Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

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

Monday, January 07, 2008

Rocket Ships : Sometimes it IS about the bike

Yesterday I rode my race bike for the first time in over a week. It's a bit over a quarter mile from my door to the street, and even as I ride up the short, steep end of my driveway, the ease of acceleration makes me smile. It's tough to not get overdo it in those first ten miles. It feels like I've suddenly jumped into a rocketship.

All the more reason you should have a heavy, slow winter training bike. On Friday I went on a group ride for about five hours, riding the touring bike you see here: it weighs about 27 pounds, and I had a pannier with a lock, a book, my work clothes and shoes, some food, and 4 uncursed rocks. We didn't ride in very challenging terrain: a spin up Tiger Mountain was vetoed by the group's time constraints. Even so, just keeping up with the moderate-brisk moments took a bit of a toll on the legs.

I've been riding on my ownsome on that bike a fair bit lately, and it's great to have: easy to carry anything I might need, a triple crankset to climb the 14% hills back home while hauling that stuff, and of course: full fenders. This bit hit home when I made the ill-advised decision to turn Sunday's ride towards Tacoma and cruise a loop through Point Defiance before heading south. That place is essentially always wet, and I caught a nice blast of thirty-five degree rain. My entirely inadequate Raceblade front fender stopped about ten percent of this crap from soaking my feet, ankles, knees. For the remaining three hours, I got to enjoy frozen, drenched feet in the otherwise reasonably pleasant day.

And the touring bike feels swift and agile compared with my daily commuter, an upright citybike that still brings a grin to my face as I tool about town and which I am told by Holly is of a class referred to in Japan as "Mamah Charies." Apparently this is some kind of bizarre Japanese-English fusion of "Mother" and "Chariot," if you were curious. Forty-odd pounds of "ELECTRO-FORGED" steel and "Schwinn Approved" parts, the Suburban has five gears, a kickstand, and pullback bars that I can reach while seated fully upright. It's absolutely perfect for the fourish mile commute to work, except for the part where I've got to go up a 10% hill or two, but we can ignore that, can't we?

So in conclusion, horses for courses, and whatever other cliches you can think up.

Sword in a knife Fight: or, Bring your Frame Pump

I got a flat Saturday, despite thick 25mm tires that cost about nine dollars, thick innertubes, and a Slime tire liner between the two, from a nice chunk of glass that Neil Stephenson fans will recall can cut through just about anything.

The sinking feeling was replaced by a smirk as I pulled out my not-so-secret weapon:

A Zefal HPX frame pump. Even with my skinny cyclist arms, which Chris famously described as being unable to "kick my own ass in a barfight," I was back to full riding pressure before losing all sensation in my fingers. Especially with the added rear tire pressure the heavy touring bike's panniers mandated, this would've certainly been a non-starter with a tiny little minipump.

When there's a flat on a group ride, pulling out the HPX is like bringing a sword to a knife fight. Of course, if you want to abuse that analogy further, CO2 is the gun among blades, but it's one of those, you know, three-musketeers guns, where you get one shot and when you miss the hero then you're just screwed.

Erm, something like that. Get it?

Okay, well, whatever. Just get a Zefal. Or a Silca. And carry it.


  • At 9:18 AM , Blogger STOKED I AM said...

    Zefals even work in I unfortunately discovered yesterday!

  • At 5:37 PM , Anonymous Cruzer2424 said...

    jeez, kid. clean your DBR.

    don't you get a new one?

  • At 11:08 PM , Blogger Argentius said...



    And, I will get a new ride for the coming year in, like, a month or two.

  • At 11:30 AM , Blogger Old as dirt said...

    My race bike hasn't seen pavement since early October!
    Been getting my humble pie from the cat 5's while riding the 28c tires.
    I don't even have a race bike at this stage.

  • At 10:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    whats up man? Enjoying the rain?

    If you need a bit of indoor relaxation, try this out:



  • At 11:10 PM , Blogger Miriam said...

    Yea I think I've ridden the race bike so few times I could count them on one hand this fall. Course the rollers and the bike have been good good friends. I hate the rain.

  • At 9:13 AM , Blogger andrew said...

    Do race bikes even work outside before March? New race bikes belong in the workout room perched on the trainer.

    It's worth the investment to get a nice rain bike.

  • At 10:25 AM , Anonymous cycling supplies said...

    I don't get this. "My entirely inadequate Raceblade front fender stopped about ten percent of this crap from soaking my feet, ankles, knees. " Could you please enlighten me on this? I keep following all your posts hope you can regularly post more. I get very useful information here. Thanks for having this.

    cycling supplies


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