Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shaken down

It's been pretty chilly up here in Massachusetts this week. Sunny, but breezy and cool. Today it's going to rain, but it'll be clear again tomorrow and then starting to warm up as the countdown to Italy ticks off.

I've gotten the Schwinn pretty much shaken down at this point. I put 35 chilly miles on it the past couple of days, and it feels pretty good. The first was a ride back to the grocery store, to pick up a bag of oranges, a gallon of milk, a small bag of flour and a few other heavy things. I wanted to get a feel for the bike with a loaded handlebar bag and a load on the rear rack. And I have to say the bike did really well. I could feel the weight, of course, but it wasn't unwieldy. The steering was a bit more deliberate, and I could feel the high center of gravity through my feet as I rocked the bike on climbs, but none of this was obnoxious, and the bike felt stout enough for the load. I managed not to crash this time, either, so it seems my handlebar bag strap is doing the trick.

The second ride was a 20-miler on my workout loop. This was yesterday, and again it felt just fine. It wasn't at all hard to maintain a 20 mph pace where I usually can, and I didn't need the lowest gear on any of the climbs on that loop (I do use the lowest gear on the Kestrel and Motobecane, but I've both larger cogs and a smaller inner chainring on this bike). I think I only used second gear once, as well. The spacing between the cogs is a little wide, but with the wide front spacing, it's not hard to find a combination that works well. And it's a bike meant for paced touring, not gonzo sprints, anyway.

I've also been getting stuff together for the trip. The bike has a headlight now, though it's oriented to blink at oncoming cars more than light up the road. I have a rear blinky to clip onto the saddlebag when it arrives. I have a cable lock coiled around the little front rack, where it fits comfortably under the bar bag. And the bar bag has been stocked with the tools I'll need to disassemble and reassemble the bike while I'm there.

I'm planning to ride it once more solo tomorrow afternoon, and then take it out on Sunday with the girls -- Ava on the trailer bike. Then I'll break it down and pack it up!

I'll share a photo or two of the bike ready for the trip, once I have the stuff from Rivendell.

All for now,


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