Saturday, April 29, 2017

ETapping the Z-Bone

I've just given the Z-Bone an overhaul. This is a Reynolds Weld Labs Dual 700 Z-Bone, which I think was originally built around 2005, and which I bought used off the Bentrider message board classifieds in 2009. The Z-Bone, as you can see, is front wheel drive. There is a shock under the seat. It is super fast, smooth, and comfortable.

After realizing how awesome aero carbon wheels are due to the Enves on the Seven, I decided to put some Zipp 404s on the Z-Bone last fall. The result was I rode my first ever century under 5 hours, knocking 20 minutes off my fastest previous century.

So I got to thinking about what would make the Z-Bone faster yet, and decided to switch to an electronic drivetrain, instead of the bar end shifters it used to have. The bar-ends were a little awkward ergonomically, since I'd have to pull my hands back to shift, which try to turn the handlebars, which was scary at high speed.

So now the Z-Bone has a nice new SRAM ETap wireless setup. It is amazing. Shifting is done by squeezing a button on the handlebar with my thumb. Hands do not move.

This is basically the SRAM Aero Gruppo plus the WiFli upgrade. The WiFli switches the cassette from 11:28 to 11:32, and switches to a mid-cage derailleur. There are hills here.

Here is the derailleur.

Here is the front derailleur. You can't see it, but I had a new adapter 3d printed for the mounting post. The old one cracked and broke. This is the first time I've done 3d printing, it's really easy and cool!

Here is the right shifter. These are "Blips". The mount was too big for the skinny handlebars, but this is nothing I can't deal with by cutting up an old handlebar grip.

And here is the left shifter. This is in the perfect position.

I have the Blip Box attached to the top of the handlebars with the rubber-band Garmin style mount. The Garmin mount for the Garmin is on the frame tube just below.

Here's the shock hiding under the seat.

And the view from the front.

It's dead simple to install the ETap setup. You bolt it on, set the front limit screws, trim the "rear" derailleur with the blip box (instead of barrel adjusters, which don't exist), and set the "rear" limit screws. So easy.

I've ridden this to work every day this week, and crushed many PRs on Strava. This project is a huge success!

Thanks goes to the Cycle Mill in Ellicott City, who worked their expert magic to get me the parts.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Coffeneuring 2016 Finale - Duke's Famous Delly, US Route 1, Elkridge MD

For the Coffeneuring Climax of 2016, I decided to get serious with this and have my coffee with breakfast at an actual sit-down restaurant. Still keeping with the "Commuting in the Route 1 Corridor" theme-within-a-theme.

So I present to you "Duke's Famous Delly".

Duke's is next to where the giant flea market is on Saturday, which is an amazing thing if you need more cheap stuff to clutter up your house. It's in the strip next to the historic Trinity Church where there used to be a Sunny's Surplus (I miss it so) and where there is now the Triple 9's Billiard Hall.

This stretch of Route 1 is pretty inaccessible by bike. I had to go the wrong way on Montgomery, then on 103 past the liquor stores to Uncle Grube's pit beef, then on Roosevelt Ave past where the mulch operation used to be, then cut through the Trinity parking lot. That's a 6.5 mile ride to get to coffee. But no riding on Route 1. Until you need to continue on, up Route 1 for about a quarter mile to get to Montevideo Road.

My coffee drink was "coffee", which came in a styrofoam cup. Breakfast was a ham and cheese omelet on a styrofoam plate, with cold toast and an orange juice from the cooler. It was very, very cheap.

I remember going to Duke's back in the 90s, when it was a more typical diner/deli, and claimed to be in operation since 1946. You could get a sub or an omelet made with what they call "debris" in New Orleans, which is the bits of leftover meat scraped off the grill. Nowadays, Duke's appears to be run by a very overworked Asian woman. The business is almost all delivery drivers grabbing takeout food.

Decor is amazing. You have this rose/mauve/turquoise color motif surviving from 1989, with Art Deco lettering on the back wall over a ginormous mirror with - get this - silhouettes of deer. WTF.

Services for bicycles include a big post in front of the building where you can chain your bike to foil any thieves who don't realize they can just lift your bike and chain over the post.

The visit to Duke's added 3.1 miles to my 10.6 mile commute, on mostly horrible roads.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Coffeneuring 2016 Ride 6 - 7-Eleven, US Route 1, Elkridge MD.

Can you believe it's week 6, and I still haven't had to go more than two miles from home to find a cup of coffee on Route 1?

This week on the "Commuting in the Route 1 Corridor" theme-within-a-theme, it's 7-Eleven. This is at the intersection of Route 1 and Rowanberry Drive, across Rowanberry from the big pile of dirt and hole in the ground which is the site of our once and future library.

My coffee drink this week was "coffee". This was not just coffee, I suppose. It was 7-E's "Regular Exclusive" coffee, which pretty much covers all the bases. I mean I'm a pretty regular guy, and I am happy that 7-E has made some coffee just for me. You know, exclusive. For regular people. Like me.

Amenities for bikers include these steps here, where you can sit and drink your coffee. The Seven-11 also has a wall, which is the front of the building, which you can lean your bike against.

Access is easy from the west via Rowanberry, but to continue on you have to ride a bit along Route 1, which is never enjoyable.

I had a "breakfast bite" to go with my coffee. The checkout guy noticed me hungrily eyeing the cylinder-shaped meat products turning on rollers on the front counter, and talked me into buying it. It was pretty good.

I don't know why the breakfast bite is moving back and forth like this. I think it's probably a feature of my Google phone, which must automatically detect pictures of food and do this to make it look even more tasty.

This coffeeneuring stop added no extra miles to my commute of 10.6 miles, because I discovered a secret path through the bushes where you can carry your bike over the CSX train tracks. 

Friday, November 04, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016 Ride 5 - Elkridge Deli Cafe, US 1, Elkridge Maryland

For week 5, I'm across the street from Cindy's Soft Serve, at the Elkridge Deli Cafe. The "Commuting in the Route 1 Corridor" theme is still going strong.

I've never been to the Elkridge Deli Cafe before. I'd never even noticed it until I searched on Google to figure out more places I could get coffee on the way to work. What we have here is a very small cafe in a strip shopping center, run by an Asian couple. Decor is worn formica as you can see.


My coffee drink was "coffee", which came with free refills. I got some oatmeal to go with it.

Amenities for bikers include a wall you can lean your bike against. Access is from Route 1, which is never fun, although you can cut through the parking lot of the shopping center across the street from Montgomery Road. 

This coffeeneuring event added 1.1 miles to my normal 10.6 mile commute.

There were three other customers, who were all old white men. I doubt they would have been there if the Legion Hall was open at 7:00 AM. One of them had a baseball cap with a giant handgun on it that said PROTECTED BY THE SECOND AMENDMENT.

There are other handy shops in this shopping strip. You can get a tan, you can get your vaping supplies, you can go to the Oriental Spa.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016 Ride 4 - Green Valley Market, US 1 Elkridge Maryland

For week 4, I'm at the cafe in the Green Valley Market, across Route 1 from last week's stop at the Snax Convenience Store. Continuing the "Commuting in the Route 1 Corridor" theme.

Green Valley Market used to be a Super Fresh, which went out of business. For good reason. But we here is the Route 1 Corridor were very concerned that we would have no grocery store here any more, and a gaping hole in our neighborhood shopping strip. Happily, Green Valley stepped right up and it's a really nice neighborhood grocery! They even have Zeke's coffee, which is what I'm fueled by every day when I'm not Coffeeneuring. My wife buys Zeke's from their stand at the Baltimore Farmers' Market. But the farmers' market is closed in the winter, and GVM is a total life saver during those dark months.

GVM has a little cafe inside, and I had high hopes that this week I would have a nice fresh brewed cup of some exotic variety of Zeke's. Unfortunately, this was not the case. It's K-Cups.

This is sadder sad coffee than a Starbucks kiosk in a Safeway. 

There is a little counter you can sit at, with TVs playing informericals right in front of your face.

My coffee drink was "coffee", with a pistachio biscotti, as Cindy Crawford yammered away about something I don't care about over my head.

Other amenities for bikers include heavy metal barriers to keep people from driving their cars into the store, which you can lean your bike against.

The GVM coffee stop added 0.7 miles  to my 10.2 mile commute. Easy access off Montgomery Road.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016 Ride 3 - Snax Convenience Store/Dunkin Donuts on US 1 in Elkridge, MD

Week 3 of the Coffeeneuring Challenge finds me at the Snax Convenience Store/Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins on US 1 at Montgomery Road, in Elkridge. The "Commuting in the Route 1 Corrodor" theme is going strong. This is 1.7 miles from home, by an indirect route so I don't have to ride on Route 1. It adds 0.7 miles to my commute.

Amenities for bikers include a window to lean your bike against, with seats to sit at on the other side so you can keep an eye on your bike. You can also fill out your lotto tickets, watch the simulated video horse races, and play Keno.

My coffee drink was "coffee", accompanied by a maple glaze and an eclair. The coffee was the usual pretty good Dunkin Donuts coffee. Not bad at all.


Other services available in this little shopping strip is the Main Street Barber Shop, which is nowhere near Main St., but is where I got this haircut I'm wearing a couple weeks ago. It was $17, no appointment, no waiting. I gave them $20, keep the change.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016 Ride 2 - McDonalds on US 1 in Elkridge, MD

Continuing my theme of "Commuting in the Route 1 Corridor", this week's coffee stop is the McDonalds on Route 1, near the intersection with Bonnie View Lane.

This is one hilly mile along Bonnie View Lane from my house, which probably not coincidentally is called "Bonniewood".

I went for the full McDonalds breakfast here, with a large coffee to have some left to fill my thermos for the rest of the ride to work. My coffee drink was "coffee". It was special because it had a bit of the flavor of dried up banana peel to it.

This stop at McDonalds only added .2 miles to my commute. Amenities for bikers include a wall you can lean your bike against. There is also a traffic light a half mile up the road, which will make an occasional break in traffic so you can scurry across Route 1.

I rarely eat at McDonalds, but when I do I like to eat at this one. Because of the sign below.

It seems when they put up the sign 15 years ago, the Burger King next door planted a baby pine tree in front of it. Then the pine tree grew up and nobody can see the McDonalds sign. So the McDonalds guys went to the county and said "Nobody can see our sign, we need to put up a giant 40 foot sign so drivers can see it all the way from the MD 100 exit two miles up the road."

Here in Elkridge, we have GECA, the Greater Elkridge Community Association. (I am the current president of GECA.) GECA put a stop to the giant sign right away. We want Route 1 to be scenic and lovely, not with 40 foot high McDonalds signs for freeway exits. 

Here is the scenic and lovely view across the street from McDonalds. The Terrace Motel there had a recent bit of notoriety related to this bit of news: 

What was that hotel the two men dressed as women had been partying at? You guessed it. The Terrace Motel. Yay Route 1.