Friday, December 30, 2022

2022 Rewind

As I compile my year-end blogpost, a theme often emerges. Like 2020's "gratitude" and 2021's "forward momentum", 2022 will be remembered as a year of welcome changes to the number of bicycles in my possession, keeping a select few - the perfect amount for versatility - ultimately feeling liberated. The hardest part was admitting that a couple bicycles had to go, but once the decision was made - as is often the case - I didn't look back.

January to March was all about making 2022 intentions, investing in new studded tires, and working towards long-term bicycle choices. Spring is all about new beginnings. Feeling content with other parts of my life, it was time to follow through with other changes. As I grow older, accepting that some things are just more important than others, namely that experiences are important and not material accumulation, which includes too many bicycles, is key to my happiness.

April to June felt like I was moving forward at a rapid pace. Our young son - avid bike mechanic - simplified my commuter Peugeot, converting it to a single chainring. Later in the year he surprised me and upgraded it again! I thought about my overall bicycle journey and where it was heading, went on a bike overnight to a hotel, rode trails on Cape Cod, and perhaps the biggest decision, putting the Rivendell Clem-L for sale.

Dahon Boardwalk vs. Bike Friday's All-Packa

July to September continued the transitions. I purchased a Bassi Rachel frame (later built up); sold the Rivendell and my Peugeot UO-14, had an amazing opportunity to test an all-terrain folding bike: Bike Friday's All-Packa, which left a huge impression - something that continues to resonate with me. In late September, I went on a solitary and satisfying vacation, visiting part of the Empire State Trail.

The lovely bridges of the Northern Trail.

October to December unfolded in expected and unexpected ways. Adele and I resumed our Canadian adventures, visiting the lovely Ottawa region despite the chilly forecast. I inadvertently discovered New Hampshire's longest rail trail, the Northern Trail, during peak foliage. I completed 10 years of the Coffeeneuring Challenge, but understanding, contentedly, that it may be my last year of participation. I rounded out 2022 with 3300+ miles, pleased that for the second year working from home, I've kept the momentum going, riding year-round.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Procrastinators Nightmare - I Can't Ride My Bike

Transitions are hard. The seasonal change is gradual, and yet sometimes it slams us and we wake up one morning, woefully unprepared. The intense cold and snowfall that won't go away is normal, of course, as we slide into a Vermont winter, but for a procrastinator, it means I won't be able to ride with confidence until I swap nearly treadless commuter tires for, you know, ones with studs.

It seems to be a pattern with bicycle maintenance too. My Dahon has been sitting in the work stand for a month, waiting for an overwhelming list of deserved repairs: secure fender, regrease rear axle, replace rear tire, replace broken Grip shifter, possibly cable and housing, etc. They are not difficult as separate tasks, but daunting in entirety, especially for someone who doesn't have patience. It will get done, eventually, but after the studded tire session, because, as avid riders know, riding a bike keeps us sane.

Until then, I work from home, staring outside at the snowy landscape, sunshine casting pretty shadows. Longing. 

Tea and frosted sugar cookies will have to do for now.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Unexpected Peugeot St. Laurent Upgrades

Asking for a updated shifter and getting a whole new drivetrain!
I've been running a 1X system on the Peugeot St. Laurent since April. At the time, our son cobbled together some some new and used parts, using a single thumbshifter. It wasn't a perfect system, but allowed me to get used to less gears, which proved brilliant. The thumbie was always the weak part, requiring strength, finesse, and friction mode guesswork!  

The speed shifter allows shifting into higher gears with my index finger -
similar to my mountain bike. Less strain on my thumb!
This autumn I asked for a speed shifter. As is our son's pattern, he works on personal projects after hours for efficiency - nothing like his shop corner, favorite tools, and handy access to used and new parts.

What I didn't expect was getting a new drivetrain!

New cassette and derailleur, plus new, used rear wheel.

I presume he was still learning last spring and wanted to properly set up the 1 x system. He knows how much I like this old Peugeot. Fortunately, it only cost me parts. 

New gold chainring.

I have enjoyed watching our son's growth and confidence bloom since working full time as a bike mechanic. Not everyone is lucky enough to get paid for their passion! Once upon a time he teased me because I had 4 bicycles, but no longer. He has double that, plus two more frames he intends to build up.