It turns out riding a bike is just like riding a bike

I love bicycles. I fell out of love with them a few years ago. This was because I don’t love being old, having bad knees, or being out of shape, but none of that is the bicycles fault. I tried this summer to move past that and get back on the bike. I had limited success, but I have high hopes for this summer.

Believe it or not, changing the pedals solved most of my problems.

When I got my gravel bike, a REI Co-Op ADV 3.1 it was quite a change from my urban commuter bike. An internal hub full fendered bike that looked like a 1959 Rene Herse french porteur was not the best choice for touring. I had made it worse with some handlebar choices. It was time for a change.

Initially, the color was not my favorite. In time, the green has grown on me. It gave the bike its name: Swamp Thing. The front derailleur did not have a positive selector so it did not click in to gear, but you had to slide it and give it a bit of english to make shifts. A little weird, but not bad. The handlebars are flared to give better control on downhills, and bartip shifters are my favorite. I don’t real spend much time on the drops, but I do love the handlebars. Riding the horns is very comfortable, and they give me a ton of options for positions that help avoid hand numbness.

Our two bikes, waiting patiently. Swamp Thing, nearer the camera. Booberry, my wife’s fast blue streak behind.

The first year of this bike they came with 700s, later they went with 650s and I have no real opinion on which is better, but it rolls along well. The Shimano Deore drivetrain can let you climb even if it is not speedy. Here’s a review of this bike.

Honestly, I am a little surprised this bike was discontinued, but then also not really. Gravel bikes are kind of a fad, it seems. Plus I’ve never really liked what the mainstream did. Globe, who built my porteur, is also gone. I am tragically unhip.

The biggest problem with this bike was me. I threw a cheap pair of pedals on when I got it, and never changed them. I finally switched the cheapo plastic pedals out for some Rockbro aluminum MTB wide pedals and damn I should have done that a long time ago. Big wide platforms with grippy pins that just beg you to stomp on them and get somewhere. Not a high end item but they did make a huge difference.

So late last summer, I went back to a bit of the basics. I rolled along the bike paths, in no hurry, with my old Nikon F3 with a 50mm f1.4 Nikkor and some Foma 400. Getting back to my roots. Good times.

Now to see about getting back in shape, so I can tour again.

The photos are of a piece of public art, Cottonwood Critters. They are carved out of a downed cottonwood with a chainsaw. It’s around milepost 39 on the High Line Canal Trail. My wife discovered this piece of public art and we went to investigate.

One Comment

  1. jeremy north
    January 13, 2024

    I think flat pedals are usually under rated

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