Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Unintentionally Long Post On Bicyles and Gear

So, I've been riding my bike a lot lately. But as I looked through the archives of this site, I noticed that I have not posted any pictures of my bike!! How do you guys even know what I'm talking about if you can't see my transportation love?

Here's my bike. It's a Rocky Mountain RC-30. It's classified as a "city bike," but I use the term hybrid. Isn't he beautiful? (The correct answer is yes.)

When I first got my bike, I gave the boy all the money I budgeted and this what he got me:
1) Bike
2) Helmet
3) Lock
4) Water bottle cage and water bottle
5) Headlight and taillight
6) Pump for tires
7) Streamers

That was it. I have since added to this list, slowly but surely acquiring lots of gear I swore I would never need. First up, let's just discuss the above list. I need a lock because I commute and frequently lock my bike up outside. If you are solely riding for pleasure, you may not need a lock. I have a Kryptonite U-Lock. No one has ever messed with my bike. Water bottle and cage are pretty important for staying hydrated on even the shortest ride. The pump I could have honestly lived without. There is free air at a couple of places on my commute. BUT, the boy is crazy about tire pressure, so, there you have it. We have like five bicycle pumps in our household. Headlight and taillight are necessary for me since I commute, frequently at night. If you are only a daytime rider, don't worry about it. Streamers are entirely optional, but I was insistent. People think I'm friendly and smile at me because of my streamers. I always appreciate the extra smiles.

Helmets. There is a lot of debate about the effectiveness of helmets. If you hit a car that's going 40 miles per hour while you're going 10 miles an hour, the helmet is not going to help you. But at a low speed accident, it may be helpful. I figure it can't hurt, so I wear one. It's up to you. Just know that if I see you cycling without a helmet, I will probably assume you don't care about your brain. But that's just me.

Below is RC-30 modelling streamers, U-Lock, and headlight. My U-Lock does not fit directly under my top tube where most folks seem to put theirs because my bike is, errr, small. We put it on the side like that and it doesn't bother me or interfere with my pedal stroke. The placement of that lock caused some stress in our early relationship, but we worked it all out. Gotta think outside of the box.

I have since obtained a few key things:
1) New saddle
2) Rack
3) New grips
4) New stem
5) Gloves
6) Pannier (bag)
7) Bike shorts
8) Basket

The saddle came from my friend, N., whose cat I also have. I guess I take everything from her. To be honest, I didn't have a real problem with the original saddle, but the one I have on there is also fine. The saddle was never a major problem for me. I bought bike shorts because everyone said I needed them and I spent a small fortune on them, but I have only used them about twice this summer. I don't really need them. But, just because that wasn't a problem with my rear doesn't mean it's been smooth sailing with this cycling business. I have had TWO major problems.

Major problem #1: My wrists hurt like hell. Seriously, I'd ride for an hour and my wrists would be killing me. So that's why you'll note all the things we changed on poor RC in an attempt to fix the wrist issue - the new grips, the new stem, and the gloves. Originally, the boy told me that gloves were for sissies, but once I tried them, it made everything better, and I told him to fuck off. Okay, I didn't really tell him that, but all the mechanical changes we made - adjusting saddle height, changing the stem, changing the angle of the handlebars - did nothing. Gloves fixed it all.

Major problem #2: Carrying stuff on the bike. Originally, I just used a backpack. Eventually we started blaming this for the wrist issues from problem #1 (too much weight on my arms and wrists was what we thought). I also decided I should look more adult and stop wearing a backpack to school at this same time. So the backpack got donated to a worthy charity, but then I was stuck.

That's when the rack came on. The rack is heavy. It's also useless on it's own. It requires you to have a special bag to hook on it, or bungee cords, or a basket. I have used all of these things. The pannier bag I have is a giant pain in my ass. It's heavy, it's awkward carrying it up and down the stairs with my bike. But, most importantly, I couldn't fit all my crap in it. For my jobs, I frequently have three or four heavy books with me. I couldn't fit all my books in the pannier.

Then the boy found my basket!! I love my basket. It's an Axiom Faux Wicker Basket with Brackets. The brackets attach to my rack. I have put upwards of 25 pounds of books in the basket. I usually put all my books in a tote bag and then just toss the tote bag into the basket. This basket? Has made me want to commute more frequently just because of it's total adorableness.

Note: I don't have fenders on the bike. I hate fenders. They ruin the line of the bike. Plus I refuse to ride in the rain or snow because I'm a diva. So no fenders. But fenders are useful if you ride year round. I guess.

The boy does all the routine maintenance on my bike for me. He trues the wheels every season and changed all the cables and the chain earlier this season for me. He has also fixed every flat tire I've ever had. I have no idea how much all this maintenance costs, since it is the boy's job. That's probably mean, but we have so few gendered chores, I feel no guilt about this fact.

And that's that. It's probably more detail than anyone wanted to know, but I felt like I needed to document it somehow. Happy cycling!!

1 comment:

  1. Nice! I need to get back on my bicycle!


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