Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fun, but tough going this morning

Photo: My pile o' stuff. Pants (3 layers this AM), goggles, balaclava, backpack, gloves and helmet. Oh yes, and a coffee press about 30 seconds from being ready to decant. I'll get to the coffee in a moment.

I love riding in the snow, so this morning's ride was blissful compared to yesterday's homeward commute. Shortly after hitting the road, though, things were apparently less than peachy keen. Where do I begin?

My first mistake was not bringing the bike in last night. This would have either allowed it to dry or at least kept the moisture from freezing.

My front brake. The pivots are frozen solid. If I squeeze them, they will not release. It's not the cable. It's the pivots. They're full of water from last night's rain. Shifters. All hosed up. Pawls won't engage on the rear shifter. Front derailleur full of ice and doesn't want to downshift. It'll up-shift just fine. So, I had a singlespeed on the way to work. At least it wasn't an entirely craptastic gear ratio.

The front tried to wash out on 95th street, too. I don't know how many of you are in or around KC so some will have to take my word for it when I say 95th and Quivira is not a good place to be making snow angels in the middle of the road, even at six in the morning. Somehow, I managed to stay rubber-side-down. My old VersaTrac knock-off knobbies never did that, though. Not on powder.

Got to the bus stop at about 6:15. About a dozen cars sat idling. With temperatures at 13 degrees according to Wunderground, I don't blame them. I saw Lorin walking up (not riding) as I did a bit of a cool-down lap around the parking lot. The bus was almost half an hour late, so we were just standing out there in the elements. I was flawlessly bundled for the occasion, so it wasn't a big deal, except for my toes which did get a little bit wet. The bus got downtown a good 45 minutes later than usual, too. All in all, I got to work an hour and a half after I left home. I could have likely ridden all the way to work and beat the bus, as it's only about 9MPH average. It would have been a close match, especially with only one gear, but I think I could have done it.

I didn't get my Mocha this morning, and I'm kind of grouchy about that. As unhealthy as it is, my daily mocha is about the closest thing I get to breakfast most mornings. So, here I sit, sipping on a delicious pressed coffee. It lacks anything resembling sustenance though. Caffeine and warmth only take me so far.

Random Tunage:
Underworld - Juanita
DJ Eyal - Dreamcatcher


dvicci said...

We are of completely diametric viewpoints regarding yesterday's evening commute. I loved every revolution for the whole 9+ miles. That's just me, though, we know this. I love the rain, and if it's mixed with a little sleet and snow, so bet it. ;)

This morning was rough, though... I made great time, but nearly bought it several times before I got to 91st, several times on 91st, and a few more times on Lamar. I'm pretty sure I'd be better off with better tires, but I consider it a character building process. These tires are 14 years old and counting. They're original. Vintage. It's an emotional thing at this point. I hate to get ride of them.

Too bad about your bike. I did take mine in last night (to hang on the fancy new hooks), and quickly realized that I should have wiped it down prior to hanging it up. Black, greasy water was dripping all over the carpet. That'll have to be steam cleaned later. Until the, I'll just keep the rags around to wipe 'er off during this sort of weather.

So... fellow commuter, fellow InfoSec duder, AND a fan of pressed coffee. Kinda weird.

Noah said...

I don't know about the love of pressed Coffee, But Jason is yet another local InfoSec bike commuter.

amidnightrider said...

The thing I envy most about all of you city riders is the coffee shops. I would definitely be one of youse if I were there.

Noah said...

That's okay, the thing I envy most about you nor'easters is wicked pissah. Why the hell can't we have cool phrases out here?

MRMacrum said...

Winter riding problems are universal. Reading your exploits is like reliving the many winters I have ridden here in Maine. You won't forget to bring that bike inside in the future. I made the same mistake and learned the same lesson.

Regarding your brake cable touch up in the other post - One trick you might try the next time you pull the housing and see oxidation is to run the cable through some emery cloth or green scrubby before lubing. While you used grease, I always use Phil's Tenacious rubbed in hard and then wiped clean.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with the Phil's Tenacious. I was having problems with my rear derailluer 'freezing up' on me. I added a few drops of cycling oil down the cable housing and it seemed to solve the problem. I love riding in the winter. I have the road all to myself. One thing I learned is to maintain good chain/drivetrain maintenance and to bike-wash every so often. To keep the salt and junk off of your frame, etc. ScottNorthSide (

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