Well, after all it IS winter. So, why am I disappointed when the weather is less than ideal for cycling? It could be worse, we could be shoveling snow! Fortunately, our snow fall today was a mere dusting before dawn that never had a chance of survival. But, it did leave us with cold temps and very wet roads from the full day of rain on Friday that preceded the flurries.
Our plans for the weekend definitely included some tandem time and, bless her heart, Miss Debbie was keeping an eye on the temps and eagerly awaiting the 40’s. It was around 10:00am Saturday morning when the mercury finally passed that 40°F mark so our ride was on! We had to throw the mud-guards on our tandem for our ride as the roads were all still wet from the rain, high humidity, lack of wind and sun. But, the mud-guards did their thing and kept the moisture off of us for our entire ride: there’s just nothing better than mud-guards when it comes to riding on wet roads!
We had a lovely ride and weren’t bothered a bit by the wet roads. It was a little chilly when we first started, but as we pulled into the driveway the sun finally broke through the clouds for the first time in a week! Oh, it was a joyous thing to see that big bright ball in the sky.
I should probably put a plug in here for the SKS Racerblade Long mud guards; they have been fantastic! Regular readers may recall that we’ve tried a number of different types of mud guards on our various bikes and tandems over the years. Trying to find mud-guards that will work with the tight spacing between tires and fork crowns or brake bridges on ‘racing frames’ has been a challenge. It wasn’t until June of 2014 that I stumbled upon the SKS RacerBlade Long, an improved version of the original RacerBlade. However, unlike their predecessors, these actually work and are easy to mount and remove.
There are set of mounting tabs that you can either temporarily or permanently mount to your brake calipers and then a pair of stay adapters on each mud guard — front & rear — that get laced through your quick release skewers. In theory, the skewer hardware can stay on the bike, but I prefer to leave mine attached to the mud-guard stays. Regardless, installing and removing these full coverage mud-guards takes all of about 3 minutes, 5 minutes if someone is chatting with you. And, best of all, they actually work!
Speaking of product endorsements, long-time readers may recall that we began to run diNotte tail lights on our bicycles and tandems during daylight hours back in January 2010. The first diNotte taillight that we purchased was — like all of the lights we now have — bought second hand. It was a model that used 4 AA batteries instead of having a nicad rechargeable cell. Rather than sending a bunch of AA batteries to the battery dump (I have no idea where they go when you put them in a battery recycling container at the electronics store), I decided to give the Duracell brand of rechargeable AA batteries a try. How’d they do? Well, they are finally starting to give me some trouble… six years after I bought the things. Yes, we’ve been rotating the same three sets of four AA batteries on and off the bike since January 2010 and they’ve always been very reliable. However, of late, the wall-mounted charger that came with the batteries began throwing an “abnormal battery” indicator light (red flashing diode) about a month ago and I’ve determined that it’s most likely terminal. One of the three sets of four AA batteries is still good, but six of the other eight batteries just won’t play nice in the charger anymore. So, I’m pretty sure I’ll simply pick up some new Duracell rechargable batteries. However, this time I’ll try to do a better job of keeping them rotating through the charger as I suspect leaving some of the cells unused and uncharged for perhaps months at a time may have hastened their demise.
I will confess to harboring thoughts about bringing my Erickson Signature single bike out of retirement. I was out in the garage giving my Dean Castanza’s rear derailleur’s alignment a little bit of an adjustment to eliminate some skipping that I experienced on a ride a few weeks ago. As I was getting some cable end caps from the file drawers that contain all of my spare components and small part it dawned on me I probably had enough parts to build up a road bike and, well, even another mountain bike if I was so inclined.
The Erickson frame was picked bare when I pulled the components off the frame and used them to build-up Debbie’s Calfee Luna Pro back in 2009. Ever since then it’s been living in a closet along side my ’98 Bianchi Team Mercatone Uno Tour de France replica frame while I’ve been riding my Calfee Tetra Pro and Dean Castanza.
With the parts that just came off of our Calfee tandem and a few other very nice Campy parts that have come off other bikes over the years I was thinking I probably have enough components to build-up the Erickson without spending more than perhaps $100 for a headset and some Campy Ergo shifter springs for a shift-lever overhaul. It’s always something, isn’t it?
Anyway, that’s the cycling news from the weekend. All of my other ramblings are, as promised, now in a journal entry on my RidingTwoUp blog which you can get to using this hyperlink. It starts off talking about bike week at Daytona, but later on includes a recap of our weekend. Happy reading!