Category Archives: Bike Equipment

Sometimes you want to go. . .

Bicycle Cogset

Not my chain, but it might as well have been. (Photo by Dave Scriven, Creative Commons License).

. . .Where Somebody Will Clean Your Chain

Uncharacteristically I’m going coyly to slide past the obvious innuendo in the title and simply note that recently I had to take Gypsy Rose into the bike spa and it got me thinking about what I value in a really good bike store.

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The Last Piece of the Puzzle

I can see you!

I can see you!

Actually, the title of this post is a lie.  If you are a cyclist you know there is no end to the puzzle; there are always new gaps to be filled, new pieces to add.  I may, for example, have in the past occasionally mentioned my lack of matching leather bar tape once or quince.   But I finally added the last major set of components I need for Gypsy Rose to be fully ready to rando: a full-scale lighting system.

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It’s a Whole New World. . .

gasp. . .cough. . .splutter. . .

OK, that attempt to imitate a Disney tween singing voice might have been ill-advised.  But it is certainly an apt description of my experience thus far with randonneuring.

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Practical Pimping

I recently completed the first set of improvements to the Surly Disc Trucker to bring her in line with what I need for a randonneuring/touring/commuting bike.  Also known as the One Bike to Rule Them All.

But first. . .


After trying out several different possibilities, I’m pleased to report that the Trucker now has a name: Gypsy Rose.  It was originally Gypsy because it is a bike for roaming the landscape, but the Rose just seemed to want to attach itself (initially, I think because of the color).  Not because she really gives off an exotic dancer kind of vibe, but certainly Gypsy Rose Lee was also a free-spirited independent type.  As an added bonus, Gypsy Rose sort of does sound as if it could be a trucker CB handle.

I also found that there’s a name for me!  Doing the odd bit of digging around on forums for randonneuring and touring info I came across an established term for people like me who show a marked preference for old-style bikes and bike gear.  Now to all the people who know me, prepare to laugh it up, I can take it (please Mommy don’t hurt me): retrogrouch.  Yes, I know, too perfect a fit with every other facet of my character.  But here’s the interesting thing.  I’ve noticed that on the forums it isn’t simply a dismissive term of abuse.  Often it is used with an almost grudging admission that the retrogrouches might be on to something.  Yes, you can almost hear some users saying, those retrogrouches might have a point about cassettes that are one louder and are right to suggest that people who spend all their time hollowing out the titanium screws on their bikes to save 0.3 grams should seek professional help.

So there we go, the curmudgeon and the stripper.  Together at last.

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Provocation vs. Prevarication

In response to my previous post about new helmet technologies a teammate forwarded a link to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute which takes issue with some of the points made in Barcott’s Bicycling magazine article.  The BHSI does have a very important objection which I’ll address in a minute.  They also point to a number of factual errors in the article and include a list.  But their chief concern seems to be that the article “over-stated” its point and was written simply to be “provocative” with the clear implication that that is a bad thing.  The BHSI itself relies on over-statement when in its title it suggests that Barcott’s article “has many misleading statements;” by their own admission the factual errors are “minor.”  Furthermore, being provocative is not the same thing as being “alarmist.”  No one reading Barcott’s article could fail to recognize that there was a lot of research and work that went into this; this is not simply the hack journalist’s “[Fill in the Blank] gives you Cancer!!!!!” story.

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