Sunday, April 28, 2013

1999 Serotta Rapid Tour

I wanted to capture some of the information on the Internet written about my bike, a custom 1999 Serotta Rapid Tour (SRT).  I have about 10,000 miles on this bike.  This year alone I have 2,500 miles on it.  I have 1,000 miles so fare in April on this bike.  I have can only remember one major tune up done on this bike.

Here is an interesting discussion that I found about my bike on the Pace Line Forum.  Here is a quote about the bike that I own and love
"Rapid Tour was Serotta's version of a bike that would fit reasonably sized tires with fenders, and could carry light luggage for credit card touring. In a word, "sensible" and not just a fair weather toy for let's play racer. There's nothing "low end" about that." ~ palincss 05-01-2010 03:33 PM

I think that I have upgraded my components from what was on the stock SRT.  My SRT has Shimano Ultegra derailleur and the stock SRT has a Shimano 105 derailleur.  Here a photo of a stock SRT.

SRT Reviews and Links

  • Reviews from Serotta Sport.
    • Bottom Line: If you are the average "boomer" who can afford to drop big bucks on a bike this is the best bike you can buy. The steel feel and slightly relaxed geometry takes some of the pressure off the lower back and knees. It handles superbly has a more forgiving feel than titanium or aluminum or carbon fiber. It's the cycling equavalent to a golfer's high tech fairway wood. Most of the high end bikes are "one irons" great for the pros and and ultrafit 20yr old cyclists lousy choice for boomers. This will do light touring great also. Value rating is too subjective.
    • I commute 30 mi/day rain or shine, go on fast weekend rides, and occasionally go touring overnight(15 times/yr?). This bike is easily suited for all these. I am truly amazed at how easily this bike climbs. I ordered mine w/ wider gearing (XTR 11-34t), Chris King hubs & headset, V-brakes, and thinner tires (Conti GP3000 23mm instead of the 28mm). Hence the $3200 tag. I love this bike. Solid on down hills (my eyes water over 40 mph otherwise safe), stable around curves even when fully loaded with 30lbs of gear, fast, effecient, climbs very well, tough enough to withstand daily commute abuse of pot holes, rr tracks, etc. Sweet ride indeed.
  • Velocipede Salon
    • Re: Can we talk about Serotta, please? Serotta builds some damned fine bikes. They have at times suffered from allowing others to fit them and spec them. Virtually all of the odd looking Serottas have been designed by and built for dealers who ordered them badly. This was a poor model for Serotta and has all but been eliminated. As to the price, No one can build the kind of rider specific details that Serotta can into a frame, particularly carbon. Serotta has the ability to build each tube to a nearly infinite range of specs. As such, if they are fitted by a master, no one can more precisely engineer a bike to meet the needs of a cyclist. Is this needed? Many would say "no" But I happen to know that some of the builders here spec every tube individually to meet the needs of their clients. Imagine what they could do if they could spec the exact details of the tube''s dampening, rigidity, etc. There are no other custom builders to the best of my knowledge who own the carbon factory or for that matter can swage tubes in titanium of any spec. I own two of them. A Legend and a Mevieci. Each of them was fit for me by a master. The are very different bikes built for very different purposes. Each suits the purpose magnificently. To buy a used custom Serotta is allot like buying a used custom suit. It may be a good suit, but all of the value of having it built for you is lost. Serotta has been through soem hard times in the past two years. They had a dip in demand right after investing heavily in infrastructure. The AE project was expensive and did not sell as well as hoped. Then when they were reeling from that, the demand went up and they fell behind. This is challenging for any company to recover from. Ben and his crew are doing a great job digging out from way behind. Their office staff is very lean but they are coming back. If you have never ridden one built for you and engineered by a master fitter, than you have never had the serotta experience. Many don't want this experience. This is good. More for me. Share The UMCA
Bottom line is that I have a great bike that fits me.  If I buy another bike it very well may be a custom carbon fiber bike from Serotta.

Selecting your first road bike

I get lots of questions about buying a bike.  Recently I was discussing bicycling and selecting the right bicycle and I thought I would write about my experiences with purchasing bicycles.  with the help of the internet I will reference some web pages that are a good read that will help you wade through the maze of bicycling information that a salesperson may throw at you.  It is always helpful to be as informed about bicycles before you start shopping.

Measuring your body for a bicycle

One if the key factors in getting the most benefit from riding a bicycle is getting a bike that fits your body.  Purchasing a bike that does not fit can make your cycling experience painful and limiting your endurance to ride long distances.  There several ways to adjust a bike to come close to fitting your body, but it is best to measure your body first and then see how close the bike you are purchasing has to be adjusted to be the perfect fit for you.

I had a bike fit before purchasing my Serotta Rapid Tour back in 1999.  There are several reference articles on the Inter-web that describe bike fitting.  I will reference these articles for a quick reference point for anyone looking for a one stop place for bike fitting articles.

BikeFit (

How to Fit a Road Bicycle Overview

This article is focused on road bike fitting and not bike sizing. Often these two descriptions become intertwined but they are completely different.   With that said, fitting a road bicycle works best when you start with the right size bike; or at a minimum a bicycle that is close enough to your right size. 

Sizing a road bicycle is not as complicated as you may have been led to believe, in part due to the reality that a good bike fit actually has little to do with the bicycle per se. Fitting a road bicycle comes down to the contact points (connection points) between the cyclist and their bicycle. These five connection points are: right and left foot, the pelvis and right and left hands. So even if your bike is not the correct “size,” as long as you get the connection points in the ideal place you can still achieve a good and comfortable bike fit. 

A proper bike fit has more to do with the saddle, handlebars, brake levers and hoods, stem and, most importantly, shoes, cleats and pedals.

Component Groups

Much can be said about the quality of a bike based on price.  When you are in a bike shop have you ever wondered what the difference between a $600 bike and a $1,000 bike from the same company?  check out the components on the bike.  Component groups include all of the equipment attached to the bike frame.

Here is a list of articles about component groups.
  • Cycle and Style - This article will give you more confidence walking into your local bike shop to look at and compare road bikes and you’ll be more confident that you are getting the right components for your style of riding.
  • Bicycle Components - Bicycle specifications can be a little confusing. The objective of this page is to is to explain the basics of Road Bike Components and Mountain Bike Components, Brakes & Shocks, so you can more easily compare models when shopping for a new bicycle. Basically, as you move up to higher-level components, you get products which are lighter, more durable, and have more functionality (10 speeds versus 9, etc.). Naturally, the price increases as well.

Frame Styles

There are many different frame styles for bicycles.  I want to focus on road cycles so I will not dive into the mountain or BMX style of frames. I am going to take the easy route and reference Wikipedia for a general reference to bicycle frames.
  • Bicycle Frame - A bicycle frame is the main component of a bicycle, on to which wheels and other components are fitted. The modern and most common frame design for an upright bicycle is based on the safety bicycle, and consists of two triangles, a main triangle and a paired rear triangle. This is known as the diamond frame.[1] Frames are required to be strong, stiff and light, which they do by combining different materials and shapes.
  • List of bicycle types - This list gives an overview of different types of bicycles, categorized by function (racing, recreation, etc.); number of riders (one, two, or more); by construction or frame type (upright, folding, etc.). The categories are not mutually exclusive; as such, a bike type may appear in more than one category.
Fully Loaded Touring Bicycle
For the purpose of this discussion I recommend limiting your bicycling purchase to a bike that you will be riding for the next three to five years.  If you are just riding around town with distances under 10 miles then you can stay with a comfort type frame.   I want to focus on selecting a bicycle that will allow you to ride 30 to 100 miles.  These types of bicycles will give you the opportunity to ride in cycling club events and tour the countryside in your area with ease and comfort.

Bicycle frames made from metallic materials are made with eyelets so that racks and fenders can be added.  My Serottta is a cross between a touring bicycle and a racing bicycle.
Typical racing bicycle
A racing bicycle can be made from metallic materials, but lately carbon fiber has been very popular for building strong lightweight bicycles.
Selecting the material for your frame is a matter of getting a frame that fits your body and your pocketbook.  Generally the lighter the bike the more it will costs. If you are interested in riding in long distance cycling events then this type of bicycle fits the bill.  In the next section I will present information from Wikipedia on Randonneuring.


Randonneuring (also known as Audax in the UK, Australia and Brazil) is a long-distance cycling sport with its origins in audax cycling. In randonneuring, riders attempt courses of 200 km or more, passing through predetermined "controls" (checkpoints) every few tens of kilometers. Riders aim to complete the course within specified time limits, and receive equal recognition regardless of their finishing order. Riders may travel in groups or alone as they wish, and are expected to be self-sufficient between controls. A randonneuring event is called a randonée, brevet or sometimes by the more general term cyclosportive, and a rider who has completed a 200 km event is called a randonneur.  Read More ...

Which Bike to Buy

In researching for this Blog posting I came upon another blog posting written by a novice cyclists.  This is a good read as it will help you to understand what happens a lot when you buy a bicycle with only the price in mind. The article, Learning Cycling is here.

There is a lot of discussion about materials in bicycling frames.  I will not write a new article about this but here is a very technical discuss about materials.
  • Frame materials - Strength and stiffness are different properties that are often confused with one another. It is important to understand the difference, if you want to understand differences in frame materials.
My Serotta has Colorado tubing.  When I first discovered this concept it made total sense to me.  In 1999 carbon fiber was too expensive for me to get a bike that fit me.  I purchased a custom chromoly steel frame from Serotta and I have been happily putting thousands of miles on this bike.

Carbon Fiber

I wanted to do a section on Carbon Fiber construction.
  • Carbon Fiber is an increasingly popular frame material, but it is fundamentally different from metal tubing as a way to construct frames. Because of the fibrous nature of this material, it has a much more pronounced "grain" than metal does. A well-designed carbon fiber frame can have the fabric aligned in such a way as to provide maximum strength in the directions of maximum stress. Unfortunately, in bicycle applications, carbon fiber is not a fully mature technology, as tubular-construction metal frames are. Bicycles are subjected to a very wide range of different stresses from many different directions. Even with computer modeling, the loads can't be entirely predicted. Carbon fiber has great potential, but contemporary carbon fiber frames have not demonstrated the level of reliability and durability that are desired for heavy-duty touring use. In particular, a weak point tends to be the areas where metal fitments, such as fork ends, bottom bracket shells, headsets, etc connect to the carbon frame. These areas can be weakened by corrosion over time, and lead to failure. Read More ...


I hope that if you get here and you have read all of the referenced material that you will be prepared to start going to local bike shops and looking for your next road bike or your first road bike.  Even though i ride my bike almost everyday I learned a lot from writing this article.  I will go into my local bike shop soon and look closely at the new bikes on the market.  In closing here is an article that gets to the meat of the story, How to buy a bike for $1,000 or less.  I posted this on a Google+ Cycling community on March 29, 2013. Hope this helps.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Prision to Peanut Ride

I had a great time riding through the country with fellow cyclist.  The event is the second of this new annual event.  About 150 cyclist showed up to do the ride.  Initially I was going to do a moderate pace and relax and enjoy the view, but cycle thunder had other ideas.  As soon as we left the city of Andersonville I found myself riding faster and faster trying to catch up a rider in a Pecan Peddler's jersey.  Once I got there I found myself in a pace line with him and Lynn Pflepsen (I will add his name when I see him again or he identifies himself after reading this).

We rode most of the ride trading off the lead position pulling the group along at a faster pace than I originally wanted to ride.  This is the great thing about riding in a group, at least for me, the group inspired me to ride faster and push harder.  I even got back into practice in riding right off of the rear tire of the rider in front of me until I felt the dead air which let me know I was at the correct distance to draft.  This sort of riding is not for everyone including me.  Sometimes I want to stop and take pictures and saver the moment.  Other times like today I just want to see how fast I could ride some hills.

This is the first time in about 2 years of riding here in SW Georgia that I have encountered some real hills.  Of course they appeared on the 30 mile return to Andersonville from Plains.  As usual I was doing my ride really hard during the first half of the ride so I could simulate a longer ride by being really tired on my way back to where I started.  This sounds nice in a training manual, but when you are out on the road riding up a hill in a headwind being chased by 5 pit bull dogs it is not fun.

Anyway I finished the ride a little bit tired, but not worn out.  I had a good day.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Just another morning commute

[Lonnie's brain] wow another relaxing ride to work.
[Cycle Thunder] STFU and ride, there is no wind blowing.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Good misty morning bike commute

Graham Angus Pasture on Eight Mile Road
 Sometimes you have to slow down and just drink in the world around you.  This morning I was doing my usual cruise down Eight Mile road (only about 5 miles long) and I caught myself slowing down to admire the scene in the images unfolding before me.  I take pictures for myself initially so I can remember the moment.
Graham Angus Pasture on eight Mile road

So as I slowed down on my bike nature unfolded this beautiful view with a musty pasture with black Angus cattle chewing their cud near a magnificent oak.  The morning was cool and crisp and I decided o stop and take a picture.  This is why I bike commute.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My First Bike

Red Schwinn Typhoon
I was writing in a Google+ Bike Commuting Community about my first bike (that I can remember) and my memory wandered into my childhood in South Central Los Angeles where I grew up.  I had this red Schwinn Typhoon bike when I was 7 about 1959.  I remember the day that  I took the training wheels off and some Hispanic kids a few houses from my house propped the bike up and shoved me down the hill.  Wow I was going so fast that I forgot that I was riding without the training wheels. Leave it to the Internet to give me a photo of the bike as I could only imagine what it looked like up until today.  I remember taking the fenders off and learning how to change a tire on this sucker with my dad's crescent wrench.

As a kid I had a red Schwinn Typhoon I would ride it on the sidewalk in front of my house at 12203 South Main Street at age 7. There is a hill on Main Street and my brother, friends and I would ride really fast down the hill north towards 121st Street and see who could hook slide the longest before running into the street at the end of the block. I remember that my dad had to put a stop to this foolishness as it was marking up the sidewalk and wearing out tires.

State Bike's Undefeated
Funny how I started hook sliding last century on a fixed gear and I may end up doing it again.  I am currently considering buying a fixed gear bike.  As an adult I have been cycling a long time with cantilever brakes on a road bike and disc brakes on a mountain bike.  The concept of re-learning to ride without brakes controlled by my hands is both exciting and scary.  So far I am looking at fixed gear bikes similar to the one pictured here from State Bike. Since I live in a city that is not very large and has relatively low traffic volumes I feel confident that I can learn to ride a fixed gear bike on the street without getting hurt.  I love riding my Serotta Rapid Tour for long rides and commuting, but sometimes I just want to get on a simple bike without all of the complicated gearing and go for a quick ride around town.
My Serotta Rapid Tour

I am amazed when I think about all of the sporting or exercising activities that I have participated during my life.  Cycling is the only one that I can think of that I have done in every decade of of my existence on this planet.  Cycling has brought me the benefits of mental and physical health, I have made lots of friends with other cyclist both in person and in cyber space and most of all I have had lots of fun riding a bicycle.

Not riding today because I have to go to work, but this is why i like bike commuting and that is another story.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pecan City Pedalers C Group Ride for 4/18/2013

 I love riding down country roads in the evening when there is photographers "golden light.  I also love riding with other folks that love riding.

I am glad that there is a C riding group because cycling in a group does not always have to be about how fast you can go.  There is a time and a place for speed and there is a time and a place for a G ride.  I like C rides because for me it s a balance of precision and relaxing on a bike.

Hope to see the C group ride continue to grow and bring more riders to the club. Alan Braswell did a great job leading the ride.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Flat tire on my morning commute

I had a wonderful ride today. I was glad that I did not go through with my plans to strip down my bike and carry less equipment. I needed it all today as I had a flat tire (only on the bottom). I had the familiar sluggish back tire almost as I was approaching a convenience store. I stopped and pumped the tire up and quickly rode to the store to change my inner tube.
As a matter of course when you take your tire off and yank out the tube you need to inspect the inside and the outside of the tire.  When I found a small metal sliver about the diameter of a dog's hair and 1/8 inch in length I was glad that i had my Leatherman wave in my bag.  I got the sliver out with no problems.  I installed the new tube and pumped the tire up with my compact high PSI pump.  no CO2 cartridges this time, I wanted 110 PSI.  The new tube came from the bike shop in Thomasville.  I bought two during my 132 mile ride to the Florida State Capitol.  I wanted to start carrying 4 tubes on long trips.
After the flat tire I rode to work.

Nice Evening Ride

I did some riding around the neighborhood yesterday.  I felt good after my 132 mile ride on Tuesday.  The weather was perfect, not hot, but cool with a slight breeze.  The route has very low traffic and lots of trees sprinkled in with home estates and the Ecila Plantation.

I am debating about taking the bike rack off of my bike.  On rides like this i want to have a light quite bike with nothing that makes noise.  When I ride without my bike bag on the rack it makes noise when I am on bumpy roads.  Iam glad that I have a bike that fists me so well and has eyelets for fenders and a rack.  What I want is a good quick release rear rack.  I have one that works fine on my mountain bike, but on my road bike the release lever rubs my inner thigh.

Oh well, such is the life of a cycling brain that gets lost listening to birds, wind and bike noise.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

61st birthday ride

I made a few wrong turns. I rode  about 2 miles down a sandy muddy red dirt road. I did not make it to St. Mark, but
I did have fun. Sylvia is close with a car to take me home.
The end of pavement on Spring Hill Road at the Florida Georgia State Line
The Historic Florida State Capitol Building
Yours Truly at the The Historic Florida State Capitol Building

Oh yeah I discovered another dang segment on Spring Hill. This is where I met the first dirt road. I wondered if riders from Thomasville rode out here for kicks because it was a nice dead end. Well I did not think it was nice because I wanted to cross over into Florida and get to Tallahassee. Oh well I'm in ninth place, but it will be a long while before I ride 100 miles to get on that segment again.
Yours truly at the Florida Georgia state line AGAIN on US 319

My bike in Sale, Georgia

My 1996 Cycle Oregon bandanna and my flash charger.
The flash charger is for my phone when it runs out of energy.
The bandanna is for me to keep me charged up

Sunday, April 14, 2013

61st birthday ride

View Jenny Lane to Tallahasse in a larger map

On April 16, 2013 I am planning on riding double my age in miles. I was born in 1952, so I am turning 61 which means I am planning on riding 122 miles. The game of riding double your age was a game that I played with some cycling buddies when I lived in Portland, Oregon. I have never done a ride on my exact birthday, usually I ride the weekend after or before. This will be the first time since my 50th birthday that I am riding double my age. The game had a disclaimer that said that after 50 you could ride your age. I have been riding more regularly than ever so I am confident that I can do this ride. In January I rode round trip to Thomasville logging in 140 miles just to get a What A Burger.

This ride is going be my first one way ride long distance (for me over 100 miles) ride.  My wife Sylvia is going meet me when I finish and give me a ride home. I am riding my bike from my home in Albany, GA to a small town south of Tallahassee, FL called St. Mark's.  I will get from Tallahassee to St. Mark's via the rails to trails St. Mark's Historic Railroad State Trail.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

ride like I stole it

<sarcasm alert>
I am an African American riding in the deep south.  I see Confederate flags all over the place.  I am fearless when I ride at all times in the country.  My biggest fear is a deer that will run out infront of me at night.  When I get into the city and ride on MLK though the hood on my hoods I ride like I stole it.  Nothin' like creating a segment to out ride drive by stray bullets.
</sarcasm alert>

Social Cycling Classes

The classes vary from social to recreational to competitive. Most clubs would use something similar to the following:
Class A - 19 - 23 mph (common riding speeds, not average speed)
Class B - 16 - 19
Class C - 13 - 16
Class D - 10 - 13

The average speed for a ride would be somewhat less.


Strava Segment Madness

I did not set up the segment.  I did not want to participate in the segment.  I found myself looking at my results and wondering who was number on on the segment leader board list and then I was hooked.
There are not too many hills in here in SW Georgia, but one of them is near my job.  This segment is on the final approach to the ASU campus.  The grade is a measly .7% to 1.4% (54M to 64M) over a distance of about 2 KM.  The record was held by Edward Picolo at 4 minutes and 3 seconds.  When I started bike commuting in September 2012 I was generally tired at this point of my commute.  When I started using Strava in January 2013 I discovered the segment and I was a bit stronger in my endurance and I was always making an effort to finish strong up this hill.

Only 5 riders appear on the leader board since 2012.  I have been competing against my best efforts for a few months until yesterday when I decided that I was going to beat 4:03 on the segment. I finished at 3:48 and I was amazed at the segment mentality and how over time the segment game had slowly sucked me into training on this simple hill.  Of course now I will want to ride from Quincy Florida as Edward Picolo did and finish the segment and see how my legs are after a long ride and not just after my short bike commute.

I keep telling myself to slow down, but sometimes the need for speed just takes over in the morning ride to work.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cycling Challenges

I am uploading my cycling trip GPS data to a web the Endomondo sports tracking web site.  there were several cycling challenges that I joined to keep me motivated.  Screen shots are below showing my current status.

 My first challenge has 6883 members.  The person who rides the most miles in April will get 20% off on a phone case.  I am ranked number nine in this challenge with 270.87 miles.  the leader has 533.64 miles.

Next challenges has 352 members.  the goal is the same as the first challenge except the goal is just to be healthy from riding.  In this challenge I am ranked second with 270.87 miles.  the leader has 533.64 miles,

The next challenge has 3,010 members.  the goal is to see how many miles you can ride in one year.  I am ranked 110 with 1,763 miles.

The last challenge is to ride 10,000 miles in one year.  there are 153 members in this challenge.  I am ranked 30 in this challenge with 1,763 miles.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

30 KMPH tail wind 20 KMPH headwind

The wind trainer was turned on in full force this evening as I rode home.  I had the most wonderful tail wind on Leary road so I cranked happily along throwing caution to the wind (pun intended) knowing that I would have to pay for these fast and easy cranks when I turned the corner at eight mile Road and turned into the wind.

Such is the life of the daily bike commuter, my favorite route goes in all four directions of the compass so I will always have headwinds and tailwinds. When I lived in Portland Oregon I learned to love hills, because you could not ride anywhere without trans versing a hill.  I soon began to love hills as you could toil up one side knowing that you would be blasting down the other side with ease.  Down here in the flat lands there is no such reward.  Yeah it is a perception that it is easy riding when it is flat, well i am here to tell you that hill riding is easier than flat land riding.  Down on the flats if you do not pedal you do not go.  You have to pedal all of the time as there are no hills to coast down.

With no hills to coast down there are also no hills to block the wind.  so when you have a windy day and you are on a straight road, guess what, the wind has a full force with no obstacles to bear down on a cyclist.  Oh well these are the thoughts that ramble in my head as I ride to and from my house to work each day.

My bike commuting is not a race so by Wednesday I am riding slower than Monday   Wednesday rides are relaxing and I am tired enough to enjoy the scenery.  Tonight it was raining and I really wanted to ride in it.  I think it is funny how many of my friends who know I bike commute want to give me a ride when it is raining. I am glad that they are looking out for me, but my commute is the desert of my day after eating all of my veggies at work.

Tonight I decided to stop and take a picture of a farm house that has standing water all around it.  It has a nice reflection on it.  I love taking pictures of bodies of water with reflections in them.  I may resort to carrying my Canon 10D SLR in my bag to get some better shots of my cycling world.

Monday, April 1, 2013

An April Fool Riding Home

I rode all the way home without a jacket or warmers. Farmers are irrigating the fields. I got my first mosquito bites of the season.