Sunday, September 03, 2006

Lock your bike well

I always think it's funny when car owners act amazed when I tell them I lock my bike without fear on the street. These are the same people who park a $20,000 car on the street.

Knock on wood... I've never had a bike stolen. Some pain-in-the-ass petty theft, but nothing too bad. Right now we've got two locked outside on the sidewalk. I did have a Cannondale bike burglarized from my basement in Cambridge many years ago. But turned out to be not such a bad thing. I bought my current bianchi with the insurance money (amazingly, I *got* an insurance check for it) and I've never looked bike.

Most bikes get stolen because they're poorly locked. I try never to lock my bike to sign posts because of sights like this:

It's a picture I took last year, but the sign post just blew over from the wind. They're not to hard to bust if you try. Alas, the city is getting ridding of parking meters and nobody seems to notice or care that bikers are losing the ability to lock their bikes securely on the street.

Blessed be the bike stands

Since I started doing my own bike repairs back around 1996, I've always wanted a bike stand. But I've never had the money or space for a real one. I had been using this little thing that was basically a workhorse. You took off the front wheel and locked in the quick release and rested the bottom brack on the workhorse. Better than nothing. But fragile. And you couldn't really work on the front wheel or bottom bracket.

Then the past years or two I've had the money but nothing close to the space.

But we moved last month. Into bigger and better digs. With basement. I shelled out around $250 and bought me a nice heavy Park bike stand. Never has a simple consumer purchase made me so happy.

It's so much easier to work on a bike on a stand. And it's the first real clamp I've ever had. So not only does it hold bikes, but I can do little things clamp handlebars and saw them. I could never do that before. Oh the potential...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy handle bars for a fixed gear

After 7 years and many (4?) attempts, I finally found comfortable handlebars for the Screamin' Salmon, my fixed gear.

It finally involved:

1) buying handlebars in Amsterdam
2) sawing off the end of those handlebars
and 3) buying a new extended high handlebar stem with minimum reach

The handlebars are right at seat height. Maybe an inch higher. This allows upright posture. As I wrote once before, unless you're sprinting, fixed gears mean you can't really rest your weight on your feet (because you can't rest your feet). As a result, there's a lot more weight on your ass and hands. On drop handlebars, weight is more evenly divided between feet, seat, and hands. Take feet out of that equation, and well, it just doesn't work. Hands aren't designed to take that weight.

And yet I see people with fixed gears all hunched over drop handlebars. I don't get it. Seems like torture to me. And I like drop handlebars.

The angle on my handbrake isn't quite right. I want the whole thing lower, but rotated that way, the brake handle shoots out a funny angle. I'll have to play with that a bit.

My earlier posts on handlebar heights and fixed gear bikes: handlebar-height-and-fixed-gear.html

Talk about a niche market

The SST 26T micro drive chain retention system ... was developed to provide high strength impact capability for demanding street riders who frequently and intentionally smash into immovable objects.