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Thursday, December 29, 2022

Review: What if? 2

 I queued up for What if? 2 as soon as the library's digital queue opened. In many ways, it's a great book for fans of What if?  In other ways it was a bit disappointing. This time, it seemed like he picked questions that weren't nearly as interesting as the ones in the previous book (such as, what if you filled the solar system with soup). In some cases, he has entire filler chapters that are filled with questions, but no answers, or at most a small cartoon as an answer.

Nevertheless, the answers that were in the book are still well researched, entertaining (when there are answers), and full of jokes. Bowen turned up his nose at the book at first but I loaded it onto a kindle for a car trip and he found himself reading it.


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

2022 Spanish Virgin Islands: Esperanza to Bahia de Isla Chiva

 I looked through the guidebook and realized that there was an anchorage we had bypassed on the way to Esperanza, which was Bahia de Isla Chiva, which supposedly had good snorkeling. Sure, we'd have to do some motoring, but after the long day yesterday and dropping off Niniane and Dan this morning, we could go there, drop anchor, and check it out. If we found it good, we could stay there, otherwise we could sail to Point Arenas and not be worse for where.

Dropping Niniane and Dan off turned out not to be so dramatic --- despite the luggage (and they'd taken a lot of the non-perishables off our hands), when the dinghy wasn't loaded with extraneous people (i.e., my family), once they could get Niniane and Dan off they could just hand the luggage over without any drama or even tying the dinghy to the dock! So after all that, the dinghy was back on the Yamuy's davits by 9:30am, and we motor'd over to Bahia de Isla Chiva.

We were the only boat at that location, so we anchor'd in about 15' of water over seagrass, and then jumped in with mask, snorkel and fins to check our work. There was a surprising amount to see, starting with a starfish that had parked itself over our anchor chain, and then a barracuda had settled in near the island. The snorkeling was mediocre compared with past experiences, but with the water this churned up there's only so much you can do. Still it took a good hour to do all the snorkeling we wanted to do before it was lunch time.
After lunch, I paddleboarded Boen to shore, but immediately realized that it was too hard, and when returning to the Yamuy, declined to paddleboard Bowen over. We swam instead as I noticed that despite giving me a headstart, Arturo made it to the beach snorkeling faster than I could paddleboard. Swimming a shore was fine, and the kids enjoyed the beach while we walked along it.
The beach was popular, being less than half an hour's drive from Esperanza, and we met some fairly large groups, but they would all disappear around 4pm, since most of them had a bioluminescent tour to go to! Arturo had wanted to snorkel on the Western end of the point, but it looked so rough that I talked him out of it. He did find a pair of shoes that were his size and were abandoned though! At around 4pm, clouds appeared over the island and we swam back to the Yamuy.

We debated what to do the next day. The charter company recommended spending the night at Punta Arenas, but sailing back all the way to Isla Palominos was a possibility, though it was likely to be crowded and noisy with parties. We saw that Icacos was also a possibility, but if you got there and conditions were unpleasant you didn't have a lot of choices left. We decided to just sail to Punta Arenas and have a look.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

2022 Spanish Virgin Islands: Culebrita to Esperanza, Vieques

 We woke up early on thanksgiving sail determined to sail. The sail from Culebrita to Esperanza was mostly a beam reach followed by a run, and after having to motor the first half of our trip we were determined to make do without fossil fuels as much as possible this day. With an early breakfast, we swam around a bit to see if there was anything to the reef behind the boat, but all we saw was turtles, which were still great.

Once out of the point around Culebrita and headed east, we hoisted the sail, discovering that the sail ties instead of the zippers around the sail covers were a pain to untangle. With the motorized winch, however, getting the mainsail up was a snap, and soon we were reaching towards Vieques with a 10 knot wind, making 5 knots.

With a gradually strengthening wind, we soon made the 3 mile mark and could open the sewage tanks and dump the tanks. We were suspicious as the dumping of the tanks was quite obvious on one side but not the other. We would eventually figure out that this was because the leeward side pontoon's dump valves would be below water but the windward side wasn't, so you couldn't actually see it.

Sailing is a delight --- there's no engine noise, and on a beam reach you have plenty of speed. Nevertheless the crossing was rough enough that Arturo needed medication, which Mark fortunately had.
At Punta Este, we cleared the rocks and started heading West. This put the wind behind us, which calmed down the journey even further. The Yamuy didn't like sailing directly downwind, however, and all our efforts to sail wing-and-wing came to naught. The entire Eastern half of the south coast of Vieques is off limits, since it was once run by the navy and there could be unexploded ordnance to snag the anchor. We sailed pasts all the harbors until we reached Esperanza, where we spotted the Pier (said to be good snorkeling), and dropped anchor. We identified that we were short a few gallons of water, and there were more groceries we wanted to buy, so after lunch, hoping that a supermarket would be open, we dropped the dinghy off its davits and proceeded to the Esperanza dinghy dock.
The Esperanza Pier was obviously not a site to park the dinghy, but the "dinghy dock" so to speak was in bad shape. The pier itself looked like the frame had been taken apart for parts, and the dock wasn't low enough to step off the dinghy onto the pier. We'd have to have multiple people gripping the dinghy, while Dan the climber and Mark would knot tie it up. We would eventually figure out that the right way to do this was to get people off the dinghy before trying to tie it up. I was not looking forward to doing this in the dark for our bioluminescent tour!
Esperanza didn't look like a town with anything other than hotels and supermarkets. Despite being Thanksgiving day, there was a surprising number of boutique hotels and tourists in town! With our luck the way it was, we visited all 4 supermarkets and it was the last one that was opened. We bought ice cream, and more provisions and water, and somehow there was an avocado in the grocery bag at checkout so I paid for it. We couldn't figure out who had put it there, and eventually it was decided that some previous customer had decided against it at the last minute and I'd just unfortunately assumed that it was one of us.
Back at the Yamuy, Arturo had time to snorkel to the pier, but upon coming back he said, that you would only do it for exercise. I didn't feel the need to exercise, but a rainbow came up and it looked gorgeous. Of course, we were immediately showered by a raincloud as it swept over us.

Dinner was the traditional turkey - presented vegetable plate, and Arturo pulled out the stop to make a paella with what we had. The sunset was gorgeous, but I knew I had to dig out the flash light for that night time landing at the "dinghy dock." The cruising guide said that Esperanza was trying to be a yachting destination, but without improving the dinghy dock there was no way I'd go for a repeat visit!

Nevertheless, we all made it safely to shore in the dark, and did Abe's Bio Bay tour. Arturo had done previous bioluminescence tours and told us to set our expectations low ,but it was magical --- mosquito bay truly had the best bioluminescence anyone in the party had seen --- you'd dig your kayak paddle into the water and it would light up with a ghostly light. You could cup your hands into the water and blow it and it would sparkle. You could splash the water and it would light up when it fell back in. I was stunned and amazed and wished it lasted longer. Apparently thje bans on swimming and anchoring were fairly recent --- one of the hurricanes had caused mosquito bay to lose its bioluminescence for months, and not knowing how to bring it bad, they just banned everything until it came back. We have no footage or photos of this tour because none of the equipment we had could see the bioluminescence. You'll just have to see it yourself. And now we understood why there were so many tourists and boutique hotels in Esperanza --- there was no ferry that ran after the tours, so everyone who came to do a bio bay tour had to stay for the night!

We made it back to the boat by around 9:00pm, got everyone asleep. This was the last night Niniane and Dan would be on the boat, but we had no particular plans for the next few days so we knew we could take our time the next morning. It was too cloudy for star gazing anyway, so the kids got to go to sleep early.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Review: Mythos

 Mythos is Stephen Fry's retelling of Greek Mythology. If you've read anything by Stephen Fry, you can hear the voice coming through, with lots of stories about the Titans, Pandora's box, all told in a modern fashion, with lots of remarks and references and footnotes. It's incredibly readable and I thoroughly enjoyed it, learning about all the minor tales that I somehow didn't know, as well as a retelling of well known stories. Fry doesn't hold back from all the craziness the Greeks attributed to the gods. Well worth my time. Recommended.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

2022 Spanish Virgin Islands: Punta Del Soldado to Ensenada Honda

 In the morning, we complained about the mooring ball knocking against the hull all  night. We'd barely gotten the boys into the water when the dive boat showed up! We swam over to it with our dive cards, and they told us that our first dive would be right there in Punta Del Soldado! On that dive, Arturo spotted a lobster (which I didn't see), and Niniane found a shark!

The second dive was at the same place we had anchored out on our first arrival to Culebra, where the dive boat tied up at a mooring buoy marked "Dive only" Despite killing a lion fish and trying to use it to bait a shark, we never found the shark the dive guide was trying to lure out. It was a nice dive anyway.

When we got back to the Yamuy, Dan announced that the referigerators were no longer powered. A flurry of texts back and forth had us removing panels, swapping fuses, and all sorts of other shenanigans trying to get it to get fixed and stay fixed, but eventually we discovered that just turning off the freezer would let the refrigerator work. Sail Caribe offered to come over late the next morning with a refrigerator, but since we wanted a quieter less rollicking night that night anyway, we decided to just visit the town of Dewey from Ensenada Honda and reprovision with food that didn't demand a freezer.

We motor'd into Ensenada Honda, and dropped anchor right in front of the romantically named Pirate's Blight, dropped the dinghy off the davits, and motor'd to town with garbage and so on in a hurry, since the grocery stores were about to close. We pulled into the dinghy dock where Boen got his ice cream so we could be "customers', while Arturo, Niniane and Dan provisioned the boat with canned food. We would have stayed for dinner, but we needed to eat everything in the freezer that was about to go bad!

That night, we ate everything in the freezer --- the seafood, the sausages, and the remaining burgers. The star gazing was surprisingly good in Ensenada Honda, since we were far enough away that there wasn't extreme light pollution. There was even some bioluminescence!

On anchor, in a very sheltered harbor, we finally had the quiet peaceful night everyone wanted and needed!

Friday, December 23, 2022

2022 Spanish Virgin Islands: Ensenada Honda to Culebrita

 We got up early, wanting to sail at first light. Well, sail was the wrong word. There was still sufficient weather from the East that prolonging the 45 minute motoring to Culebrita into a 2-3 hour sail seemed ill-advised.  Indeed, making our way out, we were greeted by a storm that gave us rainbows later after it passed us.

Arturo and I looked around for good anchorages and potentially good snorkeling for after Culebrita. The guidebooks had recommended the hike to the lighthouse, as well as the Jacuzzi hot springs on the north side of the island, but wrote that the snorkeling was only good on the side of the island with no good anchorages.  There was said to be good snorkeling near Playa Zoni, but it looked like questionable anchoring,  being so exposed. The most promising anchorage seemed to be Bahia de Almodovar, but that would require backtracking.

Arriving at Culebrita, the Bay had quite a few boats, but there was one obvious parking spot in the middle of the Bay between a few boats so I anchored there, calling for 55' of anchor chain but by the time we were done it was more like 70'. We settled there and its seemed like a nice spot. Mark wasn't feeling good, so he decided to skip the first excursion, but the rest of us decided to go hike to the lighthouse.

The kids resisted, but Boen finally agreed to be ferried to the beach via paddleboard, which I'd yet to use on the trip, so I did that, landing the paddleboard on the beach. Xiaoqin decided to stay and take care of him.

Hiking on Caribbean islands rarely impresses me, but the lighthouse hike was surprisingly good. There were lots of hermit crabs, and the hike had more wild butterflies flitting about the trail than any hike I'd been on. The lighthouse at the top was broken down and the lighthouse tower unsafe to climb, but there was a weather station which was a great place to get a panoramic view of the area.

After we got back I swapped with Xiaoqin and she hiked up to the lighthouse while I dealt with Boen. Actually, Boen wanted to return to the boat, so I paddleboarded him back to the Yamuy, where Mark had turned off the generator after filling the water tanks with fresh water. I then walked over to the Jaccuzzis for the view, destroying my Keen Newport sandals in the mean time. I would discover that Keen had switched to an "eco-friendly" glue, which would cause sole separation after only a limited use. I really liked Keen sandals but this experience will keep me from buying any more Keen sandals for the foreseeable future.
After all the exploration, we went back to the boat for a sandwich lunch. By this time Mark was feeling better. From the top of the weather station we had seen the "snorkeling beach", and it looked like fantastic snorkeling, so we arranged an expedition to do so. This time, I ferried the kids back to the beach on the paddleboard, but then swam this time as our plan was to snorkel. It turned out that the lone mooring ball in the bay was marked "dinghy only", but it probably was too much trouble to get out the dinghy for the short distance.
The snorkeling beach was a bust. The surf had churned it up so there was no visibility and the waters so rough that I scraped myself getting near the reef. We abandoned the idea, though Mark did end up going to the lighthouse and the Jaccuzi.
We were told that turtles were easy to see on the far end of the beach near the Jaccuzzis hiking trail, and indeed, I spotted no more than 4 turtles there. After 4pm, boats started leaving the Bay, and while there were still 3 boats that would overnight there, things got a lot quieter, and we had a nice quiet dinner followed by star gazing and some luminescence observations. There was no question of moving the boat --- it was unlikely that we would find a better spot to hang out overnight. The star gazing was great, with the lighthouse beacon on the weather station pointing East and therefore not interfering with our night vision. Culebrita was indeed a hidden jewel of the area.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Review: The Story of the Tour de France 2019

 I was a big fan of McGann's previous Story of the Tour de France, and when I saw they had a report of the 2019 tour for about $2, I tried it. It turns out that a format that works  in long form when you collect about 20 year's of racing history doesn't work when it's just one year. It reads like a long Velonews article, and you're left without sufficient context year after year, which was one of the best things about their collections.

My guess is, when they have collected enough updates for 20 years they'll publish it all in one volume. At that point it would be worth your time to read/buy that volume. Until then, I'm staying away from these annual updates. Not only is the price bad, without sufficient context there's just no point.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

2022 Spanish Virgin Islands: Punta Grand Tamarindo to Punta Del Soldado

 The morning found everyone refreshed and free from sea-sickness. Niniane had a work related call from 9 in the morning, so I moved the boat from the north side of Punta Grand Tamarindo to the south side just so we could see different things. The snorkeling was indeed better on the south side, and we had a grand old time.

After her call was over, I asked the crew if they wanted to explore Cayo Luis Pena, the south side of which supposedly had good anchorage. Nobody disagreed, so I moved the boat there using the motor, since it was too close to bother sailing. We pulled up to a mooring ball and tied up. A motor boat came in carrying divers. "Hey Arturo, you can swim over to the dive boat and see if they will take us diving tomorrow!"

Arturo swam over, and sure enough, they were willing to meet us here tomorrow at 10:00am. I pulled a playbook out of my bicycle touring bag of tricks and negotiated them down to 9:30am so we could have time to move the boat to another spot the next day and do some snorkeling. We did some snorkeling, walked on the beach, and had lunch.

After lunch, however, Mark pointed out that the boat was encountering quite a bit of swell. We had two choices --- anchor closer in to shore (not advised because there was coral that we could damage), or change locations. I made the call to change locations and we released our mooring ball and motor'd over to Punta Del Soldado, hoping against hope that the swells would die down there.

Indeed, the swells were much reduced, but upon doing a dive check of the mooring ball we discovered that the pennant line was too long and was causing the line to move under one hull. We redid the moor directly onto the mooring ball and that solved the problem, allowing us to do more snorkeling. We called Aquatic Adventures to make sure they could pick us up from Punta Del Soldado and they said no problem, and then proceeded to do more snorkeling.

The location indeed had great snorkeling, though it also had a number of jelly fish, which put Bowen and Boen off getting into the water. I actually had one tap me on my shoulder but fortunately I was wearing my rashguard. We also saw a ray and starfish, as well as a coral farm.

Right at the end of the day, Arturo and I found a Spotted Drum, unusual because they're nocturnal and not easy to see. This one was very shy but Arturo managed to get a good photo!
Dinner was BBQ hot dogs! We went to sleep early and discovered to our dismay that because we'd tied directly to the mooring ball, it would tap against the hull of Arturo's cabin and wake him up on occasion. In retrospect we should have moor'd at the other mooring ball, but we weren't about to run a fire drill in the middle of the night. No matter what, it was still quieter and better sleep than a land-based hotel.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Review: Gran Turismo 7

 I didn't set out to play Gran Turismo 7. What happened was that I found a good deal on a Thrustmaster T150 for $100. Since I had a collection of racing games from PS Plus, I got it, installed it on a desk, and played Dirt 5 with the kids. Dirt 5 was a lot of fun, but the throttle kept slipping under me, and Dirt 5 had such a strong force feedback that the steering wheel would actually vibrate loose from its clamp and come off!

Pengtoh suggested that I got a FGT-lite racing chair, which looked expensive, but would solve a lot of these problems. The darn thing took me 2 hours to put together on a summer evening, dripping with sweat. It was heavy and solid but required quite a bit of tweaking to get positioning right. Once you got it setup, you never wanted to move it and I never successfully folded it. Worse, while getting it setup once in a while I would knock one thing or another out of alignment and in the middle of a game I'd fall over!

At the end of a month, Xiaoqin asked me to send it back and I didn't argue. It took another hour to take it apart and then I had to drive it to the UPS store to return it but I didn't regret it. The thing might be useful if you had a dedicated video game room, but it was simply too difficult to fold.

Finally, I got the Playseat Challenge. This wasn't a heavy duty chair, and was considerably lighter and easier to put together. It's so light that when you flip up the steering wheel to get in or out of the chair if you didn't stabilize it with your hand or body weight the chair would flip over! But this one folds nicely, and comes with a velcro strap that keeps everything together neatly. I can get it to fit myself or Boen properly, and it handles up to a 200 pound weight limit.

OK, was the steering wheel worth it? The answer is yes. I don't really enjoy racing games but this setup actually made them worth playing. When there was a Gran Turismo sale on the playstation store I picked it up and had fun --- you can actually tell the difference between cars from the feedback on the steering wheel, which is very impressive. I'm never going to buy a sports car, so this is much cheaper than the real thing. In fact, I even finished the single player campaign (called "Menus") and watched the post-game credits. It's been a long time since I actually got around to finishing the video game, so that says alot about how much fun it was.

And Boen at least enjoys it.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

2022 Spanish Virgin Islands Index Page

 From Nov 20th to Nov 27th, my family, Arturo, Mark, Niniane, and Dan chartered a 420 Lagoon Catamaran out of Puerto Del Rey Marina and motor'd and sailed the islands of Culebra, Culebrita, and Vieques, which are usually collectively known as the Spanish Virgin Islands. This is the index page, collecting the photos from the trip as well as a day by day trip report.


Trip Report

Friday, December 16, 2022

What I learned from 32 years of cycling

 I first started cycling seriously in 1990, when I was an intern at Bellcore and had totaled a car that I had bought for $200. The bike was a Shogun, too big for me, but I rode it to work every day, and rode it on weekends. When I graduated and got a real job I got myself a Bianchi Eros and rode that a lot too!

Over the years, I've ridden quite a few bicycles, including tandems, mountain bikes, and various touring bikes. Cycling is, as someone once wrote, a marriage between a body which is somewhat adaptable, and a machine that's somewhat adjustable. But the psychology of the cyclist is actually just as important, if not more so than either the machine or the physical aspects. A bicycle that's fun to ride hard will entice you to ride harder and more often. Frequently people buy bicycles for resale value or for trails or conditions that they'll never ride (or learn to tackle). It's far better to buy a bicycle optimized for smooth roads and only switch to mountain or gravel bikes if you find yourself riding them.

For instance, I learned that while I was a good enough mechanic to fix most parts of the bicycle, and even build wheels, it's not something I enjoy. It's something I'm frequently forced to do so since many professional mechanics aren't even as qualified as I am, despite being more practiced. Many people buy bicycles and do not ride them, and the enthusiasts who pour money into cycling will buy new bikes every 2-5 years, while I tend to retain the same bicycle (and even components) for decades or longer whenever possible. That makes me a very bad fit for the bicycle market. So, for instance, that means that ball bearing hubs which require an overhaul every 2000-5000 miles have a TCO much higher than sealed bearing hubs. Despite owning the tools and requisite skills to do my own overhaul, the pre-load adjustment faff of a ball bearing hub meant that I almost never did my own overhaul, paying a bike shop $30 per overhaul once a year or so.

Similarly, the expensive bottom brackets like Phil Woods just wouldn't get maintained either, and once they needed maintenance, you needed an expensive tool to press the bearings out and install new ones. By comparison, the DuraAce BB cost $40, install without hassle, and when they die (in about the same time as the expensive BBs), are easy to replace. On wheels, sealed bearings almost never die! The only wheel part I ever had die on me were the freehub mechanisms on DuraAce 7700 rear hubs (which are made of titanium and nearly impossible to source!), and the Freehub on the Phil Wood touring rear hub, which cost $300 to replace (and Phil Wood refused to honor their lifetime warranty --- the new owner definitely does not believe in preserving the reputation of the company!).

Cycling is incredibly fashion driven, so over the years I went from being the person showing up at rides with the widest tires (Michelin 25mm, which actually measured 26mm or more) to being the person with the skinniest tire (Continental GP5000 25mm, which measured 25mm). The "gravel bike" revolution isn't bad though --- now you can get high quality tires in 40mm or more, and while I don't always appreciate the roads I used to ride in solitude now having lots of cyclists using them, all cyclists are always better than a car driver.

Many modern "upgrades" such as electronic shifting, disc brakes on road bikes, tubeless tires, and even indexed shifting do nothing to improve the performance or enjoyment of the bicycle, but rather make the bike harder to maintain and subject to unpredictable failures, such as the batteries running out on electronic shifters. I avoid those to the extent possible. Some upgrades, however, can get to the point where a phase change suddenly makes what used to be burden something worth using. One example is that the increase in the number of gears on the rear wheel went from 5 to 9 or 10, all it did was make the rear wheel weaker, as the range of the gears available didn't change all that much. However, when SRAM introduced the 11 speed wide range cassette for mountain bikes with the 11-50 cassette, suddenly you could eliminate the front derailleur while getting a close to identical range of gearing for the bike. At the point it was worth upgrading since a simpler drivetrain wasn't just lighter, it was also more ergonomic and eliminated the unreliable front derailleur. Even for such upgrades I usually would stick to the old tried and true system for a bit longer to give the prices a chance to drop and for potential issues to surface.

There are people who claim that for instance, triple cranksets with front derailleurs are pretty reliable, but they've never been problem free for me. A lot of it is that typical triple setups seem geared towards a 30/40/52 crankset, while I would want the lowest possible gear so I'd go for a 24/39/50 crank. The reality was that this meant that I was running the front derailleur out of spec, so would encounter problems others who didn't ride as low a gear did. In practice, the 50/11 gear almost never got used, so giving up the high gear was the right thing to do when it comes down to switching drivetrains.

I discovered that I enjoy bicycle touring enough to try to do a big tour every year, and love it enough to have written a book on it. The book sells badly, but I have a fondness for it that I don't have for my more successful books. I discovered that I don't like carrying lots of weight on the bicycle even though I've done it a lot. I even bought a triplet so I could carry the kids along, and it was a relief to me that my kids actually enjoy it, never opting to take the train when they have the opportunity to ride. (Though I did learn early on that if they had a sag wagon they would avail themselves of it more often than not!) To be honest they travel better than many adults, never complaining about rain or the difficulties of the day. They finish each day with plenty of energy.

People ask me about ebikes on occasion. I've learned that batteries are the hardest to maintain component on a bicycle. If you use them they wear out and die. If you don't use them, they wear out and die. Sometimes even if you only use them once in a while they break. It's a lot of hassle --- my suspicion is that unless you were an enthusiastic cyclist, an ebike won't make you one and you'll end up driving.

I learned that I really like the geometry of Grant Petersen's bikes. Grant pays more attention to how bicycles ride than most designers. His designs over the years have evolved for the better from an already high standard. I still want to tweak his geometries. For instance, because I ride clipless pedals and he doesn't, I want a BB still lower than what he's willing to use. For a road bike with 25mm tires I want a 80mm BB drop, and he'll go for 75. For a gravel bike with 40mm tires he'll spec an 8cm BB drop, and I think I'd go with 85mm. This sounds minor but when I ride I notice the difference.

I've learned that I'm not sensitive to saddles in general. I went from an Avocet saddles to Brooks B-17s (which never needed breaking in for me) and to Ritchey WCS saddles. The B-17s could last me 10 years before they "broke in" too much to be comfortable, but then I started riding tandems and 2 years of butt sweat would destroy the saddle, so I switched and discovered that the lighter (and more durable) saddles were just as comfortable as the B-17s.

Despite having ridden for 32 years, I'm still learning more about cycling on every ride. Hopefully I'll be cycling for another 32 years!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Thinking about Frame Geometry

 I spend too much time thinking about bike geometry. Not just that, specifically, the geometry of a single "road" bike. I put "road bike" in quotes because unlike many others, I ride my road bikes every where --- road, off road, loaded, unloaded, and I'm not opposed to carrying my bike if I have to and walking. I suppose I could use Jan Heine's "All Road" terminology. In any case, what I'm coming to realize is that the geometry of your bike probably needs to be customized to a degree most bike builders don't consider.

When I first got a bike that fit me in 1992, Terry Shaw put me on a 55cm Bianchi Eros. I used that bike for commuting, touring, and running errands. It was a nice, neutral handling bike that was perfect for beginners. Once I tried a Bridgestone RB-1, however, all the other bikes just feel wrong. I loved the responsiveness of the geometry (73.5 headtube with a 45 off offset for a 54mm trail with a 25mm tire), and the wide tire clearance meant it was truly versatile. Sure it wasn't designed for carrying a heavy load, but what I've since realized is that touring with as light a load as possible is far more fun anyway. One of the interesting things about trail nobody thinks about is that when you increase the tire size, the trail increases, which is exactly what you want whenever you need those wide tires --- slower steering.

What's funny about bikes is how fashion driven it is. I regularly rode 700x25 tires, and from 1995 to about 2008, I'd get people commenting about how I was being unnecessarily conservative in choosing "wide" tires. Everyone else was riding 700x23 (I did for a while, since the Michelin Hi-lite comps were $12 each, which was a bargain). Nowadays, you see people riding 700x42mm tires, and when touring in Europe, I'd get people commenting that I couldn't possibly be riding a particular bike path since my tires weren't wide enough.

I recently purchased a Rivendell Roadini to serve as a backup bike, and it's easy to see how different it is. It's got a significantly longer trail than my custom touring bike, but still manages to feel responsive. The BB, however, is higher (13mm higher), and I definitely feel that when descending. This comes from 2 places: first, the wider tires, and secondly, Grant Petersen designs his bike for people riding platform pedals, which don't have as much ground clearance as clipless pedals. There'll be lots of people who write about how BB height doesn't matter, but then I read Dave Moulton on the bike he designed for himself and how low BBs were in the early days of his riding:

While out training after dark, and coasting down hill; we would sometimes lower our heel so the steel tip made contact with the road, sending out a shower of sparks. A pretty spectacular visual effect, especially if several riders did it together.

Note that these were racing bikes, people who would certainly pedal around corners. Notice how by contrast, modern "gravel bikes" have gone the other way, with much higher BB heights (and reduced BB drops). Now some of those bikes are designed for 650B wheels, which are smaller and hence need to have higher BBs to clear obstacles, but the Specialized Diverge, for instance, has an 80mm BB drop and can run both 650B and 700c wheels. (Note that people do complain about the low BB) Another interesting titbit from Moulton's blog is that he off-handedly mentions that he managed to convince Reynolds to let him brass braze 753 frames (which are supposed to be silver brazed for lower temperature) because of his developed brass brazing technique.

Again, a lot of this is dependent on the kind of riding you do. If you frequently have to climb obstacles and jump them, I think a higher BB makes sense. But to be honest how many people do you see do that? I'm a decent bike handler, and many times ride trails that rarely see gravel cyclists. An occasional hit to the pedals doesn't do any damage (I've done it a lot on my single and my tandem --- just keep pedaling --- it's not the end of the world!), and while I've broken frames, none of those broken frames have ever been attributable to off-pavement riding.

To my mind, you have to design a bike's geometry for the size of tires you plan to run. If an 80mm drop is useful for 25mm tires, then raising the size of the tire to 40mm, you'd need the drop to be increased by about 15mm, so a 95mm drop. Now you might argue that a manufacturer can't stop someone from putting 25mm tires on a bike designed for 40mm tires, so maybe you can't go that low, but I'd argue that an 85mm drop wouldn't be extreme given that fewer riders are now using anything less than 28mm tires. Again, this doesn't apply to cyclists riding 650B wheels --- you'd have to do different computation.

Note that the lower the BB, the longer your chainstays will be for a given wheelbase. That also affects handling --- Dave Moulton will say that you'd need to stiffen chainstays so they don't flex as much. In any case, there's not much experimentation with frame geometry nowadays --- some of that is attributed to the same factory churning out frames for many different manufacturers. The other is that for better or worse, many people just get used to the bikes they buy off the shelf and don't think hard about how they could be improved.

I guess one of the big reasons why Grant Petersen has been so successful is that he's one of the few who's actively experimenting with frame geometry over the years, something that almost no one else is doing. His bicycles don't ride like anyone else's as a result, and even his imitators like Soma frequently miss the point of his bikes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

2022 Spanish Virgin Islands: Puerto Del Rey Marina to Punta Tamarindo

 After a bad night of sleeping, we woke up and ate the rest of the food we'd bought, packed up, and headed down to the lobby to checkout. After hearing me complain about the fire alarms and the loud parties, the resort took $100 off our checkout fee. It turned out that Niniane didn't have room in her car anyway, so Arturo and Mark converged into our lobby. When Niniane turned up with her car, Arturo realized that with some judicious rearrangement of luggage he could fit in it, so the ride was just us and Mark.

It rained pretty hard on the way to the marina, but once we got there the weather was nice. The marina was huge and heavily trafficked, and to get us from the parking lot to the boat the charter company supplied a trolley! The trolley was big enough to take all of us, plus it also had a trailer large enough for all of our luggage AND provisions.

The Yamuy was a Lagoon 420 Catamaran with 4 cabins, 2 v-berths, very little lazarette space, an AC, and a water maker but a tiny 73 gallon water tank. We selected cabins and tested everyone for COVID19, and was relieved when everyone was negative. We loaded all the provisions and luggage into the boat and unpacked, and then the boat briefing started.

The boat briefing was surprising --- this was the first boat where we weren't told to check the engines and generator oil every morning. That meant the boat had a relatively new set of diesel engines and generators or the charter company was full of confidence that their regular maintenance intervals would catch all problems. We were told that the water maker was finicky, and told that under no circumstances were we to tow the dinghy behind the catamaran. We were told never to let the B&G marine GPS update, and told to be patient for it to go through its reboots when starting up. People complain a lot about Garmin's software, but trust me, B&G is much much worse!

The chart briefing was similarly cursory. We were told that all the places that were crossed off on the chart were disallowed, and told that the best snorkeling was on Culebra on the West side of the island. We asked about our first night and they said we could sail to Isla Palominos, which was close but would be full of boats and people partying, or we could just motor all the way to Culebra, which was 2 hours away, and get the painful beating into the wind/waves over with right away. Since we weren't interested in parties, the latter was an obvious decision.

The boat looked like it was going to be in good shape, though we would learn later that sail deployment and furling would be a pain in the neck. The water tank was topped off, and then we were taken to the fuel dock to top up the fuel tank, which should have been topped off by the previous person who chartered the boat, but wasn't. After puzzling over it, the charter company crew finally realized that the last person who took the boat out was the owner!

With that, we were off! We beat directly into the wind with the engines going at full cruising speed. I was prepared for a rough crossing, and thanks to my ancestors who'd sailed all the way from China to Malaysia I never ever got sea sick, but to my surprise nearly everyone else did. Mark had taken his drugs and so was OK, and Bowen was fine as well, but Boen threw up, which is really unusual. Others looked kinda green, so it was with relief when we pulled onto the mooring ball at Punta Grand Tamarindo.
We got into the water, which wasn't crystal clear because recent storms had churned it up. I would have been dismayed if I'd known that this was as good as it got! The flip side of the Spanish Virgin Islands being relatively untouristed is that nobody shared a Bay with us for the first few nights.
It rained while we were in the water, but as one of my diving instructors once said to me, "it's not wet underwater!" Once you're already in the water, the rain doesn't do anything, and I got a few nice pictures of the boat in the rain.

Dinner was kept simple as everyone was exhausted --- hamburgers! The water on the boat was nice and warm from running the engines for so long, so everyone had a good shower.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

2022 Spanish Virgin Islands Prologue: San Jose to San Juan Puerto Rico

 We rose at 5:00am, caught a ride to the San Jose Airport, and sailed through the TSA Pre check line. The flight from San Jose to Atlanta was fine, but the flight from Atlanta to San Juan was delayed for some unstated reason. We took the taxi to our rental condo, only to discover that the place was nothing as described --- the sofa bed wouldn't even fold flat. Xiaoqin immediately booked the resort hotel next door, and but it was too late in the morning to do much, so we just slept as it was.'

In the morning, I walked down to the 24 hour supermarket to buy instant noodles, which we had for breakfast. We set out to walk to the beach around 10:00am, but the most direct route walked us through the hotel! We walked to the hotel and asked for a checkin, expected to be told no, but instead, they checked us in right away and gave us our resort bands. The kids went to the beach and I walked several trips and moved the luggage from the inadequate condominium to the fancy resort hotel room.

After that, I had time to relax and do an open water swim near the beach. The water was too churned out so there was not much to see, but it still was more appealing than the huge hotel swimming pool. We ate a late lunch at the local Mexican place, relaxed at the hotel for an hour, and then walked over to the dinner location that Niniane had picked, where Arturo, Dan, and Niniane and us had dinner.

We planned for the next day's rendezvous. Niniane and Dan had valiantly bought all the provisions, and was still optimistic that she could fit Arturo, Mark, and their luggage into their car, but I had to plan to have an Uber XL, since I had a huge suitcase (which Arturo had kindly brought over to California for us using his copious luggage allowance). I asked the hotel taxi service how much to bring us to the marina, but they wanted much more than the Uber prices!

We tried to go to bed early after dinner, but the hotel had a wedding that night, complete with loud music and beach drums going thump thump thump all night making it hard to sleep. To add insult to injury, there was a problem with the hotel fire alarm system, which made it go off twice in the night. The hotel might have been more expensive but it was by no means any better for sleeping!

Monday, December 12, 2022

Review: Specialized RBX Knickers and Grail Gloves

 Specialized Men's RBX Knickers were on sale during the holidays so I bought a pair for $40. Wearing these keep your knees covered while not going all the way down to the socks for winter cycling in the Bay Area. They also eliminate the need to wear leg warmers, which have the tendency to slide down on long rides and eventually not cover your knees or thighs. I wouldn't have paid the full $80 for them, but at $40, these are a great deal and well worth using.

At the same time, the Men's HyprViz Body Geometry Long Fingered Gloves are for sale at $22.45. These are a bit finicky to get my hands into, and their color isn't as visible as I'd hoped, but once my hands were in them, they fit like a glove. I've tried a bunch of long fingered gloves in the past which claim that they'll work for touch screens. These are the first I've tried that actually live up to the advertisement.

Until December 15th, you get free shipping directly from specialized. Don't miss out. (the links above directly link to specialized and I don't get a kickback or affiliate money from them)

If you don't ride your bike in the Bay Area in winter, you're missing out. We have the best winter riding in the world --- the temperatures are cool enough that you can work as hard as you like and not sweat very much, and the air quality is always perfect. Even during the worst rainstorms there's always a couple of hours where you can get out and ride. Put a pair of clip on fenders (or in my case I only ever bother with the rear fender), and explore!

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Review: The Cuckoo's Egg

 I first read The Cuckoo's Egg way back in the 1990s, and recently someone referred to it and I figured why not read it again --- it's been so long since I'd read it it would be like a new book. And indeed it has been --- the process of detecting an intruder on a VAX, along with using physical paper printers to log his terminal without tipping him off, and even making phone calls to sysadmins all over the country in order to warn them of a security hole in their systems ---- these all ring true and probably to some extent still happens today.

What is dated are the stakes involved. The intruder turned out to be no particular people of any consequence, and weren't even selling secrets for that much money. (One of the incidents in the epilogue in the book, the Robert Morris worm, has no been long forgotten --- mention it today and nobody's likely to remember it) Today, security breaches regularly cost the identity of thousands of customers, maybe even millions, and even those might not make front page news.

What probably hasn't changed is how hard it is to get even the 3-letter agencies to do anything about an obvious intruder who's looking for defense-related information. Though after 9/11, that might have changed. In any case, the book's well written, a fascinating read, and a good reminder that when dealing with incidents like this, it's important to keep a logbook that's supported by evidence. Many times near the end of the book, the author, Cliff Stoll was told by others that his wasn't the first incidence of a security breach, but rather the first well-documented incidence!

Monday, December 05, 2022

Review: The Betrayal of Anne Frank

 I read somewhere that the mystery of who betrayed Anne Frank had been solved, and The Betrayal of Anne Frank is the book that explores the story and how it happened. Not having actually read Anne Frank's diary, I was very happy that the first couple of chapters delved into what happened and why, as well as the cultural significance of the book. I also learned many details about why it was important, for instance:

by the end of World War II, the Netherlands would have the worst record of Jewish deaths in Western Europe: 73 percent of Jews in the Netherlands died. In Belgium, 40 percent of Jews were killed; in France, 25 percent; in Denmark, .6 percent. In Fascist Italy, only 8 percent of Jews were killed (kindle loc 556)

 The book offers multiple competing theories about who betrayed Anne Frank, but points out a few intriguing details about the whole thing. For instance, there's a lot of evidence that Otto Frank, Anne Frank's father, figured out who it was who betrayed them, and then deliberately obfuscated accounts of the arrest process to cover the tracks of the person who betrayed them. Why would he do that? There's also evidence that he confided with one of his close friends (former employee) about the identity of the said betrayer.

Even more interestingly enough, one of the foundations that were founded by Otto Frank refused to help with the investigation!

There's obvious controversy over the conclusions drawn by the book, but having read it, I found the book's arguments convincing. But read the book and figure it out for yourself!

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Review: King Arthur - History and Legend

 I started watching King Arthur - History and Legend out of curiosity and got sucked in and ended up watching all 24 episodes on Kanopy. The lecture series started with a description of all the myths about the King Arthur of history that are in popular culture that probably never had any correspondence in history. That was enough for me to decide that it was worth listening to the rest of the series.

What was interesting, for instance, was how little we knew about the origins of the myth, and what was tacked on much later. So for instance, Lancelot was introduced by French writers and added to a myth that was borne across the water into Brittany by people who were escaping the invasions of Britan. Dorsey Armstrong would provide rules of thumb about how much time it takes to travel over water vs land, and noted that it meant that interaction between Wales and Brittany were much more frequent than between Wales and London!

The description of the King Arthur legend as a giant vacuum clean sucking in many unrelated stories from the Celts was a sticky concept that helps you remember that for instance, the story of Tristan and Isolde was probably from a completely unrelated origin that got attached to the King Arthur framework. So in some sense the Arthur legend was the original shared world universe created by writers.

It helps that the lecturer Dorsey Armstrong has good taste --- she calls Monty Python and the Holy Grail one of the best King Athur movies ever made. She praises Camelot 3000, a comic book series I read as a teenager that at that time seemed radical in its gender bending.

My major criticism of the work is that there were many places where I wanted better visual aids (such as in her description of Arthuriana in Medieval Art), but she never makes good use of the video medium to provide more detailed pictures of said art.

But regardless, it's an enjoyable watch and educational. Recommended.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Review: Energizer X400 Headlight

 I was looking for a headlight on my Roadini, and the Energizer X400 was onsale for about $10, which is even cheaper than my usual cheap Blitzu lights. It comes with a rechargeable tail-light as well, which will be useful for the kids' bike, and a dual-head USB cable - USB-A on one end, and twin micro-USB on the other, so you can charge both head and tail lights together.

The headlight mounts using a rubber clamp, and is easily adjustable, and stays put. I was impressed by how bright the light is --- it's definitely brighter than my old Bitzus, and bright enough that you can do a descent on the road with it. I also appreciate the beam pattern --- there's a cut-off at the top like many higher quality European lights which have to conform to European standards.

The light doesn't charge fast, but it's good for about an hour or so on full brightness, which is enough for any commute, but not enough if you're going to go out at night. On flashing mode it'll last pretty much forever.

The light will not hold a charge for 2 days. That means the best strategy is to keep the light on the charger until you need it. That's not a big deal for this light --- unlike other lights the mount is very quick to use.

I will note that Blitzu has upgraded their lights, and you can now get their USB-C rechargeable light for about $19. (The Energizer is $21 full price but frequently there's a coupon for $5 off, making it cheaper) If you're touring, the USB-C port makes it easier to travel without carrying more cable tips, so I think that's the way to go. But if you can replicate my $10 deal, I think the Energizer has a lot to stay for itself. Recommended.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Review: Spiderlight

 Spiderlight is Adrian Tchaikovsky's high fantasy novel. It's revolves around the small D&D dungeon party (complete with cleric, thief, paladin, ranger, and wizard) who attempts to rid the world of its current lord. The complication, for anyone who knows Tchaikovky's work, is that they need the help of a spider being to do it.

Most of the adventure is fun, with plot twists and unexpected (and expected) events turned on its head, including meeting people in inns, as well as an unexpectedly genre defying climax and conclusion that is a more than competent payoff for making it to the end of the book.

The characters are a bit cliche, and while they do develop a little bit, sometimes it feels as though they develop for purposes of the plot, rather than being organic.

Nevertheless, it's an easy short read that's worth your time. Recommended.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Putting together my Roadini

 After I broke my Ti frame in January, I decided that I should get a backup road bike. Anyone who's broken 2 titanium frames in around 12 years should probably have more than 1 road bike. Or at least, anyone who was completely unhappy about having to ride his mountain bike around for 2 months should have a backup.

I settled on the Rivendell Roadini. Other bicycles that were considered were either a Rock Lobster custom steel frame (and fork), or a R&E cycles Rainier. Both would have cost more, and while a A Homer Hilsen was available in May, I finally decided against that as well, not because of the cost, but because it used 135mm spacing and I only had 130mm wheels.  The Roadini had downtube shifters and I decided that I might as well take advantage of them.  I've had a long history of liking the way Grant Peterson's designs ride, and even though prices went up to $1300, considering the bike came with a headset, fork, and seatpost, I was happy to return to the Rivendell fold, after I'd sold my Heron Touring bike way back in 2008.

While waiting for the Roadinis to arrive, I built up or scavenged the parts:

When the frames arrived, I had a call with Will from Rivendell, and after realizing that I was going to put a drop bar on the bike he decided that the 54cm would work better for me than the 57cm frame. I didn't object --- a look at the geometry diagrams indicated that the 54cm was indeed a better match for my Strong ti frame than the 57cm would be. I would have a lot of seat post showing, but it looked normal to my 1990s-trained eyes.

The frame, fork, and headset weighed 7.1 pounds straight from Rivendell bicycle works. The bike after having built up and hung with a bottle cage and a topeak mini morph pump  (but no water bottle) came to 23 pounds even. By contrast the Strong ti bike was 20 pounds. (The Ti frame with headset and BB is 1540g), so just the frame and fork easily accounts for the 3 pound difference between bikes!

The frame  came without a frame cable guide, so I had to walk down to the local bike shop in the middle of the build to get a guide. To my surprise I had to use 2 KMC boxes of chains (these were the ones with 118 links each) --- I had to extract 2 links from the second box and use 2 sets of quick links to stitch enough chain to wrap around the derailleur and the biggest sprocket. The extra long 45cm chainstay definitely meant that you needed all that chain.

Shimano's 11s Duraace chains do come with 126 links, but I'm boycotting Shimano chains for being directional, which I consider to be an unnecessary burden --- you do not need a chain that can be put together wrong. Rivendell does sell 11s 130 link chains from FSA, but you can easily find SRAM PC-1110 11s chains for about $10 each, so in the long run that's probably cheaper.

I adjusted the stem height and the saddle height, and took it for a ride. The bike rides really nice off pavement, but I spent the first ride on the bike adjusting the seat post as it kept tilting up. It wasn't until I got home and used a really long handled allen wrench that I could torque down the seatpost clamp to the point where it would survive a ride of any length without coming out of adjustment. I suspect that I have to get a Thomson elite seatpost in order to get good behavior out of the bike.

To my disappointment, I measured the 700x30 tires on the front with calipers, and they came out to 27mm wide. The 700x28mm tires on the back did measure around 28mm.

The bike has a long front center, so as a result, even though my saddle to handlebar distance is the same on both bikes, my knee is significantly behind the pedal spindle on the Rivendell as compared to the Strong frame. In practice, this is no big deal, but I'd have to ride hard and compare both bikes to figure out if there's any difference in physiological efficiency.

Steel bikes have a riding resonance that's very different from titanium bikes. I find that when I ride a steel bike, there's a "ring" that emanates from the steel tubes of the  bike in a way that the titanium frame doesn't. It's not a good thing or a bad thing, but if you prefer steel frames that's most likely one of the reasons. Regardless, when I took the Roadini over the dirt road from Montebello over to Page Mill road, there was a surefootedness that definitely wasn't there on the titanium Strong frame. It could be the longer wheelbase or the wider tires. The bike, however, doesn't seem to climb as nicely standing up for short steep efforts --- it prefers for me to sit and spin. This might have something to do with the extra long chainstays.

The Diacompe shifter downtube shifter is responsive. A little nudge and the bike shifts. I have to over-shift a bit when shifting to lower gears. Again, it's something to get used to, but I definitely like how fast the bike shifts. The downtube shifter was a deliberate attempt to make the bike lighter, and to some extent I succeeded. Of course, that means that you have to move your hands low when you shift. Not a big deal, but you will shift less often.

When climbing, the Roadini feels fine. The "ring" I mentioned earlier offsets the heavier bike. Off pavement, the stability of the frame makes even deepish gravel feels rideable. Standing up though, the longer chainstays definitely makes you feel like the rear wheel is further away than on a shorter chainstay. Because Grant switched from a 73.5 head tube angle to a 72 head tube angle and increased the fork rake to 50mm, he was able to get the same geometric trail as my Carl Strong frame with a 73.5 head tube angle and 43mm rake. But the result of that change was that I have no toe-clip overlap. At low speed, I'd have to mount a much bigger tire or turn the wheel more than 90 degrees to get my toes to touch. Not that the toe clip overlap on the Strong frame ever bothered me --- I'm a good enough bike handler that touching the toes of my tire was just no big deal. But the Roadini can handle much larger tires and tighter turns at low speed as a result.

When descending, the Roadini is actually slower than my Strong frame. The extra 5mm of extra BB height doesn't feel as nice, and of course, I'm still not used to the bike so I may not be descending at my full potential.  I would later measure the BB and discover that it was 13mm higher off the ground than on my Strong --- 8 of those mm of additional height came from the tires! There are people who'd swear up and down that it's not humanly possible to feel the difference in BB height but for me the difference is night and day. I would later swap over the wheels from my Strong frame and with a 10.75" BB height the Roadini rides much better, so the increased BB height does affect how the bike feels quite a bit. With 25mm tires, the Roadini rides very nicely, but isn't as plush.

Upon braking, I was prepared for the longer armed Tektro 559 brakes to feel squishier, but they do not. They feel great and no worse than my standard reach caliper on my Strong frame. Part of it could be because I sprung for the super-expensive BC-9000 brake cables. I'd bought those because they got me over the free shipping limit for getting an extra pair of Specialized RECON 1.0 shoes. They were a little finicky to install but fortunately my cable needs were such that I had plenty of spare cable to screw up on. After using the Roadini for awhile I did a back to back comparison against my Strong frame and realized that I needed to do the same thing for my Strong --- the brakes felt so much better!

The SRAM 900 brake levers were great! I was leery at first since the Campy Record carbon brake levers were what were on my triplet and single, and I was worried that I wouldn't like the SRAM 900s. Turned out they're very comfortable. Even the strangely shaped levers that look like they're biased the wrong way turn out to be great.
Over time, as I rode the bike more, I got to appreciate the plush quality of the ride as well as the way it handles. Frequently riding the bike feels like riding on a leaf spring --- the bike removes chatter from rough roads and unpaved roads --- I set PRs coming down Fremont Older. I can definitely see myself riding the Stevens Canyon MTB track with a set of 700x38mm knobbies.

Needless to say, buying the Roadini was a good decision. It's given me sufficient data about how to get similar handling and correct some of the deficiencies of past designs, while giving me insight as to what I really like about bike geometry. After a week of riding I discovered a chip in the paint on the head tube which I didn't know how it got there. It's another reminder that I'm just not kind to bicycles and all sorts of damage appears that I don't know about. I want the frame to be lighter, not need paint, and I would like the BB drop to be lower, especially for using big tires. The chainstay could stand to be about 1cm shorter. But I'm not sure I'd change anything else about the bike!

I frequently have to remind myself that I'm very spoiled. I've ridden/test ridden many bicycles, but had the luck to ride a Grant Petersen designed bike early on, and have essentially been riding a variant of one of his bikes for much of my adult life. If you've never ridden a Grant Petersen design you owe it to yourself to ride one. He's a legend for good reason. The Rivendell Roadini is sure to be sold out completely by the time you read this, but it's worth the wait!