Friday, August 13, 2010

The Hillborne Ride

This morning was the maiden voyage on the newly built Hillborne, and because I don't enjoy doing things just a little bit, I decided to ride in with Sam this morning to his job, and then come back alone. The round trip is slightly more than 19 miles, and, all things considered, it wasn't too bad. There are, however, a few things that I think need some adjusting:

- I think that the long stem we got to keep the handlebars more upright, is probably too long. While it's nice to be a bit more upright, I find that I'm putting too much pressure on my hands, and I think I need to find the balance between what is too high and having the bars too low.
225mm stem seemed like a good idea in theory, but perhaps isn't in practice?
- The actual handlebars on the bicycle, I believe, are tilted too high. When I try to utilize the lower part of the drop bars, I find myself struggling to find a comfortable place. I think a slight tilt can resolve this issue.
Handlebars, pre-taping, but in the same position.
- The saddle, which is easily adjusted, is likely too low because when I got home from the ride the front of my knees were killing me. Part of me thinks this could be that I'm not used to pedaling with purpose, but, more than likely it's the height of the saddle.
Brooks Flyer S saddle
- I'm not sure how I feel about the fenders. I think in my head I was thinking that this could be a commuter, exerciser, all around bicycle, but I have a feeling that it will more than likely be used as something for exercise purposes, with maybe occasional trips to a location for a purpose, so I'm thinking that they can come off. They created quite a bit of work in the installation process, and I'm not enjoying the noises that they make. Beyond the rubbing noises from the tires (which could likely be addressed and resolved), every time I go over any sort of rock or debris (on the roads around here that equates to approximately every two seconds) it gets caught up and makes horrendous noises. It's kind of distracting, so I'm thinking that perhaps taking them off is the solution.
Fenders, after removing Grand Bois tires and putting Schwalbe's on instead.
While I very much wanted to keep the Grand Bois tires on the bike, I came to realize that it wasn't practical to keep them and the fenders. Even though there should've been plenty of clearance, the two weren't cooperating. Instead, the Schwalbe Marathon tires were mounted. They seem to ride nice enough, but I think it makes the bike look more "boyish" and I'm missing the look of the lighter colored tires.

- The palms of my hands are killing me. It's not the muscle, but rather the skin. I wore gloves (which I normally don't) and I thought that would be enough, but they aren't doing well. I suspect that this has something to do with some of the above mentioned handlebar issues, but time will tell.

The ride this morning made me realize that I need to do more cycling to keep myself used to all of this. If one goes too long, it seems to take its toll. I'm looking forward to seeing how this all goes, and resolving the seemingly minor issues. Overall, I like the bicycle and remain hopeful that it's going to be THE bike.

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