I tend to do my upgrading, changes and fixes on the bicycle at the end of winter in conjunction with cleaning off the accumulated winter gunk. This year due to one of my fender struts snapping off I did a round of work much earlier. I’d been contemplating replacing my fenders for years now but it’s not exactly thrilling work and since the old set is steel they continued to function well now matter how beat up they were. But the snapping of the strut put me over the edge. My local bicycle shop stocks Velo-Orange parts and them actually having the ones I wanted in the size I needed meant I was able to just walk down there and get them. So I’ve moved to these fluted fenders that VO bill as “zeppelin” fenders. The install went pretty smooth all things consider – it is only the second set I’ve ever put on, but it was similar enough to the Berthoud set that that experience applied.
While the wheels were off for the fender install I swapped the rear tire to the front and put on a new tire on the rear. Readers of this blog my recall that I replaced my rear tire in Fort Wayne on my cross country tour. Quite a few patches of the interior blue belt were visible on that tire at the time and it felt worth doing. The front was worn but not showing any blue so I didn’t replace it at the time. By the time I got home a few patches had begun to appear. I probably could have gotten more miles out of the tire, but seemed worth doing, as was rotating the tire (which I tend to not be inclined to do). It also turned out that I had broken a spoke over the winter (those single butted spokes on the rear wheel strike again) so I hauled it down to Old Town Bicycles here in Oly and had them fix that for me. That is a repair job I really need to learn how to do.
I’ve been meaning to put a basket on the front rack for years, years but slack has dominated and it wasn’t unit this winter that I finally have done it. Now that it’s been on for a month or so I gotta say I wish I’d done it earlier. Great to be able just dump a sack of groceries in there, strap down the cargo net and ride off. Similarly I’ve had a kickstand I’ve been meaning to put on for at least 5 years now. But the whole cutting it down just seemed like to much of a pain in the ass as I didn’t have a vice (and other excuses). But now I have access to a good workbench and tools so I finally did it. I actually need to cut it down a little more (d’oh) but already glad I have it on.
When I originally got the Atlantis from Rivendell I had a Nitto Jaguar seatpost which after many, many miles one of the bolts sheared off. I could find these bolts anywhere and even asking Riv they basically said they didn’t have any. Well for various reasons I wanted to go back to that seatpost – the double bolt design is so great – and I searched around for the replacement bolts. I finally found some from a track oriented store in Japan and had some shipped over. An expensive operation but much allowed this very fine seat post to resurrect.
Finally, while I’m a die hard generator light man I always like to have a backup light. I tend to like my backup light to be battery driven so I can replace them from a store while out if necessary (otherwise it’s on rechargeable). But since I can now easily charge any USB device from my generator hub I picked up a Cygolite Metro 300 USB from Riv and have been using that. I have to say, it is a nice bright light with more features then I need that lasts a long time on a charge. So a good investment. I would like to work out a way to mount it to the bottom of the basket instead of on the handlebars, but still working out how to do that.
Since I did all this work in January and February I didn’t do some of the other work that needs doing. Primarily I need to rewrap and shellack the handlebars, but I figure waiting until the end of the real rainy season is for the best there. Likewise with a good cleaning on the whole bicycle especially the drivetrain. Otherwise these are the bulk of the changes for the year though a few other add ons and such will probably move on and off as the year progresses.