Saturday, September 17, 2011

The tour of wild apples to the 9th and 9th Street Fair

The 9th and 9th neighborhood is where all the hipsters go.

Hula-hooping hipsters. Imogen really got into these chicks.

Before the street fair, we took a ride up City Creek on our newly rebuilt tandem. It got all new cables and housing and three new bicycle chains. Finding tandem-length brake and shift cables can be a challenge. Thanks Guthrie Bicycles!

 I also put on a road-bike-style drop bar onto the mountain tandem. The original flat-bar setup always felt too cramped in the cockpit. I had to slide the saddle way back to not feel that I was on a clown bike, even with a toptube of 60cm and a 100mm effective length stem. With the way-back position, the tandem had really squirlly steering. Tandems always have not enough weight over the front wheel which is why they are less stable, and controlling them takes more muscular effort for the the pilot (this is somewhat ameliorated by having the [larger] men riding on the front and the [smaller] lady on the back).

With the drop bars, I not only have more comfortable hand positions, I also get my body more over the front wheel, and the steering is more stable. Sitting in the drops is also excellently secure for sustained braking on steep hills. I used a flared Nitto drop bar given to me by Ben, and added the Salsa top-mounted brake levers for even more braking positions.

Finally, our tandem was equipped with an old 7-speed derailleur with grip shifters meant for a mountain bike 25.4mm bars, where the standard road-sized drop bar is 26mm. So, in order to make the grip shifters fit on the bars, I had to file down about 1/2-inch of the the ends of the bar to achieve the 25.4mm size. This took about an hour of perseverance and an accurate calliper to make sure I got it perfectly round. It also helped that the Nitto bars are not by any stretch of the imagination a lightweight bar. They are made of pretty thick aluminium, so filling off a little did not hurt anything. Of course, I could have purchased bar-end shifters, but that costs money...

Oh yeah, for all of my bike-riding, running, hiking, and locavore friends: There are wild apples in City Creek right now. Hike up there and find them off the side of the road. They are perfectly ripe. Usually those little green apples you see are sour and acrid. Not these. They're made of pure sugar, ripe as ever. We picked a few pounds that are bound for apple jam, apple butter, pies, etc...

And I married this beauty picking them...  

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