Sunday, September 30, 2012

Preparing to pull

My aim for 2013 is to drive as little as possible. We currently live in an area where this is very difficult, but starting in January, we will temporarily live in a town which is wholly bikable. Hopefully this will transform into a permanent situation. I have an informal commitment to bicycle as much as possible for those three months, driving only when needed to leave town or go on extended, infrequent shoopping and errand runs. I will be taking classes 5 days a week and my aim is to bicycle every day regardless of weather, and to combine this commute with grocery shopping and other household needs. Longer recreational/fitness rides will occur on weekends, with the aim of getting into light touring at some point.

Bad weather is about to set in her in the pacific Northwest, and while it doesn't bother me too much, I am reluctant to take my daughter out in it, at least at first. I am therefore trying to get a ride in nearly every day during these last nice days. If all goes well, I will find a clothing situation which allows her to continue riding with me.

It is honestly not that fun to pull a kid in a trailer. She weighs 30 pounds (more every day) and the trailer itself is spec'ed at 17lbs. 47lbs is a fairly heavy load; this is about what a touring bike would carry for an extended trip. As this is a goal of mine, I want to get into the shape required to do it, and hopefully have it become more fun. On the other hand, this type of "training" makes it feel like flying to take off on a solo ride with no gear.

The current rig is an entry-level mid '80s Japanese road bike, a Shogun 100.

I've scavenged components to build it into a commuting bike, but I am about to continue the transformation. Currently, it has a Suntour "Blueline" derailer, which only works in friction mode. That is fine with me, but it does need constant tweaking. I might upgrade it at some point. The wheels are 27" Weinmann rims with Vittoria tires. When finances allow, I would love to convert it to 650b wheels, but not totally sure this bike is worth it.

What I do have planned, and already ordered, are some new handlebars and brake levers. More on that soon.

For now, this is the Kidhauler. Its transformation is actually to become more of a city bike for my wife, so that she will resist the temptation to adulterate her Soma Smoothie. I am in the planning stages of my own kidhauling/town/etc bike, a Surly Crosscheck. More on that soon, too.

This blog is for anyone to enjoy, seek inspiration from, or comment upon. I will be using it largely as a journal, though, for my own reference.