Since my old muletto took a turn for the worse, I’ve decided to build a new rear triangle for it. After some searching and a few calls found out that Kalavinka Cycles would sell me some raw tubes and drops! So, James and I headed over to mecca for our first stop into one of the legends of keirin builder’s shops. The shop looks very much like the type I used to frequent (and work in) in Italy. A mama-chari in one rack getting a new tube, in the next rack some esoteric full carbon TT getting built up. I suppose I could have dropped off my lawn mower for sharpening too! But don’t let this kid you, once you step inside its like a wonderland of BIKE. Raw carbon Kalavinka sets curing like fine prosciutto hanging from the ceiling next to at least 3 generations of totally awesome bikeness.
I apologized for bothering them and was greeted with a smile and come in! Tanabe sama picked out some dropouts and I chose the standard muletto set. These are a little larger than NJS Keirin and fit multi-purpose axles a little better.
Next came the chain-stay tubes. Already slotted (perfectly) and ready to fit up into my old dog of a frame. In the meantime we chatted a bit about bikes and what were 2 crazy gaijin doing in Japan, etc. All the time totally high on the surrounds of this great shop. I decided on getting 2 sets so I can work on the bamboo concept as well (another post) and mainly I just felt like I should be spending a whole lot more than I did at this place.
After carefully wrapping up the booty in a newspaper, we managed to snap a couple of shots. For sure we’ll be back. It seems they are swamped for new bike orders, however still doing some repairs and servicing. James got the FourSquare on this one.
So now I have the rest of my weekend planned out to tear down the old frame and start fitting in the new parts. It will be pretty awesome to braze in a bit of Kalavinka to my old Panasonic.
Well, we shoved off at 0730 today, a little later than expected but still early enough to avoid the main traffic. This left us about a buck 30 to do the down-up Arakawa run. A mild headwind and we hit a pretty sound pace for bucketlisters. Andy is showing major conditioning improvements and I’m becoming retarded. No breakfast and missed a few days riding so my legs felt like crap. Plus I started to get cramps. Anyway – it was a good session with a couple of drag racings thrown in for good measure. I love the early Arakawa cause you’ll come across a wide variety of other lunatics hitting the road in the am. Everything from team riders to ex-keirin oyaji with steam powered tree-stump legs. Plus a few obasans walking their dogs with or without the mama-chari.
Nothing too dramatic, just good pedalling until we hit the Yamate dori for the return into the city. A cement truck kinda nosed me off, so I hit the after burners to avoid getting crushed into the railing – then WHAM! Next second I was skidding and pedals locked. WTF! The cement truck missed me as I skidded to stop. Looked down and, no, it wasn’t just a thrown chain, my sproket side chain-stay had collapsed allowing the rear triangle to fold. This threw my chain AND jammed my wheel into the stay. Great. See the picture below.
OK, so my riding plans for this weekend have turned into ‘build a new rear triangle’ plans. I guess the old Panasonic muletto is showing the signs of wear and fatigue (kinda like me). But I can’t really braze on some new legs (darn). Now I have a good chance to finally get around to what I’ve been meaning to for like, oh, 15yrs, and that is replace the semi vertical drops with proper horizontal track set. I’ll prolly go with the MKS cause they’re cheap and , hey, I’m in Japan. And I’ll tweak the rear triangle to tighten it up a bit. Its always been a little sloppy (as a cheap road frame) , so now’s the chance. So – where can I go buy a rear frame set in Japan?
Don’t forget the B4H general meeting this Thursday (25th) in Nakano. Its at the Bright Brown pub – easy to find. Bicycles For Humanity is a grass roots project to provide useful transportation to developing countries. I.E. we take unused bikes, donated bikes, parts and ship them to a distribution and training center in a targeted country. The bikes are used to empower the local community, give them a means of transportation to enable commerce, education and medical care.
I got a Maruman Fit care heart rate monitor watch at Bic Camera. All I can say is what a piece of shit. Simple review, huh? I put on the chest strap and got nothing but sporadic results. Gave to my riding buddy – same thing. The Fitcare failed to provide consistent – or any reasonable heart rate data at anytime. Spike says fuck this piece of shit. At $60 plus you are better to invest in a total package like the Garmin or Polar. Too bad cause I was really looking for a simple, econo , heart rate monitor and thats that, But the Maruman is definitely NOT the deal.
2010-10-09: Quick update on this, since I see many people reading this post. My opinion has not changed! This is still a piece of junk. When you ride with other riders it has crosstalk to their HRM devices, the battery life is atrocious, and 95% of the time its just an annoying strap across your chest. I rarely use it anymore and If anyone wants it – I’ll send it to you for free! You just pay the shipping or snag it on a ride sometime.
Took a couple days off up north. Close to the folks is a small resort called ‘Romantopia’. Sort of a horoscope meets ryokan and i-dont-wanna-know-what-else. Anyway – a single doublechair , nice lodge and onsen to soak your cold bones after. All for less than 5000yen!
A view of the chair lift. Not a bad beginner / intermediate slope. Just right for some easy technical runs.
And of course a chance to break in the ‘little one’. This time she actually went UP and DOWN! A bit mad, though, cause they wouldn’t let her on the chairlift. Next year when she’s 4.