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Archive for March, 2010

Fender-ific!

Check out these beautiful looking bikes:

Patrick spent the majority of Friday installing the fenders and I think his hard work definitely paid off.  They are rattle-free, look gorgeous and keep our bums dry.  We tested them out yesterday on a lovely bike ride around the city.  Check out some pictures on our new Flickr account.

Back to the fenders.  Here’s a picture of Pat using a power tool:

He’s trimming the fender stays so they don’t stick out too far.

All fingers are still present and accounted for:

Thank you Pat for your incredible patience, diligence and handsomeness!  What, handsomeness is important for proper fender installation…

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Brake Pads

I stopped by Trophy Bikes on my way home from work last night because my brakes were kind of “mushy” all week.  I thought something might be wrong with the auxiliary brake line I had them put in.  Luckily it was much less dramatic than that– just in desperate need of new brake pads.  In the past I have only ever changed my brake pads after about 6 months of riding so I was a little surprised.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your consideration (the new one is in the back):

Hmm, big difference...

The likely culprit?  Dirty rims.  The owner of Trophy explained to me that grit accumulates on the rim and each time you brake it wears down the pad.  THIS did not surprise me– we did not clean our rims after our two trips up and down the Manayunk Tow Path.  Add that to a handful of rainy rides and daily car exhaust-heavy commutes and I think the mystery of the worn brake pads is solved.

These new pads are (apparently) tougher than the stock pads put on the bike.  So I got two sets and changed Patrick’s too since he was on his way down the same mushy-brake path.

Now Pat is working on the fenders.  I don’t want to ruin any surprises here but I have to go help him use a power tool… updates to follow!

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Patrick is working late and I had some energy left to burn from a somewhat hectic day at the museum so I went on a little cruise around the city:

If you click on the little bikes it will tell you when to turn.

I tried to stick to streets that have bike lanes since it was getting to be dusk and I have a healthy fear of cars (although my new bike light is pretty sweet).  The whole loop was about 12 miles.  It was actually a pretty good workout because I could build up a nice bit of momentum on the straight-aways.  My Long Haul Trucker’s speed cannot compare to my road bike but once you get it going it just cruises along so nicely.

This ride also allowed me to test a recent gift from the Easter BUNny (thanks, mom!): padded bike shorts!  I’ve never worn shorts like this before and am pretty amused by the huge hunk of adult diaper-esque foam in them.  Very comfortable though!  I know I will want something a little more multi-functional for our trip since we’ll be on and off the bikes exploring.  Any suggestions out there?

Beautiful bicycle mural

Check out this mural on the outside of City Fitness on 2nd and Spring Garden!  I love the murals in this city.

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Brooks Saddle: Day 1

Picture this scenario: you are given the option of spending the next four hours of your life EITHER perched upon an impossibly hard triangle of leather OR floating along on a miniature (also triangular) sofa.  Anyone in their right mind would choose the latter, correct?  Think again, my friends!

I took my Brooks B17-S saddle out for its inaugural spin on Friday and, over the course of 44 miles, was able to draw some conclusions:

1. For the most part this saddle is incredibly comfortable.  I still do not understand how that is possible.

2. Proper seat adjustment is required for this comfort to exist.  Mine is not quite right so I was not entirely comfortable and my sit-bones still kind of ache.  BUT thanks to The Bicycle Tutor I now know what I need to do.

3. Do not mess with the tension screw/nut under the saddle.  I later read that this does not need to be adjusted, hopefully I did not do anything tragic!

4. This guy looks phenomenal on my bike.  I absolutely cannot wait to get the fenders attached.  Then I need to get my tweed suit out and go for a little country ride like an English gentlewoman.

Finally, I would like to send a very warm “THANK YOU” out to the cow who made this saddle possible.

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Bike Garage

The sun is shining, the sky is clear and Queen’s “Bicycle” is on repeat in my head– must be time for a ride!  We’re heading out to Valley Forge again today and I’m looking forward to spending some more time wandering around the grounds.  I’m also looking forward to trying out my new Brook’s saddle

Will it be comfortable?

 

I will admit that I’m a bit nervous– it’s just a big hunk of really hard leather… how could it possibly be more comfortable than those old lady squishy saddles?  I don’t know, but I’ve never read a negative review about it.  Stay tuned for a full report. 

Patrick and I recently ordered fenders from a company called Velo Orange.  The arrived in a very expeditious manner though I wish I could say the same expedience existed for their installation.  Neither of us are very mechanically minded (darn that artistic right brain!) but we’re usually up for a challenge.  Installing these fenders has been quite the challenge.  Check out the directions for both our fenders here.  Seems easy enough, right?  It would be… if they sent you all the proper hardware with the fenders!  A trip to the hardware store and four hours later we realized we STILL did not have all the parts we needed and decided to postpone this project for another day.  So stay tuned for fenders as well! 

Patrick figuring out the fenders

 

I do want to give a shout-out to my dear Dad though– Thanks Dad for giving us the Topeak ALiEN II multi-tool!  This is one of the niftiest gadgets and I’d recommend it to any bumbling DIY bike mechanic (like yours truly).  It contains 26 tools Swiss-Army-Knife-style so you will never be searching for that little wrench again.  The two halves of the tool come apart so you can slip the tools into nooks and crannies but it also fits really nicely into the palm of your hand for leverage.  I’ve added to a list of tools/gear we plan to take on our trip.

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Rainy Day Ride

We love weekends… a lot.  And it really bums us out when we are stuck indoors when we have very fun new shiny bikes to ride around.  Not to be bested by nature, we ventured out yesterday to ride aforementioned bikes even though the forecast called for rain until Tuesday.  Our reasoning was that we will neither be able nor want to hide out in our tent during rainy days on our around-the-world trip so it’s best to practice now.  Plus we had two complimentary movie passes that I’ve been holding onto for several years (no expiration date!) and we were itching to see Alice in Wonderland.

We rode out to the Manayunk movie theater which I noticed last weekend when we rode to Valley Forge.  The weather was fairly cooperative on the ride out along Kelly Drive and I kept extra dry under the poncho I purchased from the bodega.

Ponchos are also great for resistance training-- it's like wearing a sail boat!...

Has anyone else see Alice in Wonderland?  I thought it was fantastic.  I love everything Tim Burton puts out there and Johnny Depp, I mean come on, you can’t hate him.  Combined with some amazing costumes (Pat called them “a character unto themselves”) and beautiful CG animation… I probably would have been happy paying for the ticket.  We got a little tipsy on “Philly Iced Teas” (a Long Island Ice Tea with Yuengling instead of Coke–classy!) at the Manayunk Diner after so we didn’t mind the steady drizzle on the ride home.

Total Miles: 16

Time in the saddle: 1.5 hours

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Thank you, Patrick!

Patrick finished our beautiful blog illustration today and I am very excited to unveil it.  Doesn’t it look great?  Just two long-haul truckers out to explore the world!

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