Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thank Goodness I Had A Spare

Shortly after getting my Nishiki hybrid which is my normal commuter bike, I stupidly rode it up the edge of a sidewalk and bent the rim. Three different bike shops proclaimed the rim toast so I replaced it.... with the cheapest thing I could find at the time. My philosophy is to try the cheapest solution first. If it works, great; if not, then at least I know why I need to spend more money.

Well the new wheel did well.... for a while. Starting last fall I occasionally broke a spoke. Then Tuesday morning I was riding to work and while hammering up a hill, SNAP- whoosh, whoosh, whoosh- the familiar sound of a broken spoke. NUTS. I arranged for a ride home that afternoon. I decided that I had lived with the cheapie wheel long enough and ordered a new, better one from the bike shop.

In the meantime, I went back to the bike I commuted with for a while last year- the 1983 Raleigh Marathon I pulled out of a dumpster in December '08.

When my commute was only 7 miles and I didn't carry as much, the Dumpster Queen was fine. But my new commute is longer, involves more climbing, and perhaps most importantly, I carry more stuff. The bike is okay- it carried me and my stuff to the office and back home- but the ride just wasn't as fun. I think this bike is just not in its element when it's loaded down. It'll do until I can get my replacement wheel though. Here are a few pics from this week.


Morry said...

before losing my job I probably rode my Marathon loaded over 3500 miles

RANTWICK said...

Isn't it great to have another bike to go to? I bet if you rode this one for a few more days you would start to love it again... that's how it goes with me when I switch.

Big Commute envy continues...


Noreaster said...

Well......crap. I was hoping to use MY Raleigh Marathon as my Long Distance Commuter this summer after I built up to the 22 mile one-way trip. Why did you find the drop-barred Touring bike LESS suitable for a longer commute than a flat bared hybrid (other than the technology gap)? The Marathon looks FANTASTIC BTW. Is the bar wrap leather? I have been contemplating such a treatment for mine but that's pretty spendy.

Justin said...

That's a good looking Raliegh. I'd rather ride that 17 miles a day rather than a flat bar.

Doohickie said...

Noreaster: Don't write off the Raleigh before you try it. I think part of the problem is that the Marathon's been sitting on hooks in the garage for a few months and it could use some lube in its hubs. The wheels normally roll very smoothly but I could feel a little resistance in them. Couple that with the fact that I'm not entirely used to my longer commute and it was a tough ride home into the wind and..... it just wasn't a good commute. It may or may not have been the bike itself though.

I pulled the Marathon out of a dumpster and have been very happy with it previously. You may find it works great for your commute. I used it for a 7 mile (each way) commute for three months last year and it was just fine.

The bar wrap is this style of stuff in red with black. I've had that red saddle bag for 25 years and used the handlebar tape to make it match the bike. The red heron headbadge doesn't hurt either.

Chandra said...

did i see the "L" word? Loaded down?? You are not really carrying that much are, or, are you? If you really start carrying a lotta stuff like I do, both for training and shopping, you may see a bunch more.

Sometimes, having a sturdy/reliable rack is also not a bad idea.

Be safe out there and have fun!

Peace :)

Dottie said...

A spare bike. Nice!

Velouria said...

Funny how the same bicycle can give you different impressions of its performance under different circumstances. What wheel are you getting?