Thursday, July 3, 2014

Test riding bikes and going multi-modal

The office closed early for the holiday and left for an afternoon of putzing about the city. This would be a great time to talk to the folks at Thick about a bike. It was a weekday afternoon, I thought it was a time when they wouldn't be extraordinarily busy. Both Chrissy and Adam helped me, I told them what I was looking for in a bike and what I needed to be improved upon with Ruby.

  • disc brakes (I loathe and detest the grey mess that brake pads leave all over a bike.)
  • drop bars to help with my numb fingers
  • the ability to haul lots of crap
They narrowed it down to a handful of bikes and I really wanted to test out something with disc brakes and drop bars to see how it felt. So they let me take a few out around the block a few times.

One I wasn't very keen on, the chain skipped so badly that my foot slipped off the pedal and I smashed my foot on the street so hard I tore skin off, broke my toe ring and chipped the paint job on two of my toenails. Ow.
That was a Salsa, not very pleased with the quality of the shifting and the fact that a new bike's chain skips like that. Another bike that they let me ride felt good, but it was on the too-big side for me and again I wasn't crazy about the hood shifters. I think it's confusing (for my thought train, anyway) to have brakes, up-shifting paddles AND down-shifting paddles all on the hood, my brain had trouble wrapping itself around that. It's just too much going on in a small area.

Then I tried a 44cm Long Haul Trucker. Apparently, 46cm is my size. The disc Trucker they had on the floor was way too big for me. There was a customer that had just picked up her 46cm Trucker that morning that they were going to let me try, but she had just left. They offered to contact her and ask her if she'd be willing to let me try it. Seriously? Wow.

So I went out on the 44cm non-disc Trucker and it did feel a tad small, but I loved the shifting... so damned smooth. My brain loved the simplistic bar-end shifters. I don't mind having to move my hand to shift.

So, now I have a much better sense of what what's out there, how it feels and I'm interested in.


I could see cars on the Parkway from the trail. They were moving at a pace much more snail-like than usual. Both directions too. I attributed it to the perfect storm of the Regatta and a Pirates game.

I made a loop around the Waterfront to see if the cars are warming to my presence. Nope.

Came back through Oakland to meet Hubby for dinner. I made it there, locked up and got a call from him: traffic in the South Hills was hideous too. He told me I would have to take the T home and he would pick me up at the T station near our home. He couldn't make it into the city. Gridlock.

We've been stood up, Ruby.

Dammit! This threw a huge monkey wrench into my plans. I asked him to bring my car which has the rack so I could take the bike home right from the restaurant and ride the Montour tomorrow to avoid the storm of cars set to descend upon the city for the 4th of July, Regatta and another baseball game.

Wait, I can take the bike on the T!

Keeping the bike upright when the car goes around a bend is a bit challenging.


3 days into July and I'm still in the top 10 of the Rust Belt/ National Bike Challenge?

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