A New Bike for the Bicycling Professional
0 comment Sunday, June 1, 2014 |
Earlier this summer, I decided I was going to cull my herd of bicycles from eight down to a more reasonable five. Of course, I have eight bikes because they all do something a little different. Since I would still want to do all these cycling disciplines at different times, I thought I'd look for a bike that has some additional built in flexibility and sell of the three that I thought would be easiest to part with.
Not having any discipline when it comes to bike acquisitions, I decided to buy a Surly Traveler's Check that I saw on ebay in just my size.

I've been a big fan of Surly for years, and I thought this would cover a few tasks I perform routinely. 1) commuting to work 2) riding trails with the simple addition of CX tires 3) single speed CX races that I tell myself I will participate in someday 4) accompanying me on business trips (it comes apart at the top and downtubes and fits in a suitcase) 5) replaces the fixie I sold when I moved to DC.
So far, I've been pretty impressed with its commuting, trail and fixie qualities. I may have forgotten to consider one aspect of travel, the $450 suitcase accessory that I don't have (anyone have one they no longer need?), but I think this will come in handy soon.
I was just getting used to the new bike about three weeks ago when I had my first disappointment with the way it was rigged. It had a matching blue KMC chain, which I now know only come in 1/8th width. Meanwhile, it has a bigger 46T 3/32nd chainring, and a 3/32nd 17T freewheel. Previously, I had understood 1/8th to be compatible with the narrower teeth with no issues on a single speed or fixed gear. I know better now, and thought I would share.
Whilst climbing a hill on my way home from work, I was about five pedal strokes into standing up when I threw the chain and myself hard to the right and onto the pavement near the National Zoo. What I think happened was that the lateral deflection from the high torque (climbing, remember) on the 46T ring was enough to pull the small amount of sideways play of the 1/8th chain to opposite sides on the 3/32nd freewheel and ring. The chain must have slipped over one of the ring's teeth, and after that, my foot hammered down to the right with no resistance on the chain, tossing me to the street.
I was a little bloody from a hip scrape and smashing my normal landing elbow yet again. A kind passerby with a medical kit in their car helped me with some gauze. Even though I managed to kick my bike the other direction into a lane of traffic, it somehow didn't get hit. I was on my feet to retrieve it in seconds, and aside from a scuffed seat, some scrapes on the brake levers and bell and a mangled Oury, it was no worse for the tangle.
I have since changed the chain to 3/32nd, and pulled it piano-wire tight, to avoid any repeat episodes. Also switched to narrower bull horn bars for more confidence while lane splitting.
But not to be dismayed, the great bike cull of 2009 still continues!
The first bike I sold off was my Trek 520, which was a great ride, just one that I never used for any actual touring. It cleaned up real nice, and while I kept the wheels (a Christmas present), I was able to sell the frame for more than I bought the whole bike for about a year ago, how's that for an investment! One thing that never was right on it, it was built for 27" wheels, and I could never adjust the cantilever brakes to have satisfying stopping power on a 700c wheel, I tried every kind of canti brake they make, but the position of the boss is too high for what I wanted to get out of it. So off it went.

Since then, I've been trying to do the Craigslist thing with this animal:

But Craigslist is the place for $300 bikes, not $1000 bikes,and I'm running into a lot of flakes and barter offers, so next stop is ebay.
If anyone has a penchant for cross country mountain bikes, and would like to be this one's new owner, shoot me a message and I'll send you some info.
So there it is, apologies for not posting for some time. I'm getting married in September, and while I bike commute every day still, I rarely seem to have time to write about it. Hope to see some more action here soon, we didn't even get a RAGBRAI rundown... Josh, are you out there?

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