There are some days that I wake up and the entire world is black. This was one of those days. This blackness is exacerbated, oddly enough, when it happens on a holiday when my usual morning riding routine flies out the window.
I know this, and so even though I didn’t feel like riding–because when the blackness comes I don’t feel much like doing anything–I know that going for a ride is just what I need.
This is also why I have a solid riding partner and why we plan ahead.
Nate, resting majestially after the first climb.
Snow on the ground and snow falling.
Trail finds (though we left it at the park for its owner).
Riding hard up hills, slipping around on slushy singletrack and wet leaves, and bombing down bouncy rutted hills–that’s bike therapy.
I remember years ago a series of commercials by one of the boot companies–Timberland perhaps–that was centered around the notion that their boots were the manifestation of Bootness.
Leaving aside that the overt use of Platonic forms in advertisements is rare, the idea stuck–at least for us–and it became both something of a household joke and a metonym for all sorts of outdoorsy things.
This occurred to me when riding the newly configured Devil today, because it now is a perfect example of Tankness.
The tankification process began about 6 months ago when I decided I would switch to a geared drivetrain after riding singlespeed for the entire spring and early summer. I used the heaviest, most burly 700c wheels that I own, and a low-end Shimano derailleur. None of these things are light, or even not-heavy.
At some point I added a rear rack–an old Blackburn–that’s not too heavy. But it’s there, as are the lock and the quick release mount for the Carradice saddlebag. And with the coming of winter, I mounted a NOS set of Nokian Hakkepelitta 35mm studded tired, which are perhaps the heaviest studded tires I’ve ever owned. And yesterday I swapped the Nitto drops for a pair of Nitto flat bars, which is basically a wash. Same brake levers, shifter, etc.
But put all of this together and I end up with a winter commuter that outweighs at least one–and perhaps both–of my fatbikes.
In other words, Tankness.
On the way home yesterday, the Necro-Pug started giving me some weird feedback through the drivetrain (it’s fixed, so it does that). At first, I figured that perhaps the hub had slipped a little and the drivetrain was no longer perfectly straight.
Upon further examination, I found that the rear wheel was perfectly positioned–but the chainring was shifting back and forth whenever I put any substantial pressure on it in either direction. I nursed it home and then brought it into the shop this morning for a closer look.
The problem? Three of the four bolts where loose and the ring was essentially rotating slightly back and forth around the fourth bolt.
Which begs the question: how did that happen? I’m pretty sure that none of the work I had done on it (brake installation, etc.) last week would have necessitated any kind of work with the chainring and crankset.
Either way, it’s all snug and tight now and ready for more crawling through the snow. Too bad it’s all melting in the above-freezing temperatures and light rain.
We interrupt our regular blather for an advert…
Besides riding around in the warm weather and its attendant grit and slop, I’ve been weeding through parts bins and trying to lighten the load a bit. I’d prefer to sell them locally (Madison, WI) for cash, but I’m also willing to ship most of them and take payments via Paypal.
Note: If it’s still listed here, it’s still for sale.
If you’re interested, drop me a line at s + v + wagner AT gmail.com.
NIB Shimano Alfine Dynamo Front Hub (32h, black): $100/firm + shipping
Includes E2-type power connector and quick-release skewer
NIB Shimano Alfine SGS501 8-Speed Rear Hub (32h, black, 135mm OLD, centerlock disc): $200/firm + shipping
Does not include brake rotor, shifter, cog or small parts kit.
NEW Surly Clown Shoe rims (100mm, black): $375/firm (local only)
It’s turning into a different kind of winter–so far–than last. By this time last year, we’d been riding on the lake for an entire month. The temperatures were brutally cold (sorta like last week, only with an earlier start and more of it) and there was a ton of snow.
This is what the beach looked like a year ago today.
The best kind of beach riding.
Today, there’s bare sand, grass poking through the snow, and temperatures warm enough that I not only spent time outside today without gloves…but also without a hat.
For a bald man, that’s something indeed.
But as much as I like the feel of warm January sun on my bald pate, I prefer real winter weather hands down.