For more posts, see my main weblog, Veritas.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Nice ride in Hellas on Sunday

PICT0038, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Yesterday I went for a nice long ride in Hellasgården with Matt, Rodrigo A., and Rodrigo J. We had a great time even though it was an accident-filled afternoon. Rodrigo A. had a nasty fall on a steep bit of trail, and even managed to smash his helmet. After that fall, he took it easy the rest of the day. Matt suffered two broken chain links and a flat tire, while Rodrigo J. got two flats. Somehow I esaped unscathed, although I did have a fall near the end of the ride in which I lost my front reflector. As I told a friend, maybe that's a sign that the reflector had to go!

I have posted some more photos to my Biking photoset on flickr.

Update 15:30 ECT — “Rodde” has posted a nice video montage of Sunday's ride that includes footage of “Roddan's” crash!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Today I went for my first ride on the new bike here in Sweden. Matt and I did a lap around “NICKspåret” in the forest near Ursvik.

My bike was terrific. The tires could be better at handling mud, but otherwise I have no complaints.

It was very wet and muddy on the trail. I had to stop periodically to shake the mud off the bike.

The brown colored linkage below the rear shock has a tendency to collect mud and debris. I'm not really sure how to avoid this. At the end of the ride, I was covered in mud too. I think I'll get a set of fenders for the bike soon.

The ride was great. I'm really getting accustomed to the bike now, and I'm getting more confident as I lean what the bike can do. Just one example: there's a steep root-covered rock near the end of the trail that I'd never been able to climb completely. Today I got it on the fourth attempt. Yay!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Mountain biking in St. Edward's Park off Spicewood Springs Road, earlier today.

On the way home, illuminated by the setting sun.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Here are a few more views of my new bike.

A nice view of the bike from behind.

The rear suspension and brake. The rear shock has a little red knob on the front end that controls the speed of the rebound after the shock is compressed.

The back end of the rear shock and the linkage to the seat stays and pierced seat tube.

The rear hub and associated hardware, including disc brake and the inertia shock control thingy Specialized refers to as the "Brain."

A close-up of the Brain and the rear brake. I didn't notice this until I had already bought the bike, but the bracket that holds the Brain is made of carbon fiber.

The rear derailleur.

There's a bit more carbon fiber on this bike in the headset, but the rest of the bike is mostly aluminum and steel.

The right shifter. I'm not accustomed to the shifters yet; I had just gotten accustomed to the low-normal ("rapid rise") Shimano XT shifter that I installed on my Gary Fisher this past summer when I bought this bike and had to re-learn again.

Left brake lever.

The brakes are hydraulic disc brakes. They provide more stopping power than v-brakes; this comes in handy on long descents or when one needs to stop quickly.

The front fork is also quite nice. The amount of travel can be adjusted using this lever on the left side.

On the ride side, there are two adjustments that one can make. The speed of the rebound can be adjusted with the red knob, and the fork can be locked using the blue lever so that it does not compress.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Today we took the train down to Huddinge and biked the 6 or 7 kilometers to Flottsbro.

There, there is a relatively tall hill with a T-bar ski lift. We rode up the hill on our bikes by placing the T-bar under the saddle, behind the seat post.

There's quite a nice view from the top of the hill.

We met Patric there. Åsa is in Rome for education this week so Patric was riding her Kona Howler bike — a great bike for the sort of downhill trails at Flottsbro. As you can see, Patric also had the necessary protective gear.

After a quick dash down the hill, Matt and I met up with Lisa at the bottom and rode the cross-country trail marked with blue signs. The trail basically went right back up the trail that Matt and I had just come down. It was a hard climb, so we stopped halfway up to take some photos. The bridge across the water in the distance is a subway bridge, but to where, I'm not quite sure. Somewhere way to the Southwest of the city.

Moments after taking that last photo, the sun came out so I had to snap another one!

Patric didn't join us on the cross-country trail. Instead, he kept riding the lift up so that he could practice his downhill technique. We met him coming down as we were slogging it up the hill.

At the top again, this time under my own power — much more satisfying, but also more exhausting!

Hi Mom!

After the climb up the hill, the cross-country trail branches off to the right and into the woods. The terrain is quick rocky, but it was much drier than the woods in Ursvik yesterday. Still, some steep bits over mud-covered rock were a bit treacherous and I had to walk at in one place. At the end of the run, the trail empties back onto the ski slope. Matt blazed down the hill in his usual happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care way. But unfortunately for him, his luck ran out this time. He hit a bump at the bottom of the hil a bit too hard and crashed rather spectacularly. Both of his weels broke, and in one place spokes were broken and yanked clean out of the rim. Two of his three chainrings were broken. I was 50 meters behind him when he wiped out, and I saw the whole thing. It happened so quickly that I coudln't tell exactly what caused the wreck, but I think I have a good idea. I think the front wheel failed on impact with the log, and that the rear end of the bike swung around sideways, slamming into the ground from the side and causing the rear wheel and two chainrings to break too. Matt came off the bike and rolled twice before sliding to a stop in the gravel at the bottom of the hill. Incredibly, he wasn't badly hurt and got right back up to survey the damage to his bike. Suffice it to say it was an expensive crash!

Here are some shots of the damage caused by Matt's crash.


On Saturday, Lisa, Matt & I went for a quick ride around “NICKspåret” in Järvafältet.. It was wet and muddy, but otherwise okay.

Matt likes to storm down mud-covered trails at top speed, and the splatter testifies to his bravery/recklessnes.

I brought my waterproof pants and jacket, but didn't use them. It was warm enough outside that the extra layer would have been a bit too much; plus, after an hour's exertion on the bike, my clothes are soaked with sweat anyway.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I went biking today with Lotta, Lisa & Matt. We went down to Rudan and took two laps around the trail there.

It was sunny and warm, almost like a Summer day.

May was having fun the whole day, racing me on the uphill sections, and taking every jump he possibly could. I was lucky enough to catch this photo of him in mid-air.

Matt took this photo of me and the girls.

Done with our ride a few hours later, I took this photo with the timer. Today's ride was really nice. Rudan is a lot easier than Hellas, with lots more flat sections between the difficult bits. The trail is wider too, allowing riders to pass one another safely in many palces. Even though it's not as difficult, the trail in Rudan is challenging and exciting.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Matt and I went biking on NICK-spåret in Järvafältet on Saturday. It was cold and rainy, and the trails were quite wet and muddy. I wore the Arc'teryx Gore-Tex pants that Ethan got me a few years ago. In fact, this was the first time I had used them. They came in handy.

After a while, I took off my long-sleeved shirt and rain jacket because I was getting overheated. Riding with just a short-sleeved shirt but long pants worked well, even if it did mean that my upper body got soaked. With all the mud, the ride was challenging. Many of the uphill sections that I can usually ride I had to walk this time.

The next day, on Sunday, we went biking again — this time in Hellas, South of the city. Sunday was a much warmer and brighter day. The sun was shining the whole afternoon.

Plus, because it wasn't raining, the terrain was a lot less slippery than it had been on Saturday. A littlie moisture in the ground actually helps with traction, because it makes the dust into a harder packed dirt. But too much moisture makes the dirt into mud, and then it's even more slippery than the dusty ground would have been. Plus, if there is any water, moss, lichen, mud, or wet leaves on top of smooth granite, it's a recipie for disaster. In several places on Sunday, there was water flowing down the trail — runoff from the previous day's rainfall. In many of those sections where the water was flowing over exposed rock, I got off my bike and walked. Still, I stayed on my bike for most of the wet parts, and I fell a few times.

Once, my front wheel bottomed-out on a downhill section that was covered with roots and rocks. With the front wheel stuck on a root and my weight too far forward, I flew over the handlebars. Amazingly, I detached from both pedals and landed on my feet in front of the bike, even managing to keep hold of the handlebars with one hand! I wish I had gottan a movie of that fall!

I rode for a few hours with Matt, and then once again on the same trails with Åsa and Patric. Åsa was trying out her new mountain bike for the first time, and she did a spectacular job.

After the ride, we had a beer, coffee, and cake at their place in Hammarby Sjöstad. Then I biked home. I took this picture of the sunset from the bridge back to Södermalm.

At home the next day, I took a picture of the result of one of my crashes. The big chain-ring scraped across my calf after I slipped on slippery granite and put my foot down to try to catch myself. I look like I've been attacked by a mutan nine-clawed bear!