Saturday, January 1, 2011

Last ride of the year, thoughts on Alfine

46 miles on the new Alfine hub. It was a blessing and a curse. More on that below.

I am very pleased with the Alfine. I have some mixed feelings but they are created by me. If you have spent a fair amount of time riding single speed, you will find this hub to be quite beneficail. It allows you to adjust to the terrain a little better. I have my setup with the ring/cog that I would normally run in the off season. (38/20) With that said, forth gear is 1:1 which is essentiall riding as if I was single speed. I then effectively have three granny gears and four overdrive gears. That is pretty awesome. The downside to this is the urge to ease off the pain when the road turns upward. When I had no choice but the gear that I brung, you get out of the saddle and push through it until its done. When you have options, it is easy to drop a gear (or in this case up to three gears) and spin it out. It takes the edge off but I realized that it was an easy alternative to grunting it out. I think overall that is the least of my problems. I welcome the options. It will allow me to venture further out and help leave my legs fresher to ride longer. I will continue to put many miles on it and everytime I click the shifter, I will remember how hard it was sometimes before I had it.

This is a pretty common site in the Vermont country side. The photo below is the same barn, just panned back for a more complete look of the scene.

Shortly after I took a shot of where I'm headed...

... and where I've been

This is a nice shot through the railings at a small waterfall.

This is the damn in Milton. It is at mile 15 into my ride. At this point it was climb time on the Westford-Milton Rd. Man I wasn't ready for that.

By the time I got here, I had only gone 4 miles but did quite a bit of climbing.

This is my old stomping ground. At this point in the ride I could have shortened it quite a bit. I built in a few bail out points in the ride in case I had enough or got tired. I took a minute and stopped, had a banana and decided to roll on.

This is a look back on the way I came at a farm in Westford on 128. I love this state!

Time to roll on. Any time the road fell dark to shadows, it was pretty cold. Riding with the sun shining on my face was nice and kept me warm.

This would make one hell of a bike shop. Someday we hope to have some land to build on and something like this would be in my plans. (It looks crooked but it is the camera angle)

There is a VAST hub at the intersection of Towers Rd. and Chapin Rd. Looks like good fun.

Here is my bike with the likes of some marks in the snow left by the skis of some snowmobiles. This bike does it all and doesn't complain.

I hope next year to have a "Fat Tire Bike" so that I can explore Vermont from an angle that I have never seen it. I like the idea of being able to get around in the unlikely places.

The pavement of Chapin Rd. ends here and I would spend the next 5 miles on dirt. It was super nice. This bike seriously likes a dirt road. It rolled so nice.

Here is a crazy panoramic view of the intersection of Chapin Rd. and Col. Page Rd. It is creepy how it leads you to believe that you can choose your route as if its a fork in the road. The roads are actually perpendicular to each other.



Pondero said...

I know what you mean about the pros/cons regarding additional gears. I rode a fixed gear bike almost exclusively for about a year, and was reasonably content. After trying an overnight camping trip, I added a geared bike to allow me to carry camping loads more practically.

And I've been having the same thoughts as you ever since. So I find myself switching back and forth between the two bikes every week or two.

Great bike, by the way, and great surroundings. It looks like a great place to explore.

sminch said...


Thanks for chiming in. You know exactly what I was talking about. I believe that there is always room in ones stable for a single speed. Maybe even a fixie. I'm glad I have the bike setup like I do and think that it will cover alot of diversity. I look forward to working with the Alfine 11 speed when they become available.

greg said...

That looks like a great ride.

With gearing I don't know what you find but for me if I drop down a few gears and spin a little more when I look down at the speedometer I'm still doing the same speed as when I was grinding away. Just a thought.

sminch said...

I think you are right about that. I will have to put that to the test. The biggest thing that affected me was riding alone. That sucks sometimes and this was one of them.

Apertome said...

Really beautiful shots! Tough conditions for a 46-miler. But judging from the photos, totally worth the effort.