Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Skirtguard Installation #1

I just got a nice little e-mail from Josh of Out Spokin' Bikes today which reminded me that it's time for Betty's 90-day check-up. I haven't had any problems with her, but I figure that after my unsuccessful skirtguard installation, it might not hurt to have her looked at. Maybe the middle of next week will be a good time since I'll have the opportunity to try another set of skirtguards on Betty.

Yep. I'm going to try again--this time with a metal set of skirtguards. They should sit on the surface of the fenders making their spare design a non-issue. After talking the matter over with Michael (the warehouse manager at Morgan Imports), I think a few zip-ties should further secure the skirtguards to Betty without much of a problem. He also advised me to heat the plastic skirtguard that was bent with a hairdryer to straighten it. It turns out that I had my skirtguards turned inside out too; I'm sure putting them on the bicycle the right way can do nothing but help!

I'll definitely have news of installation #2 when I get the new set of skirtguards, along with any troubleshooting tips required. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Snowy Scenes By Bike

These were the snowiest spots that encountered on my ride Friday--my first ride in snow. I had to bypass a patch of ice at the bottom of my driveway, but that was the most dangerous thing I saw on the roads. The other patches of ice were striped with tread marks which I followed with my tires to prevent slipping--it seemed to work. The only threat of slipping came when I rode through an icy patch of grass.

Hardy Cyclist

I haven't yet composed my list of winter tips and helpful items for cycling in the cold although it is coming. First, I just want to discuss the act of winter cycling. In my experience, people seem to think that it shouldn't be done. It's simply too cold and it's foolish to be outside in such temperatures. It has been cold for Georgia lately, but I've seen that our "normal" or average temperature for this time of year is in the 50's. The upper 30's that we've been "suffering" may feel extreme by comparison, but it's nothing in the face of what people up North are dealing with--and they're still on their bikes. These are the complaints of the soft and I feel pretty hardy by contrast.

Winter is always cold. Even in Georgia where "cold" means temperatures in the 50's. Given the cyclical nature of what we're dealing with it should be easy enough for us to come to terms with the season with the proper hats, scarves, gloves, and coats--and still spend time outdoors. I think it's rather unnatural to believe that one should spend an entire season indoors. Are we mice or men? I'm not saying that there aren't temperatures too low for cycling, but I'm not countering such a rational argument. Most of the people who comment at my cycling in our current temperatures seem to think that winter itself is too cold for being outdoors. I reflect upon my counterparts spending their leisure time in their heated TV rooms and feel quite tough. I like feeling that I'm doing something that others don't have the heart or the vigor to attempt. I wouldn't say that I was a girly-girl growing up, but I wasn't a tomboy either so to discover this inner grit is a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More Cylists Need More Bike Mechanics

via NYT, Eric Shofield, manager at Bicycle Habitat

Eventually we're all going to need the assistance of a bike mechanic whether we're riding a vintage gem rescued from the curb or a brand new bike. Unfortunately, not all of us have a bike shop at hand. When I lived in Cartersville, I saw my local bike shop come and go rather quickly. For those of you in a similar situation, I urge you to take advantage of the New York Times' kind gesture, "Ask a Bicycle Mechanic." This week, Eric Shofield, manager at Bicycle Habitat, will be answering questions asked him in the comments section. He starts posting responses tomorrow.

And now for some British bike repairman appreciation:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Bright New Year

I like the bell's kawaii packaging and lovely shade of blue, but its sound doesn't live up to its looks.

I got my new lights and [nearly] matching neon bell on New Year's Eve--a very foggy day and the perfect conditions for testing the Knog skink headlight and taillight. I went for a short ride during the day and conducted a short ride in the evening. (It was cold, dark, and wet--an extremely unappealing combination). Of course, I tested the bell too. I wasn't too pleased with how it sounded, but it's such a close color match I can't bear to send it back.

I think that the color makes a bigger impact when all the elements are close together...

...but placing the light on the basket may be the safer choice.

I couldn't decide between putting the light on the basket or the handlebars. During daylight hours it seems like an aesthetic choice, but at night it's a matter of safety.

My bell still looks smashing...
...but apparently my light lost some of its radiance behind all of those break cables.

My aunt said she couldn't really see my headlight on the handlebars when she drove towards me so it's going on the basket. It didn't help me out on the darkest street in the neighborhood either. I don't know if that's because of the location of the light or its limitations. It's probably a combination of both because the more powerful headlights are pretty expensive.