_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bike bits

Seems like I've been spending a lot of time thinking about bikes and biking recently:

  • Somehow I managed to break the rear axle on my year-old bike. For a few weeks I had been noticing that there was more play in the rear hub than there usually is, to the point where when I really pumped the pedals starting from an intersection, the tire would sometimes rub the frame a little. Wasn't sure what to make of that, but last week I got a flat, and after I fixed it, the back wheel was seriously goofy, visibly wobbling as I pedaled. I may not know enough to have noticed it while I had the wheel off, but the dudes at the bike shop figured it out right away. Anyway, that set me back $50...

  • Although having just invested money in my current bike makes it harder to justify, I am seriously pining after a Surly Cross-Check. Andrew was nice enough to let me use his when I visited Minneapolis last summer, and I really liked it, more than the other bikes I've tried. City Bikes has one left...it's white, it fits me, and I've test-ridden it three times now. And they're sold out wholesale, so once this one is gone, I can't put my hands on another for a while. It's so much better to ride than my Tiburon (which may as well be a Hyundai by comparison), but it's a $1,000 investment. Sigh...I can feel myself breaking down.

  • I only make two left turns on my ride to work, but they're definitely the trickiest part of the ride. In both places the road is four-lane, so I have to move through two lanes of traffic going in the same direction as me before I actually turn. The traffic usually isn't going much faster than me, so it's not terrible, but it definitely requires care. This morning, I signaled and moved into an opening in traffic large enough to fit a car, and paused a moment to make sure there was space to move into the next lane. As I was glancing back, I saw that the lady in the Honda behind me was positively fuming, yelling at me through her windshield and gesturing wildly with her hands. I didn't react or anything, just moved into the next lane, but seriously...I signaled, gave more space than a car would have, and was only keeping her from the traffic at the red light up ahead. I see this sort of anger from time to time, and I really don't know where it's coming from -- pardon me for turning left.

  • I am trying to convince myself that I do not need to buy one of these shirts.


hannah said...

Some thoughts:

Buy the Cross Check. You ride every day; it's fun to ride and should last a lifetime. I think it is so, so worth it to have a bike that makes you happy to be on it. The first time I rode my single speed, I couldn't stop smiling. And every time I ride it, I get happy. That is absolutely what riding a bike should be like. So do it. If you didn't really want it, you wouldn't still be thinking about it and test-riding it.

As for the lady fuming at you, I have found that there are people who instantly hate any biker they see. I think you could really make some kind of interesting social commentary about this: people are so angry about their commutes and their lives that they will use any opportunity to pick a target and vent at it. I don't know if it's something specific to bikes or not, but I have had people honk and scream at me (and even once try to run me over, while I was in a dedicated bike lane, no less) just for being there: not being in their lane, not bothering them, just getting to work my own way. I think it's a real problem (as well as really interesting) and not something you notice if you're not out there. Maybe we can produce some sort of theory and be the hottest thing since Robert Putnam.

And lastly, you need that t-shirt Teague. It looks like you. I can picture it on you. Do it.

Show me pictures when you get your new Surly!

hannah said...

I totally didn't realize, but I know that Twin Six guy! They moved in to a space in the same row as my coffeehouse, and he totally came in all the time to get coffee! It really is just like two guys, and they were both really cool, and I really like their stuff. You'd be supporting local business! (local to me, anyhow) Yet another reason to get it.