Sunday, May 24, 2020

Bike Blog Love - 8th Edition

Every year I seek out new bicycle blogs to follow. Here's my annual ode to a new (or at least new to me) batch of two-wheeled bloggers. Spread the link love!

I discovered this blog while researching possible upgrades and pannier solutions to my Dahon, Boardwalk, but have since followed his thorough evaluation of other projects. Check out how much work he put into his Boardwalk.

Super Biker Woman's Bike Touring
Colleen lives in the Pacific Northwest and loves to bike tour alone or with friends. I admire that she sets out with a general route idea and let's the days evolve from there.

My Life on Two Wheels
Heike travels the world and is an amazing photographer. She writes from the heart.

Adventure Cycling Blog
Some thought provoking material and good advice for those new to bike travel.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Bye Bye Trek 830 Antelope

Trek 830 Antelope
Too small frame, no longer fitting anyone in our family.
Over several sessions, I broke down my once beloved Trek 830 Antelope, kept parts that might come in handy on our other old mountain bikes, and donated the frame to Old Spokes Home, where magic happens and they will rebuild it back up again for someone to use as transportation. 

I haven't seen this bike without a rack since 1985.

 Deore LX derailleur looks to still be in good shape.

Letting the crank and sprockets go with the bike.

In 1994 all the original Suntour components were replaced with the recommended Shimano group set, in preparation for our around the world journey.  As I lovingly dismantled the bike, I noted that the only thing still original were the stem and handlebars - a testament to how long these old mountain bikes can last and why they still make wonderful commuter bikes.

I have no regrets - how liberating to part with an ill fitting bicycle!

I'm now down to a manageable 4 bicycles.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Moving on from Bosco Handlebars

Soma Oxford (upper, darker version) vs Rivendell Bosco. Comparison, using
I know I'm not the only one who dislikes Rivendell's bosco bars. While Miss Clementine is suited to upright riding, I've always felt that sitting like a queen with all my weight on the seat wasn't right for me, especially my intended purpose, which is for long rides, overnights, and touring. Also, though the grip position on the ends of the bars are quite comfortable - stellar, really - however, alternative hand positions on the bar are just awkward. The height and reach difference is too dramatic. After 3+ years of experimenting, I'm ready for a change.

I have long admired the svelte, sexy look of the Albatross bars. Soma's version, the Oxford, is a more affordable option.

The slightly wider Granola bars compared with Oxford and Bosco.
At the same time, I'd been advised online to try the VO Granola bars, which I'm also attracted to. I was all set to order both bars (I want options and may have a place for the unused one) because I want the nail down the perfect bar this summer. In addition, I have a shorter, removable faceplate stem, which might come in handy to get my desired body position.

But then I discovered both stem clamp diameters are 25.4 and the Granola bars require a 31.8. Ugh.

Bosco vs VO Curvy. Would this bar work with shorter stem?

Needless to say, I'm overwhelmed with bar options. I may need to go down the rabbit hole of searching RBW Google Group - someone must've posted a similar question. But I thought I'd also throw out the question to my readers: Does anyone have suggestions for an aluminum bar that can handle thumbshifters, brakes, plus give alternative hand positions without too much reach? And how wide is too wide for a bar on the Clementine?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Burlington Historical Signs Challenge Ride

I received a tip on an interesting bike ride around our city - ride to all 20 Vermont Historical signs within Burlington's city limits. I love local quests (see City Streets Challenge) and needing to stick close to home these days, and enjoying local history, the quest was right up my alley.

Always delighted to ride dirt in the Intervale. At 6 pm on a weekday, the trail was quiet.
By using a documented resource for roadside markers, I zipped around town for 15 miles, including riding the Intervale Trail. Most importantly, I avoided the busy waterfront trail.

My favorite sign, by far, is the newest, implemented in 2019. The bilingual nod is aimed at our Canadian neighbors, who in better times are frequent tourists in our region. I had no idea international hockey games were played on the Burlington Waterfront!

Next up: linking all the city parks?

Are there any themed local rides that might keep you motivated?

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Some Positives in an Otherwise Strange Time

Relaxing on our camp deck

Like everyone that has been severely impacted by the current situation, (we are selling our home and building another - and we're fortunately healthy) it's important to remind ourselves of the positive impact of staying at home.

  • More family time (college and high school age sons both at home)
  • We are finding patience with each other
  • We spend less money dining out, thus eat healthier meals prepared at home
  • Furloughed (VT has 23% unemployment), I have time to continue sprucing up our current home and accessorize the next - guess which one is more fun?
  • Ability to help my mother/brother's household
  • Time to reconnect with friends
  • Lots of time to ride and work on bikes

In Vermont, because of our smaller population and quickly implemented SIP orders, we've escaped severe impact of the virus - so far. In Burlington, Vermont's largest city, we have room to spread out for daily walks and rides. With the popularity of our waterfront trail, it gets dicey on weekend days, so I'm finding alternative routes.

Like others who've suddenly found themselves at home, I've run the gamut of emotions: first delighted to have a couple weeks off to take advantage of lots of projects, to daily crying because I felt inadequate, to now a more acceptable mental health state, being kind to myself, lowering expectations as far as productiveness around the house.

As the spring warmth descends, it's easier to adjust, wandering outside, watching birds and squirrels, puttering (productively, of course) and for once, I've kept up with weeding my perennials. While each day blends into the next, I've found it's important to just keep moving forward - the excitement of  watching construction on our new home is keeping me upbeat!

What are positive impacts to your daily lives?