Ten years of Cicli Chinarello

It seems that time flies. It was already 12 years ago I got hooked on road cycling. After riding couple of times on my mountain bike to the cottage it was clear I needed another bike for the road. Initially I was more interested in vintage racers and my first true road bike was a 1980s Bianchi 748. I think rode like 150km on old Russian silk tubular tires during that first year. The second year I rode 500km, but the frame was way too big for me and gluing tubulars was a hazzle. So I started researching other economical options for purchasing a road bike. That is essentially why I ran into chinese carbon fiber frames and how this blog was born.

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Review: Foakley Light Packet

I have a bad habit of breaking or just plain losing my sunglasses. The problem is especially highlighted when I ride my bike. I either drop them riding or leave them somewhere when I stop. Couple of years back I thought I would give cheap chinese alternatives a chance. The models available on the merchant sites are either generic designs or copies of brand name products. While I really think it is lame to straight-up copy products I could not resist trying Thawbrakers. I used them a lot, but when the new model called Light Packet came out I had to try them.

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New winter activity

It seems like when a finnish male comes to a certain age he is going to pick-up cross-country skiing. In all honesty for a long time I felt skiing was a stuck-up sport I would not like to associate myself with. My previous experience is from the army 25 years ago, but I guess time did its work. Last week I popped into a shop and bought a pair of cross-country skis on sale. Now I’ve tried it couple of times and its allure is actually very similar to cycling. You get to search new tracks and there is the thrill of the speed bombing down the hills. I feel little out of control at times, but it has been a lot of fun to reconnect with something from the past. As a kid we were forced to ski in school every year, but these days we do not have enough snow every year.

Love to do 2021

I have been writing to-do lists for the past seasons and more often than not I have failed to accomplish most things in those lists. I don’t really mind the individual failures as long as I have managed to keep things challenging enough to be fun. So far everything has worked out quite okay, but just to be clear this time I will formulate the list as things I would love to do.

The only real goals for season 2021 are to ensure variety to keep things fun and keep active to have enough exercise.

  • One hour of exercise or other activity per day
  • Ride a metric century with my boy
  • Ride a 300km brevet or a multi-day adventure like the archipelago route

In practice the daily exercise can be riding indoors, ice hockey, basketball or any other sport. Doing that longer epic ride with son is going to take all day so if we finish with 70 or 80km that is just fine. 100 is just a number and there is no need to push it. I will try to ride regularly anyways and start the season early. This time I want to try keep myself warm and comfy with some new tricks. No need for new bikes for me, but the boy and wife might need some new MTB builds.

So yeah, So far I have almost 15 hours in 12 days. Let’s keep that up!

Season 2020 in retrospective

In many ways year 2020, ruined by the global Covid-19 pandemic, has been catastrophic. From cycling point of view it has actually been quite good. Of course all the events were cancelled and travelling was not practical, but mileage wise and from experiences point of view it has been outstanding. What was most fun it was the first year I got to ride with my son on the road. I worked from home so there was no commuting, but the weather has been exceptionally warm and sunny. This was the first year I tracked 5000k of cycling when counting both indoors and outdoors.

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Going tubeless

So I guess most returning visitors have gathered I’m bit of Luddite when it comes to bikes. My experiences with tubeless is limited to DH riding and I haven’t really seen the need for them elsewhere. I still like to try stuff when it is cheap and accessible. I recently converted the freehub 11s on an old cheap cx wheelset. They had tubeless ready WTB rims and I had 40mm WTB Nanos and some Stan’s sealant just laying around so it was a no brainer to try going tubeless on my gravel bike.

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Going from 10 to 11

I have an old wheelset laying around and I was looking into upgrading it from 10 speed to 11 speed cassette. The cassette width has changed so it isn’t so straight forward, but there are only few options in this case.

  • No replacement freehub body unfortunately available or can’t just find the right model from Novatec
  • Out of the box compatible 11s Shimano MTB cassette largest sprocket has 36 teeth so longer rear derailleur would be needed
  • Special adapter cassettes are expensive (Token TK-128, Edco, Dark Speed, Lasco Concept, Wheels manufacturing)
  • Milling 1.85mm off cassette (40mm diameter) would require a lathe and needs to be done for every cassette
  • Filing 1.8mm off the freehub body

So generally it sounds like the easiest solution would have been the first one, but the last one is the only one practical in my case. Cheap and fast.

On cycling safely

During the Covid-19 lot of new people have taken up riding bikes. Novice cyclists are often times unsure of themselves and scared of riding on the road. It seems this leads to some exaggerated behavior. Many have this notion that they can control the environment with blinky lights, neon gear and riding in the gutter. Worst part is that they propagate and recommend this information to their peers. Here are some thoughts around the topic that may help cycling safely and with confidence.

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At the crossroads

Another year has passed and the end results last year were half decent. I did attend a few new events and did some new type of rides, but in all honesty physically there was no significant progress (FTP ~200, BMI 26). I have said I will continue cycling at least until I’m 50 years old, but it feels kind of boring to keep doing more of the same. So either I really need to wind it up a notch or decide I ride a bike just for fun. If I were to try crank it up I would need to ride way more and much harder. Cycling is fun, but I don’t know if I want to make that kind of sacrifice.

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New coming of Strava?

I use the free Strava ride tracking service pretty much after every ride. Considering how much I’ve complained about the service in the past it is only fair I review the latest changes to the service. The big news this week was that there are now some new limitations to the freemium plan. At the same time the silly tiered premium model was dropped. The new model is more attractive, but to be honest Strava is still lacking in some key areas (Bluetooth/ant+ support in app, multi-sport etc.) and the yearly subscription does appeal to me.

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