Saturday, June 29, 2019

Maintaining 5 Bikes - Is it Worth it?

Could this be the future of anniebikes?

I've been struggling with whether it's worth owning five bicycles.

Sure, it's nice to have a backup commuter, a long distance rider, a folding bike is handy, etc., but at some point, it becomes difficult to keep up with maintenance. This conflicts with what I said last September, but since then I foresee a future living situation - and welcome at that - with limited storage and I've reconsidered what's a suitable number of bikes that fulfills all my needs.

How did I come to that conclusion?

I'm tired of seemingly having at least one bicycle under repair. And I say seemingly because I've experimented with different handlebars, added new grips just because, outfitted most bikes with mirrors, etc - in other words, accessorizing all 5 bikes takes a lot of effort, expense, and time. Add routine maintenance to the agenda and every weekend I've worked on one thing or the other. Once upon a time I owned two bikes, though primarily only used one - and I don't recall spending as much time fixing bikes!

What to keep?

On the bright side, the Dahon has new tires, chain, smaller chain ring, plus it's outfitted with front water bottle carrying and baggage solution, one of my goals for 2019. The folder has proven to be a keeper: comfortable, versatile, and small also means easier to clean up after riding in the rain - who knew? The regular commuter, Peugeot St. Laurent, will always need upkeep as it's older and sees the most miles, but is an integral bike: good on hills, scratched and old so I don't worry too much where it's locked, and could also double as a winter bike. The Rivendell Clementine is my long distance bike; comfortable, classy, hauls touring gear, and because it's newer, thankfully won't require immediate maintenance. Paring down also means I'd achieved keeping 3 step through versions, what I see myself riding as I grow older.

The caveat here is we aren't planning on moving anytime soon, due to personal needs and a tough housing market, so I'm not compelled to sell bikes. On the contrary, I still wish to raise the bars on Peugeot UO-14. It's delightful to ride a skinny tired bike and very lightweight. However, this exercise in thinking about simplicity is worthy, and of course, doesn't extend to only bicycles. I now know I'd be happier with a lot less stuff in my life.

Anyone else feel the call to pare down bikes?

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Bell and Grip Bling and a Handlebar Swap

Replacing an old Jelly Bell (left photo) with a colorful Public ding-dong bell on the Peugeot St. Laurent.

I believe that timing is everything.

I've lusted after the simple bling at Public Bikes for some time and nearly bought one of their rear racks. I'm not attracted to their bicycles though. But throw their panniers, bells, and in this case a discounted swoopy-curved Brunch Handlebar at me - that reminded me of the Albatross bar - just when I tired of the flat bar position on my alternate commuter, the Peugeot UO 14, and voila! I was sold.
Old handlebars (top two photos) and new Public Brunch bars (at bottom).
To get free shipping, I threw in two colorful bells, one mini bell, and 2 pairs of leather ergonomic grips (one to accommodate a Grip shift), fortunately also on sale.

The bars are wonderful and feel much better zipping around on the fast commuter. The downside is they have less rise so with the stem maxed out, I'm looking into an alternative stem, plus I need to deal with a loosened headset. I feel a mechanic/YouTube session is in the cards...

As pictured above, the grips and bell worked well, though this style of bell is rather heavy. The low profile silver/black bell for the Dahon turned out to be a great addition. However, Public's style of Grip shift leather ergo grips didn't fit on my Dahon's Grip shifter - right grip needs to be an inch shorter - another case where a folding bike is a whole other animal all together. I'm unable to move shifting and brake levers with minimal handlebar real estate. Nor can I trim the leather grip due to bolt on style and decorative stitching. I'll have to live with the blah, grey, existing grips for now.

While the mechanic's session took place, I also cleaned my parts box and donated a bunch of accessories to Old Spokes Home, which felt good.

I love accessorizing my bicycles, but I often wonder if it will ever end. Someone talk me out of acquiring colorful flat pedals...