Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Albatross saves the day

The Albatross handlebar arrived as planned and I installed it on the 25th along with the new brake levers and cork grips. I really liked the way it looked, but that was not the point. My hope was to make it more comfortable to ride. I had the Noodle bars at about the same height as the saddle but my sorry back was still not up to the task. When I would arrive at work in the morning, after just 5 or so miles, my back would be stiff and sore. It usually took me a minute or two to straighten my back after I got off the bike.

Some seriously stiff winds, family obligations and work have combined to keep me from doing a long ride, but I am happy to note that after riding to work on Monday and taking the long way home, I had no back pain. Yes! I hope to get in a long ride this weekend to learn even more.
Pros (so far)
My back does not hurt. I do not need any other reason, really.
I love the cork grips. They look and feel great.
Cantilever type brake levers and centerpulls work very well together. Great feel.
The brake levers add an additional point of adjustment in the brake system.
Makes me feel like an English Gentleman when I ride.
Thinking about adding a Wald basket to the front.

Cons (so far)
I already miss riding on the hoods even though it hurts my back. The hoods of the Tektro levers fit my hands perfectly and there is no better place to grip when standing and climbing.
I love the look of my downtube shifters but they are much more difficult to reach now. I haven't decided whether to go with thumbshifters or barend shifters. I like both but they each have drawbacks. The Thumbshifters will be in the way of gripping the bar in front of the brake lever and the barend shifters will require me to alter those beautiful grips. Decisions, decisions.
My trusty B17 might need to be replaced with a wider, sprung saddle. I will wait a bit on that one, though.

This picture is taken on my front porch. The bag on the front is a homemade edition and I am thinking about moving it to another bike. I have not decided whether or not I like all the blue, yet. I like yellow and blue together, but the fenders may be too much.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I had my daughter take a few pictures of my bike today. They were a bit out of focus so I played with them in Photosuite.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Box of goodness on the way

I don't know about you, but I get all giddy while I am waiting on a shipment. A tracking number is even better. And, when that tracking number is showing the progress on a shipment from Rivendell, well, life is grand. According to UPS, my box of goodness is due to arrive on the 23rd (it has been sitting in Indianapolis all weekend! Damn! Don't they work weekends?). That actually works out well because I am not supposed to open it until Christmas morning.

I have wanted a set of Albatross bars (56 cm chromo, of course) for a long time. After arriving at work way too many times with a stiff back after my morning commute, I finally decided that even though my drop bars are at saddle height, it just ain't enough. I need to sit upright. The Albatross bars will help with that. I also got some cork grips to go with them. That is something new for me.

I plan to put them on my old 1984 Trek 500. I bought the frame off ebay a couple of years ago and have ridden it quite a bit. I like it a lot and did my first (and only) century on it in the summer of 2007. But, early this year my back went out again and it never has completely come back. I am not bed ridden by any means, but riding leaves me stiff. I hope these bars fix that.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The games people play

I have never been a big game player. Never liked cards or board games. I never played the stupid drinking games that all the other teenagers played. I am at best, a reluctant pool player. But, I have a special dislike for party games. You know like Taboo and Scattershit or whatever. Don't get me wrong, I love parties, and drinking for that matter. Party games, though, just distract from the real reason for parties, that is, hanging out and shooting the shit with people I like. Of course, this means that I spend the Christmas season trying to avoid parties. Everybody wants to play Secret Santa or whatever that game is called where everyone brings in something stupid that they do not want and everybody leaves with a different something stupid they do not want.

I really do not understand the attraction of these games. People that I work with all year have this dark side that requires them to play stupid games. These are people who are excellent professionals. They take pride in their work. I seek out their opinions when I have to make decisions. You think you know someone and then all of the sudden they are looking forward to trading stupid shit with someone. I do not get it. What is it that I lack that I cannot take any joy from this, apparently, excellent time.

I have a decision to make. I am supposed to RSVP for the office "Holiday" party tomorrow. But the thing is, I don't want to play the stupid game they have planned. The food will be good. The party is at my favorite restaurant. The folks will be great. Plus, if I skip it, it looks bad. I don't know. Maybe I will just get through the day tomorrow and not remember, then the decision will be made for me.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Went for a short motorcycle ride today. It was about 35. The Bandit had been sitting for about 3 weeks and I thought I should get some fresh gas in the carbs to keep them from getting crudded up. It does not take long to realize that you are underdressed for a motorcycle ride when it is 35 out. The first thing that got cold was my neck. The shield on my bike dumps a lot of air right at neck level and it was quite unpleasant. It is an odd sensation to have a cold neck and have everything else feel warm. That does not happen very often. Fortunately, my legs and hands joined in shortly there after.

A motorcycle ride, no matter how short, always brings to mind inconsistencies. I like to think of myself as somewhat more environmentally tuned in than the next guy. I try to keep my consumption down. I ride a bike for many of my trips (though not as much as I would like lately). But, there is just something about going fast on a motorcycle that makes me smile. And not just going fast, but getting up to speed fast. While my motorcycle is not even close to the latest and greatest, it is still plenty fast by my standards. I am by no means a speed demon. In fact, truly fast people would laugh, but I go fast enough to give myself a thrill whenever I ride.

Another inconsistency is that I like loudish motorcycles. I hate loud cars. In fact, I hate any noice a car makes. I find them obnoxious. But, for some reason a reasonably loud motorcycle just grabs my attention. Whether it is a V twin, a thumper or an inline motor, I just love to hear them run. Now, I do not like bikes with a straight pipe, but I do want to hear the engine.