Category Archives: Bloggity

3-Speed Adventure April

This post is way late.  I’m probably ineligible for fame and glory at this point.

Back in March, the infamous Shawn of Urban Adventure League fame announced a new challenge for April: Three Speed Adventure April!  There were five challenges.  Yours Truly had grand plans to complete them all in one fell swoop of an S24O.

The overall challenge consists of five different sub-challenges:

  1. Ride your three speed at least fifteen miles (25 km) in one ride.
  2. A climb of 5% or more grade, with a cumulative elevation gain of at least 100 feet (30 m).
  3. A bit of unpaved/dirt action, of at least a cumulative one half mile (1 km).
  4. Coffee outside via three speed.
  5. A bike overnight or bike camping trip by three speed.

Well, that didn’t happen.  But I did manage to squeeze out 3 of them.

On April 21st, 2017, I set out to conquer the climb from Market and 3rd, past Negley Park, to 8th, which generally has an upward pitch, and is at some points ridiculously steep.  Especially for a 40 pound 3-speed with an old fat guy astride.

The hardest bit, though, is right at the bottom.  See the little circled dip in the screenshot below.  Over the first .37 miles, it gains 100 feet in altitude.  That’s about 6% if my math isn’t too far off.

Challenge #2 complete!

Challenges 3 and 4 were completed on Sunday, April 30th.

A cozy bridge.

A little dirt.

A little grass.  I’d guess about a mile of the rough stuff, out and back.

Coffee along a little stream.  The water was boiled with a Kelly Kettle…

…and then forced through the grounds with an Aeropress…

…into a Coleman porcelain coated steel mug.

This is my favorite mug.  It’s part of a set consisting of 3 other mugs and a matching percolator.  I found them in a thrift store a few years back, still in the original box.  Those little gold Taiwan ROC stickers were on the bottom of all 5 pieces, which tells me they had never been used  Twelve worthless Americanos for the lot!

And, finally, a nice ramble home on the Collegiate.

And, we’re back!

The new, improved fivetoedsloth is reborn, again, this time, as Uncle Grouchy and his Bicycle Emporium!  Update your rss reader!

Coming soon!  Bicycle reviews!  Opinionated bloviation!  How 3 speeds are all you need!  How 7 speeds are all you need!  How to cure the common cold!  And, everyone’s favorite, Uncle Grouchy’s Gripes!

Standby to stand by….

Google-free for 30 days

Our dear benevolent overlords have seen fit to throw the switch on Google Reader by July 1st, 2013.  That leaves me with 257 potentially homeless rss feeds.  Right now, if you were here, you’d see my Grr Face in all its wrinkled glory.  The tech news sites are lit up with all manner of suggestions for replacement services, only one of which, Feedly, currently has the bandwidth and BogoMips to handle the mass exodus.  Digg has announced that they are starting to work on their own aggregator.  Google Plus and Twitter are both aflame, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  #reader, #savereader, #upyoursinthebuttgoogle are common hash tags.  Ok, so maybe the last one isn’t all that common.

A few weeks back Christie and I were discussing just how much the big G knows about us.  It’s probably a lot.  But we came to an interesting conclusion.  We’re OK with it because we get to use some really cool services.  There are very few companies that do this.  Many seem to be all about taking, taking, taking and selling, selling, selling, with no regard for us.  Google, unlike the rest of them, is actually useful.  Right now we’re using the following Google services:

  • Gmail
  • Google Apps (the mail server for twosixteen)
  • Calendar
  • Picasa
  • Google Plus
  • Reader
  • Drive
  • Play (Android apps and music streaming)

We have invested in all of those services.  Not necessarily money, but time, effort, creativity, more time.  If Google decides to pull the plug, like they just did with Reader, we’re kinda in the lurch.  That’s a lot of data, photos, archived e-mail, a calendar we share, social connections, books and music, all lost.  At Google’s whim.  Now, I don’t expect them to do that, especially if they’ve managed to monetize a service, but they could.  We would have no control over it.  None.

When they announced the death date for Reader, I think my initial reaction was a lot like everyone else’s.  ”WTF?” and then “I have to find a new feed aggregator service.”  I tried out Feedly.  The early indicators are that they are winning the war of Reader’s attrition.  They do seem to have their shit together.  Log in with your Google account.  That’s it.  It currently uses Google Reader as the back end, so all your rss feeds are there.  Some time between now and then they’ll migrate everything over to Normandy.  Seamless, they say.  If you’re cool with moving to another service, Feedly looks like one you should really consider.

The title of this entry is “Google-free for 30 days”.  I had decided on that title before I started working on the details.  I was going to spend a month using other services as much as possible.  But there’s that whole software-as-a-service thing, rearing its ugly head again.  What if Feedly goes out of business?  Or decides to do something else?  We’re back to where we are right now, with no control over our own stuff.  All that time and effort would be wasted.   So I’m not going to use Feedly or any other service I don’t control.

Now I need to find a replacement for each Google service I use and figure out how to implement it such that no one else can shut it off.  Christie and I pay for a shared hosting plan.  Twosixteen runs on this.  And soon, hopefully, so will everything else.  Over the next couple of weeks I’ll try to document the process of finding a replacement for each Google web service I use, installing it, and putting it to use.  Once I get everything set up, I’ll attempt to use no Google applications for at least a month.

A few rules/guidelines:

  1.  I’m not willing to implement a Microsoft solution.  A web-based Google service is, by far, the lesser of the two evils.
  2. Everything I do implement must be accessible from anywhere I have an Internet connection.  e.g. A locally installed feed reader doesn’t count.
  3. Android apps are icing on the cake.
  4. Strong preference for Free and open source software.
  5. Web pages that don’t require a log-in are OK.  I can still use Maps, Search, Youtube and Translate.  I’ll try to find alternatives, but these are still on the table.
  6. Play is almost a requirement for the Android phone.  I’ll still use it for phone apps, but that’s it.  All the books and music will go elsewhere.  (Yes, I know I could use Amazon’s app store, or side load everything, but those options both suck.  I’d rather go back to a dumb phone.)

First up is e-mail.  Updating the MX record to point to our web hosting provider is easy.  They offer web mail, along with IMAP and SMTP.  I’ll use K9 on the Android devices and I might install a local mail reader, too.  I’ve always wanted to try Mutt.

A Reader replacement is second.  I have no idea what to use, yet.

The Drive replacement will likely be third.  I’m leaning toward OwnCloud at the moment for web-based storage.  It’s open source and there are Linux and Android applications.  Local office-like applications on each device will take the place of Google’s Document and Spreadsheet applications.  Those are the only two I use.

Stay tuned!

A few updates to the blog

This is more of a meta post, but I thought I’d fill both of you in on the changes.  I’ve installed a plugin called “Social Connect” that allows users to log in and post comments using Open ID.  In other words, Google, Yahoo and WordPress.  It can theoretically support Facebook and Twitter log-ins, too, but those require extra work on my part.  Plus, I don’t have a Twitter account, and Zuckerberg can pound sand.  You can also still do things the old fashioned way by typing everything in every time, but I don’t think many of you really like doing that.  This is based on the observation that there have been days fivetoedsloth has received hundreds of unique visitors and nary a single comment.  So spam away.  I’ve made it easy peasy.

Crunchpoundhash 30 Days of Biking

April is #30daysofbiking.  That means ride a bike every day.  Even if it’s just around the block or down the hall.  Get on your bike, their bike, a bike and ride it, at least a little, every day in April.  This is my second April participating.  It’s kinda fun.  You should try it.  Even if it’s too late for the official thing, you can still get in 30 straight days of riding.

I’ve been tracking my rides with Daily Mile.  You can go have a look at what I’ve done.

On a side note, the rules.  I have some slight additions and modifications to the rules.

  • First, if you can help it, don’t be a roadie.  However, if dressing up just like Lance, showing off your junk in your lycra shorts and riding a carbonplasticwunderbike are the things that make you want to ride, well, it’s better than not riding.
  • Rules 4 and 5 are, without question, spot on.
  • Rule #29.  A tool roll is acceptable.  In fact, it’s dumb to carry tools in your jersey.  Have a tube, patch kit, tire levers and a small set of wrenches or a multi-tool for every bike.  Leave them on the bike all the time.  Attach the roll to your saddle with a toe strap.
  • Rule #30.  No pump peg shall be left unadorned.  The full sized frame pump, the one that fits between two pump pegs, or between that little nub on the head tube and the joint between the top and seat tubes, is the one pump to rule them all.  If your bike has pump pegs, you shall acquire a frame pump.  If this is unacceptable to you, get a different bike.
  • Rule #31 should be revoked.  See the modification to rule #29.  There are no exceptions for Lezyne man-purses.
  • Rule #39 should be revoked.  Go try to find a photo of Eddy with glasses.  Try.  Go ahead.  We’ll wait.  If he didn’t need them, if his peers didn’t need them, you don’t need them.  The I’m-a-douche eyewear fad started by Lemond should have died when he retired.
  • Finally, the frame material pecking order, from highest to the lowliest of the low.  Steel, titanium, aluminum, plastic.  One could possibly argue that aluminum ranks higher than titanium at certain price points.

The refendering of the rSogn is still on deck.  Stay tuned.

Membership dues

It seems there’s a new bike club in town.  It’s the Tarik Saleh Bike Club!  A few of us out here in the mid-Atlantic are already members.  The rules are easy peasy.

  1. Ride bikes.
  2. Try not to be an ass.

You should join, too.  I hope this guy sees this photo and realizes how much cooler I am than he.

I think I just violated rule #2.

Navigating the old blog

Big fat update! Everything is here now! There are a couple of glitches, but nothing too serious. The most noticeable one is that some of the posts from the old blog show up as having no comments, but the comments are still there. It’s not a deal killer and it doesn’t affect new entries. Regardless, if you had bookmarked a particular page, that link should now translate over to the new installation. Thanks for your patience.

Ignore everything below this line.

If you landed here after following an old link to the old blog, you can still get to what you want to see. The old blog is at, while the new blog is at See the difference?  If you wanted to see my recent entry about the Bell Bicycle bell, you might have used this link, which would have landed you here. All you need to do is change fivetoedsloth to fts.  So the link becomes, which will take you right where you want to be.

This is a stop gap measure. I hope to get the whole thing integrated with the new blog in short order. Thanks for your patience. Both of you.


The old blog is here, for the most part.  Exporting the old blog has become difficult.  There is apparently an error in the syntax of some mysql mumbojumbo at post number 60, which doesn’t exist.  So it truncates the WXR file in February, 2008.  If that didn’t make sense to you, you’re not alone.  For the time being, that’s where it will live.

Well, poop.

Looks like I botched a WordPress upgrade. Starting with a clean install. Will (hopefully) import the old stuff today.

Dura-Ace! Dura-Ace!

Hold on a sec while I clear out the cob webs.

Tonight’s fun involved Dura-Ace hubs laced to beautiful Mavic MA-40 rims.  Seriously, who wouldn’t want that?  Probably most folks once they learn they’re dealing with Uniglide.  For the uninitiated, Uniglide is Shimano’s pre-Hyperglide cog technology.  It was coolio in the 80s, but it’s incompatible with pretty much everything these days.  Or, rather, everything these days is incompatible with Uniglide.  And that’s where the fun starts.

I got these wheels a couple years ago before I knew the difference, but I figured it out real quick.  The rear wheel went on a hook and the front wheel ended up on Christie’s little green mixte.   Once I found a new front wheel for the mixte I started thinking about my Dura-Ace “wheel set” again, and St. Sheldon had the answer – grind off part of the wide spline on each cog of a Hyperglide cassette.  For those of you who are still reading and who don’t have a clue what I’m rambling on about, this picture right here should help clear things up.  I have in my possession two old Hyperglide cassettes, an “i” and an “ac”, plus the first two Uniglide cogs, a 13 and 14.  And that, folks, is the makings of one weird block.  I also have a NOS hub body and the tool to extract the old one.

Following much grinding, cursing, grinding, filing, fitting, unscrewing, cursing, wrench-to-head whacking and general mechanical agitation the Dura-Ace rear wheel is fully functional with a 13-14-15-18-21-24-28 cassette.  I also managed to scrounge a NOS 600 Ultegra rear derailer.  This drive train is going on the Nishiki International, with a Symmetric down tube shifter, just for shits and giggles.  There will be more about the Nishiki.  I promise.

In other news, I’m almost done removing the paint from the braking surface on the Trucker’s front wheel.  Ugh.