KC/DC Cycle

Ride to live... live to ride

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


After 50 years of riding and finally dialing in a lot of what's important to me in bicycle setup I've come to the point where I can appreciate a good tire. Previously I had only been concerned with a thick enough tread so that I will not be susceptible to punctures. This is a very important part of cycling. A worn out tire is not just a tire without tread.

This post has more to do with quality of ride. My bike listserv talks frequently of planing which has more to do with the geometry of the frame. The quality of the tire has to do with handling and performance in another way. I haven't ridden tubular tires enough to know their quality, but apparently that is the ultimate ride. I have started buying Schwalbe brand tires and really appreciate the handling and durability of that product. I have a set of Big Apples on my Troll and another model on my Long Haul Trucker.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

I have had a workshop in my house for a few years now. I have gathered tools to fix and build various bicycle components and of course, house repairs over the years. It is not a neat, orderly affair. It is like an artists palette. I have a pegboard on the wall. I looked up at the pegboard yesterday and I saw the story of me. It showed a bit of who i am and where I've been. In my bicycle life I've spanned a variety of skills and bicycle innovation. The mark of time in bicycle innovation in my life has been crankset design. I have tools that mark that time. There are specific tools for assembling and adjusting  bottom brackets, which are what cranksets are hooked to. I have boxes in my workshop of all sorts of parts. I sorted thru some of the stuff and found I'd accumulated about 15 pairs of gloves and mittens. Three are the long-sleeved mittens which are great for the coldest of weather because they don't let air get in at the wrist. I get most of my equipment from thrift stores. I also found 3 pairs of cycling booties. These are covers that go over your cycling shoes for the coldest weather. I rarely use them, but I got such a good deal on them I bought them.

I've currently got an inventory of 7 bikes. 4 of them have generator hubs. That is my latest thing. I love riding at night. Most of the time I used to just ride at night without lights. Batteries didn't last long. Often when I used batteries they weren't finished recharging when I wanted to ride. I didn't want to pay for all the batteries. Batteries were a bad idea. But oh! the generator hub brings a new world of life to riding at night. Keep in mind that I don't ride in busy areas at night without a light, kids. I frequently hit the long winding Rock Creek park for a late night excursion. I have enjoyed since I was young the exhilaration of whirring thru the dark quietly ticking off the miles.

So that's my shop - several bikes, a bunch of parts and tools for every imaginable description. Sometimes I've even bought tools at the thrift store because they looked interesting. I like the idea of figuring out what a tool is used for. I guess it's the engineer in me.