Friday, March 15, 2013

St Patrick's Day Massacre, a fundraiser ride.

View from the top

I recently had the honor of being the official ride photographer for a really well done school fundraiser ride recently, The St Patrick's Day Massacre. It was neither a massacre nor on St Patrick's Day but it was a lot of fun and raised critical funds for a school art program. 42 riders made the ride across San Francisco, over the Golden Gate and on up Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands. Most doing repeat ascents of the long uphill portion that represented about 580' (vertical feet) of climbing over the course of a few miles. The weather was perfect for riding and the views were spectacular for the great turn out of riders and supporters alike. 

Slow going up 
In addition to being the event photographer I managed my own ascent of Hawk Hill on my recently acquired vintage Bianchi. Not the best choice of  bicycles to climb a giant hill but it did the job as I rode up with the others stopping to take photos at key places along the way. As irony would have it the scary part would be riding back down on vintage 80's hardware. It did just fine but I was definitely pushing the bicycle in the direction of it's reasonable limits. 

Event organizers at the top of hawk Hill
All in all it was a great day and definitely demonstrated another fun way to raise money for education and a fantastic job for a first time event, or any event really. We could use more with this kind of well planned organization. Even the t-shirts looked good. (Bonus points for getting to combine my efforts as photographer, art educator and bicycle enthusiast.)  

Fast descending
Good job everyone!

Bianchi Sport SS

In the rack at Rapha
I keep getting excited and dig in on new projects forgetting to take "before" pictures. The most recent, and one of my favorites so far, has been a mid 1980's Bianchi Sport rescued from a literal rubble pile in a friend's art studio. It'd been sitting there neglected long enough for the tires to turn to crumbling dry rot that came off in chunks, many years.

Overall though, it wasn't in bad shape. Minimal surface rust and a straight frame made it a good candidate for a great daily rider that doesn't inspire panic stricken work interruptions to make sure its still there when I need to work somewhere I can't bring a bike inside. (People are just plane relentless when it comes to bicycle thievery.)
Maiden voyage to the bridge

After replacing tires, saddle, pedals, cables, chain, repacking headset and bottom bracket, scrubbing for many hours and touching up the paint, its turning out to be a great vintage bike. The 27" wheels aren't ideal but there are alloy wheels available and a solid half dozen choices for tires. Even at that, its a step up from the Schwinn Le Tour I rebuilt last year with its even more antiquated brakes and wheel set. With each of these rehabilitated bicycle projects I'm learning more and more how far the technology has come in the last thirty years or so. Wheels, saddles, gearing and all manor of alloys and frame materials have been drastically improved. That said, older bikes with steel frames, a mere ten speeds and heavy wheel sets are still some of the best riding bikes around.

I love my Globe Roll single speed but I ride every day and much of my commute is up hill. Combine the need for gears and lugs for a racks and fenders and the Bianchi ends up being a welcome addition to the stable. Now I just need to decide if the Bianchi gets the  rack and pannier treatment with lights and a full long range commuting and touring set up or if that goes to the Le Tour. At this point I really want the Bianchi to be as broadly usable as possible and having a a couple bikes to choose from to suit different needs, or even moods, can be a useful thing when you are on them seven days a week. I'm still on a quest for a decent(budget) randonneur bike but this is a lot closer than I've come so far.

Monday, March 4, 2013


I seem to be turning up a lot of bicycles lately, some "better" than others, all of them interesting in one way or another. This one is a really decent 90's vintage bike from the defunct Corsaro bicycle company. Not a lot of info on these but there are a fair amount of them around. Solid bikes with reliable steel frames a couple sources say were made for them by Giant. The only real issue with mine is that it is about one frame size too big for comfortable standing height over the top tube. Other than that it would make a great daily rider I would enjoy rolling and not panic over locking up outside from time to time.

I was holding out on it for a while but with the impending arrival of a vintage Bianchi, I'm up to five velos and out of space. The 28" wheels are a hassle, a minor one and still reliable, but combined with the frame being too tall for me it'll be the first on my list to go and make room for new projects.

Having had a tough time finding info about the bike I'll do my best to post something with enough info and photos to be useful for others who may be looking.