I didn’t make it out for a ride today (unless we count a quick scramble to Midway Market that I’m still planning to do if the rain holds out), but that’s probably all right. I’ve managed to ride every day since last Saturday (I think — maybe it was last Friday or last Sunday), and my legs needed a break. Still, I missed being out. This season has taken far too long to get underway, and now I feel like I have all this catching up to do.
I gave some time to performing a variety of long overdue maintenance tasks. I began with a thorough cleaning. My bike was filthy. Next, I replaced a couple of parts desperately need of replacing. I hereby present Exhibits A and B:
Removing the old headset was a bear (namely, the crown race from the fork and the bottom cup from the head tube). There’s something to be said for having the right tools for the job. Alas, I did not have them, in this instance. I think I installed the new headset correctly (it was my first time working on a threadless headset), but I can’t seem to dial in the adjustment quite right. The steering feels just a little stiff, but if I back off the pre-load bolt even an eighth of a turn, I get play in the headset and fork steerer tube.
Last, but not least, I installed a handlebar bag. I’m not particularly fond of handlebar bags. It’s an issue of aesthetics. There’s a top-heaviness about them. I feel like I’m riding around with a chest cooler strapped to the bike. It’s like one of those clocks Flavor Flav was so keen on wearing. It’s as if my bicycle has donned a fanny pack en route to catch the tour group on its way to the next scenic vista photo op.
Nevertheless, since I’m not presently in a position to buy a bike for every type of riding I do (or to buy any new bike at all, for that matter), this bike has no choice but to function as my everything, everyday bike. Unfortunately, it’s not very well suited to that, primarily because it is not designed to take any kind of rack. So, while I’d much prefer a rear rack and trunk bag, a handlebar bag is my best (essentially, my only) option.
[Sidebar: I recognize the need to retrofit and adapt this bike to the type of riding I’ve gradually grown into as a good sign, insofar as it really takes time and experience — in a word, lots and lots of miles — to discover what sort of rider you are and to learn the feel of things. More on that some other time, I think.]
Anyway, I hardly need anything like this for the vast majority of my rides, but I’m experimenting with it for the next few weeks in anticipation of using it on GOBA. I haven’t gotten to take it for a test ride yet, but here’s how it looks on the bike. What do you think?
[If you’ll allow me another sidebar: I’d like to say thanks to Tamia Nelson’s Outside for the excellent and immensely helpful reviews of this bag (here and here), which played a major role in helping me make my decision on whether to give it a try.]
One last little item: I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to my little brother, who chalked up his first 42-mile ride yesterday. Most of you will recall that he lives in Rhode Island. Lest you miss the significance of that fact in relation to his ride, it means that he was climbing almost the entire first half of the route. Way to go, Nathan. Nice work.