I have been doing a bit of extra work, and while it hasn't taken up huge chunks of time it has pared down the amount of free time that I have available. Of course there is a flip side to having extra work and that is having some extra money. Some of it went for a new GoPro Hero, and a bit more went for fixing up my bike a bit. The GoPro ( a Hero White) is a huge improvement over my old GoPro, which was one of the early non-HD versions. This new one takes great video and photos, and even has decent sound. I'm still figuring out what to do with it, but I'm betting that I'll get in at least one mtb and one kayak video before fall is over.
As far as the improvements on the bike, I need to step back in time a bit to get the whole story. My wife bought me a new bike for Christmas a couple of years ago - a very nice Gary Fisher Mullet. This thing is a heavy duty ride, perfect for a guy who likes to ride a lot and doesn't baby his gear.
|Me with my Mullet at West Branch State Park.|
The week before vacation, in early June, I took it to my local bike shop, Thumm's, for some work on my rear brake cable (more on this problem later). I'd also noticed some weird noises coming from the area of the front derailleur, and asked them to take a look. I got a call the next day saying that the frame was broken right under the front derailleur clamp - terrible news.
When I got down to the shop to check it out I couldn't believe my eyes. The post was broken the entire way around, with small chunks missing. The fact that it was concealed totally by the front derailleur clamp was puzzling, but the fact that I was able to ride it with a break that bad was amazing. More on this later as well...
I was surprised to find out that the bike was still under warranty. Then the owner of the bike shop told me that he'd been on the phone to Trek and they'd be sending a replacement out in time for me to have it for vacation! I could hardly believe my luck - things like that just don't happen to me. But, alas, a snag - when the owner at Thumm's had talked to Trek they hadn't clarified exactly what was being sent as a replacement. Thumm's believed it was a whole new bike, but Trek was talking about only sending out a replacement frame. That would be a problem, as it would take a while to build up the new frame, and I was leaving within a couple of days.
Then Augie, the owner of the shop said not to worry - I was a valued customer and he'd make it right. He kept the replacement frame for a shop build, and gave me a brand new Gary Fisher Marlin off of the floor so that I'd have a bike for vacation. Another amazing happening - a small businessman taking care of his customer with the cost coming out of his pocket. The new bike isn't quite as good as the Mullet was when it was new, but it's still a heck of a bike and I'm loving it.
So when Trek agreed to warranty the frame they wanted to make sure that the old frame was actually not going to be used any longer. They could have paid for the shipping to have it returned, but instead the bike shop just took a video of me sawing the frame in half and sent it to Trek. Pretty good evidence I'd say. Notice the break on the bottom of the seat post. And I got to keep the two halves of the frame, and all attached parts.
The end of the Mullet
Some of the extra money from doing the side job I've been working on went to upgrade the Marlin a bit. I switched over the better wheels from the Mullet, as well as the disc brakes. Now the bike stops on a dime. And I had them add a rear rack, so that I can carry my chain saw for doing trail work.
I also asked them if they could do something about my rear brake cable. In the two months I'd been riding the new Marlin I'd noticed a recurrence of a problem that I'd had on the Mullet - the rusty rear brake cable. The cables are partially exposed on both bikes, and run below the top tube of the bike, where they go back into the cable sleeves to head to their respective destinations. That leaves a tiny opening for moisture to get into the ends of the cable sleeves and cause mischief.
This probably wouldn't be a problem for 99.9% of people but for me it was. That is because I 'perspire freely' - that is I sweat like a lawn sprinkler when I exert myself. And with the opening of that cable sleeve directly in the drip line I was constantly introducing salt water to the cable as well as the sleeve end. Within a month of getting the new Marlin I was experiencing the same problem - the cable was rusting and binding inside the sleeve, so the rear brakes were working poorly.
On the Mullet I'd had the sleeve replaced and put in a teflon coated cable to help avoid the problem. And I upped the maintenance of this area in an effort to keep things working smoothly. But on the Marlin I wanted to eliminate this problem once and for all. So the shop put on a one-piece sleeve that covers the cable from the handle bars all the way back to the rear brakes. Problem solved!
|My Marlin with new wheels, disc brakes and rack.|
As far as outdoors adventures go, things changed from the first half of the summer. The pattern of weather that brought rain to us every three days has changed, and although we aren't dry by any means there is enough time between rains for the trails to dry out some. Of course that means the creeks are too low for kayaking, but I'll take what I can get. I've been able to get in several rides on my local trails at West Branch State Park, plus some rides over at Moraine in Pennsylvania. Add to that a bunch of rail trail riding, several trail work days, and a camping expedition in the rain with Diana and things start to look a little busier.
|Diana braving the mist at Seneca Point overlook in Cooks Forest, PA.|
|The morning view from our campsite at Mountwood Park, WV.|
|Two tortoises that were hanging out right on the trail at Mountwood Park, WV.|
|Boardwalk trail at a fern gully in Mountwood Park.|
|A Packard hot rod.|
|Western Reserve Greenway in Ashtabula County.|