pinch hitters and perspective

The last couple of weeks has been a nightmare from an equipment perspective. The 1×7 headset started giving me grief. I already had an idea lined up to make the headset more reliable again and then the crank broke. $45 would fix the crank with a square taper Shimano Alivio from Jenson USA (have a ton of rings in 4 x 110 bcd), but I’m just not interested in messing with it right now. After building the wheel last winter and dropping close to $200 on both studded tires and the big apples I get this feeling that I’ll fix these little things and then something else will break, and then something else will, and then something else will…

That’s when I decided to just shelve the 1×7 and work with what I have for a while.

Meet my new grocery getter. The rack mounts are placed high up on pug to clear the disc brakes and I was a little worried that handling would be compromised with a load so far north. Confabulating mounting tabs out of 1/8″ thick aluminum had the added bonus of making the rack significantly stiffer than it was on the LHT. Take a look at the pics below of the new mounts compared to the flimsy old ones. There’s also the inherent extra meatiness of the Pug frame combined with the frames’ HIGH HIGH trail figure which masks any handling deviation the load would cause.

before – no wonder the rack had some sway under load

after – hulk smaaash.

Minor issue: I need to work on a stop to keep the pannier from banging against the disc brake body and causing the rotor to ring like a bell after I go over any bump.

…things I don’t like.

  1. Only 1 bike with fenders so my annual Trucker teardown/rebuild will be tough to manage in winter. Have to get to work on my fender options.
  2. You have to know where you want to go with Pug LOONG before you get there. The frame geometry is such that you have to pick your line when entering a corner at speed VERY carefully, and never intend on making the turn quickly. I was signaling to turn right last week at one point – a pedestrian walked off the curb without turning to look and I overshot the curve by a full car width to avoid them.
  3. I’m screwed if I get a flat on the pug. Really need to pick up a tube. A flat’d still suck if I had one because it’d take 2 hours to pump up one of those tires even with my frame pump.
  4. Changing out of my cycling shoes at work when I ride the trucker.
  5. Carrying Pug up the narrow hallway from my basement without wrecking the paint on the walls when I want to use it.

…things I do

  1. Crisp shifts – the friction shifting on 1×7 is ok, but something I’m really enjoying is having my bikes drop right into gear when I flip the lever.
  2. Variety – after rolling to work on Pug for a few days or riding over to the ‘Baltimore Book Thing’ with a 35lb donation load of books the trucker feels like a race bike.
  3. Not spending money on stuff that I really don’t want to spend money on right now.
  4. Getting to leave the trucker the way it is.

As mentioned in the past several times I’m planning a treat for myself as a reward for winning the “25-years-war-of-the-clydesdales”. Before the ride on Sunday I was asking Bob about bike frames, frame materials, building techniques and ride quality over bagels as he’s the one person I know who has experience riding many miles on different steel frames constructed using different techniques by different builders. By the end of the 10 minute conversation I had unearthed more questions than I had answered about how to find the right frame for myself. Luckily, I’m not doing anything till late winter so I have a few months to simmer on those thoughts. More than anything the last year has taught me that ride performance is not something you can buy anyway. I’ll probably just get a bike in a color I like. The idea of jerking around endless shop owners by taking out 1,000,000 different bikes doesn’t sound like as much fun as it probably should for an equipment junkie like myself. Buying a bike is more like buying a really expensive pair of shoes than it is like buying a car – which would seem like a more common comparison.

The long and the short of it? Shut up and friggin’ ride Dave.


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