Saturday, July 4, 2009

KT's evolution continues

Happy July 4th everyone.

with Kao in Japan, I'm celebrating the occasion by going on a long ride on my road bike. That's right, I'm back on my road bike. My arm and hand is almost fully recovered (maybe about 98%?) so that I'm now able to ride the road bike without discomfort. I think I will ride in the direction of the Columbia River Gorge and see far I get.

Riding the road bike again has given me a new perspective on riding position. The road bike position with your torso forward does need some getting used to, but it is a good position if you want to ride faster and further. For riding slow and stopping often, an upright position is much better and a position that is in between is not really good. I think a lot of so called "comfort" bikes have this not quite forward or upright position and it just ends up being uncomfortable. I've been noticing riding Kao's bike with the new handlebars that my position was not quite upright enough and my arms were stretched straight and feeling all the bumps from the front end. This is what I've often heard with road bikes that it's best to have your arms bent a little at the elbows to absorb shock, and I think it applies to city bikes as well. So, I've made some modifications to Kao's bike with this in mind.

new (old) stem

I went to the Recyclery which is a place where they buy and sell used bikes and parts and got this stem.

Kao's bike v3.0

I installed the stem as well as a new rear rack. The stem brought the handle bar further up and closer, so that my riding position is even more upright than before. I got the rear rack so that I don't have to carry anything on my back. I thought it was not possible to add a rack to this bike before as it has no eyelets, but then I found this rack which is the Axiom Streamliner Road rack which can be attached via the rear wheel spindle and brake mount.

Kao's bike v3.0

It looks pretty good and everything, but I'm not sure I can fully recommend this rack for a couple of reasons. First of all, it makes it difficult to tighten the quick release enough and to keep the wheel straight. For casual riding, it works OK, but if I put a lot of power into pedaling, the rear wheel can easily slip and go out of alignment. The other thing is the attachment fixture for the pannier bag. I think most racks have like a tube sticking out where you can through a bungee ring which most pannier bags come with, but this rack has these narrow slots instead. The O-ring thing could not work with this, so I ended up getting some mini bungee cords to attach my bag.

Kao's bike v3.0

This is what the bike looks like with the bag attached. I think my Minnehaha utility bag works pretty well visually. The leather strip in the middle matches the cork grips, maybe?

I've decided to give call this bike "KT". KT = Kao's Trek. Kao likes that too. As for my road bike, I think I will call it "Special K". Kinya's Specialized. what do you think? Anyway, Me and the Special K will be heading out the door soon for a ride towards the Columbia River Gorge. I doubt I will make it there, but I think I will set it as a goal to get there sometime this Summer. Hope you all have nice rides this weekend.

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