19 March, 2008

On track (bike)

Well I haven't done my taxes yet, but I've gotten transcripts back from 2 of the 4 colleges I've attended now. I got my UMD transcripts in the mail today, so I'm halfway there for when August rolls around and I'm able to apply for T4A again.
The painting for Joe is also coming along fairly nicely. I worked on it for a couple hours today and though I hated how it looked while I was working the paint, when I let it alone for a while and looked at it again, it actually is starting to look pretty good.
I didn't finish my burdastyle sewalong skirt in time because things I was doing with the fabric was a little too ambitious for the allotted time and the percentage of that time I was able to spend on it, and being I have to finish this painting for Joe by Saturday, it has shifted into the top priority. After Saturday I will spend my daylight hours working on the skirt to get it done and probably a couple nights before work working on bikes (being that for the rest of the month I am covering for Lynn so I am getting up at 4 or 5pm and going into work at 9pm).
I also bought a socket wrench set ($10!) that will likely fall apart after repeated use (but $10 so who cares?) at, of all places, Walgreens today. This means I got the break levers and the back wheel off of Tim's bike so I can fix them / replace them AND my new wheels came today for my bike.
Tim's bike still has a lot of work on it before it's ridable, but he'll hopefully be in the saddle at the end of the month if I end up being able to use his back gearbox on my old wheel or somehow rigging his rear derailleur to deal with an extra cog. However, if I can't get his cogset on my wheel, I'm going to end up having to buy either a new wheel or a new cogset, and since cogsets are generally extremely pricey, I'd probably end up trying to find a wheel that is compatible with his perfectly usable cogset. The teeth on my cogs, however are chipped and worn, so I would not want him to have to ride on them; they cause all kinds of autoshifting problems for me, and being his bike uses friction shifting as opposed to indexed like my bike, it will only get worse for him.
His cotters came today though along with handlebar tape. Now all I have left to order for him is brake cables, a new saddle and possibly a rear wheel / rear cog. If I do end up getting him a new rear wheel, I am definitely taking the tire and tube off of my old one to put on the front because they are almost new. If anything, I might order a new tire for that front wheel because it is starting to deteriorate a lot (the back one was completely cracked and had to be replaced) and replace its tube while I'm at it. If it comes to doing this though, I will do this order with one for tubes for my new wheels since they are skinnier than my old ones.
I am both apprehensive and excited about my new wheels. They are completely hand-built alloy wheels. They are almost as skinny as Zac's, which makes me worry about maneuverability and the increased likeliness of getting a pinch-flat. Being they are skinny also means that I will have less contact with the ground which has the dual consequences of being able to go a lot faster but also having less traction in wet conditions (which I do ride in—I am not a sunny-day rider). I might have to look into the possibility of getting nobbies for this tire width if only for my own sanity.
My new wheels are also track wheels which means no quick-release which means if I get a flat, I am walking. The back wheel is a flip-flop (fixed on one side, free on the other), so I am going to be going single speed. I am likely not going to be using the fixed side at all simply because I live on a sorta-big hill, and I don't really trust myself with having to peddle-brake and only having a front brake going down it. Maybe if Tim and I end up moving to a flatter district will I start using it on the fixed side, but as it is, I like having the option of doing back-peddling to keep gyroscopic motion in play when I'm idling waiting for traffic lights.
But I am mostly really looking forward to getting Tim's bike up and running. My bike is a back-burner project right now as far as I'm concerned until his bike is done. Once his bike is up, I am really looking forward to being able to ride around with him and our other bikerly friends because then maybe he'll gain the confidence to finally TAKE THE LANE. Because if you'd ever ridden with him on the tandem, in the city, it is terrifying. He rides too far to the right and weaves in and out of parked cars which is far far less safe than just taking the lane. Really if people need / want to pass a biker, they will do it even if you're riding in the middle of the lane, but at least if you're in the middle of the lane, they are forced to recognize that you are there and exist and are squishy and if they hit you, there are huuuge consequences (esp. in SF).
On Sunday I will probably take apart our back wheels and see if the parts are compatible. I am debating whether I want to order the brake parts I need online or if I want to go somewhere local. I really don't like the snobby bike shops that are largely prevalent in the mission, and even buying used parts there makes me nervous enough that I end up getting the wrong shit (I did this actually with the peddles I got to replace the crummy plastic ones on his bike). But I will probably be back at BoxDog on Friday to get drop bars for my bike and try to find matching peddles for his, so maybe then I will muster the courage to ask for brake cable and brakeline stopper widgets.

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