Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quirky Bikes

Each of my bikes has quirky characteristics. Over the years I've learned to adapt. I remind myself that bicycles are tools for transportation and treat them accordingly. Each steed is unique, though only the owner could put up with the individual eccentricities.

My Trek Antelope is the most dinged beauty, mainly because of it's history (see Around the World.) It's funky feature is the off-kilter position of its low rider rack. The loop was once perfectly centered over the tire, but yours truly hit a parked car in Florence. Sure, I could probably straighten the kink, but why bother? It functions just fine, though it is a constant reminder of my ghastly blunder.

Why would one intentionally stretch the seat post opening on a bike frame? I can't take credit for this one. The Ross was virtually free and I couldn't resist adding a step-through bike to my corral. I can't use the quick release in the traditional manner: the seat post slips. A mechanic informed me of it's enlarged opening. My solution? Remove most of the grease and reef the lever as much as possible. And do not loan the bike to anyone who must fiddle with the seat height.

And then there is my classic Miyata touring bike. The front fender clearance is so minuscule that the plastic is worn thin. I cannot raise it one more millimeter. It's been like this for years, even when going across the country. Gravel hitchhikes on the tire and scratches its way on the underside of the fender before it clears and rockets forward. When I ride, if the scraping noise is bothersome, I reach forward and gently lift the plastic. It's just enough to tweak its shape and quiet my ride. At least for a while.

While not exactly a quirk, this bike has a scar that bothers me. The seat stays and arc that holds the brake cable are pockmarked right down to the metal—courtesy of my brother who borrowed this bike for a jaunt around Portland in the 80s. Not a regular cyclist, he let the cable, and most tellingly the padlock, repeatedly whack the frame. I've never forgiven him. Just kidding (almost.)

What unique features characterize your bike?


  1. I liked this one,and smiled knowingly :)

    My current stable of bikes,aren't really old enough to have much in the way of quirks just yet (including the Vassago Jabberwocky I sold last week-mainly,concerning the non-folders,because each was built or bought off the floor last Spring,and soon after we had that house fire and the year was chaotic,especially for riding),or in the case of the (Vassago) Bandersnatch (29"er mtn bike),doesn't have enough miles on it to develop them yet,despite it's being a 2010 model (built up last year,just before the house fire). The folders are virtually new (the Schwinn Loop has less than 15 miles yet)...maybe their character is that they have that new bike smell still? LOL :p,I suppose that's a non-answer though,isn't it.

    My Origin 8 CX bike has the most miles on it,and gets rideen lots,it's my go-to around town bike. I suppose it's biggest quirk (still being just under a year old) is that while there's a nice black Planet Bike fender on the front (on the fork that O8 designed around this frame,mind you),but there's just not much way to legitimately mount a rear fender as O8 didn't see fit to add the mounts nor make it easy to rig something up,so it's a mullet of up front (fender on) and wild and free out back (no fender) :p

    The DC

  2. Fun post :-).

    Ghetto Princess (Miyata 610) has the brakes hooked up moto style; front-right lever, back-left lever. Haven't forgotten that yet and probably shouldn't ever loan it to anyone for that reason. I've often thought that it would serve a bike thief right if (s)he unwittingly got a handful of front brake. Fenderwise it's the opposite of DC's Origin 8 right now. Love that mullet description.

    The Cannondale had it's fork warrantied due to a crack in it, but the new one doesn't match the frame. This one breaks my heart a little because the paint job was just so fancy.

    The Tricross is under modification, but those big red Soma fenders are oddly misshapen due to the way the stays attach differently on the side of the wheel with the disc brake caliper, but they do the job. I too have had to reach down and adjust the front during a ride to stop the rubbing.

  3. The damage to the back of my saddle where it looks like a rat has been nibbling at the leather. But, I've kinda got use to it as being my imperfect saddle which is still probably going to outlive me :-)

  4. Mine is marked by my inexpert attempts to cover up quirks with sandpaper, nail polish, and automotive touch-up paint, and now it just looks worse. From now on, I touch up nicks with clear nail polish, and live with them.

  5. I love this post. It is sometimes the imperfections that make a bike perfect for you!

    My bikes are fairly new so the scrapes are pretty minimal. But my Pashley sure does rattle as we pedal along. Everyone knows we are coming!

  6. On my old Speedwell the rear fender has been broken (and rewelded) from where my sisters used to sit on the rack when we were kids, the rack did not survive however! It is great having that bit of history in a bike...


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