Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mlle Moto's First Day Out v 2.0

It started out as a rainy morning, and the forecast was a 60% chance for rain and thunderstorms, but we loaded up the bikes and headed over to the Greenbelt for a much needed bike date.

By the time we got there it had turned out to be a gorgeous day! The forecast was way off. Sunny, in the 70's, barely a cloud to be seen. Good day to test out the latest changes to Mlle Moto.

We chopped off about an inch and a half on each end of the bars. They were so long before that I really had to move my hands back a lot to change gears. They still feel a little on the wide side - about 20 inches center to center. I think if I can find something a little less than that I'll be more comfortable. But, as is these are still more comfortable than the drop bars that were on previously. Towards the end of our ride I was starting to get stiff in the base of my neck. I'm wondering if this has anything to do with the handlebars, the bike itself, the reach, the kind of ridding we did, or just that I haven't been riding more than a couple of miles a day for the last 6 months. I'm hoping it's the latter. When I first start out it feels great. Everything feels like a good fit. So, I guess we'll see what happens over the next few rides.

I wrapped the bars in Origin 8 cork tape. This was the only thing I could find locally as a quick "need it now" wrap. Also, I dont want to go and wrap these in cotton tape and shellac them knowing that I'm looking for other bars. The cork tape isn't bad though! Easy to apply, quite comfortable and not horrid looking. I can live with this for however long I need to.

As for the ride. We rode around 14 miles. A nice slow, enjoy the scenery, chit chat sort of ride. We got a few miles in to discover that part of the trail was closed off do to some serious road work:

It didn't really stop us. Just picked the bikes up a carried them around all the construction and carried on.

I only took advantage of a long straight flat once to see how she handles going fast. It was great! And fun. This bike is spritely. Easy to accelerate. I didn't really change gears much on the ride, even up thd hills. She just goes up them almost effortlessly.

However, I am beat. 14 leisurely miles kicks my butt on this bike! I went for a little 10 mile fast and hilly ride on the Fuji last weekend and didn't feel it. Very strange. I hope I get to take this one out again soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Changes for Mlle Moto

I was in pain after my last ride on Mlle Moto. From a couple of things. First, the stem shifters. I've never felt comfortable taking my hands off the bars to shift. So since the shifters were right there in thumbs reach I shifted with my thumb while still keeping ahold of the top of the bar. The next day I could barely move that joint for the pain!

Then there was the drop bars.

Even with the bars raised considerably higher than the saddle, and a short (60mm) stem, I ended up with a bad cramp in the base of my neck, almost between my shoulder blades. I spent the next week fiddling with small adjustments here and there. Nothing seemed to help. So I decided to try something completely different. Mustache bars.

Now, these aren't REAL mustache bars. Just some old north road-ish type bars that were banging around in storage. Flipped them upside down, used the brake levers from my poor old Hedwig (who has sadly gone the way of organ donor) and added some NOS Sun Tour bar end shifters.

I think I might be on the right track! I love the bar ends. They're brilliant. The brake levers... meh. The bars them selves are great, but just a little too wide. So here's the plan: get a Nitto mustache bar, which measures narrower than what I've got here and find some brake levers that I can mount out toward the curve, like they should be on mustache bars.

So, that's that. For now. I'm going to ride her like this until I can make those last couple of changes. Then I can move on to thinking about a new wheelset. :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mlle Moto's First Day Out

Today was the big day! I've finally got the Motobecane back on the road!

First, we went to work.

And she got to sit out by the street trying to attract attention.
I tried out riding with toe clips in loafers:

Which works out just fine. :)

After lunch we went for a quick jaunt.

I'm discovering that, for now anyway, I need to have the handle bars higher than the saddle. Otherwise I get a sore neck and shoulders. This might be also because this bike is too tall for me. You'll notice that I have the saddle as far down as it will go. This gives me just the right leg extension and if I lean a little I can sit on the saddle and put a toe down. But I can't stand over the top tube without being on my tip toes.

On the way home I spotted something I must have ridden past thousands of times! There are some very old steps just at the side of the road.

If you go up them, you're overlooking I-26. Perhaps there was a house there once?

I would have never noticed them had the flowers not caught my eye.

So far I'm really liking this bike! It's light and spritely but just a little twitchy. I hope to correct that by eventually doing a 650b conversion. And I may or may not keep the drop bars. We'll see.