Monday, June 24, 2013

postponed due to rain

scattered thunderstorms predicted.

Anyone lose a spare tire, in the middle of this bridge?

This bar is less than a block away from the steepest climb I have found in the area.  Coincidence? I think not. 

These climbs look a lot bigger in person.

Followed some "rustic roads" outside Lake Geneva.

Dinosaur in Wisconsin? Lucky I have a bow and arrow!
          The WEMS race for this weekend got post-poned due to rain, which kind of worked out because I was really busy anyway.  Put in 100 miles on Saturday plus dinner.  Sunday got up early went mountain biking in the morning and met up with Brian for some archery practice.  We shot home made sea monsters, mosquitoes, pandas, and a big foot.  Saturday was a road bike ride out north east of Lake Geneva, which has some really nice roads I have never been down.  I got lost a couple times, in fact I was sure I was headed east until I came up on rt 173 and realized I was actually headed south.  I ended up in Hebron before I figured out where I was, no biggy, keep on truckin!  It was a busy but fun weekend.

Then Grandpa surprised Evan with a new bike...  Ev hasn't put it down since!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kam's new bike!

I was lucky enough to be considered the "friend that knows about bikes," so I was called over to help assemble this bike for Kam.

There are some nice parts in this bike.

Grip Shift!

The bike has a triple crank and two cassettes.  I don't even know how many gear combinations that is!

Now Dusti (Kam's Mom) gets to tow her all over the place!  We are all planning on doing the Roun'da Manure Bicycle Tour, in Sharon on Aug. 17, 2013.  

That big smile proves everyone loves bikes!

Feel free to join us....


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Salsa El Mariachi VS Niner air9 RDO

Niner Air9 RDO photo courtesy of

Salsa El Mariachi photo robbed from

It may seem strange to even put these two bikes in a comparison together, but when I saw that Niner was having a demo just down the road I was eager to test their bikes.  They had several different models to choose from, but I prefer to ride hard-tail so they only had one model for me.


I didn't buy my mariachi as a complete bike.  I started with a used bike that I got for 200, then sold that frame for 250 and kept all the parts for the mariachi frame ($599).  The used parts are pretty lame, but functional and I have upgraded several items since the original build.  I would value the Salsa at $1200 as it is built today.  The Niner on the other hand was $5713 as tested.  So for price the Salsa wins hands down.


After the sticker shock the next thing I noticed was the weight difference.  The Niner is crazy light and it was noticeable the first time I bunny hopped a log.  I pulled up and was probably 6 inches higher than I needed to be to clear it.  The weight difference wasn't as noticeable in corners but the Niner did seem to turn more quickly and respond to steering corrections better.  For weight the Niner wins.


The Niner is smooth.  This could have more to do with the nicer fork and tubeless tire setup, but it accelerates faster and rides smoother over everything.  Every aspect of riding requires less effort with the Niner.  I was surprised by this because the Salsa El Mariachi with its steel frame is known for being smooth/all day comfortable.  The Niner wins in the ride quality category.

Actual Lap Times

This is where it gets kinda fuzzy.  I have put about 1700 miles on my Salsa Mariachi this year and I am very comfortable on it.  So that familiarity gives advantage to the Salsa since I have never ridden the Niner.  And as it turns out the Salsa was faster 22:52 per lap and the Niner 23:10.  Thanks to Strava I can see how each bike did in specific segments and the Niner was 9 seconds faster on "Heart Attack Hill."  So for now the winner in this category was the Salsa but with more riding and setup adjustments I think the Niner would kill it.

Fun Factor

I mainly ride for fun.  What makes riding fun for me is the challenge.  I can honestly say the Salsa is much more fun to ride.  I have taken it places that I would cringe at the thought of taking a $5700 bike.  I beat on it, and it doesn't care.  Even though the Niner is lighter, a little faster, and way more expensive, the Salsa is simply more fun to ride.


In the end I will not be buying a new Niner anytime soon.  It was nice, fast, and light, but the price tag would keep me working overtime instead of riding.  That's what makes cycling so great too, you could throw as much money as you want at your bike, but you need the legs to make it go fast.

  If I were to win the lottery though...


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Picture dump!

 Had a busy weekend, enjoy the photos!

Harvard Milk Run 10k

Run For Randy Spring Grove, IL.

Evan getting help in the 50M Dash

Evans first canoe trip
       This picture was taken after Evan dropped his bink (pacifier) in the water and in my attempt to save it I dropped the camera in the water.  Thankfully its water proof, but it does sink.  It took a few minutes but we were able to save both the camera and "mi mi."

Hope you had a good weekend too.