Headquarters for the Slender Fungus Cycling Association

Headquarters for the Slender Fungus Cycling Association
Brewers of Hardy Rides.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

This Week.

We still have nice weather around here for it being the last few days of November. We have been commuting to work by bike on a daily basis and it has been really good. I have been working around some fit issues with the Gunnar and getting prepared for the new frame. I am currently running a little shorter stem and want to give my Beloved Nitto Noodles a break and try some Compact bars. I tried the new Salsa Cow Bells but buying them in a 46cm was a mistake. I feel like my arms are wide open like Superman. Maybe after all those years of riding narrow bars on my "road" bike I just got used to it. And I believe as the bars get wider,the stem should get shorter. So I switched my bars and stem and that seems to work great. I thought my cranks were ge-cracked but upon inspection they just have a scratch and they are fine. My Crown on my bianchi cyclocross is definetely cracked and I am thankful it did not explode and caused a bad crash.
On another breaking news my DT swiss fabricated Edco hub is cracked and 2 spokes are dangling in the air. So I will have to take that wheel apart and relace it. Was really not in the mood to do that. I have installed my Tubus Rack on my Gunnar Crosshairs, it has a Toplite, I switched to Touring tires and the front wheel is a Shimano Generator that powers a Planet Bike Dynamo Blaze. 
I already got sick of charging batteries. With this getup you saddle up turn the switch and away you go. Easy. 
Today we went with the wife to do the Stairs at Swallow Cliff. I got my ass handed to me by a bunch of older women and men. I did 5 repetitions and was looking for an oxygen tank. I suck. I was doing the stairs, hanging on to the rail and older folk were running and passing me. How am I ever going to climb 20,ooo feet of elevation in T.I.? 
So, we will be going there again and try to make it all the way to 10 reps. On top of the hill they have an Abacus type device where you can keep tabs of the hill climbs you do. 
Get out and ride before it all goes to pot. 
Alfine Generator Hub gives all the light you want

Blaze light specifically made for Generators. This gives more light then a  2W  battery model.

Jannd frame bag. The original

Lights for drivers that can't see objects in front of them. Old school Cateye and UsB
Owleye underneath. 

Touring Tires that go on road and off road. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Destination near home

I spent some time this weekend to do some local research. I really wanted to get down pat some trails over by Palos Hills area. Yeah, a lot of people ride there and what not. But in my case I work at the shop all the time and it is impossible for me to get there. I rode over that way yesterday and met Joe from 2 Bici Bike Shop. We hit it off well and I think we are going to be good friends. 
     Joe has been around for a while and we have many acquaintances in common. Joe knows a lot about bikes, racing and is a great asset to the area. He supplied me with a map and I was up late last night studying it carefully. 
     Today I took care of errands early which meant shopping and getting a Xmas tree. My 9 year old was so excited. At 12:02 I was loaded and ready to drive (?????) down there. It is 10 miles to the trails and it took me 20 minutes without any traffic. 
     I parked by 2 Bici and rode behind The Coffee House which is kinda next to the bike shop. You go up a very steep kinda sidewalk and from there you hit the trails. I was on the Yellow trail for the most part. and once I got down South I did the Black Trail which is called the out and back. Singletrack was super dry and hard. I had way too much pressure and was running a El mariachi in full rigid mode. 
     I kept checking the map and things started to make sense. I spent 2 hours on my MTB out there and it felt great to get some upper body workout. 
Made it back to the parking lot and chatted a while with Joe before heading back home. 
     I will be incorporating more of these rides as I get burned out  riding on the road. Going on singletrack really is cool and it allows me to get some handling skills down. 
Little buck trying to outrun me.

My steel El Mariachi with yes 3x9 drivetrain. So old school

This is the coffee house at the corner of Archer and Willowsprings rd.

Across the street from Ghostown there is a 7/11

Joe's  2bici. Open Sat and Sun in case you need last minute supplies before hitting the trails.
I will be up for doing some more singletrack soon. As soon as I get all this arranged I will post it. So I drive south on Willow Springs road and then make a left on Archer. To you right there is a strip mall with a banquet hall, florist, the bike shop, coffee shop. You can park there and then start your ride. For me that is the  shortest location I can get to from my house. I feel so wrong driving there but I guess its not that bad. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Palos Hills Forest Preserve

After last night and the wind I decided to cheat and ride during daylight. I got on my trusty-rusty Gunnar Crosshairs and headed south to see how long it would take to get to the forest and then hit some trails before sundown. I left Westmont, rode through Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale and then headed east to Wolf rd. I then headed south to 79th streee headed east to Willow Springs road to Archer rd. I stopped a Joe's 2bici bike shop and introduced myself. I then rode behind ghostown and into the preserve. So to get to the trail head is 12 miles and when I am short on time I will be driving there. I am so against driving but I think it will be worth it when time is short. There are at least 50 miles of trails and it is all taken care of by CAMBR (Chicago Area Mountain Bike Riders). 
I also got a map so I don't get so lost. I think it will be good to hit some singletrack and work on some other muscle groups. I was excited to meet Joe and his gang and they have a reall cool shop. The had Niner, KHS, 9zero7, Surlys and Salsas. I hope to become friends and get some rides together. 

Gypsy Roots.

As many of you know the Slender Fungus enjoys its Gypsy Roots. We love riding at night and actually feel more comfortable doing so. Here is a video of the band KAL. They are serbian and mix modern and traditional Gypsy sounds. They are great to listen to while cruising in the dark. Just keep the volume a bit low so you can engage with cars.


Night training alone.

So yesterday the wind had been howling like crazy. On Thanksgiving day we were hanging out in shorts at the forest preserve with the daughter and it was amazing. I felt guilty riding in such nice weather and skipped it all together. As we left turkey day dinner at my bros I felt that the weather was changing. Our southerly wind was becoming North-northwest. 
I awoke early friday morning to the back storm door slamming and I looked at a 30 degree temp on the thermometer. The wife and I rode to work and had a crazy tailwind heading eastbound. 
Last night I got home, ate a bowl of pasta and knew I had to get out. I got on the Gunnar with 35mm knobbies and headed straight into the 30mph wind. I cruised all the way to Batavia in the 34 tooth chainring. I was dressed perfectly except for my feet. I only took toe warmers and by all means they were not enough. I had never ridden through Ferry rd and Bilter and found a night route that is completely lit up. All new buildings and a line of Big Capitalistic corporations. I rolled and rolled against the wind until I made it to a magical 7/11. In the same plaza there was a pizzeria, so I figured this would be a good night route. I slurped down a Cappucino and cruised home with a righteous tailwind. I ended my ride with 44 miles, cold feet and some windburn on my face. My nightrider gave out after 2 hours and then I turned on my Dinotte light which got me home. In back I used an old 3 led Cateye and a USB rechargeable Owleye. Both seatstays covered in Jann 3m reflective tape. Carried all my junk in a Jannd frame bag.
Here is what I was wearing:
Patagonia thin capilene baselayer
Soma jersey
thin merino wool thrift store sweater
Exteondo Windstopper jacket
pearl izumi bib shorts
Louis Garneau wind tights
Thin pair Surly wool socks
Sidi dominators
Pearl izumi toe covers
patagonia liner gloves
Ragg wool mittens
merino buff
patagonia balaclava
Windproof hat (20 years old) 
No helmet (shut up helmet police)
Headphones (shut up music police)

Had 2 bottles of water and 1 coffee. Stopped 4 times for bathroom. 

7/11, coffee, food, toe warmers for 1.49 a pack. Open all night.

The corporation route. For 44 miles you keep getting reminded how Capatilistic we are.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

transiowa training.

The Slender Fungus Crew  
The Slender Fungus crew is ready to go to Iowa in April. The miles are starting to pile up, bikes are being prepared and it is now time to get together and go for a real long one. We will have two new partners coming with us . One young man will be coming from Upstate New York with Dr. Giggles and another will be a Cookie area local. 
My training rides at night have commenced and for a time being I am back on the geared bike. I had to give my brain and knees a rest. I am also seeing what fit issues I will jot down for when the Prototype arrives in the middle of December. 
     What really counts is the amount of time you put on the bike. There is no real secret to any of this. Last night was another 30 miles of solo recreation on the bike. It was extremely humid and I arrived home wet and cold. There was a dense fog that just permeated all my cycling clothes. I rode the Gunnar Crosshairs with 700x35 knobby tires. I used my dinotte lights along with a planet bike blaze 2w light. The rear was lit up with a cateye blinker plus a Owleye USB blinker. I arrived home around 11:30pm wet and with a splitting headache. 
Roads were busy and there was a lot of construction that I had to navigate around. Got lost a couple of times trying to shortcut. At any rate the miles are coming. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Solo night riding again.

Got out last night since it was so warm. Loaded up the Gunnar and took off on a make as you go ride. I ended up in Warrenville and then hopped back on the Prairie Path all the way back to Villa Park. The whole route was deserted since the Bears were playing. I got to watch parts of the game through windows since the Flat Screens are so enourmous. I missed the final result but I imagine the Bears won?
Anywho, the ride was great and it was really weird to be back on a geared bike. Maybe someday, someone will join me like in the old days when we had groups riding at night. Ended the night with a solid 40 miles. 
Fear not the night. 
Not the best place to be on bike. 

Good old Prairie Path, alive and kicking. Also deserted at night. 

The Wheaton Courthouse I believe got converted to Condos. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Results from Singlespeeding since last year

I wish I remembered where I took this great picture

Shirley, Surly? BTW, this carbon fork is history. 
I have been riding a singlespeed for a while now and just wanted to jot down some thoughts and ideas. On my Surly steamroller I was riding a 42x15 and then arrived to Upstate New York and got shelled by the hills. I could not even make 1 revolution. I quickly swapped out the manly 15 for an 18 tooth and life got easier. I got in shape and was able to climb 90% of the hills around the Syracuse area. Upon returning to Illinois I switched out the 18 for the original 15 cog. I ride this bike on group rides and can maintain 19-20mph with outspins in the low 30 mphs. This bike rolls on 23mm tires. 
     ON other notes I have been riding a 34x17 on my Gunnar Ruffian Singlespeed until I started to ride it more offroad. That had to change to a 34x18 and that felt better for going up the hills. Crank length on the bike is 175mm and tires were 2.1
     My Selma Ti has a 34x18 with 180mm cranks and that has been my bike for Iowa missions. That made my legs very sore, got my knees "cracky" and exhausted my whole body. Some of the hills in the sacred land were un-do-able. We walked long uphills bringing our speed down to 3mph. The Selma is set up perfect and will not have any changes. I got rid of some doggy Specialized Fastrack tires for some Kenda Karmas that were on closeout. 
     Then came the "Troy Krause Experiment". You see Troy Krause is a beast that finished in second place in Trans Iowa and to my continuing disbelief he turned a 42x18 for the whole event. He rode a cross bike with I would guess 35mm tires. 
     I built up my crosscheck with a 42x18 and donned the road rims with 35mm tires and turned 172.5mm cranks. I rode it to work everyday and I felt the strain on my knees. Then I did an 80 mile ride on it and got really tired. The wide Salsa bars were great for cruising and jamming up the hills. My last change has been to install some sram cranks in 177.5mm and to drop the 42 chainring for a 38. Yes, 4 teeth. Yesterday I got out in the frosty morning and rolled 30 miles with new setup. I really enjoyed the longer cranks and lower gear ratio. I was able to cruise around 15-16mph on the road and climbs the rollers without any effort. 
     As a result from all this I have become addicted to riding a single cog. I got back on the geared bikes and felt wrong. I feel that bikes with gears feel dead and heavy. I also feel that singlespeeds put your body in a hurt zone, high zone that becomes addictive. My knees have been sore for a while. It might be the singlespeeds, it might be the cold weather. This coming week I will go back to geared bikes and see what happens. 
     In any event, I see that singlespeeds have a place in Cycling. They offer a much cheaper alternative to us broke-ass mechanics. They are machines that become the #1 go to bike when you need to go somewhere and don't have time to fiddle with prepping before a ride.
I really think that selecting you gear-ratio is super-important. Riding Trans Iowa on single speed is super-hard. Do you ride a stiff gear to not spin out on the flats? Do you ride an easier gear to make all the hills and not kill yourself? Will there be permanent damage? In any case take the time to experiment. Changing cogs and chainrings is not as expensive as changing 11 speed cassettes. You owe it to yourself and your body to find the right combo. 
If you have any questions or help on this let me know. I stay awake thinking about all this. 



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Commuting, a way of life.

My Cross-Check, Wifey's Space-Horse
Thanks to commuting I have been able to get some riding in as of late. The move back to Chicagoland has been kinda murky because it just takes a long time to get settled into a new environment. We got used to living out in the country and riding gravel all the time. Then we got used to living in upstate New York and riding car-less roads. So, coming back to Chicagoland, our old stomping grounds, has been not easy. 
My riding buddies are far away and my local riders have basically packed it in for the winter. I have been trying to figure out what to do for mileage. My only solution for the time being is to commute EVERYWHERE. I ride to work 5 times a week.  I ride to the store, ride the daughter to school. I accumulate over 100 miles a week just in commuting. On Sundays we go out and break a leg doing long rides. 
I know things will improve in the near future. Now that Cookie, Giggles and I are on "the list", we will be forced to find motivation. Get on your bikes and ride. There is no better thing.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Slender Fungus Reunites again

Mid november and good friend Frank was able to get a group ride together. The plan was to meet in St. Charles and make it to Wisconsin and back. Around a 100 mile trip. I stayed at the mom-in-laws on Saturday Night and had pizza, wine and mass amounts of Storage and Parking Wars. I then drove to Sycamore and rode the Great Western Trail to St. charles. I met everyone there. Two of my Slender Fungus Guys were there waiting. T.J and Gumby. We rode up to Crystal Lake and turned around while the rest of the group continued. It was a very windy day and the singlespeed really cooked my legs. We came back, loaded up and headed back to the corn. We stopped at a DQ and had some tasty food. Now you can get a cheeseburger, Drink, fries and a blizzard for 5 bucks. How can you beat that. At halfway point we intercepted Cookie and his Boss Bob. It was a great day on the bike and I was really happy to ride with good friends. Total for the day was 80 miles with a righteous 35mph wind coming out of the south.
On another note. Cookie, Giggles and I are on the Trans Iowa list and hope to be toeing the line come April.
best, ARI
Good Friend Ricardo

Heading North on the Fox River trail. with a nice tailwind

WE had a good size group on sunday

Slender Fungus Crew: T.J. Cookie, Dork, Gumby

This is where Bob and Cookie build awesome bikes. Go there for a great Fitting.!

T.J. contemplating to attack Pedestrians. 

T.J. and I riding A-breast. 

Gumby and I rding A-breast.

Frank, leader of the ride. Thanks for the nice ride Frank. 


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Super Mario at it again.

Mario Cipollini has never ceased to amaze me. He is the type of guy that has boundless energy and lives life at fullest. This video is amazing despite some lame-O's critizing the fact that he is not wearing a helmet. Who Cares? Are you the Helmet police? Anyway, enjoy this short video. 
I so want to go to Italy. Maybe after Trans Iowa. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Some great,great rides of yore.

Giggles, Pizza and I went out on a 80+miler. Giggles and I on 29er singlespeeds. It was the never-ending day on a bike.

Hellmutt and I went on a 80+miler with 40+miles of headwind.
We hid out of the wind in a ditch. Some motorist stopped to see if we were alive.

Hellmutt and I on yet another night excursion. Thanks to Hellmutt we founded the Slender Fungus Cycling Association. He lives in Hiatus somewhere where it is always warm. Rumor has it that he still rides a ferrous bike.

Hellmutt and I on another night excursion. We just rode and rode without ever talking. We'd stop and take breaks to drink the Elixir of whisky.

These are the finer moments of riding a bike. No zones, sprinting, just riding a bike and having fun. That is the main objective that we have .

thanks for reading,

Ari and the gang.

The Slender Fungus and Transiowa V9

So the time has finally come for the Trans Iowa preparations. Cookie, my loyal riding partner, has already entered the revered roster since he was man enough to finish last years brutal event. Giggles and I will be sending in our postcards tomorrow for a chance of spots beginning Monday. Every year has been a tough one and there were a couple of years where there was a possibility of finishing. 
The demons inside took over and prevented that. Trans Iowa instigates fear in riders and I really don't think any other race has this effect on people. This race takes up a lot of our conversations when we get together. 
How do we conquer the Beast? How do we kill demons that want to possess our brains? How do we go beyond our pain thresholds? Then there is the whole other side with mechanics, tires, clothing, food, lights, shoes, pedals and so on. 
It basically takes a whole year to get ready. And then there is the issue of Mother Nature. Will it snow like crazy saturating the gravel to turn it into mush in the spring. Will it rain heavily the week before? Will we have 35mph winds like TIV4? 
So, in short, to finish the beast off you have to be committed. I have been reading some training regiments that Che Quevara went through. The 15 hour marches through woods, rivers and mud. 
I really want to finish. I really want to suffer and get around coming up to the finish line before 2 pm on Sunday. 
Cookie and I will be receiving new mules soon enough and our singlespeed training will continue. We will suffer all winter and the spring will bring us fruits. 
Good luck if you are toeing the line with us in April. You will need it. 
President  Slender Fungus Cycling Association.         

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New Bike rack

my new bike rack

So I moved back to my hood and starting going to the local grocery store. I had trouble locking up my mules so I complained about 5-6 times to the friendly owner.  On my next visit I found a shiny new bike rack outside where the old Payphone used to be. Sometimes if you want something you just have to ask until you get it. I see many more cyclists around my neighborhood after my 5 year abcense.
 Bikes do work. Bikes do save gas. And they offer cheap, low impact exercise. But we all know that stuff. Ride the kids to school. Go grocery shopping by bike. It might just save us someday.
Ask for a rack. You might just get one. 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Iowa Mission #4 is a success

As you might have read over at the Cookie Blog we were able to get out and get a mission accomplished in the month of November. We drove to undisclosed location and met up at 7am sharp. I had to stop before at Walgreens and get some supplies since I left my nutrition bag in the garage. We then packed up in the Bu-Bu and drove out to undisclosed location in the wondrous state of Iowa. 
We rolled out at 9:07 a.m. with a target ride of 90 miles on singlespeed. We rode and the new route that I had mapped out had many, many hills. One of them was was the leg breaking "El Capitan". 
We then headed west for a long while to get beaten up on a some chunky gravel. I cursed and cursed my rigid 29er with 2.2 tires. At 40psi I was getting pounded and wondered whether I would ever be able to use the Wash Cabinet any more. 
We made it to our most west point and headed north. We were kinda hurting bad around mile 60 and knew we had 30 more to go. Bacon Jerky, fig newtons and bananas brought us back to life. We ended riding the last miles better than last time and Cookie was happy to have added one toof to his cog in back. We did a lot of climbing and I become a lot more sore than last time. Wrenching those 700mm wide bars and a 34x18 all day will beat you up. We were very appreciative to have made this trip. 

Many,many hills on Sunday

Lots of fast traffic. Good day for a Head on collision when you decide to ride on the wrong side. 

Sunday it was loose, chunky, shitty gravel. It hurt all day. 

Cookie's bike was less then perfect and he had to fiddle with it. 

Here is my bitch with new meats. 


lit up dork 

Even the road riding to connect was no relief. 

How effing Pretty. 

Valley riding. Hey, more oncoming traffic to run into . 

This road sucked the life out of me. 

Look at Cookie's zigzagging to make it up the hill. 

He reaches the top while I die trying to take these pictures. 

Hey more hills. Giggles, we missed you. Good day for Mr. Turkey. 

We did not do this. We had fear. 

Wife and I would love a house like this. 

Cookie walking up La Jefa. This horrible hill  is married to El Capitan

Cookie sports a Combover and yes we arrive in pitch black.
OH and I had no lights.