Instrumentally speaking…

27 10 2011

Best seat in the house

As I sit to take a break from drumming I felt compelled to write. Here in my den I am surrounded by music. I have music playing wirelessly to my Vdrum monitor. If I weren’t sitting on the futon warming my crotch with my macbook pro I would likely be sitting at my Kit drumming along to whatever happens to be playing or if I wanted I could fire up Debbie (my Gibson Studio) and strum along happily pretending to be another guy from Weezer.

Having performed on stage many times I can attest to the rush one gets from performing for an audience. To speak to people thru an instrument is something I don’t think I have ever taken for granted. I struggled early to pick up and get pretty good at playing Bass, Guitar and now my latest passion, Drumming.

When I first got my drum kit, A Roland TD4 electronic kit, I was mediocre at best but I loved it so much I just kept playing. I would play to whatever came up in the Shuffle and if I missed a change I would go back and play the song again. I am not saying I am an amazing drummer but I have improved because I love to play and learn. I like mixing it up. I’ll fire up some House beats and try to add my own flava’. Or I’ll pound along to some Foo’s or maybe play my own percussion to some unplugged version of a Dave Matthews song. Doesn’t matter what it sounds like, it’s a form of art. You can basically paint the air with sound waves leaving your own impression.

If you have always wanted to play an instrument, the Recorder, mouth harp, conga drum, guitar, harp, your voice, whatever. DO IT. Be patient and pick something up and learn it, take a lesson. Playing an instrument will add so much pleasure to your life and give you an appreciation of just how talented those artist you listen to all the time actually are. The one and only thing keeping you from doing it is yourself.

Rock on!!

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Wider is better..

19 10 2011

So you’re working at home in the shop, you’re changing your oil – whatever. You’re trying to loosen a bolt and your wrench just isn’t long enough to get enough torque. What do you do? You find a longer wrench or grap a cheater, slip it over the wrench and, Bazinga! The bolt’s loose. It’s called leverage and it gives you mechanical advantage.

This same theory can be applied to mountain biking as well. I have been rocking wide bras for years, even wider this year when I picked up some Chromag OSX 760mm bars. 760mm is 30 inches. That’s almost a metre wide! For those of you not convinced here are a couple points to consider.

1) Wider bars place you in a more aggressive stance over the bike. This means more stability which makes you better prepared for all conditions.

2) Ever notice that it’s easier to do a bench press when your hands are placed further apart? This mechanical advantage can also be applied to wide bars. Not that you’re bikes weighs 200lb. but the front end of my ride does exactly what I want it to do with the least amount of input because I have mechanical advantage. This can also get you into trouble!

3) You can apply the same theory above to climbing. Apply this with another gym analogy. Try doing a pull down with your hands together. I know, right? Now try with your arms spread. Exactly… When the climbing gets technical and steep having a wide bar gives you more room for your legs to maneuver when you are riding the rivet.

4) I am a barrel chested Irishman so having all that room up front for my lungs to inflate is fantastic!

The only con to wide bars that I can think of can be seen in the image above. You really need to learn your width before you go tearing thru the goal posts.  If you are thinking about going wide which will change the geometry of the ride consider your geometry. If you are a 5′ tall and a buck five then a 760mm bar might feel like a flag pole so cut the bar as appropriate to your own body.

What do you think?