Thursday, May 27, 2010

Making Some Changes

bicycle mechanics are an odd lot. They have very specific ideas about what they want in a bike, what is good and what is not, and what they will ride themselves. They like real steel, Brooks saddles, and friction shifters. More often than not, they will attempt to arrive at cycling nirvana: The Bicycle That Does Everything.
This is my (latest) attempt:
This is my Surly Pacer. You can read about it here. My setup is a little vintage, a good bit practical and very capable. The wheels are cyclocross inspired, w/ a vintage black Deore XT front hub, and a parralax Deore LX rear hub that was rescued from the recycle bin. Same for the rear derailluer. Rims are Salsa Delgado X, spokes are DT, XL15 IIRC. I built them myself some years ago.
Crank is Campagnolo Veloce, front derailluer is a Suntour Cyclone. Suntour always made the best front changers I don't care what you say. Brakes are Campagnolo something; they are the same shape as the original Chrorus binders from the early '90's, but tricled down to a lower price point. They look cool.
Now for the changes. The handlebar in the picture is a Nitto Mustache, the original one that was spec'd for Bridgestone back in the day. Well, it has to go. I really like the IDEA of the non-standard bar choice, but my hands just aren't lovin it no more. I'm getting a pretty sever pain in my palms from riding lately, so instead of stopping riding, I'm going to try some different things. First try will be a straight bar. I have a vintage early '90's Answer Hyperlite bar that I ran on some mountain bikes back in the day. I ordered some Paul's Thumbies from Genesis Bicycles so I can run my Shimano bar end shifters on the straight bar, and some basic Shimano brake levers.
I might have to get a longer stem, since the Salsa I'm running w/ the Mustache is only a 9cm. But you have to start somewhere.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Today was not a good day

That's the way my daughter, the seven year old Drama Queen, talks. Today's attempt at learnig how to ride her bicycle was punctuated by screaming, frustration, bike throwing and crying. And no, not from me.
She has a problem with the 'wobbling'. And she refuses to learn MY way (the way we all learned, by Dad holding us up and then gently pushing us on our way). She would rather push along herself, thinking she can then start pedaling.
Not working out so well.
Oh well, tomorrow's another day.

Should have started documenting this sooner

From my earliest memories I've always ridden a bicycle. Around five years old I remember trying to teach myself how to balance. I was in the garage, sitting on my bicycle, leaning against the wall. I think I pulled it off but the rest is fuzzy; I just know that I was soon riding up and down and all over our dead-end block.
Things seemed safer back then. you would ride and ride all day, jumping stuff, skidding (skids were ALWAYS a highlight of my cycling life) and only coming home when you heard your Dad's unmistakable whistle.
Bicycle riding, or cycling (I don't like the word 'biking', just sounds silly) is a wonderful catalyst for a memorable childhood. I remember, it seems, every experience I've ever had on two wheels.
It occurred to me to start writing about some of it while I'm in the midst of teaching my own children how to ride. Things so far haven't gone as smoothly as I planned or expected but it has been and continues to be an experience that I savor.
So come along as I explore my creative writing bit and save these ideas for when my own kids are raising their own wheels.