Saturday, March 31, 2007

Broadway bicycle school

Broadway bicycle school
Originally uploaded by ahconway.
Took both of the Fahrrads in to the Broadway Bicycle School in Cambridge today. The shop had been recommended to me by my friend Kathleen, who bought a refurbed 1950s Raleigh there.

It's a coop, and everyone there is exceedingly friendly and helpful. On a less busy day, I can go in there and pay a couple bucks for coaching on doing my own repairs! Very handy. Probably the least condescending bike shop I've experienced.

So they do an estimate while you're there, so you know the score before you leave the bike - also very helpful.

It's more of a workshop than a shop, with only a small selection of bikes and bits (though they do have some interesting urban bikes from the likes of ANT, Redline, and Kogswell!). But most interesting is that they're one of a handful of Boston shops that seek out older uprights and refurb them. I spoke to the nice woman I was dealing with about this, and she acknowledged the Boston Bike trend that I'm so fascinated with. (Also reflected in my growing batch of photos on Flickr!)

It'll take them until April 11th to do the work, but that's okay. They're also willing to have a look over the Christiania, but that will require some advance planning since they can't get it down the stairs, and it takes up lots of floor space.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fritos for lunch

Fritos for lunch
Originally uploaded by ahconway.
With the girls away, I spent most of the day out on a lovely ride today. Instead of making my own way, I followed a 40-mile route from the Pocket Rides ride pack "Beyond the Minuteman Bikeway - Arlington".

The ride took me out through Belmont, Lincoln, Lexington, and neighboring areas. It wasn't quite as countrified as I usually like, but most of the streets were lightly trafficked and pleasant. Lots of big houses, old and new.

I got pretty hungry after 30 miles... I'd been looking for a snack spot for ages, but there was nothing! I suppose I could have ventured off the path if I'd gotten desperate. But in the end, I took a little detour in Lincoln to the wonderful Decordova Sculpture Park, where I got a nice tuna wrap at the cafe and ate outside amongst the art works. Also had some good Fritos, pictured above.

A couple other notables about today's ride. It was my first ride in my new Rapha knickers, which performed admirably! I've wanted some for ages, and they're actually cheaper here than in London, where they're made. That's rip-off Britain for you, I suppose. In any case, I was looking for a new pair of 3/4-length bib tights and these were about the same price, so I got em! Real nice, real comfortable, and not Lycra-loutish at all.

Also, I replaced my brake pads & shoes this morning, which is probably my most ambitious DIY repair yet. It took some doing, but they new pads are definitely a big improvement.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Gorgeous ride to Concord

After weeks of icy and sub-zero weather, today, Sunday, is approaching 50f and nice and sunny. And a perfect day for a ride! I packed up my little repair kit, bundled up as if the temperature could drop 30 degrees before lunch, and set off for Concord.

I know I've ridden up that way before; it's not too far from my first job after college near Hanscom Field, and it was also a good riding destination when I used to live here before moving to London. (I keep wondering where I might find a particular house called "Put Down Roots", which I remember from those days.)

I stuck to Route 2A pretty much the whole time, which took me through Lexington and into Minuteman Historical Park (site of the start of the Revolution) just after crossing 95. The ride from then on was beautiful, with lots of historical sites, perfectly preserved Colonial houses, and leafless trees, fields, and farms on both sides of the road. There's also a 5-mile unpaved bike path through the park that we can do once the weather improves.

I continued into the center of Concord and picked up a bagel with peanut butter to fortify me for the ride home.

The day and the route were also perfectly suited to my bike, with its bullet-proof wheels, grippy fat tires, and mudguards; I don't know how many riders I passed with skinny wheels and muddy stripes up their backs!

I look forward to doing this ride and variations lots more.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

First Visit to Harris Cyclery

Stopped by Harris Cyclery yesterday. That's the West Newton shop
where guru Sheldon Brown is based. I went specifically to get a
Rohloff oil change kit, and there was no problem there. I also picked
up a nice Rivendell cycling cap.

The visit was a little anticlimactic, I suppose, kind of like my
visit to St John Street Cycles. But SJS is really not set up for walk-
in business, and Harris is a genuine independent neighborhood bike
shop. The real thrill at Harris was seeing all the Rivendells up
close, all built up and ready to go. There were lots of Atlantis
frames and a few built up, plus a couple Bleriots, a Saluki, and
others. All were built with drop bars, not Rivendell-preferred
uprights, but they were gorgeous and fascinating to see anyway.

I had a bit of Rohloff banter with Harris Junior, who said they sell
lots of the after-market hubs, and that they run around $1400!
Remarkable. There was also one of the first generation Raven frames
there, painted in a god-awful blend of lime greens and yellows, with
lots of Celtic stripes. SJS sold it to Harris probably five years
ago, and it's been on the rack ever since. Harris told me that
they're going to build it up as a Rohloff demo bike, which make sense.

I didn't get a chance to meet Sheldon this time, but I'd like to save
that for another visit when all the girls aren't sitting in the car -
and when I've got one of my bikes with me.