on it with a friction shifter up front and I’ll be good to go!

Well the thing is, the Fairdale has track fork ends since it was designed for that single speed. That also means the rear spacing was pretty narrow: around 110mm. So I took a bike axle and nuts, and little by little cranked the nuts until the rear spacing was spread out to around 130mm after spring-back. The picture you see at the top of this post shows the rear wheel from my wife’s bike fit into the Fairdale! This whole process, for those unfamiliar, is called cold setting, and I was only willing to risk it because the bike was essentially a write-off. But no cracks! Not too much strain! Gotta love a steel frame (even if this one is high-tensile instead of something nicer)!

I still need to wait until I have a shed before I can really build this up into something rideable, but it was so rewarding to try something new and have it work out. The geared wheel spins perfectly right in the center of the frame - so I kind of got lucky there with the frame and dropout alignment. Or perhaps that’s just the advantage of working slowly with an axle and nuts, alternating sides. Can’t wait until I can take the next steps with this thing!

P.S. I know when they’re horizontal fork ends on a track bike/single speed they’re not technically “dropouts”, but I couldn’t resist a dumb play on lyrics in the post’s title.

Trying to get to do something a little extreme here this afternoon…

A set of calipers showing just over 110mm width between the rear dropouts of my Fairdale Coaster bike

Today is my younger kid’s 8th birthday! He’s goofy, a video game addict, and the sweetest, most sensitive kid I know.

Happy birthday little dude. I love you so much.

I feel like Dragon Prince’s writing went downhill in S4, and S5 isn’t really changing my mind.

One final elementary school bike-to-school day for my daughter, and a first for my son.

I kinda want to make a bike check video with everything I’ve done to my Space Horse, but I don’t want to be a whole bike YouTuber guy. I worry too much about what other people think, but I should probably just do it.

I’ve got electric guitar, I play my stupid songs I write these stupid words, and I love every one Waiting there for me, yes I do, I do

Full Retro Alt-Cycling Affectation Man

Last year I swapped out the cheap, stock hydraulic disc brakes on my All-City Space Horse for some mechanical Growtac Equal calipers. I just didn’t ever want to have to bleed brakes on a dang bicycle, and I have found periodic pad adjustments to be straightforward and not too much of a pain (at least for my brakes).

This weekend I did something I’m sure contemporary cyclists would find even more ridiculous: I swapped out the Microshift Advent X shifter for a Dia-compe friction shifter. I know, I know, it’s all the rage with retro-grouches and cool alt-cycling folks. And I’m not immune to what looks cool in the publications I read and bits of culture I consume. But I gotta say, it took almost no time at all to get used to friction shifting. I don’t race, and I don’t depend on instant, precise shifting, but I do want to comfortably and easily shift up and down as terrain and riding conditions change. I had no trouble adjusting to climbing hills or speeding up on the flats, and never had to think about tuning my derailleur or shifter barrel adjusters to tune my shifting performance.

Additionally, while I’ve been pretty happy with my 10-speed Advent X cassette and Microshift Sword derailleur, I now have the flexibility to experiment with any derailleur and cassette combination that I want. This shifter can pull a shifter through a wide-range 11-speed cassette (the Advent X is a 10-speed that runs 11-48), so if I wanted to try out a big ol' 11-speed Deore when the current cassette wears out, I can go for it. Ultimately, though, I’m just happier with the simplicity, and the fact that it’s still also simple/enjoyable to use.

Davvero Gelato

My family was heading to Lakeside for an errand on Sunday that was expected to include a visit from the Kona Ice truck. The kids were looking forward to it, but it never showed—likely because of the on-and-off rain in the Richmond area throughout the day. On the way to our errand, however, we noticed a sign for a new gelateria in The Hub shopping center at Hilliard and Lakeside Ave. We decided to check it out, and found ourselves at Davvero Gelato. They were technically operating a pop-up out of their front door since they’re not yet open for business, but they do expect to open up shop in the near future.

SWEET FANCY MOSES this is delicious stuff. I wouldn’t say I’m an aficionado or anything, certainly no expert, but I’ve had my fair share of tasty Italian ice cream both here in The States and in various Italian cities. I know what I like in flavor and texture, and Davvero has it absolutely dialed in. I had my go-to pistachio, and I think it may be some of the best I’ve ever had? The gelato had just the right amount of salt to put it over the top. Glad I didn’t gorge on even more of it!

I tasted all the other available flavors except my daughter’s mango (I’m one of those folks who thinks it tastes like cleaning solution, unfortunately), and they were fantastic. My son’s cookie dough and my wife’s strawberry—another absolute standout. And then we found out everything they produce is vegan - not a drop of dairy milk! I’m not vegan, but I don’t need to be to enjoy food that is simply delicious. And I’m finding, increasingly, that there are vegan and dairy-free ice creams out there that are at least as good as many dairy counterparts (including the frozen magic happening with some of the vegan flavors at Ruby Scoops).

Anyway, great stuff. I’m told by Layne (the owner) that the best way to find her for now is by checking out the biz on Instagram. She’s frequently at Libbie Hill Park, among other locations, and sells her products (including nut butters and gianduia) in various local shops, such as Stella’s Markets and Outpost.

There’s some guy out here in Richmond, Virginia who drives a matte black Cybertruck like he’s flying a sortie in the stealth fighter.

Lehja still slaps.


Happy to see some fresh repaving on the bit of Cap Trail just west of Great Shiplock Park!

End Around

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I have wanted the SimWorks Fun 3 Bar for like 6 months, but it’s been sold out on the US website for ages. On a lark, I decided to check whether the main Japanese website would ship to the US. Turns out they do! The shipping is kinda hefty (I mean, it is international FedEx for an oddly shaped object), but the price was lower enough that I still came out a dollar cheaper than the pre-shipping cost in the US store!

I think most of the time I’d probably go straight through the US store, but I feel like I got away with something here. I’m just glad to have the new bar, though!

Side note: I got this particular bar to replace the cool-as-hell-but-super-heavy-and-super-stiff Klunker Bar from Velo Orange. I’m hoping the shallower grip angle and slightly less stiff bar helps keep some of the soreness out of my wrists and hands on longer rides. I’ll add the VO bar to my parts store for some future build.

Here, I made you a thing. #bluey….

A dingle is a small, wooded valley. So one could, theoretically, pick and eat some dingle berries without risking gastrointestinal distress.

Quiet Seething

I count myself lucky to have, until today, remained ignorant about the meaning of “quiet quitting”. Curiosity got the better of me so I looked into it, and most places I see discussing this “trend” or whatever seem to describe it as what I like to call “work/life balance”. How is it that rejecting the idea of working beyond 40 hours is some special new concept?

Chuck this on the pile of what is surely far more social media posts and articles about the quiet quitting that came out when people started using this stupid phrase.

I’m beginning to think that if we talked about all the things people say we don’t talk enough about we would all lose our voices from so much talking.

Final Bits on the Eclipse Trip

my wife looks through eclipse binoculars at the moon transiting across the sun

It took two grueling days to return home from Texas. The day of the solar eclipse was a bit all over the place. To start, cloud cover forecasts for most of Texas were horrible. From the moment we left our final visit to Crude Coffee in Fort Worth, Valerie was checking cloud forecasts from multiple weather data sources for various cities along the path of totality. Ultimately, we had nearly 3 minutes of totality at the Arkansas Welcome Center over the border from Texarkana. It was terrific. It was as amazing as I remembered, and my family loved it. Everybody agreed it was with the trip.

After that everything seemed fine - the rest of the ride through Arkansas was going smoothly enough until we approached West Memphis. I should have been prepared for this—I’ve been stuck in post-eclipse traffic before—but I was still caught off guard because of the bit I didn’t consider. The Mighty Mississippi. There are only so many crossings of this great river, and just two at that heading into Memphis, Tennessee. Both of them were absolutely jammed with traffic, and it took us nearly 3.5 hours to travel our last 30 miles. Our hotel was this neat, quirky glass tower in the suburbs (grand views of office buildings and parking lots from our 22nd floor room) that I called the “Disco Can”, but we really just stayed there for a short night’s sleep.

The next day, April 9th, was simply a long day in the car riding from Memphis back to Richmond. We made decent time, but had so many miles to ride. We stopped at our first ever Buc-ees which was, to be honest, a horror show for me. But the kids liked it.

a bronze statue of a stupid beaver mascot with a black reading Sevierville, TN

With the time change on the way back, however, it felt like forever by the time we stepped out of the car back at our house. Everybody slept in late the next day (the kids had a day off from school anyway, and Valerie and I had scheduled days off), and by the time I was awake I was distracted by getting back on my bike and transitioning from vacation mode to work mode. So here we are, about a week later, well after everyone finished talking about the eclipse.

It was a good time, though! If I did it all again I may have flown and rented a car. This was a bit much for me in the time we had, and it would likely have been worth the money to have those extra two days of fun out of town instead of in my car on interstate highways. But we all had a nice vacation anyway.

It’s not like I ever really went to Blanchard’s for the pastries (I love the coffee, but the pastries were mostly fine).

But since they’ve been forced to replace their long-term baker a few months ago, I think the pastries are kinda dire.

Really gorgeous day to be outside. 18.5 bike miles this morning, tooling around King’s Dominion the past few hours, and probably going for another ride after the kids are in bed.

The Thai Basil ice cream (which is vegan!) at Ruby Scoops is sooooooo good.

Is there an official name for what looks like a shared use, paved path going in along Stony Run Parkway in the East End?

It felt so dang good to get out on my bike today now that I’m back in Richmond.

Aaaaaand of course it’s gonna rain tomorrow 🙃

I’m home! Thank goodness!

Lort help me, I’m at a Buc-ee’s for the first time (the kids demanded it).

Anyway, past Knoxville, getting closer to Virginia.