Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night

Ok,  more drizzly than stormy, and it was mostly gloomy not dark,  but it's such a classic title that I couldn't resist.

I made a giant batch of spaghetti sauce this weekend for friends of mine (a colleague of the Scientist's and his wife) who just had a baby, and could use some easy dinners.   I had planned on taking it out tonight to their house in Belmont ( a streetcar suburb of Boston), and decided to follow through despite the cloudy weather turning into drizzle on the way home. I'm really glad that I have brakes that aren't affected by weather on Minerva, since Gilbert is still getting refurbed.  I've been riding Minerva since Friday, and the hub brake has really proved itself in the rain a couple of times already, especially compared to the rod brakes alone.

 It's a serious haul up Belmont hill,  and between the drizzle and a bit of sweat, I was pretty damp by the time I reached their house.  I had changed from the dress I wore to work into jeans, which may have been a mistake, because jeans are much slower to dry than tights.

The baby was adorable, red faced and milk-fed sleepy.  Their 4 year old was sweet and engaging.  I admired their kitchen and we discussed the cabinet maker who'd made both our cabinets.
After a bit though, I was pretty chilled from my damp clothes and needed to hit the road. And of course they have a newborn to take care of, so I didn't want to overstay my welcome.  I also didn't want to ride home in full dark.

On the way home I ran into my friend Cris riding his Raleigh 3 speed fixed gear (yes SA makes a 3 speed fixed gear hub).  I wasn't a total surprise, since I'd emailed him for Belmont route advice, and he lives a couple of blocks away from my friends.   We chatted for a couple of minutes, but it was too raw to stay still for long, and we headed our separate ways.

Riding Minerva the DL-1  for an extended period  like this week is interesting.  It takes a lot to get moving,  but once she gets up to speed, she's really got a lot of momentum.    Even up hills, she seems to really glide upward  and going downhill is the fastest I've gone on a bike for a while.   I find that I end up pumping my upper body quite a bit when I'm starting from a dead start.   But after I'm really moving, she cruises like nobody's business.  I don't know if it's the wheel size, or the wheelbase, or what, but it's a vastly different riding experience than the livelier Sports frame that Gilbert is built off of.  Different muscles are definitely getting used and in some cases complaining!


  1. It was good running into you last night! I almost didn't recognize you with your rain jacket on, and I keep looking for Gilbert rather than Minerva.

  2. It is a serious haul up Belmont Hill! I always used to walk my bike up Clifton St because cycling up a narrow and steep road with heavy traffic isn't really fun, IMHO. On the other hand, it's a very nice walk, especially since there is a nice shortcut through the woods, to Kenmore Rd.

    Depending on where on the hill you're going it sometimes makes sense to take Brighton St and Scott Rd instead, if you're coming from the east.

    BTW, a few posts ago, you wrote:

    "Good thing I've got Minerva mostly up and running -or more importantly stopping, or at least stopping better than before. But that's another post!"

    Ahem, when do we get to hear about that? :)

  3. You describe this so well. I love my DL-1--it is not a nimble bike, but it makes up for that in spades with an incredibly satisfying momentum. It's stately and graceful but yes--when it gets going it just GOES, even up hills when I expect to be really straining...

    Have you made any progress on the older Tourist? Can't wait til you have that up and running...