Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Award of the day: Replaceable derailleur hangers

Saturday's encounter with the pavement left a couple of black-and-blues on yours truly, and left a bike with a bent derailleur hanger. In all my bicycle crashes, the only one that's broken something unfixable like the frame involved a car hitting me. Besides that, it's just been a slightly untrue wheel, a scuffed saddle, and, of course, a bent derailleur hanger.

I hear that a lot of super fancypants race frames include integrated derailleur hangers, rather than bolt-on replaceble ones, to save a gram or three. What a ridiculous idea! I mean, granted, you can often bend the suckers back into shape, but, sometimes you can't. Then it's either throw the frame away, or ship it to Calfee to do some serious carbon work. The replaceable kind cost like $10.

This gets into one of those irritating problems, though, where without a car, it's tough to get a damaged bike to a shop to fix it. I guess I can still ride it, in the about four gears I have left.

Weather Related Observations:

37 degrees, windy, and a "winter mix" of rain, snow, and slush is about the worst possible weather to ride in. But, you know, with winter shoes, bibknickers over bibshorts and full leg warmers, a vest, a wool hat, and about five shirts, it's not so bad.

Yes, I have been wearing big, heavy wool beanies and watchcaps on the bike a lot this winter. It's made a big comfort difference.

It also means a lot of the time I can't wear a helmet effectively. I don't want to jinx things, but, on Saturday I wasn't. Usually, when you are falling, it is a good idea not to point your head at whatever you're about to hit.

I'm just sayin'.

Also, I have had a couple of interesting lessons recently about how to actually bike when it's icy out. My forty-five pound commuter is a lot better than my road bike, for one. Also: what the hell was I thinking riding into work on Sunday morning?

I dunno. I thought, well, it felt a little warmer, I can ride in. Having made that decision, I left with enough time to ride to work, plus ten minutes, not enough to walk, so I was outta options. It was about at the point that I got to the bottom of my stairs when I noticed that the entire surface of asphalt was a thin sheet of ice.

Really, it was kind of funny. I could barely pedal without simply spinning the rear tire, but I couldn't NOT pedal, either, considering the steep hill I had to get myself up. Softly, softly and all of that.

A couple of parts, I couldn't effectively ride for the ice, but I found out that my tires had more traction than the soles of my shoes, so what ELSE could I do? It's neat when you have a slack geometry bike like my Schwinn. I basically steered with the back wheel... okay, I will admit to some bits scaring the pants off of me, but it was sort of fun.

Monday morning was nice, fluffy white snow that slushed away by the end of the day. I wised up and walked, this time...


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