Doing it all the hard way...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sometimes you get lucky


I may have mentioned that I have been commuting on my former single speed cyclocross bike. I picked up that frame for less than eighty bucks. I upgraded it to a two speed configuration by robbing the left hand shifter from my cross race bike and putting a front derailleur (and another chainring) on it. . I was using a derailleur borrowed from another bike to take up the chain tension. A couple weeks ago while surfing Craigslist I spotted a right hand SRAM shifter that the seller had just said, “make an offer.” I made a modest offer and a week or so later he emailed back and said I was the only one who had responded. My commuter bike now has gears. The amazing thing is the chain still fits. The bike that had once been the Bacon-ator, then the Deuce of Spades, now is in need of a new name. It is as black as black can be. If there is a spectrum that has fast and svelte on one end, this bike is on the other end.

With the morning sun appearing later and later, I took the opportunity this past weekend to slather the bike with DOT approved reflective tape (thank you eBay). I have reflective tape on the fenders, the chainstays, the seat stays, the fork, my rear rack, and my helmet. I have blinking lights on my rack and the back of my helmet and I will be adding my blinking light in motion weapon shortly.

This morning was the maiden voyage of my new geared commuter. I confess I expect I will be safer on the geared bike as I am more inclined to slow at intersections as my loss of momentum can be more easily remedied. Hills don’t require the usual single speed running start, and can be taken quite leisurely if I so choose. The fat Ruffy Tuffy tires smooth out the rough road and somewhat make up for the harsh aluminum frame.

One of the simple pleasures I find in life is the evolution and optimization of the ancillary aspects of repetitive activities. When you are on a backpacking trip after a few days you find that having specific items packed in certain ways makes life better. The activities around my bike commuting have achieved such a state. The method of transporting my work clothes, the packing and selection of my shower supplies, the placement of my stuff (phones, glasses, wallet, keys, etc.) when I ride has become optimized over time. The other benefit of this pattern is it saves time and those, “what am I forgetting,” moments.

Since Costco has tried to make shopping manly by selling everything in gigantic Dodge Ram type quantities, I picked up fifty single serving cream cheese packets. I brought one of the packets with a sliced bagel today and enjoyed breakfast nirvana. A toasty bagel with soft (from the journey) cream cheese was just the ticket to start my work day.

This morning was cool and dry and the eastern sky was pinkish orange. The commute was uneventful and I arrived invigorated and positive. The evening commute home was sunny and warm. I know the dark damp days are coming. The shorter days signal an end to another pathetic Mariner season, but they also herald the start of Cyclocross!

1 comment:

bikelovejones said...

DOT tape is amazing, and can be addictive.

We want pix of the newly repurposed bike please.