Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Helmet diaries and other things.....

For the past week I have been trying to ride more and do distances longer than the 5 blocks to the Farmers market, however due to my poor fitness I have been driving to a flat bike path along Elliot bay (cue shame and irony at driving somewhere to ride your bike).  On Wednesday I was loading up my bike, the de-panniered HD, on the rear rack and put my helmet and water bottle on the trunk while doing so, making a mental note not to forget they were there.  I forgot.  At the end of my alley I thought I heard a weird noise but dismissed it, and about 1/2 mile later I look over at the passenger seat and register there is something missing connect the weird noise and double back to find my helmet and water bottle.  Nothing, they are no where to be found.  Odd, but I press on and do a short ride on the bike path anyway (cue the slings and arrows of helmet-less riding).

Look Ma no panniers!
So this morning while out running errands I go to my local bike shop to get a new helmet, keep in mind I have about 4 LBS to chose from in my neighborhood.  I read somewhere a long time ago that all helmets pass the same safety rating and it occurred to me that the expensive multi vent super light helmet with the vaguely Italian name was no better at keeping me from cracking my noggin than the entry level Bell helmet at Kmart.  So I was just looking for something basic and settled on a nice modestly priced Specialized.
New lid
As the shop owner was coming up from the repair area to ring me up I am relating the story of how I stupidly lost the last helmet and he gets a slow smile and asks "was it red?" and I say yes and it was a Bell, and he goes back to the repair area and produces both my helmet and water bottle!   He explains that one of his customers was volunteering at a church, there is one near the end of my alley, and found them in the street and brought them into the shop.  How cool is that!? I wasn't too bummed at losing the helmet, at 5 years old it probably needed to be replaced anyway (styrofoam breaks down after a while) but the water bottle was a gift from my daughter so I was very happy to get it back.  Serendipity strikes again, thank you good samaritan!

Farmers Market bikes

I am always on the lookout for cool bikes at the Sunday farmers market and last week didn't disappoint.  First an 80's  Centurion Le Mans RS.

Its sporting a new SunRace rear derailleur, it doesn't take much to keep these old steel steeds going and I'm always glad when I see people making the effort.

New RD
And with lights, rack and leather saddle this vintage ride actually gets used.

Then I spotted a real prize, a Rivendell Clem Smith Jr.  I knew of them of course and they looked good on the web but in person it was absolutely stunning.  So clean and shiny it was as if it had just been wheeled out of the shop.
Clem Jr.

Fellow bike blogger Anniebikes just purchased a step thru model - the Clementine.

Dry Dock for the Passage

After three rides, with the front derailleur cable going completely slack on the last ride, I decided it was dry dock time for the Passage.  Issues with fit, frayed cable ends making adjustment difficult, brake lever position, need for brake adjustment etc I thought it was time to end the "just ride it" experiment and do an overhaul.  The new, wider, tires have already arrived and I have ordered enough new parts to equal what I paid for the bike lol.  In addition to the Nitto stem, different chain rings, MKS Sneaker pedals and bell I talked about in the previous post I added a few new items as well.

I found the stock mid 80's handlebars to be a bit narrow and since I already planned to replace the stem and brake levers I thought I would go the whole way and got some Velo Orange Chris' Rando bars in a 48cm width.

While I was there I took advantage of the 50% off sale on their sprung model 5 saddle rather than cannibalize the Brooks off my Motobecane.  I got brown as the other colors are sold out.
Lezyne HD Sport
Although I could get away with it on the short flat rides I was doing, I didn't like riding without a pump.  I really wanted to get a Zefal HD frame pump, the Passage has a brazed on pump peg for gosh sakes! but I went with the Lezyne for a couple reasons:

  • It was on sale and half the price of the Zefal.
  • I have used a Lezyne pump on the HD and really liked it;  small, light and gets enough pressure in a tire in about 30 strokes.  And it comes with a mount that fits under the water bottle cage.
  • I like the flexible hose at the end of the Leyzne because with a frame pump like the Zefal the pump body and head are directly attached to the valve stem and I always worry I am going to break off the tubes valve while pumping.
  • The Leyzne's hose has a Schrader end and a Presta end, easy peezy, the Zefal has a Chinese puzzle like head that needs to be disassembled to adjust for S vs P.
So there you go, enjoy the long weekend and Ride.Smile.Repeat.


  1. So cool to see you out riding again. and what a good Samaritan, makes me feel warm fuzzies. Thanks for the blogpost mention, installed a rack on Clementine today then rode it a bit, only to discover something wrong with front wheel quick release - it won't bite and hold wheel steady and squeals when riding, which means brakes are rubbing on wheel. Suspect a bad skewer...great. Hopefully one of our spares will work until I sort it out with Riv.

  2. Hey Annie, yes the riding is looooong overdue and having my helmet and water bottle show up like that was really cool. Always glad to give a good blog a plug, and I hope your skewer issue is quickly sorted and you can take that beauty out for a proper ride.

  3. I had a toyota pickup once that came with a camper shell. When I would take the shell off my little '78 pickup was magically transformed into a sleek racer! So I get the panniers removal thing.

    I was going to say don't sweat the non-riding then it occurred to me that it would be a lie to say so. Sweat it.

    Get in a 24 miler. take ibuprofen, pack bananas, stop a lot to write notes-to-self, cry if you have to.

    I have been off work four days and have only glanced guiltily at my two (functioning) bicycles the whole time. The rest has been spent in an alcoholic daze of bar-be-cue ribs and chicken, hilarious laughter and babies that need holding and cuddling by old men named grandpa.

    Friends from the past reunited (Uncle Bill) and Old Man Tim hangin', barely, to a life built on love and hope and bicycles.

    I got 'em...the bikes...they are right over there, the Nash Rambler and Little Miss...they are both ready and so am I but not today, I guess...

    So do me a favor: ride a Trailer Park Showdown 24 miler and I will match your effort with one of my own. Write it up and so will I and let's get back on track.

    Yer younger than me so you go first.

    Pops Comstock

  4. Holding and cuddling babies is pretty good for the body and soul too. I might modify the distance a little bit so I'll cry less but challenge received Velo brother. I am sure Coach Bangs is chuckling as he reads this as he was probably doing 24 miles before breakfast on his summer bike tour, but a fella's got to start somewhere.

    1. Yeah Ol' Bangs is a hard man to be sure. But bring it, Coach! I slept on the porch last night. OK, passed out on the porch but that must count, somehow.

    2. You guys praise without knowledge. If the event could ever happen that we ride together I am sure the praise would turn into wonder on how slow a man can actually propel a bike forward and stay upright at the same time.
      After I got home from my last ride I have not been out riding once for funsie's. I do get my commute in but that is pretty short back and forth. I have had to concentrate on some back maintenance issue on my house, (too much time spent riding bikes over the years!!) that are coming due. With that and a little bit of wife unit pressure to pay some attention to these problems. With the idea that this house may be ready for us to sell here in the nearer instead of farther future. I am facing the classic real estate question. Do I sell it "as is" and basically the worst house on the block, or, invest some major money into it and then sell as one of the nicer houses on the block. Meanwhile I grind away replacing deck boards and a new window and door here and there and get a bit grouchy because I really would rather spend my not at work time riding bikes or playing golf or even working on bikes.
      A long response with a statement on my general blah life that neither of you frankly asked for.
      Great to hear of you rolling the tires again Ryan, and I know that tj will get back to it after this responsibility streak gets worked out of his system.

    3. Jim my friend you mid-overestimate me, as I said somewhere -I'm not slow..I'm Glacial. With your altitude enhanced aerobic capacity and alpine climbing you'd be riding circles at the top of every minor rise waiting on me to catch up. And if I were a betting man I would bet your annual bike mileage eclipses me and the TPC combined. I certainly am not holding up my end of that deal. And one minor correction I don't believe it's possible to spend "too much time" on the bike. Good luck with home improvements.