The South Philly Cyclist

Livin' it up in Ben Franklin's town. Riding a bike in the city; damn! watch out for those trolley tracks (slippery when wet!) Whoa, that's what a hoochie mama looks like! I don't think I'm in Delaware anymore.....

Monday, August 13, 2007

Feeding my wheel fetish

5 weeks, 3 rear wheels. Philly knows how to eat them, that's for sure.

It all started when my beloved red/black CXP33 wheelset busted a spoke in the rear. Normally this wouldn't be bad, as it's a 36 spoke wheel. I bought it for $150 from Nashbar back in 2003 and since then the nipples have corroded to the point where if when I try to true the wheel, the nipples strip, one of the downfalls of lighter alloy nipples. Also this is the 3rd spoke I've busted on the wheel since I moved to Philly, so I shelved the wheel and went to wheel #2.

Wheel #2 is one of those dope Mavic Ksyrium SL, black with the shaved rims. It's my race wheel. I was like, I'm not racing, so I might as well ride a dope wheel. Well, that was all fine and dandy for 3 weeks, really it kicked ass for 3 weeks, but after one ride I noticed when I spun the wheel (while in a stand) the crank moved. Not a good sign! So I took the wheel off and noticed one side of the hub had become loose. I decided to loosen it further and before I knew it the freehub was coming off and a sooooper doooper small spring sprang free in my basement. Looked for 30 minutes and haven't found it since. This led to wheel # 3, the ex's wheelset.

The ex's wheelset I acquired when I gave her my Ksyrium Elites when I broke my hand. They are the bottom of the barrell, shimano 500 wheelset. Since over a year ago they've been collecting dust in my basement, so I figured, might as well check 'em out. Well the rear lasted 2 rides (really only 4 hours) before it got uber wobbly on me, when I got home, 3 non-drive spokes were looser than could be believed without the wheel collapsing. I was really lucky I didn't take any sharp turns on these as they went loose on the Saturday World Championships ride.

So Saturday I threw on a rear Mavic Ksyrium Equipe, which had come with my Scott CR1 back in the day (2004). These wheels I've ridden off and on, but thought they'd be my spare "race" wheel if I ever did race again. Well, within a few minutes of a 6 hour ride on Sunday they started talking to me and never shut up the whole ride. It drove me nuts as I'm paranoid as all can be now when it concerns a noise coming from the rear wheel, so today I sucked it up and ordered a new custom built wheelset from Excel Sports built up with DT 340 hubs and 1.2 rims.

Should be a dope set and I'll definitely take a pic of 'em. It blows my mind how hard it is now to find a handbuilt wheelset with normal components these days, it wasn't that long ago you could go to any bike shop (local or online) and find a few different levels of handbuilt road wheels. Now it's freaking hard to find with all those pre-built, hard to service wheels out there. None of those wheels can last more than a few months around Philly.

Hope everyone is out there living the dream!
and riding it too,


Thursday, August 02, 2007

It's been a long, long time

I wish I had something magnificent to report, sort of like my friend Pamela: , but just living each day by itself can have it's own joys. I really can't believe it's been so long since I've written anything. Probably b/c I haven't done much other than:
M-F work, workout and try to ride 1-3x for about 2hrs.
F-S rock out in the city, ride bike, then repeat.

But each day has been special. I've met some cool people the last few months. Some through cycling, some through rocking out, others through work and working out at the gym. Finally during the past 2 days I took some time off from work to get my driver's license, clean my house and ride my bike (of course!).
I'm really pumped about getting my driver's license again, as I let it lapse 5 months ago. To be honest I was definitely more excited today when I renewed it, then I was 14 years ago when I first go my driver's license. Back then I was more apprehensive to receiving it, while today I understand the freedom it can bring into your life.

See I missed a really good buddy's wedding a few weeks back b/c I had to negotiate a ride up to Vermont, and if I had my license, it would have been a no-brainer to either rent a car, or borrow a family member's car. My kick-ass friends offered me various car-pooling options to get up there, but regardless, if I had my own car, I would have been up there, and I wasn't, so I was on a mission the last week to get my shit in order so I could renew the license.
Philly doesn't mess around and for a new resident like me, I had to bring:
My old DE license
My SSN card
An original birth cert
A utility bill
A mortgage doc on it
Plus I had to remember my checkbook, which I had totally missplaced, as who uses a check book anymore?
Luckily for me, the DMV (unlike most of the muni-gvt. operations) was quite organized and even though there were a ton of people, I was in and out in about 45 mins with a new kick ass license.
I'm so stoked now and am at the moment waiting for a friend to refer me to Philly Car share ( so I can load up one of their hybrids with about 9 months worth of recycling.

So the past 2 months I've been road riding a ton. Probably 8-10hrs just on Sat and Sunday. I so want to race, but everytime my buddies and I start talking about which race to do from the races coming up, we hear of another buddy going down hard in a race and ending up in the ER. So right now we are all talking ourselves up for a big cross campaign, time will tell if I actually toe a start line this year. At least I do have a valid USCF license wasting away in my wallet.

Oh, I did one wicked fun thing last month when I checked out the West Chester Twilight crit. It was like old days seeing all my DE posse chilling watching the race. Mr. Smith, aka, has some badass shots of that race. Dude, I have never seen a pro-crit before and after that day I will never be the same. Those pros are HARD CORE, I've never seen dudes rub shoulders doing 30+ through a 90 degree banked turn. It was nuts!!! Also wicked cool to see a few peeps I know in the race, including a few of the dudes I train with in Philly. Man I wish I had raced the 3/4 race earlier in the day there, as while I've landed on my arse many a times, I absolutely love crit racing.

Looking forward to another First Friday/Art Loop tomorrow. I try my best to take some pictures and give y'all non-Phillians an idea of how wild it actually is down there in Olde City.

Oh yes, if someone needs some fine, fine muzic to listen to, I have a ton of Ronski Speed live shows. They are purely sweet! Also should open back up their BitTorrent stream sooner than later. That internet station is one of the best for live DJ (trance/dance) shows.

Ride on,


Monday, June 11, 2007

You gotta love Philly

Thinking about how I was going to fund a new bike and sure enough, all I had to do was look up during my contemplation in the Subway and see how to get the ca$h.

Outside my office this past week was some filming of that "Always Sunny in Philly" TV show. It wasn't too exciting, except for the fact that every hot girl thought it would be cool to hang out and watch the set, so my office was pretty much ignoring the set and watching the hotties. I was on the look out for DDB, also known as "David Anthony", but I guess he's not a grip for that TV show.

Rocked out at the Manayunk wall for the bike race yesterday. It was sick, it TOTALLY lived up to the hype and then some. There are only a few parties I've ever been to that even came close to the sillyness I saw or did there.

I was going crazy when the 2 Navigators attacked, phukkin' balzy, I LOVE it. Sorry for the blurry pics, but for a cell phone camera, I think these pics hold there own.

A little chase group action with the Mexican dude, and another guy. The Mexican dudes could climb. I wonder how they would have done if the typically heat had shown itself???

I walked up the Wall and down the descent once. The descent really is the real deal, as these are not the most pristine roads. Though they did repave a really bad part of Ridge Ave (the descent off the Wall) just 2 weeks ago.

So I was on my way back down the Wall, back to the Party at the base of the climb and what do I hear, but a chear as a solo rider's coming up the climb. She's about a minute and a half back from the pack, but people are cheering like she's the leader and damn, I start cheering and then I go uber nuts when I realize it's Lisa Vible, and I start screaming at the top of my lungs for her. The rest of the crowd start cheering her name too as they hear me yelling it and I begin sprinting up the hill yelling crazily at her, it gave me chills seeing her fly up that hill, heck I didn't even notice I jammed the hell out of my big toe until well after she was gone. It was awesome to see a friend racing, it really made the day!!! My voice is still trashed today from all the yelling I did...

Sadly, I didn't get a pic of her, as I was in a frenzy cheering for her :-(.

It was an awesome day and I was in bed by 8:30, as when you start rocking out at 9am, it definitely takes a toll.

Hope y'all had a great weekend of riding!

Ride on,


Sunday, May 27, 2007


Did a sweet pre-Memorial day ride out with my posse today. Met nice and early at 8 am to beat the traffic and then do a nice tempo ride out through Doylestown and then to Lumbersville-Carversville. Totally sweet roads up out that way, way cooler there too, even though it was later in the day when we got there.
Reminded me of the Tour de Chester the DE posse used to ride. Empty and shaded roads, little houses on huge plots of land, and just the hum of the tires and chains making noise. It was a fine ride (80-90 milesish), and a good one to do to try to get used to the summer heat which has no arrived.
Tomorrow I have no clue what I will do as it's been a long while since I've had 3 days of in-a-row saddle time. I'm about to rock out in Manayunk though, so whatever it is, it'll be weak...

Got lost in Kennsington last weekend trying to ride to Fishtown via the "shortest" route so I can pick up my new team's uniform. WOW, you see a place like that and it really makes you wonder why we have troops in Iraq, when we have a place like Kennsington which is a warzone and everyone looks high and ready to shoot you. It really is the real deal. I was lost and too afraid to stop and use my cell phone as every person I saw-white, black, asian, hispanic- all looked and acted like crack heads. It was really surreal to see such a thing in the land of plenty. Well I ended up bonking hardcore and knew how to get back to Broad St. and so I road West as fast as I can, burning every stop sign and trying not to look too out of place (which I did). I got to Broad and was waaaaaay North of Temple. I knew Temple U was a "safe" place and so I did the gangsta thing and rode on the sidewalk (trying to fit in) and hit up a McDonald's drive thru for a Milk shake to try to ward off my bonk (oh, I did a 4 hour rode ride earlier in the day, and didn't really each much afterwards that's why I was bonking). The dudes at McDonald's were all cracking up at the honkey buying a milkshake on his bike, but I didn't care as that Milkshake was better than an energy gel could have been as it cooled me down and fueled me back up for a long ride home. All in all it was like a 2 hour ride that should have been 30-45 mins round trip.
YOU can guarantee I'm not going to do anymore shortcuts through parts of towns I don't know.

Hope everyone is relaxing and having a great long weekend,

Ride on!


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Replace your cables!

Sorry for the lack of posts, not that anyone noticed...

I'm finally getting fit now, after riding during the week the past 4 weeks. It's amazing how just throwing in 2 hours in the middle of the week can really help you get stronger. So last Sunday I thought it was time to do my crazy hill ride and about 1/4 of the way into it, while coming out of Gladdwynn into Conshi, my rear shifter cable snapped. I thought, I'll ride back to Manayunk via the VF trail and be on my way again in an hour. Well, here's some knowledge for you, don't ever re-shift your shifter once that cable snaps! About 2 hours later I was limping home from the cool Human Zoom shop in Manayunk b/c my shifter cable head had become jammed in the head of my shifter. They tried and tried to get it out without taking apart the shifter, but said I could leave it there over the week and they would find a way to fix it. Well considering I lived 50 minutes further away from Manayunk (sou philly yo!), that wasn't an option. So I got home and quickly made a plea for help among my cycling posse to see if anyone had a spare 10sp rear shifter and/or was able to fix my shifter. Colin (the Professor) took charge and by Monday night he had totally fixed the shifter and I'm on the road again.
There's a few things to note which bugged me out about this whole busting a cable thing.
I almost never have a mechanical and pride myself with keeping my rig clean and smooth rolling. Well, I ended up having Human Zoom check my chain, and they were like "Dude were not letting you ride home with that thing on" plus when I got home I checked my front der. cable and sure enough 1/2 of the cables had frayed and so it would have snapped on that side soon enough too. I'm now a little paranoid about my bike as the Scott CR1 frame is going on it's 3rd season, while all the DA components are just ending their first year of service. I'm pretty much at the point where it's time to get a new bike. I hate to be that way, and know that I should have replaced the cables, chain and cassette way sooner than I did...they are only a year old, plus I didn't race last year, so while they were ridden a good bit, they weren't under total abuse. I think most cyclists are always trying to legitimize the purchase of their 6th or 8th bike in their collection, but I think this time it warrants it as a $2-3k new bike is way cheaper in opportunity cost at avoiding another hospital visit than risking it. Carbon bikes are so sweet, but other than an ultrasound test, how the heck do you check to see how much life you have left in it? Steel and aluminum were so easy, you either had rust or a hairline crack before the frame was cooked, with carbon, I have no clue what happens before failure. Anyone have an idea?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hanging out with Jim and Ginger can lead you to trouble...

Ahh, what a fine past weekend I just had. Yes I know it's Humpdy-Hump day, but still I'm so focused on the next trading day that I'm rarely focusing on the day before, or in this case, more than the day before.

Had an awesome, total smack down of a ride on the Saturday Ambler ride. Looks like the 4th time was the charm as I wasn't a chump this past weekend, though I was the weakest of my 3 man break, but alas, if you get 3rd out of 50, it ain't all that bad. Nothing's sweeter than having a group of 20 get within 50 feet of you, after they've been chasing for 10 miles, and then giving it the gas again and roll out of sight!

Saturday's ride was followed by a totally rocking afternoon and evening in the city of brotherly (and sisterly) loving. Saturday, just in case you aren't on the East Coast, was awesome on the Eastside. 70 degrees, blue sky, hot mamas not wearing much of anything. Yes, it's days like these when the citay living makes bubser ( sad I bet!
Rocked out with my smack-da-other-punks-down cycling posse at Devil's Alley to start the evening and afterwards, when they were going to the punk-ass Mid-Town Continental (don't go there, lotsa attitude), the Pepster and I were hanging out with our buddies Jim and Ginger. Jim and Ginger always start the night right and come darkness, the Pepster headed to Manayunk to rock, while I went to Alfa (18th & Walnut) to join up with my posse again. My boy TJ hit me up and met up, but soon after the ex-gf hit me up and showed up. We then rolled down the street to Cuba de Alba for a taste of the best mojitos in town before TJ found 2 lesbian lovers (whom he didn't realize were lesbians) to hit on, and so my ex and I decided to hit the road and head to her place for some catching up. Um, note to the wise, never catch up with any ex when previously hanging out with Jim and Ginger....

So woke up the next day after about 3 hours of sleep to ride with my hard core road posse and we tackled a nice rolling route. As I've mentioned before here, cyclists in Philly like to suck wheels of whomever they see riding down the street, so my group of 7 ends up having about 20 others decided to suck our wheels and follow us into the hills of Gladwynn. It was annoying as all can be to say it lightly! We ended up about 1/2 way through the ride ditching the group by all riding slower than everyone else. Then, about 20 minutes later, after we had started to ride hard again, we catch the group and they started to slow down for us, so we took the next turn and the whole f'ing group turned around to start sucking our wheel again, so we high tailed it down a hill and half way down the hill we turned into neighborhood to hide as the group rode down the hill past us! It was AWESOME. We all felt like kids playing hide and seek, but still, we finally ditched the group for good and we ended up riding for about 5 hours on a helluva fine day on Sunday.

Life's good these days, hope everyone else in bicycle land is doing great!

Ride on,


Sunday, April 15, 2007

The First Bonk of the year

Went to the Phillies game on Friday night. It was the first time I had ever tailgated before a game and it was definitely a rocking good time and reminded me of college as so many random people would just come on by our group and say hi. I went to the game with one of my old coworkers and some of his friends, 2 of which had never seen a MLB game. Wow did we have a crazy time at the game, I don't think those ladies had any clue how wild it was b/c in one night we had a grandslam, a balk, a coach get ejected, and a fan run onto the field and play cat and mouse for 2 they cut off the beer by the 5th inning (it was college night) and it was dollar dog night. I'm not the biggest baseball fan, but this game was non stop action, from the field to the stands as not only were there was tons of hits (probably b/c the pitchers were cold), hotdogs were flying through the air all night and there were a lot of rumbles in the stands b/c of the dogs.

I called it a night after the game, as on Saturday it was another round of Ambler (3rd time this year, each one I'm sucking more than the week before, not a good trend!), and with the rain today we did another 2 hours after the Ambler ride to get some climbing in and that's when I totally bonked on the Rosemont climb in Gladwynn. I can normally hit a good pace and have even big ringed this roller of a mile climb, but yesterday was 39-25 and I was still struggling to keep on top of the pedals. It's amazing how just riding on the weekends this Spring has made me slower than most of my cycling posse. I definitely hate that feeling and hopefully once the 2006 tax season is done on Tuesday I can finally ride during the week.

I hung out with the "Professor" and his rocking posse last night as they celebrated a fine lady's b-day. Damn did she have some hot friends, one was even a CMO/CDO (a type of fixed income) trader at a firm a few blocks from me. It was a stupid-silly night, one of those fun times where we are those loud obnoxious people at a bar who piss off everyone else b/c we're just too phunking happy. The rain totally sucked away our energy though as by 2:30 am every cab in the city was booked up and we all got soaked walking back from Olde City to CC (10 blocks). Luckily I woke up at 7am feeling good and pumped for Paris-Roubaix, and what an awesome race! You gotta love it when a dude wins who was in the first breakaway in the day!

Hope everyone got out and rode yesterday!

Ride on,