Biking Things No One Told Me
My life isn’t like that. I don’t know if it is just me or if it is one of those things people don’t talk about.
My first ride on a bike, like the new bike, I just worry about getting the seat height close. Then I take it for a spin and see what I think. In my case, I am checking to see if the angle is going to make my knees hurt and how responsive the bike is. I listen for rattles. I check the brakes and the shifting. I assess the “fun factor.” I guess this is close to Veloria’s “first impression” reviews.
What I haven’t seen is the second thoughts review. My second ride, and maybe this is because I like old bikes, is all about the adjustments. I head out with my tool kit and I start with the saddle. I kept my perfect leather saddle and just sold Nicolas with the saddle I took off him when I got him.
Maybe it is the old bikes, maybe everyone else can just eyeball it then make perfect adjustments the first time. I ride a couple of blocks then stop and adjust the saddle, then I repeat half a dozen times. Up and down, back and forth, angle of tilt. It all gets tweaked, sometimes by only a couple of millimeters. Once the saddle is perfect, I’ll try to get in an hour long ride to be sure I like it. If at the end of the ride, my knees and back are happy, great! If I have even a little twinge, the whole process repeats the next day.
Once the saddle is wonderful, I may need to adjust the handle bars. Handlebars move less. Up or down only a little, angle of tilt a little. If I am really keen, I may swap them out for a different pair or flip them for a different posture. I don’t want sore palms or wrists at the end of a ride.
After all that, I will start considering new parts. I really believe that when you buy a old bike the MINIMUM replacement is the chain and tires and I expect to need new cables and brake pads. “All Original Parts” is NOT a selling feature in an ad for me. To me it translates to: “No Maintenance Has Been Done!”
Which is why I am not out riding my new bike yet. Tires are fine until they aren’t and 20 year old tires have been know to blow out. The term I have heard most often is “explode” but I think that would take a pyrotechnician. Blow out or sudden traumatic failure seems like a better description. When V got her new/old bike, I insisted the first thing she did was order tires. Now I have to follow my own advice.
In the mean time, I am cleaning Lu and riding MrsB.
The new French Bike had already had a second thoughts ride. I still love it. I still wish I knew anything about who made it. The person I bought it from claimed to have personally imported it from France. I don’t know what I think of that since all the “Made in France” labels say just that. In English. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. I love it.
It is darn hard to hang it on the wall and wait for tires.