My Rides

Saturday, October 1, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things: Bike features and components that help make cycling a joy

It's been a while since a post, largely because I've been doing so much riding at night - when I might otherwise be blogging.  Thanks in part to one of my new favorite things - my bike light(s).  Having the freedom to ride at night, while the kids are being put to bed, or after dinner is great.

Nights are less stressful.  If there errands to run (and there always are), or the family wants to eat out, I don't have to miss out or be the bad guy.  Work is less stressful.  If I'm making progress at the end of the day, I don't have to stress about compromising or missing my workout to take another hour to finish something up.

It's been so long since I gave it much thought, but my Brooks B17 saddles have to be among my favorite (bike) things.  Whether I get on the bike for a serious training ride, clad in padded lycra, or I tuck my slacks in my sock to take the kids to the park I just never notice my saddle.  I've probably ridden over 1000 miles on my mountain bike saddle, and 300 on the utility bike saddle.  I noticed some difference in the feel - tightened the laces on the utility bike's saddle, and ahhh...

I swear it must have rained every day (not all day, and probably not every day) for the last 2 weeks, and I've ridden every day except the last 2 (last night on the elliptical machine, tonight on the trainer).  As I chipped high fiber mud from my bike, and cleaned the chain, I realized I've been neglecting my saddle.  That brings me to another, related, favorite thing.

As I mentioned in my series about choosing and breaking-in the saddle I applied Obenauf's Heavy Duty Leather Protector (designed to protect leather firefighter's boots) while breaking-in my saddle.  Since, I've probably wiped on a quick coat 2 or 3 times (in 7 months).  I've looked and felt under the saddle a couple of times for moisture, mud etc.  My under-seat tool bag protects the biggest area of leather on the underside.  But, with a quick check, I feel the reassuring "waxy" feel of the Obenauf's.

I brought the saddle in tonight to chip off a few pieces of dried mud, give it a good cleaning, and re-apply Obenauf's - I probably still have a few good weeks of muddy riding this year, before sporadic wet snow rides.  As I said, the Obenauf's is wonderful stuff.  The 4 oz. jar is almost gone.  After applying to an old pair of shoes, and having the leather look beautiful, feel soft, it started going on everything leather.  Shoes, boots, wallets, belts.

Last, but not least:  29er bikes.  I kind of came into my 29er without any education or information (on 26er vs. 29er).  I had my mind set on a Cannondale hard-tail, and before I went home with the HeadShok 26er, I wanted to try a bike with the lefty-shock.  I rode it over the little test course outside the bike shop, and it was just so smooth.  At the time I thought I was feeling Lefty vs. Headshok, or the difference a few hundred dollars makes.

Since then, I've read up on 29ers, and gained my own experience.  Lately, on muddy trails, or soggy, grassy fields I just love those wheels/tires.  I built a strong, 36 spoke rear wheel to mitigate one of the 29er's short-comings (especially for a heavy rider) - a weaker wheel...  You see more and more 29ers, and you hear more professionals cite them as the bike of choice for cross-country and endurance races.

Some of the 29ers I dream about owning/riding: