An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Finally got it all together

I’ve got a hard-tail mountain bike in the build queue.

I’ve been poised to start fabrication for a little while now. But there were a couple of (critical) hold-outs.

When I fabricate a frame, I usually start from the ends and work my way to the middle. The fork determines the location of the bottom of the head tube, so that has to come before the final jig set-up for the main triangle. When the fork is an “extra” part that can be swapped into the frame in place of a suspension fork, as is the case for most hard-tail mountain bikes, the crown dimension is known, so the frame and fork can be made separately, but…

When fab’ing the frame itself, I start with the assembly of the rear dropouts to the chainstays, and then that to the bottom bracket. Then that assembly goes into the jig and is joined to the seat tube, then the rest of the frame. But…

But there were three missing pieces: The fork steerer tube, the rear dropouts (all from the same company), and some jig cones for the oversize head tube.

I sourced the cones and they arrived fairly quickly. The other parts I had ordered in November… Where were they? I contacted the supply company, and somewhere between charging my credit card and the shipping department, the order was lost. They sent me a T-shirt in apology along with the parts.

So now it’s all together. Time to start making flakes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Lintaman gets it almost right

I was made aware via a post on BikeRumor of a new shoe offering by a company I'd seen once before, but had forgotten about.


Some time back, they had introduced a very adaptable road cycling shoe called the Adjust, which allowed the shoe to be adjusted (hence the name, I'm sure) to accommodate many nuances in foot shape.

Their new offering is in line with the minimalism concept from running and casual shoes, aptly named Minimal, and it's rather intriguing.
First off, the sole is flat. This is something that is virtually unknown in the cycling shoe world, for some unknown
reason. But it makes sense, at least to me. I look at Adam Hansen's home-made carbon shoes, and they also exhibit a flat bottom profile (as far as heel, ball, and toes).

Beyond that, the upper resembles more of a sandal than a shoe in the way it is held onto the foot. This aligns very closely to how I had conceptualized the shoes I was planning to make (some day).

The heel has an adjustment that allows the shoe to fit a wide range in each size, and as such Lintaman only offers this shoe in seven sizes.

The sole is slotted for a variety of cleat positions, from standard to very mid-foot.  
The only issue I have is the toe box shape. Like most shoes (with some notable exceptions being Altra and a few minimalist makes like Vivobarefoot and Topo), the bog toe is forced sideways, essentially creating bunions. It's a fashion nod that, frankly, is out of character for the shoe. 

It is nicely placed into the medium area of price (for cycling shoes), at $145.95, an area that may well entice me to try them, even with my misgivings about the toe box.

Kudos to Lintaman for venturing into this area.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Many bikes, one seatpost -- Cirrus Cycles Kinekt

Well, two seatposts, really. One being the carbon-shafted version.

But today I just had the thought that since March 8th, I've been riding exclusively on the Cirrus Cycles Kinekt seatpost, on four difference bikes. One road bike, and three off-pavement bikes.

It represents a little over 280 hours of riding over varying terrain, though mostly on gravel roads. Within that are five events, ranging from a road metric century to a two-day epic off-pavement tour.

I've made some efforts to keep them clean, making two small fenders that attach to the seatpost shaft just below the parallelogram linkage. Just enough coverage to keep the road spray at bay.

I'd posit that it's still a little early to properly judge the longevity of the Kinekt, but it's safe to say I'm well into the long-term test phase. 

All I can say about the Kinekt is that I'm beyond happy with the performance and comfort it profers. It's not that the Kinekt makes me faster in raw speed, but the comfort, the isolation from road buzz and the minor-but-constant small hits from gravel, mean less fatigue -- and that means more speed later, or slowing down less.

So far, the Kinekt seems to be as solid as day one, and I haven't babied them at all (well, other than keeping the grime away).

I'm no Charleton Heston, but you can have my Kinekt seatpost when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Quell the usurpers!

With Halloween just past, and today being All Saints Day, it was brought to my attention a petition to the White House to move Halloween.

To a Saturday.

And I had to laugh.

Just yesterday I had to elucidate a couple of my day-job cohorts in the history of just what Halloween is, and tradition of dressing up the kiddies in whatever ghoulish outfits they so desire.

Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows Evening (E’en in poet-speak). It’s the Christian vigil leading up to All Saints Day, a night of prayer and reflection, culminating in the celebration of the Saints the next day (today, November 1st).

But the traditions and timing come from the Pagan calendar, falling on Samhain (like Christmas falling on Yule, and Easter falling near Beltane). When the Christians were converting the Pagans, they found it easiest to not change the dates of their celebrations, just tweak what they were celebrating.

Now Samhain is the change-over from the light months to the dark months, where the veil between the world of the living and the dead thinned and could be crossed. The belief was that the dead spirits would pass through the veil into our world, seeking hospitality. People would also go from house to house, “guising” in costume and reciting verse or song in exchange for food. It was thought that they were personifying the spirits of winter, who demanded reward in exchange for good fortune. Other traditions held that the spirits who passed through the veil were seeking the living to take back with them. Disguising the children was a way to shield them from the attention of the spirits.

And so now there is a completely secular movement to wrest Halloween, All Hallows Eve, completely away from the usurpation of Samhain to All Saints Day. How many people who celebrate Halloween even know of the connection to All Saints Day OR Samhain?

But since "it's for the safety of the children" it'll probably gain enough traction to get to the White House.

Ironic, tragic, and so ignorant.

And completely laughable.

Friday, October 26, 2018

I’ve got a bee in my bonnet

A bur in my saddle.

A thorn in my side.

And whatever other metaphor you want to apply.

My shoe nerdiness is coming to the fore again, and I’ve got a thought that just won’t go away.

By way of explanation, I’ve grown very tired of shoes that assume I have bunions. And cycling shoes are the worst. At least with casual and running (even minimalist) shoes there are several options now that offer a properly shaped toe box that my toes aren’t forced sideways. But find something similar in a cycling shoe? Nada.
I must have really oddly shaped feet. Basically, I can draw a straight line from my heel to the ball of my foot, and continue on to my big toe. Is that really so strange? But what usually happens with a shoe that is shaped “normally” is that I end up with my little toe smashed into the outer portion of the toe box, while the ball area of the shoe ends up with a void. And that tends to pull the shoe upper away from the sole.

I've all but BEGGED Altra to make cycling shoes...

One of the last pair of Sidi shoes I've had was relegated to stationary trainer use due to being made full of holes. After some time I cut away the upper material over and around my bog toes to allow them more room. Even though my toes hung half-way out of the shoes, it was far more comfortable.

After feeling my big toes pressing into the show upper on one of my recent lunchtime rides, the bug bit. Hard.

Why not make my own cycling shoes? I’ve got a co-worker who is very experienced in composite materials and construction, and has expressed interest in building any of my cycling-related ideas. 

It can't be all THAT difficult, right?

And there’s Adam Hansen, a pro-cyclist who is known for going down a path seldom trod as far as riding position and such. He makes his own cycling shoes, and even offers them for sale – though the sale part is really to satisfy a UCI requirement and not so much that he’s looking for another income stream.  His shoes look very non-traditional, long on function and short on nods to fashion. When the cleat is heavier than the shoe…

So this has made me think. A thought that just won’t fade.

Make my own cycling shoes that actually FIT my feet. It’s not that far fetched.

Sure, I need another project like I need a hole in my head. But eventually I see it happening.