Friday, February 1, 2013

First Commute in over Three Weeks

Not that I haven't been riding.  But somehow, riding to work was just not very appealing.  There was more than enough apprehension about the whole thing to want to do it again.

First commute on the Gitane

First, I needed a bike.  Husband suggested I repurpose Sweetpea.  Daughter and I both gave him the Glare of Disbelief.  Bad enough my Rivendell got whacked on a commute.  Not to mention that bike parking at work is outside, and I don't get there early enough to score one of the few covered spaces.

I had retrieved the Gitane from Daughter, and thought I had it ready to go.  Mike R. loaned me a 700c SON generator wheel; I swapped over lighting, pedals and adjusted my panniers to fit on the Gitane's venerable Blackburn rear rack.  Rode it around the block for a quick test.

Six days later, I hopped on, ready to ride into work.  Except I was pedaling, and nothing was happening.  The vintage Maillard Helicomatic freewheel was not engaging.  After a bit of searching around the Usual Suspects, looking for a replacement freewheel that did not cost a small fortune, I decided that I wasn't as invested in the vintage-ness of the Maillard Helicomatic components as I had been when I originally restored the bike. Velo Orange offered a nice 126mm freewheel-compatible hub rear wheel, and a 14-28 Shimano Hyperglide 6 speed freewheel, the same range as the Helicomatic, was found somewhere else.  I couldn't get any fancier, because then I'd need a new derailleur and so on and so on.

It all arrived, did the installation... and the temperature plummeted.  Freezing fog.  Especially where I work.  Waited that out.  Finally, this past Tuesday night, got everything ready.  Up at 6, on the road by 7:30.

And it was a completely uneventful commute, which was good, because Gitane and I had to get used to each other!  Kept reaching for the bar end shifters.  Not.  The bike doesn't have the gravitas of the Riv (translate - weighs somewhat less :-) ).  It can feel downright zippy.

Commute home had a few apprehensive moments in the dark along NW Evergreen before the shopping center.  High speed limit, and the bike was twitchy.  But I survived it.

Fast forward two days (today).  Convinced Fitz to commute also (he turns off about 1.5 miles before I do).  The bike felt much better.  Rode over to Hawthorn Farms for an after lunch meeting (just under 2 miles) with a lunch date with the son, who works there.  Discovered on the ride over (cutting through Orenco Station), that I can ride no-hands.  I can shift with impunity.  Today was a 24+ mile day.

1 comment:

Oliver Smith said...

Congrats! The bike sounds great too.