Reduce, re-use, recycle
The title of the post comes from a zine published back in the early 70s (called -anyone? anyone?- Low and Slow) covering the wild world of hang gliding. How wild? Folks were making gliders out of Visqueen and bamboo. I mailed off for a copy – because I wanted to build one – sadly, it’s long gone, though a post here suggests I can reread all the Low and Slows on a DVD. Enough of all that – the point of the post: my bike racing (venue = triathlons) days are done – I’ve found myself wanting a bike I can just jump on and ride (comfortably). My fast but twitchy road bike does not exactly fit the bill. My old mountain bike, however…
So, let the conversion to two-wheeled Vista Cruiser begin! IMHO, there are 2 things that determine 90% of overall bike ‘feel’: frame geometry and tires. You’re not going to do much about frame geometry – about the only thing you can alter is the front fork and that costs $$$. Tires can make a surprising difference and unless you’re racing (in which case, why aren’t you running tubulars?) fatter ones than current fashion dictates are what I suggest. Here’s the bike – after the pic I’ll run through current and planned mods.
‘Fatter tires’ is relative – although they’re much thinner than the knobbies that I took off, these are fat road rubber. They’re Kenda Kwests (the 100psi variety) – a nice balance of volume and low rolling resistance. I also mounted a rear rack and put on new, longer grips – I like riding with my hands close together, as if I’m up on the flats on a drop bar. The shakedown ride today was a success – the bike rode like a dream.
I haven’t decided whether to move pedals over from the road bike to this beastie – I’m leaning towards yes. The road bike’s saddle will probably come over at the same time. After that, the next order of business will be handlebars. I have an On One Midge ready and waiting, but because road handlebars are not the same diameter as mountain bars I need to replace the brake levers (not too $$, and I wanted to do it anyway) and swap the thumb shifters for barcons ($$$, and though I LOVE bar-cons, I would have made do). The other short-term priority are shopping bag panniers – the grocery store is within easy biking distance – ’nuff said.
Down the road a bit, I’d like to tweak the drive train a bit. I don’t know whether the chain stay will accommodate a significantly larger middle chainring, but if it will I’ve always been partial to half-step setups – with the triple it’d be a half-step plus granny (and contra Mr. Brown, I’ve used a half-step setup successfully).
Way down the road I’m thinking about fenders, lighting, a front rack – part of me says that I should just save my pennies for a Velo-Orange frame (or something similar) and build up a baguette hauler around it. We’ll see. First order of business is to re-integrate ‘just hopping on the bike’ into my life.
Update – the saddle and pedal switch happened this morning, before a second shakedown run (pics from which will be posted later today).
Big brass faux rivets!