Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lake Shoe Company is amazing!

Really, what a great company! I mentioned below that I was worried about the buckles breaking/getting worn too much to use on my new shoes. That's the only concern I had about them, and figured I wanted to get a pair in reserve as the rest of the shoe should last a couple of decades. So I contacted Lake's customer service people/person through their website. I asked where I could get a pair of buckles. They replied asking for my address so they could send me a pair!!! They showed up today, less than a week later. I can't say enough how happy I am with this, it's just great!

How cool is this!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Shoes for Poppa!

Really, I'm moving into the year 2009 with a bullet! Brand new SPD compatible shoes. Say it ain't so, Joe. I finally got tired of looking at the purple on my mid 90's Nike Ngubas. Good shoes that have lasted really well, but I never really loved them. Interior fabric was kind of creepy and I didn't like touching it. The laces always picked up tons of foxtails and assorted stickers along the trails.

I searched long and hard among shoe label companies (all actually made at the same factory in China by very dexterous four year olds) to find just the right shoe. Had to have leather, full lugged bottom, and not cost $330. Looked at Sidi and they are plastic shoes with dainty little cleats that cost too much. AND I CAN'T STAND THEIR WEBSITE! Next came Diadora. I like their fit (have a road-ish pair already) and the price is right on their X-Country models. But made of plastic with the wimpy little cleats on the bottom. Shimanos looked too Shimano-ey. Finally came across the MX-190 from Lake. Leather? Check. Full lugged? Oh god, yes! Cheap? $79 on sale at Jenson usa. Score!

The only downside is that the toe is kind of narrow and pointy, so I had to go a size up (they come in 1/2 sizes, which is cool!) to get that area to be comfortable for me. That's normal for me in bike shoes except Diadora which is kind of wider in the toe box. The shoes have one of those fancy buckle thingies which looks like it'll break or get worn out pretty soon. I'm going to get some extra buckle parts to have on hand for when it inevitably breaks.

Lake MX-190

But take a look at that lugged sole! Full Vibram rubber sole. No problem wearing them on the hike a bike sections which come into play when I ride. The front end isn't as fully lugged as I'd like. They have those screw in cleat thingies but the fixed lugs are small and I can see they won't grab super well when climbing up a steep hill. Also the bolt tops there contact the ground when you walk, which isn't so good for traction. You can see where they're already getting polished from walking on them. I can deal.

Lake MX-190

So yeah, happy camper. Cool shoes and a real good experience w/ Jenson. They're an semi-close LBS for me, but also have a pretty good web presence. I bought two sizes not knowing which to get and had ZERO problems returning the unused shoes. Good deal!

Lake MX-190

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Trail Bike

So y'all have heard the "Anybike, anywhere" mantra preached at many a church service. I won't try to convince you if you consider yourself a skeptic. Instead I will brag about my ride yesterday.

Seventeen miles, climbing up to the ridgeline south of Redlands. That's a bit of a boring climb, but pretty wide streets with low traffic and not steep. Just monotonous. Stopped at a garage sale for kicks. But then you summit and can drop into Oakmont Park and WOW, you have some good stuff available to you!

I usually do this ride in reverse, but decided to practice some climbing (hmmmm, any reason I need to get my legs in shape???).

My Rivendell All-Rounder climbed perfectly up the singletrack switchbacks.
Climbing Oakridge Trail

Really, just glided up the trail.

I was trying to stitch the three best trails in town together: Oakridge, Deer and Creekside/Coach. Success! You can see the map on Bikely.

Oakridge is flat but curvy with a steep drop off to the south:
Oakridge Trail

Deer Trail is really unknown and might be on private property. It is a "historical" trail in town though. The first part of it is where all the paint-ballers play their games. Some definite hike-a-bike sections that I couldn't ride, but didn't mind hopping off for at all!
Hike a bike section

That trail drops you down to San Timoteo Creek where you can pick up the western side of of the Creekside Trail. This incorporates portions of the Coach trail that was once the main route between Colton and the low desert used by the Earp brothers. It's probably my favorite route in town and I ride it maybe once a week. Again, usually in reverse though.
Lugged light

So about the bike thing. I put on fatter/knobbie tires (Ritchey Zed 700cX44mm). Coulda' done it with the usual Paselas, but why beat yourself up. The top tube is a bit high for hopping over when I was doing the hike-a-bike parts, but really the hardest part to clear was the saddle. I dinged it up a little bit with my shoes, but it will survive.

Seventeen miles in a bit under two hours. Speedy Gonzalez I am not, but a load of fun locally on a beautiful and comfortable bike is a good thing!!!
Rest stop on the ridge