Well this is Kinda fun. I forgot in the intervening 5-7 years or whatever how much fun it could be to update my blog again. This time there is plenty of work in the works but to start with I wanted to get some of the links updated. Unfortunately, some of my favorite places have gone away, Bike Shops like Pibby’s in RVA (I still have a great rear wheel Chip built up for me on my Lotus commuter rig) and Bunnyhop and the Co-Op’s in RVA as well…..in addition to all that I don’t live there and have replaced those spots with some new ones here in Denver. Be sure to check out the links on the right, places like Schwab Cycles (best local bike shop I’ve found to cater to commuters and utility cyclists) and Bikes Together (local Co-OP with 2 locations now, one in Park Hill and another off Mariposa). Finally, I need to add a link to the Denver Cruiser Ride, which coincidentally, happens most Wednesdays. I need to speak with the wife, but I hope to be there tonight and enjoying a solid cruise around town on what appears to be the makings of a wonderful evening. As always, stay chill my homies…..and see you in the streets.
Good deeds need to be done. Really this was simply annoying me as I looked at how poorly this bike was locked to the post in front of Lift coffeeshop. Soon I realized the front wheel (and subsequently the tire) was installed backwards and the brakes were poorly adjusted. So if this is your bike 1.)Lock it up better and 2.) If you came out and wondered why it all of a sudden worked better, it’s because your front wheel has been installed correctly. Check out the before pictures and lock job below:
Normally I only bring breakfast with me but as bills can be tight at times I am also trying to make lunch at work as well. In the summer, we cycle down to Belle Isle to enjoy a view of the rapids while we eat so a friend of mine and I frequently eat together by cycling down there but this winter I have been venturing out (Juneuary) and enjoying the some tables available downtown. You’ll see in these photos that I’ve rigged up a basket to carry some things with me and having the ability to portage equipment is an essential aspect of a utility bike. Now I want to make sure that this doesn’t stop you from cycling and there are plenty of people who have no baskets or racks and carry things all day long (bike messengers for instance) but for me I don’t like to have a backpack or “messenger” bag on and in the summer it’ll make you sweaty even before you step into work. Here’s my basket set-up and a look at how I filled it up this morning.
Tires are one of those things that you rarely go through enough of to formulate a really good perspective on. I’ve found two types that I really enjoy after deciding the Vittoria Randonneur line (which are quite popular btw) which I had been using on several different bikes in different sizes were either too heavy for me or seemed to be really hard and not so grippy. I know a lot of people who like them but for my money Panaracer makes the best tires out there. Right now Nashbar has Panaracer tires (Pasela road) for $14 each! That’s a great price and they come in many different sizes. I have 32c sized on my randonneuring/S24O bike but for my upright handlebar commuter I have some 35c Vittorias I am planning on replacing soon due to the bead almost being visable on the rear.
Finally, the second set of tires I really like are Panaracers as well in a 28c size which my friend Jason turned me on to. The price is quite high but I really, really, I mean really love these on my “road” bike. They are the Panaracer Rivendell Ruffy Tuffy which are sold at Rivendell Bicycle Works for around $50 each (ouch!) but can be had elsewhere for closer to $40. Anyhow, the Pasela’s are really good so if you aren’t one to drop $50 on tires go that direction and spend the rest of your money on beer, but I did see this special out there and wanted to mention it.
I’ll admit, I’m a retro grouch. No doubt about it if you look at the previous post you’ll see I rock bar end shifters, a leather saddle, and (gasp) a basket. Now, I do have a low spoke count “road” bicycle with integrated shift levers, but of course, it’s lugged steel and probably 30 years old at this point. One retro fad which has taken off in some circles (like Randonnuering, which I enjoy) is a 650B wheelset conversion. In this video Braden explains why it’s a pretty slick concept that can be applied to a bike normally built for 700c wheelsets and provide essentially the same diameter wheel but with a much higher air volume tire. For all you weight weenies out their remember air is free and weighs, well, it’s air. How does this pertain to you, the cycle commuter? Well as I tend to advocate for upcycling or recycling an old frame you already (or your dad or mom) have this could be a convenient way to get that new wheelset you need to get the thing rolling again (and maybe have more than 10 speeds and wheels that stay in true) and be able to fit a tire larger than 23c for example. Many older road frames can’t take a larger tire and probably don’t fit fenders, essential components for a bicycle built for handling mean city streets and all types of weather. Watch this video to see Braden explain some of the benefits of this setup.
So It has been awhile! I know but what can you do when your a busy world traveler with a cycling blog? For me I don’t have any excuses but I’m not trying to make any either. So to begin 2012 and a frigid work week I figured I’d post a video of a wonderful little project you can do from the confine of your warm home with all those extra bicycle spokes you have laying around. Children, don’t try this at home. Adults, please be safe. Disclaimer issued, now proceed!