Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend round-up, highlights and lowlights

Friday: After work, I popped over to the Ambridge Bike Shop, in order to try out a Surly Cross Check and Long Haul Trucker. They had a 54 cm CC (upper limit for my inseam on that model) and several LHTs, ranging from "just barely fit" at 57 cm to "you're joking, and I'm singing soprano" at 60cm and above.

Gary got the bikes set up and roughly fitted, and I took them each for a short spin along the highways and byways of scenic Ambridge. Interesting, very interesting. I had this preconceived notion that I was going to really dig the Cross Check; I did, but found that the Trucker, with the longer wheel base and (relatively) fat 26" tires, had me riding much more confidently.

I also now far better understand why many people like STIs, rather than down-tube or bar-end shifters. Speaking as a highly inexperienced drop-bar rider, the death grip on the drops made moving the hand all the way to the bar-ends to shift a more intimidating prospect. Doable, but I finally grok why STIs are so nice. I do wonder about interference with handlebar bags and whatnot, but I'm sure such can be overcome.

Saturday: Loaded Owen in the trailer, and went for a spin down to Dancing Goats Crazy Mocha in the South Side Works. It's a nice routine; we do about 10 miles while he reads or watches for trains, then stop for a cup of coffee (me!) and to share a Cookie As Big As Your Head. Chill for a couple of minutes, then back down the river, parallel to the tracks for more trainspotting opportunities, and a nice sweaty grind up the hill to home. I'm just pleased that his tolerance for rides is now well over the 2-hour mark, and can easily approach 3-4 if we have at least one extended break in the middle. He'll be a good little stoke-monkey in a few more years. :-)

Sunday: As further proof that the boy enjoys our rides, he asked to go for another, even with grey skies and spitting rain. Same drill, except that we swung by REI for Heed and Gu packs for next weekend's scouting ride.

Later that day, I accompanied Annie on her Django, in order to scout out her potential commute route. As she lives near the Ohio River Trail, getting from there to downtown and back should be no big deal, except for the #$%^ing casino construction. So, I took her on a tour of the construction, the posted detour, and my preferred variations on said detour. With any luck, she'll be commuting to the office before crap weather sets in.

Commuter thoughts: Hrmph. I'm growing up. Poop.

I've been planning to sell off the Rocket, so as to partially finance the purchase of a decent upright all-rounder for use in crappy winter weather. Thusly, the Surly investigations. However, upon reflection, it looks like it'd make better fiscal sense to at least try to make the Rocket more winter-worthy, and go upright this winter only if the Rocket just doesn't work at all.

So, I'll look into tweaking what I've got, instead of buying new toys and learning new skills. *sigh*

1 comment:

Buckyllama said...

Heh, funny you should mention dt shifters. I just stuck downtube friction shifters back on my rivendell wannabe bike in anticipation of winter.

I had forgotten why I like these things so much. They are a bit trickier to shift, but not awful once you get the knack. Also it took me a whopping 5 minutes to install and adjust them.

If you are willing to go a bit lower-brow than a new surly in the interests of just getting a bike together, I have 3 mtb frames just sitting around not doing anything.

Let me know.