Category Archives: Pentax

Rausch Gap S24O

It looks like His Boniusness beat me to the punch and actually wrote up a ride report in a timely fashion. You can read it here. Anyway, mine’s mostly a photo dump with a few comments.

Bone and I decided to meet at the Stony Valley Railroad Grade parking area at 3pm on the 6th of October in the 2012th year of our Lord^H^H^H^H His Noodly Appendage.  I didn’t tell him, but I had planned all along to ride there from home.  Bwahahaha!

For the gear heads, from left to right.  The saddle bag is perched on a Bagman support and holds my tent stakes and a Big Agnes Lost Ranger.  There’s a Eureka! Spitfire strapped to the top.  Three bottle cages with full bottles.  The white one underneath is a Kleen Kanteen vac flask.  It works great for road coffee.  The Ostrich bag holds most of the food, along with camera, phone, wallet, keys, mon-ay, tools, jacket, extra shirt, some gloves, basically anything I might want to access during the ride.  The Lone Peak panniers hold a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core, a pillow, my kitchen, some warmer clothing, toiletries, and maybe some food.  I can’t recall exactlywhat.  That yellow thing is a tent stake mallet, stolen from the car camping 8-man Tent Mahal.

The skies had been threatening rain for a while, but held off until just after I left the house. So I stopped and put on my rain shell within a half mile.  Of course, it stopped raining a few minutes later and wouldn’t rain again until the next morning.  It was windy and cool, though, so I kept the jacket on until I left the river front.  Here we are crossing the Susquehanna headed toward Harrisburg, home of the Mayor for Life – Linda Thompson.

And then making a left to follow the Green Belt north along the river.

There’s lots to see along the river front part of the Green Belt. Like Tom Corbett‘s house.

He’s a pretty easy going guy, so I thought I might ring the bell and ask if he wanted to come along, but I couldn’t figure out how to get to the front door. Does the mailman just chuck packages over the fence?

Here are some pretty flowers.  Let’s hope the city council doesn’t find out about them.

Pretty sure this is the PA Vulcan compound.

End of the line. Time to turn east and head through the burbs.

Northern Harrisburg has some really nice neighborhoods with big houses, wide streets and mature trees. I’ll bet the folks who live here vote in the mayoral election next time around.

Leaving the city and heading north just a bit farther takes us to Ft. Hunter. If you’re ever in the area you should take the time to check it out.

It’s also a good place to stop for the essentials.

Bridge to nowhere. Been there?

The old tavern house. Unfortunately, they don’t serve anymore. What’s up with that?

Heading north out of Ft. Hunter along PA Bike Route J is interesting. The only road on this side of the river that goes through the water gap is US 22/322. It’s a limited access highway, 55mph, and normally not open to bicycles. They make a grudging exception here. Bring your steel nerves. Train tracks cross over the highway in the gap and the shoulder under the bridge is only about 4 feet wide. The alternative adds 22 miles and goes over a big damn mountain.

But I made it to Dauphin, underwear intact.  That’s Stony Creek in the background.  I’ll follow it all the way to Rausch Gap.

This way!

There was a bar behind be.

I purchased a refreshing beverage.

This was the best part of the ride. The 12 miles from Dauphin to the trail head melted away all too quickly.

Good times!

For those of you thinking an S24O isn’t complete without dirt, I agree. Let there be dirt!

This gravel road follows the old railroad grade. I’m pretty sure I was speeding.

I got to the trail head before Bone…

…and decided it was time for this.

From October 2012 S24O

But he wasn’t far behind me. Let’s go!

8 10 13 miles of this.

This is the Appalachian Trail. About 1/8 of a mile up the hill is a shelter, along with a composting toilet and lots of tent space.

Our light was fading fast and our eagerness to set up camp took a bit of a precedent over our picture taking activities. But the camera came back out Sunday morning. I took a few horrible low-light, shaky photos. First up, breakfast.

Everything tastes better cooked outside, and few things taste better than bacon and eggs. So this was absolutely perfect.

Here’s the camp site.

Bone can move faster than light.

The trail back was pretty much the same as the night before, only colder and wetter.

My original plans included riding all the way home, about 30 miles from A to B, but conversation along the way evolved from bacon to bacon cheeseburgers. And then to Five Guys. It was decided, with 10 miles of rail trail remaining, that my bike should take a ride on Bone’s car and we two should get bacon cheeseburgers and fries and sugary soda-type drinks for lunch.

And that is how we defeated the evil zombie king of St. Anthony’s wilderness went on our annual fall S24O.

Cotton and Twine (or, how to not be a roadie)

Not too long ago I started reading a wonderful blog called Let’s Go Ride a Bike. It’s delightfully written, immensely informative and well worth the time. If that’s not reason enough to add it to your feed reader, Dottie has really nice legs. Ahem. Anyway, they’re having Summer Games! With prizes! I missed the first round, but round 2 has just started and this little post about cotton bar tape is my entry for “Perform a maintenance task — big or small!”

Today I’m going to illustrate, with Christie’s trusty Pentax K100D (which won the dirtiest sensor award at GFM, BTW), how to wrap drop bars with cotton tape and then finish them with twine.  Shellacking will be documented later.”Why,” you may ask, “would I want to replace my spongy, springy, comfy fake cork handlebar tape with unpadded cotton twill?”  Because it looks better.  Besides, if you need padding on your handlebars you quite possibly have some bike fit issues.  Raising your bars or moving your saddle back might help with this.  Riding a too-small frame with a long seat post and really low bars for that super-aero tuck is the domain of just-like-Lance roadies.  They probably need padded bar tape.  Here’s a hint:  don’t be a roadie.  Before we begin, we need to round up a few odds and ends.

  • Cotton tape
  • Twine
  • A bicycle (this job is nearly impossible if you don’t have one)
  • Coffee, and lots of it
  • Some place to work

Let’s get started, shall we?  Yes, let’s.

First, remove that gawd awful eyesore that’s pretending to be bar tape.  Use a knife, scissors, propane torch, whatever.  Just get it off there.

Next, you’ll want to gather your new bits. The cotton tape here is a lovely brown color and comes from the fine folks at Velo Orange.

You’ll need some twine, too. Mine is cotton and comes from the hardware store around the corner. Hippies can order hemp twine from Rivendell.

Try not to gouge your thumb with a tire lever the day before. It hurts and makes the thumb pretty much useless.

Coffee break!

Start the wrap on the bottom of the bar, pull the tape away from the bike, then up and over the top back toward the bike.

If you have bar end shifters like mine, you’ll have to deal with the cable housing in one way or another. The cleanest way to do this is to get new cables and housing and run them along the handlebars up to the stem. I didn’t feel like replacing them just yet, so I made about 6 wraps with the tape going around the bar and the housing. After that, just wrap the bar and let the housing fly loose. You might have to do a little acrobatic tape tucking.

Continue up the bar toward the brake lever and pull back the hood.

Do a figure-8 around the brake lever. This isn’t as tricky as it sounds and you should probably be able to get it looking pretty good after just one or two tries.

Finish wrapping your bar.

It should look like this.

Coffee break!

Now we’ll move on to the twine. I’d like to apologize in advance for the blurry photos. There’s a really good instructable about this, and it’s the method I use. Start by making a loop.

Except do it on the bottom of the bar.

Hold the loop with your finger and start wrapping the twine from the center and work toward the tape. Wrap in the same direction as your tape. The first couple wraps are tricky. Try to get someone to hold the loop for you. But once you’ve gone around a couple times it’s much easier. Keep the twine snug and pull it tight with every revolution.

Overlap enough of the tape so that you can’t see the end and cut the twine, leaving a few inches hanging loose.

Push it through the loop.

Grab the other loose end and give it a tug. It should pull the loop tight and eventually suck the end you just cut underneath the wrapped twine.

Cut off the dangly bits.

Ignore the beer gut.

And you’re done! It should look like this.

Have some coffee and feel free to write if you have any questions. I’ll shellac the bars in a couple days and write about it here.

Sunday morning ramblings

Rolled out at 6:45 or so on the Collegiate and ambled over to the island for the Sunday morning bike club ride.  The pot hole parade explored a bit of Harrisburg and I got to trade bikes with Bill for a little while and try out his very snazzy Traveler’s Check.  14 miles plus the 10 I did last night.  Slow and easy.  I don’t like being out of breath.

The Spotmatic got a workout this morning.  I exposed a few frames on the island before the ride started.  It figures that the kitchen needs to be cleaned before any film gets developed.  The light meter is acting kinda wonky, so it may take a trip to Tennessee for a CLA while I use the K1000 for my little project.

I’ll be 34 next month.  I guess I’m officially into my mid-30s.  Whoever decided to notate time needs an ass whoopin.

Flickr has quite a few groups dedicated to manual cameras and film photography. This one has the best group name.

Name your axe

A few years back a fellow by the name of Mike Johnston used to write a weekly/monthly/occasional column called “The Sunday Morning Photographer”, and sometimes he wrote about some really interesting stuff.  Like how the Pentax Limited lenses are the best autofocus lenses on the market right now and how the photo industry hasn’t figured out that some of us want a digital camera that doesn’t try to do things a camera shouldn’t do.  He would also write columns about improving our photography, like this one.  I did something very similar after reading that article with a K1000 and an M28/3.5.  By the time I finished that little exercise I felt like my photos weren’t half bad.

The last couple years I haven’t liked my pictures very much.  Perhaps I’m taking them too seriously or not seriously enough.  Or maybe I’m just a bad photographer.  Really, though, I just need to focus and pay attention to what I’m doing, which means I’m going to limit the distractions, photographically speaking.

It sure looks like Mike is up to his old tricks.  He went and wrote a few more articles about using a Leica and one lens for a year.  Here and here and here.  Read them in that order.  In my opinion, the Leica isn’t necessary.  Mike wrote that from his point of view because he did it with a Leica and that’s what he knows (at least, that’s what I got from his articles).  You could say basically the same things about spending a year with Hasselblad or a Spotmatic or whatever.  Each of those cameras is going to impart a different way of seeing, of working, of taking pictures.  Also, there is the Leica tax, which is the thousand dollars you’re going to have to spend, minimum, to get a functional double-stroke M3 and a 50/2.8 Elmar.  Lots of folks say the tax doesn’t really exist, because once you spend your year with the camera you can sell it for at least what you paid for it.  I think that’s true, but I don’t have a thousand dollars right now to dump into a camera and I want to get started, which means the Leica is out.  Not that I need it, but Mike was generous enough in that third article to give us permission to use whatever we have on hand, so long as it’s MMM (metal, manual, mechanical).

Name your axe.

I picked the Pentax SP500 with an SMC 55/1.8.  I’ll be shooting Arista Premium, which, by most accounts, is rebranded Tri-X for half the price.  Since I don’t have any at the moment I ran over to the drug store and overpaid for a couple rolls of 24 exposure 400TX. There’s a new pouch of Xtol around here somewhere and I’ll soup it in that.  Negatives will be scanned and prints made using Nicholas Hartman’s methods for “single black ink”.  Christie says I should get off my ass and build the damn darkroom already, or something like that.

And that’s that.  One year with a Spotmatic and Tri-X.  A few rolls a week and more printing than I’ve done in my whole life.  This is gonna be fun.

Plug – NCCF

I wrote about this a while back.  Do it again.  You know you want need to.  Here’s where:

Mark’s PDML Shop
National Childhood Cancer Foundation

Support the National Childhood Cancer Foundation

You know you want to.  The National Childhood Cancer Foundation is one of the noblest organizations on the face of the planet, and a little of our own money can help them continue their work.  If you wanna have some fun in the process head over to Mark’s PDML Shop and pick up some fancy-schmancy schwag.  All of the profits go to the afore mentioned Foundation.  Plus, you’ll get to sport your love of Pentax and irreverent humor both at the same time.  What?  What’s that you say?  You don’t love Pentax?  Don’t make me come over there, because my camera is bigger than yours and I promise it’ll hurt.  Really, though, do it for the kids who benefit from the Foundation’s work.

February 3: 5.45
February 4: 5.6
February 5: 6.2
February 6: 2.6
Annual Mileage: 145.55
Miles to go: 4854.45

The good, the bad, and the very, very lazy

So I finished January with daily rides. Here’s the stats:

January 29: 2.6
January 30: 1.4
January 31: 2.6
Annual miles: 125.7
Miles to go: 4874.3

February has been a bust. I’m tired of the cold, taking 15 minutes to suit up for what I know will be a 10 minute ride, getting wet, dealing with brakes that don’t work in the rain, misplacing my hat and gloves and on and on and on. So I haven’t been for a ride in 2 days. Maybe tonight.

We’re still on for 5k.

I got tired of waiting for Pentax to decide if they’re making a 645D, so I made my own.

Pure Sweet Hell has been the object of my desire for some time now. No one gave me a copy for Christkwanzukkah so I ordered it. The good:

  • Shot on Super 8
  • Interview with Gina Hall has a baby crying in the background
  • Indie rock sound track

The bad:

  • Indie rock sound track
  • About 20 minutes of content crammed into an hour
  • No special features, making of, etc.
  • All you really need to watch is the preview.
  • Cost me $20

I’m giving it 2 out of 5 dust caps.

The bike is done(ish)

The completed Schwinn world

For the two of you who actually read this crap, this is a picture of my primary means of transportation. The bike was a Salvation Army find. $30 with a broken fork and in need of some serious TLC. After about $150 worth of parts and tools, plus a Brooks saddle (whee) from my Mom and Dad, she’s about as good as I’m going to get her.

Couple of nifty features that I’m rather proud of: Suntour barcons. These things rock. Cork tape. A nifty Schwinn bottle cage that Christie found at Target. Pedals with clips. New gears in the back! Shimano mega range freewheel 13-34 and a mega range dérailleur. These are mountain bike components, but when I’m dragging an 80lb trailer with a 40 tooth chain ring, they really save my knees. And, of course, the caboose. The girls love it.

From today’s ride to school: I usually put my left foot in the clip and ride the bottom of the right pedal until I can coast fast enough to fiddle with getting my right foot in its clip. Megan wasn’t having any of that this morning. Two cranks on the pedals. Not even out of the driveway. “Daddy, put your other foot in the clip!” Where the heck did she learn that?

Bonus! Taken with a Pentax K10D!