Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Saturday, February 09, 2013

All Fixed Up

I commuted on the fixed-gear mtb on both Thursday and Friday of this week.  On Thursday, the roads were a bit icy, in spots, so I slotted in the studded tire wheelset.  The tires on that wheelset are (relatively) inexpensive Innova tires, one of which I have had since 2008.  It is a 2.0" width, on the rear wheel. On the front, I have a brand-new 1.75", which replaced the old front tire after a sidewall failure.

I didn't intentionally get a more narrow tire, and I didn't even realize that it was skinnier until I had the tires mounted up,  But, it seems to work fine.  The new studs are extra-loud on the dry patches of pavement, though. On the way home, people on sidewalks, 10 or 15 yards ahead of me, were turning and looking over their shoulders at the street as I approached them.

On Friday, I swapped back to the non-studded tires, and I felt as though I was in stealth mode.

Both days were nice rides, with chilly mornings (20 degrees, or so) and nice 45-50 degree temps on the way home.  I really enjoy the bicycle commute on those days.

I rode with a backpack, both days, which makes for a completely different feel on the commute, compared to riding with a saddle bag or rack and panniers set-up, like I usually do. I was thinking about that, as I rode home, yesterday. I am hesitant to wear a backpack for the commute, but I always wear one when I go mountain biking (my CamelBak). it certainly made the bike, itself, feel a lot lighter and easier to manage, and that added to my enjoyment of the ride.  So, I think I might make that the normal mode for fixed-gear commuting, whether on the mtb or the road version.

Keep it simple.

With that in mind, I think I will pull the rack, bags and fenders off of this bike:

This is the frame to which I added an extra top tube, and built up for Brad as a 26"-wheeled "barn find", a few years back.  He eventually returned it to me, when he decided to cull his herd. I converted it to 700c wheels, and used it as my icy-roads commuter, last year.  But, I never really warmed up to it.

 And, that is odd, since it follows my "magic bike" formula of old RockHopper frame + 700c fork and wheels + fixed gear + inverted Priest bars. It is made even odder by the fact that, before I built it up for Brad, I had it built as a "scorcher bike", and it was one of my favorites. So, I think that stripping it back down to Scorcher level might reignite my love affair with the bike. Either way, I will, once again, have what I consider a "long-distance" fixie in the quiver (two brakes, heavy-duty wheels) to complement the orange Peugeot.

I rode the motorbike to the coffee shop, this morning.  Rain and snow are supposed to move in and stick around for a few days, starting tonight, and I figure I will be on the bicycle for a while. So, I just wanted to get a bit of motorbike time in, while the roads were dry.

I guess the studded tires need to go back on the mtb...



At 12:41 AM , Blogger m e l i g r o s a said...

In cali we are so spoiled. 20F and my eyebrows could be shivering :))
happy 2013! xxom

At 11:15 AM , Blogger RANTWICK said...

Backpacks! Bah! I weep at the thought of any commuter bicycle being stripped of its rack and fenders; poor thing. ;)

I love the noise those studded tires make too, I get that stealth mode comment!

At 11:35 AM , Blogger Tim Smith said...

Quite a mechanical undertaking. Love the chunky style.

At 5:42 PM , Blogger Wilson said...

I spent at least two years searching for the ultimate back pack. I can see the value of the racks, but once I am moving I never even notice that I have a pack on anyhow.


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