Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Maiden Voyage

I had forgotten how much fun it is to ride SS. Winds can be a lot more annoying and steep hills take a lot more effort, but it's just so simple. This bike is also a bit more responsive to steering input than the Surly LHT I ride.

I have one pretty steep hill on my commute to work. It's on Mercy road between 75th and 78th. Riding up that this morning was the first time I can remember having to pedal with my upper body in a long time. I was pulling pretty hard on the bars to get enough pressure onto the pedals to keep them rotating. Good times.

I wont be riding this on days when I have to commute loaded down with a weeks worth of clothes and such but I'll probably choose it for most other commuting days. Oh, and it will definitely be my preferred Alleycat bike. ;-)
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Scott Redd said...

Agreed on the wind factor. I remarked to myself the other day about how when hill climbing into a wind, I made it worse by standing. It was like raising a sail. I was seriously wondering if I should swap out the 17 tooth freewheel for an 18 tooth for the windy fall weather.

I also found, in that startling "oh, my, I almost wiped out" sort of way that my 25m smooth tires aren't the best on slippery roads when there's the least bit of mud or sand.

I just ordered some Nokian 700x35 carbide studded tires for my hybrid. That will become my snow/ice bike over the winter. I'll likely put on last years Innova studded tires on my cross bike (regular steel studs are worn completely down, but it's got good tread) and park the single speed Le Tour for the winter. I might add some fenders for those "not icy, but still wet" days.

The D said...

I have to agree with you Bob. I've been commuting by SS for the past year now. My other commuter bike just hangs in the garage (except for last weeks CX race). Like Scott, I'll probably put my studs on my CX bike and use it for snow/ice bike. I could have used it this morning when I hit a small patch of ice. I caught myself before I went all the way down. Why do people run their sprinklers every flippin' day of the week? What waste. But I digress.

Hope to see you on your new SS at the Spooks on Spokes event on October 31st. It's going to be a wild adventure! I promise.

dale said...

Glad the Raleigh project is working for you, Bob. Having put the bike together yourself probably adds a little more flavoring to the ride. There is something about a ss ride.

Scott, I use to ride 66 or 73 gear inch, now I'm at 63 and don't want anymore for my commutes. I started with 35c slicks (schwalbe marathon supremes) and now riding 40c dirt touring (marathon extremes). 60 psi on pavement, 50 on gravel, around 40 on singletrack. Have yet to try the extremes on snow but also have the studded marathon winters for added traction.

Scott, D, gears are nice for the varied winter conditions, but I think fixed comes into it's own in winter. Geared down for snow and less wind chill, no der to coat with salt and slush. Confidence building measuring traction via back pressure on pedals (usually surprised at how much pressure needed to slide tire). And in really cold temps, no stuck freewheel pawls.

The D said...

Dale, your gear selection is spot on. I ride 62-gear inches with a 46/20t. I used to ride 72-G.I. but mashed too hard on the climbs along my commute. I think even 62-inches is going to be too stiff of a gear for ice-packed hills. I'm thinking of getting a spare rear-wheel so I can flip flop ratios on the fly if I get stuck at work when a blizzard hits. The problem with my commute, which is 26-miles round trip, is that half of it is flat as a pancake and the second half is rolling steep hills. Not a big deal until the snow falls.

The other major problem I've had in the snow is my rim brakes freezing up, which is why I'm looking into getting discs for my commuter bike.