Thursday, May 19, 2011

Splish Splash

In the flooded underpass (guess that reflector works!)
It's been a pretty dreary bike week- actually the whole month of May has been a bit of a washout.
It's been the kind of weather that doesn't make an established bike commuter think twice (or at least not thrice), but not particularly conducive for convincing someone to try commuting for the first time.  As I've written before at a certain point, biking becomes such a regular part of your life, that it's just simpler to get on the bike than to figure out the other options.  However when you're trying to convince new riders that this is a great time of year to get on the bike for the first time in months,  rain just doesn't help.

It's been misty, and a bit drizzly,  and there's been a bit of rain, but no serious rain at rush hour.  The only time this week I got soaked was when I walked to dinner without an umbrella and it started pouring as I came home.  So riding has been damp, but otherwise objectionable.  And at least there has been conversation with like minded folks, and free breakfast  :)

This evening was the clearest it's been all week, and I rode along the river path, dodging puddles, and mostly staying dry.  Fenders will take care of most of the puddles, although I keep contemplating a mudflap to keep my shoes completely dry.  It was only when I left trader Joe's and was riding on the sidewalk close to the road that I got splashed by a car passing through a puddle and got pretty wet.

Fortunately I was almost home, which is where I keep the dry clothes!

I had been craving preserved lemons,  so I put a quick tagine together with onions, chickpeas, a bit of chicken,  olives, warm spices, a bit of leftover tomato and said lemons, put it in the oven, and biked to Target to return the curtains that we decided not to use in the kitchen.  Again the path was reasonably dry,  except for the underpass,  although it had started to mist again :(

Home again, a nice spicy stew was waiting for me, filling the house with good smells, and bringing to warmth of a mediterranean summer to a New England spring night.


  1. If you get a mudflap, I reccomend wide rubber ones from the Netherlands. They might be made by Biria. I used the leather Brooks/Velo Orange mudflap and found it somewhat inadequate. I think the DBC might still carry the rubber ones.

  2. I've seen a few bicycle tunnels that have drainage at each end so that medium showers don't turn them into slop-fests. I think another alternative may be a slight slope and a surface that sheds water. It's one of those engineering details that seem to be often overlooked until the first rain falls, though.

  3. yeah- what a week. I wasn't able to bike more so due to timing issues earlier in the week. But yesterday and today riding in the mist was just lovely- but I know the me from 3 years ago wouldn't even think about riding where it was more about oh I need to be at work at this time and back at this time and I will never make it on a bike in that time frame. :-( Next year! No more preschool 1 mile out of my way doubling my trip to the train! can't wait.

  4. That tunnel at night is a little scary to cycle through, let alone stop and take pictures!

    The week has been unbelievable. My outdoor bike is all soggy and squeaky!

  5. Actually, I agree, and normally race through it as if banshees were after me, but there was a footrace afterparty at the parking area on the watertown side, and there were a lot of people (including a cop) just on the other side of the tunnel, so I felt fine stopping for a change.

  6. In a weak moment, I bought a Raleigh Sports frame on ebay for really cheap ($10) and am gathering parts for the build. Hope you don't mind me asking a few questions about Gilbert.
    After viewing pictures, it looks like G. has a Tektro long-reach brake up front. Is that correct? The old Raleigh brakes aren't the best.
    Also, does Gilbert have the original-sized rims, 26 by 1-3/8, or perhaps you used a different size? I think 650b rims would likely work, although there would be a slight bottom bracket drop.
    By the way, I live in fly fishing-obsessed Montana, and have seen quite a few vintage creels in second-hand stores. These days, a lot of fishing is catch and release, so creels have fallen out of favor. But they can be repurposed, with spectacular results.
    Thanks for your blog.

  7. @ MT cyclist:
    You have good eyes. The front brake is a Tektro R556 with the simple city brake levers from VO. The wheels are 26x1 3/8" mostly because that's what I had had built up for my previous bike, before the 650b thing was such a common phenomenon. I'm happy I did have the "true" size, becuase it allows me to use the original raleigh fenders with a proper fender line . OK, the fenderline is a little wonky in the back because of the clearance necessary for removing the wheel from the horizontal dropouts- although I just saw a cool spring loaded adapter for attaching the fender to the bridge to get the line just right on the VO website. Yes, I think people really like the creel as bike basket- as I said earlier, Harris is going to start ordering new ones for sale as bike baskets. If you see a great one, let me know, maybe we could work a swap- I've got some chromed steel albatross bars, a 26" chaincase (like Gilbert's, but unpainted) and a couple of other odds and ends around.

  8. Thanks!
    FYI-- An architect friend of mine lives totally bike free. He even carries 2 by 4s and plywood on his long bike.