Lazing around for two weeks can take a lot out of you. That is, it can take the gut and gusto out of a previously robust body. I have been on my bike an average of every other day, for lack of destination or reason to ride. I can’t think of the last time I didn’t get on a bike at all during a day. Perhaps sometime last summer?…even that is unlikely. Maybe sometime during the blustery February on the Brittany coast, due to daily hailstorms.
This time has been a nice opportunity to do all the additional planning I don’t need to do. I always figure that I’m ready to leave town at a moment’s notice, but now I understand how people spend years planning for trips. The internet offers an unlimited resource for time wasting and money spending, as do local outfitters and equipment suppliers. I have largely avoided spending any money on myself, but have opted to refit my brother’s bicycle with some new gear to prepare it for the gritty streets of Philadelphia, where he will be attending school next year. Fenders, lights, a giant Wald basket, some North Road bars and new tires (w/reflective sidewalls!…I love it) are approximately what I think a good Philly bike should be. The bike is a Bianchi San Jose equipped with a Nexus 8 gear hub, which should make all-season riding less of a chore, especially for someone who doesn’t enjoy fiddling with bikes. Philly is mostly flat, urban riding with distinct seasons and pot-holed roads. The new tires are 700c x 38, and should offer a forgiving ride.
Rather than spend money on myself, I have managed to improve my bicycle by overhauling my rear hub, repairing my dynohub/USB power adapter, and cleaning all drivetrain components, including the installation of new derailleur pulleys. I had a pair of pulleys along with a few other spare parts, but noticed they were 11t, instead of the 10t pulleys on my derailleur. They installed without any trouble and work quite nicely. They should wear a little better than 10t pulleys and technically, would reduce chain frictiion by enlarging the the diameter of the chain wrap. Details. Though, they do feel quite nice. A cheap breath of life for an old derailleur.
I have enjoyed riding out to my sister’s place in Sackett’s Harbor, about 12 miles from Watertown, and today will ride up to Wellesley Island (of the Thousand Islands) to help my parents wax a boat that has been dutifully neglected for nearly a decade. My Droid mini-computer (I don’t use it as a phone) is sufficiently loud to play music while I ride, and offers basic cycle-computer functions thanks to the internal GPS, all the while keeping a charge from my Shimano hub dynamo.
I plan to leave this weekend once my brothers bike is completed. My first day back will include either a series of suspension bridges to Canada, or a series of ferries and some island riding to Kingston, Ontario. Either makes for a fun day back in the saddle.
I’ve had my eye on a film entitled “Heartworn Highways” for some time now, featuring a collection of some of the neo-traditional songwriters of the mid-1970′s, the literate outlaws –many from Texas– who fit in with the tradition of the early songwriters rather than the modern country sound of the day. Here is a young (19 yrs.) Steve Earle singing “Mercenary Song” at Guy and Susanna Clark’s house, Christmas 1975. I can’t stop listening to this one.