Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Stability Helps

Returning to stability takes time.

Living without adequate income is tough. Returning from the brink takes time, but as stability returns life on the edge becomes less threatening. With the resolution of the unemployment quandary in my favor hope can now spring eternal.

    Hope springs eternal in the human breast; 
    Man never Is, but always To be blest: 
    The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home, 
    Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

Too dire. Things are mostly good and I continue to work on leaving a small carbon footprint by investing some of my newly received resources into good tires and fenders, both made of carbon based materials, of course, but very little compared to my past life style.

It’s unpleasant to riding in rain on a bike lacking fenders and my venerable High Sierra, an excellent two wheeled transportation appliance, required that upgrade if it was going to be my daily ride. Almost as important for an urban ride is tires that can handle accumulated detritus found on bike paths and roadsides.

Choosing tires was a simple matter because of my experience with Schwalbe tires on the Safari. I put Marathon Plus (HS 348) on the Safari and have neither complaints nor punctures. Only when one was sliced completely through to the SmartGuard belt during my aborted tour have I had any kind of problem. Even then, the tire lost pressure slowly rather than catastrophically. For around town, everyday use Christian at Bikes and More suggested the updated Original Marathon (HS 420) with its 3 mm GreenGuard layer providing almost the same level of puncture protection. Weighing 730 grams (1.6 pounds) each (versus 940 grams or 2 pounds for HS 348) they are not road racer tires. They’re built to handle what I want; an everyday bicycle lifestyle.

Fenders presented a more complex question; what fenders would fit the High Sierra’s Roller Cam brakes that were popular in the 80s. They are very good brakes with remarkable stopping power, but, as most bike mechanics know, very hard to adjust properly. Adjustability was not the first problem; fitting current-day fenders under the Roller cam mechanism was. Again, Bikes and More took care of the matter.

Paul was able to fit a pair of Planet Bike Cascadia ATB fenders to the bike with a minimum of effort. The only adjustment needed was to the front fender where the spacing between the frame attachment and the fender was greater than normal. Nice fenders! While he was at it also adjusted the Roller Cam brakes. Nice work!

Using the High Sierra as everyday transportation is going to be much more pleasant with the ever-present concern about punctures reduced to a minimum. The Marathons are 100 pound tires (currently inflated to 85) that make riding remarkably smooth and noticeably more efficient. It’s no longer a mountain bike by function, but it is a fine bike.

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