Mostly John and I don’t get flats. For a couple of years I had Schwalbe Marathons, which were bulletproof. Other than when I picked up a giant nail midway into our 2009 Eastern Shore tour. No tire could have withstood that. John hasn’t had a flat in 5 years.
Last year we both switched to Compass tires. Compass Bicycles website says of them: ” … Compass tires roll faster, absorb shocks much better, and offer greatly improved cornering grip. Warning: You may never want to go back to your old tires after riding these.” I agree. The Schwalbes were great. These are greater. Paired with Schwalbe tubes, they have been trouble free. That is until today. What John hoped was a slow leak in his rear tire turned out to require changing the tube. The culprit turned out to be a tiny sharp piece of metal embedded in the tire. As a result our 16 mile ride took a bit longer than usual. Good thing we weren’t in a hurry!
- Fixing a Flat Tire (whybike3.wordpress.com)
Posted in Rides, Spring Cycling | Tagged Compass tires, flat, Schwalbe tires, weekend ride | Leave a Comment »
This spring I got new pedals for first the commuter bike (Rivendell Atlantis) and then the roadie bike (Rivendell Rambouillet). They are the VP Components Thin Gripster pedals. In addition to the new pedals, I got new shoes, the Chrome Storm Truk sneakers. The sneakers are made of waterproof cotton duck.
On the Atlantis, I also have the Hold Fast straps. Here is how it looks on the Atlantis. Yes, I did get ‘matching’ strap colors. Sue me…
I love the sneakers and pedals. I cannot say enough good things about them. The sneakers are comfortable, stylish, and very grippy. I used to have the Chrome Kursk sneakers and they were nice but not this grippy. I have ridden in a light rain, I stayed on the pedals, and my feet stayed reasonably dry. It was not a deluge but still, they did as advertised. Staying on the pedals is key since we seem to do the Bon Ton Roulet in monsoon rains every year.
The Hold Fast straps, I have a love/hate relationship. When my feet are in the straps, they work great at keeping the pedal and my foot as one very comfortably. My feet can move around a bit and still maintain contact. My biggest gripe is that my left foot is my moving foot. I take that one out at lights and stop signs and then reinsert it. It is a major pain in the ass about half the time to get my foot back in the damn strap. It collapses and I am stuck in traffic trying to wedge my foot into the strap. Sliding your foot in is problematic since the pedals have spikes to enhance grip and prevent sliding. About 10% of the time, I have to resort to reaching down and pulling it on. It could just be me but it is a pain…
I would give a huge thumbs up to both the pedals and the sneakers. They are amazing. The straps could be me or maybe I am not used to them yet but I keep debating removing them since they can be such a pain and the busier the road, the more likely they will need assistance.
Posted in Commuting, Reviews | Leave a Comment »
Not surprisingly the last step of fixing up the Nishiki for my niece hit a snag. Got one cork grip on just fine. Tore up the second one. More swearing ensued. Time to advise my sister to go to her LBS for to get grips installed.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged bike accessories, cork grips, gear | Leave a Comment »
While I don’t have to Bike to Work any more, I do have to bike in order to work. It keeps me fit and focused. Some days are too busy, even for someone with a home office, but I am biking as much as I can during the workweek.
Catonsville’s first-ever Bike to Work Day provided the perfect reason to get out and ride today. John and I rode over to the pit stop- Santa’s House by the town’s fire station. I know, cute. There was free coffee and donuts, and swag for registered riders. The Hub/ C’ville Bikes was there, with extroverted owner Scott meeting and greeting . John headed off on his actual commute to work. I took part in a 3-woman virtual bike to work, riding to and around the CCBC campus, then to UMBC and yes back out via Hilltop Road (read: punishing hills). Thank you Maureen for leading our ride.
The weather was perfect and the ride was a great way to start the day.
Posted in Bicycling Events, Commuting, Rides, Spring Cycling | Tagged bike to work day, C'ville Bikes/The Hub, Catonsville bicycling | Leave a Comment »
This spring has had more than a couple of days of cold dreary weather. On Tuesday John commuted to work in 3 layers of wool. Yes it warmed up by the end of the day, but it started out in the 30s. Two days later it was warm with just a little rain that was over with by mid-afternoon.
Yesterday’s little bit of biking to do errands was just a tease. Today I managed to get out for an hour. Better. Not an optimal time, it was around 5 pm. But after the first few miles, I was in the park and then on a road that for the most part has a wide shoulder. It was a pretty evening and the ride was fun.
Patapsco State Park
Once I got home I started getting the Nishiki ready for it’s move to my sister’s house. She’ll keep it for her daughter who is in the Peace Corps for about another year. First I swapped out the saddle. I am happy to give the bike to my niece, but I’m keeping the Brooks. Of course there were more parts to the saddle attachment than I’d realized. Of course I dropped them all on the shed floor before I could notice how they go together.
After some fumbling and swearing I got it all reassembled and the Planet Bike saddle correctly attached. Next I removed the old cork grips. A rodent gnawed off the end of one of the grips a few months ago. I didn’t want to give it to her like that. Those grips were glued on tight; when I first had them installed, they kept slipping off and I think the mechanic ended up super-gluing them on. Next I repositioned the right thumbie. Another bike mechanic in DC had positioned it awkwardly after it became loose. I never got around to fixing it and it always annoyed me.
I gave it a quick test ride and all was good. It’s a sweet bike. No one is more surprised than I am when I manage to do things like this. On a 1-10 scale of mechanical ability, I am something like a .75. Tomorrow, I will try to put on the new grips and shellac them.
Posted in Baltimore County, Rides, Spring Cycling | Tagged Baltimore County, bike saddle, cork grips, cycling, evening ride | Leave a Comment »
This is a fun way to raise the visibility of cycling in Catonsville. And maybe to build momentum for improving our town’s cycling infrastructure. Registration is free. See you there!
Posted in Advocacy, Baltimore County, Commuting | Tagged bike to work day, Catonsville | Leave a Comment »
My Linus Mixte 8 had a specific purpose in my life: to transport me to the local train station, wait there for me all day and then get me back home. Occasionally, it took me on some local errands, too. It served it’s purpose well. But that purpose disappeared when I changed my employment status. No more regular commutes to DC, so no need to devote scarce storage space to it. My touring bike and folder can fill all my cycling needs and interests.
My sister was pretty interested in it. Then her husband gave her a wonderful birthday gift. You guessed it, a brand new bike! So last night, I posted the Linus on CraigsList. Based on past experience, I anticipated some measure of hassle. I was so wrong.
Two hours after posting the ad, I got an email from E., saying she lived nearby, wanted a Linus, and could stop by that night to get it. She and her partner arrived an hour later. E took a quick test ride, negotiated the price a bit, and off they went, the Linus bundled into their Honda Fit. The whole process was amazing, including the fact that bike fit in that very small car.
Brief review of the Linus Mixte 8: Bottom line: a great bike for short commutes and rides around town. It’s sturdy, stable and handles well. Oh, and it’s very pretty. Adequate pedals (though they’re not grippy enough when wet), good brakes and ok handgrips. Saddle is pretty uncomfortable but tolerable for short rides. It’s pretty much ready to go from the moment of purchase, with bell, fenders, rear rack and reflectors. No lights, though. I loved the internal hub shifter. On my test ride, the Linus took the hills pretty easily. On my commute, which involved hauling some commuter gear up several increasingly steep uphill miles on the return trip, I worked pretty hard but could make it. The Mixte 8 comes in Linus’ medium frame size only. It’s described as fitting people 5’2" to 5’10". I’m just under the line, at 5’1" and it fit me fine.
Next, the Nishiki goes to Pennsylvania, to await my niece’s return from the Peace Corps. And then I’ll be down to 2 bikes!
Posted in Bicycles, Bicycling Routes, City cycling, Commuting, Rides | Tagged Baltimore, Linus Mixte 8, mixtes | Leave a Comment »