Saturday, August 22, 2015

Going Slow

This summer, I've been doing a lot more biking with the kids on their own bikes, and a lot less where I drag the kids around in the bike train. This has good and bad points: it's satisfying to see the kids gain confidence on their own bikes, but I may miss this extra strength training when I hit a big ride like Mohican. One thing I have noticed is that the Albastache bar on the VO isn't ideal for going slow with the kids--the main hand position, up in the forward curves, is a little too leaned forward when I'm going slow. Sliding my hands back on the bars brings me more upright, but that position doesn't have any brake access. That's not ideal when I'm riding with kids who stop randomly and frequently.

As much as I like the Albastache bar, after Kate's S24O last weekend, I was out in the garage changing things around. This isn't what I started with, but I ended up with this:

It's my Surly Open bar paired with (carbon fiber!) bar ends on the forward curves. It doesn't have the smooth good looks of the Albastache (though I still like it), but so far it's doing everything I want it to:

- I can put my hands way back on the grips, and sit upright while still able to quickly grab the brakes. This is my go to position for going slow.

- I can put my hands up near the brake clamps, and be in a nicely leaned over position. This is my default position for riding solo. I can brake with my pinky/ring finger, which works well enough. I need to fill in the space between the grip and the brake lever, somehow. Maybe another pair of grips, cut in half.

- For headwinds, I can put my hands on the (carbon fiber!) bar ends, which brings my elbows in and my back down. This is actually quite a bit more comfortable than the equivalent "on the hoods" position on the Albastache bar.

While I was messing around with the Camargue, I also removed the Jandd frame bag, and moved those contents into the front bag. It was handy to carry all my regular tools, first aid kit, etc, separated from my daily load, but I like the looks of the open space in the front of the frame:

I initially started this built with the Jones Loop bar taken off my old (now sold) Stumpjumper. However, the cross bar on the Loop prevented me from putting the brakes and shifter where I wanted them. The longer open space on the Open Bar gave me that extra room to get everything lined up.

One other change I'll probably work on next: going back to double gearing. The 32 x 11/34 gives me all the range I really need, but I spend a lot of time in the 32xsmall gear combination, which makes for a lot of chain noise over those small gears. A bigger front ring should quiet this down.

Speaking of going slow, Henry and I headed out for some off road action today after lunch. I had initially intended to take him to the beginner trail at Alum, but it was still listed as too wet. Instead, we hit the Avery woodlot trail, then cruised over to the Brandon Park and rode around the pond:

After that, we hit the trails at Wellington Park, then over to Ugly Dumb Fish for a junk food break:

There, we sat on the grassy hill and watched traffic go by as we had our snack. Whenever we're out, we play the "car game": pick the best car that goes past, but after you pick it, you can't pick anything else if something better comes by. You have to pick something by the end, or you're walking home (not really, of course) I think I won this round with a Porsche Panamera vs. Henry's Mustang GT with aftermarket pipes.

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