New Bicycle

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I just bought a beautiful new bicycle. I've been riding my previous bike for nearly a decade. It's seen some tough time and I've tried to replace it more than once but it has been the only one to survive. Perhaps it's sunny disposition has turned potential thieves hearts or perhaps its resale value (less than scrap) has never attracted them. Of course wheels, brakes, and seats have been stolen from my old bike, mostly while parked outside Kinokuniya overnight which have made the bicycle fairly expensive to keep running while I lived in the International district in Seattle. I spent a small fortune on tubes when I accidentally put presta tubes in a rim sized for schrader. Anyway, the bicycle was on the heavy side (35 lbs, 77 kg), the shocks never really worked properly besides lightening the blow from some road features, and the bottom bracket is making a terrible noise despite replacing it. If I didn't buy a new bike I suspect that it would outlast me, but since I am prepared to the point of paranoia to prevent theft of this new bicycle, I am going to recycle the old bicycle. Perhaps someone can make odds or ends of the pieces or maybe the bottom bracket problem is not as bad as it seemed. This bicycle proves that cheap bicycles can survive a long time, but also that they are as expensive as expensive bicycles when you factor in maintenance and theft. The obvious benefit of a new bicycle is weight. This bicycle is 28 lbs (62 kg), a savings of 7 lbs (15 kg). Along with the bicycle I bought clipless pedals and shoes to go with them. While this adds a few pounds (since I'll have to carry shoes) it makes up for that in spades by delivering effective power to the pedal. There is some some dispute about the value of clipless pedals but certainly practically every serious cyclist can't be wrong (and yet still we test).

So what bicycle, what mods, and what changes will I plan to make? I bought the Black Kona Dew, which is a hybrid, has no suspension, v brakes, and stock everything. I added Shimano PD-M520 clipless pedals and I plan to switch out the quick release for allen and add a nice bike computer to track my progress. I'm going to add a front light when I start riding in the dark. For now I'll just jerry-rig a flashlight if I find myself out too late or too early. No other modifications? I plan to add a few dozen grams of paint so that is isn't just black. That's right, I'm going to make it three colors. One of my favorite bicycle colors was a purple/green pearlescent but I don't want my bike to stand out as much as that. Instead, I will be trying to make it a little less flat. I'm normally fine with matte black but there's something about a black bicycle. You can track the bicycle's progress here: Bike index link. Unless something bad happens, the page should just be a brief description of the bike with maybe a photo.

Cycling is for many people a recreation but for me it is a mode of transportation from one place to another. This bicycle isn't supposed to get me in shape, but I suppose it will. This bicycle isn't supposed to be a fast mode of transport in case of emergency, but it can be that. This bicycle isn't supposed to make it so I can spend time with friends away from civilization because getting away from civilization without a car isn't something a person can do very easily. Not just here, anywhere. The furthest from civilization you can get without a car anywhere is how far you can ride minus your current depth in civilization, so a place like Seattle which is very deep in civilization might not be possible to reach nature. For example, riding from Seattle Ferry Terminal to Falls View Campground in Olympic National Forest is a 42.6 mile ride with a huge elevation change. Though it would probably take 10 hours, it would be possible for me in my current shape. Without the elevation change, this was cake for 16-year-old me, riding 80 miles per day for 4 days in a row on a well-tuned mountain bike (yes, with shocks) was not a big problem.

The two trips that I thought this bike would be nice for are: from my house to UW which I'd like to do 3 times a week, and from my house to a family member's house. The first one I've done weekly for years and I was able to do it 5 days a week for a a month last spring. I've made the second trip before on my old bicycle but it was a mess. I actually had better luck riding 18 miles in Seattle hills. The bus route to that destination is spotty and always requires me to walk a mile uphill if I don't want to wait 15-30 minutes for the bus. Did I mention that I have a problem with busses? They get me from point a to point b sometimes and I couldn't be very functional without them but would I ever do without them, you bet.

So this new bicycle gives me a good reason to read Bicycling Science and the Blue Book which I bought a while back to help with the afore mentioned bottom bracket problem.

The salesperson told me that most cyclists with v-brakes and cantilever replace their rims every year or two. That doesn't really make sense to me but I suppose precise braking is a higher priority to other cyclists. I've run my pads to the point where I was Flintstoning on handful of stops (people who watched old-school cartoons should probably understand what I mean). So long as it gets you stopped, right? But bicycle maintenance is something that has to be learned. Going half-way produces problems like my presta/schrader problem. A guy came in and was half out of his mind asking about why he was getting flats every day or two. There's been a bit of controversy about gaslighting as harassment. Generally I don't agree that making false statements is harassment because freedom of speech clearly butts heads when harassment is illegal. If we say that false statements are illegal, then we give the government a very easy wedge to criminalize true speech that is unpopular. This is not a slippery slope argument, there are too many examples that I'm just going to leave them as an exercise for the reader to post them to the comments. I'll be watching the comments like a hawk so I can mod up any that pass the threshold. This is an interesting philosophical argument: Think for a moment about your primary mode of transportation you use everyday failing repeatedly making you an hour late for work over and over again. If you aren't questioning your sanity after a couple weeks, other people will be. If someone did that on purpose to their enemy, would it be illegal besides the vandalism? I'm not sure, maybe civil damages for pain and suffering. If someone's advice lead the person to break their bicycle, should they be held liable for the damage? Obviously no.

On a different topic, we got to talking about bike theft in the bike shop and I was thinking about "the final solution" for bicycle thieves (apologies for the bad joke). If we identify thieves and allow people who have vigilante justice on their mind kill them, are we accomplices? If we discuss the identity of the victim beforehand with the murderer, I believe that the legal system is setup for that (conspiracy), but is it setup for widespread dissemination of information? This is an interesting problem for privacy. Those who insist that privacy is dead should think about information like criminal record, health information, and credit history, and passwords. Certainly we don't live completely without privacy or we would be faced with the unfortunate fact that most people masturbate. Promiscuous people would find their naked bodies photographed on websites. The time we spend in the shower would no longer be just us. No, we have privacy because there are far too many things in human society that are as embarassing as walking to school in your underwear. No privacy will not die and no we are not yet at the point where blogging, microblogging, and social networks are a majority of our lives. When Frank Heidt tells young people not to share information of importance on social media, there's more than one reason. Let's list them here so you don't have to spend two hours watching a film to get your mind in the right mindset to think about this:

  • Corporations are selling the information you post.
  • Employers look at information to decide whether you have ever been part of a group of people they will never hire.
  • Information is very, very hard to delete once posted.
  • You probably wouldn't tell someone something mean to their face.
  • You have better things to do than tell people everything.
  • The skills you learn from hosting your own content or sharing with others will pay for themselves a hundred-fold.

Note: I am using Amazon Affiliate links, feel free to disregard anything I say about the quality of products in this blog and others as they may have a slight bias toward you buying something that will fund another blog post. Of course you should expect that from anyone.

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