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Bike Update

As requested, here’s an update on my progress with the bike. Since I bought it a month ago

I added a front basket. It’s much easier (and less sweaty) than a bag over your shoulder. I even stopped at Whole Foods tonight and brought home groceries. Dave suggested that I get a cargo net for when I overfill it, and that’s been helpful—without it, my lunch jumps a foot in the air over speed bumps.

My tricked-out bike

I got a bike pump. And I waited way too long to do it. My tire pressure should be between 50 and 70 psi—I’ve been inflating it to 60—and it had dropped to 30. I really noticed the difference. It was like I was riding through molasses.

I added lights. And rode at night! It wasn’t actually that scary, because there was less traffic than during the day. Now I think I’ll start riding the bike on the days that I tutor until dark, too.

I rode in the rain. Not intentionally, but it started raining on my ride home one day. I got soaked, but the tiny brim on my helmet kept the rain out of my eyes. (It also keeps the sun of of them. It’s awesome!) I won’t take my bike if it’s raining in the morning, but I don’t mind getting wet on the way home.

I’ve taken two left turns. Don’t laugh. I feel a little bit like Zoolander, because instead of actually crossing traffic to take a left turn I’ll stop at the crosswalk and wait for the light to change. Especially on Mass. Ave., where there’s four lanes. But one day there was no traffic in either direction, so it was easy. And yesterday Danielle passed me just as I came up on the turn and I followed her lead.

I’ve discovered third gear. I’ve only got three, but I started out in two most of the time. Now on long stretches, like across the bridge or on the bike path I’ll pop it up into three. I haven’t timed my ride to work lately, but I’m sure it’s faster than my original 23 minutes.

I haven’t really had any altercations with cars, but I’m still convinced that every one of them (as well as the bicyclists who whiz around me and the pedestrians who step out in front of me) is actually out to kill me. That makes for some very nervous but safe riding.

So what do you think? Have you been riding this spring? Any advice for me?


Comment from Lucas Bussell
Time May 26, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Well I must say, you are now driving a small motorcycle not a bike =P. If you start feeling rusted spots in your chain from the occasional rain WD-40 will be your best friend. I have been riding this spring, about 9 miles a day, dirt roads, big hills. You have it easy down in paved flat ground, you should bring up the bike sometime and show it around real terrain

Comment from Brenda Pike
Time May 26, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Ha! There was a tiny hill on the way to Fresh Pond last weekend and it nearly killed me! You can keep your hills.

But you should bring your bike down here when you visit next month. If you can brave the traffic…

Comment from Lucas Bussell
Time May 26, 2010 at 9:46 pm

The city is too cramped to ride in, I like my open roads and clean air.

Comment from Elisabeth
Time May 26, 2010 at 10:02 pm

I’d recommend against using WD-40 as a chain lube. It does contain a light lubricant but is primarily a solvent and will actually make your chain less lubricated unless you use it almost constantly. Get a lube such as Tri-Flow from your bike shop instead.

Comment from Danielle
Time May 28, 2010 at 11:35 am

I once complained about riding in traffic/alongside cars to my boyfriend. He said yeah, but the traffic is there because on the other end of the trip is a place you want to be.

Actually he was a bit ruder re. city v. country but never mind about that.

Comment from Brenda Pike
Time May 28, 2010 at 7:25 pm

I actually got Chainj, but I haven’t used it yet. I will; I swear.

Comment from Sense of Home
Time June 4, 2010 at 8:54 am

I am wearing a backpack to work but I admire the basket and may add that in the future. I have also been thinking of adding rear view mirrors since, like you, I am convinced that every one is out to kill me (or at the very least the drivers don’t see me).

Comment from Brenda Pike
Time June 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I’ve never seen mirrors on a bike before. You’ll have to let me know how well they work if you get them—and if they get in the way. The basket makes it tough to lock up sometimes if there’s another bike at the rack, too.

Pingback from Lubricating a Bike Chain « Pragmatic Environmentalism
Time June 30, 2010 at 9:35 pm

[…] because the guy from Cambridge Bicycle recommended it. I know now not to use WD-40 (no thanks to my nephew!), but there seems to be a lot of debate about wax vs. vegetable-based vs. synthetic. What do you […]

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