This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A beautiful day for breathing

     I found out yesterday that this breathing thing was really pretty cool.  During the night my congestion seemed to break up and start to relieve itself.  I actually woke up with my alarm and much to my surprise I had slept 6 hours continuously.  This could become a habit.  It was a truly beautiful spring day although a bit premature for Michigan and I thought it a good day to get some errands caught up and take Byron out for his paces.

It was blustery day but the MUP going through town was clear of debris and a real pleasure to ride.  I had only taken Byron out for a few short rides and a least had a chance today to put about 20 miles on him and give some of these components a real test.

At a local store, a guy loading up his old rockhopper with groceries commented that my bike had a "wirey" look to it.  I suppose he is right, the extra stays, rack and absence of that substantial top tube give the mixte a more refined appearance.
     But enough rambling, I had a chance to really run all the way through the non-existent "gears" and find out how the Nuvinci system really felt through an hour or two in the saddle.  I must say I am impressed.  Just as I felt the first couple of rides, the "gear" (that word again)changes were incredibly smooth.  Riding with this unit is like nothing I have felt before, shifting is an entirely intuitive process.  I pushed the pedals hard on the downwind section and ran through the ... oh, that word again, ah...ratios (that's it).  It is really amazing to continually move to higher ratios without any break, friction or indexing.  Never breaking my stride, I just continually increased the ratios until I maxxed out.  Even climbing a hill, getting up out of the saddle and on  the pedals, reducing the ratios was smooth.  There were no forced changes, no pressure or jerk you might experience from derraillier clusters or other IGH units.  I just stood up and pounded the pedals at the same time that I decreased ratio until I had a comfortable cadence for the hill.  This is really cool!  I still doubt that I would want this unit on a touring bike, but for the city--this is da bomb!
     The other really pleasant surprise is the wheels and tires.   For those uninitiated, the wheels on this bike are not normal 700c road  size, nor are they 26" MTB the are referred to as 650b.  To clarify (and I wish the world would start talking different)  the normal road wheel is 622mm in diameter, the MTB wheel is 559mm in diameter the 650b falls between them at 584mm.  Although some mainstream manufacturers think of it as an obsolete wheel size, some proponents, like Grant Peterson of Rivendell and Bridgestone fame, maintain that it is that great sweet spot in size that makes a truly great city bike.   In the short time I have been riding on them, I agree.  I had intended to use regular road wheels on this bike but the frame does not have clearance for any tire larger than 28mm with fenders.  A city bike without fenders is useless, and 28mm tires just don't take the beating that city streets dish out everyday.
       Despite what the opponents, or your LBS, tells you, there are lots of tires on the market.   The 650B wheel size has been around a long time and is reaching cult popularity in the US.  Finally Panaracer has produced my favorite tire, the Pasela TG in 650b size.  They hid it under the SOMA brand and market it through Merry Sales in the Bay area, so your LBS can get it.  I just ordered them direct from Soma so I wouldn't have to listen to the LBS whine about it.

The only difference between these and the normal Pasela tires is the reinforced sidewalls.  I think that is a good thing, especially for city use with all the potholes we experience in the northern climes.  These tires roll surprisingly fast for only holding 75 PSI, much faster than I expected and I am anticipating a flat free season.
    Got to go!  I'm on my way to the train station on the folder.  My next post will be from the Chicago area while in transit.

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