Friday, March 10, 2023

Dahon Boardwalk 6-Speed - Major Upgrades

Keeping the classic Dahon Boardwalk 6-speed on the road.
I'm very pleased with the major upgrdes to my Dahon! The bike rides smoothly - no more creaks and grumblings - and looks much better, in my opinion, with a sleeker crankset and a splash of purple to complement its dark green paint. In the process, it went on a diet, thankfully, or at least it feels much lighter.

The above photos illustrate previous cranksets: the first photo shows the 48 tooth one piece crankset that was installed a couple years ago, which vastly improved my pedaling range. The second photo displays the original one-piece cranket, possibly original, a 52T that was difficult on my older body.

Our son and his girlfriend talked me through removing the old parts and replacing the bottom bracket, crankset, and pedals. Their younger strength properly tightened the bolts.
Our bike mechanic son swapped in some new parts: Gripshiter, new cables and purple housing, rear cassette, and chain. He knew the bottom bracket was failing, and sure enough, after a week of riding during Jan-Feb's unusually balmy weather, I limped homeward with an awful creaky noise radiating through my feet. It was fortuitous though, because in addition to replacing the bottom bracket, it was time to get rid of the ugly one-piece crankset for a better upgrade. There's a lot of Web help, fortunately, and I sourced Litepro crankset, a common upgrade among Dahon owners. Going forward the new two-pice crank will enable me to easily replace the ring going forward.

Of course, buying components was contagious! In addition, I bought new pedals (old ones were loose), lock-on grips (yay) because I was tired of the cheap ones that rotated, I put there years ago. There's also a new Schwalbe Racer rear tire. 

Beside the frame, handlebar, and derailleur, the original wheels appear to be holding up well. It is interesting that for a 2003/4 lower end model, the bones of this bike are great. For it's smooth, steel-frame ride quality an durability - as I was telling someone the other day - I equate this Boardwalk model with a 1980s mountain bike, of course, in small wheel form.

And lastly, tired of the ziptie securing the fender to the rack, I dealt with a more permanent fix for the rattling fender.The metal fender is irreplaceable - the option is a black plastic version - so I'll do anthing to keep this originall classic intact. 

Phew! Let's hope this baby will keep going for many more years.

Friday, February 17, 2023

The Winter That Was


This winter, like much of the mid-west, has been above normal temperature-wise and lacks abundant snowfall. Brief reprieves from intense cold have been prolonged and spring-like warmth has certainly been weird, but welcome! 

I embrace riding my bike in the winter with studded tires, and equally I've been enjoying exploring again on my Dahon on snow-free paths. The folder has been updated with new Gripshifter, new cables with purple housing, new cassette and chain, plus a permanent fix for a rattling rear fender. Recently, the bottom bracket has been creaking more so I have plans to give my spry Dahon more love.

Though the unseasonably warm - dare I say recording breaking - weather will not last indefinitely, the return of Canadian geese has been a nice surprise, along with more daylight. I've bolted from a home office to enjoy sunset rides, serenaded by Jupiter and Venus sparkling on the western horizon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Quality Thinking Time on a Snow-lit Path

The homestretch: shifting down to climb the bridge, noticing a plane in the distance.

I've been making riding through a Vermont winter work, once again. Mild weather has helped. Working from home has forced me to get outside at lunchtime, and often again after 5 pm. The darkness is/can be a hindrance, or an opportunity, depending upon your point of view. I love cross-country skiing, also, but without enough local snow, alternatives are walking and riding.

There is much to like about riding on plowed, salt-free, snow-packed rail trails. The surface is generally firm. Interaction with cars is non-existent; studded bike tires lend traction; and the few hardy souls who venture out in the dark are groups of runners and the occasional dog walker. I have the trail mostly to myself!

Senses are heightened. Since my trail is near Lake Champlain, I listen to the rhythm of waves, ducks squawking, or the distant rumble of airplanes slowing on their decent into Burlington. Snow absorbs voices; I see the bobbing lights on pedestrians long before their conversation - a momentary blip - as I roll on by, my tires crunching in the darkness. I search for the moon on a clear night, reflections on the lake, and snow-covered ice forming in bays. I enjoy the white-lighted peace symbol perched high in someone's tree or the dark lump of squirrel nests standing out on naked trees. If I'm lucky, wild creatures appear, often it seems, in threes: an opossum, fox, and raccoon, on one evening, or a fox, raccoon and housecat on another. One time an animal bolted erratically - perhaps a rabbit - ricocheting off my front wheel then continuing across the path.

I let my thoughts wander. I think about upcoming vacations - something that seems doable again, months in advance. I smile in the darkness as I rumble over the arching bridge, marking the homestretch. I think you'll be all right, 2023.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Ideas for 2023

2023 should hold more opportunities for travel, this time with my husband. In his retirement, he has the time to plan our adventures plus fulfill his own wanderlust.

  • I'm a creative soul. Come winter I design and create something, often inspired by a cycling need. 2023's project is a large, lightweight tote bag to hold my Dahon Boardwalk. I want a bag primarily for train journeys, with the ability fold/roll it when done, stowing it, perhaps, behind the seatpost. I've heard the inexpensive IKEA Dimpa bags work well, but question their longevity. I'd rather come up with a customized design.
  • Finish equipping the Bassi Rachel for touring. My new step through queen needs fenders and a front rack. Ultimately, I want the Jack the Bike Rack - initially a Kickstarter project - soon to be available to the public. This rack would provide versatility and ideally I want to avoid a permanent front rack. For a temporary setup though, I could likely fit an older Blackburn lowrider or purchase another simple but effective Sunlite small rack. I have a few options at the very least to distribute weight on Miss Rachel for springtime tours.
  • Touring ideas include a loop connecting the Cross Vermont Trail and soon to be complete Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, doable from home! It's an opportunity to ride dirt roads, pavement, and a gravel railbed, crossing the width of Vermont twice. We can see this loop becoming popular in the years to come. Also on the agenda is touring the Erie Canal Trail, hopefully early enough to avoid crowds, and later in the year, attending the Philly Bike Expo via Amtrak and my Dahon Boardwalk.