Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My gear

Just FYI, I thought I'd post up my utility cycling gear. Might as well, right? Depending on the task at hand, I may swap, mix, and match stuff from one bike to another.

1999 Diamondback Sorrento SE (Yellow/Black)
Pros: Front suspension, 24 speed, indexed shifters. Easier to ride and shift, more forgiving on treacherous KCMO Roads.
1998 Diamondback Outlook (Red)
Pros: Weighs less, rigid front fork makes for a more direct feel. Seems to handle better on pavement.

When commuting to work, pretty much all of this stuff gets put on the bike I'm using:
Schwinn seat-post-mounted cargo rack
- Blackburn Mountain Air pump mounted on rack
- Plano 3200 Tackle/Tool box (trays removed) bolted to rack with thumb-bolts
-- Clothes inside tool box
-- Misc gadgets for work inside tool box
-- Comb, hair gel, deoderant inside tool box
-- Bell LED tail light mounted outside tool box
Axiom under-seat bag
- Park Tool MTB3 Rescue tool inside seat bag
- Spare inner tube inside seat bag
- Patch kit inside seat bag
Bell handlebar bag
- Master Python cable lock inside handlebar bag
- Lunch inside handlebar bag
- Book to read while riding the bus inside handlebar bag
Blackburn Quadrant headlight
mars_3"Blackburn Mars 3.0 tail light

I've put a ton of reflective tape on the bikes and accessories. The Axiom Seat Bag and Bell handlebar bag both have quite a bit of reflective material on them as-is. I added reflective tape to the front forks, to the chainstays and seatstays, to the cargo rack, to the rims, and to the toolbox that sits on the cargo rack. I usually wear reflective ankle bands, a reflective helmet, a reflective flourescent chartreuse "crossing guard" style vest, and gloves with reflective material on them. I'd rather look like a dweeb cartoon character than a speedbump. No one will ever be able to say I just "came out of nowhere" with all the flashing lights, bright material, and reflective stuff.

I swap wheelsets depending on weather conditions. Right now, I'm using this setup:
Front: 26" Joytech/Alex Quick Release wheel, Cheng Shin knobby tire
Rear: 26" Shimano/Alex Quick Release wheel, Cheng Shin knobby tire, Shimano 11-34 MegaRange cassette

The MegaRange cassette with 34T for the granny gear is insane, and let me climb or keep moving in the toughest conditions such as deep mud or snow. The cheapo tires kept me upright in ice, and conquer gravel, mud, snow, water and sand very well. They make me think twice about trading for a big name brand tire like Kenda.

When the weather's nicer:
Front: 26" Joytech/Alex Quick Release wheel, Forte SlickCity ST Tire
Rear: 26" Shimano/Alex Quick Release wheel, Forte SlickCity ST Tire, Shimano 11-30 Cassette (OEM)

These tires are insanely fast for a mountain bike. If you ride mostly on pavement, do yourself a favor and pick up a set of slicks. This particular set has proven to be very resilient, with plenty of abuse, and only one "goat head" puncture actually made it through to the inner tube.

Winter clothing:
I use Champion(tm) Medium-weight thermal base layer full pant and long-sleeve crew shirts on cold days. My upper body usually has a T-shirt on with a double-layer work coat over it. I usually wear jeans in the winter for cycling. If it gets colder, I might wear ski bibs.

I use a Seirus balclava for head warmth, Uvex Ski goggles on really cold or blustery days, and Ryno work gloves for hand warmth and a little bit of hand padding.

So, now you know what I'm working with. A pair of fairly old but very reliable bikes, and a modest assortment of add-ons.

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