Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thoughts On Winter, Thoughts On Spring


Other than a coupla short rides to hangs and some neighborhood stuff, I haven't been on a bike since January 2nd. Whereas over the the last coupla winters the challenge of winter riding sustained my motivation, my interest has been flat this year. Part of that is due to how much other krap is going on, but a bigger part of it, I think, is just wanting to take a break from the gruel. All the clothing, the slush, the studs . . . you know.

The excitement of the early season's snowfall made the riding in November and December (see header pic) fun. But by the time the new year rolled around, I was kinda burnt and not really finding any reason to push myself out the door. I think about bikes probably a zillion times a day - middle of the night, when I'm supposed to be working, when my wife is talking to me, all weekend every weekend. My escape from reality, my happy place.

But this winter, all the inspiration seemed to be chanelled into the shop. I did a bunch of great projects and got four other guys into rack building. It all took a lot of energy that I might have used riding, but it was really a lot of fun and it fed my bike soul, so I think I'm okay with it.

If I was racing or simply riding a lot with super-fast guys, there would be peer pressure to stay in shape through the winter and hit the ground running in March. But I'm not, so there isn't. I even finally let myself sell both of my trainers on craigslist this winter. (Thank you, self!) I wonder about how things would be different if I had a monotonous job. Or if I was 24. Wait, I know the answer to that one. Age is definitely part of the equation.

I'm not sure how it will be next year, but for now, I think the sabbatical suits me. Especially if it means that I'll enjoy the riding this spring that much more for the break.

A direct benefit of all the shop time is that when my batteries do finally recharge, I've got a totally new-to-me everyday urban bike to get acquainted with. We spent quality time together last summer-fall, but so much has changed . . .

Here's how it looks now.  It was new enough to me last year that I didn't wanna expose it to road salt and all the nastiness of winter, so I parked it last fall.  This year, though, it will be ridden hard and put away wet.

Not sure how I'll like this light solution.  I hope that it's easy to reach down and adjust the angle while I'm riding.  I 'd decided early on to use battery, and not dyno, lighting.  To keep the weight down.  This bike should stay sort of fastish.

These are the new lowrider racks.  It's how I'll get all my shit to work. I'm really proud of how they came out, but I have no idea how they'll actually work.  Those are my first set of metal fenders. No idea how they'll actually work.  I designed the rack so that the stays would tie into the ends.  No idea how they'll actually work.  Those are new wheels and tires.  Optimized in my mind.  No idea how they'll actually work.

My first home-made mudflap.  I cut and formed a piece of aluminum to squish the mudflap between it and the fender.  I have a roll of really nice black rubber sheet that I thought would have made a flap that tied in better color-wise, but I'll be damned if I could find it.  I took Patrick and John's cue and went to Lowe's and bought this red (ish) gasket material for $.99.  I deem it an aesthetic home run.  No idea how it will actually work.

Other than to support the light, I have no idea why I built this front rack or what I will carry on it.  (Sledgehammers make great kickstands, btw.)

Other than to carry my u-lock, I have no idea why I built this rear rack or what I will carry on it.  I have no idea how the lock carrier that looks like a rack will actually work.  I have no idea why the Planet Bike Superflash is no longer sufficient for my needs or how I will like the RADBOT 1000.

Ot what this damn thing is and how I will use it.

It weights 32 lbs, including the lock, pump, light, battery, and all the other krap. Excluding the sledge.

I'm looking forward to shaking it all down. See you on the road real soon.

8 comments:

Alan said...

"If I was racing or simply riding a lot with super-fast guys, there would be peer pressure to stay in shape through the winter and hit the ground running in March."

Nailed it. But at least I...well, there's not much to brag about.

Not said...

That's a beautiful bike.

I get nervous about mounting a (single) front light on one side of the fork, since it might make me less visible to cars on the opposite side of the fork.
- Ventura

Erinn said...

i have that taillight too.

i hope (for their sake) that your friends don't like to ride behind you.

andrew said...

whoops, i thought that i was signed in as myself. i accidentally used my fiancee's account. (she is erinn)

Pat S said...

Alan. Dude. I saw your Wawawai times.

Oh wait, I get it. Your secret's safe with me. ;-) Hope you kick ass this season.

Thanks, Ventura. To me, it's still a little bit like staring directly at the sun. Looking forward to getting some dirt on it to kill the glare. I think the light is up high enough so that cars will catch it from both sides of the road.

Andrew, DBA Erinn: Fortunately for my friends, I'm normally bringing up the rear.

Jonathan Eberly said...

Hi, first time commenting on your blog but I've been reading it for a while now. I really like that bracket you made to hold the mudflap to the fender. Do you suppose there is any way one could make something similar with basic handtools? I have planet bike freddy fenders on my bike and the stock mudflap leaves much to be desired.

Also, will there be any openings for rack building this year?

Jonathan

Pat S said...

Jonathan, thanks for checking in. The fender bracket it totally do-able with basic hand tools. I just cut a strip out of some sheet aluminum with a hacksaw and then used a hammer to form it around something about the same radius as the fender. Then I clamped it to the fender, with the rubber in between it and the fender, and drilled through the "sandwich" in two places and finally bolted them all together.

I don't have plans for any more rack classes this spring. I might start up again next fall, but I'm not sure yet.

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