Monday, January 17, 2011

Ridgeback Trials

The blog has had a bit of a holiday, and that's partly because I did too. In December the cold and snow came in with a vengeance and while I would mostly have been happy to keep plugging away, the cold was just too much for little MMVII to cope with, no matter how much we wrapped her up. So public transport it was, for a couple of weeks.

With that, and then a couple of weeks off over Xmas and New Year, it was actually a whole month before I got back on the bike again. So my legs knew about it!

There have also been a couple of developments with the Ridgeback recently. Firstly, after several weeks of failing to get quite comfy, I have fitted some new swept-back handlebars. My neighbour Z - who imports bikes and components, and sold me the bike in the first place - sourced these amazing bars for me from the continent. As well as just being more comfortable bars, they include a front carrier onto which you can strap things. I have plans to fit a box or tray for carrying shopping - and which, come the summer, will be just the right size for our picnic basket. Proper Dutch looking, too, although the extra weight on the handlebars does feel a bit odd. Most importantly, of course, they've completely revolutionised the seating position and I am now super comfy!

Especially now I've fitted the gel saddle that Dad gave me last year - much better than the Ridgeback one.

Secondly, sick and tired of buying batteries and dropping lights in the river, I've taken the plunge and retrofitted dynamo lights! Not a hub dynamo but lights that work by induction: you attach magnets to the wheel and a coil to the frame, and that generates electricity as you ride. A genius idea, and mine (the Reelight SL520 front and SL620 rear) also have a power reserve capacitor so that, after a couple of minutes riding, they will even stay on while you're sat at a junction. I no longer need batteries or to take the lights off when I park, which is a huge relief.

So as of last week I'm back in the saddle 5 days a week (except today when it was hooning it down), with only one minor gripe. The strap from my pannier was hanging down and got stuck in the back sprocket, making an oily mess of the strap, my hands and my work shirt. My fault, I guess, for not being more careful with the strap... and yet I can't help thinking, somewhere in the back of my mind, that if the frame was the right one for the hub gears, the bike could have had a fully enclosed chain... and this would never have happened. Hmm.

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