The Wonderful Land of Oz

I just drove 150 miles into the north woods to drop the Trek off at Oswald Cycle Works. Mr. Oswald runs a very nice little shop. He’s got bar stools in front of the counter so you can sit and drink coffee and shoot the shit while he works on bikes.

The shop
The shop

He also has a nice little antique display case showing off his lugs. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so you’re just going to have to imagine how awesome that looked.

He had one of his custom bikes hanging out on the floor and the lugwork was just amazing. If I’m ever in the market for a custom frame, I think I’ll get one of his. I rather like the idea of a cyclist from the mountains of north central Pennsylvania riding a bike from the mountains of north central Pennsylvania…in the mountains of north central Pennsylvania. Has a certain trinitarian symmetry to it…


I wheeled in the Trek, and told the man what I wanted done. I ended up agreeing to the following:

  • Lower the canti studs 4mm
  • build a bombproof rear wheel with low gears
  • spread the rear end to 130mm
  • new rear dérailleur (to accept a 30 tooth cog)
  • repaint the frame (a new color)
  • swap out the downtube shifters for Ultegra barcons

Mr. Oswald measured my tire clearance and he thinks we can get 38mm tires in there with fenders, so I had him order a pair of 622×38 Schwalbe snow studs.

Schwalbe snow stud
Manly-arse snow tires

Then, he handed me the paint book and asked me what color I wanted to have her painted. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but it took me a long time to make up my mind. I bellied up to the counter and poured over the book while he helped other customers. While I was deliberating, a customer came in to have his cyclocross bike tuned up before heading out into the mountains for the day. Another customer came in (evidently) just to talk about how he was planning to go touring in Tuscany in a few months. (I was jealous.) I was surprised at the amount of business he had, considering it’s a tiny little shop in a tiny little town smack-dab in the middle of nowhere, and it was snowing out.

Anyhow, I finally settled on a color. It’s kind of a burgundy red. I wanted something sort of the color of a red wine.

I’m stoked. As soon as I have her back, we’re going to the mountains for manliness. I’ll have a 22 inch granny gear, and big, cushy carbide-tipped snow tires. I’ll be fucking unstoppable.

Numb Toes

Note to self: Two pairs of wool socks and sneakers is not sufficient for temperatures below 20°F.

Got a quick ride in tonight. It was nice and icy out.  My toes went numb and my water bottle froze.  I should probably break out the camelbak to put under my jacket, but I hate having those straps all over me.

I think I have decided to hold off on the Karate Monkey for the time being. I’m pretty sure I can configure the Trek to be my “do everything” bike. I found a frame builder to lower the canti studs and cold-set the Trek so it can take 700c wheels and tires. I’m pretty sure I can squeeze a 35 or 37mm tire in there which should be adequate for the kind of trail riding I like to do. Since I can get studded tires in 700c, I will be able to ride the Trek year round.

The frame builder is Oswald Cycle Works in Mansfield, PA. I send so much of my bicycling budget to Minneapolis, Boston, New Orleans, and Walnut Creek, it’ll be nice to spend some loot in upstate Pennsylvania, where the economy had pretty much collapsed.

Mr Oswald made a cool video of how he cuts custom lugs. Check it out!

Today: 8.5 miles
This week: 8.5 miles
February: 18 miles
2007: 76 miles


After a discussion with my old philosophy professor, I finally got around to reading Protector.


This book is kind of a prequel to Ringworld. It’s full of all sorts of prehistory about the Pak and the ‘early history’ of Earth and of the ‘Belter’ asteroid miners. Since so much of the book is just back story, it gets kind of tedious. I was temped to give up on it a few times, but in the last couple of pages, the story really comes together, and has a surprising ending.

I do sort of wish I had read this before I read Ringworld Engineers, but Engineers is perfectly understandable without knowing all the Pak back story.

I give Protector 3 Jihadis out of 5

3 Jihadis out of 5
3 Jihadis out of 5

147 miles

No, not on my bicycle. Brandi and I made our (more or less) monthly trip to visit our mothers today. From Harrisburg to Brandi’s moms, to my Mom’s and back to Harrisburg is a 147 mile loop. How do I know this? I took my GPS and logged the whole thing.

Believe it or not, before Brandi moved in with me, this was my daily commute several days a week! My bicycle commuting is my atonement for past sins.

147 miles
No… sleep… ’till Middleburg!

Capturing this data means that exotic locales such as Mifflinburg, New Columbia, and many other exciting parts my rural Appalachian homeland will soon be part of the Open Street Map goodness.

This also means I logged a nice chunk of the mysterious PA Bicycle Route J. The signs have been up for about 2 years, but the route is still not mentioned on the bikePA website. Anyone at PennDOT know what’s up with that?

PA bike Route J sign
Bike Route J sign

I didn’t see any cyclists out on route J today, but there were several Amish buggies using it to come home from church.

2nd Flight of the Albatross

I swapped out the B17 for the B72 and had at it. The B72 was extremely comfortable for the first 7 miles or so, but then my butt got kind tired of being in one place. You can’t really scootch around on it as much as you can on the B17.

It was about 25°F today, but there was a fierce wind blowing that made things pretty cold. The effects of a headwind are amplified to a surprising degree by sitting bolt upright in the saddle.

I GPS logged all of Apple Drive and a good bit of Keller and Coover Streets for the map.

Today: 9.5 miles
This week: 16 miles
February: 9.5 miles
2007: 67.5 miles

Water, Water Everywhere

Check it out:

Open Street Map of Harrisburg Area

I added the Conodoguinet Creek, the Susquehanna River, and Pinchot Lake to the map! Also new is the Turnpike, much of route 230, and a chunk of route 944.

The HIA runway is now visible if you really look for it.