It has indeed been awhile since my last update. I’ve been BUSY trying to get my thesis done. I really haven’t done much GPS tracking of any rides lately because I’ve just been riding when I can. And lately, that’s meant lots of commuting duty so I can keep my cycling legs under me.
The Pompetamine has been getting some miles on it lately. It’s also had some changes since I posted up my original build pics. Here’s what I’ve done to it:
It’s the wet season, so I threw on some SKS full fenders so I can keep drier. I also had to get some narrower tires so the fenders would fit. The rear end of this frame has plenty of width, but tire height is a bit of an issue with fenders. I had some 38’s on it, but I dropped down to 32’s. They’re smoother and faster on pavement and can still take a little dirt. But they’re no gravel grinder tire. If I want to do that, I’ll have to remove the fenders to put the old 38’s on.
I put a smaller 42t chainring on instead of the 46t. I found starts from stoplights to be a PITA on the 46t, and I’ve got a bit of a climb on my way home that was just a beast every evening. The 42t just takes the edge off of the climb and starting from stoplights takes a lot less effort. 42×18 works for me on my commute.
I got a Portland Design Works rack just last week. Boy is this thing nice. Bamboo deck, aluminum construction (even bamboo dowels inserted into some of the aluminum tubing), and curvy, sexy lines. This isn’t grandpa’s utilitarian rack. This one has some design put into it to make it LOOK nice.
More reflective tape to increase visibility and a MagicShine taillight.
Now for the pics (and a vid):
Check out that sexy rack. I don’t have any panniers just yet, though. But you can be sure I’ll pick some up. I’ll probably get a set of waterproof ones. I also want to move the taillight from the seatpost out to the end of the rack, but it’s designed to attach to a round post, not the tab. I have some scrap pvc and I might rig something up.
Rear view. You can see the round light on the seatpost here.
I had to get creative for the front fender attachment to get around the disc brake caliper. First, I needed to use a longer bolt with a shim to get the plastic bracket away from the disc tab. Then, I bent the fender stays around the caliper. I did all that bending with just two pair of pliers. A vise sure would have helped out a lot there.
Checking out the reflective bits on the bike. You’ll notice something about the rims. I got these wheels built up with Velocity Dyad REFLECTIVE rims. Do you see them reflecting here? Barely. If you notice in the horizontal picture where the light hits the front of the front wheel that maybe 1/4 of the rim is reflecting brightly and another 1/4 of the rim is reflecting faintly. That pales in comparison to the reflective sidewall of my Crucible tire. I’m a little miffed that the reflective effect of the rims is that wimpy.
Here’s a vid of most of the active lighting on the bike (the brand new wheel blinkie is dead…must have blinked in the store for hours or something). Pay no attention to the audio here. That noise is the focus on the camera. I have the headlight on blink, actually, but the frame rate of the camera is too slow to catch it. The taillight is good, and motorists appear to be able to see it in the daylight just fine. I seem to be plenty visible to people around here without extra hi-vis clothing, even. Now, people do drive EXTRA cautious around here, though. I have passed more than one person on my bike crossing the railroad tracks going UPHILL. It seems to be sport to go 10mph under the speed limit. It’s enough to drive you crazy when you learned to drive in big cities and when you get in the car you just want to get somewhere for cryin’ out loud.
Commuting here is spoiling me in many respects. Drivers around here mostly don’t yell at cyclists. I can remember being yelled at once since I moved here in 2008 and I have more road miles here than in any of my previous residences. And even then, it was just dumb kids. No idiot rednecks in pickup trucks (though I do live in rural Texas and there are PLENTY of pickups – none of them care to cause any trouble), no aggressive businessmen in too much of a hurry, nobody’s thrown anything at me, none of that. The worst I get are the clueless students. In some ways they’re more dangerous because they’re unpredictable. There’s a half-roundabout at the main entrance to campus that I use to exit sometimes. It used to be two-way, but it was somewhat recently changed so that it’s now a one-way loop. It really simplifies traffic flow there. But there’s the occasional idiot that enters at the exit in spite of the prominent “DO NOT ENTER” signs, paint on the street, and whatnot. I was waiting at the exit on my bike a few times when people have entered there. It’s quite scary to see headlights bearing down on you head on and you’re just standing there straddling the bike. I do my best to scare the crap out of those idiots. I’ve successfully had one group actually stop and get out of their car. Small lessons, right?