Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Starting off the School Year on the Bike

Alright, so it's been a week since my last post and at the moment, my Raleigh is sitting in a puddle of water waiting for the rain to subside.

I've been riding my bike between North and Central campus four times a day since that's the way my schedule works out on most days, and I can't say it's very pleasant fighting the 45-pound-ish beast up the hill on both sides.  I almost always choose the bike over the bus though, because there's something about being on my own set of wheels that gives me a rush like no other, whether it's a car, a bike, or a razor scooter.

Also, look at this.  This morning was one of the few times I took a bus this year and I've never seen six buses in a row before.  I hope this was purposely done to help with the rush of students heading to and from classes at 10 AM.  Every morning when I look at the (always full) bus stop in front of the apartment, I think to myself, "nope" and roll away on my bike.  It usually takes 10-12 minutes to bike between North and Central, which is quite a bit faster than having to wait for a bus.  On top of that, the chance is always high that you'll get squeezed off the bus and be forced to wait for a second or third one to come along.  I had to take the bus back up to North campus this afternoon because of the heavy rain; my bike sits waiting for me next to my Physics class.

I have been riding my '58 Raleigh Sports daily, subjecting it to some wear and tear from the college life.  Yes, I just finished restoring it this past summer and it looks beautifully new, but I love the bike way too much to keep it in a glass display case.  It's an absolute dream to ride (when I'm not going uphill) and I'd rather appreciate it for what it is than for how it looks at the moment.  Of course I do take care to make sure my paint job lasts and I don't crash over pot holes, but I'm not afraid to go through water or park it at a public rack.  I repainted the bike mainly not to make it look nice, but to protect the metal for a little longer so I could keep riding it.  There are some new scratches from other peoples' locks, but I've been touching it up and will be for as long as this tube of paint lasts.  I also protect many parts with corrosion inhibitor spray.  Even if it does get a little scratched up and rusty in the coming years, it'll be nowhere near as bad as it was before I worked on it.

My rear fender bolt somehow rattled loose last week and fell out on the road.  I had no screws in my collection that fit so I just used a stainless steel zip tie.  It seems like a temporary-yet-permanent solution because the zip tie looks janky but will definitely not come off.  I might cut it off sometime and use a real screw, but there's no rush.  It holds the fender completely still and that's all that matters.  I just re-misted the area in corrosion inhibitor spray to make sure the areas where paint was chipped off won't rust right away.

I just installed a cycle computer yesterday because the analog speedo didn't fit.  It didn't come with instructions so I had to look them up myself and even then, the instructions don't cover operation very well.  Oh well, it does its job.  I routed the wire on the same side of the fork that the Dynohub wire runs. I hit a maximum of 26 mph this morning, which is slower than average because I had to *gasp* brake for a car in front of me that was doing more or less the speed limit.

Last year, I was one of the only people in my group of architecture friends to bike on campus regularly, but it seems more of them have brought bikes from home this year and are willing to ride them.  Here's a portrait of three of our bikes parked at a soccer field we were playing at.  On the left is my friend's beautiful Pure Fix with a flip flop rear hub, which was in freewheel mode until I flipped the wheel into fixed-gear mode for him last weekend.  Then there's my ladies'-frame Raleigh and another ladies' bike ridden by a friend who's an actual lady.  We've been planning a "family bike trip" but all plans have fallen through so far.  Someday, though ...