Monday, January 19, 2009

Fixed gear conversion

It used to a Gitane Tour de France from the early '70s. I got in '75 and used it as a road bike for years.

Over time it went through many changes. The fork wrecked, so I replaced it with a Columbus steel fork. And had it repainted too.

I got new wheels, pedals, headset, seatpost, saddle, stem, brakes and handlebars along the way.

But over the past years it just sat.

Now it has a new rear wheel -- A flip flop rear wheel. So I'm not sure what it is now.

The derailleur and freewheel are gone, as is the 52-tooth chainring. I'm a fixed gear hipster now. Kinda.

So far, after seven miles, I can report that riding fixed is weird. The riding is fine (the old steel bike feels great), but the the stopping is just odd. And I haven't been bucked off, I have been kicked a couple of times when I foolishly tried to coast.

I'm going to try commuting a bit on it and see if I learn to embrace it, as so many have. I'm may find that I'll fine my knees are too old, and I'm too set in my gear changing ways to adapt. Or maybe I'll just become super cool.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Cross-Check a Keeper

After her first real ride on her new Surly Cross-Check Tricia pronounced it a keeper. Let the upgrades begin!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

New bike saddness

As I look at Tricia's new Surly Cross-Check, propped up in front of our Christmas tree, I find myself charmed by its new-born innocence.

The cassettes and chain rings are sparkling. The chain still shines. The paint is pure; without adolescent pimples or old warrior battle scars. The tires have barely encountered pavement.
Because it's only a 42cm frame it also has that young colt, all legs and knees look that make me think of spring, hope, and corn ball movies.

What is it about a new bike that makes it so beautiful? In a coldly rational evaluation it's a machine that still needs a water bottle cage, a seat bag with a spare, new pedals (or at least toe straps), a pump, a bunch of adjustments, and, in this bikes case, a rack, panniers, and a light. It will take hours to make it really useful, and when it's done it will be great. But it will also look like a bike with baggage. All its clean perfection will be obscured by the very things that make it ride worthy. It was purchased not to be a jewel, but to be a solid citizen commuter, carrying school papers and a molder of young minds to school each day. It will be doing noble work, and will be dressed appropriately for it's task. It will be beautiful.

So then why am I somewhat sad? Why do I wish she'd just leave it in the warm, dry, safe living room a bit longer?

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Stallion in stable

I innocently took Tricia to the City to "check out" some bikes. After a mere four stores she started to kinda sorta consider the Surly Cross-Check, a cool steel cyclocross bike.

They had her size, and were willing to ship it to a closer store if she called them after she'd thought about it a while.
But, well, after a parking lot ride, and, lunch and, hey, there we were anyway.....

So this will become her commuter bike, and her current commuter bike with transmogrify back to the mountain bike she's been missing.

I guess I'll be working on my fender, computer, rack, seat bag, pump and pedal adding skills soon.

How will Tricia adjust to bar end shifters? Will she actually be willing to add a bunch of junk to her now-clean bike? Will she miss her triple chain rings? We'll see, and of course, obsessively blog about it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Years Day on Diablo 2009

Me: I'm getting up early and riding Diablo on New Years day. Wanta go?
Tricia: uuummmmmmmm. I'll think about it.

Me: Coffee's on. Coming?
Tricia: arghmmmmmmmmmm. (rolls over)

Me: Ok. I'm suited up and going. Bye!

Tricia: Wait. I coming with you.

Me: Big smile.

Tricia has done the junction a few times, but all the talk of epic rides and the wall had her a bit... concerned.
Of course, she had absolutely no problem. She didn't even bother to stand up for the wall.

We started off in too much fog, and by 1500 feet elevation I figured we'd be in a cloud all day. But somewhere around 2000 feet we popped into a beautiful day. And unlike he last time I rode Diablo, no wind.

There were cyclists everywhere. I wish I had a count (paging Dr. DiabloScott) even a guess count. It was grand.

Coming down was fun until we slammed into the fog and could hardly see. We could really feel the temp drop as we got to the wall of gray. We were braille-riding for a couple of miles.

My first New Years day on the mountain, Tricia's first summit.
A good time was had by all.