Thursday, May 15, 2008

KC Bike Week 2008 Day 4: A New Beginning

Not really. Just a different bike, but it felt good to ride something that didn't sound as if it were falling to pieces.

I didn't get much sleep last night, so combined with this week's mile-fest, I had a lot of trouble getting any momentum this morning. I didn't have time for a proper breakfast, so I lashed a pair of bananas onto my rear rack along with my clothes.

Hybridzilla's rear rack is seatpost-mounted and doesn't have a good way to hold my panniers while keeping them out of the spokes. I had to wear a backpack, but I loaded as much stuff as I could onto the rack with its integrated tie-down bungees.

Hybridzilla's treadless slick tires really do roll almost as well as my road bike's narrow tires. I'm constantly amazed at how well behaved this bike is for the mere pittance I've spent on it so far. If I didn't have to carry a backpack when commuting on it, I'd probably use it more often. Unfortunately, buying another cargo rack and set of fenders is an expenditure for a later time. This bike is pretty minimalistic, and I like that.

Look Maww! No Hands!

Approaching 79th and Quivira, I saw John C's tail strobe. Already ravenous, I started working on a banana while watching Karen's LED headlight glisten over the hill near Monrovia, still a minute or two away. Karen wheeled through the intersection. John and I followed along. I was still munching. Somewhere along Nieman, I found a storm drain, where I jettisoned the banana carcass.

I managed 42.8 MPH on Hybridzilla down the 67th street hill. This high-cadence endeavor actually woke my legs up quite a bit, and made the rest of the ride seem a bit easier. As slow as I thought I'd be, we made good time. It's been nice having a daily convoy all week.

I was alone at *$ this morning for a while. Eventually, Lorin and JR showed up. Here's Hybridzilla, all geared up. The second banana is still strapped to the rear rack.

Bungees cause hell on bananas.

Random Tunage:
Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (Pump Mix)
POB - Boiler (Humate Remix)


Sirrus Rider said...

I'd Start with a rack (Maybe a Blackburn MTN-1? that has a shelf so you could live without fenders for a while.

Noah said...

That has to come after:

* New BB for the Twelve
* More bike shorts
* New set of panniers.

I'm making good money, and saving some cash by riding to work. I can't just go out and buy all this stuff at once, though.

Sirrus Rider said...

I feel your pain. Nothing beats having a perfectly good Kodak Digcam jump out of your pannier while not paying attention and in the process of making a citywide commute. It was a $300+ mistake.

Anonymous said...

You better hope somebody doesn't call the fruit police because of those bruises you gave that bananna.

Apertome said...

Indeed, there are always bicycle needs ... but seriously, I bought a decent (Axiom brand, I think) rack for my old mountain bike for under $25, including tax. I have the same rack on my road bike and haven't had any problems. They're inexpensive and strong.

Anonymous said...

Heh... I just started bike commuting last week and there was an article in today's paper about how the only city ranked worse than Indianapolis for bike commuting is KC, I guess for bike lane mileage. Somehow I ended up here, but it sure seems like you have your act together in KC!

I guess I've tried this enough times that I'm ready to get a rack and stuff. The backpack is heavy!

Noah said...

Kansas City is ranked dead last in the 50 largest US cities based on (I believe) the percentage of trips taken on bicycle, or perhaps it's percentage of commuters who ride to work.

Regardless, Kansas City is trying very, very hard. We have a long way to go. We are far away from being a bastion of bike friendliness. Narrow roadways in a state of disrepair cover most of the surface area of downtown. Motorists are rarely held accountable for killing or injuring cyclists, and there are very few "safe" thoroughfares for cyclists to use between the myriad municipalities around here.

What trails we do have are loosely scattered about, when some of them could be joined together with more planning and some funds.

Also, keep in mind that this is Bike Week. This is when people -- for a brief, fleeting moment -- embrace bicycles before returning to their regularly scheduled commute featuring a 10 MPG couch-on-wheels.

Congrats on taking the challenge to commute by bike. I'm enjoying the many benefits, which I find outweigh the challenges. I hope you can do the same.

Sirrus Rider said...

If Kansas City is Dead last at 50 then Houston must be just above it.

Noah said...

Nope. Thirty Forth out of Fifty.

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