Bike Commuting Updates!

Sorry for the lack of posting… I’ve been pretty busy with my classes, traveling, and the stress of having TWO (internal) job interviews next week. Eek!

On Monday morning, I woke to find that my regular commuter bike (my Specialized Vita that I bought last summer) had a flat tire. And not just flat – completely flat! I had to be at work in 20 minutes, and the bike also needs a light battery and the brakes replaced, so I decided to instead throw my things in a backpack and commute on the old Peugot I just bought and got fixed up.

Well, I ended up commuting on the Peugot all week. And then today I went and bought a rack and tail light for it. I think I’m going to change to using it as my regular commuter and stick with using my commuter bike as my bike for things like rail trails. Ironically, I bought them originally for the exact opposite purposes. The Peugot was, after all, bought so that I could keep up with my husband on the trails, but he now concedes a hybrid would probably be better for him for such rides and he will probably get one in the spring. That is if I don’t convince him we need to sell off the bikes we own and buy cross bikes by then :p

Overall, the stuff I bought for the Peugot is pretty cool!

I ended up getting a very nice Blackburn rack. It is about 1000% nicer than the crappy rack I bought online for like, $20 last summer. That rack will still work well for carrying things while on short rides, but this one is super light, super durable, and will be much more sturdy for carrying all my shit to work (especially if I get one of these jobs I’m interviewing for and have to add a friggin laptop to my ever increasing stuff…do you think anyone would notice if I just started keeping a dresser in my cube?). Too bad it didn’t come with a vintage Blackburn rack like Kris’s did when I bought it off craigslist – that thing is worth like at least half of what I paid for the bike, and is still going strong after probably 30 years on the back of that bike!

Side note: that rack was a huge pain to install. I must have terrible luck with rack installation. Last year, when installing a rack on my Specialized Vita, I realized the pieces that attach to the seat stays weren’t long enough to reach the actual seat stays, and had to attach the rack to the seat post. This time, I had to manuever around a reflector that these French bike manufacturers somehow decided you cannot remove, as they integrated it into the brakes! Just look at this!!!!

I’m feeling incredibly grumpy about this, if you can’t tell.

THEN, on top of the reflector thing, I had a terrible time actually tightening the bolts that hold the rack on. One of them is still only like 80% tightened (the rack is still pretty stable, but I will need to fix it). The problem is that you cannot hand tighten the nuts to the bolts, so you have to use an adjustable wrench or something, and the only one I have is truly too large to put into the area between the seat stays (fyi, the seat stays are where the rack is attached by those little black clips). Also, the thing I used to attach the rack to the seat stays had to be held together with pliers to get the bolt to go through! At this point, I wish I would have paid for installation at the store, because I didn’t get a chance to fix flats on the other two bikes or install my light on this one, but the store was closing by the time I checked out. Also, I guess in retrospect the bike wasn’t with me. But still.

At least Misty “helped” by stealing a piece and kicking it all around the dining room.

Ok, enough negativity about the rack. Now that it’s installed, I am sure it will be great, and I got other exciting things! I bought a very nice taillight – it is so bright it hurts my eyes, and it is USB rechargeable. Therefore, I never have to worry about the battery dying, as long as I plug it into my computer once a month or so (the run time on a charge is like 100 hours). I am still looking for a headlight, though – the ones at the bike shop didn’t seem much different than the one I already have, but they were like twice the price! Note: nothing else at my bike shop is overpriced. Most things are cheaper (or at least the same price) there than they are on the internet. I was very perplexed.

Also, I got pretty much the best thing ever: a reflective raincoat. I pretty much always shy away from riding in the rain, but there is no excuse now (husband already has reflective raincoat). This was only $25 at TJ Maxx. Side note: I was supposed to be buying slacks, black flats, and a new belt today, and this and a pair of running tights *might* have been the only clothing I bought. This is because I forgot about the belt, didn’t find shoes, and slacks are the worst invention ever. How can pants simultaneously be way too big and way too small?! I thought that by becoming skinny, this problem would disappear, but I swear it has actually become far worse.

Funny enough, I could have used a raincoat this morning. Eight miles in the rain was on my running schedule for today! Luckily it went relatively well – I was able to run without feeling sick to my stomach or at the pace of a turtle for the first time in a long time!


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