It's about the ways you use your bike.

Bike Summer!

In New York City on 19 May 2010 at 1:30 am

** UPDATE**

I am writing an update from work, having successfully navigated the numerous detours on the bikeway in southern Manhattan. I put my bike back together last night, my brakes are present enough to foreclose the possibility of gaining any street-cred among the fixie crowd, but effective enough to only slow me gradually.

Problems encountered on the ride:

i) Chain fall off. There may be a technical term for this occurrence, but what it describes is “your chain falling off,” so that’s what I’m calling it. I actually packed a spanner (see “wrench”) so I’d be prepared for this eventuality, because I knew that my chain wasn’t tight enough before I left home, but also didn’t have enough time to fix it before I left. I’ll play with that this evening before I ride home.

ii) Sweating and panting. I haven’t been on my bike for a little while, so I expected this. Luckily, my work has a gym and I managed to get clean post-ride.

iii) Too much stuff. I reckon the technical term for this is “overpacking” but I’m hesitant to write that, as it sounds like it could refer to some uncomfortable sex-act, and people googling such acts will arrive, disappointed, at this post. To these readers, I apologise. I brought my work clothes in a suit bag in my very professional looking basket (it’s a milk crate) on the back of my bike. I also brought a bag for shoes/belt/towel etc. and another bag full of work-stuff (papers, pens, miscellania). I’ll try to consolidate these last two into one. I’m also considering finding a dry-cleaner near my work and all my work clothes at work. That way I can just throw my shirt in a bag at the end of the day and drop them all off at the end of the week. This would require me keeping a pretty full wardrobe in my office, of which my office mate likely would disapprove. Plus, it requires a level of organisation which I do not possess.

iv) Laziness. Everyone talks about how great getting around by bike is, and they are right, but sometimes I just feel plain lazy. Take, for instance, right now. Riding to work was a blast, but now I’m looking at maybe 6 more hours of work before I have to get on my bike and ride home. All the hills I ride down to get here I will have to ride up to get home, and I don’t have that early-morning bliss that helps me push the pedals. Apparently, one of the honcho-types at my work rides in from Jersey every day then takes a car home at night. This requires that he have at least five bicycles, which he does, and all of which he picks up in a van on Saturday morning, I assume. Of course, this requires that he have i) at least five bikes ii) money for a car home and iii) a van. For consistencies sake, I should have written that as i) money for at least five bikes ii) money for a car home and iii) money for a van; after which I could have found the common denominator and simply written this sentence:

Riding to work every day is fun and easy if you have i) money.

I don’t, so biking to work is fun, but a bit of a hassle, and biking homes has enormous potential for fun with periodic bouts of wishing really hard that I owned a van.

**UPDATE CONCLUDED**

It’s like Bike Month, but it lasts about 2.5 times longer and features less advertising.

I’ve been exceptionally incognito for the last three weeks. I’d like to apologise to our readers (all three of them) for misleading them. My frenetic outpouring (two posts!) in the infancy of our blog was, like love on prom night, intense but brief and followed by end of year exams.  Now that I am through those, I’ll be posting more. Specifically, I look forward to writing a great deal on my plans to ride to work.

I’ll be working in the Financial District this summer, which will involve about a 12 mile ride to work, most of which (huzzah!) will be on the West Side Highway/the bike path next to it. My work has a gym in the basement, which I get to use for free (double huzzah!). My plan is to leave about an hour and a half before I have to be at work every day, ride to work, maybe throw up some weights to work on my physique.

Pecs needed for handlebar control

I will then be showering and going to work. I’m hoping that forcing myself to ride to work will compensate for the fact that I won’t have time to actually work out. However, to do that, I need to put my old fork back on my bike, return the new fork I bought (steerer was about 10mm too short), buy a new threadless fork, headset, and stem, and then put it all back together in rideable form. The old fork is for a 27″ wheel, and I’ve got a 700c in there now. Because I like a) living and b) stopping, I have a brake on there, but the original brake is in a poor state. The new brake I bought isn’t long enough, so I need a new fork or a new brake. I have the brake and I’ve dicked with it too much to return, so a new fork is in order, I guess. I’d rather not be out the extra cash, but I’d also prefer that squeezing on my brakes had a noticeable effect. Compromise compromise.

Morals of this story:

a) Measure everything a bunch of times.

b) Don’t hope that things will fit.

c) Don’t buy a bike that fits you if you’re 6’5″, because no one makes a threaded 1″ fork with a steerer long enough to work with your frame for a reasonable price (or at all?).

I’ll keep y’all updated on my summer riding including tips on: Applying suntan oil while riding! Installing bottle-holders big enough for your pina colada glass! And Sweat! Where does it come from and how do I make it stop?

Cheers.

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  1. Sounds great. Enjoy the commuting this summer and I look forward to the updates. Awesome.

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