Let’s talk about bicycles

Uncategorized, Vintage Bicycles

 

I haven’t really kept up with this blog for many reasons, mainly I was just being too lazy and putting other priorities before it. Let’s try and fix this and keep adding blog posts.

As one of my favorite things to do right now is work on and build bikes, let’s talk about that.

I’m going to write a bit about my current touring bike set up, and why I opted for a touring setup.

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This is my 1980s to 1990s Specialized Sirrus or Allez steel frame road bike. (Identification help would be great.)

 

Why & how I started to cycle:
I started to actually ride a bike in 2014, the year before I transferred to Sonoma State. My mindset was this, find a cheap mode of transportation for school. Cycling fit that budget and I found several bikes from a Raleigh Cadet F1 to a Panasonic DX-1000, and even a Cannondale R800 (which I still own). My first semester in, I stripped the Octalink mount on the Cannondale and stripped the thread on one of the cranks of the Raleigh. A friend of mine had this bike that he was trying to get rid of and after much haggling, got the bike for about $100.

Building up the vintage Specialized:
Parts were mismatched and being a little too big for me, I didn’t care. I was ecstatic. I sourced some Cinelli bars and a Cinelli stem, along with a Brooks B17 saddle for cheap. The bike felt nice, just didn’t feel right. The fun thing about the Raleigh was the back rack, and how easily I was able to mount things on the bike. This bike has no places to bolt in or mount fenders, racks or other contraptions.

Sometime last school year I found the Karrimor, a bicycle bag manufacturer from England, at a local flea market for $5. Other than the smell of mildew I was pretty excited to mount the bag, but had no clue how to. I threw the bag on another bike with a front rack and strapped it down. It wasn’t until recently that I found the Velo Orange Randoneeur front rack with the decauler, something that I love since installing. Other than bending a tongue to reach over the caliper brakes, it was an easy install.

 

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Karrimor front bicycle bag on a 1980s-1990s Specialized Allez or Sirrus. (Identification needed) 

It took me some time to figure out what I needed to hold the bag. I thought about buying the very nice Nitto Mark’s Rack for the bike, but starting looking into how the bag would sit, and knew I wanted to mount a dyno light on the rack. Nitto’s was $40 more, plus I would need to spend extra on finding a way to mount a dyno light and a separate decauler. This rack was just more logical in my mind but am glad I went this way. After finding some longer bolts, I was able to easily mount the LumoTec dyno light on the rack after finding some longer hardware from the local hardware store. The bag was the perfect height for the quick releasing decauler.

 

 

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Karrimor front bicycle bag, updated with new strap systems and fun patches. 

Bicycle Info:

Frame: 58cm 1980s-1990s Specialized Steel Frame Allez or Sirrus (Identification help appreciated).
Groupset: Assorted Shimano 600 and 105s. Shimano 600 double crankset with a 7 speed cog (14 speed). Rear Derauiler is a Shimano 600 with a Shimano 105 front derauiler. It had a Shimano 600 downtube shifter, but swaped for Shimano bar end shifters.
Brakes: Shimano SLR 105s Caliper side pull brakes and levers
Rims & Hubs: 700 cc Mavic Reflex with Shimano 600 hubs (front rim was swapped out for a Mavic Open Sport with Shimano Nexus dyno 3v hub)
Tires: Bontrager 700×25
Stem & bars: Cinelli 64/38 drop bars and 110mm stem
Saddle: Brooks B17
Rack: Velo Orange Randoneeur front rack with integrated decauler

Why Geared towards touring?
Why did I set my bicycle up for light touring? The main reason is this, to be prepared to ride where I need to ride. If I ride to work, to the park or if I want to ride 20-50 miles. I don’t need a light and fast racing bike, I’m not trying to win any races or beat any times. I want to just ride, and if you know me, I like being prepared. The bag allows me to carry bike tools to help me get out of a jam, carry food and a small first aid kit.

As much as I find touring bikes beautiful, I find what you have on them as a necessity. This isn’t a true touring bike, but it’s the closest I can do currently on a budget. The frame itself won’t allow me to throw on beefier tires (I can fit 25s, but doubt I will be able to fit 28s due to clearance issues) and there is absolutely no room for fenders, which is a drag. The next bicycle purchase will hopefully be a CX or touring bicycle, where I can go all out and add some hefty tires, racks and dyno lights.

Got any questions?
Throw a comment below.

 

Photographs Not Taken No. 2

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Have you ever thought you documented a moment with a camera but to only find out later that the camera you used was unloaded or malfunctioning? I have.

Have you ever been to Spring Lake or Howarth Park in Santa Rosa? I was there only a few weeks ago, on a trip for school. I brought one of my favorite cameras to photograph with because of how “easy” I feel the camera is to use. I think this idea of “easy” is my downfall. I became clumsy, I cut corners and became too relaxed. I find becoming too relaxed will bite you in the end, in terms of photography.

It must of been 30 minutes into the trip, and 20+ pictures in that I realized my camera was not actually loaded. What do you think about frame counters on a camera? My curiosity is from this fault, and this fault only. Never have I put thought into the counter of frames in a camera until now. The camera’s frame counter is stuck at 40 and has been this way since last Spring.

I was on this boat launch at Spring Lake, and a boat was heading towards the launch to dock. There were three men, beers and fishing rods. I thought it was the perfect picture, for what exactly I have no clue, but something I feel could culturally represent the area.  “Americana”

I asked the men I could photograph them while they floated my way, so they didn’t awkwardly stare. They allowed and I snapped away. Film only, no shots with my digital camera for some reason. It didn’t occur to me that newer technology was needed.

Pure photography needs pure photographic equipment, right? No distractions from LCD screens or memory cards.

After that moment, I had a thought. How many shots am I at? Haven’t I been shooting way more than this roll of film could handle? I had to of reached 36 frames already. I have had film loaded in the camera for quite some time right? Wrong.

Turning the rewind lever, to my dismay the camera was empty. Unloaded and not ready for me to take my pictures. “Leave, goodbye, sorry we aren’t open” is what I feel my camera wanted to say to me earlier. But my camera is a camera, and not a person.

Photographs Not Taken No.1

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For the matter of not missing a moment in time, I carry a photographic mechanism that its sole purpose is to record time and light. Even with having this habit of carrying a camera with me, I still find myself missing a moment in time.

One instance, which was also the most recent, occurred when a friend asked if I would like to go to a trip with her, a trip which I couldn’t ask about, or see where. During those moments before leaving the suite, I had the chance to take my camera. A chance I didn’t take. I asked, and she told me “If you want”. I don’t know what went through my mind at that time, If the camera was too much to carry, or that this trip would be nowhere exciting, I was wrong.

We jumped in the car, and while I laid back with my eyes closed with blindfold on, I fell asleep. I awoke to her shaking me on the shoulder and saying we were here. A dark gravel area off a road. She grabbed my hand and led me forward, through what looked like an abandoned building. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, but what did was magnificent.

The Golden Gate bridge lit the area with it’s many lights and vehicles, San Francisco was lit by it’s many housings and buildings; towers in the clouds high above. A lighthouse could be heard afar and a glow streaming through the sky.

This idea came to me, something I learned about in another class. This philosophy of the Sublime. This quality of greatness, this area of aw. I felt so small, and the city so vast. I was just one part of this larger picture of life. Something that I can’t comprehend.

Sure, I won’t be able to go back and recall what I experienced with a camera, but I can’t image that night with my camera, and I don’t want to. What I found that night was special, and with a camera, I feel I would have had something between me and the sublime. That mechanical device that I use to record time and light.

Building Relationships with Cycling

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Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition Roseland Bike Ride

The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition organized a community group bicycle ride in the Roseland area of Santa Rosa on Sunday, and of course I was a part of it. Even though I live in Rohnert Park to attend Sonoma State, supporting a group of growing cyclists in a community is something I enjoy.

The roads were awful throughout Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa, and most weren’t bicycle friendly. At most times, we had to be cycling in the middle of the road, or on the shoulder, which were severely cracked, rubble or with parked vehicles.

Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition Roseland Bike Ride

The funny thing I thought about the ride was getting there. I went with a few friends from Sonoma State, and we took longer to cycle to Santa Rosa than the actual Roseland ride.

It was a great ride, but what I really want to do is to organize a bicycle ride here in Rohnert Park, and give the community a better awareness of the cyclists in Rohnert Park, specifically the students at Sonoma State.

 

Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition Roseland Bike Ride

I have to share with you all the efforts of the group 10,000 Degrees, a group that was cycling with us Sunday.

Working out of Marin county, 10,000 Degrees is a program that focuses on getting youth through high school and into a university. Mentoring is a big part of the program as well, giving youth a mentor and a role model to help them succeed.

I was in a similar program that the city of Concord has called GGI (Go Get It). A program to help youth through high school, and get them to college. Not too long ago, I helped GGI with a field trip and youth panel at Sonoma State. I organized the trip and got friends, including myself to be a part of the student panel.

 

Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition Roseland Bike Ride

After the ride, we figured to try out this new place called BREW in Santa Rosa. We heard it was bicycle friendly, so heck we gave it a shot. They are a coffee shop, with a beer tap, and serves food. Prices weren’t too bad and the food was good.The place really reminded me of a coffee shop you would see in the show Portlandia.

Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition Roseland Bike Ride

After lunch, we took the more scenic ride home on Petaluma Hill road back to Rohnert Park. Above is an image of Melina and Laura, both of whom are part of a group of women cyclists who are going to cycle from Santa Rosa, California to Portland, Oregon over the summer.

 

Death is inevitable

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On Wednesday, I covered a memorial on campus (Sonoma State)for a student who passed away in his sleep recently.

It was probably both one of the most heart-warming and depressing experiences I have had. There had to be over 800 people in attendance; from family members of the deceased to friends and class mates.

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Even though I never met the student who passed, there’s a bond created when covering stories like these.

Researching whom the person was, interviewing friends and relatives whose lives he was a part of, photographing loved ones in such a dark hour of their lives. After all this, understanding you won’t ever meet the person. They have passed, they no longer walk this earth with you.

Just some thoughts, and a way for me to debrief what happened last night.

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Something I wrote last night

Death is unavoidable, I stand here reporting on another memorial, another death. I am unsure why I always agree with covering death.

It eats me from the inside, even when the death is of someone I never knew or met.

I don’t get to speak to him, but I get to speak to his loved ones who were there in memory.

I see everyone in this dark time during their lives and I become a part of it.

Exploring Home

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For everyone who doesn’t know me, I used to live in the East Bay, but because I finished my AA at Diablo Valley College I transferred and now go to Sonoma State in the North Bay.

I’ve been back in the East Bay for the holidays, and just have been exploring, photographing.

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I hiked up here once, years before. What I’ve been told, at least by my father is that this sculpture is considered “The Monument of Bay Point”. Except I feel like it might be called “The Monument of Port Chicago”, as Bay Point once used to be known only as Port Chicago, which used to be military housing in the 1940s-1960s for the large Concord Naval Weapons Station. A site on U.S. soil which had the largest U.S. casualties during WWII within the states. (Hawaii did not become a state until 1959).

Was this made in memory of the Port Chicago Disaster? What’s the significance of this sculpture?

Through the fog

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Soon, the fog consumed all that was visible. Gray was only visible, one could wonder where the sun went. The ground was muddy from the night before, and the temperature around me must of went down 10 degrees Fahrenheit in those 5 minutes of I being there. I couldn’t go any further, because what was ahead? Actually, where was ahead? Lost in fog. I couldn’t see. I had to retreat back.

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Thought I should add some photographs from a recent hike and walk I had last Monday. I actually wanted to jog but because of the pack I had on my hip, I couldn’t. It kept sliding back and forth, and it wasn’t the best bag to secure my camera gear.

I went pretty late in the morning, but somehow there was still fog up the hill from where I live. It seemed to be going away, but once I climbed this horse trail, it seemed to come right back at me, as if the fog was interested in me.

Soon, when I was up there, I couldn’t see. I saw no more than 10 feet ahead of me. I knew where the trail went, but if I went I know I would be covered in mud. I could of also slipped going down on the other end. The inclined plane down is so steep, it would of been a slip and slide of me, and mud.

I’m glad I carry a camera with me, where ever I go and not just a cell phone camera. You never know what you will see when your out in the world.