A bikey visit to the carrefour

A few blocks from our hotel in corsica was a big Carrefour market. If you are not familiar with it, thinkWallmart with even slower employees at the checkout line.

Of course, I headed to the bike dept immediately to see what passes for french bike crud. I was pretty impressed. While the bikes they sold were very typical Wallmart type MTB crap, the parts were pretty interesting. They had lots of post type cantilever brakes and straddle cables on the parts wall. They also had, gasp, 650B stuff. Is there no limit to the influence of grant peterson?

Crappy 650B spare tire:

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Nice presta 650B tubes, only 3euro80, which is something like a million dollars US, or maybe about 5 bucks and a dime:

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I bought a two pack of 650B schrader tubes for something like $5 Us equivalent. They appear to be seamless tubes, not too shabby...

They also had these pretty nice looking Richard Virenque branded shimano road wheelsets with decent looking Michelin tires (129euro, 173buckeroonies):

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I also picked up a couple of packs of these sweet little step down ferrules, I think they are intended for touring type brakes, but they should be useful for dumb projects, a mere 0.83 euros for a 4 pack:

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they had a bewildering array of patch kits, that frankly looked all the same to me, yet varied by a few cents here or there. I picked up a high end looking michelin kit with patches that appeared to be a bit more flexy or not. I had trouble finding an unopened one, when I got it home I realized why. The kits look huge, but have only 4 patches in it, I think people were stealing patches from the kits on the hanger and placing them in the kits they buy. Way to fight the man!

Finally I picked up this excellent Ensemble de Gonflage, with two types of beachball inflators, a ball needle, a presta to schrader adapter and the rare schrader to presta adapter all for only 4 euros or so:

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After I selected my items, I headed to the checkout line and watched the women working the cash register talk to each other for the 20 minutes it took to process me and the four ahead of me in the "no cart" lane. In France, the man sticks it back to you. I was glad to see that half of the line I was in were visibly impatient too. The lines in the cart lanes looked to be the better part of an hour in length.

All told they had some good bike stuff, I regret not buying assorted types of cantilever/centerpull straddle wires as they had quite an array and they were pretty inexpensive. Good stuff. Go carrefourhell.


My new french german porteur

updated 6/26/07 to fix inconsistencies pointed out by my brother in the comments

I admit it, I was unable to resist. While in France I had to buy yet another bike. Here is my new French Deutsche Post Porteur:

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Alas it is a bit too small for me:

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Fortunately it came with a few riders to make the deliveries

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I call them Chad and Jill:

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They like to cut loose after work after a few too many carafe's of vino steins of bier. Oh so wacky, Chad and Jill:

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Race Report Tierra Torture (most ancient) 5/6/2007

Hmm, Here is a really late race report now I am mostly caught up on race reports...

The quick report. The race took place just off the relief route in santa fe. A nice flat area. Or so I thought. (foreshadowing, nice eh?)

I geared up to a massive 34-16, I stayed up late the night before at a dinner party, I ate a big oatmeal banana and coffee breakfast and went down to the race site with Elena and my ma who was visiting. It was cold and overcast.

Isaac and me gunning it from the line clickforbig

The race was pretty big. 22 Single speeders. We started in the third wave after the pros and male and female experts. I started really hard chasing after wunderkid Isaac (see the soccorro race). I think we had a 200 yard gap on the rest of the huge field after a half mile or so of slight climbing. Then there was a fast tricky descent. I immediately noticed that Isaac downhills effortlessly while I did not. I fell back a bit, got caught by some of the faster descenders. Then we hit the rollers. They were very steep rollers. I suffered. My nice big breakfast revealed itself to be not really that digested. I was overgeared and suffering. Pretty much the entire race passed me, including my arch nemesis Jessica, and I was in 15 or 16th after the first lap.

my arch nemesis distancing me on the first lap click for big

Suddenly I noticed that I felt better after one lap. I hammered down. Passed a mechanically waylayed Jessica and started picking off other racers. I was still hurting but going MUCH faster this lap.

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Toward the end I passed two other single speeders. The laps end in a nice long gradual climb. I thought they were well passed, but Karl a crafty ex-pro torqued me in the sprint for 10th. Dammit. Results here. Turns out the stomach malaise had almost exactly the same effect as my flat tire in the soccorro XC race.

Outsprinted but good by tecate Karl click for big

All told it is a great race, a really fun course, 9.5 mile laps with 1100 feet climbing per lap, all on deceptively steep rollers. Try to digest and run a 34-18 next year dummy... After the race it snowed on and off all day.

Snow on water street in Santa Fe later that day clickforbig


Motobecane Fever!

From corsica:

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Judging from the headbadge, this heavy duty mixte is newer, but no less stylish than the previous one.

It also was parked next to this excellent hand painted sign:

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I really like the editorial graffiti, BZZ!!?

From my arch nemesis jessica's back yard, a mere 1/4 mile from my house:

From the velo orange blog:

click for source post with some brief musings on the motobecane.


On neck harnesses and tinned kit

The Race Across America is a silly race. Until they have
self supported division (see the great divide race)I am mostly ambivalent. Although, sometimes they come up some pretty good solutions to the problems created by riding 23 hours a day for 8 days straight:

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Being unable to look up because your neck muscles gave out is a common enough problem during the RAAM to have a name, "Shermer's Neck" after the unfortunate progenitor of the condition many years ago. I think they usually "solve" it with mirrors so the rider can look down but see the road ahead, but this is a pretty good solution for the "elaborate system of levers and pulleys" crowd.

Also interesting about the web are Neill Currie's tool kits:

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Check out his altoid tin tool kit and his touring kit. Good stuff and a good starting point for figgering what tools you might want to be carrying on a daily, weekly or monthly basis...

May Motion Update

Super late again. For those of you keeping score at home:
May had 231 miles of biking and a measily 4 miles of running. Woo!
Travel kind of torpedoed the mileage that month.

About 50 miles on the Schwinn Breeze, about 50 on the Bike friday, 100 on the fixie and the rest scattered about between the MTB, road bike and raleigh 20.
1185 bicycle style miles and 54 running miles in the year as of May 31.

Crappy month, but good to scale back a bit between the heavy racing of april and the summer.

Me, my brother and a future distant inlaw not bicycling on the yakima river there in washington:

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More Corsica bikes

This is the only riding I did in corsica:

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Although I kind of wish I had a road bike as the mountains were filled with twisty one lane roads that went on for miles and miles.

Here is a forgettable example of the louison bobet marque.

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Corsica Bikes

Ajaccio is the largest city in corsica, as such it was rife with not only tourist places, but old man bars and coffee shops, boulangeries galore and other signs of a local population. I was hoping this meant that there would be lots of interesting bikes to look at. Sadly no. Most of the few visible commuters were riding crappy mountain bikes. There was a healthy roadie scene with a fair bit of vintage steel extant and a high end bike shop as well. Corsica is a mountainous riding paradise. The roads are twisty and go from sea level up to thousands of feet and apparently great MTB exists as well.

I only saw a few classic french city bikes, all mixties, most with nice rear panniers, most motobecanes with a few peugots thrown in for good measure.

Here is the best one I got on film:

Nice leather panniers and bonus points for riding with your kid.


Corsica Circles

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If you like this, maybe you would like kelpball.


La France

Corsica rather. Was on the ground 2 minutes before I saw the first Napolean statue. Blogging may be light for 10 days or so depending on jetlag and how much fun I am having.