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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cycling X-USA

This video covers the first half of a cross-country bike trip from California to North Carolina. I was riding solo for this half, so my video camera was my primary source of (one-sided) conversation and diversion. Thankfully my dear pal Mel joined me in Kansas for the second half of the bike ride so I could stop talking to myself. Just can't wait to get on the road again...

Read more about this adventure here:

Cycling X-USA: Part 1 from California to Kansas from Kate Harris on Vimeo.

Cycling X-USA: Part 2 from Kansas to North Carolina from Kate Harris on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Three Bikes in One

During construction of my latest Pugsley, to replace the 9zero7 that I never came to enjoy, I wondered if I really needed three bicycles – actually four if you include the Dawes Ultra Galaxy touring bike lying in bits scattered across the cosmos – okay, scattered around the shed and attic. Did I really need a Surly Ogre, a Surly Krampug and a Surly Pugsley?
When I sat looking at the bikes in the shed, comfortable in my wee folding chair with a fine Italian medium strength coffee in one hand and a large Kit-Kat in the other, I saw that there was very little difference between the three bikes. They were all made by Surly, the geometry of all three was very similar, they all had Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub gearing with 32T front chain rings and seating, steering and brakes were all almost identical. They were even all the same colour, green, for goodness sake!
The only difference I could see that made any difference at all was the wheel sets. The Ogre had 28 mm wide Halo Freedom 29er rims with Continental X-King 2.2” 29er tyres, the Krampug had 50 mm wide Surly Rabbit Hole rims shod with Surly 29” x 3” Knard tyres and the Pugsley had a wheels set based on 65 mm wide Surly Marge Lite rims with Surly 3.8” Larry tyres.
Now, with a bit of wheel re-building and hub swapping to suit the offset rear of the Pugsley frame, I could get rid off one Pugsley frame as well as the Ogre frame and keep the three wheels sets for use on the single remaining Pugsley frame. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to swap out a wheel set, which is particularly easy with the Alfine hub setup. Mind, I would probably go for the 82 mm wide Rolling Darryl rim to base the third set on...

Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Ride in the Rain

Photo by Jamie McCaffrey
Rain, whether a mist or a downpour, is a game changer. But, while it’s not top on the list for premiere riding conditions, with a few tricks up your sleeve, it’s easy to turn a ride in the rain from a soggy nightmare into a pleasure cruise.

Time It Right

The first thing to remember when riding in the rain is to take your time. Leave your house a few minutes earlier than usual, slow down, and ride consistently.

Use Your Brain

The road will be slick during those first 15 minutes of rain (remember those oils on the roadway that you learned about back in your high school driver’s ed class?), and your brakes will be less responsive. Watch out for surfaces that are usually fine in dry conditions. That includes metal plates, bridge decks, painted street surfaces and leaf piles.

Mind the Corner

Slow down before making a turn, and minimize breaking while you round a corner.

Be Seen

In order to stay safe in the rain, it’s imperative that you’re visible. Remember, the rain isn’t just reducing your visibility. It’s also reducing the visibility for drivers with whom you share the road. Make sure everyone can see you! Reflective clothing is a great idea. Also, make sure to have a bright white light on the front of your bike and a red light on the back.

Be Cool

I don’t care what anyone else tells you; fenders are cool. They keep that awful “skunk tail” of a mud streak off of your back and save your face and eyes from grit and water. Fenders are a relatively low cost investment with a huge payoff: your comfort!
Read more here...