February Mileage

February 29, 2008

October: broke wrist.
November: 0 miles.
December: 0 miles.
January: 29.85 miles.
February: 181.46 miles of fury!

Okay, so the bold, red text is a tad hyperbolic. But still…



February 22, 2008

The Surly arrived yesterday, right at the beginning of two days of solid rain. Sigh. I haven’t gotten to really test it out yet – just a couple of short jaunts in the cold rain. But I can say this: it is (a) beautiful (pictures to come), (b) incredibly comfortable, and (c) a lot faster than my hybrid. The rain’s supposed to sweep out tonight, so I’m hoping I can go for a longer ride in the morning.

Monkeying around

February 14, 2008

I don’t know how many of you read Bike Hugger, but just in case you missed it, I had to gank this link to a child-death-monkey-themed 1963 bicycle safety film called “One Got Fat.”

Seriously, it’s like David Lynch filmed a 15-minute version of an Agatha Christie novel. I’ve gotta go find a warm, clean place to recover.

Dreambike: specced and ordered

February 10, 2008

So after several e-mails, phone calls and an in-store visit for sizing, the dreambike specs are complete (for those in the ATL, Bicycle South is an *outstanding* store for this kind of project). Here’s what’s in the works:

Frame: Surly Cross-Check 58 cm frame, black

Crankset: Shimano Sora compact, 34/50 t

Derailers: Tiagra

Cassette: Tiagra 12-25

Brakes: Tektro 862A cantilevers, R200 levers

Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace 9sp bar-ends

Wheels: Deore hubs, Sun CR-18 rims (these are 29-inch mountain rims, which should be perfect for the potholes)

Handlebars: Nitto Randonneurs 42cm

Seat: Sportourer FLX Gel Women’s

Tires: Conti Ultra Gatorskins 700×28

I actually have a couple of things to upgrade as I get the cash (brakes and saddle, namely), which gives me something to look forward to. In the meantime, it should weigh at least 8 lbs. less than the hybrid I use now, and should ride like a couch to boot.



February 9, 2008

So I have somewhat wonky knees. Or, at least, my knees and feet are weirdly misaligned, with my feet splaying out quite a bit. It’s just the way I am. It’s meant that the clips on my road bike put my feet in a slightly awkward position vis a vis my knees, so I tend to ride with the straps loose and my feet pointing further out than they should. The answer seems to be floating clipless pedals, but these are pricey. Meanwhile, over at the commuter bike, my shoes have been sliding off the big blocky plastic pedals when wet. Not good.

So today I purchased a dorky solution to both problems: power grips! Which even came with exciting new pedals. And all for just over $30.

I’ve installed them on the commuter bike and, though taking a bit of getting used to, they seem to make my ride both more efficient and comfortable. We’ll see how well they work with my knees. If they’re a problem I’ll take the grips off and happily accept the non-slip pedal upgrade. But so far they seem like a good solution, especially given the fact that I want to be able to bike with normal shoes on my commuter bike. And if they are kind to my knees, I’ll also get some for the road bike and ditch the clips.

On another note, LMS has a dream bike on order. Which the manager of the bike store told me not to ride. Because if I do I’ll want one too.

Got Bottle

February 7, 2008

It’s been a mildly odd biking week. First off, I lost my bottle on Monday. No, not my nerve, my actual bottle. To be fair, it’s in a bottle holder strapped by velcro to my rack pack, as there’s no room on the frame of my commuter thanks to my big-ass lock. Today I lost my bottle again, but thankfully a friendly motorist told me it had skipped off to the other side of the street and I was able to recover it. There are friendly motorists? Who knew?! Anyway, if anyone knows of a good handlebar-mounted bottle holder, I’d be glad to hear about it.

Then on Tuesday, all excited to go in wearing my new O2 rain/wind jacket (the last of which was reduced to a bloodied polypropylene mass by my fall), I found that I had a flat in my back tire. Arse! But it did mean that I got to take the newly inflated foldable on MARTA. After dealing with my heavy pannier-laden commuter on the train the Breezer was a joy. It was like biking with, well, nothing. And that’s without folding it up, which I could have if the train was crowded. Foldables are just so damn cool, especially in combination with mass transit.

And then, upon putting a new tube in my commuter bike yesterday, I discovered that the tire bead had separated from the wall. So it was new tire time. At least now I can change a tube pretty quickly.

Anyway, I was finally able to bike in this morning. Cold and sunny, but I was resplendent in my many layers, O2 jacket (in my favourite colour, “don’t run over me”) and, under my helmet, my new, warming safety yarmulke. Lotsa fun. And, unless I am totally shagged out by the end of the day, I think I’ll give biking home a shot.

Which would make today’s commuting tally 15 miles.


February 6, 2008

I’ve been commuting for several months now on a fantastic Raleigh Passage 4.5 hybrid. It’s a great bike, especially with the various modifications I’ve made (new seat, new tires, butterfly bars, etc.).

But a featherweight it’s not, coming in at a proud 32 lbs. To be fair, I am no featherweight myself. Still, I’ve been dreaming of a lighter, faster bike, but one that was still sturdy enough to withstand my daily commute. My LBS guy assures me that I’ll tear up a normal road bike in about a year if I load it up and start zooming over potholes – they’re designed for racing over smooth asphalt, not hauling over city streets. So I need something reasonably light, roadworthy (as opposed to trailworthy), and brick shithouse-sturdy.

Lucky for me, and courtesy of a mortgage company screwup, I just got a bike-sized windfall in the mail. You know you’re middle-class when you get an unexpected check in the mail; I never got unexpected money back when I desperately needed it.

Anyhoo, back to my bourgeois privilege: the plan is to design my own dreambike, starting with one of these. I have an appointment tomorrow morning to sit down with my LBS manager and spend a couple of hours picking out parts for my new baby. Then I will go home, hose myself down, and try to decide which sedative will keep me from having a Keith Moon-level freakout while waiting for my new toy to actually be built.

More to come as the DB gets closer. Hooray!