|This is how much I love our tandem!|
TandemI've been wanting a tandem for a good while now. My SO and I had ridden rental tandems a couple times in the past, and the experience was good enough for us to want to own our own tandem. The promise of being able to go faster and farther than on solo bikes seemed enticing. One obstacle to finding a tandem was sizing: I'm 198 cm (6' 5 1/2") tall, whereas the SO is only 163 cm (5' 4"). My local Craigslist alert for tandems didn't yield anything appropriately sized, and we didn't want to jump in over our heads with an expensive new tandem before we were more certain that we'd actually ride it enough. In the end, I found an early-2000s XL/M-sized Cannondale RT-3000 at a local bike swap. Nice components (XTR rear derailleur, Ultegra 9-speed brifters, Hügi tandem hubs) and in great condition. It fits 38s in the rear and 40s (and probably more) in the front, and we've had some good rides on it. Tight turns are still terrifying for the stoker, but otherwise it's been working out well. We haven't gotten around to try and load it up for camping or at least credit card touring yet, but that's definitely in the plans for next year. I also need better lighting, as we often end up riding in the dark and the Planet Bike battery front light I have is mediocre compared to the dyno lights on my other bikes.
|Giving the SO a lift to the airport on the tandem|
Plastic saddles on everyday bikeWhen switching around saddles between bikes somehow I ended up with a racy Prologo saddle on my everyday fixed-gear Cross-Check. As it turns out, I like it a lot. Previously I had had different leather saddles on the bike (first a Brooks B-17 Imperial, then a Velo Orange one), which made some sense as they were comfortable and the bike served double-duty as a touring bike. But for an everyday bike that gets ridden in any kind of weather and often parked outside, a plastic saddle is just more practical. And I survived a 100-mile ride on the saddle while just wearing MUSA shorts (see below)!
|Lake Monona 100 -- my first fixed-gear century ride|
MUSA shortsI bought a pair of original MUSA shorts from a friend and they are great! I'm not sure if I'd be willing to pay retail on these, but they are comfortable and practical -- just as you would expect from a Rivendell product. One downside (which I believe has been changed in the current generation of the shorts) are the large and unattached pockets. It's nice to have plenty of pocket space. But especially on downhills on my fixie (i.e. at high RPM), the pockets and their contents bounce around a lot. My SO slightly shrunk the pockets and that has improved the issue.
Being a BlueBikes Bike AngelI've been spending a bunch of time in Cambridge (Mass.) this year. My SO is on a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for the academic year and I've been visiting her regularly. Because her apartment is very small and doesn't have any secure bike parking, I've gotten by with the BlueBikes bike share system. One neat feature of BlueBikes is that as part of their rebalancing of bikes between stations, they have the Bike Angels program: You get points for removing bikes from full stations, as well as dropping off bikes at empty ones. The points translate into free passes, membership extensions, and even cash. Cruising around to earn points has been a great way to explore the city. My goal is to reach 250 points total and earn a Bike Angel pin. 125 points down, 125 to go.
iBOB Midwest UnmeetingIt was a small gathering, mostly friends and family of ours, plus Matt, who read about the meeting on the Riv list. The weather was what you may expect for Midwest summer in July: Very hot, humid, and with strong thunderstorms. It would've been nice to have had more BOBs, but I think we'll try again next year or the year after.
|Unmeeting at Governor Dodge State Park|
|Kevin, me, Matt (Photo: Grant Foster)|