Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My 1986 Cannondale ST500: photos and thoughts

This is a photo of the's my Cannondale ST500 touring bicycle that I bought in 1987 to ride from Fairbanks, AK, to Wells Beach, ME, back in 1988.  After some research, I discovered that it was built on 4/15/1986, and it was the 105th bike built by Cannondale that year.  The ST500 sold for $550 complete.  There were two other ST models, a ST400 and a ST800...all frames were identical.  The components/wheels made the difference in price, etc.  Individual bike shops also added or changed components on their own or at the request of the customer, which affected the overall price of the bike.  Mine came with the Shimano 600 groupo on it, with the friction/SIS downtube shifters.

It's got some marks, scars and other signs of wear but, overall, the bicycle has held up incredibly well.  Over the years, I have upgraded components, wheels, handlebars, shifters, etc., so the value of the bike is much more than what I could ever sell it for.  To even get close, I'd have to part it out...and I have such an emotional attachment to this Cannondale that something like that is unthinkable.  This year, 2012, it's getting a new powder coat paint job in Tucson, AZ, done by Steve Backenkeller.  Look for photos by September/2012.

PHIL: Phil Wood hubs, front and rear...this is the rear one.  For touring, this is the only brand of hubs to buy.  PERIOD.  No hassle, no problems.  I have had these hubs for 24yrs.  Just sayin'...and this winter, I will be installing a Phil Wood bottom bracket, too.  If you buy Phil Wood hubs, bottom bracket, etc., you'll be passing them on to your grandchildren...

RACKS: Jandd Extreme racks...very durable and strong.  Rear one is extra long, which is good for my Arkel rear rack bag.  Front racks allow for high/low mounting of panniers.

PEDALS:  Shimano M324 reversible pedals; clip in and regular depending on footwear.  Excellent pedals.
WATER BOTTLES: Hydro Flask...amazing water bottles, insulated, keeps things hot for 12hrs; cold for 24hrs.  I have two 24oz bottles and one 40oz bottle that I store in the front rack bag (black/insulated).  They keep the water COLD for those hot days on the road.  For touring, I'd buy another 40oz bottle to take along.  You can NEVER have enough COLD water.  Trust me...  For touring, I'd use two 40oz bottles and two 24oz bottles.  There are some places where there are no services/stores/houses, etc., in America, so it's important to have the fluids handy...and sometimes it is VERY hot.  Last year, when touring across America, there were times when I had 6 water bottles full, a total of 138oz of water) plus a liter of water on top of the rear rack bag...and I drank it all.
SEAT: Brooks FLYER Special designed for touring.  All Brooks saddles are amazingly comfortable, despite the break-in period.  Being on a saddle for 8hrs or more, the saddle is everything.
WHEELS: Velocity Dyad, 36 spoke wheels, VERY strong. 

BAGS: Arkel rear rack bag, big enough to hold your helmet!! Ortlieb handlebar bag...COMPLETELY waterproof...with waterproof holder for SPOT device, solar battery charger.  Transit black rack bag that I've put on the front rack to hold the 40oz Hydro Flask bottle and snacks.   
LIGHTS: Planet Bike Superflash Turbo 1watt rear light (two of them) and a new CygoLite 2watt rear light (USB rechargeable) that just arrived today.  Along with the American flag, they help distracted drivers SEE ME.  Worth the effort to mount them and to use them.  I also have three Planet Bike 1/2 watt lights that I put on the panniers, plus a 1/2 watt Planet Bike helmet mount rear light.  When riding at night, ONE LIGHT is NOT enough.  As a cyclist, when I see a bicyclist out at night with one light on their bike...I'm amazed.  I see them because I know it's a bicycle, but I don't believe that a driver, who is NOT a cyclist, would recognize what it was.  IMHO.
HANDLEBARS/STEM:  Nitto "noodle" handlebar...slight curve to the bar which is 48cm wide.  Nitto Technomic extra long stem.  Allows for a more upright position on the bike and the handlebars are wide enough to provide for many ways to hold the bar, which, believe me, on a day after day tour, it is IMPORTANT.
SHIFTERS/DERAILLEURS/BRAKES:  Shimano Tiagra shifters; Shimano Deore XT rear derailleur, Shimano Tiagra front derailleur; 9spd triple chainrings (28/38/50); 11-34 rear cog set; May change the chainrings to 26/36/48, we'll see.  Original Shimano 600 crankset. Shimano R600 long reach brakes (two front brakes mounted front AND rear)...amazingly GREAT brakes to accomodate the 700c wheels. 
TIRES: Schwalbe Marathon Plus and a Schwalbe Supreme folding tire for a spare.  I carry it in the rear Arkel bag along with a couple of Schwalbe tubes.  When touring, I always carry about 6-8 tubes.  I NEVER want to be without a tube.  I also carry a CO2 system to inflate the tire in case my pump breaks like it did last year in Dodge City, KS.  In the middle of NOWHERE, it is GOOD to have extra, despite the weight.
THE FLAG: American.  Main reason I use this is to be SEEN by distracted drivers.  It has emotional content for everyone and the waving that occurs while I'm riding catches their attention, so, for whatever reason, they see it, it works and I use it when I tour.  If I lived in a big city and commuted by bicycle, I'd use it then, too.  Geeky?  Yes.  Beats being run over, IMHO.
I have kept this bicycle for many reasons but the main one is that I like it, it fits, I like the looks of it, it rides well, and nothing has come along to tempt me, besides a recumbent tandem for Eileen and me, except components, which I have upgraded continuously as the temptation has overcome my wallet.  This is a 24yr old bicycle that just keeps on giving.  It's like an old, favorite pickup truck...jump in, turn the key, vroooom, it's off we go...the only failure that I've had with this Cannondale T600...a broken spoke in Hugoton, KS, on my cross country tour last year...was my fault..not the bike's or the wheel's...operator error, as they say.
When you're heading out to buy a touring bike, don't shortchange yourself.  You get out of it what you put into it.  Happy trails...