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weekend ride report #2: another RBR poster meeting!(27 posts)

weekend ride report #2: another RBR poster meeting!JS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 6:49 AM
Sunday we typically host a noon ride of about 30 miles over mostly flat to rolling terrain (around 1100 feet of hills). This Sunday it was around 80*F and sunny, clear, zero chance of precip forecast, not much wind to whine about, and an astoundingly beautiful day. Of course only three of us showed for the ride.

I've been corresponding with RBR's "SpecialTater" for a few weeks via e-mail after learning on the board that we're both in Elvisville. I was happy to see him at the start of the ride this weekend.

He's ridden only for about a month on the road, and has accompanied one or more of our club's "social" rides (social = slow & squirrely, with frequent and often loooong stops), so I fear this one may have been culture shock! It was a great ride, great company, and perfect conditions for 2 hours on the bike. I'm hoping he'll join us for more rides, more often, including our Thursday Night "Rip Off J's Legs" ride.


so the eye candy begins...JS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 6:50 AM
the Merckx, my bud's Fondriest, and SpecialTater's Specialized...
la pomme de terre speciale's velo: from the topJS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 6:51 AM
bici de la patata especial: from the sideJS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 6:53 AM
booty call! :)JS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 6:54 AM
yes i carry a cellphone under my seat.
Cell phone? Looks like circa 1980's car phone. n ;-)Kristin
Apr 14, 2003 7:09 AM
How much does that thing weight?
nokia 5100 seriesJS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 7:12 AM
it's standard issue at my office. though i would like a smaller, more modern phone, i'd have to pay for it myself, and we just can't have that.

weighs probably around 1/2 pound, i guess. that's 227 grams or less for you gram-pinchers.

if you think the phone is big, you should see the digital camera.
always lookin' for an angle!JS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 6:56 AM
riveting!JS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 6:57 AM
brings a tear to my eye. makes me feel "all tingly". (last pic)JS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 6:58 AM
So did you guys ride or was this just a photo shoot? nmKristin
Apr 14, 2003 7:10 AM
LOL nmDougSloan
Apr 14, 2003 7:11 AM
LOL. Now I have to clean off my desk! nmmohair_chair
Apr 14, 2003 7:13 AM
this was post-ride...JS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 7:19 AM
of course i was so concerned about how much my phone weighed that i couldn't justify carrying the camera on the actual ride.

"so did you guys ride or..."

that's debatable. we "rode", but i got my arse kicked on all the town line and stop sign sprints. it was a "recovery ride" for my friend on the Fondriest, and a spin to loosen up the legs for me, after Saturday's longer ride. if my bud had wanted to crank it up a bit, i'd have been resampling breakfast in short order. ;)

S.T. participated nicely, and is quite a capable rider, especially considering his limited time on the bike!
Hilarious! The parking lot course was all I could takeSpecialTater
Apr 14, 2003 8:11 AM
They had a very nice route through the parking lot. I didn't take ONE parking space line sprint. Being new to this and all, I was a little uncertain about riding on actual streets with cars and J was kind enough to tape off the parking lot to keep cars out. It was great! Haven't had so much fun on a bike since the parade around the block in 3rd grade!


My actual $.02 a little later.
I thought it was a typo-Should be RBR Poser meeting! ;P nmStraightblock
Apr 14, 2003 9:18 AM
why don't you ride the merckx more often?tarwheel
Apr 14, 2003 9:57 AM
Is the Merckx just your Sunday bike? It seems like most of your ride pix show you with the Surly. Nothing against the Surly, but if I had a Merckx like that in the garage, that would be my choice. Since I got my Merckx in December, I've ridden about three-fourths of my mileage on the Eddy rather than my Gios. I love the Gios, but the Merckx demands to be ridden. It handles so well that I just end up grabbing it most of the time, even though the Gios climbs better. Is the Surly more comfortable or a better fit?
why don't you ride the merckx more often?JS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 10:13 AM
i'm trying to answer without using any "frame feel" buzzwords:

the cross-check feels more agreeable; that is to say it soaks up road irregularities and responds well to input. it may be a combination of the "spongy" CroMo fork and the "springy" b17n rails and the overall saddle feel.

that said, i've done my longest rides on the merckx. then again, i wasn't accustomed to the cross-check at that time.

one of the reasons you're seeing it in many ride reports recently is due to the weather. i'd rather ride my "all-'rounder" in cold and wet weather, and when there's salt and sand on roads. aside from my mtb, the c-c is the only frame i have at home with fender mounts. i purchased it to be a tool, not "rideable art". the merckx to me is "rideable art".

also, many of the longer events (or those with climbing) are out of town trips. putting a bike in my civic, especially with another bike in close quarters, is bound to result in a few marks. in less than 10 months, the c-c looks several years old. it's partly due to traveling for rides, and some due to cyclocross races & training.

I plan to put a brooks on the merckx sooner or later, and i bet that will change the ride completely. can't bring myself to put a clunky-looking b17n on it, so an appropriately-styled brooks will cost more than $100, which i'm not spending right now on a saddle i don't need (rather spent it on a build kit for one of the 3 other frames i have waiting).

considering all this, i guess it comes down to a couple different levels of comfort--literal, as in while in the saddle all day, and "interactive", as in i don't obsess over the frame and kit (cromo & ultegra) like i do with the merckx (brain & chorus 10).


good reasonstarwheel
Apr 14, 2003 12:16 PM
I don't generally ride in rain, sleet, snow unless caught out in it, so I have no real need for fenders etc. If I rode in the conditions you do, the Surly would be a good option. My old Bianchi was my choice for foul weather until I swapped all the parts from it to the Merckx.

FYI -- I've got a Brooks Swift, titanium rails with black leather and copper rivets, that I'd sell for a good price if you're interested. I got it used, but it's in great shape. Just doesn't fit my butt. It would look great on the Merckx, but you gotta consider comfort first. It's a little too short and narrow for me, but might be close in size to your B17.
yo, Tarwheel!JS Haiku Shop
Apr 15, 2003 4:56 AM
I tried to e-mail you but it got kicked back from the @ncmail account. please e-mail me 'bout the saddle:
How do I contact "Special Tater"???CaliforniaDreaming
Apr 14, 2003 7:29 AM
Noticed "SpecialTater"'s Specialized is a steel Allez. I'm looking at that bike this afternoon. Is Special Tater a regular here on RBR? I'd like to contact him/her about the new steel Allez bikes. Great pictures!
i'm sure he'll see your response nmJS Haiku Shop
Apr 14, 2003 7:33 AM
Thanks! I hope so. nm.CaliforniaDreaming
Apr 14, 2003 8:11 AM
Right here...SpecialTater
Apr 14, 2003 8:16 AM
Will reply here or if you would rather keep it off board send an email to

t a t e r (a t) s p r i n g m a i l . c o m

Happy to answer anything about it, but it's my first month on it with only 200 or so miles. With only a Trek 4900 MTB as a comp, I love it. It seems to fit well (still adjusting spacers to see how far down I can get the bars) and 30 or so miles Sat without a true rest was surprisingly easy considering the company I kept.
Then questions here....CaliforniaDreaming
Apr 14, 2003 8:41 AM
Thanks for the reply... I'm likely to pick up the steel Allez this week so I can ride Friday as I have that day off.

Short list of questions:
How did you come to selecting the Allez CroMo?
Test ride any of the Specialized Alumn. bikes, ie. Allez Elite?
Any noticeable flex in the frame?

My LBS has one of these in my size that I'll be out to see later today. :-)

I have to say your bike looks quite sharp. I like the logos and paint of the Specialized steel frames. Can't say I'm a big Acqua & Sapone stripe fan.

Appreciate the input!!!
My selection process:SpecialTater
Apr 14, 2003 9:39 AM
I decided it was important to me to have a relationship with an LBS with my first road bike and not many mech skills, plus I had a budget since I want to support both road and mountain biking (and a new house and a new child...)

I decided on the Allez Elite steel because I wanted a bike that I would be comfortable on for longer rides (and possible touring). In addition, intown Memphis has quite possibly the roughest roads north of Mississippi. Once I decided on steel, my choices were limited to used and Specialized as the LBSs don't stock much steel (except for one where I will not ethically do business for non-bike reasons). Some of you are probably thinking I should have gone the used route, I'm sure.

I compared it to an Allez Comp Alum on these roads and found the comfort advantage of the steel to be substantial. Honestly I would have preferred a non-compact geometry bike, but this fit well, rode well and offered a reasonable deal for the all 105 components (definitely not the best I found, but reasonable). My only other complaint is with the finish on the welds. I've seen better.

I have not noticed any substantial flex, but then again I'm not certain I would recognize it...

I also really like the paint job, though it does look a little plain the Merckx and Fondriest. It also didn't do a good job of keeping up with them yesterday.

Happy to answer anything else.
It was a great 25 mile rideSpecialTater
Apr 14, 2003 10:06 AM
the only problem was it was 30 to get back to the parking lot.

I've been corresponding with J for a few months now regarding a new bike and getting into riding here in Mempho. He was a big part of my motivation to get a road bike since I've seen his ride reports here for the 8 or so months I've been reading the board.

J and Fondriest (not his real name) were kind enough not to kill me on my first non-social "group" ride. It was a perfect day to be on a bike and the scenery just north/east of Memphis is really beautiful--especially when 90% of my 200 or so miles have been in the city. About mile 25 I really started hurting. My previous rides of this distance included at least 10 minute stop. We stopped once to check on a fellow rider who was walking his Colnago with a bent fork (from not keeping it between the ditches). Once we found he was fine and had someone to come get him after less than a minute we were on our way again. No, J didn't have a spare fork. (I was shocked too).

I started really feeling it about 25 miles in and the last three "hills" almost killed me. I know it takes time to build a base and that's what I'm working on. My goal is the local club's century in the fall. I'm also planning on doing a less than a century option of the Double Decker Century in Oxford Mississippi in a couple of weeks.

Thanks to J and "F" for letting me tag along, learn and watch. I'm going to try to make a Thursday ride and I'll let you know just how much J sandbags.