Sunday, October 09, 2005

Something weird...

Something weird happened when I changed out the drop bars on my fixed-gear commuter for some old ‘all-rounders’. The more upright seating position inspired me to ride sedately. I changed the bars this morning, ran new brake cables and cable housing, and then went out to do a few errands.

I felt slow. That is, it seemed as if I were riding slower, but when I counted revs (this bike doesn’t have a computer) they were in the same range that I normally ride, roughly 90-100 rpm.

It’s been years since I was on an upright bike, and the change was pleasant. I’ll probably leave it like this for the winter since this is the bike equipped with fenders. Sandra gave me some Hippo Hands a year or two ago, and now I’ll be able to use them.

I like to move around on a drop bar in order to alleviate pressure on my hands, and it was no different with these flat bars. I used the ends, the middle, and the innermost portions of the grips, seeming to prefer riding with my hands over the brake lever body, rather than further out. Maybe it’s a little more aero, but mostly I just felt more comfortable.

Yesterday, I went by Tom’s for a new chain for the Bianchi and another headlight. The light is a Cateye HL-EL-300, a 5 LED unit that’s noticeably brighter than the little lipstick size Cateye I’ve been using. Both of them pale in comparison to the 25 watt Turbocat light, but the Turbocat is currently broken and sitting in my toolbox waiting for repair.

It’s true that the HL-EL-300 throws more light than the little Cateye, but it doesn’t have a blinking mode. Even though it’s illegal in Oklahoma to have lights set to flashing mode, I prefer it at twilight. I think it makes a cyclist more conspicuous. So far, the cops haven’t stopped me, but then again, I haven’t run into Deputy Cupcake in the morning, either.


Blogger John said...

I think you're right about the headlight in flashing mode making you more conspicuous to motorists. I've found that it also does the trick on wrong-way cyclists (which is every other person on a bike in my town). They see me coming from blocks away and cross over to the proper side of the street. It's magical.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I appreciate that you read my blog. I certainly am not anti-cyclist. In fact, until I could drive, I could not be separated from my bicycle. I lived so far out in the country, as soon as I had the option to go see people nearer town, I took it. Anyway, I was fairly active again in college, when friends were close by and we would just take off and hit trails where we saw them.

Now, that said, I've just never cared for street riding much. I've never understood how someone can feel safe riding on a road posted at 55 mph or faster, with all those cars racing by.

I'm not trying to put down street cyclists, and I tried to make it clear in my blog entry that I overreacted. I would like to know, though, how you don't just get the bejeepers (if you have them) scared out of you when you've just started down a hill and a car comes rushing over it, swerving to barely miss you because they had no way of knowing you were there.

I realize many roads do not have shoulders, and on those that do, many drivers cut curves too tight, potentially putting cyclists in danger.

As a newspaper reporter living in the Ozarks, I saw and heard about accidents that made me sure that, no matter how much I might want to get back into biking, I would not want to do so on the streets.

I'm just trying to understand how you deal with the car factor. Do you think some roads should be considered too hazardous for cyclists?

8:43 PM  

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