Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Chains, Chains, Chains. Chains Gonna Do You Good...

Got back from the annual Western Slope/Southern Colorado CDOT Region Labs Inspection Tour, Thursday. Rode to work in the rain (!) on Friday, and home in cold temperatures Friday afternoon.

The wet and the cold combined, Friday night, Saturday and into this morning, to make snow. We got about 3 or 4 inches in my neighborhood, so I took the Miami Vice bike out into the shop and got it snow-ready, today.

I removed the fenders, for clearance, and installed the snow-chains. These consist of two small steel cables which run around the circumference of the tire, one on either side, with 3 links of chain connecting them every 6 inches or so. They are installed by deflating the tire, situating the chains, then reinflating the tire inside them. It is a very secure method of installation, and they never seem to slip on the tire, at all.
I was a little concerned as to whether the chains would clear the U-brake, under the chainstays, but it worked out just fine.
While I had it on the stand, I installed the rear Reelight. Reelights are flashing lights which mount at the axle, and are battery-free. There are two powerful magnets on each wheel which produce electricity at the light, through the Faraday principle. This is the same method that the "shake for light" flashlights use.

The model I bought has a circuit which stores a small amount of power, as you ride, so that the lights continue to flash when you stop at a light or stop-sign. They are a bit more expensive, but it seemed like a good idea to me.

I didn't install the front, because I heard that the magnets are so powerful that they will interfere with the cyclometer pickup on the front. There may be a way around that (by moving the cylometer magnet as far from the other magnets as possible), but I didn't feel like experimenting, today.

The low temp is supposed to be around 12 degrees F, tonight, so I suspect there will be some icy patches, as well as snow, tomorrow morning. Between that and the increased effort required to roll the chains, I suspect I will have a relatively slow ride in. Oh well, no sense hurrying in the snow, anyway.

I took a short test ride, just to make sure everything was good to go. I had forgotten how bumpy the ride is with the chains. My bell constantly jingles as I roll, with these, rather than just when I hit rough spots in the pavement. I'll sound like Santa Claus going down the road.

But, I don't really care if you've been naughty or nice.



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