Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bikes, bikes...

Only one week left before we leave for Raleigh. We will be leaving behind all but two of our accumulated bikes. The rest are going into storage to be resurrected when we get back. Maybe we will realize that we can get by with only two or three bikes each and some of them will be sold when we get back. We are taking Rebecca's 'fast bike' (an old Schwinn road frame with 14 speeds) and my road bike. My road bike will continue the journey on to France while her 'fast bike' will stay in Raleigh.

Since I don't have a job in France, and have promised not to get one in a translated and notarized letter, I will be spending most of my time riding my bicycle through the rolling hills of the French countryside. I've been trying to make the bike that I will bring as versatile and durable as possible. After thinking for a while I decided to take my road bike, after some modifications.

I decided to put S&S couplers on to make train and air travel with the bike much easier; powdercoating to prevent rust and scratches during packing/travel; full fenders with a mudflap to ride in the wet; cloth handlebar tape that won't get ripped when the bike is packed up; a handlebar bag for food and maps; wheels I built myself that are easily repairable; downtube friction shifters that will never break.

Jefe's Bridgestone RB-1 with S&S couplers

Once we get there, I'd like to find some old cruiser/city bikes for grocery shopping. Probably something where the parts are no longer available; something that rattles incessantly over the endless cobblestones; something strong enough I might actually want to bring it back with me. Then I have to remind myself that I'm trying to get rid of bikes.

Jefe and Rebecca's refurbished English 3-speeds

For right now, I would like to thank all the people that donated little bits of knowledge that helped me create the bike I am taking to France. Strange how such minor changes to a apparently simple machine can shift its functionality a large amount in one direction or another. Hopefully, I have created the perfect bike to take, but I doubt it. There will always be someone, somewhere that has a suggestion to make a bike a little better for one purpose or another.

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