Experimental music, photography, and adventures

What happened to spring?

Monday, March 24th, 2008

It wasn’t a very good weekend for riding. I was planning on riding with my friend Chris on Saturday, but his bike was in the shop. Besides that, it was in the upper 30s, windy, and drizzling intermittently. I went for a ride anyway, but I rode the 45-minute Mount Gilead ride, rather than a much longer ride that I was hoping to do. It felt good to get out, but a little disappointing. I thought about riding further, but I felt chilly. I dressed pretty warmly, but the wind just cut right through me. Alas.

Sunday was slightly warmer, but it snowed on and off throughout the day. It was too warm for the snow to stick, but still chilly. In fact, it was warmer on Christmas than it was on Easter (yesterday). It was so weird.

Now, I certainly could have ridden anyway, but I’m just plain tired of this cold weather riding. Heck, 40 or so isn’t even that cold, but it felt colder to me than it was outside. Instead, I took the opportunity to do some work on my bike.

A little background: I suck at working on my bike. I almost always break something in the process. But last week I successfully installed a new left shifter on my old mountain bike. I even had to use a hacksaw to get rid of parts of the old shifter, since it was integrated into the brake lever. I had hacked off the old right shifter Saturday night, and I installed the new one on Sunday. Surprisingly, I didn’t break anything, and I seemed to have everything adjusted properly on my first try. And I’m truly astounded at how easy it was.

New shifter New shifter

Along the way, though, I destroyed the grips, and that bike has bars that I guess I can best describe as mountain bike bars with built-in bar ends. A non-standard grip, in other words. So I decided to put some cork tape on them, and do the whole twine/shellac thing. I meant to get natural cork tape, but they were out of that, so I got white instead. And I got amber shellac, with the idea that I can use it on my road bike and hopefully get the tape to be a closer match to my Brooks honey brown leather saddle.

Bars, with the white cork tape and twine Bar end
White tape, hemp twine, pre-shellac


After three layers of amber shellac

Things turned out a little more orange than I intended, but I think it looks pretty good on the green bike.


The whole bike


Another angle

This morning was colder — 25 degrees when I rode to work. It’s looking like it’ll warm up, which would be most welcome. I’ve been riding to work in my work clothes lately, instead of changing once I get here, and so far that’s working out really well. It saves me time and I haven’t destroyed any of my work clothes, yet.


7 Responses to “What happened to spring?”

  1. Noah Says:

    The new shifters and shellac job look nice. I don’t think it’s too orange.

    Beware pants. When I started bike commuting, I always rode in work clothes. I found that I was tearing up the fabric near my sit bones really quickly. Jeans and cargo shorts are made of a more durable material than Khaki pants and slacks, and they’re cheaper, too. I do sometimes commute in my work shirts, weather permitting when I ride to the bus. 14 miles is too far and I pit out my work shirts when I ride the whole way.

  2. furiousball Says:

    those shellac looks awesome dude. i surveyed my bikes this weekend and they need some love for the riding season.

  3. Marty Says:

    I think that’s pretty stylish – nice job!

  4. Jon Says:

    Very nice. I guess I’ll do the tape on the Clubman, today, since it’s sunny and 65 degrees.

  5. Doug Says:

    Seems we both had successful “work on the bike” weekends.

    Super job on the tape, twine and shellac. It looks great!

  6. dvicci Says:

    Nice work on those bars. I really like the natural look of them. I swapped out my handlebar tape not long ago, and though the softer tape is easier on my hands, the look really isn’t that hot.

    The weather here (Kansas City) took a turn for the colder yesterday too. The morning was mid 20’s and the afternoon upper 50’s. I like the latter, Minnesota can keep the former. This morning was much better at mid 40’s. Spring is nigh!

  7. Ian Says:

    Very nice work on the bike! Do you take appointments?

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